The News Matrix: Thursday 29 March 2012


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Games 'not worth their £9.3bn cost'

Less than half of British people believe the Olympic Games in London will be worth their £9.3bn cost to the public purse, according to a survey for i. Young people were more positive: 58 per cent of 18-24 year-olds said the Games justified the expenditure. MORE

'Whiffy' wheat set to repel pests

A genetically modified crop engineered to repel insects with a foul-smelling substance is being grown in the Hertfordshire countryside. So-called "whiffy" wheat was created in an effort to combat the £120m damage caused each year by aphid attacks. MORE

Women still under threat, says report

The criminal justice system has made little progress in the way it treats women accused of running away or adultery, despite commitments from the Afghan president to protect women's rights, The New York-based Human Rights Watch group said yesterday. MORE

Home-made lava lamp blows up

A pair of 20-somethings in London's East End caused an explosion and a fire last week when they attempted to create a home-made lava lamp. A man and woman suffered minor burns after the incident in Bethnal Green, which saw a window frame blown out of their ground floor flat.

Lethal radiation found at Fukushima

A "lethal" level of radiation has been detected inside one of the reactors at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, throwing fresh doubts over the operator's claims that the disabled complex is under control. MORE

Women bear brunt of council job cuts

Of the 210,000 workers sacked from local government jobs since the 2010 General Election, 68 per cent were women. A study by the GMB union showed that in 36 councils in England and Wales, only women had been fired. In the South-east, 75 per cent of the people who lost their jobs were women, compared with 57 per cent in the East Midlands.

Merah was 'not a police informer'

The head of the French security service was forced to intervene to quash speculation that Mohamed Merah, the Toulouse gunman who killed seven people before being killed himself after a 32-hour siege, was a police informer linked to one of his own agents in the city. MORE

Police have DNA of 100-plus rapists

More than 100 suspected rapists who committed attacks in London during the 1980s and 1990s remain unidentified despite forensics teams discovering their full DNA profiles. Detectives said they were only likely to be caught if they were detained for a new offence. MORE

UN reveals torture of children by regime

The UN human rights envoy, Navi Pillay, yesterday described the "horrendous" incarceration and torture of youngsters by the Syrian government, just days after it received unconfirmed reports of child soldiers fighting for the opposition. MORE

Help! Someone's nicked my lawn

A man from Ipswich, Suffolk, admitted to uttering "a few expletives" when he discovered that thieves had made off with the artificial grass on his front lawn. Steve Woolnough said he could not believe people would "stoop so low". Police say that the lawn raiders would have needed a vehicle to move the 10ft square turf.

New York bans words from school tests

New York's Department of Education has deemed 50 words and phrases inappropriate for mention in regular internal school tests for fear of offending certain students. The list of unmentionable topics includes war and violence, but also birthdays, dinosaurs and even "homes with swimming pools". MORE

Workers dance away lunch hour

Some workers in Sweden have found a rather offbeat way to spend their lunch hour. They dance away to pulsating club music at Lunch Beat, a trend that started in Stockholm and is spreading to other cities in Europe. The first Lunch Beat was held in June 2010 in an underground parking lot in Stockholm.

Toads move to make way for new factory

Thousands of toads are being moved from a site in Staffordshire this week to make way for a for a £350m Jaguar Land Rover facility. More than 4,000 amphibians will be taken to a purpose-built wetland area that the county council hopes will become a new toad haven. The new car factory will create 750 jobs in the area.

Film about Kinks wins backing

BBC Films has given its financial backing to a movie about the sibling rivalry at the heart of English rock band The Kinks. The film will be directed by Julien Temple, who has already helmed a "rockumentary" about the Glastonbury Festival. Brothers Ray, the lead vocalist, and guitarist Dave Davies were famous for their blazing rows.