The News Matrix: Thursday 9 June 2011

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The Independent Online

Doctors link obesity to heart attacks

Doctors warn that the plummeting rate of heart attacks over the last 20 years, thanks to improvements in medication and a decline in smoking, is in danger of being driven into reverse by the rise in obesity. MORE

Southern Cross plans to ditch 3,000 jobs

Southern Cross, the troubled care home provider, has proposed to cut 3,000 jobs from its work-force of 44,000. The company said the cuts were expected to be completed by October. MORE

Nato vows to protect civilians from rebels

British and Nato forces would be prepared to turn their guns on their present allies, Libya’s rebels, if they were to attack civilians loyal to Muammar Gaddafi’s regime, UK officials said yesterday. MORE

PM blocks Clarke’s sentencing reforms

David Cameron has vetoed Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke’s proposal to cut by up to half the prison terms for violent offenders. MORE

Second-jobbers total is on the increase

Almost 100,000 people have had to take second jobs in the past year to make ends meet, according to research carried out by i’s sister paper The Independent. It is the highest total since 2002. MORE

PM beats other party leaders in popularity

Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg are struggling to improve their image with voters while David Cameron remains almost twice as popular. A poll by The Independent shows Liberal Democrats’ popularity is down. MORE

Two more die but ‘outbreak is abating’

Two further deaths and 300 more E.coli sufferers were reported in Germany yesterday. But the Health Minister insisted the rate of new infections was falling, giving hope that the outbreak was abating. MORE

Torrential rains claim more victims

At least 23 people have died in mudslides triggered by heavy rains in Haiti, officials said yesterday. The rains have flooded encampments where hundreds of thousands of survivors of Haiti’s earthquake still live.

Tanks and troops pursue refugees

Hundreds of Syrian refugees were stranded at the Turkish border last night as they fled convoys of tanks and troops which were reportedly heading north towards the town of Jisr al-Shughour. The government has vowed a tough response to the deaths of 120 members of the security forces in the town. MORE

Security firm ‘sorry’ for bungled mission

A maritime-security firm whose bungled mission led to four British men being captured in Eritrea without consular access for more than six months has apologised in a bid to hasten their release. MORE

Chirac recalls ‘nervous’ Sarkozy

The former French president Jacques Chirac takes revenge on his protégé, President Nicolas Sarkozy, in the second volume of his memoirs, describing him as “nervous, impetuous, boiling over with ambition, doubting nothing”. MORE

Psychic information turns out to be dud

Police and FBI agents were sent on a “wild-goose chase” around Texas in search of a mass grave after a tip-off from a woman describing herself as a psychic. “We have to take tips like this very seriously,” said Liberty County Judge Craig McNair. MORE

Elephants kill one man in rampage

Two wild elephants killed one man and injured several other people during a rampage in southern India yesterday. Hundreds of people die in India every year when wild animals wander into cities, as their habitats shrink and they have to range further for food.

‘Brothel’ in view of police station raided

A Chinese herbal medicine shop was raided by police in Newcastle yesterday, on suspicion that it had been run as a brothel in view of the city’s main police station. Two women allegedly forced to work as prostitutes were rescued as five people were arrested on suspicion of sex trafficking.

Roy Skelton, the voice of Zippy, dies

Actor and singer Roy Skelton – best known for voicing puppets George and Zippy in children's programme Rainbow – has died aged 79. Skelton joined Rainbow in the early 1970s and remained with the show until it ended in 1992. He died in Brighton after suffering a stroke.

Football club scores with its chicken pie

The chicken, ham and leek pies at Morecambe FC have been named supreme champion at the British Pie Awards. The ceremony was held at St Mary’s Church in the home of the pork pie, Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire. A total of 619 pies were entered for the competition.

Blind spot caused Isle of Wight crash

A mid-air collision between two aeroplanes taking part in a race over the Isle of Wight was caused by both aircraft having fatal blind spots, a report has found. Two men died in the crash last September, as one of the two planes had been unable to see the other for 39 seconds.

It’s shock and oar as naked sailor is saved

An Irishman rowing naked across the Indian Ocean had to be rescued off Australia after he hit his head in rough seas. Keith Whelan, 29, aims to become the youngest sailor to cross from Australia to Mauritius – but is doing it nude. He was saved by a cargo ship after raising the alarm.