The News Matrix: Thursday 17 February 2011

Gaddafi feels heat as Arab protests spread

Muammar Gaddafi, Libya’s dictator for 42 years, yesterday became the latest Arab leader to feel the heat of popular protests when 100 rallied against his rule in Benghazi. Protesters armed with petrol bombs set fire to vehicles. MORE

Expect lower growth and higher inflation

The economy faces a “difficult period” of higher inflation and lower growth than previously expected, the Governor of the Bank of England warned yesterday. The latest figures have shown an unexpected lengthening in the dole queues. MORE

Pope’s visit cost UK taxpayers £7m

The Pope’s state visit to the UK last year cost the taxpayer at least £7m before security costs were taken into account, the Foreign Office has disclosed. It included an £18,735 dinner with the Foreign Secretary and £22,530 on helicopter flights.

Activists blockade whaling vessels

Anti-whaling protesters have forced Japan to suspend its annual hunt for the mammal by obstructing hunting ships in the Southern Ocean. Japanese authorities said that Sea Shepherd activists had acting dangerously, but suggested the entire project could now be scrapped. MORE

Proof of floods and global warming link

The floods of autumn 2000, which left 10,000 homes under water, were most likely the result of global warming. It is the first time scientists have been able to plot with any confidence the a link between extreme weather and man-made greenhouse gases. MORE

Madoff says bankers must have known

Bernie Madoff, who is serving a 150-year sentence after his Ponzi scheme was exposed, has blamed the banks for the deception in his first interview since being convicted. MORE

Sex offenders to stay on register for 15 years

Paedophiles and rapists will only be able to apply to have their names removed from the sex offenders’ register 15 years after release from prison. The Home Secretary said the Government was obliged to act on a Supreme Court ruling.

Labour will review its exam policies

Labour is poised to reverse one of the most controversial decisions taken by Tony Blair on its schools policies. Andy Burnham, the party’s education spokesman, is planning to “look again” at proposals to replace GCSEs and A-levels with a diploma. MORE

Phone app that finds you a condom

Need a condom? There’s an app for that. The New York City Health Department has unveiled a smartphone application that will help users locate the nearest place in the immediate area giving out free condoms.

Warhol painting sells for £10.8m

An Andy Warhol self-portrait was sold for £10.8m last night at an auction in London. The red-andwhite silkscreen picture had been in a private collection for 30 years, before being sold at Christie’s for double its pre-sale estimate.

Canada first for visit by William and Kate

Prince William and Kate Middleton will visit Canada on their first official overseas trip as man and wife, it was announced yesterday. The couple will spend nine days there at the end of June, Clarence House announced. It is thought the couple will celebrate Canada Day in Ottawa on 1 July.

‘Supergran’ vigilante to auction handbag

A “supergran” has said she will auction the handbag she used to fight off a gang of armed robbers. Retired market trader Ann Timson, 71, was hailed as the “handbag heroine” after taking on the six-strong mob who were trying to smash a jewellers’ windows in Northampton.