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The News Matrix: Saturday 1 December 2012

Race to cash in on shale gas set to begin

A race to develop Britain's most significant new energy source since North Sea Oil is about to begin, as the Government is shortly expected to end the current moratorium on shale gas production. 60 per cent of the British countryside could be exploited.  MORE

Residents hit back at nuisance skydivers

Residents living near skydiving sites are setting up protest groups against the air traffic noise that comes from the daredevil activity. Several airfields hosting trips have been targeted by petitions but the British Parachute Association says clubs are busier than ever. MORE

Officials seize £1m of fake designer pants

More than £5m of fake goods destined to become Christmas gifts have been seized in the past three months, the UK Border Agency said. At Felixstowe, officials seized 7,500 pairs of counterfeit Ugg boots and nearly £1m of fake Calvin Klein pants were found in Southampton.

Gambon 'behind tramp character'

Sir Michael Gambon was the unlikely inspiration for a smelly tramp in David Walliams' children's book, the comedian has admitted.

The Little Britain star told the Radio Times: "He's very lovable and eccentric, so I heard his voice in my head when I was writing it."

Monty Python stars in Spamalot wrangle

Stars of Monty Python attended the High Court yesterday to fight a legal dispute over the musical Spamalot – a spin-off from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Eric Idle, Michael Palin and Terry Jones will give evidence in a legal action brought against them by the film's producer. MORE

Egypt: Thousands protest at new constitution

Thousands of people protested against President Mohamed Morsi yesterday after an Islamist-led assembly hurriedly approved a new constitution. "The people want to bring down the regime," they chanted in Cairo, echoing the demonstrations that toppled Hosni Mubarak. MORE

USA: Mrs Clinton to visit Northern Ireland

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is to visit Northern Ireland, in what could be one of her last foreign trips before her term runs out next month. She will travel to Belfast on 7 December to meet officials as well as discuss the peace process and investment opportunities. MORE

Mexico: New President to be sworn in today

The political party that ruled the country for seven decades returns to power today as a new President, Enrique Peña Nieto, is sworn in . The Institutional Revolutionary Party reclaims the presidency as figures show 25,000 Mexicans have gone missing in the past six years. MORE

Macau: Gangland leader set for release from jail

The Asian gambling mecca is bracing itself for the release of an organised-crime boss who was at the centre of the gangland violence that plagued the region in the late 1990s. Wan Kuok-koi is due to be freed today after serving most of a 15-year sentence, the government said.

Spain: Sunken treasure on display for first time

Officials have allowed a first look at 12 silver coins and two gold tobacco boxes recovered from a galleon that sank off Gibraltar in 1804. The loot from the Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes is part of 16 tons of treasure, estimated at £300m, that a US salvage firm gave up after a five-year dispute.

China: Censors block 'too raucous' TV channel

Regulators have suspended a broadcaster after an unaired segment of a TV game show, showing a raucous shouting match about nudity, was leaked online. Jiangsu Education Television's programming was blocked because its content was deemed vulgar and "not educational enough".

France: Depardieu 'drove scooter while drunk'

Gérard Depardieu has been arrested for allegedly driving his scooter while drunk. The 63-year-old actor was taken into a police station on Thursday after he fell off the vehicle in Paris and failed an alcohol test, an official with the city's police department said.

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