The News Matrix: Wednesday 8 February 2012


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The Independent Online

More deaths despite Russian diplomacy

Russia won a promise from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Tuesday to bring an end to bloodshed in Syria, but sceptical Western and Arab states acted to isolate Assad further after rebels said his forces killed over 100 in the city of Homs. MORE

Doubts over plans of 'outgoing' President

The outgoing President Ali Abdullah Saleh said yesterday he would return home from the United States before an election later this month designed to choose his successor. Mr Saleh previously has voiced plans to return, but doing so before the vote will raise doubts about his leaving office.

Olympics tickets to be flown in from US

Tickets for the London 2012 Olympics are to be printed in the US. The Arkansas-based firm Weldon, Williams & Lick has won a contract to supply what is thought to be the UK's biggest single ticket requirement for a sporting event. They'll be shipped 4,500 miles by air. MORE

Pro-lifers demand scan before abortion

A US judge has allowed Texas to begin enforcing a law requiring abortion providers to either show pregnant women an ultrasound image of their foetus or describe it. Pro-choice campaigners said it was an attempt to discourage women from exercising their constitutional rights. MORE

Milly Dowler killer applies for appeal

Former bouncer Levi Bellfield isdue to seek permission to appeal against his conviction for the kidnap and murder of teenager Milly Dowler. Lawyers will make an application in London today.

Chancellor calls for bonus bashing to end

George Osborne called last night for an end to the furore over City bonuses and pay, warning that it threatened to create an "anti-business culture" that could cost jobs. He spoke after Labour stepped up demands for a tough clampdown on "excessive" rewards for top banking executives. Business leaders are anxious the Government is undermining Britain's appeal to foreign investors. MORE

Ian Paisley has 'reasonable night'

The Rev Ian Paisley remained ill in hospital last night with Northern Ireland political leaders calling for prayers to be said for him. Dr Paisley, now Lord Bannside, was said to have spent "a reasonable night" on Monday night, with members of his family present throughout. MORE

President ousted by his deputy

The first democratically elected President of the Maldives has resigned and been replaced by his Vice-President after the police and army clashed in the streets amid protests over the arrest of a top judge. Mohammed Waheed Hassan was sworn in. MORE

'Nazi' comparison prompts UMP protest

Members of France's ruling UMP party stormed out of parliament in protest after an opposition legislator appeared to compare Interior Minister Claude Guéant to a Nazi for saying that not all civilisations were equal. Serge Letchimy accused Guéant of trying to woo far-right voters.

Obama campaign returns fugitive cash

President Barack Obama's re-election campaign is returning more than $200,000 in donations which was given by the family of a fugitive casino magnate – linked to violence and corruption in Mexico – who is seeking a pardon. MORE

Care for elderly inadequate say MPs

Action is needed to improve the care system to prevent elderly patients suffering a "diminished quality of life", a committee of MPs warns today. It concludes the Health and Social Care Bill will not resolve issues in the current fragmented and failing system. MORE

Crackdown on 'Simpsons' toys

The Simpsons are corroding the morals of Iranian youth, the country's government has declared. "The Simpsons dolls are merchandise from an animated series, of which some episodes are even banned in Europe and America," said the agency that oversees Iran's children's toys.

102-year-old sisters are oldest twins

Two 102-year-old sisters have been recognised as the world's oldest living twins by Guinness World Records. Edith Ritchie and Evelyn "Evie" Middleton, born in 1909, celebrated their latest birthday on 15 November last year. The twins live together in a care home in Ellon, Aberdeenshire.

Officer directed to investigate himself

An undercover police officer "chased himself round the streets" for 20 minutes after a CCTV operator mistook him for a suspect. The junior officer from Sussex Police was patrolling a burglary hot-spot when the camera operator directed his colleague to follow a "suspicious character".

'Office' actor away with fairies

The Office star Mackenzie Crook has been nominated for the Waterstones Children's Book Prize. The 40-year-old wrote and illustrated The Windvale Sprites about a boy who tries to prove fairies are real.

'Beer pong' player loses chance to sue

A man who got so drunk playing 'beer pong' in a New York bar that he decided to walk across a busy highway in front of traffic cannot sue the establishment over his injuries. A judge threw out Alan Berger's lawsuit against Wicked Willy's, saying he signed up for the drinking game.

MPs should joust to mark Magna Carta

Members of the Government should take part in "ceremonial jousts" to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta, Lord Lea of Crondall suggested in the Lords yesterday. He said there were "special reasons" for Parliament to commemorate what happened in June 1215.

Critic gains plaudits for trenchant review

Adam Mars-Jones has been lauded for his scathing appraisal of By Nightfall by Michael Cunningham, with the Hatchet Job of the Year Award. The prize, created by the website The Omnivore, goes to "the angriest, funniest, most trenchant book review of the last 12 months". MORE

Secrets divulged of Eichmann's capture

Lifting a half-century veil of secrecy, the Mossad spy agency is opening its archive this week to reveal the story behind the legendary 1960 capture of Nazi mastermind Adolf Eichmann in Argentina. The "Operation Finale" exhibit is curated by a Mossad officer who can't be identified.