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The News Matrix: Tuesday 15 March 2011

Care home company on brink of collapse

The fate of some 30,000 vulnerable elderly residents hangs in the balance after the residential care company Southern Cross Healthcare announced it is close to collapse as fees fall and rents rise. Its shares fell by more than 50 per cent. MORE

Renault security boss arrested in spy saga

Renault last night apologised to three executives fired in January accused of selling secrets. The statement came after a security boss from the French car giant was arrested while trying to leave the country, in another twist to the spying scandal. MORE

Marine Le Pen visits refugee centre

Marine Le Pen, the French far-right leader, visited the tiny Italian outpost of Lampedusa yesterday, where more than 8,500 refugees have arrived fleeing unrest in North Africa. MORE

Errors could affect nearly 200,000

More than 180,000 foreign nationals could have remained illegally in Britain over the last two years. The National Audit Office said the UK Border Agency failed to check whether migrants left after their visas expired. MORE

Bid to end ‘libel tourism’ loophole

Major changes to Britain’s antiquated defamation laws will be outlined by ministers with the publication of a bill to provide greater protection for free speech and an end to “libel tourism”. MORE

Officer accused of false arrest at protest

A police officer has been accused of arresting a young protester on “false grounds” at the student fees demonstrations last December. The police watchdog said it was investigating the “serious allegation” that an officer abused his position after a 20-year-old breached the cordon during the high-profile demonstrations in Parliament Square. MORE

Three-year-old child diagnosed alcoholic

A three-year-old child has been treated for alcoholism by staff at an NHS hospital. The toddler was among 13 youngsters aged 12 and under diagnosed as alcoholics by the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust between 2008 and 2010. MORE

‘News of the World’ in spy’s email claim

New allegations about hacking by News of the World reporters emerged in a Panorama broadcast last night. It claimed the editor of the tabloid’s Irish edition authorised the hacking of an Army intelligence officer’s email account in 2006. MORE

Miliband calls Clegg a vote-loser on AV

Ed Miliband snubbed Nick Clegg when asked to share a platform with him at an electoral reform rally, saying the Deputy Prime Minister was the “last thing” the campaign, which both men support, needed. The event has now been cancelled. MORE

New York unveils £1.9bn waterfront

Mayor Michael Bloomberg aims to put New Yorkers back in touch with the city’s sometimes glittering but often ignored 520 miles of waterfront. He unveiled a 10-year project which it is claimed will be one of the world’s greatest waterfront transformations. MORE

Ocean rower has naked ambition

A rower plans to set a world record by becoming the youngest man to cross the Indian Ocean solo. But Kildare man Keith Whelan, 30, will also be completely naked when he tackles the 3,700-mile crossing from Western Australia to Mauritius in a 23ft-long boat. The voyage may take 120 days.

Passengers at prayer spark security alarm

Three men sparked alarm on an Alaskan Airlines flight when they started praying and tying leather straps to their bodies. Pilots locked down the cockpit before it was realised the men were conducting a Jewish prayer ritual. MORE

Tourist visitors ‘are being put off Britain’

High hotel rates, difficulty getting visas and “punitive” taxes are causing a decline in tourists to the UK in the run-up to the 2012 Olympics, European holiday firms say. Some longhaul markets, including the US, are finding it impossible to secure hotel space at viable rates.

iPhone clock mishap alarms Americans

Users of Apple’s iPhone in the US peppered the internet with complaints when their phones bungled the one hour “spring forward” to daylight saving time. One complained of missing church, another of almost missing yoga. One called her iPhone stupid and several just asked for help.

Horse shoes march in Cheltenham

Shoes made in the style of real horses’ feet and legs – complete with genuine horse hair – are to go on sale at the Cheltenham Festival. The knee and ankle-length zip-up hoof shoes, commissioned by Betfair to celebrate 100 years of the festival, are £1,300 a pair. The proceeds will go to charity.

Stunt expert cleared over ‘Batman’ death

A special effects expert was cleared yesterday of health and safety breaches after the death of a cameraman during the making of the last Batman film. Conway Wickliffe, 41, was killed when the vehicle from which he was filming struck a tree. MORE

A ‘good service’ only once on all lines

In news that won’t surprise regular uses of London Underground, it was revealed yesterday that the Tube network ran a “good service” on every line all day only once in a year.

Dolphin jumps on woman sailor

A woman suffered a sprained ankle after a 700lb dolphin leapt aboard a boat that she was on. The boat’s captain called emergency services in South Florida after the freak incident. The creature was pushed back into the sea.

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