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The News Matrix: Wednesday 23 January 2013

Let people drink and drive, says council

Drink driving could be made legal in rural Ireland. Kerry Councillor Danny Healy-Rae said police should be allowed to exempt "older people" who live in isolated areas, as they were being forced to stay home due to stringent laws against driving over the legal limit. MORE

Bellucci is latest star to leave Paris

The Italian film star Monica Bellucci is leaving Paris for Rio de Janeiro because she "loves the poetry of the place". However, observers noted that her departure with her French actor husband Vincent Cassel, both above, coincides with new 75 per cent tax rates for the wealthy.

Hitchcock was no sadist, says director

Alfred Hitchcock was not a "sadistic monster" as he is often portrayed, says the maker of a new film about the director. Sacha Gervasi told i: "He was a brilliant, obsessed and he would push people. He was a popular entertainer, not Pol Pot." Sir Anthony Hopkins plays the lead in Hitchcock, which opens next month. MORE

Obama turns up heat on climate change

Environmentalists were hopeful of a real response to climate change after President Barack Obama addressed global warming in his inaugural address. "We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children," he said. MORE

Massive 'fondue' fire closes Arctic tunnel

A truckload of burning cheese has closed a tunnel in the Arctic for the last six days. Some 27 tonnes of brunost, a Norwegian delicacy, blocked a two-mile tunnel near Narvik when it caught fire on Thursday. "This high concentration of fat and sugar is almost like petrol," police said.

Three arrested over Rotterdam art theft

Three Romanians have been arrested over last year's multimillion-pound theft of paintings by Picasso, Matisse and Monet from a gallery. The thieves were thought to have broken into the Kunsthal in Rotterdam via an emergency exit. The stolen works have not been recovered.

Brussels' most bijou house goes on sale

The smallest house in Brussels will go up for auction next month at £123,000. The former furniture workshop and creperie, near Central Square, is just 2.75m wide and has a ground floor only 1.75m across. One floor has a fireplace, but you might singe your knees if you sat facing it.

Merkel and Hollande 'actually work'

The French and German parliaments held a joint session in Berlin's revamped Reichstag yesterday to commemorate 50 years of unity. Chancellor Angela Merkel said the chemistry between herself and President François Hollande "actually worked". MORE

Sun's defence editor on hacking charge

The Sun defence editor Virginia Wheeler has become the tabloid's fifth journalist to face charges arising from phone hacking. Prosecutors said details of high-profile figures were supplied to the paper by PC Paul Flattley.  MORE

Stuart Hall faces child sex charges

The veteran broadcaster Stuart Hall has been arrested and charged with one offence of rape and 14 counts of indecent assault. The 83-year-old football commentator, who was awarded an OBE last year for services to broadcasting, was detained yesterday morning. The indecent assaults are alleged to have been committed between 1967 and 1986 on girls aged between nine and 16.

Male suicide at its highest since 2002

The number of male suicides has reached its highest level in almost a decade. In 2011, some 4,552 British men took their own lives, the most since 2002. Men aged 30 to 44 remained the most likely to take their own lives. The overall number of suicides grew 8 per cent in 2011. MORE

Regime recruits 'lioness' women

President Bashar al-Assad has recruited women to carry out security operations in an effort to free up soldiers for combat with rebels. The female recruits, known as the "Lionesses for National Defence", were first deployed in the southern city of Homs five days ago. MORE

College in 'lockdown' after latest shooting

A college in Houston was locked down yesterday after reports that several people had been injured in a shooting. Police said one person was in custody and a possible second gunman was being sought as students at the Texas college were told to take cover.

Millions 'will starve' over grain scandal

A monopoly on the world's grain trade has left hundreds of millions of people facing starvation, charities warn. Just five companies control 90 per cent of production. The charities also called for a crackdown on tax avoidance.

Taliban rounds on 'cowardly' Harry

Prince Harry's account of how he killed insurgents in Afghanistan has angered Britain's Stop the War coalition, who said his comments were "arrogant and insulting". The Taliban claimed the Prince was a "coward" for only speaking out once he had left the country. MORE

British grandmother faces firing squad

The UK Government has criticised the death sentence handed to British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford for smuggling cocaine. "We strongly object to the death penalty," said Foreign Office minister Hugo Swire. MORE

Troops arrive to find Islamists have fled

US planes took French troops and equipment to Mali as Malian and French forces continued their push into the Islamist-held north. Troops arrived in Douentza to find that Islamists had retreated from the town, despite the fact it had been held by rebels for four months.

Rates of prostate cancer set to soar

Prostate cancer rates are set to treble as more men are tested for the disease and live longer. Boys born in 2015 will be almost three times more likely to be diagnosed with the disease during their lives than those born in 1990, a Cancer Research UK report showed.

Netanyahu expected to win as polls close

Benjamin Netanyahu was expected to stay at the helm of Israel's government last night as polls closed. The election is expected to leave Mr Netanyahu with a government of hard-liners opposed to concessions to bring the Palestinians back to the negotiating table. MORE

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