The News Matrix: Thursday 8 March 2012


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Minimum wage held for workers aged 20

The national minimum wage for people aged 20 and under is expected to remain at £4.98 per hour in an effort to stem youth unemployment. Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, has been persuaded that any rise could deter employers from taking on young people. MORE

US presses for probe into civil war crimes

The US has asked the UN Human Rights Council to put pressure on Sri Lanka to credibly investigate alleged war crimes committed during the last stages of its 26-year civil war. Sri Lanka has fiercely opposed international attempts to coordinate an independent probe.

UN humanitarian head inspects Homs

UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos entered the shattered district of Baba Amr in Homs yesterday, where activists accuse President Assad's forces of covering up atrocities. Ms Amos was expected to deliver the first outside assessment of the conditions in the neighbourhood. MORE

Satellite images 'show nuclear test'

Spy satellite images of a military facility in Iran appear to show earth-moving vehicles at the site, which could mean crews are trying to clean it of radioactive traces, diplomats told AP yesterday. They said the traces could have come from tests of a trigger used to set off a nuclear explosion.

Brother of former EastEnders star held

A 35-year-old man thought to be the brother of former EastEnders actress Gemma McCluskie has been arrested following the recovery of a female torso, feared to be that of the 29-year-old, from a canal in east London.


PCC to shut before Leveson's report

The Press Complaints Commission will shut itself down before Lord Justice Leveson gives his report at the end of this year. The PCC, which is chaired by Lord Hunt, was criticised for its ineffective handling of the phone-hacking scandal. The PCC will attempt to reinvent itself before Lord Leveson makes his recommendations to the Coalition Government.

Banned MMR doctor wins court ruling

A doctor whose flawed research linked the MMR vaccine and autism has won a High Court ruling quashing the General Medical Council's decision to strike him off. Professor John Walker-Smith was subjected to "inadequate and superficial reasoning" a judge said.

Mansour Hassan to stand for president

Mansour Hassan, who heads the advisory council to Egypt's military rulers and is close to the powerful Muslim Brotherhood, confirmed yesterday that he intends to run in the nation's presidential elections, according to Reuters. The elections are due to be held in May.

Pair swindled 'Boris bikes' of £46,000

Two fraudsters have admitted swindling £46,000 from the "Boris bike" scheme. Nana Boateng and Jose Dias, both 26, admitted making dozens of bogus refund payments from the London cycle hire scheme when they worked for the firm that run it, Serco, Southwark Crown Court heard.

Sea change to fight ocean change

An entire Pacific island is to be relocated because of the threat of rising sea levels. The nation of Kiribati is negotiating to buy land in Fiji for its 103,000-strong population. It is believed to be the first climate-induced migration of modern times.

Town aims high with plan to pay off debt

An enterprising small town in north-eastern Spain is to grow cannabis in a bid to pay off its debt. Local authorities in the Catalonian village of Rasquera have agreed to rent out the land to pay off debts of €1.3m incurred after the implosion of a decade-long construction boom.

Drug may combat racism, says study

A common heart-disease drug may have the unusual side effect of combating racism, a new study suggests. Volunteers given the beta blocker, used to treat chest pains and lower heart rates, scored lower on a standard psychological test of "implicit" racist attitudes.

New iPad on sale next week at £499

Apple has unveiled its new iPad, featuring a high-res "Retina Display" screen, 4G connectivity and an improved camera. It goes on sale next week, from £499; the iPad 2 16GB Wi-Fi model will drop in price to £329.