The News Matrix: Tuesday 12 July 2011

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The Independent Online

Almost half of unis will charge full fees

The final tuition fees announcement for English universities was made yesterday, with 48 per cent permitted to charge the top fees in all their subjects. Not a single university has been asked to lower its fees by the Office for Fair Access. MORE

Panetta warns Iran against arming Shias

In his first speech in his new job as US Defence Secretary, Leon Panetta warned Iran that America would act to deal with the growing threat to US troops in Iraq. Fourteen were killed last month – amid claims that Tehran is arming Shia fighters. MORE

Queen’s cousin Lord Harewood dies at 88

Lord Harewood, a first cousin of the Queen and former chairman of English National Opera, has died. George Lascelles, 88, was also the first royal in modern times to obtain a divorce.

Terror threat level downgraded by MI5

The threat level to the UK from international terrorism has been downgraded from severe to substantial – or “strong possibility” of attack, according to MI5. Theresa May, the Home Secretary, said it did not mean the “overall threat” had gone away.

Russia mourns 100 dead in ferry sinking

President Dmitry Medvedev ordered a day of mourning across the Russian Federation for the 100 or more people killed when a ferry sank on the River Volga at the weekend. The death toll at Kazan, in the Republic of Tatarstan, climbed during the day. MORE

Diplomats told to explain embassy raid

Syrian diplomats in Washington were summoned to the US State Department yesterday to explain attacks on the American embassy and ambassador’s residence in Damascus. Officials claimed Syrian security forces were slow to respond to the attack by supporters of the Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad. They also targeted the French embassy. MORE

France confirms talks with Gaddafi

France confirmed it had held indirect talks with the Libyan regime, but insisted any settlement must involve the removal of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. Officials denied claims by Gaddafi’s son, Saif, that detailed discussions had taken place. MORE

Sex captive’s book tops Amazon chart

The memoirs of Jaycee Dugard, a US woman who was kidnapped at the age of 11 and kept in captivity for 18 years by a convicted sex offender, have reached the top of the Amazon bestseller list before they are published. MORE

Prices will be slow to regain peak levels

House prices are unlikely to recover to their previous peak levels until 2020, a study said yesterday. It gives only a 50 per cent chance that prices will return to 2007 peaks in the next eight years. A separate report shows the housing market hit stalemate in June. MORE

Pony died ‘as a result of an accident’

A pony said to have been pushed to its death in a lake died accidentally. Hampshire police received reports about the incident at Hawley Lake, Farnborough on Saturday, after a number of people and three ponies had gathered in the area.

Euromillions jackpot frozen at £166m

Tonight’s Euromillions Lottery jackpot is a record €185m (£166m) following 14 rollovers. The lottery operator Camelot has frozen the jackpot, which is £50m more than the UK’s previous biggest lottery win. The eventual winner would become Britain’s 418th-richest person overnight.

Touts jailed over £5m Olympic ticket scam

Olympic ticket touts who scammed more than 10,000 customers out of £5m were jailed yesterday. Terence Shepherd, 52, of South-east London, was jailed for eight years, while Alan Scott, 56, from Essex, was sentenced to seven years for fraudulent trading.

Wild West comes to the South of France

In a scene reminiscent of a Wild West movie, 20 masked youths held up a passenger train and robbed a freight train following behind. The gang barricaded railway tracks in a northern suburb of Marseille with planks and shopping trolleys, then rifled through carriages and stole merchandise.

Firm’s team bonding was ‘risky’ business

A team-bonding exercise by a firm of estate agents has resulted in a fractious court battle. Simon Reynolds, 49, accused Strutt & Parke of negligence after he collided with a colleague and suffered a “severe head injury” on a cycle outing. He says the firm failed to make a risk assessment.

Couple’s ‘separate honeymoon hotels’

Controversy around Monaco’s new royal couple has increased after reports that the newlyweds spent their honeymoon in separate hotels, some 10 miles apart. Prince Albert and his new bride, Charlene, returned home early from honeymoon in her native South Africa.

Patient endures first double leg transplant

Doctors in Spain have carried out the first double leg transplant, giving new limbs to a patient who lost both at mid-thigh in an accident. The operation took 14 hours but it will be a month or so before the team knows how successful the surgery has been.

Elite guards roughed up jogging student

President Jacob Zuma’s elite guards overstepped their authority when they roughed up Cape Town University student Chumani Maxwele for gesturing at their vehicles when they nearly ran him over as he was jogging, a government commission said.

Still looking back in anger – but why?

Noel and Liam Gallagher can’t agree on why Oasis split up. Noel has said an argument about Liam’s clothes brand, Pretty Green, ended the band, but Liam told Radio 1 last night that he’d never mentioned Pretty Green to his brother.

Quench your thirst with your iPhone

You can do a lot with an iPhone: text, take pictures, surf the net, or even make a phone call. Now two Australians have devised the “Opena” – a hard plastic case that fits over the handset and has a slide-out bottle opener.