The News Matrix: Thursday 7 July 2011

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The Independent Online

Top architect hits out at ‘suicide fees’

Leading British architect Rab Bennetts has lashed out at designers who are winning major building commissions by offering “suicide fees”. Bennetts lost the chance to create Manchester’s proposed £19m First Street cultural centre, despite scoring full-marks for design quality, when a competitor offered a lower price. MORE

Alcoholic mothers damage baby’s DNA

New research shows binge drinking can cause permanent genetic damage to the unborn children of women in early pregnancy. It could explain foetal-alcohol syndrome, when babies of mothers who drink heavily are born with congenital learning problems.

Gang warfare feared after Rome killing

An execution in broad daylight in a busy Rome street – the sixth in just a month – has fed fears that the capital is facing a vicious turf war between rival organised crime factions. The Magliana gang appears to be at the centre of the violence. MORE

‘Largest corruption trial’ begins

The largest police corruption trial in British criminal history began yesterday, 20 years after five innocent men were jailed for the murder of the 20-year-old prostitute Lynette White in 1988. Thirteen officers are accused of agreeing to frame the group. MORE

PM-elect faces call to press murder charges

Prime Minister-in-waiting Yingluck Shinawatra is under pressure to have the country’s outgoing leader charged with murder following protests which saw more than 90 people killed. MORE

Nuclear plants to be rigorously tested

Japan will conduct “stress tests” on its nuclear plants to ease concerns about disaster preparedness after this year’s tsunami sparked the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl. More than two-thirds of its reactors are currently shut for safety checks.

Kate and Wills are honorary Rangers

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge tried on their matching sweaters, presented to them after they were made honorary members of the Canadian Rangers in Blatchford Lake, Northwest Territories. The couple are on the sixth day of their Canadian tour.

Man stabbed to death neighbours’ Alsatian

A company director used the “largest knife he could find” to stab his next-door neighbour’s Alsatian to death after it attacked his pet Labrador, a court heard. Mark Deeley, 49, claimed he was acting with reasonable force in defence of his dog, Bertie. MORE

Berlusconi backs down on new laws

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has been forced to make a humiliating U-turn after aspects of new legislation were condemned across the political spectrum for appearing tailor-made to help his business empire. After an outcry, he said the measure would be deleted. MORE

Sex workers vow to fight police raids

The sex workers of a Seoul red-light district are fighting what they call an unprecedented campaign of police harassment that has driven thousands out of business. The workers have staged large and violent protests since April and vowed to die to protect their livelihoods. MORE

Picasso sketch stolen from gallery

Police are on the hunt for a man who walked into a San Francisco art gallery, grabbed a valuable pencil drawing by Pablo Picasso off the wall, and then fled in a waiting taxi. The drawing, worth £125,000, was a one-of- a-kind drawing titled Tête de Femme from 1965. MORE

Hiker found after 18 days

A Dutch hiker was rescued yesterday after surviving 18 days in a ravine without food or shelter in cliffs near Malaga. Mary-Anne Goossens, 48, was spotted by hikers. She was trapped between rocks and two waterfalls along a river. Rescue workers called it a “miracle”. MORE

Noel reveals reason for Oasis break-up

Noel Gallagher has revealed the reason behind one of the most infamous splits in rock’n’roll – a row about an advert in an Oasis tour programme. He said it started with a squabble about Liam’s demands for a free plug for his clothing range. Noel quit the group in 2009. MORE

Naked rat could cure old-age illnesses

The naked mole rat could be the key to curing diseases of old age. It lives for 30 years – more than seven times that of a normal rat – and appears not to be afflicted by cancer. Scientists hope its genetic blueprint could provide therapies for human illnesses. MORE

Library at British Museum may close

The Paul Hamlyn public library at the British Museum, which contains 50,000 books, is facing closure. The museum’s government subsidy is being cut by 15 per cent over the next four years, and it is consulting staff over the future of its collection. MORE

Male hairdressers face possible arrests

Hamas has started to enforce a ban on male hairdressers as it seeks to impose a stricter code of Islam on the 1.5 million Palestinians living in Gaza. This week, a male stylist was arrested – the first such case since the ban was introduced last year.