The News Matrix: Wednesday 7 January 2015


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Murphy’s nurses plan angers London MPs

The new leader of the Scottish Labour Party came under fire yesterday from party MPs in London for boasting that the capital’s householders would fund an extra 1,000 nurses in Scotland under the proposed mansion tax. Jim Murphy was blasted for trying to “bribe” Scottish voters.

Cutting deficit will be ‘testing’, MPs warn

The Government’s plans to further cut the deficit are “very challenging” and the scale of the task should “not be underestimated”, MPs have warned. The Commons Public Accounts Committee said making further cuts in areas that were not protected would be “very testing”.

More funds for case of missing toddler

The Home Office has agreed to give South Yorkshire Police £700,000 to continue investigating the disappearance of a Sheffield toddler who went missing in 1991. Ben Needham was 21 months old when he vanished during a family holiday on the Greek island of Kos.

Councillor punished for Nazi poster gaffe

A Labour councillor has been suspended for sharing on social media a parody of a Tory election poster doctored to include an image of a Nazi death camp. Rosemary Healy apologised, insisting she had not noticed what the picture showed when she forwarded it.

Raising a glass to the regional stereotype

People in central Scotland and England’s North-west and North-east consume the most alcohol in the UK and have higher than average alcohol-related death rates, a study has shown. Researchers analysed alcohol sales figures across the UK, along with regional data for alcohol-related deaths, to show the relationship between heavy drinking and early mortality.

Shell pays £55m for Nigeria oil disasters

Shell has agreed to compensate thousands of Nigerians hit by devastating oil spills. The Anglo-Dutch oil giant reached a £55m settlement with the Bodo community of fishermen and farmers in the Niger Delta following two spills in 2008.

Lebanon refugee camps hit by snow

A powerful winter storm hit the Middle East yesterday, bringing bitter cold and snow to Syrian refugees in camps in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, and peppering Cairo and parts of Egypt with a sandstorm.

Driver killed after collision with boar

Police are appealing for witnesses after a driver aged 47 died in a collision with a wild boar. He was driving on the M4 between Chippenham and Swindon on Monday night when his Seat Ibiza collided with the animal before being hit by an articulated lorry.

£3m lottery winnings yet to be claimed

The search is on to find a mystery ticket-holder who has not yet claimed their lottery winnings of more than £3m. The prize belongs to a ticket bought in the Stirling area for a draw last month. The winner matched five numbers and the bonus ball in the draw on Wednesday 17 December.

McDonald’s has had its chips… for a while

More than 100 McDonald’s restaurants have run out of chips and are serving deep-fried arepa flatbreads or yuca, a starchy staple of Venezuelan cooking. McDonald’s franchisees blame a row with dock workers for halting imports of frozen fries.

Scientists discover ‘eight more Earths’

Eight more planets have been discovered that could possess watery oceans and life, including two of the most Earth-like yet found. The new worlds double the number of planets believed to be circling their stars in the “habitable zone” – the narrow region in which temperatures are mild enough to allow liquid surface water.

Did Ukip website forget to pay bill?

The UK Independence Party blamed a technical problem for the disappearance of its website yesterday. Visitors to were greeted with a holding page of the service provider, leading to speculation on social media that the party had not paid the bill for its domain name.

Captain Sting goes down with his Ship

Rock god Sting has been unable to save his struggling Broadway musical The Last Ship, about life in the shipyards of Tyneside. The show will close when he leaves the show on 24 January. The star, who wrote the songs, was parachuted into the production in December to replace Jimmy Nail, who played a shipyard foreman.