The News Matrix: Wednesday 4 February 2015


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The Independent Online

Litvinenko widow weeps over death

The widow of the poisoned spy Alexander Litvinenko broke down as she described the last time she saw her husband. Marina Litvinenko said the last words her husband uttered to her were: “I love you so much.” She was giving evidence at the inquiry into his death.

Chris Christie under fire over lavish gifts

At the end of a three-day trip to London, clearly designed in part to bolster a potential presidential bid, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was under pressure to explain lavish gifts from Jordan’s King Abdullah and others, including a $30,000 weekend at a five-star hotel.

Man killed himself over debt to council

A retired gardener took his own life after benefits changes left him £800 in debt, an inquest heard. Malcolm Burge, 66, owed Newham Council in east London the money. The inquest heard he was bounced around an electronic switchboard when he called the council for help.

‘Selfies played part in plane crash’

US investigators say selfies were a likely factor in a small plane crash near Denver last year that killed two. The National Transportation Safety Board said it was likely 29-year-old pilot Amritpal Singh lost control of the aircraft, as he was distracted by using his phone during the flight.

Ministers did not grasp impact of cuts

The Government has been accused by the Commons Public Accounts Committee of rushing through cuts to the legal aid budget without understanding the implications. The result had been to “inhibit” access to mediation in family law cases.

Rap mogul denies murder charges

Former rap mogul Suge Knight yesterday pleaded not guilty to murder charges before complaining of chest pain and being rushed to a hospital. The 49-year-old is accused of intentionally running down two men in Compton last week.

Patients continue to be kept in hospital

The Whitehall spending watchdog the National Audit Office said that, two years after the Government pledged to move such patients into community care, there were still 2,600 inpatients with learning difficulties in mental health hospitals in England.

Prosecutor planned to arrest President

The draft of an arrest warrant for the Argentine President Cristina Fernandez was found at the home of a prosecutor who was investigating the 1994 bombing of a Jewish centre in Buenos Aires, the lead investigator said. Alberto Nisman had drafted a warrant that accused Ms Fernandez of trying to shield Iranian officials from responsibility in the bombing, according to the report.

Armstrong girlfriend took rap for his crash

Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong hit two parked cars after a night of partying in Aspen, Colorado, but let his girlfriend take the blame to avoid national attention, police said. Armstrong’s girlfriend, Anna Hansen, admitted to lying for him after the December hit-and-run.

Call for Labour vs big business ‘truce’

The shadow Business Secretary has called for a truce in the war of words between Labour and business leaders. Chuka Umunna told i: “Let’s keep business out of the personal nasty stuff that unfortunately may characterise the general election campaign.”

Monopoly puts real cash inside boxes

The manufacturers of Monopoly have replaced the usual fake money with real cash in 80 limited-edition sets in France. Hasbro said it wanted to do something “unique” to mark the 80th anniversary of the game’s first appearance in France. Lucky players can expect to find €20,580 (£15,584) in one of the sets.

Pot for sale in Seattle vending machines

The US has got its first marijuana vending machine, in Seattle, after recreational marijuana use was legalised in Washington state last year. The machine will use an ID-scanner to check users’ age and dispense a range of medicinal and recreational marijuana flowers, pot-infused edibles and merchandise.

The new play’s the thing in UK theatres

New material accounted for more than half of all theatre productions in 2013 for the first time since records began, new research found. The British Theatre Consortium, a group of playwrights and academics which analysed the output of 273 venues, said new work made up 59 per cent of productions.

Penguins found fake ice floor ‘too slippy’

A Hull aquarium had to temporarily remove a group of Gentoo penguins from its exhibit when a new fake ice floor proved too slippery for the birds. Staff at The Deep have since installed special anti-slip covering for the seven resident penguins. The £750,000 display, called Kingdom of Ice, opened last March.

Lee’s ‘Mockingbird’ sequel discovered

Harper Lee is set to release her second book, 55 years after the release of To Kill a Mockingbird. The new book, which she actually wrote first, is a sequel set 20 years later. The long-forgotten book is being published after 88-year-old Lee’s lawyer found a copy among the author’s effects.