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The News Matrix: Friday 4 January 2013

Millions struggling to pay the rent

The number of people struggling to keep up with rent or mortgage payments has skyrocketed, a leading homelessness charity has warned. Shelter reported that nearly eight million residents are now feeling the squeeze, a 44 per cent increase in the last 12 months.

Wildlife Crime Unit is facing the axe

Britain's National Wildlife Crime Unit, which leads the fight against illegal wildlife trade may be facing the axe as the Home Office is refusing to approve its funding.

Cancer boy Neon's mother to appeal

The mother of Neon Roberts, the boy who is to undergo radiotherapy against her will, plans to appeal against the High Court decision to disregard her wishes. Sally Roberts fears "damage to the DNA" of her son will affect his ability to father children. MORE

Baby boomers 'face healthier retirement'

The baby-boomer generation will retire later, healthier and with a more active social life, a report by Aviva has claimed. One in four people aged 65 to 74 are still earning a wage, a number that is likely to increase when 6.5 million people reach the age of 65 in the next decade.

Twitter to hit £7bn if it goes public in 2014

Twitter could be worth more than £7bn ($11bn) if it goes public in 2014, a financial research firm claimed yesterday after analysing the firm's private share value. New York-based Greencrest claims bosses at the micro-blogging company are already preparing to take the company public next year.

Footballer poses for gay magazine

West Ham United player Matt Jarvis has become only the third footballer to appear on the front cover of Attitude, Britain's best-selling gay magazine, following David Beckham and Freddie Ljungberg. Though Jarvis has a wife, he said gay footballers should feel comfortable to come out.

Confusion over Call Girl role

The actress and singer Billie Piper has revealed that she was mistaken for a genuine prostitute after appearing in the ITV2 drama Secret Diary Of A Call Girl. The 30-year-old mother said the confusion arose when she moved to the country, where some people apparently thought she was a real prostitute.

Meteorite lands in Moroccan desert

Scientists have confirmed that a dark lump of dense alien rock found in the Moroccan desert in 2011 is a new type of Martian meteorite. The researchers' analysis shows the meteorite to be just over two billion years old, with a texture and chemistry unlike any other object on earth.

India: Five charged over student's death

The five Indian men accused of raping a university student for hours on a bus as it drove through Delhi were formally charged with rape and murder yesterday, crimes that could bring them the death penalty. The 23-year-old victim died after suffering severe internal injuries. MORE

Pakistan: US kills senior militant commander

US drone attacks have killed a senior Pakistani militant commander in South Waziristan and three suspected al-Qa'ida operatives in Yemen. Mullah Nazir, leader of the militants, remained a US target despite agreeing to a ceasefire last year that had reduced hostilities in the region. MORE

North Korea: Mystery surrounds leader's wife

Confusion surrounds the rumoured heir to the ruling Kim dynasty after the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's wife, who appeared to be pregnant in mid-December, emerged this week without a baby bump. Before Christmas Ri Sol-ju looked to be sporting an obviously swollen belly, but she was significantly slimmer at a seasonal new year's concert.

Italy: Bank blocks Vatican's credit card facilities

Italy's central bank has blocked electronic payments in the Vatican City, forcing thousands of tourists to carry more cash if they want to visit the tiny state's many attractions. The Bank of Italy is reported to have banned credit card transactions because the citadel is yet to comply with EU money laundering safeguards.

Iceland: It's no breeze getting your name approved

A 15-year-old girl is suing the Icelandic government for the right to legally use the name given by her mother, which is not on a list approved by national authorities. Like some other countries, Iceland has official rules about what a baby can be named, and Blaer – meaning "Light Breeze" – hasn't made the cut. MORE

Netherlands: Man stuck in bin in hunt for lotto ticket

A 76-year-old man trapped himself in an underground waste paper container in Amsterdam after he clambered in to hunt for a lottery ticket yesterday. The man feared he had thrown out a winning ticket with other used paper, police said.

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