The News Matrix: Wednesday 11 February 2015


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Miliband ‘snubbed business leaders’

Ed Miliband has been criticised for failing to attend yesterday’s annual conference of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC). The BCC’s director general called the Labour leader’s absence “disappointing”. Ed Balls, the shadow Chancellor, denied any intentional snub.

The catechism, by the bishop of bling

A cleric forced to resign after becoming known as the “Bishop of bling” for his lavish sending is reported to have a new job – preparing catechetical materials. “The post has the hallmarks of a ‘make-work’ job,” the RNS Religious News Service wrote.

Massacre teacher’s name being misused

The family of a teacher killed in the Sandy Hook school massacre has applied to trademark her name in an attempt to stop others from misusing it on social media. Victoria Soto was one of 26 people shot dead at the school in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012.

‘Outstanding’ ratings criticised by head

Ofsted should stop classifying schools as “outstanding” because they may fail to live up to their billing, a senior headteacher has claimed. Gary Phillips yesterday said there were 1,350 schools rated as “outstanding” which had not seen an inspector since 2009.

Russia plans to build nuclear power plant

President Vladimir Putin and Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi said yesterday the two countries plan to build Egypt’s first nuclear power plant on the Mediterranean coast west of Alexandria.

Capita accused by smaller firms

The government contractor Capita has been hit by allegations that it exploited its dominant position at the expense of the small suppliers it works with, resulting in some of them going out of business, i can reveal. The outsourcer is facing an investigation into claims including paying invoices late, taking excessive fees and preventing small businesses getting government work.

Couple on trial over ‘stolen’ Picassos

A former electrician and his wife who kept 271 works of art by Picasso for decades went on trial yesterday accused of possessing stolen goods. Pierre Le Guennec and his wife, Danielle, claim that the artist, or his wife, gave them the works, whose estimated worth is £45m-£74m.

Regulation ‘leaves trains crowded’

Price controls have increased demand for certain services leading to overcrowding on rush-hour trains, according to a new report. The Institute of Economic Affairs criticised the “harmful effects” of the Government’s regulation of fares.

Bishops’ mansions ‘far too opulent’

The Church of England was accused of being “lavish” and “opulent” in its spending as it emerged that the average value of a bishop’s home is more £2.25m. Warwickshire Labour councillor Samuel Margrave questioned the Church’s General Synod over the spending.

Australia a notable addition to 2015 final

Australia will compete in the live final of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has revealed. The entry has yet to be unveiled but the EBU has confirmed that it will join the 39 other nations competing in Vienna in May. The competition is celebrating its 60th edition this year.

Lazio lays claim to origins of pizza

Pizza, the pride and joy of Naples cuisine, actually originated in a town in the neighbouring region of Lazio, a food historian has claimed. The earliest use of the word pizza has been found in church records in Gaeta, Lazio, as part of a Dark Ages rent agreement in 997AD, according to researcher Giuseppe Nocca.

Wilson updates classic ‘Katy’ novel

The bestselling author Jacqueline Wilson has penned a modern version of the classic Victorian children’s novel What Katy Did. Dame Jacqueline has taken on the 1872 tale by Sarah Chauncey Woolsey, who used the pen name Susan Coolidge. The new novel, Katy, will be published by Puffin in July.

‘Spitting Image’ team reunite for new show

Some of the cast and crew who made Spitting Image a hit have been reunited for a new prime time puppet show promising a “biting look at the world of politics and celebrity”. ITV’s six-part series, called Newzoids, will include impressions by Jon Culshaw and Debra Stephenson.

Spider-Man to have superhero sidekick

For five films and almost 15 years, Spider-Man has spun a solitary web, without a sidekick to share his adventures. Now, under a  new deal between Sony  Pictures Entertainment and Marvel Studios, Peter Parker is set to join the home of Iron Man, Captain American and the Hulk.