The News Matrix: Wednesday 2 March 2011

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The Independent Online

Armed forces to lose 11,000 jobs in cuts

Front line British troops serving in Afghanistan could be among the 11,000 redundancies in the armed forces demanded by the Government. They will include around 5,000 personnel from the Army, 3,300 from the Navy and 2,700 from the RAF. MORE

Oxbridge dons want delay for fees rise

More than 600 Oxbridge academics are demanding a halt to implementing Government proposals for tuition fees to rise to up to £9,000 a year. They say they are being forced to “fly blind” because the implementation system is not in place. MORE

Winter flu death toll reaches 523

Deaths from flu this winter have exceeded those during the pandemic last year. There have been 523 deaths from flu in the UK up to the 23 February, compared with 474 for the whole of last winter to the end of April, according to the Health Protection Agency.

Unexpected find as a city mourns

New Zealanders yesterday observed two minutes of silence in memory of those killed in last week’s Christchurch earthquake. The sombre event was marked by an extraordinary discovery: two time capsules from 144 years ago containing a parchment outlining the city founder’s vision. MORE

Judges ban cheaper rates for women

European judges re-wrote the rule book for insurance companies yesterday by banning risk assessment based on gender. Differentiating between men and women breaches EU equality rules, declared the European Court of Justice. MORE

£500m tycoon ‘sacked his servants’

Property developer Kevin Cash sacked two of his trusted household staff after an outburst of anger over a chicken dinner. Husband and wife Francisco and Maria de Sousa, originally from Portugal, are claiming unfair dismissal by Cash. MORE

Degree row forces out Defence Minister

Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, the German Defence Minister at the centre of a plagiarism row, resigned yesterday, days after Bayreuth University revoked his doctoral title saying he had violated academic standards in his thesis. The weeks of controversy have hurt Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government in a key year of regional elections. MORE

Hollywood’s first pin-up dies aged 89

Jane Russell, who has died aged 89, will be remembered as an occasional Hollywood actress who appeared in 23 movies during a three-decade career that began in the 1940s. But her real place in history is far more important: Russell achieved fame and fortune as the world’s very first pin-up. MORE

Breast milk ice cream removed for tests

Ice cream made from human breast milk on sale at a London café has been taken away for health tests after complaints from the public. Food safety officers from Westminster Council removed the “Baby Gaga” dessert to ensure it was “fit for human consumption”.

Killer Derrick Bird ‘feared jail over tax’

Mass-murderer Derrick Bird went on a killing spree after becoming worried that his brother and solicitor wanted him to be imprisoned because of unpaid tax, an inquiry has heard. The court watched a reconstruction of the day when 12 people died from Bird’s gunshots.

Gok Wan to design Sainsbury's clothes

Fashion guru Gok Wan, presenter of Channel 4’s How To Look Good Naked, is to design his first clothing range for Sainsbury’s supermarket, to be sold under the Tu label. His clothes will reach shelves this autumn.

Waitrose ‘misled’ public over cake mix

A Waitrose ad for Delia Smith’s Christmas cake has been belatedly banned for misleading viewers about the number of ingredients they had to buy. The Advertising Standards Authority said three viewers and a reader challenged the advert.

Cancer con woman spared jail term

A woman who conned her friends and employers into believing she was dying of cancer was spared jail yesterday – but ordered to do 200 hours’ community service. Caroline Bull, 38, of Worthing, pocketed £8,537 in sick leave and raised £4,500 that was supposed to go to charity.

Five tigers saved in domestic house fire

Fire-fighters in Manila were shocked when they attended a blaze and found a menagerie of wild animals. Five tigers, three Indian star tortoises, two Burmese pythons and several cats and dogs survived the blaze. The owners may be charged for keeping the animals without a licence.

Jaguar E-type tops road-test poll

Autocar magazine has voted the Jaguar E-type the best car it has ever road-tested. The magazine, which began road tests in 1928, tested the E-type in March 1961. Now, 50 years on, the celebrated vehicle received the Autocar accolade for “its beauty, power, driving pleasure and design”.

Free legal advice for Olympic athletes

Athletes competing at the London 2012 Games will get free legal advice, the Bar Council announced yesterday. The London 2012 Pro Bono Legal Advice and Representation Service is being set up to help accredited athletes, coaches, team officials and national Olympic committees.

Oscar sparks rush for Firth films

Colin Firth’s Oscar triumph has boosted the fortunes of his past films as movie buffs rush to watch his back catalogue. The star landed the best actor prize for The King’s Speech. Now rental firm Lovefilm says interest in his other films has rocketed.

MasterChef entrant cuts off fingertip

A MasterChef contestant almost put his day job as a cellist in jeopardy – after slicing off the top of his finger. Kennedy Leitch injured the middle finger of his left hand with a potato peeler. Medics had to glue the skin back on after his ordeal, which is screened on BBC1 tonight.

President’s banger fetches cool $2.5m

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s 1977 Peugeot 504 sold for $2.5m (£1.5m) in an international auction yesterday, according to the State Welfare Organisation.