The News Matrix: Tuesday 20 January 2015


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Third of Scots back Labour-SNP coalition

A third of Scottish people want a Labour and Scottish National Party coalition at Westminster, a poll has found. Thirty-five per cent of voters would back a deal between the two parties after the General Election, according to the poll for the Daily Record newspaper.

Battle for airport rages in Donetsk

Russian-backed rebels and Ukrainian government troops fought pitched battles yesterday for control of Donetsk airport, while residential areas nearby were caught in intensive crossfire. The wrecked airport has been the epicentre of hostilities.

Raise taxes on the rich, Obama urges

President Barack Obama, in his sixth State of the Union address tonight, will throw down the gauntlet to the Republican majority on raising taxes on the rich to help the middle class. Little of what the President will propose is likely to win support in Congress.

James Blunt has harsh words for MP

James Blunt has branded the Labour MP Chris Bryant a “classist, prejudiced wazzock” after the politician claimed the arts were dominated by those with privileged backgrounds. The two men engaged in a heated exchange of letters over elitism in the arts yesterday.

‘Coronation Street’ actor Kirkbride dies

The Coronation Street actress Anne Kirkbride, 60, who played Deirdre Barlow in the TV soap, has died in a Manchester hospital after an illness. ITV said the cast and crew were “heartbroken and deeply saddened”.

Hospital doctor accused of FGM

An NHS doctor accused of performing female genital mutilation on a patient who had given birth has become the first person to stand trial for FGM in the UK. Dr Dhanuson Dharmasena, 32, allegedly carried out the procedure at the Whittington Hospital in north London. The junior registrar said he came under pressure from a second man, Hasan Mohamed.

Opposition leader to face trial over rally

An opposition leader will go on trial this month on charges of promoting the violent overthrow of Bahrain’s political system. Sheikh Ali Salman, head of the al-Wefaq Islamic Society, was arrested in December after leading a rally against elections in November which his party boycotted.

Inequality rules at work, say women

Nearly one in five women believes it is almost impossible for a female to reach a senior management role, a report has revealed. In a survey of 2,000 working women by O2, half said all the decision-makers in their company were male. A third said they had not met career expectations.

Plans to spike flock of pigeons with Pill

Town councillors plan to spike bird seed with contraceptives to try to keep pigeons from making a mess of a 19th-century courthouse. It is hoped the birth control chemicals will help limit the population in Wooster, Ohio, with officials saying it may cut the flock in half with just one application.

Sick stranded seal Dumbledore dies

A seal being treated for pneumonia after being found in a farmer’s field on Merseyside before Christmas has died, the RSPCA said. The young adult grey seal, named Dumbledore, was admitted to the RSPCA’s East Winch Wildlife Centre in Norfolk for treatment after he was found in a field more than 20 miles from the sea.

TLC back to raise funds for last album

The Grammy-winning R’n’B duo TLC are asking fans to fund their final album. Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins and Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas hope to collect at least $150,000 (£99,000) through a Kickstarter campaign and supporters will receive an exclusive digital track. The record comes nearly 13 years since their last album, 3D, which was released after the death of their bandmate Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes in 2002.

Henry VIII’s hat to go on display

A hat believed to have been thrown into the air by Henry VIII after the Siege of Boulogne in 1544 is to be put on public display. The hat, which was caught by Nicholas Bristowe, the Tudor monarch’s Clerk of the Wardrobe, and was passed down the generations, has been acquired by the Historic Royal Palaces. It will join 10,000 objects in the costume collection at Hampton Court and will the oldest by almost a century.