The News Matrix: Wednesday 9 March 2011

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The Independent Online

Gaddafi troops bombard rebels

Forces loyal to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi launched a fierce assault on rebel positions in the east and west yesterday, with a column of 50 tanks reported to be moving in on Zawiyah, the town closest to Tripoli which had fallen into rebel hands. MORE

Patient wins right to challenge detention

A patient detained for two decades in Broadmoor Hospital under the Mental Health Act, for attempted wounding, will have his detention reviewed in a decision which will open the doors to one of the country’s most secretive arbitration systems. MORE

Greens furious as Shell eyes coral reef

Shell has applied to drill for oil and gas 30 miles from a marine park protecting Ningaloo Reef, off northwestern Australia, prompting fears among environmentalists. MORE

Officers plan mass demo over pay cut

Police are planning a demonstration in the run-up to the royal wedding next month to protest against moves to cut their pay by up to £4,000 a year. The proposed reforms will mean at least 40 per cent of the 143,000 officers are worse off. MORE

Young police chief ‘disappears’

A 21-year-old woman who won the world’s admiration last year by becoming the police chief of a small town wracked by drug violence has been sacked from her post after disappearing. Marisol Valles Garcia allegedly feared for her life. MORE

Former weapons inspector on trial

Scott Ritter, the former UN weapons inspector who disputed claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, was in court in Pennsylvania last night on charges of soliciting sex with a minor over the internet. Mr Ritter claims he is the victim of a smear campaign because of his opposition to the war. MORE

Millions of fish dead in marina

Millions of dead anchovy-sized fish were found yesterday in a California marina. The fish had apparently moved into the harbour to escape a natural bloom of toxic algae, but became trapped and suffocated.

Duke of York fears loss of envoy role

Prince Andrew feared he would be dropped as Britain’s trade envoy because of his controversial links to a convicted paedophile, according to Goga Ashkezani, a Kazakh businesswoman. She said that he told her he was “very, very worried”.

Cardboard could taint breaky cereals

Scientists have discovered that toxic chemicals could contaminate food inside cereal boxes when the cardboard is made from recycled paper. The research found levels of mineral oils in packaged foods were up to 100 times over those permitted. MORE

Stockholm bomb: Glasgow man held

A 30-year-old man was arrested yesterday in Glasgow in connection with the Stockholm suicide bombing in December which left two shoppers injured. It is alleged the suspect was aiding terrorists in Sweden. MORE

Rhino is £30,000 headache

An auctioneer in Northumberland fears selling an antique stuffed rhinoceros head worth £30,000 to Chinese herbalists may be illegal. Demand for crushed rhino horn in Eastern medicine means even dusty antiques fetch big sums.

‘Earthquake boulder’ auction

A Christchurch resident has auctioned the massive boulder that crushed his house in last month’s earthquake for more than 60,000 New Zealand dollars (£27,500). Proceeds from the sale of the 30-ton boulder will go to the Red Cross. MORE

Christians angry over sex education

Religious campaigners have hit out at sex education material they claim is inappropriate for primary school children. A report by the Christian Institute claims some books available to schools contain unsuitable language and information for young pupils.

Desperate search for symbolic sick turtle

A rescue operation is under way to catch a revered turtle that lives in Hanoi’s Hoan Kiem lake. The Rafetus Swinhoei turtle – of which there are only believed to be four left alive – was pictured in a paper with sores on its neck and legs, raising fears that pollution was taking its toll. MORE

Judge rugby-tackles fleeing sex offender

A judge in full robes and a wig rugby-tackled a sex offender to prevent him escaping from court, the Old Bailey heard yesterday. Judge Douglas Marks Moore wrestled Paul Reid as he tried to run out of London’s Woolwich Crown Court last August. MORE

Kate and Will hit Northern Ireland

Kate Middleton tossed a pancake in Belfast city centre yesterday as she and Prince William paid a surprise visit to Northern Ireland. The royal couple attended engagements at several venues on their first joint journey to the province. The trip had not been announced due to security concerns.

Lack of sleep leads to more gambling

People who have not slept well are more likely to gamble more cash than when they are fully-rested, according to a study showing that sleep deprivation makes a person more reckless when it comes to the risk of losing money. MORE

Police puzzled over highway cash

Thousands of dollars have turned up on a highway in Ohio, leaving police scratching their heads. It took officers five hours to pick up what one described as ‘a field of money’. The sum was five figures, but no one has yet come forward.