The News Matrix: Tuesday 23 December 2014


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Jim Murphy appeals for £1m in donations

Jim Murphy, Labour’s newly elected Scottish leader, has appealed for £1m of donations to help the party hold on to would-be SNP supporters. It is the first time that the MP has spoken openly about the struggle ahead, as Labour prepares to campaign in the run-up to the 2015 elections.

Man drives van into  crowd at market

At least 10 people were injured yesterday evening when a man drove a van into a crowded Christmas market in Nantes, western France. Five people, including the driver, suffered serious injuries and one of the victims was in a critical condition, police said.

Family survives 10 days in wilderness

Two brothers aged five and seven were recovering in a hospital yesterday after surviving with their father for 10 days in the remote Expedition National Park. Steven Van Lonkhuyzen took a wrong turn during a family road trip. They were found by a farmer.

Call for ban on Taser stun guns

Campaigners have called for a ban on the use of Taser stun guns by police after a man died after being hit with a 50,000-volt shock during a suspected burglary yesterday. “Excessive use of force by police is causing deaths,” said Sophie Khan at the Police Action Centre.

Mayor criticised for not backing police

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, who came to office promising reform of the police department, is facing criticism in the wake of the death of two officers that he has not done enough to support the force.

MP asks for review of suspicious deaths

A Labour MP has urged police to investigate two suspicious murder cases linked to child abuse rings. John Mann, who named 22 politicians as suspected child sex abusers, identified two potential whistleblowers as Bulic Forsythe, a civil servant who was beaten to death in 1993, and a caretaker who was killed after claiming to have films of child abuse “parties”.

Neo-fascists arrested on terror charges

Police arrested 14 people yesterday they said were members of a neo-fascist movement that was planning attacks on politicians, prosecutors and police. The suspects were rounded up in raids on charges including attempted terrorism and attempted subversion of democracy.

Coca-Cola cuts the voicemail chatter

Coca-Cola yesterday became one of the largest companies to push staff towards switching off voicemail in order to streamline operations. The US soft drinks giant said almost all employees at its Atlanta headquarters would now receive messages only via text or email.

Christmas lights controlled by tweets

Twitter users can control the lights on a Christmas display in New Jersey. Tweets will illuminate a three-metre tree, menorah and over 1,000 LEDs at Oxford Communications in Lambertville. Tweet #brilliant #twinkle to  @OXmas_Tree to turn on the lights and #figgypudding to turn them off.

Ukik app branded ‘pathetic’ by Farage

Ukik, an app in which “Nicholas Fromage” kicks immigrants off the White Cliffs of Dover, has been criticised by Nigel Farage. The Ukip leader said the game, developed by sixth-formers from Canterbury Academy, was “pathetic”. School principal Phil Karnavas said it was “traditional British satire”.

It must be a  spec-tacular read

Literary thriller The Miniaturist has been voted the best book of the year in a Specsavers poll. The novel, by Jessie Burton, tells the story of a modern-day heroine in 17th-century Amsterdam. “This has been a life-transforming year,” said Burton at the awards ceremony. “I am indebted forever to the voting public.”

Oldest zoo gorilla celebrates her 58th

Colo, the first gorilla born in a zoo, celebrated her 58th birthday yesterday with a cake and a live online broadcast. Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Columbus, Ohio, said Colo, a western lowland gorilla, enjoyed a cake made of peanut butter, apple sauce, honey, shredded carrot and Greek yogurt icing.

Chips and mayo assault on Michel

Anti-austerity protesters splattered Belgium’s Prime Minister Charles Michel yesterday with a helping of the national dish – chips and mayo. A spokesman for Mr Michel said the premier would not be pressing charges, and would  not comment on the breach  of security.