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The News Matrix: Wednesday 24 August 2011

UN condemns repression in Syria

The UN Human Rights Council voted 33-4 to condemn the violence by Syrian authorities. The countries voting in favour included all four Arab voting members of the council – Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Russia and China voted against, along with Cuba and Ecuador. MORE

Train drivers’ strike in north of England

An Aslef train drivers’ strike over pay looks set to disrupt First TransPennine Express services today and on Friday in Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, York and the Lake District. There are concerns the disruption will hit fans travelling to Leeds Festival this weekend.

Blood pressure tests not accurate enough

The standard method of measuring blood pressure in doctors’ surgeries does not provide precise enough information and should be replaced by a device that is worn around the waist for 24 hours, according to the National Institute for Clinical Excellence. MORE

Millions of species still to be found

Millions of species of living creatures have yet to be discovered, the first comprehensive measure of individual species has revealed. The study has estimated 8.7 million species on earth and on that count concludes that a large proportion has yet to be discovered. MORE

Washington rocked by 5.9 earthquake

The Pentagon and the US Capitol in Washington DC were evacuated yesterday and the National Cathedral damaged as a 5.9 magnitude earthquake struck the US East Coast and Canada.

Strauss-Kahn rape case is dropped

A US judge yesterday agreed to end the sexual assault case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former IMF chief. The decision was made after the prosecution said there were doubts about the credibility of the accuser, the Guinean-born hotel maid Nafissatou Diallo. Mr Strauss-Kahn said the past two months had been “a nightmare”. MORE

Police fly to Poland on murder probe

Detectives investigating the stabbing to death of six people, including three children, are flying to Poland to quiz the victims’ family and friends. Damian Rzeszowski, 30, who stabbed himself after the attacks is now in hospital. When he has recovered, detectives plan to question him.

PM to step down over tsunami crisis

Japan’s Prime Minister Naoto Kan has told his cabinet that he will step down and dissolve Japan’s government next week. Analysts say the country will have a new leader by next Tuesday. He has been criticised for his handling of the tsunami crisis. MORE

Polar bear attack hero out of hospital

One of the leaders of the Arctic expedition in which a schoolboy was killed by a polar bear has left hospital. Michael “Spike” Reid, 29, from Plymouth, shot the bear dead after it killed Horatio Chapple, 17, and wounded four others. Mr Reid suffered head and face injuries.

RBS staff pay details published in email

The salaries of contract staff working for RBS have been accidentally leaked. An employee of recruiter Hays inadvertently forwarded an email with the pay details of around 3,000 staff. RBS said no customer information had been compromised.

Boy injured in fall on theme park ride

A boy was taken to hospital yesterday after falling off a theme park ride, the ambulance service said. The child, aged about 10, was taken to Wigan Royal Infirmary after being injured at the Camelot Theme Park in Chorley.

New app puts police under surveillance

Police officers planning to take a long lunch should beware a tracking system that allows the public to monitor where they are. Surrey Police chiefs will introduce the scheme for community officers so the public can use their mobile phones to follow what officers are up to.

‘Betty’ to close as audiences stay away

West End show Betty Blue Eyes is to close after six months with “economic uncertainties” being blamed for audiences staying away. Producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh said he was disappointed but predicted a future revival of the show, which stars Sarah Lancashire and Reece Shearsmith.

Trucker sues after his penis is cut off

A truck driver is suing a doctor who amputated part of his penis during an operation that was supposed to be just a simple circumcision. The doctor said that he cut off part of the penis when he discovered a rare and deadly cancer and another surgeon then took off the rest.

Twiggy to bring out new album

Twiggy is to revive her musical career with a collection of recordings. The album, Romantically Yours, is her first in 12 years and includes songs such as “My Funny Valentine” and The Kinks’ “Waterloo Sunset”.

Hammer Horror writer dies, aged 83

The Hammer Horror screenwriter, producer and director Jimmy Sangster has died. Sangster gained recognition for his 1957 screenplay for The Curse of Frankenstein starring Christopher Lee. He went on to write around 70 titles for the screen. He died last Friday at the age of 83.

Catholic Church defends tax breaks

The Catholic Church is being forced to defend the multibillion-euro tax breaks it enjoys on 100,000 properties. Campaigners claim the allowance robs the Italian treasury of €3bn (£2.6bn) a year, unacceptable when Italians are being forced to suffer cuts to services. MORE

Police target Eiffel Tower hawkers

Police will crack down on Eiffel Tower souvenir sellers after clashes that began after a hawker was injured on electrified Metro lines while fleeing the police. Paris officials have deployed the anti-riot force and have promised zero-tolerance for unlicensed sellers. MORE

Ice-cold yeast that led to rise of lager

The origins of a yeast which allows beer to ferment in the cold to create lager have been traced to the Patagonian forests of South America. The micro-organism then found its way to Bavaria 500 years ago, where it crossed with the conventional yeast used to make bread and ferment ale.

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