The News Matrix: Tuesday 9 December 2014

 

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The Independent Online

Gambian diplomats in tobacco scam

A group of Gambian diplomats who ran a tax-free tobacconist from their London embassy are facing jail after seven staff members “systematically abused” diplomatic tax exemptions to order 29 tons of rolling tobacco in just three years, Southwark Crown Court heard.

Jehovah’s Witness’s son can have blood

A High Court judge has ruled that the son of two devout Jehovah’s Witnesses can be given a blood transfusion despite his parents’ objections. Mr Justice Moylan was told by doctors that the “very young” boy had suffered severe burns and may need a blood transfusion.

Uber taxis banned in Delhi over rape case

Delhi has banned the taxi-hailing smartphone app Uber after a woman in the city was allegedly raped by one of its drivers. The scandal is just the latest to hit the fast-rising company, which has faced accusations worldwide that it flouts local regulations.

Gene therapy used to restore sight

Scientists have partially restored the sight of mice and dogs suffering from a form of inherited blindness using a gene-therapy technique to replace the lost light-sensitive cells. The findings suggest there could one day be an effective treatment to help those with retinitis pigmentosa.

Los Angeles inferno destroys building

Two raging fires in Los Angeles destroyed a massive residential complex under construction, heavily damaged a building undergoing renovations, and snarled rush-hour traffic yesterday.

Calls for register of all landlords

Campaigners have called for a national register of landlords in a bid to drive out rogue and amateur operators. The boom in buy-to-let mortgages has given rise to a generation of novice landlords, a new report released today by Shelter and British Gas has warned. More than one in four landlords have no previous experience of letting out a property, says the report.

Suspected gays dragged from bath

Security forces raided a bath house and arrested 25 men suspected of homosexuality, dragging them naked out of the building in Cairo. Last month a court convicted eight men on charges of “inciting debauchery” following their appearance in an alleged same-sex wedding party.

Tombs desecrated in Jewish cemetery 

Members of the Jewish community are denouncing the desecration of about a dozen tombs at a Jewish cemetery. The president of the delegation of Israeli Argentine associations in Santiago del Estero said the damage on the tombs was an act of “unprecedented scorn”.

First Batmobile sells for $137,000

The original Batmobile has fetched $137,000 (£87,000) at auction, despite a buyer paying $4.2m (£2.6m) last year for another version of the car built for the 1960s Batman TV show starring Adam West. The sale of the original was the first time that the 1963 vehicle was sold since it was cast off and forgotten decades ago.

How would you like Rudolph cooked?

The Khublai Khan Mongolian barbecue restaurant in Edinburgh has a billboard stating: “Warning! Santa will not arrive this year... as we have Rudolph and his mates” – to promote its winter special. The delicacy has been popular with diners but some parents have said the sign will upset children.

Daredevil panics as snake ‘eats him’ 

A conservationist who volunteered to be “eaten alive” by an anaconda for TV failed to go through with the stunt. Wearing a “snake-proof” suit and helmet, Paul Rosolie attempted to enter it head-first. But the 30-year-old panicked as the snake’s jaws descended on his shoulders and called to his team to get him out.

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