The News Matrix: Thursday 18 August 2011

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The Independent Online

Shell pipe leak may be four times worse

The oil being spewed out in Shell’s North Sea spill could amount to four times what has so far leaked, it emerged yesterday. Some 218 tonnes have already escaped in the North Sea’s worst spill for more than a decade, but another 660 tonnes are thought to remain. MORE

Huhne faces further inquiries into charge

The Crown Prosecution Service has asked police to inquire further into allegations that Liberal Democrat Cabinet minister Chris Huhne tried to dodge a speeding penalty by persuading his ex-wife to accept it on his behalf. The energy secretary has denied the allegations.

Cycling gold winner in hit-and-run crash

Gold medal-winning Paralympic cyclist Simon Richardson, 44, has suffered serious injuries after being knocked of his bike in a hit-and-run crash with a van in Wales. A 59-year-old man was later arrested by police.

Malaria rears its head again

The sudden resurgence of malaria in part of West Africa has raised alarms about the global strategy to eliminate the disease. Growing resistance to a insecticide, combined with falling immunity, seems to have triggered a rebound in malaria after transmission had been reduced. MORE

Chinese demand drives poaching

Elephant poaching in one of the world’s most famous wildlife reserves has reached a new high as China’s demand for ivory grows. At Kenya’s Samburu National Reserve, the number of elephants killed in the past two and half years has exceeded the total for the previous 11. MORE

Rebels cut off last oil supply to Gaddafi

Libyan rebels said they had severed the Gaddafi regime from its last remaining oil refinery and cut off the pipeline to Tripoli. Seizing the refinery at Zawiyah would be a major symbolic victory for the rebels. The assault was accompanied by further attacks to the south and west aimed at cutting off the capital’s last connections to the outside world. MORE

Tobacco firms fume at health warnings

Tobacco companies want a US judge to halt cigarette labels that include the sewn-up corpse of a smoker and pictures of diseased lungs, saying they unfairly urge adults to shun their legal products. The tobacco firms say the warnings violate their rights to free speech. MORE

Man ‘plotted attack on anti-Pope protest’

Spanish police have arrested a chemistry student suspected of planning a gas attack against protesters opposed to a visit by Pope Benedict XVI. The pontiff is due to arrive in Madrid today to celebrate World Youth Day. Police said the suspect is a 24-year-old Mexican. MORE

‘Brilliant’ student drowns in river

An Oxford University student described as a “brilliant” scholar by his friends drowned last Wednesday after he slipped into a fast-flowing river in rural France. Kojo Minta, 24, was swept away in the Gave d’Oloron river in Aquitaine. Doctors were unable to resuscitate him.

Beijing ‘strikes hard’ against violence

Chinese security forces have launched a two-month “strike hard” crackdown against violence, terrorism and radical Islam after renewed ethnic violence in the restive western region of Xinjiang. It includes patrols, identity checks and searches. MORE

Hunger striker in corruption protest

India’s Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, has accused a prominent anticorruption activist of trying to circumvent democracy. Hundreds of protesters gathered yesterday at the jail where Anna Hazare is on hunger strike in support of a reform bill.

Paradise island bank robbed for first time

Locals are in shock after the first ever bank robbery on the idyllic coral atoll of Aitutaki in the South Pacific. Police said a substantial sum was taken from the tiny branch of the Bank of the Cook Islands, but refused to confirm reports it was secured by only a single padlock. MORE

Otters back in every English county

Otters have now returned to every English county after going extinct across most of England as a result of pesticides in the 1950s and 1960s, the Environment Agency has announced. Their slow recolonisation has been completed with their reappearance in Kent. MORE

Village Person files claim for song rights

A bitter legal battle has broken out over who owns the rights to the iconic Seventies disco song “YMCA”. Victor Willis, a founding member of the group, who performed as a policeman and a sailor, has filed a claim to regain rights to the song and others produced by the group. MORE

Actor causes wee delay to take-off

A flight between Paris and Dublin was delayed for nearly two hours on Tuesday evening after the actor Gérard Depardieu urinated in the passenger aisle before take-off, according to a fellow passenger.

Drink-driver scoots straight into trouble

An Australian man had his driving licence suspended for 10 months after he was caught drink-driving on a scooter converted from a beer cooler box. Chris Petrie, 23, bought the scooter seat over the internet. He had a couple of bottles before taking it on a test drive – and was caught.

Candles shine new light on diamonds

Candle flames contain millions of tiny diamond particles, research has discovered. Dr Wuzong Zhou, of the University of St Andrews in Fife, revealed that around 1.5 million diamond nanoparticles are created in a candle flame every second, but are burned away in the process.

Pollution threat to bottlenose dolphins

Holidaymakers have been warned not to swim with dolphins off the coast of Cornwall because they may be carrying potentially harmful bacteria. Scientists said the bottlenose dolphin population could die out because of the bacteria which they believe is linked to chemical pollution.

Sexy sheep drive plan causes a ruckus

A plan to promote New Zealand during next month’s Rugby World Cup by getting bikini-clad models on motorbikes to drive 1,000 sheep through Auckland has been scrapped after complaints that it would have portrayed the city as a “sheep-shearing village on steroids”.

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