The News Matrix: Tuesday 28 October 2014


UK goes backwards on gender equality

The UK is no longer one of the top 20 most gender-equal countries in the world, new analysis has found. World Economic Forum experts say the UK has dropped to 26th place in the list of societies where women and men have the most equitable life chances in education, work and health. Last year it was ranked 18th in the Global Gender Gap Report.

Even new world war could not curb boom

A planet-wide conflict that claimed as many lives as the two world wars combined would hardly make any difference to the world’s exploding population, according to a study. It is so out of control that restrictions on childbirth, pandemics or war would not make it manageable.

Prosecutors plan Pistorius appeal

South African prosecutors will appeal against the culpable homicide verdict and five-year jail sentence passed on Oscar Pistorius last week. Pistorius killed his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day last year by firing four 9mm rounds into the locked door of a toilet cubicle.

Cantlie video says battle ‘nearly over’

The British hostage John Cantlie has appeared in a new video released by Islamic State militants in which he speaks from Kobani and says that the battle for the Syrian Kurdish town is “nearly over”. It is the fifth video to be released featuring the British photojournalist.

Death row inmate sues over solitary

Virginia is to rule on automatically keeping death row inmates in solitary confinement, after a lawsuit was filed by an inmate in California. Alfredo Prieto has spent most of the last six years alone in a 71-square-foot cell at the Sussex I state prison, awaiting his death sentence.

Boko Haram in new wave of kidnappings

The country’s ceasefire with militant group Boko Haram appears to have broken down. Dozens of teenagers and young women have been taken since the truce was declared last week. Human Rights Watch has released a report on the experiences of former hostages.

Doctor ‘was killed’  in Syrian prison

The family of a doctor who died in a Syrian prison have hailed a jury’s verdict that he was unlawfully killed. Abbas Khan, 32, died last year while in custody in Damascus. A jury found Dr Khan “was deliberately killed”.

More bow out of Scottish Labour race

Jenny Marra and Kezia Dugdale have confirmed that they will not be putting themselves forward to lead the Scottish Labour party, following the resignation of Johann Lamont. Deputy leader Anas Sarwar has ruled himself out of the race, as has welfare spokeswoman Jackie Baillie.

First alcohol-free whisky on market

A US-based company has created an alcohol-free halal whisky. ArKay, the Florida-based company which has produced the drink, says it’s ideal for those with medical conditions or religious beliefs that forbid alcohol, and that it looks and tastes exactly like whisky. It will be sold in the UK for £10 a bottle from December.

MTV to recognise songs with a message

A new “socially focused” award for songs that carry a message is to be presented for the first time at the MTV Europe Music Awards in Glasgow next month. The “best song with a message” category has been created to “recognise songs that have an empowering impact on young people”, the music channel said.

Taxi-ing times: cab firm offers therapy

A Stockholm taxi company is to send therapists out with its drivers to help travellers talk through their problems on their journey.

Stockholm residents can book the three available therapy taxis with Taxi Stockholm in advance and spend as long as they like chatting to a licensed therapist.