The News Matrix: Wednesday 27 April 2011

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The Independent Online

£20 blood test could save lives

A £20 blood test for ovarian cancer could save hundreds of lives a year. Almost 7,000 women develop the cancer annually but – unlike breast cancer, which more than two-thirds survive five years – nearly two-thirds die within five years. MORE

Yes camp rules out counting machines

The Liberal Democrats and Labour yesterday issued a cast-iron pledge that a switch to the alternative vote (AV) would never require the use of electronic vote-counting machines. The No campaign has claimed AV would cost £250m. MORE

Gove accused over consultant cash

The National Union of Teachers has accused Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, of squandering £21m on five education consultants in the past year at a time when many schools are having to face job losses and cutbacks. MORE

Punk icon Poly Styrene dies of cancer

Poly Styrene, the iconic female musician whose band, X-Ray Spex, changed the direction of punk culture, has died from cancer at the age of 53. MORE

‘Bare feet’ arrests after prison break

The escape of nearly 500 prisoners from a high-security prison near Kandahar in Afghanistan earlier this week descended in farce yesterday when United States soldiers in the area ordered everyone with bare feet to be arrested. MORE

Protesters call for Assad’s overthrow

Reformist protests in Syria continued to gather pace yesterday as more people went on to the streets to demand the removal of President Bashar al-Assad and his government. In the city of Banias, protesters chanted, “the people want the overthrow of the regime” as forces deployed around the small coastal city for a possible attack. MORE

110ft ‘freak’ peace statue dismantled

Relations with Armenia are being put at risk by Turkey’s decision to start dismantling a 110ft sculpture near their border dedicated to reconciliation between them. Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the sculpture a “freak”.

Theme park ride fall boy is named

The 11-year-old boy killed when he fell from a zip wire ride at a Welsh theme park was named as Bailey Sumner, from Blackpool. An inquest was opened and adjourned.

Fitness trainers to pay for park use

A west London council is charging personal fitness trainers to use public parks. The fee was introduced by Hammersmith and Fulham council on 1 April. Anybody using the parks for one-to-one training will be charged an annual licence fee of £350. MORE

Dr Who vs Sherlock in Bafta battle

The actors who play Doctor Who and Sherlock Holmes will battle for recognition at this year’s television Baftas. Matt Smith, 28 (below), is the first Doctor Who star to be nominated for the Leading Actor award. He will compete against Benedict Cumberbatch, who played the detective. MORE

New reality show to focus on Sloanes

Reality TV show Made In Chelsea is a cut above its competitors. Following obsessions with Ugg boots and fake tans in The Only Way Is Essex and huge pink dresses in My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, the E4 series will examine the champagne-fuelled lifestyle of “Sloane Rangers”. MORE

Mass brawl at Sikh temple in New York

A brawl involving cricket bats and small swords at a Sikh temple in New York has led to charges against seven people. They interrupted prayers at the Baba Makhan Shah Lubana Sikh Center in Queens on Sunday. Temple president Jamail Singh said the fight was over membership of the temple.

Critic captures caption prize at last

How many attempts are necessary to win The New Yorker magazine cartoon caption competition? The question may look like lyrics to a Bob Dylan song, but in fact the answer is 107 – that is if you are Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic Roger Ebert, who has eventually won the contest. MORE

Extortion artist was disguised as a clown

A man who wore a clown suit as a disguise when he went to pick up extortion money from his immigrant relatives has been sentenced to three years in prison. A United States judge sentenced 46-year-old Frank Salvador Solorza last week. Solorza was arrested in 2009.

Oil official demoted for booze purchase

The oil-refining giant Sinopec has demoted a top executive who bought 1.6m yuan (£149,000) of wine and spirits after details of the purchase leaked to the internet and sparked an uproar over extravagance at the state-owned firm. Officials said he “seriously harmed” Sinopec’s image.

Monument makes £30m in 5 years

Stonehenge has taken more than £30m in the past five years. The prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, which dates from 2500BC, earned an average £6m a year from 800,000 visitors, while costing taxpayers about £2.4m. MORE