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The News Matrix: Wednesday 19 March 2014

Fifa response to bribe claims ‘a disgrace’

Fifa’s response to new allegations of corruption aimed at former members of its executive committee has been described as a “disgrace”. Despite claims of payments being made to officials before Qatar was named the host country of the 2022 World Cup, Sepp Blatter, the president of the football world’s governing body, has maintained the tournament cannot be moved. MORE

Employees ‘ordered to shred evidence’

Two Scotland Yard employees were ordered to shred a “lorry-load” of confidential police corruption intelligence in 2003 that had been gathered during a four-year investigation, according to evidence submitted to a review of the Metropolitan Police. MORE

Murder charge after cold-case review 

A man has been charged with murdering a woman more than a decade ago. Patrick Curran, 38, has been charged with murdering Joan Roddam, 74, in Delabole, Cornwall, in 2003. She died from asphyxiation.Police said Curran was charged following a cold-case review.

Officer jailed over 37 detainee deaths

Four policemen were convicted yesterday over the killings last August of 37 detainees, many of them supporters of Mohamed Morsi, when tear gas was fired into a truck taking them to prison. One officer was jailed for 10 years and the others received suspended sentences.

Catholic priest jailed for abusing sisters

A court has convicted a former Roman Catholic priest for sexual abuse against two sisters while they were minors between 1994  and 1998, one of the first cases of its kind in years in France. Patrick Braud, 56, received a two-year suspended jail term.

Coulson ‘authorised Royal monitoring’

Andy Coulson authorised a special project involving payments to Glenn Mulcaire to “monitor” the phones of aides to the Royal family, a jury has heard. The alleged payments were made in 2005 and 2006. MORE

British woman jailed for life for smuggling

A British woman has been sentenced to life in prison by a Pakistan court for attempting to smuggle 63kg of heroin out of the country. Khadija Shah, from Birmingham, was arrested at Islamabad airport in May 2012 when the drugs were found in her luggage. The 26-year-old denies the charges against her.

Dogs killed by poison in park

Three dogs have died and three more required treatment after being poisoned at a park. Two bull lurchers and a springer spaniel died after ingesting poison in or near Fryent Country Park in Brent, north-west London. The Metropolitan Police described the incidents as “nasty”.

Law on grey squirrel has to be repealed

Ministers have admitted defeat in their battle to eliminate the North American grey squirrel. The government is scrapping laws requiring people to report any grey squirrels on their land so they can be destroyed. Oliver Heald, Solicitor General, says eradicating the grey squirrel is  “no longer considered feasible”.

New Star Wars film to make 30-year leap

The highly anticipated next instalment of the Star Wars franchise will be set 30 years after “Episode VI: Return of the Jedi”, Disney revealed yesterday . Disney bought Star Wars production company LucasFilm for $4.05bn (£2.4bn ) in 2012 and announced it would release three new films in the popular sci-fi series.

Assad assents to space agency launch

President Bashar al-Assad’s government, whose nation has seen a brutal civil war virtually tear it apart over the past three years, approved a bill yesterday to create a “Syrian Space Agency”. The state news agency Sana did not specify what the agency would do, but said it was “of a  scientific-research nature”.

Why dark chocolate is good for you

The gut bacteria caused by chocolate may be one of the chief reasons why dark chocolate is good for the heart, research suggests. By breaking down indigestible chocolate compounds and fermenting cocoa fibre, they generate a potent anti-inflammatory effect, say scientists at Louisiana State University.

Titchmarsh pulls plug on chat show

TV star Alan Titchmarsh is quitting his long-running chat show after seven years. The gardener, 64, wants to pursue new projects. His final show will be broadcast at the end of this year. He said: “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my years at the helm of The Alan Titchmarsh Show but I feel the time has come to move on.”

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