The News Matrix: Tuesday 21 October 2014


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The Independent Online

Doctors drafted in to head off A&E crisis

Dozens of doctors from abroad have been enlisted in to help NHS hospitals head off a winter crisis, Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, will announce today. The move comes amid fears among ministers that accident and emergency units could find it difficult to cope if the UK is hit by prolonged cold weather or a serious outbreak of flu or a vomiting bug.

Britain could face power shortages

The National Grid is just “one unexpected event” away from being forced to restrict energy use, the UK’s leading energy analyst has warned. Liberum Capital analyst Peter Atherton said a spate of accidents at UK power stations have left five plants out of action.

Nigeria free of virus as EU talks begin

Nigeria was declared free of Ebola by the World Health Organisation yesterday, while dozens were taken off a watchlist in the United States after coming into contact with a man who died of the disease. The EU began talks on ways to combat the spread of the disease.

Greens overtake  Lib Dems in poll

The Greens have overtaken the Lib Dems in the latest poll. Research for Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft put the party on a new high of 8 per cent – just ahead of the Lib Dems on 7 per cent. It is likely to fuel calls for the Greens to be included in pre-election television debates.

Leaders to discuss  national policy

China’s leaders began a four-day conclave yesterday to discuss policy. It is thought they will discuss the rule of law, a tricky topic for the ruling Communist Party, which operates above the law.  Experts are sceptical that the talks will lead to significant change.

Bank of England computers disrupted

Thousands of property purchases were thrown into turmoil yesterday as the Bank of England system used to transfer hundreds of billions of payments between lenders was hit by a technical glitch. Homebuyers and sellers were left in limbo, unable to complete transactions.

Ministers quit amid claims of corruption

Japan’s prime minister Shinzo Abe apologised after two of his female ministers resigned following accusations of corruption over political donations.  Justice minister Midori Matsushima was accused of distributing paper fans worth 80 yen (about 50p) to voters.

Jihadis given jobs instead of jail time

Denmark is taking a novel approach to dealing with returning jihadis fighting in Iraq and Syria, providing therapy and jobs rather than jail time. Officials say the methods are bringing down the number of Danish militants abroad, one of the highest per capita.

Shedding light on life of Dylan Thomas

A week-long Dylan Thomas in Fitzrovia festival beginning today will commemorate the period during the 1940s and 1950s when the poet became a regular BBC broadcaster and a fixture in London’s bohemian bars. Visitors will be invited to step inside a replica of Thomas’s famous writing shed.

Prozac affects birds’ appetite for mating

Birds may experience the adverse effects of antidepressant drugs, says an expert who examined the impact of Prozac on starlings. Dr Kathryn Arnold claims it changes the birds’ interest in mating. “Females who’d been on it were not interested in the male birds we introduced them to,” she said.

Man claims iPhone caught fire in pocket

An American man claims his new iPhone 6 “caught on fire”, burning through his jeans and injuring his leg during a rickshaw accident. According to an account on his blog, Phillip Lechter and his family were not thrown out of the cart but it rocked, bending Mr Lechter’s phone as he was slammed into the side.

Stars voice album  of seasonal poetry

Screen stars such as Joanna Lumley and Jim Broadbent are hoping to take the words of Shakespeare, Wordsworth and Blake into the album charts. They are among stars who have given their voices to an album of seasonal poetry set to classical music, called Christmas Words for You, released next month.

Carb loading: loaf weighs in at 1 ton

Bakers in Thessaloniki have made a giant “koulouri,” a ring bread similar to a bagel, around the city’s medieval White Tower.

The bread, 165 metres (540 feet) in diameter, weighed 1.35 tons before baking. A “koulouri” is a staple snack, sold mostly by street vendors, of Turkish provenance, found throughout the Balkans.