The News Matrix: Wednesday 24 April 2013


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The Independent Online

Kerry: prepare for chemical attacks

The US Secretary of State, John Kerry, warned Nato members meeting in Brussels yesterday to prepare for the aftermath of chemical weapons attacks by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces, amid claims that the Syrian regime has already used sarin nerve gas. MORE

Warning over wrinkle treatments

Injectable anti-wrinkle treatments are a “crisis waiting to happen”, health experts have warned. An independent review led by NHS Medical Director Sir Bruce Keogh found nine out of 10 recipients of cosmetic procedures have little protection and urged new legal controls on dermal fillers. MORE

Schools exclude pupils for key tests

Hundreds of schools are illegally excluding children from lessons in order to do better during Ofsted inspections or high-stakes tests, an investigation has found. The Office of the Children’s Commissioner said practices include sending special- needs pupils home early. MORE

FBI’s ‘Most Wanted’ man is captured

The former primary-school teacher who replaced Osama bin Laden on the FBI’s Top 10 Most Wanted list has been arrested in Nicaragua. Eric Toth, 31, had been on the run since 2008, when he was accused of producing child pornography while teaching in Washington, DC. MORE

Gay marriage Bill wins final approval

The first gay marriages could happen as early as June after parliament gave final approval last night. Riot police with water cannon and tear-gas deployed in Paris, expecting trouble from protesters.  MORE

Gas and electricity bills rise by 18.6%

First Utility will raise the price of its most popular tariff by 18.6 per cent, adding £200 a year to the previous average dual-fuel bill of £1,054. It blamed the increase, from 1 June, on rising wholesale costs and the “social and environmental obligations mandated by the Government”. It insisted customers would still pay less than those on standard tariffs with the “big six” energy suppliers.

More success for men in job market

Women are missing out on new jobs being created under the Coalition as the labour market returns to being male-dominated, according to a study published today. Men are landing 60 per cent of the new private-sector jobs while women are being hit harder by public-sector job cuts, the Fawcett Society warned.

Train attack suspect in shock, says lawyer

One of two men accused of planning to carry out an al-Qa’ida-supported attack against a passenger train travelling between the US and Canada appeared in court yesterday. Raed Jaser, 35, from Toronto, will continue to be held in a Canadian federal facility. “He is in a state of shock and disbelief,” his lawyer said.

Student jailed over £5,000 degree bribe

A failing student who offered his professor a £5,000 bribe for a degree pass was jailed for a year. Chinese-born Yang Li, 26, who was studying management at Bath University, took a replica gun to a meeting with Andrew Graves, Bristol Crown Court heard. He admitted bribery and possessing an imitation firearm.

Britons’ passwords fail security test

More than half of adults in Britain are compromising their online security by using the same passwords for most of the websites they visit. Regulator Ofcom warned that 26 per cent of people use passwords such as birthdays or names, which make it easier for hackers to access their accounts.

Army officers will learn from privates

Chinese President Xi Jinping has told military top brass they will be expected to spend a couple of weeks every few years with rank-and-file soldiers to ensure they keep their feet on the ground. The senior officers will have to eat in the ordinary enlisted men’s mess and share dormitories with the privates. MORE

President hands over sack of cash at rally

President Yoweri Museveni is facing criticism from anti-corruption activists for donating a sack with $100,000 (£65,600) in cash at a political rally, a gift from a president widely seen as laying the groundwork for the next election. Mr Museveni gave the money to a group of youths in eastern Uganda, where he struggles to win votes.

i writers shortlisted for Orwell Prize

Kim Sengupta, diplomatic editor of i, and i columnist Christina Patterson have been shortlisted for the Orwell Journalism Prize, Britain’s most prestigious award for political writing. Kim was nominated for articles that include his dispatches from Syria, while Christina has been shortlisted for her campaigning work on nursing and the NHS.