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The News Matrix: Thursday 9 January 2014

Traffic stops for EU presidency switch

Banks of riot police guarded a low-key ceremony in Athens yesterday, leaving traffic at a standstill for several hours, as Greece assumed the rotating presidency of the European Union. EU leaders praised the country’s efforts to fix its crisis-hit economy, while the country’s leaders expressed high hopes of rehabilitating its reputation and economic fortunes. MORE

Designer’s niece fined over air rage

The niece of fashion designer Ralph Lauren has been fined €2,000 (£1,650) for an air-rage incident on a New York-bound plane that forced it to land in Ireland. Jenny Lauren, 41, pleaded guilty at Ennis District Court to breaching the peace and being drunk on the flight from Barcelona.

Weather halts probe into helicopter crash

The investigation into the crash of an American military helicopter in Norfolk, which killed all four crew members, is being delayed by the presence of live ammunition and bad weather conditions. One theory is that the aircraft was brought down by a bird strike. MORE

SS man charged over French massacre

An 88-year-old former SS soldier has been charged over the Second World War massacre of an entire French village in which 642 men, women and children were killed. The man faces 25 counts of murder in connection with the 1944 atrocity in Oradour-sur-Glane. MORE

Blood tests may replace smears

Smear tests could be replaced by a simple, non-invasive test, say researchers. Scientists at the University of Louisville in Kentucky found that heating a patient’s blood could indicate whether a woman has cervical cancer, and how far a confirmed disease has progressed.

Schumacher’s speed was ‘not excessive’

Investigators gave further details of the skiing accident involving former racing driver Michael Schumacher yesterday, saying that he was not travelling at excessive speed when he hit his head on a rock. MORE

Bigger payouts may buy off resistance

Local resistance to “fracking” could be quashed by a government scheme offering increased financial compensation to those living close to shale gas extraction sites. Energy firms have recently shown an increased interest in the process, as large swathes of Britain are thought to contain huge reservoirs of shale gas. MORE

Abducted Swedish journalists freed

Two Swedish journalists who were abducted in Syria have been released after a month-and-a-half in captivity. Photographer Niclas Hammarström was shot in the leg during a failed escape bid. “I was extremely lucky to make it without bleeding to death,” he said. The other released freelancer was writer Magnus Falkehed.

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