The News Matrix: Tuesday 27 March 2012


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BMW to recall more than 100,000 cars

BMW is recalling more than 100,000 cars in the UK because of a battery problem which could, in extreme cases, cause a fire. The German car firm said it was recalling 1.3 million cars around the world after the problem came to light through "continuous testing" and customer complaints.

Activists appeal over video convictions

Six Zimbabwean activists convicted of conspiring to commit violence for watching videos of Arab uprisings are appealing their conviction and sentences. Their lawyer will argue that if the group did actually plot violence at a meeting in February 2011, they should have been prosecuted for treason.

Funding scandal bad news for Sarkozy

President Nicolas Sarkozy's re-election bid has been mired in controversy after a judge uncovered evidence suggesting his successful 2007 campaign received €800,000 (£669,000) in illegal funding. The payments were allegedly made by billionaire heiress Liliane Bettencourt. MORE

Teachers may strike over new pay scales

Teachers have warned that potential plans to remove national pay scales and replace them with regional pay agreements, as announced in last week's Budget, may lead to strike action. There are worries that the plans might result in salary cuts for teachers in poorer areas.

Looting accused had 'poor mental health'

A student accused of driving around looters during the London riots has told a court her mental health was "worse than ever" before the riots. Laura Johnson, from Orpington, Kent, denies three counts of burglary.

British tourist begged for life, but was shot

A British tourist cried for his life as his friend was shot, then was gunned down himself in a Florida housing project last April, a court heard yesterday. Shawn Tyson, who is accused of killing James Kouzaris, 24, from Northampton, and James Cooper, 25, from Hampton Lucy, allegedly told a friend that he had tried to rob the men but when they did not have any money, he shot them.

Obama attack casts shadow on summit

Concerns over the nuclear programme of North Korea cast a shadow over the start of an international nuclear security summit in Seoul yesterday. US President Barack Obama inveighed against Pyongyang's plans to launch a long-range rocket next month. MORE

Grade commissioned TV hit in 'the loo'

The BBC is too bureaucratic, the former chairman of the BBC, Michael Grade has said. Criticising the corporation for not allowing people to trust their instincts, he said that one of his decisions as BBC1 Controller in the 1980s included commissioning The Singing Detective "in the loo".

Strauss-Kahn faces further questioning

French authorities are questioning Dominique Strauss-Kahn in a probe into a suspected prostitution ring. Investigating judges are deciding whether to file preliminary charges against the former International Monetary Fund chief, according to judicial sources.

Drinking guidelines 'don't go far enough'

Drinking guidelines are to be reviewed. The advice says women should drink no more than two to three units of alcohol a day while men should consume no more than three or four, but it has been criticised for failing to suggest alcohol-free days.

Cannibal killer ate victims' livers

A cannibal killer cut up his victims and ate their livers before burying the remains. Alexander Bychkov, 24, from Penza in central Russia, confessed to the crime when being questioned by police as a suspect in an armed robbery.

Chocolate 'helps keep people slim'

Regular chocolate consumption could actually help keep you slim, new research suggests. Participants in a US study of 972 men and women with an average age of 57 who ate chocolate on more days of the week than average had a lower body mass index (BMI), but the effect was modest.

Hitler shampoo ad sparks outrage

A shampoo advert featuring Adolf Hitler has outraged Turkey's small Jewish community. The TV commercial contains footage of the Nazi leader, dubbed in Turkish, saying: "If you are not wearing women's dress, you shouldn't be using women's shampoo either!" There have been calls to ban it.

Critic brushes off conceptual art

A leading museum boss has attacked the art of conceptual artists such as Damien Hirst, warning investment in their work is a waste of money. Julian Spalding says the art of Hirst and others in the movement should be known as "con art" for another reason. MORE

Agent Vinod not licensed to thrill

A film labelled as India's answer to James Bond has been banned in Pakistan. Censors said the plot of "Agent Vinod", in which Pakistani generals encourage terrorist attacks against India, was too "negative". MORE

Wet Wet Wet treat fans to reunion gig

Former chart-toppers Wet Wet Wet will perform a one-off outdoor concert this summer to mark the band's 25th anniversary. The show, fronted by lead singer and 1980s pin-up Marti Pellow, will be held at Glasgow Green park, in Glasgow, making it the Scottish band's first gig in almost five years.

Man floating on air after crossing ocean

A Hungarian has become the first person to paddle across the Atlantic Ocean in a canoe. Gabor Rakonczay, 30, started in Portugal in December and had a brief stop at the Canary Islands before reaching Antigua. He spent 50 of the 76 days without any outside communication.

Many hands make fast work

More than 100 people gathered in Tokyo yesterday to battle for the title of Japan's fastest hands, competing to stack a set of plastic cups into a pyramid in the shortest time possible. The winner, for the fourth year running, was teenager Sota Takamori, with a time of 1.93 seconds.