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The News Matrix: Tuesday 2 July 2013

Leaker asks for asylum in Russia

The former US spy agency contractor Edward Snowden has applied for political asylum in Russia, but President Vladimir Putin said he was not welcome unless he stopped harming US interests. A WikiLeaks activist who is travelling with Mr Snowden handed his application to a Russian consular official in the transit area at Moscow’s airport late on Sunday. MORE

Ex-Met officer: we didn’t smear family

A former Scotland Yard officer has denied allegations that his undercover unit tried to smear the family of the murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence. Bob Lambert, who was a manager at the Special Demonstration Squad, insisted he had not been aware of any such campaign.

Cirque du Soleil acrobat dies in show

A Paris-born performer with Cirque du Soleil has died after falling 50ft during a show in Las Vegas. Sarah Guyard-Guillot, 31, was being hoisted up the side of the stage when she plummeted into an open pit by the stage. She was pronounced dead at a hospital on Saturday night. MORE

3D producer jailed for VAT fraud

The man behind the recent British 3D film Eldorado has been jailed for three years after a £1.5m VAT fraud. Richard Driscoll was sentenced at Southwark Crown Court, where Jeffrey Pegden, QC, told him: “You used your filming expertise for the content of bogus and false invoices.” MORE

TV star attacks ‘southern prejudice’

Actress Lesley Sharp launched a scathing attack on the “extraordinary prejudice” that southerners have against their northern counterparts.  The Liverpool-born star of Sky 1’s Starlings said: “Northerners are still portrayed either as dullards or as vaguely comical.” MORE

Nineteen firefighters die in bush fire

Investigators in Arizona launched a probe into how wind-driven flames killed 19 specially trained firefighters in a tragedy that marked the greatest loss of life among a fire crew in a US wildfire in 80 years.

Nine-year-old boy stabbed at skate park

A nine-year-old boy has been stabbed in a skate park. West Yorkshire Police said the attack happened at about 4.40pm yesterday at the Carnegie Skate Park in Shipley. The boy was last night in a “stable condition” in hospital, being treated for chest and arm injuries, while a white man in his 20s was being sought by detectives.

Green card granted for gay couple

A Bulgarian graduate student and his American husband are the first gay couple to have their green card petition approved after the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriages, their lawyer says. Lavi Soloway, of The DOMA Project, says his organization expects more petitions to be approved soon. MORE

Children must see their parents – by law

Mothers and fathers aren’t the only ones urging adult children to visit their parents. China’s lawbooks are now issuing the same imperative.  New wording in the law requiring people to keep in touch with their elderly parents or risk being sued came into force yesterday, as China grapples with an aging population. MORE

One in five Britons lie to seem smarter

A catalogue of embarrassing affectations has revealed one in five Britons have pretended to like opera, swapped holiday books for something more weighty or worn clear-lens glasses to seem smarter. A survey by Ask Jeeves revealed a fifth of adults try to impress by making out they are more cultured than they really are.

Oh! No not my model railway

Rod Stewart banned a BBC film crew from filming his model railway because it is “private” – despite opening up on screen about his hard-living days and complicated private life. The singer, 68, collaborated with the BBC on a documentary, called Can’t Stop Me Now, but said some things were off limits, including the train set.

Doctor returns man’s amputated arm

A doctor has returned a man’s arm which he amputated over 45 years ago. Dr Sam Axelrad removed Nguyen Quang Hung’s arm, which was infected with gangrene, during the Vietnam War in 1966. Axelrad, who kept the limb as a reminder he helped a Vietcong soldier, returned to North Vietnam to give it back. MORE

Rock out: the Quo make screen debut

Status Quo stars Rick Parfitt and Francis Rossi met fans on the red carpet last night at the Leicester Square premiere of their first film Bula Quo! The musicians first tried their hand at acting with a cameo in Coronation Street in 2005 when they performed at Les Battersby’s wedding, but Parfitt confessed they had been “appalling” in the soap.

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