The News Matrix: Tuesday 21 February 2012


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The Independent Online

Sarkozy under fire for 'fascist' campaign

An ex-colleague yesterday accused the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, of adopting "fascist" and "violent" rhetoric in his campaign for re-election this spring. Although his aggressive language has seen a rise in the polls, Mr Sarkozy trails Socialist candidate François Hollande. MORE

Royal couple to meet massacre survivors

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall will meet survivors of the Norway island massacre during an eight-day tour of Scandinavia, which includes Denmark and Sweden, next month. Anders Breivik has admitted killing scores of young people during the incident last summer.

80 jobless chasing each vacancy in Hull

Almost 80 people are chasing each job vacancy in Hull, research shows. Aberdeen was found to be the best city in which to find work, with about one applicant per vacancy, said the website Adzuna. Stoke-on-Trent and Sunderland had, respectively, 73 and 53 claimants per job. MORE

Pollster predicts first round win for Putin

A pollster with a good record of forecasting the results of Russian elections has predicted Vladimir Putin will win the first round of the upcoming presidential polls, securing more than half the vote and avoiding a runoff. The forecasts were based on a poll of 1,600 Russians. MORE

ENB artistic director Eagling to depart

The artistic director of the English National Ballet, Wayne Eagling, left – whose profile soared following a recent behind-the-scenes documentary – will leave the company at the end of its season in August.

First gay weddings may be held by 2015

Gay couples will win the right to marry, despite escalating opposition from some Conservative MPs and a former Archbishop of Canterbury, Downing Street has insisted. The legislation could be laid out in the Queen's speech this spring, with the first gay weddings to take place by 2015, but campaigners fear that strong opposition could push that date back. MORE

Charges after robbery leads to death

A man has been charged with manslaughter in the death of a grandmother, Nellie Geraghty, 79. She fell fighting to keep hold of her handbag, which contained the ashes of her husband, and died later in hospital. Mark Royle, 32, also faces robbery charges over the November incident.

Mubarak 'should get the death penalty'

The chief prosecutor in the trial of ex-Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak said the former president should be given the death penalty for the killings of protesters in last year's uprising. Mustafa Suleiman said Mr Mubarak authorised a shoot-to-kill policy against peaceful protesters. AP

Melting Danube ice causes river havoc

Giant chunks of melting ice broke free on the River Danube damaging boats and sinking one of Belgrade's floating nightclubs. The ice closed parts of the waterway as the region endured a sharp cold snap, but it starting shifting at the weekend because of rising temperatures. There were no reports of injuries. AP

Dolphins and whales 'need a bill of rights'

Whales and dolphins should be a given protection with a universal bill of rights, marine biologists and philosophers have said, due to research revealing that the sea mammals have developed highly-evolved behaviour. The findings suggest the animals should be classed as "non-human persons". MORE

Emu goes walkabout after farm escape

An emu is on the loose near Lake Champlain in Vermont. The 68kg flightless bird has been spotted wandering in the communities of Grand Isle and South Hero since it escaped from a farm five weeks ago. It was spotted again on Friday outside the South Hero elementary school, where it walked by the principal's office. AP

BBC's Waterloo Road school to be housing

Classrooms which formed part of the set for award-winning BBC1 drama Waterloo Road are being offered as temporary low-budget accommodation before they are demolished later this year. The former Hilltop Primary School in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, is to be knocked down for a housing development.

Hollywood warns art club over its 'Oskars'

A Polish art group is being forced to defend the name of its main award, the "People's Oskar," against a protest by organisers of the cinematic Oscars. The Polish Association of Folk Artists has received a complaint from the US Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences about its use of the Polish version of the name. AP

Smokers arrested at cannabis festival

Police in Nepal have arrested dozens of people for smoking cannabis at a religious festival where holy men had been given permission to indulge in the drug. Authorities said they had arrested 70 people, including "dozens of youths who took excessive marijuana", at the celebrations to mark the Hindu festival of Shivaratri.