The News Matrix: Wednesday 25 March 2015


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Diplomat’s son jailed over hiding firearms

A Libyan diplomat’s son who hid guns and ammunition at his home has been jailed for five years. A police raid at Ayub Mabrouk’s home in Manchester last October found a pistol, silencer and a sawn-off shotgun. Judge Patrick Field told Manchester Crown Court, Mabrouk had an “unhealthy attitude towards firearms”.

Bardo museum’s symbolic reopening

Tunisia’s Bardo museum held a ceremonial reopening yesterday, a week after gunmen appearing to claim alliance with Isis killed 20 foreign tourists. Tunisians waving “Visit Tunisia” signs gathered behind barriers outside the Bardo in Tunis, where dignitaries attended under tight security.

Utah to allow firing squad executions

Utah has become the only US state to allow firing squad executions when no lethal injection drugs are available. Governor Gary Herbert signed a law approving the method for use, even though he has called it “a little bit gruesome”. The governor said the state needed back-up execution method.

Pesticide threat to bumblebees 

Bumblebees “suffer significant impacts” from a group of pesticides that a Government study previously suggested was not harmful to the insects, new analysis has found. An analysis of the data, published in the journal PeerJ, showed colony growth and queen production were negatively affected by neonicotinoids.

Republican permits ‘damaged UK justice’

The legal system in the UK was damaged by a controversial government scheme that issued letters to on-the-run Irish republicans assuring them they could return to the UK without fear of arrest, a Westminster committee inquiry has found. Almost 190 individuals obtained the documents.

Obama vows to extends troop stay 

Barack Obama said it would be “well worth it” to extend US troop levels in Afghanistan for a few more months, but that the timeline for drawing down the force has not changed from 2017. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani told the joint conference  that leaving more US troops in place would help accelerate reforms.

Minister to unveil river energy plan

Technology that takes heat from rivers and canals could be used to heat 1m homes across Britain, the Energy Secretary Ed Davey will announce today. Mr Davey has identified more than 4,000 rivers, estuaries, coastal sites and canals that contain warm water.

Knox conviction re-examined today

Italy’s highest court will decide today whether to uphold Amanda Knox’s conviction for the 2007 murder of British student Meredith Kercher. Knox, 27, and her former boyfriend, Italian Raffaele Sollecito, were convicted for the second time last year in the killing of the 21-year-old exchange student.

11-plus target lower for poorer children

Five grammar schools in Birmingham have doubled their admission of poorer pupils after setting the 11-plus qualification  score for children from disadvantaged homes 7 per cent lower than the score for better-off pupils, on average across the schools.

Eating quinoa may help us live longer

Quinoa could play a role in helping people to avoid premature death, new research has found. A daily portion of the tiny grains, which are rich in protein and fibre, could reduce the risk of premature death caused by heart disease, cancer, respiratory ailments, diabetes and other chronic diseases.

Young Fukushima composers honoured

The New York Philharmonic Orchestra was set to perform chamber works last night composed by children from the disasterhit area of Fukishima in Japan. Nine children from Fukushima are visiting New York as part of the Philharmonic’s “Very Young Composers” programme.

Swimmer calls for Antarctic reserve

British endurance swimmer Lewis Pugh, who has returned from a series of “terrifying” swims in the Antarctic Ross Sea, has urged countries to work together to secure a vast marine reserve in the region. Pugh completed five swims to campaign for a “protected area” designation.

Dogs to stop geese fouling tourist site

The US Park Service is considering using dogs to drive off the Canada geese that foul the National Mall in Washington DC with up to three pounds each of droppings a day. It may use Border collies to harass the large and growing population of birds at the capital’s tourist sites, it said in a statement.