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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

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape