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The News Matrix: Tuesday 16 April 2013

Politicians ‘should stay out of schools’

Politicians need to relinquish control of school policy, the former head of the national curriculum said last night. Mick Waters said power had to be “wrestled away from meddlers and unelected advisers”. He argued that MPs should be barred from photo opportunities in schools.

MPs angry at lack of action over blacklist

Construction firms which set up a “systematic blacklist” of workers are still not taking responsibility for their actions, according to MPs. The Scottish Affairs Committee was “appalled” that thousands were put on the Consulting Association list, often for raising legitimate safety concerns.

Labour: sack bankers if they break rules

Bankers should face being struck off a professional register if they break the rules, Labour will announce today. The Opposition will push for a full licensing scheme for people working in the City, similar to those for lawyers and doctors, as well as strengthened immunities for whistleblowers.

Major inquiry into horse-meat scandal

An inquiry into the horse-meat scandal is to be launched, to identify any weaknesses in the food chain to restore consumers’ “confidence in the food they buy”. Food Minister David Heath said: “Consumers have a right to expect that food is exactly what it says on the label.” MORE

Bombs kill 36 people across two cities

Insurgent bomb attacks across northern and central Iraq killed at least 36 and wounded more than 200 people yesterday. Car bombs in Baghdad exploded at 9am, killing at least 15 people. A further six car bombs blew up in and around Kirkuk. MORE

Circuses to become animal-free in 2015

The use of wild animals in travelling circuses will be banned in two years’ time. Two British circuses currently use animals including camels and zebras. More than 30,000 people signed a petition organised by i’s sister paper, The Independent, calling for a ban. MORE

Former ‘Times’ editor to lead BBC journalism

James Harding, who recently resigned as editor of The Times, is set to be announced as the next director of BBC News, sources said last night. The appointment comes at a criticalmoment for the BBC’s journalism after repeated credibility crises.

New BBC boss faces committee grilling

Students who acted as cover for a Panorama investigation in North Korea have been threatened with the publication of their personal data. The BBC’s new Director-General, Lord Hall, is now expected to face a grilling by MPs on the Culture and Media select committee. MORE

Big Ben will be silent to honour Thatcher

Plans to protest at Margaret Thatcher’s funeral tomorrow gathered pace as it was announced that Big Ben will be silenced in her honour. More than 300 people signed up to turn their backs on the former Prime Minister’s Union flagdraped coffin as it is marched close to the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand. Up to 4,000 police will be involved in the funeral. MORE

‘Big four’ to cut petrol prices by up to 3p

Four leading supermarkets are  cutting their fuel prices today. Asda will cut fuel by 2p at its 217 petrol  stations, meaning consumers will pay no more than 133.7p a litre. Tesco and Sainsbury’s have also announced a 2p cut, while Morrisons is cutting up to 3p a litre off petrol. MORE

Chavez’s anointed heir wins election

Hugo Chavez’s hand-picked successor, Nicolas Maduro, has won Venezuela’s presidential election by a narrow margin that highlights rising discontent over problems ranging from crime to power blackouts. His rival Henrique Capriles demanded a recount yesterday. MORE

Mubarak will stay behind bars

The deposed President Hosni  Mubarak will remain in custody despite a court order to release him. The order covers his retrial over alleged responsibility for the deaths of protesters during the 2011 uprising. He remains in custody over new  corruption charges.

Judge fines himself as phone goes off in trial

A judge in Michigan whose smartphone disrupted a hearing in his own courtroom has held himself in contempt and paid a $25 fine. Judge Raymond Voet’s phone went off during a trial. He said he wasn’t familiar with his new phone, but said: “I don’t take those excuses from anyone else.”

Hermit receives a marriage proposal

A man who lived as a hermit for 27 years before his arrest on suspicion of 1,000 burglaries has attracted a marriage proposal and an offer to bail him out. Christopher Knight  roamed the forests of Maine with  virtually no contact with other people until his arrest last week. MORE

Women dominate young writers list

A leading literary magazine’s once-in-a-decade list of best young British novelists is dominated by women for the first time. Granta’s list of 20 star authors picks 12 women, including Zadie Smith and Taiye Selasi. Previous nominees include Sir Salman Rushdie and Rose Tremain. MORE

US move made Beckham posher

David Beckham has become posher since he moved his family to the US, a study has claimed. Linguistics students at the University of Manchester discovered that the England midfielder is now less prone to dropping his Hs or using Cockney-sounding vowel sounds.

Sharing lions with the neighbours

Western Gujarat is to share some of its endangered lions with a neighbouring state to create a second home for them. The Asiatic lion has been almost wiped out in India, but intense conservation efforts mean there are now around 400 lions in Gujarat’s Gir forests.

Taste of beer makes us seek more highs

The taste of beer releases a chemical in the brain which makes people want to drink more and take other drugs. Indiana University researchers claim the taste of beer can cause the brain to produce dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with the brain’s pleasure centres.

Titanic bandmaster’s letter to go on sale

A letter written by Wallace Hartley, the bandmaster of the Titanic who continued playing as the ship sank, is to be sold at auction. Experts estimate the letter will fetch up to £60,000 when it goes under the hammer at Henry Aldridge and Son in Devizes, Wiltshire, on Saturday.

Icon slams ‘vinegar’ Paxo and Humphrys

Radio veteran Sir Jimmy Young has criticised the “aggressive” interviewing techniques employed by the likes of Jeremy Paxman and John Humphrys. The former Radio 2 DJ told Radio Times: “You attract more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.”

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