The News Matrix: Thursday 17 November 2011


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The Independent Online


Bin Laden 'fond' of 9/11 hijackers

Ayman al-Zawahiri, the new head of al-Qa'ida, has released a video in which he describes Osama bin Laden as a sensitive man, who remained close to his family. In the recording, the Egyptian says bin Laden fondly remembered the 19 men who carried out the 9/11 attacks. MORE

Library closure plans ruled unlawful

Giving hope to communities fighting for their local libraries to stay open, a High Court judge has ruled proposed library closures in Somerset and Gloucestershire unlawful. Judge Martin McKenna said the 21 planned closures didn't comply with "public sector equality duties". MORE

Man jailed for trying to incite Welsh riots

A man who sought to bring violent disorder to Wales during the August riots has been jailed for four years. Jamie Counsel, 25, created a Facebook page titled Bring the Riots to Cardiff and later changed the city to Swansea. But his actions failed to incite any disturbances.

Army deserters attack air force base

Violence intensified yesterday as a group of army deserters armed with grenade launchers and automatic rifles claimed to have attacked an air force intelligence base near Damascus. And a senior Arab diplomat in London called for "European leadership" to put pressure on Syria. MORE

Parliament stormed as PM told to resign

Thousands of Kuwaitis stormed parliament last night calling for the resignation of the Prime Minister, Sheikh Nasser Mohammad al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, a senior member of the ruling family. At least five were injured.

Row delays Chilcot findings publication

The findings of the Iraq Inquiry will not be published for at least another six months after arguments between Sir John Chilcot's panel and the Government over top-secret documents. Sir John has long complained of a lack of co-operation and said classified Whitehall papers were still being withheld. The team had been expected to publish their initial conclusions by the end of the year. MORE

Ex-border chief tells of lax port checks

Theresa May wasn't informed fingerprint checks were being eased at ports, the former head of Britain's border force has admitted. Brodie Clark told BBC Radio 4 that the checks had been waived since early 2010 on occasions when large numbers of immigrants threatened public safety. MORE

IVF use on the rise among single women

More single women are turning to IVF to start a family, figures published by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority suggest. The number of cycles using donated sperm rose by 21.5 per cent in 2010. The overall provision of IVF treatments grew by 5.9 per cent.

Occupational hazard for Wall St protesters

The Occupy Wall Street protest had less than two dozen participants overnight after tents and sleeping bags were banned from the park that had been its home. The contingent was reduced to its smallest since the movement started two months ago after a police raid on Tuesday.

Rescue services' mine death failings

There were several "defects" in the way a woman was rescued from a mine shaft, an inquiry has found. Allison Hume, 44, from East Ayrshire, fell down a disused shaft in 2008 and was trapped. She later died in a Kilmarnock hospital.

Medical checks ordered for Mladic

Judges ordered a medical check-up for Ratko Mladic after he said he was too ill to attend a hearing of the UN War Crimes Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia last week. The former Bosnian-Serb military chief has complained of several health problems.

US love quest ends in homelessness

When volunteers working for a homeless charity did their usual rounds at a railway station last week, they found Cary Dolego, 53, an American who last year stood in elections for Governor of Arizona. He had travelled to Ukraine to meet the love of his life. MORE

Gastro-pub sponges off its customers

Diners will be familiar with corkage fees when you bring your own wine, but some restaurants are now charging "cakeage" for customers who want to bring their own cake. A table at the Bolingbroke gastro-pub in south London was subject to an extra charge of £2 per person. MORE

One in the i for Apple with a tuneful Google

Google announced its intention to challenge iTunes and become a major player in the music industry last night, with a lavish but surreal event to launch an online record shop. Google Music will sell and store songs online for between $1 and $1.29 (62p and 82p) each. MORE

Bullet smashes into White House

A bullet smashed through a window of the White House before being stopped by protective glass, the Secret Service revealed yesterday. Oscar Ortega was arrested in relation to the incident last night. MORE

Bolshoi stars quit to join banana oligarch

Two star performers of Moscow's Bolshoi ballet company announced they were leaving, just as the theatre's historic new stage reopened. They are joining St Petersburg's Mikhailovsky Theatre run by "banana oligarch" Vladimir Kekhman. MORE

Hewer to be new host of 'Countdown'

Nick Hewer, one of Lord Sugar's advisers on The Apprentice, is to replace Jeff Stelling as the new host of Countdown. He will join maths whizz Rachel Riley and Susie Dent on Channel 4's longest-running show. His first episode will air in January.

Von Hagens to add to his body of work

Gunther von Hagens will bring his latest "plastinated" creatures to the Natural History Museum next year. Exhibits in "Body Worlds of Animals" include the corpses of elephants, gorillas and giraffes. The scientist has claimed that he wants his body to be displayed in future shows. MORE

US hip-hop diplomats arrested on tour

A US attempt to smooth relations with Pakistan using hip-hop diplomacy in the form of touring rappers the F.E.W. Collective hit a snag yesterday when the Pakistani military briefly detained group members for taking pictures of sensitive sites. MORE