Schools inspectors to visit ‘on spec’
Inspectors will drop in on schools “on spec” after claims that heads send home disruptive pupils and poor teachers on scheduled inspection days. The spot-checks will be introduced by Education Secretary Michael Gove to improve behaviour. MORE
Obama declares his intention to stand
Barack Obama intends to seek a second term as US president. His position has been strengthened by the lack of a credible Republican challenge. MORE
Making a condition you can’t refuse
It’s not a good lawyer you need as an Italian Mob boss facing the courts, but a corrupt doctor, a new book has claimed. Mafia chiefs have long sought advice on how to convince expert witnesses they are suffering from conditions to avoid jail terms. MORE
G20 victim’s family protest at police
Relatives of the newspaper seller who died after he was pushed over at the G20 protests walked out of his inquest yesterday after the police officer responsible for the shove said he wanted to “help the family”. MORE
Gaddafi’s son said to be ready to do a deal
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the Libyan leader’s second son, is trying to strike a deal with rebel leaders. Sources say Saif, acting through middlemen, has been stressing his past links with senior members of the provisional administration in Benghazi. MORE
Disaffected youths ‘key to rise in attacks’
Disaffected young people are playing a key role in the increase in dissident Republican violence that led to Pc Ronan Kerr’s death, Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson said, as it emerged the officer was killed by a lunch box-sized bomb. MORE
Grim find for robots in wreckage hunt
Bodies still sitting strapped into their seats have been found by underwater robots hunting for the wreckage of a Paris-bound flight from Rio de Janeiro, which crashed almost two years ago. French authorities say they are confident that the so-called “black box” flight recorders will also be found. MORE
Katie Price demands Channel 4 apology
Katie Price has attacked the media regulator for failing to demand that Channel 4 broadcast an apology for remarks made by comedian Frankie Boyle about her disabled son, Harvey. Ofcom upheld 500 complaints, but did not demand an apology. MORE
Mother of ‘Friday’ star may sue
The mother of Rebecca Black, who shot to fame singing “Friday”, is considering taking legal action against the production company that created her video.
Nuns urge Goldman to cut executives’ pay
Goldman Sachs has developed a Teflon-like reputation for avoiding censure. But the bank, described as a Vampire Squid by Rolling Stone magazine, may have met its match in a group of nuns who are calling for it to reduce pay for top executives. MORE
Sweeney may have killed more women
Police believe that at least three more women could have been killed by John Sweeney, who was yesterday convicted of murdering two of his former girlfriends, Melissa Halstead and Paula Fields. MORE
Joyce joy for singer Kate Bush
Reclusive singer Kate Bush has been given the go-ahead to use the text of James Joyce’s Ulysses for a song, more than 20 years after asking. The singer, who next month returns with her first album for six years, was originally prevented from using the Irish writer’s words.
Inmates charged with drug painting
Three inmates and their loved ones have been charged with attempting to smuggle drugs into a New Jersey jail on the pages of a children’s colouring book, say authorities. The drug, suboxone, was made into a paste and then painted into the colouring book.
Lucy, the Blue Peter retriever, dies
Blue Peter presenters were mourning the death of programme pet Lucy the golden retriever yesterday. She appeared on the show for 12 years and alongside 12 of the hosts of the BBC1 series. The programme paid tribute by screening her career highlights on yesterday’s show.
Gallagher’s band release charity disc
Liam Gallagher’s new band, Beady Eye, are to release a cover of Beatles classic “Across the Universe” to help with disaster relief in Japan. The group performed the song at a fundraising show in London last night, a day after recording the track. MORE
Arnie finally gets a little animated
Arnold Schwarzenegger says his new TV persona is a “superheroic guy” who gets things done without the constraints of laws that thwart his action. The action star-turned-California governor says “The Governator is an animated TV show that’s a funny, action-packed, crime-fighting fantasy.”
Packham calls for fewer children
BBC presenter Chris Packham has courted controversy by calling for parents to have fewer children, saying smaller families should get tax breaks. The Springwatch star also said, in an interview with the Radio Times, that parents had no excuse not to cook their offspring “a proper meal”.
Oxford beats rival Cambridge again
Oxford University widened its lead over rival Cambridge last night after claiming its 15th win on the BBC quiz show University Challenge. Magdalen College took the final by a margin of 205 points, scoring 290 points to York University’s 85.
Top Gear Mexican jibes ‘not racist’
A Top Gear episode which poked fun at Mexicans has been cleared of wrongdoing by the broadcasting watchdog. The BBC presenters branded Mexicans “lazy”, “feckless” and “flatulent”, but Ofcom said the show was well known for its “outspoken humour”.
Biggest jewellery fair is robbed
Thieves stole four diamonds worth several million pounds from a trader’s stand at the world’s biggest watch-and-jewellery fair in Basel last week. Three men distracted the staff by discussing sales, while others opened the showcase.