The News Matrix: Thursday 2 April 2015


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The Independent Online

UK grants asylum to Russian activist

Britain has granted asylum to Vladimir Ashurkov, a key ally of Russia’s leading opposition activist. The former banker is the director of the anti-corruption fund led by Alexei Navalny, a prominent critic of Vladimir Putin. Mr Ashurkov’s partner is also seeking asylum.

Firm fined £80,000 for nuisance calls

A personal injury claims company has been fined £80,000 by the privacy watchdog for making nuisance calls – in one case phoning a family 470 times. The Information Commissioner’s Office and the Telephone Preference Service registered 801 concerns about Direct Assist between 2013 and July 2014.

Oil heir found dead in Hollywood home

Andrew Getty, the grandson of J Paul Getty and one of the heirs to  the American family’s oil fortune, was found dead in a bathroom at  his home in Hollywood Hills. Police said the 47-year-old suffered a blunt-force trauma, which appeared to have occurred accidentally, perhaps in a fall.

Troops withdrawn from notorious slum

The Brazilian army began to pull out of one of Rio de Janeiro’s most violent slums yesterday, with armed police assuming responsibility for security in the area. The transition took place in two of the 16 favelas, or shanty towns, that make up the vast Mare complex near Rio’s international airport.

New device can put a spring in your step

The first purely mechanical “exoskeleton” has been invented by scientists who claim the creation boosts the performance of the calf muscles and the Achilles tendon. The spring-loaded brace, worn on the lower half of the leg, can improve walking efficiency by about 7 per cent, tests have shown.

Government forces’ victory over Isis

Iraqi forces have recaptured most of the city of Tikrit from Isis militants after a month-long siege. But at the very moment that there was jubilation in Baghdad over the long-awaited seizure of Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s home town, Isis made a significant advance close to the centre of Damascus in Syria.

Teacher ‘sent bomb threat on pupil email’

A teaching assistant stands accused of using a pupil’s email account to send a bomb threat. Zoe Gregory, 26, was arrested after she allegedly wrote an email warning of a bomb at Ormiston Victory Academy in Costessey, Norfolk. Police said she had been charged with communicating false information.

Diplomat’s son dies ‘in botched drug deal’

A Canadian diplomat’s ex-husband said one of their sons had been killed and another arrested in a botched drug deal. Germano Wabafiyebazu said Jean, 17, was killed when he went to a house in Miami to buy marijuana. Police arrested Marc, 15. Their mother is Roxanne Dubé, Ottawa’s consul-general in Miami.

Priest defrocked for sending nude selfie

A conservative Brazilian priest has been suspended for sending a nude selfie to his apparent mistress on his mobile phone. Father Alfredo Rosa Borges denied having an intimate relationship with the woman who posted the pictures, but has admitted sending her suggestive texts.

Meeting solves an identity mystery

Two men who look identical have finally met after months of being mistaken for each other by strangers. John Jemison, 74, and Neil Richardson, 69, crossed paths when boarding a coach in Essex. The pair both studied at the same college, entered the same profession and share the same hobbies.

The more you sweat, the better you smell

Scientists claim to have developed a perfume that smells better the more the wearer sweats. Researchers from Queen’s University, Belfast, have created a liquid that releases more of its fragrance when it comes into contact with moisture. The perfume was designed by Queen’s Ionic  Liquid Laboratories.

Mice use ‘birdsong’ to find their mates

Male mice sing like birds to serenade prospective mates, research has shown. Their “surprisingly complex” songs cannot be heard with the human ear, but share similarities with the tweets of songbirds and change to suit different social situations, according to scientists at the Pasteur Institute in Paris.