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The News Matrix: Thursday 29 December 2011

GPs sued over rising addiction to Valium

Doctors are being sued for creating prescription drug addicts after claims that they have failed to follow safety guidelines. Lawyers have reported an increase in clinical negligence cases from patients damaged by "indefensible" long-term prescribing of drugs such as Valium. MORE

Ron Paul beats Romney to poll lead

A week before the first Republican primary in the state of Iowa, the polls are as close as ever. Ron Paul, a libertarian who clashes on many issues with his more conservative rivals, appears to have the lead. The polls suggest one of the favourites, Mitt Romney, is in second place. MORE

Jury told not to let emotions sway them

Jurors were told yesterday not to allow sympathy for the family of Stephen Lawrence to influence them as they consider their verdicts today on two men accused of murdering the teenager 18 years ago. MORE

Home care often 'better than hospital'

One in four NHS hospital patients would be better off treated at home, the head of the NHS trusts organisation said. Mike Farrar called for more services from GPs and local clinics and for less reliance on hospitals, to raise standards, cut waste and boost confidence in the NHS. MORE

11 freed on bail over Oxford Street death

Eleven people arrested over the murder of a teenager stabbed to death on the UK's busiest shopping street on Boxing Day have been released on bail. Seydou Diarrassouba, 18, was killed after a fight broke out at a Foot Locker sports shoe store in Oxford Street, central London.

Seven injured on eve of visit by monitors

The day before observers from the Arab League are scheduled to visit the flashpoint Syrian town of Hama, at least seven people were wounded when security forces used live ammunition and tear gas to disperse a protest against President Bashar al-Assad. Live pictures on television showed black smoke rising above Hama as protesters chanted: "Where are the Arab monitors?"

Miliband confronts 'counsel of despair'

Ed Miliband has set the Labour Party a mission for 2012 to combat public scepticism about politics and what he calls the "counsel of despair". In his New Year Message he addresses doubt about whether politics can make any difference to the economy. MORE

A huge pillow fight to blow off stress

Pillows bearing the names of bosses and teachers will fill the air as hundreds of people gather to blow off stress in Shanghai with a massive pillow battle. The annual event has marked its fifth year with such success that two nights of pillow fighting were held before Christmas Day, and another is planned for tomorrow.

Silence of the Lambs becomes a 'treasure'

The Silence of the Lambs, in which Sir Anthony Hopkins, pictured, immortalised Hannibal "the Cannibal" Lecter, has been named an American cultural "treasure". The Oscar-winning film was yesterday selected for the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress along with 24 others including Bambi and Forrest Gump.

Two men rescue woman in river

Two men are being hailed as life-savers after rescuing a woman from a river. A 22-year-old soldier and another man, aged 56, helped to save the woman after they spotted her in the River Severn in Bridgnorth, Shropshire. West Midlands Ambulance Service said it would be writing to thank them.

Sorry, no pudding, you're too young

A vending machine in the US that scans the face of customers to determine their age before dispensing pudding has been developed in the US. If the facial recognition system deems you too young, an alarm will sound. Created by Kraft and Intel, it is an attempt to lure adults into the child-dominated pudding market.

Jamie Oliver book 'encourages obesity'

Jamie Oliver has been accused by health professionals of contributing to America's obesity crisis. The British chef's new book, Meals in Minutes, was named yesterday as one of the year's "five worst cookbooks" by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, who claim it encourages unhealthy eating habits. MORE

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