The News Matrix: Thursday 10 May 2012


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The Independent Online

Gove 'backs more grammar schools'

The Education Secretary appeared to back an increase in the number of grammar schools at a reception. In a carefully phrased speech, Michael Gove said: "Grammar schools are great ... I believe all good schools should be allowed to expand." His office denied he had made the pledge. MORE

Fresh elections loom as coalition bid fails

The radical leader of the Greek left, Alexis Tsipras, yesterday failed in his attempt to form an anti-bailout coalition. A final effort to agree a unity government from pro-European parties starts today with little likelihood of success, leaving Greeks to face the prospect of another election. MORE

Spectator charge is 'a slap on the wrist'

Spectator magazine faces a maximum fine of £5,000 over an article by Rod Liddle that jeopardised the Stephen Lawrence murder trial. But Lawrence's father, Neville, has said the magazine's publisher should face a charge of contempt of court, with a maximum two years' jail. MORE

£3.6m bonuses despite airport chaos

Managers at the UK Border Agency have been awarded bonuses of up to £10,000 despite chaotic scenes at immigration queues at London's Heathrow Airport. The total £3.6m bonus package has been condemned as a reward for failure as a new report blames the queues, which left non-EU nationals waiting for three hours for passport checks, on poor management. MORE

Calls for inquiry after intelligence leak

As fresh details emerged of the joint US-Saudi intelligence coup that foiled an al-Qa'ida bomb plot, US politicians called for a full inquiry into how the news became public, amid fears that the leak could jeopardise other attempts to strike against the terrorist organisation. MORE

Obama: Same-sex marriage should be legal

President Barack Obama declared unequivocal support for gay marriage yesterday, becoming the first US president to endorse the idea.

"I've just concluded that... it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married," he told ABC News. He admitted he had "hesitated" in the past, aware that the word "marriage" had strong religious connotations.

Mr Obama said in the interview that his young daughters, Malia and Sasha, have friends whose parents are same-sex couples. MORE

Travolta denies sex assault claims

A second unidentified masseur has joined a $2m lawsuit against John Travolta, which claims that the Saturday Night Fever star sexually assaulted the men during private massages. Travolta's spokesman has called the lawsuit "complete fiction and fabrication".

Train hits escaped herd of cows

A passenger train travelling between Bournemouth and Manchester with 200 people aboard crashed into an escaped herd of cows. The 2.45pm CrossCountry Trains service hit the animals near Tackley, north of Oxford. The train remained on the rails while passengers waited to be rescued. There were no injuries.

Punk rocker Gabel set for sex change

Tom Gabel, the married lead singer of Florida punk rock band Against Me!, is set to become a woman. Taking the name Laura Jane Grace, the 31-year-old singer told Rolling Stone magazine she suffered gender dysphoria for years and as a child felt disconnected from her body. She will stay with her wife, who accepts her decision. MORE

Police's $7m assets from rhino poachers

Police have seized almost $7m worth of assets from a game farmer and two vets who they accuse of taking part in South Africa's lucrative rhino poaching trade. Officials believe the farm owner was at the head of a poaching ring, purchasing the rhinos legally then slaughtering them and selling their horns.

C4 gives Gervais's Derek a series

Channel 4 has commissioned a full series of Ricky Gervais's comedy-drama series Derek. A one-off special, which aired last month, drew criticism for its portrait of people with a disability, but attracted an audience of more than three million. The new episodes are due to screen early next year.

Des O'Connor to play the Wizard

Des O'Connor will take the role of the Wizard of Oz in a production of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical at the London Palladium this month. He will appear alongside Sophie Evans, the runner-up in the BBC show Over the Rainbow which followed Lloyd Webber's search for talent to play the part of Dorothy and Toto.