The News Matrix: Saturday January 2015


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The Independent Online

Sharks and seals at risk of extinction

Ocean species face a threat of extinction nine times higher than previously thought, new research shows. A study found up to a quarter of the planet’s well-known marine species, from the Mediterranean monk seal to the Pondicherry shark, are in danger.

New commando  unit to be set up

A specialist Army force modelled on the group of commandos who carried out missions behind enemy lines in Burma in the Second World War is to be set up. General Sir Nick Carter, Chief of the General Staff, says such a force is essential for today’s battlefields.

Peace talks collapse amid violence

Heavy fighting broke out in Ukraine yesterday as rebels clashed with forces loyal to Kiev. Peace talks that were due to go ahead in Belarus ended before they began as rebel delegates arrived in Minsk and then immediately said they leaving. Nineteen people were killed.

Vicar becomes poet for rugby league side

A Hull vicar has been named the first “poet laureate” of the city’s Super League rugby club to mark  150 years since it was founded.  Phil Lamb beat off competition  from four other wordsmiths following a reading at the Hull Central Library.

Mugabe to lead African Union

The new head of the African Union is Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe, accused by some of widespread human rights abuses. He was applauded by fellow African leaders as he spoke about preventing foreigners from taking Africa’s mineral wealth.

Strauss-Kahn accused of pimping

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, once head of the International Monetary Fund and tipped as a French president, is due in court on Monday on charges of being a pimp. DSK admits he attended sex parties in three countries but denies knowing women there were prostitutes.

Europe’s search for top of the trees

Nature lovers are being urged to forget Eurovision and a possible EU referendum and vote in the European Tree of the Year poll, opening on Sunday. England’s entry is the Major Oak in Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire, thought to be up to 1,000 years old.

Google ‘too vague’ on its privacy policy

Google has agreed to rewrite its privacy policy after pressure from the UK Information Commissioner’s Office. It will make it easier for users to find out how their data is collected and used. The regulator found Google “too vague when describing how it uses personal data”.

Search for comet probe put on hold

European Space Agency controllers have called off the search for Philae, the probe that landed on a comet in November. Scientists hope there will be enough sunlight by May or June to allow the lander to wake up,  re-establish a communication link, and send back a “hello” signal.

Athens and Berlin on collision course

Greece and Germany were on a collision course yesterday over Athens’ determination to end the policies of austerity. The Syriza administration insisted its debts to eurozone countries must be reduced while Berlin described the idea as “divorced from reality”.

Burglars jailed after attack on academic

Four burglars have been jailed for a raid in which university professor Paul Kohler, 55, was savagely beaten. Pawel Honc and Mariusz Tomaszewski were sentenced to 19 years at Kingston Crown Court yesterday while Oskar Pawlowicz and Dawid Tychon were both sentenced to 13 years.

Rap mogul arrested over death of friend

Hip-hop legend Suge Knight has been arrested on suspicion of murder after one of his friends was hit by a car and killed in Los Angeles. Mr Knight’s lawyer said he had accidentally run over Terry Carter while fleeing from people attacking him in a car park.

Brush with danger  in fox trap surprise

A South Dakota man who went to check a trap for a fox got a surprise when he discovered it had caught a mountain lion instead. Video footage saw him explaining that the unexpected occupant of the trap – designed to let the animal go – was “not happy”. He set the lion free.

New leaf? Man pays £1,500 library fine

A former pupil has returned a school book 65 years after borrowing it – and has paid a £1,500 “fine”. Sir Jay Tidmarsh, 82, found the copy of Ashenden by W Somerset Maugham as he cleared out his shelves. The former businessman returned it to Taunton School with a donation.

Boy’s pet lizard grows off the scale 

A Lithuanian student who bought what he thought was a small, harmless lizard, discovered his error after the animal grew into a 63cm caiman. The authorities intervened after the student tried to sell it online and the reptile, named Croc, is now at Kaunas Zoo.

Disney reveals first Latina princess

Disney has unveiled its first ever Latina princess. Princess Elena of Avalor will star in a new series for Disney Junior. The company described her as “bold, caring, funny and clever”. In 2009 the company made history with a black princess, Tania, in The Princess and the Frog.

Shakira gives birth to baby boy Sasha

Colombian pop singer Shakira has given birth to a boy, Sasha Pique Mebarak. Sasha, whose name Shakira said means “defender of mankind” and “warrior”, is her second child with her partner of four years, Spanish football star Gerard Pique. Mother and baby are well.