The News Matrix: Thursday 12 February 2015


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The Independent Online

Essex Police left children vulnerable

A child abuse team within Essex Police has been split up after an investigation found vulnerable children had been left at the mercy of child abusers. The Chief Constable apologised for problems within some 30 inquiries that involved nearly 60 victims.

Drought sparks water hoarding

Brazilians are hoarding water and drilling homemade wells in preparation for rationing following a drought. Taps could be left dry for up to five days a week. In São Paulo – the country’s largest city – the main reservoir is at just six per cent of capacity, with the peak of the rainy season now past.

Showdown on Greek bailout begins

The showdown between the anti-austerity Greek government and its creditors in the EU got off to a combative start last night as Greece’s finance minister arrived in Brussels to a chorus of demands that the country stick to its existing bailout programme.

Judges believe their pay is out of order

Government cuts to the legal system have caused hundreds of judges to consider taking early retirement because they believe they are not paid enough. A survey has found that nearly two-thirds of 1,900 judges do not think they earn a “reasonable” salary for their work.

DSK gets steamed up during ‘pimping’ trial

Dominique Strauss-Kahn admitted at the Lille “pimping” trial yesterday that he had an appetite for “rough” sex, but the former IMF chief complained that his sexual activities should not be on trial.

NHS ‘guardians’ to help whistleblowers

All hospitals in England will be appointed a “guardian” to advise whistleblowers who speak out about safety fears in the NHS. The move comes in the wake of a report that revealed staff were being bullied, intimidated or ignored after raising concerns. The new measures will be fast-tracked into law, the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said yesterday.

Islamist group head handed 12-year term

A court has jailed the head of “Sharia4Belgium” for 12 years, ruling that his Islamist group was a terrorist organisation that brainwashed men into joining militants in the Middle East. The country is on high alert after a plot to kill police was uncovered last month.

Contamination ‘on  suspects’ aircraft’

Radioactive contamination was detected on an aircraft used by the suspected murderers of poisoned spy Alexander Litvinenko to fly into and out of London despite reassurances by Russian authorities that no radiation had been found, the inquiry into his death was told.

Streaming counted in album chart

The official album chart will see online streaming from services such as Spotify and Deezer included for the first time from next month. Data from services including Spotify, Napster and Google Play will be counted in the chart issued on  1 March. The singles chart started accepting streaming data in July.

King Felipe VI takes a pay cut

Felipe VI has imposed a hefty pay cut on himself which will result in him earning 20 per cent less than his father, Juan Carlos, who abdicated last June. According to the royal household’s first budget since Felipe, 47, became king, the new monarch will receive a gross yearly salary of €234,204 (£173,000).

Girl Guides to teach gender equality

The Girl Guides has launched a badge for global gender equality. The Breaking Barriers badge aims to teach Guides about the limitations women and girls face around the world and to help them explore issues such as forced marriage. The badge will be taught in an “age-appropriate manner”, said the Guides.

Artist Richter just got £30.4m richer...

An abstract work by the German artist Gerhard Richter has sold for £30.4m – a record for a living artist in Europe. Measuring 3m by 2.5m, Sotheby’s auctioneers in London described Abstraktes Bild as “one of the largest abstract paintings by the artist”. The oil-on-canvas far surpassed its £14m to £20m estimate.

Toucan to be fitted with false beak

A toucan in Costa Rica which lost the upper part of its beak after being attacked could be given a prosthetic replacement, the BBC reported. Four Costa Rican companies are said to have volunteered to create one for the injured bird, called Grecia. In the US, prosthetic beaks have been created for an eagle and a penguin.