The News Matrix: Wednesday 11 May 2011

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The Independent Online

Families need tax breaks, says group

A think-tank has criticised the Coalition for failing to give tax breaks to married couples. The Centre for Social Justice – founded by Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith – said more needed to be done to prevent family breakdown.

Hunt speaks out against deaths

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt yesterday said the deaths at this year’s Grand National must not be allowed to happen again. Asked if it was time to “tame” the race, Mr Hunt said that “frustratingly” it was not in his remit to do so.

‘Violent predator killed Milly Dowler’

Milly Dowler was abducted “in the blink of an eye” by a violent predator who killed two other women, the Old Bailey has heard. Schoolgirl Milly, 13, was kidnapped in 2002. MORE

‘At least two killers’ in Long Island deaths

Police in Long Island who earlier this year rang the alarm about a possible serial killer preying on prostitutes and dumping their remains on a lonely beachside road now believe they are looking at the gruesome work of at least two murderers. MORE

Nuclear crisis sees expansion dropped

Japan will scrap a plan to increase nuclear power from 30 per cent to half of its energy source by 2030 as a result of its ongoing nuclear crisis. Prime Minister Naoto Kan said Japan needs to “start from scratch” on its long-term energy policy. MORE

Users’ data has been ‘leaked for years’

Data belonging to Facebook users, including profiles and photos, could have been leaked “for years” due to a technical glitch, a report has claimed. IT security firm Symantec claims that some applications were accidentally being handed a set of “spare keys” to users’ details. A Facebook spokeswoman said there was no evidence of any breach of privacy.

Shock at fight ‘may have killed woman’

A young woman may have died of sudden adult death syndrome after the shock of seeing her boyfriend attacked. An inquest heard Kirsty Thompson, 22, died in a Plymouth pub after Marc Couzens was subjected to an “unprovoked attack”.

Firm accused of bogus charity scams

An allegedly bogus charity company which collected goods in the name of “Bernardhos” have had their offices raided by consumer watchdogs. Sparco Ltd are also accused of delivering cash trawl bags with the name “Breast Cancer” on.

Clinton condemns China’s crackdown

The US has criticised China for its crackdown on dissidents after the passing of a legal deadline to charge or free artist Ai Weiwei. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described Beijing’s human-rights record as “deplorable”. MORE

MPs drop death sentence for gays

Proponents of anti-gay legislation in Uganda look set to lose the battle to introduce the death sentence. In its original form, the bill called for the death penalty for “serial offenders”. But one of the bill’s backers, the pastor Martin Ssempa, says this week that gays should be imprisoned. MORE

Strawberry Field gates replaced

Replica gates have been put on Liverpool’s Strawberry Field children’s home to protect it as a stop on the musical pilgrimage map. Time has taken its toll on the gates which will be put into storage. John Lennon’s memories of the home prompted his 1967 song “Strawberry Fields Forever”.

Carla absence fuels pregnancy rumour

The French first lady, Carla Bruni- Sarkozy, said yesterday that she would miss the opening of the Cannes film festival today for “personal and professional” reasons – re-igniting speculation that she is pregnant. Ms Bruni-Sarkozy has a role in Woody Allen’s film Midnight in Paris. MORE

Fergie felt hurt by royal wedding snub

The Duchess of York has admitted that not being invited to the royal wedding was “so difficult” to cope with. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey Sarah Ferguson was asked whether she felt hurt by the snub. “I wanted to be there with my girls... The last bride up that aisle was me,” she said.

Ex-foreign minister dies on Everest

A former Nepalese foreign minister has died while trying to be the oldest person to climb Everest. Shailendra Kumar Upadhyay, 82, below, was returning to base after feeling unwell. Companions gave him water and oxygen, but he died from what is believed to have been high-altitude sickness. MORE

Locals flee after quack predicts quake

Hundreds of thousands of locals have decided to vacate the Eternal City for 24 hours on the off-chance there might be an earthquake, despite the fact predictions of a disaster on 11 May 2011, attributed to a pseudo-scientist, Raffaele Bendandi, have been dismissed by public safety officials. MORE

Einstein documents uncovered in Britain

Documents related to Albert Einstein’s escape from Nazi Germany have been discovered and are to be exhibited. Papers, including the landing card that marked the scientist’s arrival in Dover on 26 May 1933, had been stored at Heathrow airport.

Pink Floyd to issue unheard tracks

Classic prog-rock band Pink Floyd will release dozens of previously unheard tracks when their 14-album back catalogue is revamped later this year. Their biggest-selling LP, Dark Side of the Moon, will be available in a six-CD box-set.