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The News Matrix: Monday 14 February 2011

Banks claim secret subsidies of £32bn

Britain’s banks are pocketing hidden subsidies worth more than £32.5bn a year from the taxpayer, it was disclosed last night. The New Economics Foundation calculates this is on top of the £1trn already given. MORE

Cameron stands firm on Big Society plans

David Cameron will today attempt to breathe new life into his cherished – and much-derided – mission to build a Big Society and promise to speak out every day in support of his pet political project. MORE

Women march against Berlusconi

Women took to the streets across Italy yesterday to protest against the rule of Silvio Berlusconi. Thousands demonstrated in more than 60 towns and cities, some carrying banners reading, “Italy is not a brothel”. MORE

Rare beetles found in Sherwood Forest

A colony of one of England’s rarest beetles has been found hiding out in Sherwood Forest. The hazel pot beetle was thought absent from the forest for 70 years until sighted in 2008. MORE

Product placement warning unveiled

Ofcom, the media regulator, today unveils the new on-screen warning signal alerting viewers to the presence of product placement in television programmes. The double P logo will be seen from 28 February. MORE

Man ‘took own life after killing family’

Police believe a man killed his former partner and their two children before committing suicide, after four bodies were found in Leicester. Joy Small, her son Aubarr Aziz and daughter Chanarra were found at home.

People vote to keep liberal gun laws

The Swiss public voted yesterday to keep their liberal gun laws in a referendum that could have changed the country’s approach to weapons kept at home. Gun control advocates had hoped for a bigger turnout among women to win the day. MORE

Council chiefs earn more than PM

Local authority chief executives earned an average of almost £150,000 last year – considerably more than David Cameron’s starting salary as Prime Minister, a new survey has revealed. MORE

UK pro-democracy aid rises to £46m

The British Government has decided to sharply increase bilateral aid payments to Burma following the release of Aung San Suu Kyi. The extra money, which will take the annual sum from £32m to £46m, is intended to help the country’s pro-democracy movement. MORE

Unions to campaign against culture cuts

Civil servants will stage a “love-in” today as part of a campaign to save cultural assets from the Government’s cuts. Union members dressed as Prime Minister David Cameron and his deputy Nick Clegg will share a bed in London’s Trafalgar Square to show their love of public services.

Outbreak of disease at Playboy mansion

Los Angeles health officials are investigating at the Playboy Mansion after an apparent outbreak of a respiratory disease was sourced there. More than 75 people attending a fundraiser at the mansion were affected. It is thought a fog machine could have spread the disease.

Minister wins top marmalade award

A marmalade produced by the Environment Minister, Lord Henley, has won the top prize at the World Marmalade Awards. The Tory peer’s recipe, which was originally his mother’s, was named Best In Show at the awards in Cumbria. It will now be produced commercially.

Giant Scottish statue felled in car crash

A huge steel sculpture of a man walking by Glasgow-based artist Andy Scott has been knocked over in a car accident. The 13ft structure, known as Man In Motion, is installed at Muirside roundabout, Tullibody, in Clackmannanshire, Scotland. Police are investigating the incident.

Bono under fire for comment on song

Bono, the U2 frontman, has been criticised for saying an anti-apartheid song with the lyric “Shoot the Boer” has its place in music history. Bono’s comments were received with anger by some South Africans, who pointed out that the Afrikaans word “boer” can be used as a derogatory term for white people.

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