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The News Matrix: Wednesday 26 February 2014

Tories won’t make ‘no coalition’ pledge

The Prime Minister has attempted to reassure Conservative backbenchers that he is not angling for another coalition with the Liberal Democrats after next year’s general election – but the Tories deny they will make a “no coalition” pledge in their manifesto. A statement from Downing Street said: “We’re going all out for victory – you won’t find the PM saying anything else. MORE

Ministers block EU funds for food banks

Ministers have blocked £3m of European funding agreed for British food banks. Cash to help people suffering extreme poverty across the EU was backed in a vote at the European Parliament but the Government said food aid was better decided nationally.

Pistorius trial to be broadcast live

The world will watch the murder trial of the athlete Oscar Pistorius when it starts next week at Pretoria’s High Court. Judge Dunstan Mlambo said three cameras will broadcast live part of the trial of Mr Pistorius, who is accused of shooting his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. MORE

Average sick leave falls to four days

People take an average of four days a year off work due to sickness. The ONS says the number of sick days has fallen from 178 million in 1993 to 131 million last year. The percentage of hours lost to sickness in private firms was 1.8 per cent, compared with 2.9 per cent in the public sector.

Paper outs 200  ‘top’ homosexuals

A leading newspaper published a list of what it called the country’s “200 top” homosexuals yesterday, one day after the country’s President enacted a harsh anti-gay law. Human rights groups warned the tabloid’s publication could “trigger a witch-hunt”. MORE

Extremists kill  59 school pupils

Suspected Islamic extremists killed 59 students at a school dormitory in a pre-dawn attack. The militants locked the door of a dormitory at the school in Yobe state where male students were sleeping and then set it ablaze, slitting the throats of those who tried to escape. 

Khan faces vote of no confidence at uni

Imran Khan, the former cricketer turned Pakistan politician, is facing a vote of no confidence as chancellor of Bradford University following claims he has not attended graduation ceremony since 2010. MORE

Teenage pregnancies at an all-time low

Teenage pregnancies in England and Wales are at an all-time low. Conception rates among under-18s dropped almost 10 per cent in England to 2.7 per 100 teenagers in 2012, the Office for National Statistics said. In Wales, just over 3 per cent of 15- to 17-year-olds became pregnant in 2012. MORE

Navy skipper sacked for Sochi grounding

The commander of the US Navy ship that ran aground while deployed near the Sochi Olympics has been relieved of his command.  Cmdr Dennis Volpe was reassigned due to loss of confidence in his ability to command. The USS Taylor remains under repair in Turkey.

Cartoon pig ‘fosters frivolous spending’

Using a cartoon pig to encourage people to “treat yourself” is not a responsible way to sell payday loans, the Advertising Standards Authority has ruled. The Payday Pig site run by Stop Go Networks was “encouraging frivolous spending”.

New PM seeks an end to violence

The new Egyptian Prime Minister said he would seek to eradicate  militant violence, hoping improved security will lead to economic recovery. Ibrahim Mahlab said he hoped to form his government within three or four days.

Goldman Sachs tweeter is revealed

The author of a Twitter account that detailed the secret conversations of Goldman Sachs employees in the lift has been revealed as a Texan who never worked at the bank. Thousands were transfixed by the exchanges between the bank’s employees. MORE

Cyclist takes short cut home – along M25 

A cyclist caused chaos yesterday after a phone app sent him on to the M25, Britain’s busiest motorway, in rush hour. He was removed and fined £50. Surrey Roads Police tweeted the man, who cycled “several miles” on the M25, had been looking for a shorter route home from work.

Production car reaches 270mph

An American sports car has reached the highest speed ever recorded for a production model at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Hennessey Venom GT recorded a speed of 270.45mph, beating the record of 269.86mph completed by Bugatti’s Veyron Sport in 2010.

World’s lightest tablet unveiled

Chinese electronics company Huawei unveiled what they claim to be the “lightest and narrowest 7-inch tablet” on the market at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The Huawei MediaPad X1 weighs just 239g and is 7.8mm thick. It is set to retail for around £330.

Stuntman completes fiery leap off roof

A stuntman in Barnaul, Russia, made a daring move as he climbed atop a roof of a building, lit himself on fire, and jumped to the snow-covered ground. The man prepared for over a week to complete this stunt and wore asbestos cloth around his legs to prevent himself from being burnt.

Rice and Webber shows forced to close

Andrew Lloyd Webber and Sir Tim Rice have both been forced to close musicals in London’s West End months after opening. Lord Lloyd-Webber’s much-hyped Stephen Ward is to close after four months, while Sir Tim’s From Here To Eternity also flopped. MORE

Pilot survives after bird smashes cockpit

A pilot was flying a plane in Florida when a bird smashed through the cockpit window and hit him in the face. The man managed to stay calm and landed the plane safely after the incident. The pilot suffered only a cut to his face and a cockpit camera captured the entire sequence.

Dimbleby defends panels to O Briain

David Dimbleby has responded to claims by comic Dara O Briain that Question Time needs to tackle the gender balance of its panellists, saying he picked “the wrong target”. He said the show’s record for inviting women guests was better than in many areas of public life.

That’s one big  cat on the loose

A leopard caused panic as it roamed the streets of Meerut,  37 miles from Delhi. The animal has injured six people and despite having been hit by a tranquilizer  it remains free.

‘Benefits Street’ set for watchdog probe

TV regulator Ofcom has said it will investigate the Channel 4 series Benefits Street to see whether it broke broadcasting guidelines, following nearly 1,800 complaints. The series caused controversy over its portrayal of the people living in James Turner Street, Birmingham.

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