The News Matrix: Wednesday 2 February 2011

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The Independent Online

Former head of FA sues over hacking

David Davies, the former head of the Football Association, has launched legal action over allegations that his phone was illegally hacked by a private investigator working for the News of the World in 2005 and 2006. He said he had been seeking details from the police for 11 months. MORE

Mean streets, or do the statistics lie?

Greater Manchester police say a road in Bury, named on the Government’s new crime-mapping website as Britain’s most burgled street, actually had no reported crime last year. A street in Portsmouth was named third worst for overall crime despite being only 100 metres long. MORE

Trusts waste cash by buying too little

The National Audit Office says NHS trusts are wasting millions of pounds by making small purchases and buying different types of the same product. One hospital bought 177 different types of surgical glove while another trust bought 21 different types of A4 paper. MORE

Bid to save ‘wildlife jewels in the crown’

The wardens of England’s 140 state-run National Nature Reserves want to form their own mutual company to save what they call “wildlife jewels in the crown”. The Coalition is to offload responsibility for the 60-year-old official nature reserves system which holds precious wildlife sites. MORE

Putin sits down with a supermodel

What does a supermodel talk about when she meets a president? Naomi Campbell and Vladimir Putin chewed the fat over keeping in good shape and trapping tigers. MORE

Thousands flee path of 175mph cyclone

Thousands of people fled towns in Queensland, the state hit by floods last month, hours before a devastating cyclone was expected to make landfall yesterday. Cyclone Yasi, which has winds of up to 175mph, is expected to hit Cairns, the main jumping-off point for the Great Barrier Reef.

Budget to hit middle-classes

The upper middle-classes will be the biggest losers from the tax and benefit reforms expected in the 23 March budget. Families in the £40,000 to £50,000 bracket will lose around £270 a month. MORE

Aristide set for return

Former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide is set to muddle Haiti’s delicate political balance after being granted a diplomatic passport to return to the country after seven years in exile.

Council ban on grave ornaments

An Essex council has told grieving families they have one month to remove ornaments from graves in Colchester cemetery. Vases and ornaments will still be allowed on headstone bases but must not spill onto the grass. Only two windchimes and solar lights per grave will be allowed.

Spinach really does make you stronger

Popeye was right: spinach really can boost muscle power, according to researchers. The vegetable contains inorganic nitrate which – when given to volunteers during exercise in doses equivalent to that found in a plate of spinach – reduced their need for oxygen. MORE

Call for end to narcotic ‘bath salts’

A New York senator wants to ban the sale of “bath salts” that contain two drugs that produce a “meth-like” high. Under a bill unveiled by Senator Charles Schumer, they would be banned as federally controlled substances “These so-called bath salts contain ingredients that are nothing more than legally sanctioned narcotics,” he said.

Monk charged with tobacco possession

A Buddhist monk faces five years in prison under stringent anti-smoking laws in the Himalayan kingdom, which vows to become the first tobacco-free nation. He has been charged with consuming and smuggling tobacco after being caught in possession of 72 packets of chewing tobacco.

Take a trip to the gallery online

A new website allows internet users to wander virtually through 385 rooms in 17 fine art institutions, including the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, London’s National Gallery and the Metropolitan in New York. Art Project has also scanned 1,000 works from the museums’ collections in minute detail. MORE

Three-year-old tells Clegg to get ‘stuffed’

Three-year-old Izzie Aldridge seemed unimpressed by the policies of Nick Clegg yesterday as the Deputy Prime Minister visited the Marlborough Centre in north London ahead of the launch of the Mental Health Strategy. She beat him on the head with a cuddly toy reindeer as he talked to visitors.