The News Matrix: Wednesday 28 January 2015


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Scientists discover five new planets

Five Earth-sized planets have been discovered in an ancient solar system. Its parent star, named Kepler-444, is 117 light years from Earth and 11.2 billion years old. The five planets,  ranging in size between Mercury and Venus, are too close to their sun to harbour life.

Mafia victim is first to come forward

For the first time ever, a victim of the mafia in the Sicilian town of Corleone has come forward to police over extortion payments. Four arrests were made after the unnamed owner of a car showroom told authorities he could not afford the €500 a month payment.

Games fears as 16 hit by stray bullets

Sixteen people have been hit, and four killed, by stray bullets so far this year in Rio de Janeiro, according to the police, intensifying security concerns ahead of the 2016 Olympic Games. The number of victims is seen by some as evidence of escalating violence in Brazil.

Glitter tells trial he did not abuse girls

Gary Glitter has told a court that he did not abuse three girls, as he gave evidence in his trial for a string of alleged historic sex offences. Glitter, whose real name is Paul Gadd, denies 10 sex offences against girls in the 1970s and 1980s. The trial continues.

Zalkalns ‘would have been charged’

Arnis Zalkalns would have been charged with the murder of Alice Gross, 14, had he still been alive. Scotland Yard has revealed evidence which “points firmly” to the Latvian builder’s responsibility for her death.

Earthquake shakes Hampshire houses

An earthquake with a magnitude of 2.9 has been recorded in Winchester. Hampshire Constabulary said it had received reports of something which “felt like an explosion which shook their houses”. The quake is believed to have hit the town of Kingsworthy at about at a depth of three kilometres, according to the British Geological Survey website. No injuries had been reported.

New coalition cabinet sworn in

Greece’s new cabinet was sworn in yesterday, after Syriza swiftly formed a coalition with the right-wing Independent Greeks. Although the parties differ widely on social policy, the move seems to be a commitment to escape the direction of Europe on economic policy.

Parliament shuns talks with ‘terrorists’

The Ukrainian parliament yesterday declared the Russia-backed separatist republics in the east to be terrorist organizations, formally eliminating the possibility of holding peace talks with their representatives, as fighting escalated.

Cat returns home... five days after burial

A US cat owner has been left baffled after he claimed his “dead” pet turned up outside his front door – five days after being buried. Ellis Hutson told vets in Tampa Bay, Florida, that he had found his cat Bart lying in a pool of blood after he was hit by a car and buried him. He then turned up five days later.

6,000 tons of sewer blockage removed

More than 6,000 tons of wet wipes and other sewer blockers – the weight of 2,000 hippos – have been cleared from a major sewer network. The refuse was cleared from Southern Water’s network last year. Wipes, sanitary products, cotton wool and cotton buds can lead to problems including flooding.

Anyone for fish  and gravel chips?

People in Belfast have been warned not to eat fish salvaged from the street after a lorry shed its load of 600 mackerel at the weekend. Locals were seen filling bags with the oily fish soon after the spill on Saturday night. Belfast City Council said the fish – though nutritious – was unsafe for consumption.

Man jailed for forcing daughters to diet

A father in Turin, Italy has been sentenced to nine months in prison after forcing his two daughters to go on a macrobiotic diet and do intensive skiing because he said they were “too fat”. The two girls, now aged 17 and 20, were subjected to the treatment between 2008 and 2011, when they would visit their father.

Don’t get in a flap, we’re counting

Greater flamingos at WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre in Gloucestershire have bred so well that keepers are unable to keep track of their numbers by eye. Last year, 350 of the birds were counted at the centre, where they live at the UK’s largest flamingo lagoon – the size of two Olympic-sized swimming pools.