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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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Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn