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The News Matrix: Tuesday 31 May 2011

Lecturers back strike action against cuts

Lecturers pledged support for sit-ins and strikes at colleges in protest at fee rises and spending cuts. Staff in further and higher education have already been threatened with redundancy, the University and College Union conference was told. MORE

Energy drinks add to child obesity

Parents are making their children fat and ruining their teeth by buying them sports or energy drinks and should give them water instead, doctors have warned. The drinks contain extra calories that may be contributing to growing obesity. MORE

Zuma flies in to woo Colonel Gaddafi

Colonel Muammar Gaddafi greeted South African President, Jacob Zuma, in Tripoli yesterday for talks aimed at ending the war in Libya, the first time he has been seen since 11 May. MORE

Berlusconi suffers blow in home city

Silvio Berlusconi was dealt a blow yesterday when the communist candidate won the mayoral race in the prime minister’s home city of Milan. Mr Berlusconi campaigned against Giuliano Pisapia, saying Milan would turn into “gypsy-ville” if he won. MORE

Strauss-Kahn builds defence and PR team

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, awaiting trial for attempted rape, has arranged a daunting legal and PR team to try to clear his name, including Michael Jackson’s former defence attorney, Benjamin Brafman. It is thought his wife is funding his defence. MORE

User claims to reveal more injunctions

Another social media user appeared to publish details of celebrity gagging orders yesterday. A new Twitter account posted details of 13 alleged court injunctions yesterday morning. After attracting more than 500 followers in 10 hours, the tweets were removed. The author of the latest alleged Twitter breach used the “anonymous” mask. MORE

First hangings since 2004 to go ahead

India’s President, Pratibha Patil, has refused to commute the death sentences of two men, despite a seven-year moratorium in the country. The death sentence is so rarely enforced in India that one region is advertising for a new executioner. MORE

Wine alcohol content ‘higher than on label’

Modern breeds of stronger wines are even more powerful than is claimed on the label, a study has found. The American Association of Wine Economists says that growers understate the alcoholic content of their wine in order to appeal to consumers’ tastes for “more intense, riper flavours”. MORE

‘Severed head of saint’ sells at auction

Auctions often throw up some pretty unusual lots, none more so than the human head that went under the hammer in rural Ireland at the weekend. And this is not just any old head: it is claimed to be that of St Vitalis of Assisi, the patron saint of genital diseases. MORE

King cobras found on train were to be eaten

Railway officials have discovered venomous king cobras in bags under a train seat in Vietnam. Railroad officials spotted the bags on Friday. The snakes were alive but had their mouths stitched shut, and were likely destined for restaurants, where they would be served as a delicacy.

By Gad, Dickens’ home set to open

The house where Charles Dickens wrote some of his greatest works is to be opened to the public for the first time. Gad’s Hill Place will be converted into a heritage centre, in plans announced by the school which has occupied the building in Higham, Kent, for nearly 90 years.

Joan Collins ‘forced to sell fourth home’

The credit crunch has claimed another victim, as Joan Collins has been forced to sell one of her four homes because she can “no longer afford to keep it”. The actress has put her three-bedroom Manhattan apartment on the market. She told Hello!:“We can no longer afford to keep it.”

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Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

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New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

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Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

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Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
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Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

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Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

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KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker