The News Matrix: Tuesday 8 February 2011

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The Independent Online

Troublemakers may lose their passports

Controversial Asbos may be replaced with new powers for the police to confiscate passports and other possessions such as iPods from troublemakers, as the coalition government looks to overhaul the way it tackles anti-social behaviour. MORE

Widow kills herself over envoy shooting

The widow of a man killed by an American official in Lahore, Pakistan, has killed herself in protest that the man, Raymond Davis, may be granted diplomatic immunity and avoid a trial in the case. Shumaila Kanwal, 18, told doctors she had swallowed insecticide. MORE

Fatality luge run was known to be a danger

Officials at last year’s winter Olympics in Vancouver had been warned that the luge run, on which Georgian Nodar Kumaritashvili was killed hours before the opening ceremony, was dangerous almost a year before the games began. MORE

Obama in plea to corporate America

Barack Obama has launched a major charm offensive aimed at corporate America, which is yet to be persuaded by the president’s plans to stimulate growth. MORE

Labour ‘sabotaging’ electoral reform Bill

Labour have been accused of trying to sabotage electoral reform after peers voted to make this May’s referendum binding only if turnout was above 40 per cent. The move was backed by 219 votes to 218, after 10 Tory peers voted in favour of the measure. MORE

Cameron defends the Big Society

David Cameron thinks the public is confusing his ideas on the Big Society and NHS reorganisation with public sector cuts and is expected to deliver a Tony Blair “scars on my back” style speech expressing his frustration with bureaucracy. MORE

MP’s wife pleads not guilty to burglary

The wife of an MP has pleaded not guilty to burgling the home of her husband’s lover and stealing a kitten. Christine Hemming, the 52-year-old wife of Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming said: “Apologies to the public purse, but I am not guilty.” MORE

M25 project could cost an extra £1bn

MPs have criticised the Highways Agency for mishandling a project to tackle congestion on Britain’s busiest motorway at a potential extra cost of £1bn. They described the agency’s cost estimations for a 30-year, £3.4bn private finance contract for widening the M25 as “poor”

‘People’ journalist jailed for fraud

A former sports editor was jailed yesterday after defrauding a national newspaper of more than £370,000. For eight years Lee Horton used his position at The People to defraud owners Trinity Mirror. He invented 1,690 claims by contributors, knowing the relatively small amounts would not be referred to bosses. MORE

Head says bigger classes are better

A junior school head whose pupils are intentionally being taught in classes of more than 50 claims the youngsters are benefiting. John Starling of Bure Valley School in Aylsham, Norfolk, began super-sizing classes nearly two years ago and says pupils show good progress.

Thousands attend speed-eating contest

On your marks, get set, stuff your face. About 7,500 people took part in Saturday’s annual Krispy Kreme Challenge in Raleigh, North Carolina, where competitors run for two miles, eat a dozen doughnuts and then run back along the same two miles.

Prized horses used in beauty pageants

Once prized by Alexander the Great for their speed, Turkmenistan’s thoroughbred horses are being groomed for a series of beauty contests, ordered by President Berdymukhamedov. He decreed the horses will “promote the glory of the heavenly racehorse worldwide”. REUTERS

Fighting cancer with Salmonella

Salmonella may soon be fighting illness rather than causing it, doctors hope. Patients could one day be told to swallow the bacteria as part of anti-viral treatments, while scientists also hope it could one day help fight some forms of cancer.

Snake on the train found on subway

Officials say a 3-foot long boa constrictor which slithered from its owner on a Boston subway car a month ago was found on an adjoining car. A commuter spotted Penelope and alerted an attendant. Train attendant, Sharon Lynch, a snake owner herself, caught the snake.

Divorcée ‘buttered’ ex-husband to death

An Italian divorcee and her new lover are accused of killing her ex-husband by suffocating him with a block of butter shoved down his throat. They had apparently hoped the evidence would melt away, investigators said. They told Sicilian authorities Calogero Lo Coco, 40, attacked them.

Royal portrait a Sunday roast

A pub chain has unveiled a bizarre portrait of Prince William and Kate Middleton made using only the ingredients found in a roast dinner. Crown Carveries enlisted food artist Prudence Staite to create the image.