The News Matrix: Wednesday 27 June 2012


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The Independent Online

Terrorist groups step up co-operation

Three of Africa's largest extremist groups are sharing funds and swapping explosives, the commander of the US military's Africa Command has said. Boko Haram, al-Shabaab and al Qa'ida in the Islamic Maghreb are all increasing their co-operation.

Protest policemen to face death penalty

Bahrain has announced that three police officers on trial over killing demonstrators during street protests last year will now face murder charges and could face the death penalty. They were originally being tried on the charge of manslaughter.

Gang members 'have brains for business'

Gang members involved in crime have business acumen and should be encouraged to start legal enterprises, a Labour MP claims. Chuka Umunna said: "Many … are using skills that, if channelled the right way, would provide them with an alternative route to success."

Cunard bookings hit by security glitch

Luxury cruise firm Cunard has been forced to close its online booking system after the personal details of 1,200 passengers were emailed to people registered with the company. It is not known how many customers received messages containing other people's booking details.

Deficit-cutting plan in jeopardy

The Government's plan to reduce the deficit to £92bn in the next financial year is in growing jeopardy as a result of the double-dip recession. Public sector net borrowing in May, excluding the cost of bailing out the banks, was £17.9bn, £3.9bn more than in the same month last year. Economists' expectations were crushed by a 7.3 per cent slump in income tax receipts.

Grand vision to save euro is unveiled

Top European officials have called on countries in the eurozone to surrender more control over their budgets, a move apparently aimed at easing Germany's fears of sharing debt burdens with struggling countries like Spain or Italy. The plan is meant to be a grand vision to save the euro. MORE

Murdoch to split News Corp in two

Rupert Murdoch is close to splitting News Corp in two. The newspaper division would be bundled with publisher HarperCollins and floated off as a standalone company. The publishing division is much less profitable than the television and filmmaking arm. MORE

Promise to expose 'darkest corners'

Theresa May's preferred choice for chief inspector of constabulary has warned the Home Secretary that he will expose the "darkest corners" of law and order in Britain. Former rail regulator Tom Winsor criticised the out-of-date technology used in some forces. MORE

Simpson admits he'd consider suicide

BBC broadcaster John Simpson has acquired pills to help him commit suicide in case he becomes a "gibbering wreck" in old age. The reporter, 67, said he didn't want his son to see him lose control of his faculties. MORE 

Swine flu outbreak killed 'half a million'

The swine flu pandemic of 2009 killed an estimated 284,500 people – 15 times the number confirmed by tests at the time, a study suggests. A report in the medical journal Lancet Infectious Diseases said the toll might have been even higher – as many as 579,000 people. MORE

Rebel forces attack elite regime troops

Syria's elite Republican Guard forces clashed with rebels just outside Damascus yesterday in some of the most intense fighting involving the special forces guarding the capital since an uprising against President Bashar Assad's regime began. Six people were reported killed. MORE

Ringing the changes for Big Ben's name

The tower known to millions as Big Ben will be renamed in honour of the Queen, the House of Commons has confirmed. Officially known as the Clock Tower, the landmark will now be named the Elizabeth Tower in recognition of the monarch's Diamond Jubilee.

Bookworms get shorter sentences

Brazil will offer inmates in its crowded prisons a novel way to shorten their sentences: four days less for every book they read. Inmates in four prisons will be able to read up to 12 works of literature, philosophy, science or classics to trim up to 48 days off their sentence each year.

Huge booty of Celtic coins discovered

A hoard of Celtic coins believed to comprise between 30,000 and 50,000 pieces has been found in Jersey. Discovered in a farmer's field, the hoard is thought to have been buried to protect it from the armies of Julius Caesar. The booty's total value is between £3m and £10m. MORE

Big deal for big wheel on the cards

New York City officials are in discussions with a developer to build a giant Ferris wheel in a deal that could be signed by the end of the summer, according to The Wall Street Journal. The plan is to build the world's tallest observation wheel near the Staten Island Ferry Terminal.

Bank-robber hands back his haul

A Portland man has told how he was so moved by a documentary about the recession that he robbed a bank, only to give the money straight back. Raymond Carl Knudson pleaded guilty to holding up a Bank of America branch in April before handing the $425 to the police.

Spice Girls unite to launch show

The Spice Girls reunited yesterday to launch a musical featuring their hits. Viva Forever, penned by Jennifer Saunders, will arrive in the West End this Christmas. Geri Halliwell said: "Sixteen years ago, I couldn't imagine when we wrote the lyric 'zig-a-zig-ah' it would end up in a West End show. It's absolutely amazing." PAGE 17 page xx

Four-letter protest at fines for swearing

An expletive-laced rally has been held to protest a town's bylaw allowing police to hand out $20 fines for public swearing. Some protesters in Middleborough, Massachusetts, shouted foul language while others carried profane posters supporting free speech.