The News Matrix: Thursday 21 April 2011

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The Independent Online

France and Italy send advisers to Benghazi

France and Italy have joined the UK in deploying military advisers to the Libyan rebel capital Benghazi. Like Britain a day earlier, the countries stressed the teams would not have a combat role, but would be sent to advise rebel forces. MORE

Sexual attacks and burglaries on the rise

The number of serious sex attacks and burglaries rose last year, despite a fall in overall crime levels. There were some 2,000 more serious sex offences committed in 2010 than during the previous year and 90,000 more burglaries.

Schools minister derided by teachers

Teachers jeered the Schools minister yesterday as he discussed government policies. Nick Gibb was harangued at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers’ annual conference over threats to teachers’ pensions, cuts in education funding and tuition fees. MORE

New ‘Absolutely Fabulous’ series

Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders will return with a three-episode run for a new series of Absolutely Fabulous, the BBC has confirmed.

Putin preparing a bid for presidency

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin used his state-of-the-nation address to parliament to unveil voter-friendly measures, including an attempt to increase the lifespan of Russians. He is expected to challenge for the presidency next year. MORE

‘Happy Days’ cast sues over royalties

The cast of the sitcom Happy Days, from the 1970s and 1980s, have not been full of joy lately, especially over the prickly issue of royalties for DVD, board game and other merchandise sales. Now the actors are suing CBS over $10m (£6m). MORE

UK set for scorching Easter holiday time

Temperatures are set to peak at 26C in the south today and, apart from an odd shower, it should bewarm and sunny into the weekend. Parts of Scotland and the North-east could be misty with rain and other areas may catch a shower. MORE

Nuclear exclusion zone to be enforced

Authorities in Japan are set to declare the 20km exclusion zone around the nuclear plant at Fukushima a no-go area after residents started to return. People have been seen checking houses, while farmers have returned to tend to crops. MORE

Four are killed in reservoir car crash

Four people died yesterday after a car carrying five people collided with another vehicle and plunged into a reservoir near Clywedog in Llanidloes, mid-Wales. The fifth person, the driver, was last night receiving medical attention. A man was arrested at the scene on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.

WikiLeaks soldier in prison transfer

Bradley Manning, the US soldier accused of leaking information to WikiLeaks, has been moved to a mainstream military prison. He had been in near-solitary confinement at a military base in Virginia, which was criticised widely. MORE

Irish Catholic leader to attend nuptials

The head of the Catholic Church in Ireland is to attend the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Cardinal Sean Brady, Catholic Primate of All Ireland, will take the unprecedented step of accepting an invitation to see the nuptials in London’s Westminster Abbey.

‘Easter’ flower numbers fall by 85%

A wild flower which blooms around Easter has vanished from 85 per cent of the sites where it was once found, plant experts said. The number of sites across the country where bright purple blooms of the Pasqueflower, or Easter flower, is found has fallen from 127 to 19.

Tesco buys into film-streaming site

Supermarket giant Tesco moved into yet another new market yesterday with a deal for majority control of the online movie-streaming service Blinkbox. The UK’s biggest supermarket will take on the likes of iTunes and Amazon with its 80 per cent share in Blinkbox. MORE

Python owner faces charges after attack

A US woman faces a charge of harbouring a vicious animal after her pet python bit into her neck and refused let go. Chrystal Wilson of Lyons, Kansas, took the eight-foot albino out of its cage to feed it when it attacked her. Luckily, police were able to remove the reptile.

Actor Bridges to release album

Jeff Bridges will become the latest Hollywood star to launch a recording career when he releases a country music album this summer. The actor, who won an Oscar for his portrayal of a grizzled country music star in the film Crazy Heart, will collaborate with T-Bone Burnett.