The News Matrix: Tuesday 29 March 2011

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Top scientist calls for probe into bee killer

Professor Robert Watson, chief scientific adviser at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, has initiated his own inquiry into the effect of “neonicotinoid” pesticides, which work by poisoning the nervous system of insects, on bees. MORE

Female engineer wins top prize

Engineer Michelle McDowell, 47, the driving force behind the £70m redevelopment of the Royal Albert Hall, has been named Veuve Clicquot Businesswoman of the Year. “It’s a huge personal honour,” she said. MORE

Drug profits ‘should go to communities’

In a report commissioned by the Home Office, Baroness Newlove – whose husband, Garry, was kicked to death by young thugs outside their home – yesterday called for drug dealers’ money to be given to neighbourhoods blighted by crime. MORE

Berlusconi in court for tax evasion case

Silvio Berlusconi appeared before an Italian judge for the first time in four years yesterday, to argue that he should not face tax evasion charges. MORE

£1m appeal to save ‘jewel of Snowdonia’

The National Trust has launched a £1m appeal to help save what has been described as one of the most iconic views in Wales. Llyndy Isaf is also known as Snowdonia’s “jewel in the crown’’. MORE

Violent protests greet Sian accused

Angry scenes erupted yesterday as the man accused of the murder of Sian O’Callaghan appeared in court in Swindon. A police convoy was attacked as Christopher Halliwell, 47, appeared in open court for the first time since being charged. MORE

Tiger population leaps back in India

India’s latest tiger census has shown that the population of the endangered big cats is rising. Rangers counted at least 1,706 tigers in forests throughout the country – about 300 more than four years ago.

Arts bodies braced for huge budget cuts

Arts institutions – including Derby Theatre, Birmingham Royal Ballet and Northern Ballet – are preparing for the worst before tomorrow’s announcement of swingeing Arts Council cuts.

Merkel blames poll defeat on Japan crisis

Angela Merkel yesterday blamed the Fukushima nuclear crisis in Japan for her party’s drubbing in key local elections at the weekend. The German Chancellor said her conservative and liberal coalition had suffered from people’s increased concern about the safety of nuclear power in the state of Baden-Württemberg. MORE

Plutonium found in soil at Fukushima

More radioactive water poured out of Fukushima nuclear power station yesterday, as scientists detected plutonium in soil samples taken nearby. But the plant’s owner insisted the amounts involved were very small and not a public health risk. MORE

Republicans find a new Sarah Palin

She’s a darling of the right-wing tea-party, pro-oil industry, pro-gun and anti-healthcare bill and she may declare herself as a candidate for next year’s US presidential election. But she’s not Sarah Palin. Is Michele Bachmann about to ignite the floundering Republican race for the White House? MORE

‘Potato thieves’ arrested

Nine Bulgarians accused of crossing the border to steal potatoes from fields at night have been arrested. The five men and four women were detained while loading 800kg on to a truck.

Super Glue inventor loses grip on life

Harry Wesley Coover Jr, known as the inventor of Super Glue, has died at the age of 94. Mr Coover was working for Tennessee’s Eastman Company, a division of Eastman Kodak, when an accident led to the discovery of the adhesive.

Life imitates art – Montana style

A Radio Shack store in Montana is offering would-be satellite television customers more bang for their buck. The Ravalli Republic newspaper reports that customers who sign up for Dish Network packages at Radio Shack in Hamilton will receive a coupon for a pistol or shotgun.

Lord Archer to sell Bannister watch

The novelist and former MP Lord Archer is selling more than 100 works of art at an auction which is expected to raise about £5m. Among the lots being offered at Christie’s in London on 27 June is the stopwatch used to record Roger Bannister’s first sub-four minute mile in 1954.

With these handcuffs I thee arrest

A “bride and groom” were led away in handcuffs from Leeds Town Hall yesterday by police and UK Border Agency staff who had raided a wedding service as part of an investigation into sham marriages, detaining the wedding party. MORE

Chelsea boat village for sale at £4.75m

London’s most exclusive “floating village” alongside Cheyne Walk in Chelsea is to be put under the hammer for the first time in almost 80 years. The 59 houseboat moorings are expected to raise £4.75m when they are auctioned next month.

Women bare their literary aspirations

A new burlesque show entitled Naked Girls Reading has made its London debut. The performance, entitled “An Ode to London”, included material by Charles Dickens and Virginia Woolf, read by nude performers at a venue inDalston, east London.

Naked she-vampires to test star wrestler

Wrestler El Santo beat mummies, Martians, werewolves and zombies in a 40-year career that won him cult status with film lovers. In a previously unscreened film, showing at the Guadalajara Film Festival, he takes on a new foe: naked she-vampires.