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The News Matrix: Wednesday 14 November 2012

Deadly snakes seized from truck

Customs officials have seized 600 deadly cobras hidden in a truck. The snakes were thought to be from Malaysia and destined for a third country for use in traditional medicine or even human consumption. Thailand is a major transit country for illegal wildlife trafficking in Asia.

Hollande tries to reboot presidency

François Hollande attempted to relaunch his struggling presidency last night by promising to rebuild a strong France for a "new world" through a press conference seen as an opportunity to set a new tone. MORE

Hotel death plunge was an accident

An "adrenalin junkie" who had climbed landmarks including the Angel of the North died in an accidental fall from a hotel, a Teesside coroner ruled yesterday. James Smith, 30, of Middlesbrough, plunged to his death in Bangkok in August 2010.

UN 'failed to protect civilians in civil war'

The UN failed to protect thousands of civilians caught in the last months of Sri Lanka's civil war. According to an internal inquiry, a draft of whose findings were obtained by the BBC, the UN should "meet a much higher standard in fulfilling its protection and humanitarian responsibilities".

Hunt scraps patient satisfaction targets

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has torn up plans to force the NHS to meet specific targets on increasing patient satisfaction in the Government's much vaunted NHS Mandate. The document sets out what ministers expect from NHS managers. MORE

Acting news chief makes 'no leaks' plea

The acting director of news at the BBC urged her colleagues not to talk to news organisations on her first day in the job. Fran Unsworth said she did not want to see the organisation's problems "played out publicly across social media and in the pages of the national press". MORE

Kerry considered as Defence Secretary

Barack Obama is reported to be considering the former Democratic presidential nominee, John Kerry, as the country's next Defence Secretary. As the Obama administration enters its second term, the incumbent, Leon Panetta, is widely expected to step down. MORE

Academy prompts good school's closure

A school where 91 per cent of students reach the Government's required targets in English could close within two years as a result of Michael Gove's academies drive. Bedford's Harrowden Middle School is rated good, but the council is to reorganise its schools in 2014. MORE

Sailor tried to give secrets to Russians

A Royal Navy submariner has admitted trying to hand over top secret information to Russian agents. Petty Officer Edward Devenney, 30, was in custody last night after being caught in an MI5 sting. The Old Bailey heard Devenney, who obsessively posted as many as 40 tweets a day, was willing to pass on code-breaking technology which could be useful to an enemy. MORE

Stolen paintings found in cemetery

Four artworks stolen at gunpoint from a Pretoria museum on Sunday were dumped at a cemetery 700 miles away. Maggie Laubser's Cat and Petunias, above, and three other paintings were found in Port Elizabeth. A fourth picture is still missing.

End of the road for INXS after 35 years

The Australian band INXS have announced their decision to stop touring after 35 years. Drummer Jon Farriss said he understood the move would "come as a blow" to fans. The band's most famous member was frontman Michael Hutchence, who died in 1997.

Wet summer a boon for Christmas trees

Wet weather in June and July may have made for a miserable holiday, but the soggy summer has resulted in a bumper crop of Christmas trees. Growers said trees have seen greener foliage, glossy leaves and a strong fragrance. But the climate damaged supplies of holly and mistletoe.

Blur frontman marks broadcast birthday

The Blur singer Damon Albarn has made an "audio collage" to mark 90 years of radio. His three-minute clip of radio listeners' recorded messages will be broadcast on every BBC radio station and worldwide at 5.33pm today, potentially reaching a global audience of 120 million.

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