The News Matrix: Saturday 7 February 2015


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UK jihadi who tried to sneak back jailed

A British jihadi who tried to sneak back into the UK because he had “had enough” of conditions there has been jailed for 12 years. Imran Khawaja, 27, who had appeared in “horrific and deeply disturbing” online videos, complained of a lack of toiletries, cocoa butter and condoms.

Greece forces bailout showdow’

The new left-led government said yesterday it wanted no more bailout money with strings attached from the EU and IMF. It wants authority from the eurozone to issue more short-term debt, and to receive profits that the ECB and other central banks have gained from Greek bonds.

Pregnant mother jailed for deception

A solicitor’s secretary who faked her husband’s will to cut his daughters out of their share of his £1m estate has been jailed for 21 months – despite falling pregnant at the age of 47. Dawn Smith made her stepdaughters believe their father did not want to provide for them when he died aged 61 from pneumonia.

Uber launches new ‘panic button’ app

Uber is launching a “panic button” in its ride-hailing app for people in India that allows them to notify the police in case of an emergency. A “safety net” feature will allow users to share their location with five other people. Uber is also recruiting a team that will respond if the panic button is pressed.

Morocco fined for not hosting games

Morocco was fined $1m (£6.6m) by the Confederation of African Football yesterday and may have to pay up to $10m for failing to host this year’s African Cup of Nations tournament because of fears over Ebola. In addition, CAF said it was seeking around $9m in compensation.

Party vote could see Abbott ousted as PM

Australia’s PM, Tony Abbott, faces a challenge from within his own party, with a vote set for early next week that could see him ousted. His popularity has dipped following a dire election result in Queensland for his coalition, and his bizarre decision to knight Prince Philip.

Peer says polling is being ‘manipulated’

The Labour peer Lord Foulkes claims polling companies are being “corrupted” by money from newspapers intent on affecting the general election result. He told Huffington Post firms were “being manipulated” and called for polls to be banned in the weeks running up to 7 May.

GCHQ phone and net monitoring ‘is illegal’

Secret monitoring of internet use and phone records by GCHQ was yesterday ruled illegal. The Investigatory Powers Tribunal watchdog found the practices had breached human rights law. The challenge was brought by civil campaigners Amnesty, Liberty and Privacy International.

Hunt apologises for ‘nun’ comments

The shadow Education Secretary, Tristram Hunt, said he meant “no offence” after being accused of making “arrogant” comments about the teaching ability of nuns on BBC’s Question Time. He clashed with Cristina Odone (pictured) after she praised nuns who had taught her.

44,000 teachers write to Morgan

Three months after asking teachers if they had any issue with their workloads, the Education Secretary’s department has received 44,000 responses complaining of overly long working hours. Some 56 per cent of responses said data management took up the most time.

Putin begins Ukraine peace talks

The German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Francois Hollande met Russia’s Vladimir Putin yesterday, a day after talks with the Ukrainian leader Petro Poroshenko, in an attempt to reach an agreement over fighting in Ukraine.

Doctor attacked girls at Stoke Mandeville

A former children’s doctor was convicted at Reading Crown Court of sexually assaulting young girls at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, in the 1970s and 80s, the same time Jimmy Savile was abusing patients. Michael Salmon, 80, was also convicted of raping a 16-year-old girl at his home.

Professor killed in murder-suicide

A University of South Carolina professor and a woman were the only people in an office when they were killed in a murder-suicide. Richland County Coroner identified one as  45-year-old Professor Raja Fayad, who got his medical degree in Syria and came to the school in 2008.

Watchdog slams ‘appalling’ inquiries

Patients who complain about care are being let down by “appalling” NHS investigations, a highly critical review has found. More than a third of investigations into deaths or avoidable harm at hospitals were found to be “inadequate”, according to an investigation by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO).

Safest seats held by men who aren’t local

The safest seats in Parliament are more likely to be held by men and people who come from outside the area. A study by think-tank Demos found that of 97 MPs with a majority above 15,000, only 15 per cent were women and 39 had close connections with the area previously.

These cashews taste of ear wax

A man ate his own hearing aid, believing it to be a cashew nut, the College of Optometrists revealed yesterday as it urged more people to have eye tests. It also told of a commercial jet pilot who sought help after he taxied the wrong way down an airport runway.

Hidden gun found in charity shop book

A charity shop employee in Maine got more than he bargained for when he opened a donated book and found a gun. The small derringer-style pistol was hidden in a secret compartment carved from the pages of a hardback  book, police said.

Romanians sorry for invitations mistake

Romania’s foreign ministry has apologised after its embassy in Paris sent out invitations for a reception and accidentally attached a spreadsheet with unflattering descriptions of some of the guests. Some guests were described as “undesirable” and one as “ghastly”.

‘Civil war’ skull more than 700 years old

Experts say a skull nearly auctioned off as that of a Civil War soldier killed at Gettysburg is actually more than 700 years old. The National Parks Service said yesterday that forensic anthropologists had discovered that the skull is from the late 1200s and belonged to a Native American man.

Great Train Robber’s watch on the block

A wristwatch and signet ring worn by Ronnie Biggs during the Great Train Robbery are to be offered for sale at auction. The auctioneer JP Humbert said the items belonging to Biggs would go under the hammer on 18 February. Other items on sale include original £1 and 10 shilling notes stolen in the robbery.