Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Thursday 29 Dec 2011

The Week’s super-quick catch-up on the main news talking points, available from 8am daily

1. US VOWS FORCE AFTER IRAN THREAT
The US has responded to Iran's threat to close an oil-trade route by declaring that it is prepared to use force. A US Fifth Fleet spokeswoman said it is "always ready to counter malevolent actions" after Iran threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz if more sanctions are imposed.
2. UNIONS WARN OF NEW STRIKES
Unions are threatening a wave of strikes as their leaders press for fresh concessions from the Government. GMB's Brian Strutton has warned unions will begin “kicking back” against redundancies and pay caps. Private sector workers could follow the example of the public sector.
3. COWELL ON 'BAD SCIENCE' LIST
Simon Cowell is included on a 'bad science' list which names stars who make misleading statements about health. The Sense About Science charity highlighted his quotes about intravenous vitamin intake and reality star Nicole Polizzi's claim sea water is "all whale sperm".
4. CHAVEZ: IS US GIVING LEADERS CANCER?
Venezuela's Hugo Chavez has speculated that the US might have developed a secret method to give cancer to Latin American leaders. Chavez, and the leaders of Paraguay and Brazil, have been treated for cancer. He called the coincidence "very, very, very strange".
5. MOURNING CONTINUES IN N KOREA
North Korea is holding a second day of national mourning for late leader Kim Jong-il. Crowds are gathering for a memorial service in Pyongyang's main square. His successor Kim Jong-un has been declared "supreme leader of the party, state and army".
6. ED MILIBAND'S WAR ON PESSIMISM
Ed Miliband says that "optimism can defeat despair" even though Britain faces challenges that are the "greatest in a generation". He said it "suits the current Conservative-led Government" to foster hopelessness and vowed to remind people "politics can make a difference".
7. QUESTIONS OVER ARAB LEAGUE'S SYRIA MISSION
Doubts have been raised over the effectiveness of Arab League observers in Syria after one described the situation in Homs as "nothing frightening" despite his monitors witnessing civilian casualties. Meanwhile, Syria has released 755 people detained during the uprising.
8. MULTIPLE PREGNANCY ABORTIONS RISE
More than 100 unborn babies were aborted in 2010 by women who discovered they were expecting twins, triplets or quintuplets and wanted to give birth to fewer children, reveals The Telegraph. Increased IVF treatment has led to a rise in multiple pregnancy.
9. AVOID EMOTION, LAWRENCE JURY TOLD
The jury in the trial of two men accused of the murder of Stephen Lawrence were warned by the judge not to let emotion influence their deliberations. He said sympathy for the Lawrence family and "anger at the nature of the attack on Stephen Lawrence cannot guide your decision".
10. LUIS SUAREZ PUNISHED AGAIN
Controversial Liverpool striker Luis Suarez has been suspended for one match and fined £20,000 after admitting making an obscene hand gesture following the team's 1-0 defeat at Fulham. Suarez was recently given an eight-game ban for racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra.