The News Matrix: Thursday 4 December 2014


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The Independent Online

New drug hope for paralysis patients

Researchers have announced findings that offer new hope for people left disabled by spinal cord injuries. Scientists in the US said they have activated the paralysed muscles of disabled rats using a daily injection of a newly developed chemical compound that they believe can reconnect nerve connections blocked off by spinal injuries.

2014 set to become hottest on record

This year is on course to become the hottest year ever both nationally and globally due to rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, according to climate experts. Figures suggest that 2014 is set to beat previous records for heat set in 2010, 2005 and 1998.

Boy, 2, conscious after being found in street

A two-year-old Polish boy who was found unconscious and outdoors in sub-freezing temperatures near Krakow is improving. It isn’t clear if the boy suffered any permanent brain damage, but he is moving his hands and legs, and sometimes opens his eyes, said doctors.

‘Let police release suspects on bail’

Counter-terrorism police should be allowed to release suspects on bail, the Government’s terrorism-law adviser has said. Releasing suspects with strict conditions would give police more time to build a strong case against them, David Anderson told MPs.

Appeals court halts man’s execution

A US appeals court halted the execution of a 56-year-old man  who his attorneys said was too delusional to be put to death. Scott Panetti, who has suffered from schizophrenia, was due to be executed yesterday for the killing of his parents-in-law.

Childcare role going to grandparents

More than two-thirds of UK grandparents provide childcare for their grandchildren, according to a survey for the insurer RIAS. Among those aged 65 and over, 57 per cent care for grandchildren, while 67 per cent overall fulfil the role.

Budapest angry over ‘neo-fascist’ remark

Hungary’s foreign ministry says it has summoned the top American diplomat in Budapest after the US Senator John McCain called Prime Minister Viktor Orban a “neo-fascist dictator” during a discussion at the US Senate on Tuesday.

Cat survives 36-day trip without food

A cat has survived a month long trip in a storage box with no food or water. Ashley Barth said her cat Mee Moowe disappeared in September as movers packed her belongings for a move from Virginia, to Hawaii – a nearly 5,000 mile journey. 36 days later, Barth says she heard a “meow” as the boxes were unloaded.

Film stars sign on for ‘supervillain’ movie

Hollywood stars are turning to the dark side by eschewing traditionally popular superhero roles. Big names including Will Smith, Jared Leto and Tom Hardy have signed up to star in the “supervillain” film, Suicide Squad, indicating that baddies are more appealing than goodies for many comic book fans.

Portrait of the queen as a younger woman

An official portrait of the Spanish Royal family has finally been completed, 20 years after the artist began working on it. Painter Antonio López said the delay, which he labelled “probably excessive”, was down to difficulty painting Queen Sofia’s pink dress, which “wasn’t working for me”, he said.

Five a day, from a vending machine 

A Dundee shopping centre has unveiled a vending machine selling fresh vegetables. The machine in the Overgate Centre offers bags of potatoes as well as vegetable boxes containing onions, carrots, swedes and eggs. A seasonal variation including parsnips and sprouts is also being planned for Christmas.

Tour de Yorkshire was cash generator

The Tour de France’s visit to the UK this summer was watched by 4.8 million people and generated around £128m. The Three Inspirational Days report said the overall figure should top £150m due to the effect of increased tourism and trade deals.