The News Matrix: Thursday 7 April 2011

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Ouattara loyalists attack Gbagbo base

Forces loyal to Alassane Ouattara, the internationally-recognised winner of last November’s presidential elections in Ivory Coast, have attacked the compound of incumbent Laurent Gbagbo. MORE

Berlusconi sex with teen trial adjourned

Silvio Berlusconi’s trial for paying for sex with a minor opened yesterday, before being promptly adjourned. The Italian prime minister is alleged to have paid to sleep with Moroccan belly dancer Karima el-Mahroug. MORE

Government hints at conduct commission

The Government yesterday raised for the first time the prospect of a wide-ranging independent inquiry into the conduct of newspapers in the wake of the News of the World phone hacking scandal. MORE

Space firm to launch biggest private rocket

Space X, a firm in California, plans to launch the most powerful private rocket ever, a freight carrier called Falcon Heavy, next year. MORE

Atheist fury over £1m science prize

The Astronomer Royal, Lord Rees, has won this year’s £1m Templeton Prize, an award denounced by many atheist scientists as an underhand attempt to promote religion by linking it with science. MORE

Cracks in united front on health reforms

A cabinet show of unity over the Government’s controversial health reforms was undermined when the Department of Health declined to confirm that a “listening exercise” would change the plans. MORE

School in meningitis scare after girl dies

Around 500 pupils at Wadebridge School in Cornwall are to be given antibiotics after Year 8 pupil Eloise Williams died from meningitis and another pupil was admitted to hospital as a suspected case. MORE

KFC drops palm oil for frying chicken

Fast-food chain KFC is to stop frying chicken in palm oil. The company says it is removing the vegetable oil from deep-fat friers to gain a “double benefit” by reducing climate change and heart disease. MORE

Gaddafi appeals to President Obama

Embattled Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi has appealed to Barack Obama to stop the Nato bombing. Gaddafi says his country had been hurt more morally than physically by the campaign and a democratic society could not be built through missiles and aircraft. He also repeated his claim that his foes are members of al-Qa’ida. MORE

Budget row could shut down services

Politicians are racing against time to find a compromise for the federal budget, which Republicans want to slash. Failure to reach a deal could lead to services grinding to a halt. MORE

President-elect promises change

Michel Martelly, the President-elect of Haiti, said, “I have always had the desire to change my country” in his first interviews since his election was confirmed. MORE

Inventors descend on Geneva fair

Inventors from 45 countries are at the world’s biggest inventions fair in Geneva this week. Creations include intelligent footwear and a kangaroo tail for humans. Peyman Sarhadi of Iran says his “smart boot” uses sensors to collect data such as the wearer’s pulse and temperature.

Mayor solves teenage problem

After residents of the southwestern city of Eppelheim complained teenagers always sat on the top of benches, rather than on the seat itself, which they dirtied with their shoes, Mayor Dieter Moerlein came up with the idea of putting the seat on top.

Titanic cast named for ITV drama

Linus Roache and Geraldine Somerville are to head the cast of Julian Fellowes’ dramatisation of the Titanic story. The series will be screened by ITV next year, coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the disaster. Roache recently appeared in Coronation Street.

Thief in high spirits after stealing cognac

A masked, quick-moving thief smashed a liquor store window early on Monday in Portland, Oregon, and walked off with a bottle of cognac valued at more than $2,300. “He has good taste,” said Lt Mike Rouches, a spokesman for the Hillsboro police. “He knew exactly what he was after.”

UK enjoys warmest day of year so far

Britain enjoyed the warmest day of the year so far yesterday. Temperatures in some places reached 22C (72F) by the afternoon and forecasters predict Mediterranean weather for the weekend. It may feel cooler today and tomorrow, before temperatures climb again on Saturday and Sunday.

Fake wine alert: the clue’s in the label

Fake batches of Australian wine have flooded the UK market, say trading standards officers. Hundreds of bottles of imitation Jacob’s Creek have made their way into UK off-licences. The wine appears identical to the real thing, apart from the taste, and the word “Austrlia” on its label.

Seaside postcards too saucy for stamps

The company behind many classic, saucy seaside postcards has been barred from putting a selection on stamps because they are “too racy”. Bamforth applied to have 10 of its pictures printed as customised stamps by the Royal Mail.

Artist makes pearl painting for Queen

A Russian artist in Siberia has spent a small personal fortune on over a thousand pearls for a religious painting he says he has made for Britain’s Queen Elizabeth. Anatoly Pastyrev’s painting shows Adam and Eve on decorated thrones.