The News Matrix: Thursday 29 September 2011

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Miliband to bring back leading Blairite

One of Tony Blair’s closest allies, former Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer of Thoroton, is to be brought back into the Shadow Cabinet by Ed Miliband. The Labour leader will also offer a place to Alan Johnson, who resigned as shadow Chancellor in January for personal reasons. MORE

Hijacker arrested after 41 years on run

A convicted killer who escaped an American prison in 1970 then hijacked a US airliner and fled to Algeria with a $1m ransom two years later has been captured in Portugal. The Portuguese authorities arrested George Wright at the request of the US government. MORE

Promoter casts doubt over Jackson doctor

The involuntary manslaughter trial of Michael Jackson’s former doctor Conrad Murray entered a second day yesterday with an attorney for the promoter of Jackson’s final concerts saying Dr Murray asked for life-saving equipment for the London concerts days before the star’s death. MORE

Briton attacked by great white shark

A Briton was mauled by a shark while swimming in South Africa yesterday. The 42-year-old man is fighting for his life after the attack by a great white at Fish Hoek beach in Cape Town. He ignored warnings not to go swimming.

BMW dynasty owns upto Nazi-era links

The dynasty that owns BMW has ended decades of silence about its role in the Nazi era, admitting it used tens of thousands of slave labourers at its factories during Hitler’s Third Reich. The revelations are contained in a 1,200-page study commissioned by the Quandt family in 2007. MORE

Army deserters fight tank attack

Tanks pounded a Syrian town that has become a refuge for army deserters for a second day yesterday, in the first major battle with defecting soldiers since a six-month-long revolt began. At least 1,000 deserters and villagers have been fighting security forces at the town of Rastan. MORE

Officers misused Yard’s credit cards

Thirty-four Scotland Yard officers have been disciplined for misusing corporate AmEx credit cards. Sixty officers have been investigated since 2008 and six convicted. A further 34 underwent “misconduct” proceedings, the Independent Police Complaints Commission said yesterday.

Trains suspended after ‘gas blast’

A number of people were injured in a suspected gas blast at Crewe station last night. Train services were suspended and roads closed after the incident. Fire and ambulance crews were treating the injured at the scene. Police said they were not treating the incident as suspicious.

Universities told to boost access for poor

Universities must enrol more students from poorer backgrounds or they will be forced to reduce their fees, the universities watchdog has warned. The Office for Fair Access wants universities to make greater efforts to help improve social mobility. The percentage of income spent by universities on boosting access fell last year and a quarter failed to meet their targets. MORE

Rail operator has bright idea for winter

Train commuters will be given glowsticks this winter in case trains break down during a cold snap. Rail operator Southeastern will be supplying commuters with the glow-in-the-dark sticks, a common nightclub accessory, as well as foil blankets, in case trains break down and lose lighting.

All Hope is ended after TV bear is shot

A black bear named Hope whose birth was broadcast over the internet is presumed dead after a hunter said he shot the animal without knowing it was her. Hope became a global sensation two winters ago when a camera was installed inside her mother’s den and thousands watched live as she gave birth to Hope.

Doritos creator cashes in his chips

The man credited with creating Doritos will be buried along with some of his snacks. Arch West died on 20 September of natural causes. He was 97. His remains were cremated and his family requested that friends and relatives who attend the graveside burial service on Saturday be allowed to toss Doritos around the box as a tribute.

MPs wife denies she stole his lover’s cat

The wife of Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming told Birmingham Crown Court she does not recall stealing a kitten from her husband’s lover. Denying burglary, Christine Hemming, allegedly seen on CCTV carrying a cat away from Emily Cox’s home in Moseley, Birmingham, said she “had no intention” of taking it.

Farewell to a Facebook favourite

Facebook friends and fans across the Twittersphere are mourning the loss of Heidi – the cross-eyed German opossum whose cute but confused countenance warmed hearts around the world. The Leipzig zoo said yesterday that the marsupial had been listless for several weeks. A decision was made to put the three-and-a-half-year-old animal to sleep following repeated attempts to treat her.