The News Matrix: Tuesday 27 January 2015


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Grayling told to call off Saudi prison deal

Human rights campaigners have demanded Chris Grayling abandon a Government bid to advise Saudi Arabia on running its jail system. Amnesty International protested last night to the Justice Secretary, warning the move risked giving a “British stamp of approval” to degrading practices in Saudi jails. The Ministry of Justice is bidding for a £5.9m Saudi contract.

Ambulance services to get an £11m boost

Struggling ambulance services will receive an £11m funding boost from the Welsh Government, the Health and Social Services Minister Mark Drakeford will announce today. The Welsh Government has also approved £3m capital funding for 17 new ambulances.

Former child soldier appears before ICC

Dominic Ongwen, a former child soldier who rose through the ranks of Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army rebel group, appeared in The Hague yesterday charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity. He also faces counts of murder, enslavement and pillage.

Rise in ‘lookalikes’ taking driving tests

Rising numbers of learner drivers are being caught trying to cheat on their tests by hiring lookalikes, according to government figures. A total of 677 cases of impersonators sitting theory and practical exams were reported from April 2014 to the end of December.

Drone crashes in White House grounds

A small drone crashed early yesterday morning at the White House while the President was in India. Investigators were working to determine its origin and identify suspects. The quadcopter was flying at a low altitude before it crashed at 3.08am.

US closes embassy as turmoil continues

The United States is closing its embassy in Yemen to the public until further notice amid political turmoil after the government of President Abd-Rabbuh Mansour Hadi resigned under pressure from the Iranian-allied Houthi rebel movement.

Ministers backtrack on fracking loophole

Anti-fracking campaigners including Dame Vivienne Westwood gathered at Westminster yesterday where the Government capitulated to demands made by Labour to close 13 regulatory fracking “loopholes”.

Phones and flash drives found in cells

The Paris prosecutor’s office says authorities have found phones, USB flash drives and other equipment during searches of about 80 prison cells of Islamic radicals after terrorist attacks earlier this month. Investigators are analysing the material found in the searches.

Naked violinist sues police over arrest

A man in Oregon arrested after playing a violin while naked outside the federal courthouse in Portland last year is suing police. Matthew  T Mglej, 25, claims authorities used excessive force and violated his  First Amendment rights and is seeking $1.1m (around £730,000)  in damages.

Punter wins £16,000 on £2 FA Cup bet

A football fan has pocketed £16,087 from a £2 bet after correctly predicting a string of unlikely results in the FA Cup. Rosie Leigh, 29, from Hackney forecast that Bradford would beat Chelsea, Manchester City would lose to Middlesbrough, and wins for Leicester, Crystal Palace and Reading.

Burglar falls into long arm of the law

Authorities say a man’s plans to break into a store in Houston, Texas, fell through after he crashed through the ceiling and landed in front of police. After making his way into the shop by climbing a tree, the man fell through the ceiling just as a police officer arrived in response to a call about a potential burglary.

Handywoman hired to fix council failures

A fed-up businesswoman angry at cuts being made to council services has taken matters into her own hands by employing a handywoman to do jobs in the area. Ling Valentine, 41, has employed Clare Honey, 40, on a £16,000 salary to do “absolutely anything that needs doing in Grange Villa in County Durham.

Island sale: there’s no place like Holm

A Scottish island has gone on the market for a modest £350,000 – less than the price of a one-bedroom London flat. The desolate Holm of Huip, situated off the coast of Stronsay, in the Orkney Islands, has no electricity, running water or habitable buildings but offers idyllic beaches and complete privacy.