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The News Matrix: Monday 19 November 2012

Patel replaces Pauncefoot in UK

Old English surnames such as Pauncefoot, Foothead and Mackmain, have all but died out according to new research by The Guild of One-Name Studies, with Patel and Piotrowski among the surnames now far more common in the UK. MORE

Mass protest march over health plans

Some 10,000 Spaniards angered by austerity measures, including budget cuts and plans to partly privatise some of the country's cherished national health service, marched from four large hospitals on the outskirts of Madrid to its centre, yesterday.

Breivik writes to far-right 'heroine'

Anders Behring Breivik, who slaughtered 77 people in Norway last year, has written to a far-right gang member in Germany charged with helping in a series of racist killings, calling her a hero of national resistance. MORE

Bird population plummets by 44m

The UK's bird population has fallen by 44 million in four decades, according to a study carried out with the help of volunteer ornithologists. Experts say the dramatic decline has been caused by changes in farming methods and the weather. MORE

Police marijuana blog proves big hit

When Washington state voters overwhelmingly backed the legalisation of recreational use of marijuana, Seattle police knew they'd be getting a lot of questions. Their funny, question-and-answer blog has become a viral hit. MORE

Officers axed for too much play at work

An entire south London neighbourhood policing team has been axed after an internal investigation found some of the officers had been playing backgammon and poker, watching television and cleaning golf clubs while on duty. MORE

Churchill drops driving ban Clunes

Martin Clunes, the star of ITV's Doc Martin, has been dropped from Churchill's car insurance adverts after being disqualified from driving. The actor, 50, who lives in Dorset, featured in the ads with the company's trademark nodding dog.

UK high up list for drunk under-13s

Young people in the UK are more likely to have been drunk by the age of 13 than those in almost any other country, according to a study for the charity Alcohol Concern. Only Estonia, Malta and the Isle of Man have recorded higher figures.

Obama on historic visit to Burma

President Barack Obama launched a three-day tour of South-east Asia yesterday. Mr Obama landed in Bangkok, and will go on to visit Burma and Cambodia, in an effort to counter China's growing influence in the region. MORE

Prince's renewable energy plant

Prince Charles is to provide an unlikely challenge to the "Big Six" energy companies as he prepares to open a renewable energy plant on his Duchy of Cornwall estate that could, if successful, be the blueprint for further power generation on the land. MORE

Microscopic help in battle against MS

Scientists have developed a way of modifying a microscopic particle which could offer a new approach to tackling serious diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Type 1 diabetes, asthma and food allergies. When primed, the nanoparticle can trick the immune system into halting its attack on the body which is a characteristic of these diseases. MORE

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