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The News Matrix: Wednesday 05 February 2014

Housing shortage will last for 10 years

George Osborne has warned that Britain’s housing shortage is likely to persist for at least another decade. The Chancellor insisted the Coalition’s controversial planning shake-up was having a “positive” effect, and played down fears of a property bubble. However, he admitted that more still needed to be done to overcome the “historic” imbalance between supply and demand.

Battle for Homs may lead to settlement

The battle between government forces and rebels in the city of Homs has seen some of the most brutal clashes in the civil war, with more this week. The city has become a symbol for both sides, with the UN believing that it is a test case for a possible negotiated peace. MORE

Cambridge faculty in pay dispute

Cambridge University academics are in a dispute over whether one of them should be paid more than the others. The university has accepted a £3.6m donation to fund the Stephen W Hawking Professorship of Cosmology but the holder would earn more. MORE

Robber’s kiss leads to his arrest

A man who kissed the face of a jewellery shop owner in Paris in the middle of an robbery was arrested with the aid of the DNA he left on his face, La Parisien newspaper has reported. One of the two men allegedly involved said he kissed her cheek to “allay her trauma” .

Roache jury set to consider verdicts

The jury in the sex abuse trial of Coronation Street actor William Roache will retire today to consider its verdicts at Preston Crown Court. Roache, 81, who plays Ken Barlow in the soap, is accused of sexually assaulting five women when they were 16 or under in the 1960s and 1970s.

Bob Marley relative leads Rasta battle

The eldest granddaughter of reggae legend Bob Marley, Donisha Prendergast, has taken up the fight to protect the site of a community that was the first settlement of the Rastafari religion in Jamaica. MORE

Cumbria the fattest county in England

Cumbria has been named as the English county with the highest proportion of fat people. England-wide data has for the first time revealed the fattest and thinnest parts of the country and the scale of the obesity crisis. Some 68.3 per cent of people in Cumbria are overweight or obese. MORE

Environmentalists critical of policies

Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his Environment Minister, Greg Hunt, have faced criticism from environmental campaigners that a number of potential policies, including the expansion of a coal terminal near the Great Barrier Reef, could harm the country’s reputation and its tourism industry. MORE

Rescue services bear out castaway’s story

Jose Salvador Alvarenga, who said he survived more than a year adrift in a boat in the Pacific Ocean, seems to have at least some of his story correct. He says he left Mexico with a friend in 2012 and Mexican rescue services have confirmed that a boat went missing two days after leaving at that time.

Avon police seek ‘on the loose’ crocodile

Police in Bristol were on the alert yesterday after a crocodile was reported to be on the loose. “One of our officers was flagged down by a bus driver today, claiming to have seen a six-foot crocodile under Coronation Bridge. We can’t find it,” Nick Gargan, chief constable of Avon and Somerset Police, wrote on Twitter.

Couple charged over baby’s 911 calls

Authorities have charged a  northern New York woman and her boyfriend because the woman’s two-year-old daughter used their mobile phones to dial the emergency number 911 a total of 15 times last month. Police said they charged  the pair with obstructing governmental administration.

Cumberbatch on Sesame Street

Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch has shown off his deductive powers to viewers of Sesame Street by counting fruit. The actor appears as a guest in  a video featuring characters  from the popular series and enlists the help of show regular Count Von Count to tackle a tricky problem.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices