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Welcome to IKEAville

Swedish furniture giant IKEA has begun work on a 26-acre self-contained neighborhood in Stratford, East London - just in time for the 2012 Olympics.

The town will be called Strand East and will contain 1,200 new homes, 480,000 square feet of office space, and a 350 bedroom hotel. The development's canal side location -- nicknamed "mini Venice" -- will feature a water-taxi service and floating cocktail bar. It is the first major development for LandProp, which owns the intellectual assets of the furniture company. The development group already operates in Holland, Lithuania, Poland, and Latvia, according to the Daily Globe and Mail.

The announcement comes shortly after the British government's agreement last month to slim down urban planning laws in order to encourage more sustainable projects, like this one. In what was a bitter dispute with countryside campaigners, the reforms represent a huge step along the way to reviving Britain's struggling rural economy.

Andrew Cobden, a spokesman for the project, also described a 40-meter illuminated tower that will be visible across the East London skyline - meant to emulate the Olympic torch. Like all things IKEA, the tower will be made from relatively "simple" materials, a wooden lattice of 72 diagonal laths, 16 horizontal steel rings, and held together by 32,000 trusty steel bolts.

The development will accommodate residents at a range of income levels. IKEA's first pre-fabricated home debuted last month in Portland, at an all-inclusive price of just $86,000. You might need more than a tiny Allen wrench to build this one.

landProp Services

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Chinese moviegoers won't get to see Kate Winslet's breasts in 3-D

The 3-D rerelease of James Cameron's Titanic may be breaking box office records in China, but some viewers are upset that one particular scene -- you know the one! -- didn't make it past the censors:

Some were upset about missing out on the romantic but controversial scenes in which Kate Winslet posed nude for sketches. Internet forums and microblogging sites were abuzz with criticism of the censorship.

"I've been waiting almost 15 years, and not for the 3D icebergs," said a post.

Given the hefty $24 ticket price, you can understand the guy's frustration. The official explanation from China's State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television didn't exactly help:

Considering the vivid 3D effects, we fear that viewers may reach out their hands for a touch and thus interrupt other people's viewing. To avoid potential conflicts between viewers and out of consideration of building a harmonious ethical social environment, we've decided to cut off the nudity scenes.

Good news for DVD bootleggers, I guess.  

CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images