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The News Matrix: Monday 30 January 2012

Hotel room blunder 'will cost billions'

Hotel rooms needlessly reserved for dignitaries by Olympics organisers are a key cause of the tourism slump that could cost Britain billions this summer, the travel industry has warned. Organisers admitted they had overestimated the number of rooms needed by 25 per cent. MORE

FA warned it must support gay players

The former Welsh rugby captain Gareth Thomas has warned the Football Association it must support gay footballers publicly to combat homophobia in the sport. In a BBC documentary, Thomas says young players will be deterred unless the sport becomes more welcoming. MORE

Crowds line streets to welcome Suu Kyi

Thousands lined the streets to greet democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi in the southern city of Dawei ahead of by-elections. Her National League for Democracy will compete for the 48 seats in the April poll. MORE

New £483m defence system to guard ships

Britain will invest £483m in a state-of-the-art air defence to protect ships that blows missiles out of the air at more than 2,000mph. The Ministry of Defence will announce today it has awarded the contract to develop the Sea Ceptor to the British wing of European missile firm MBDA. MORE

Deadly crossing claims fourth life

A deadly railway crossing has claimed its fourth life in a decade after a 15-year-old schoolgirl was hit by a train on Saturday. The victim was walking over the Johnson's footpath crossing near Cannons Close in Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire, at about 11.45am. MORE

Assad regime bids to flush out rebels

More than 50 tanks and personnel carriers, packed with 2,000 soldiers, rolled into the suburbs of Damascus at dawn as the Assad regime tried to flush out rebels who have holed up in Sunni areas and set up checkpoints in the past week within striking district of its seat of power. At least 19 people were killed in the area in some of the fiercest fighting of the nearly 11-month uprising. MORE

Tension as UN starts nuclear inspection

A United Nations inspection mission into Iran's nuclear programme, the outcome of which is likely to play a critical part in whether or not military strikes are carried out against the regime in Tehran, got under way yesterday amid acrimony and tension. MORE

Crackdown on nuisance neighbours

Communities will be able to force an investigation into nuisance neighbours under plans to be announced today by the Home Secretary, Theresa May. A "community trigger" scheme to be piloted this summer will force authorities to act if five people complain. MORE

Del and Rodney go to Hollywood

The US network ABC is planning to remake Only Fools and Horses, chronicling the "misadventures of two streetwise brothers and their grandfather as they concoct morally questionable get-rich-quick schemes". The pilot is being made by the team behind the hit show Scrubs.

UK zoos warned on thefts of rhino horn

Zoos have been warned gangs could poach their rhinos to sell the horns in the Asian medicine market. Rhino horn soared to more than $40,000 (£25,000) a kilo after rumours spread suggesting they cure cancer. Auction rooms and museums across Europe have been targeted and it is feared that zoos could be next. MORE

Making a noise about contraception

A blast of high-frequency sound waves to a man's vulnerable area might be the most effective male contraceptive, a new study suggests. Scientists conducted experiments which showed that ultrasound cut sperm counts in rats. The equivalent outcome would result in reversible infertility in humans.

Toddler enjoys alive snake snack

A 12-inch snake that slithered into a toddler's room in Haifa got more than it bargained for when the 18-month-old picked it up and began chewing its head. His mother, Ghadir Aleeyan, said: "I nearly died of fright." A neighbour pulled the half-dead snake from the child's mouth, and described it as "very badly chewed".

You can't buy it, but people keep trying

All you need is love – and a thousand-pound budget, according to a new survey of British singletons. Lonely hearts spend an estimated £3.4bn on dating each year, including food, drink and dressing to impress. It isn't clear how much of this – such as £100 for haircuts – would be saved by those in a relationship.

Britain freezes as big chill settles in

Parts of Britain have entered what forecasters predict will be the longest cold snap of the winter so far, with as many as 10cm of snow forecast to fall on high ground in Wales last night. Snow is also set to blanket parts of South-west England in a chilly period that could last until at least Thursday.

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Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?