The News Matrix: Wednesday 9 November 2011


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Britain backs US cluster bomb revolt

Despite agreeing to a global ban of cluster bombs, the Government is supporting a US proposal to allow the use of the deadly weapons – as long as they are manufactured after 1980 and have a low failure rate. MPs and campaigners fear it is an attempt to legitimise their use. MORE

Politician to face press over sex claim

Herman Cain is struggling to contain a media firestorm that threatens his 2012 Republican presidential nomination bid. He was due to meet the press in Phoenix, Arizona, last night, less than 24 hours after denying "an ounce of truth" in Sharon Bialek's claim that he groped her in 1997. MORE

Polluters' tax passed to appease Greens

Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard is to introduce a tax on the country's 500 biggest industrial polluters from July. She has been forced to push the tax through to secure Green party support. MORE

New fears over fresh melting of polar ice

Polar scientists have warned that the Earth's frozen "cryosphere" – from the Arctic sea in the north to Antarctica in the south – is suffering the effects of climate change. Measurements show a rapid loss of ice, with rising sea levels and changes in the ocean currents sure to follow. MORE

Autism developed in womb, study claims

Scientists have found a new link between autism and the make-up of the brain. Researchers from the University of California say boys with autism have larger than average brains, with more neurons in the pre-frontal cortex, suggesting children become autistic in the womb. MORE

Sarkozy called Israeli PM 'a liar'

The French President Nicolas Sarkozy called the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "a liar" during the G20 summit in Cannes last week, it has emerged. The conversation between Mr Sarkozy and US President Barack Obama was accidentally broadcast to journalists, but apparently covered up at the time. MORE

Arrested protesters told to abide by law

In advance of today's student demonstration in London, Scotland Yard has warned 450 protesters who have been arrested over the past year to keep clear of trouble. The Met Police even wrote to individuals who had not been charged with any offence related to the disturbances.

Wear fake fur says conservationist

A conservationist is hoping to convince southern Africa's biggest evangelical church to stop wearing leopard skins in favour of fake fur to help conserve the creatures.

Church 'liable' for abuse by priest

A High Court ruling means that victims of sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic clergy could be compensated by the church. Mr Justice Macduff said the Portsmouth diocese was "vicariously liable" for a priest accused of repeatedly raping a seven-year-old girl in the 1970s. 

19 prostitutes found in Acapulco jail raid

Officials in Acapulco, Mexico, have been left red-faced after 19 prostitutes were found living in a prison complex, along with two full sacks of marijuana, 100 fighting cocks and two peacocks. The raid took place before 60 prisoners were transferred to a maximum security jail. MORE

'Gay' penguin couple will be kept apart

A pair of male African penguins who have been displaying courtship behaviour towards each other are to be separated to encourage them to mate with females, according to keepers at Toronto Zoo. Pedro, 10, and Buddy, 20, prefer to swim and cuddle with each other, keepers say.

'Offensive' perfume advert is banned

An advert for fashion brand Marc Jacobs has been banned after a watchdog ruled it could "sexualise a child" and cause "serious offence". The image in question shows 17-year-old Twilight actress Dakota Fanning with a bottle of Oh, Lola! perfume resting between her legs.

White House knows nothing of alien life

The US Government says it has no evidence that extraterrestrial beings exist, in response to a 5,000-signature petition demanding the White House disclose what it knew on the subject. More than 12,000 others wanted acknowledgment of aliens making contact with human beings. MORE

Diabolical find in Giotto painting

Art restorers have found a devil concealed in the clouds of one of the most famous frescos by Giotto in the Basilica of St Francis in Assisi. The figure was hidden in the scenes depicting the life and death of St Francis.

Scientists: Let tigers and pandas die out

Most conservationists believe endangered species such as tigers and pandas should be allowed to go extinct. A survey of almost 600 scientists showed that the idea of focusing expensive protection efforts on animals that are more likely to survive has become popular. MORE

Pirate cat adventure wins Dahl prize

A children's book about pirate cats has won a literary prize created in the memory of Charlie and The Chocolate Factory author Roald Dahl. Cats Ahoy!, penned in verse by Peter Bently and Jim Field, won the £2,500 Funny Prize for the ages six and under category.

Huhne's ex-wife may seek election

Vicky Pryce, former wife of Chris Huhne, may seek election as a Liberal Democrat MP. Speaking on Radio 4, she also said the Energy Secretary told her he was leaving during half-time in a televised World Cup match in June 2010 – before writing a press statement.

Singer ruled out of 'X Factor' running

Controversial X Factor contestant Frankie Cocozza has been booted off the show after breaking one of its "golden rules". The 18-year-old from Brighton, whose behaviour on the show is the subject of an Ofcom investigation, admitted his life had "gone out of control".