The News Matrix: Thursday 3 January 2013


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The Independent Online

Family of crossfire victim 'devastated'

The family of a British man shot dead in Thailand have said the loss has left them "completely devastated". Stephen Ashton, 22, from Purley in South London, was enjoying New Year's Eve on the island of Koh Phangan when he was caught in the crossfire during a gun battle between rival gangs. MORE

Jim Davidson held over sex offences

Jim Davidson has been arrested on suspicion of sexual offences by detectives investigating the Jimmy Savile abuse scandal. Davidson, 59, was detained after he flew into Heathrow Airport. Davidson's agent denied the allegations. A 53-year-old man was also arrested. MORE

Chavez may be too ill to be sworn in

Hugo Chavez may be too ill to be sworn in for his fourth-successive term as Venezuelan President as he struggles to recover from complications created by his cancer operation. Mr Chavez, 58, has not been seen in public since before the procedure on 11 December. MORE

Man dies in level crossing collision

A man has died and another person is in hospital after a car was hit by a freight train on a level crossing between Kidlington and Yarnton in Oxfordshire yesterday. The dead man is believed to have been the passenger in a blue Renault Kangoo. The driver suffered minor injuries.

Deal leaves Sandy victims without aid

The late agreement to protect America from going over the edge of the fiscal cliff has jeopardised $60bn of aid to help victims of Hurricane Sandy. With the 112th Congress now adjourned, the legislation will have to be discussed anew by both chambers of the 113th Congress. MORE

Prognosis good for Hillary Clinton

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has left the hospital where she was being treated for a blood clot in her head. Doctors say there was no neurological damage and she is expected to make a full recovery.

Archbishop bans openly gay services

The leader of Britain's Catholics in England and Wales has ordered a church to halt services for openly gay congregants. Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster, has banned the so-called "Soho Masses" at Our Lady of the Assumption Church in central London in a victory for traditionalists. MORE

UN: civil war death toll has hit 60,000

Almost 60,000 people have been killed during the civil war in Syria according to figures released by the United Nations. Combining reports, the UN listed 59,648 deaths – higher than the 45,000 total given by activists. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, called the number "truly shocking".

Friends use social networks in appeal

Friends of a teenager missing since he jumped from a ferry on New Year's Eve have begun their own search for the 16-year-old, using social network sites to bring teenagers together to help look for him. Twenty or so met at the Plymouth side of the Tamar Bridge before crossing the river to Saltash in Cornwall.

Maggot Moon wins Costa book award

Sally Gardner, whose severe dyslexia meant she could not read until she was 14, has won the prestigious Costa Children's Book Award for her fifth novel, Maggot Moon. Ms Gardner will now be considered for the Book of the Year award. MORE

Cats and cars in oddball legislation

Around 400 pieces of state and local legislation have become law in the US, including some odd ones. California now allows self-driving cars to be taken for a test spin on public roads, with a licensed driver in the driver's seat, while residents of the Wellington, Kansas, are banned from owning more than four cats.

Downloads top £1bn but CD sales slump

Sales of albums and video games suffered badly in 2012, according to the Entertainment Retailers Association. Video games sales fell 26 per cent and CD album sales by 11 per cent, a drop that could not be compensated for by a jump in digital downloads to pass £1bn for the first time. MORE

Calendar arrives – 63 years late

A US newspaper has taken delivery of a calendar for the new year, but it is 63 years too late. The Times-Tribune in Scranton, Pennsylvania, reported that it had received a 1950 Pennsylvania Railroad calendar addressed to James Flanagan, a former general manager of the newspaper.

Wet climate rules out the perfect lawn

A "bowling green" lawn will soon be a thing of the past thanks to climate change, horticultural experts warn. After the wettest year on record many lawns are overgrown. Richard Bisgrove, a garden historian, told a Royal Horticultural Society conference that people will have to adapt to changing conditions.

50s favourite Patti Page dies at 85

Patti Page, one of the most successful pop singers of the 1950s, has died at the age of 85. Her sentimental hits included Tennessee Waltz and How Much Is That Doggie in the Window? She passed away at her home in California.