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The News Matrix: Tuesday 1 January 2013

Tories lose voters to Labour and Ukip

The Conservatives dropped almost one-fifth of its electoral support last year as voters deserted the party for Labour or Ukip, a poll of polls reveals today. The figures show a serious challenge for David Cameron, who has yet to recover from the Chancellor's 2012 'omnishambles' budget.

'More must be done to treat the obese'

There are "inadequate" provisions for the treatment of obese patients in the NHS, a report by the Royal College of Physicians has said. In the controversial study, experts said the healthcare system must adapt to meet the needs of Britain's expanding population.

Ferry passenger feared drowned

A British woman is feared dead after falling overboard from a ferry following a night out. Teresa Cowley, 43, from Derby, had been drinking with her husband Mark, as they sailed from Hull to Rotterdam. CCTV footage shows Ms Cowley alone on deck shortly after 1am on Friday.

Eurosceptics back 'second-class' Britain

Proposals by senior European politicians to give Britain "second class" membership of the EU were greeted with cautious appreciation by leading Conservatives yesterday. Former cabinet ministers and MPs welcomed the suggestion that the UK should surrender its Brussels Commissioner, its MEPs and its veto rights while remaining in the single market.

Oompa Loompas forget the script

Detectives in Norwich are hunting two men who assaulted a 28-year-old man while dressed as Oompa Loompas. Police said the victim was left with cuts to his face, nose and lip, and two black eyes, after being confronted by the pair dressed as the orange-faced characters from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as he left a city centre kebab shop.

Radio Cymru to play English music

BBC Radio Cymru is to slash programming by two hours a day and introduce English music after failing to secure the rights to 30,000 Welsh songs. The Welsh-language radio service announced the change after failing to settle a dispute with Eos, the representative body for more than 300 Welsh musicians.

Mattel puts Thomas on a different track

Thomas the Tank Engine will undergo a major rebranding in 2013 in an attempt to get children in Asia and Latin America on board. Following its acquisition of the licence last year, the toy giant Mattel plans to overhaul Thomas to bring the Rev Wilbert Awdry's cheery locomotive and his friends in line with its lucrative Hot Wheels and Barbie brands.

Northern Ireland: Second bomb in two days discovered

Authorities in Northern Ireland have discovered a bomb one day after an explosive was found under the car of a Belfast police officer. A device was found by a police station near Portadown. Army technical officers investigated while residents evacuated their homes.

Rapper and reality star expecting baby

Kanye West and Kim Kardashian are expecting their first child. The 35-year-old rapper revealed to a crowd of more than 5,000 in song form at a concert on Sunday that his reality TV star girlfriend is pregnant. Kardashian was in the New Jersey crowd with her mother, Kris Jenner, and West's mentor and best friend, Jay-Z. Most of the Kardashian clan tweeted about the news.

USA: Clinton blood clot followed concussion

The US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, remained under observation yesterday at a New York hospital after being treated for a blood clot related to a concussion she sustained earlier in December.

Central African Republic: Rebels reject offer to form coalition

Rebels in the Central African Republic rejected appeals yesterday for them to halt their advances and negotiate to form a coalition government. The rebels had been urged by the visiting leader of the African Union and by President François Bozizé to stop seizing cities and preparing to attack the capital, Bangui. The Seleka rebels have taken control of ten cities in the Central African Republic's north in the past three weeks.

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Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

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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
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

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The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

20 best days out for the summer holidays

From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

All the wood’s a stage

Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

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Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

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