The News Matrix: Wednesday 23 November 2011


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The Independent Online


Cameron to back wage-gap proposals

A spokes man for the Prime Minister said the High Pay Commission findings, which recommended that corporations reveal the pay ratio between the highest paid executive and the company median, are broadly in line with proposals being considered by the Government. MORE

Two babies die after contracting E.coli

Two babies have died in hospital in Swansea, South Wales, after contracting E.coli. The children were among five cases of ESBL E. coli – different from the variety which causes food poisoning – confirmed at Singleton Hospital. MORE

Collapse of talks triggers federal cuts

The United States found itself last night on an express train towards historic cuts in domestic and military spending that could threaten a fresh recession after deficit talks collapsed. The failure to find ways to cut federal spending by $1.2trn triggers automatic cuts next year. MORE

Met chief calls for increase in Tasers

More London police officers should be armed with Tasers, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner said yesterday. Bernard Hogan-Howe said the controversial stun guns could soon be a feature of every patrol car in the capital and that officers will be routinely issued with the weapons.

Tutu speaks out against secrecy bill

South Africa has passed a secrecy bill that critics say could criminalise investigative journalism. Several Nobel laureates, including peace prize-winner Desmond Tutu, have spoken out against the bill. MORE

Midwife crisis leads to more Caesareans

Women are being forced to have Caesareans because of the lack of midwives available for natural births. The Royal College of Midwives yesterday said there was a “looming crisis” with a shortage of almost 5,000. It comes as the National Institute of Clinical Guidance published guidance saying women should have a right to the surgery even when it is not medically necessary. MORE

Strauss-Kahn to sue over loss of privacy

The former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn is suing Le Figaro and several French magazines over reports which he says invaded his privacy. He is also suing Henri Guaino, a senior adviser to President Sarkozy, though details of the complaint were not released yesterday.

EU widens sanctions against Iran

Governments in the EU have agreed to extend sanctions against Iran to pressurise it to comply with demands to increase transparency over its nuclear-weapons programme. Some 200 names will be added to the list of individuals and entities targeted by sanctions, diplomats said yesterday.

PC sacked over affair with minister’s wife

A police bodyguard was sacked last night following an investigation by the Met’s directorate of professional standards into claims he had an affair with the wife of the former Home Secretary Alan Johnson. PC Paul Rice was suspended when the allegations surfaced in January.

Driver bailed after cruelty to a dog

A man has been freed on bail after a dog was dragged behind a Porsche for more than six miles before being dumped in a layby. The 33-year-old was held on suspicion of animal cruelty after handing himself in to Worthing police station, West Sussex.

Kenyan athlete loses both feet to frostbite

A Kenyan athlete who disappeared for 48 hours in snowstorms that hit Alaska is recovering in hospital after losing both feet to frostbite. Marko Cheseto, a 28-year-old long-distance runner, wore only light clothing when he went missing.

‘Dream machine’ to look for life on Mars

Nasa will launch what it describes as a “dream machine” Mars rover on Saturday, which it hopes will discover signs of life on the Red Planet. The $2.5bn rover Curiosity, which has a 7ft arm, a jackhammer and a laser to break through rock, will spend much of its time analysing rock and soil.

Paralysed footballer tips boss the wink

A paralysed former footballer is helping a Championship club by rating players using blinks. Middlesbrough boss Tony Mowbray sends Gary Parkinson DVDs of players who are then rated by him – one blink means the footballer is not worth a contract, while four blinks mean sign him now.

Call to build new towns on green belt

New towns should be built on green belt land to ease Britain’s housing crisis, a think tank with close links to David Cameron will recommend today. The Policy Exchange report claims there aren’t enough brown field sites to cope with future housing demand.

Drag net fisherman loses giant tuna

A Massachusetts fisherman pulled a 881lb tuna out of the sea – only to have it confiscated by port authorities. Fishing tuna by drag net is banned, but Carlos Rafael contends the nets were mid-water when they snagged the giant. A 754lb tuna recently sold for nearly £255,000.

Man leaves million dollars in pizzeria

Police in Sydney are hunting for a mysterious customer who left a suitcase containing about 1 million Australian dollars in a pizzeria. The man, wearing surf shorts and a vest, took the case into the café,“seemed to get spooked”, and left it there.

Ian Fleming’s naval jacket sells

The uniform jacket, above, worn by James Bond writer Ian Flemingwhen he was serving in the Royal Navy has sold at auction for almost double its estimated price. The coat went for £13,750 at Bonhams in London.

Six degrees now down to just four

The six degrees of separation between people have been cut to four, thanks to Facebook. Researchers at the site said the most distant Facebook user in the Siberian tundra or the Peruvian rainforest was probably no more than a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend.

Penguins back to nature after oil spill

Forty-nine penguins caught in an oil spill off New Zealand were released into the wild yesterday after being nursed back to health. The little blue penguins were among 343 cleaned up after a cargo ship ran aground on a reef near Tauranga in October.