The News Matrix: Thursday 12 June 2014


New passport delays could be eased soon

The number of passport office staff has been slashed by 15 per cent in the last four years. David Cameron admitted yesterday up to 30,000 people have suffered long waits for their passports to be processed. Staffing has been cut from 4,017 in 2009-10 to 3,134 two years later. Mr Cameron promised the backlog would be cleared after temporary staff were employed. MORE

Cantor loses in primary upset

Eric Cantor, the second-most powerful man in the House of Representatives, was dethroned in his native Virginia by a little-known, Tea Party-backed Republican primary challenger who rolled to victory on a wave of public anger over calls for looser immigration laws. MORE

Flu experiment  is ‘foolhardy’ 

Scientists have recreated the virus responsible for the worst flu pandemic in history as part of a controversial experiment to demonstrate how easily the deadly flu strain could re-emerge today. Critics have denounced the research as foolhardy. MORE

‘Hero’ doctor on trial for helping seven die

The anguished debate over euthanasia took another turn with the trial of a doctor accused of killing seven patients to end their suffering. Dr Nicolas Bonnemaison has been struck from France’s national register of doctors, although to many he is a hero. MORE

Jury considers hacking verdict

The jury has retired to consider its verdicts in the trial of ex-News of the World bosses accused of plotting to hack phones in pursuit of stories. The former editors Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson and retired managing editor Stuart Kuttner are accused of being part of the conspiracy.

Greenpeace ‘a risk to economic security’

Greenpeace is a “threat to national economic security” according to a leaked Indian intelligence report, prepared for the country’s new Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. Environment activists said the report was an attempt to stifle debate on green issues. MORE

Jolie attends summit to end rape in war

The actress Angelina Jolie attended the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict in London yesterday with Foreign Secretary William Hague. They are launching an international protocol.

Strippers fleece wealthy punters

A group of New York strippers scammed wealthy men by spiking their drinks with illegal drugs, then driving them to strip clubs that ran up tens of thousands of dollars on their credit cards while they were too dazed to stop it, according to police.

Mayor’s dirty protest against neighbour

The Mayor of San Marino, a wealthy suburb of Los Angeles,  has been forced to apologise after he was caught on film throwing a bag of dog faeces on to a neighbour’s lawn. Dennis Kneier said : “Rather than leaving it, I should have walked on by or disposed  of it properly.”

Rik’s World Cup  song is number one

A campaign has been launched to pay tribute to Rik Mayall, whose death was announced on Monday, by sending a World Cup song by him to number one. He recorded a track called Noble England in the run-up to the last World Cup in South Africa in 2010. Yesterday it was number 14 on iTunes and number one on Amazon.

Man who claimed  to be 123 is dead

An indigenous man in Bolivia whose reported age would have made him the oldest person ever known, has died. Carmelo Flores, an Aymara Indian, claimed to be 123. He carried identity documents based on a baptism certificate showing his birthday as 16 July, 1890. Bolivia only began issuing birth certificates in 1940.

Two caring men in world’s longest hug

Two men from Manchester have broken the world record for the longest hug between two people. Workmates Jon Bland and Olly Wigglesworth spent 27 hours hugging at Manchester Piccadilly Railway Station in support of the national Carers Week. They beat the previous record of 26 hours, 26 seconds.

Stunning butterfly species invades UK

A spectacular butterfly from the continent could be attempting to colonise the UK, experts said after a number emerged on the south coast. A dozen adult continental swallowtail butterflies have been seen across Sussex in the past few weeks after wintering in the UK, wildlife charity Butterfly Conservation said.