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The News Matrix: Wednesday 17 April 2013

Npower avoids tax for three years

Npower has not paid corporation tax for three years, the energy giant’s chief executive admitted to MPs yesterday. Paul Massara claimed that the tax avoidance was because of a “simple accounting UK rule”. Members of the Energy and Climate Change Committee criticised senior staff from the “big six” energy firms in a heated session at the House of Commons. MORE

Business challenges curriculum changes

Business leaders have thrown their weight behind critics of Education Secretary Michael Gove’s planned new curriculum by warning it will turn pupils off sciences. The Confederation of British Industry said plans for design and technology were “out of step with the needs of a modern economy”. MORE

Car bombings kill nine and wound 27

Two car bombings killed nine people and wounded 27 yesterday. Seven people died and 20 were wounded when a device exploded in Aziziyah, 35 miles south-east of Baghdad. Earlier, a car bomb killed two soldiers north of the capital. On Monday,  attacks across Iraq killed 55. MORE

Suart Hall denies child sex assaults

The broadcaster Stuart Hall has appeared in court over allegations of sex offences. The former It’s A Knockout star, 83, is accused of raping a woman in 1976 and sexual assaults on young girls. He was bailed until May and branded the allegations “spurious”.

Only ‘a moron in a hurry could mis-read tweet’

Sally Bercow, who is being sued by Lord McAlpine over an allegedly libellous tweet,  was not “some kitchen table blogger”, the High Court heard yesterday. The Tory peer’s QC said only “a moron in a hurry” would have failed to understand her message. MORE

Driver dies as British coach crashes in Alps

A coach carrying British seasonal ski workers home from the Alps crashed yesterday, killing the 64-year-old driver and badly injuring four other people. Three people were flown to hospital after the bus, with 53 people on board, slammed into a cliff on a bend. MORE

Violence leads to call for F1 cancellation

A spike in violence has led to calls for the Bahrain Grand Prix to be cancelled. Police fired tear gas to disperse protesters at a secondary school yesterday and British MPs have written to the F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone calling on him to cancel the race. MORE

Games cauldron loses out to website

The Olympic Cauldron, which enchanted audiences at the opening ceremony last summer, has lost the 2013 Design of the Year prize to the Government’s new website which, judges said, had “all the things that we would like to take for granted from the Government but, in a sea of red tape and jargon, usually can’t”. MORE

Train driver solves track leaves problem

A train driver has come up with a solution for preventing delays caused by leaves on the track – spraying the rails with water. Rene Slagter came up with the idea after learning that leaves were less likely to stick to wet tracks and more likely to disintegrate when trains drove over them. He has applied for a patent, according to reports in the Netherlands.

Measles epidemic spreads in Wales

A child is being diagnosed with measles every two hours in and around Swansea. The total number of cases is 765, with 77 hospitalised since the outbreak hit South Wales. Despite emergency vaccinations over Easter, the epidemic is not slowing. Parents who chose not to get their children vaccinated are urged to act now.

Richardson attacks British attitudes

The chairwoman of this year’s Women’s Prize for Fiction has attacked critics of Hilary Mantel’s awards success. Miranda Richardson, the actress, said: “In Britain you hear, ‘You’ve already had too much, you can’t have any more’.” Mantel, below, is on the six-strong shortlist for what was previously known as the Orange Prize. MORE

Playboy not welcome in Goa

Plans to open India’s first Playboy club have been rejected by state officials in Goa. Despite promises from promoters to tone down the nudity, authorities rejected the proposal on technical grounds.

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