The News Matrix: Tuesday 1 May 2012


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Closing time for 12 pubs every week

Pubs are shutting down at a rate of 12 every week, as the industry warns beer taxes are threatening its survival. Eight pubs closed every week in towns across the country, and four in rural areas, according to a study. The closures have been blamed on above-inflation rises in beer tax.

Sarkozy: 'I will sue over Gaddafi claim'

As the decisive second round of the presidential election nears, Nicholas Sarkozy said he will sue a news website for publishing allegations that he took money from Muammar Gaddafi. Sarkozy trails Francois Hollande in the polls and the pair will have a televised debate on Wednesday. MORE

Bombs leave 20 dead and 100 hurt in Idlib

A wave of bomb attacks plunged the town of Idlib into carnage, with anti-regime activists claiming 20 people had died with some 100 injured. With the ceasefire appearing in jeopardy, the government blamed rebel suicide bombers but opposition forces denied responsibility. MORE

Stroke victims are being 'abandoned'

Stroke survivors "abandoned" by the NHS lose the chance to recover properly because of poor post-hospital care, a report claims. Nearly one in 10 patients never get needs assessed after leaving hospital, while one in five said they had services withdrawn despite increased needs. MORE

Top-level talks over plight of activist

A blind civil rights activist who escaped house arrest remains under US protection at the embassy in Beijing. Top-level officials are locked in talks with Chinese authorities to secure a deal for his release. MORE

Refugees stranded in camp on border

UN officials are embroiled in a damaging row with local leaders over the plight of refugees stranded on the border between Sudan and South Sudan. Yesterday aid workers warned of an impending humanitarian disaster if tens of thousands are left stranded in a "no man's land" at Yida refugee camp, which the UN has had to avoid because of concerns the site could be shelled. MORE

Activist on hunger strike faces retrial

A court has ordered the retrial of a hunger striker and 20 other activists convicted in government crackdowns against the year-long uprising on the island state. Supporters of Abdulhadi al-Khawaja criticise the original proceedings as being carried out under conditions of martial law.

Red Cross make plea over nurse's murder

The Red Cross have urged Pakistani media not to broadcast the execution video of a British aid worker. Nurse Khalil Dale, 60, a Muslim convert, was captured by suspected Taliban gunmen in January. A note claimed he was killed over an unpaid ransom. MORE

Scientists claim we are still improving

Scientists believe humans are still evolving. Research shows humans are still subject to the forces of natural selection which most believe ended when humans embraced monogamy. Evidence was found in a study of the church records of 6,000 Finns born between 1760 and 1849.

Musical Planet Earth show to tour UK

A musical version of the BBC natural-history series Planet Earth is to tour the UK. The show, which premiered in London in November includes an orchestra playing alongside footage from the programmes. Tickets will go on sale at

Buy your very own Tardis

Doctor Who fans will have a chance to buy their very own Tardis after a police force announced it was selling 22 of its police boxes. Lothian and Borders Police said the cast-iron structures had become "surplus to requirements".

What'cha wanna wallaby there for?

A baby wallaby is living in a rucksack which is acting as a substitute for its mother. Tilly, a seven-month-old Bennett's wallaby, was abandoned at Whipsnade Zoo, Bedfordshire, last month. Keeper Jo Shirley has been carrying her around in a backpack that "mimics her mum's pouch".

If you snooze you lose... weight

A 'sleep diet' may be a good way to slim down, a study by US researchers has revealed. Sleeping more than nine hours a night appears to suppress genetic factors that lead to weight gain. In contrast, getting too little sleep seems to have the opposite effect.

Gang make off with 10-ton footbridge

Thieves have made off with an entire 10-ton footbridge in the Czech Republic. The gang reportedly produced forged paperwork before dismantling the structure and removing 650ft of track, which rail authorities in the eastern town of Slavkov say will cost millions to replace.

Bathing 'kills more people than driving'

Bathtub accidents cause three times as many deaths as car crashes, a study claims. An estimated 14,000 Japanese a year die while having a bath, a government report says. The primary causes are drowning, heart palpitations and haemorrhages, with the figures rising in winter months.

Poker legend Slim loses cancer battle

The poker world is mourning the death of four-time world champion Amarillo Slim from colon cancer. The 83-year-old is immortalised for winning outlandish wagers that included running against a horse, hitting a golf ball over a mile and beating a tennis champion using iron skillets. MORE