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The News Matrix: Monday 12 December 2011


Abuse hotline gets more than 2,000 calls

More than 2,000 staff have called a whistle-blowing hotline with warnings of abuse and neglect in care homes and hospitals in its first six months. The volume of calls surprised the Care Quality Commission, which set up the hotline in the wake of the scandal at Winterbourne View. MORE

Medvedev orders vote fraud probe

President Dmitry Medvedev ordered an investigation into allegations of voting fraud yesterday. His attempt to quell public discontent came a day after tens of thousands of Russians protested in Moscow. The announcement, on Facebook, received a mostly hostile response. MORE

City's leader calls for social responsibility

Ken Costa, the man charged with rebuilding the City's relationship with the public, told i that social responsibility must be "sewn into the fabric" of big business in the wake of the financial crisis. MORE

UK storms set to batter the South

High winds and heavy rain which have battered northern England and Scotland are set to move south and hit other parts of the UK tonight. Forecasters say scenes of heavy winds bringing down power lines and trees and disrupting travel in the north could be replicated. MORE

Villepin declares leadership intention

The former French prime minister Dominique de Villepin last night said he would stand for president in the country's elections next spring. A long-time rival of incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy, Mr De Villepin said he was concerned to see France "humiliated" by further austerity.

Eight die as troops battle army defectors

Syrian army vehicles were set ablaze yesterday as troops battled defectors in clashes that killed at least eight people, according to activists. For the first time, violent protests against President Assad's regime spilled over the border into Jordan, where about a dozen Syrians attacked the embassy in the capital, Amman, injuring at least two diplomats and four consulate employees.

Four found dead at house in Pudsey

Yorkshire police announced last night that they were investigating chemical spillages and gas leaks after finding the bodies of four people at a house in Pudsey, West Yorkshire.

North does not take decorations lightly

South Korea's Christmas lights are causing sparks to fly after officials said they would go ahead with lighting three huge structures near the border. Pyongyang said the act would result in an "unexpected consequence".MORE

Drivers use mobiles despite bigger fines

Tougher fines are failing to stop motorists using mobile phones while driving, figures show. The number of offenders – 171,000 – is now higher than the year before the harsher penalties were introduced.

Stolen body of TV quiz host found

Eleven months after grave robbers stole the corpse of Italy's best-loved television personality, police have found the coffin containing his remains, and his family are preparing a cremation. The body of Mike Bongiorno, the Italian "TV Quiz King," was snatched from his tomb by Lake Maggiore earlier this year. MORE

Christmas shoppers finally go out in force

Retailers enjoyed a bumper weekend as people finally rushed out to buy Christmas presents. Millions of shoppers went online and hit the stores as sellers responded to forecasts of a drop in festive takings by slashing prices in "panic sales". Queues were seen at malls and stores across the country. MORE

Winehouse album tops the charts

Amy Winehouse has topped the album charts, more than four months after her death. Her posthumously released collection, Lioness: Hidden Treasures, features 12 original tracks and covers compiled by producers Salaam Remi and Mark Ronson. The album displaced Olly Murs' In Case You Didn't Know. MORE

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A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

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Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own