The News Matrix: Tuesday 19 July 2011

Passive smoking link to reproduction

Scientists have discovered passive smoking may cause reproductive problems. A study has revealed that sperm cells are vulnerable to DNA damage caused by secondary smoke. Regular exposure could mean reproductive problems in later life. MORE

Ban on animal testing for household goods

Calls for a ban on animal testing for household products may have succeeded. The Home Office minister Lynne Featherstone said: “We propose to implement a ban... we are inviting stakeholders to share views so we can end this practice.”

Go-ahead expected for cull of badgers

A badger cull is expected to be given the go-ahead tomorrow after 15 years of debate. Farmers have pushed for the controversial cull to contain the spread of TB in cattle. MORE

Hague dismisses military HQ plans

Foreign Secretary William Hague has blocked plans for a joint EU military headquarters. The proposal, put forward by Europe’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, in a report yesterday, was branded a British “red line”.

Mubarak may face trial in Red Sea resort

Egypt’s ousted president Hosni Mubarak may be tried next month in the Red Sea resort where he is in hospital, rather than in Cairo. The move could anger protesters who say the army wants to shield its former commander.

Iraq torture claims ‘cry out’ for inquiry

Allegations of torture and degrading treatment by British soldiers and interrogators in Iraq “are of such grave concern as to cry out for an independent inquiry”, Michael Fordham QC told the Court of Appeal yesterday. More than 100 civilians are appealing against a High Court ruling in December rejecting their bid for a public inquiry.

Soldier killed by Afghan ‘ally’ named

A British soldier who was killed in Afghanistan has been named as Lance Corporal Paul Watkins. The 24-year-old, who died on Saturday, is thought to have been killed by a member of the Afghan army. He was shot while on a routine patrol in the south of the country. MORE

Blast victims were making illicit alcohol

Police investigating an explosion at an industrial unit that left five Lithuanian men dead have confirmed it was being used to produce illegal alcohol. The five, who were all living in the Peterborough area, died in the blast at Boston, Lincolnshire, on Wednesday night.

First female Foreign Minister appointed

Pakistan is set to appoint its first female Foreign Minister at the age of 34. Hina Rabbani Khar, from a powerful political family based in Punjab, made Pakistan’s political history by becoming the first woman to deliver a budget speech in the National Assembly two years ago. MORE

Blood plea attracts 20,000 new donors

A plea from the NHS for more people to give blood has brought in 20,000 first-time donors. They were among almost 100,000 who responded following a call for volunteers after it was revealed earlier this year that there had been a 20 per cent drop in young, regular donors.

ETA suspect ‘plotted to kill Spanish King’

A Spanish man accused of plotting to kill King Juan Carlos II is alleged to have been part of a gang which killed a police officer. Eneko Gogeaskoetxea Arronategui was arrested at his home in Cambridge this month as a suspected member of ETA, and is fighting extradition to Spain.

‘Indiana Jones’ out in cabinet reshuffle

Egypt's antiquities minister, recognised around the world by his trademark Indiana Jones hat, has been fired after pressure from critics over his links to ousted president Hosni Mubarak. Zahi Hawass lost his job along with about a dozen other ministers in a Cabinet reshuffle.

Clarkson ‘deluded’ about Salford

Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson has been called “deluded” over his views on the BBC’s move to Salford, which he describes as a “small suburb with little to offer”. Stuart Hall, 81, former presenter of It’s A Knockout, hits back: "Manchester is a seat of knowledge, a breeding ground for brains."

Apartheid general Malan dies at 81

One of the most hated figures of South Africa’s apartheid regime, former defence minister Magnus Malan, has died aged 81. General Malan was the main force behind the repression of the resistance movement in the 1980s and the bombing of countries who supported it.

Thieves haul away 21 tons of condiments

Police say thieves have made off with 21 tons of mustard and ketchup. The haul was in a trailer parked near Vienna; it had disappeared when the driver came to pick it up on Monday. Thieves were probably after the trailer and not its contents, police said.