Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Wednesday 25 Jul 2012

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

uk austerity
1. UK ECONOMY IN SHOCK 0.7% CONTRACTION
The UK economy shrank by 0.7% between April and June, according to the Office for National Statistics. The figure is much worse than expected and means the economy has been contracting since October 2011. Ranvir Singh of market analysts RANsquawk said: "No amount of sunshine or Olympic hype can hide the fact this is a black day for the economy."
Religion
2. SCOTS TO INTRODUCE GAY MARRIAGE
Scotland could see its first gay marriage by 2015 after the ruling SNP said it is preparing a bill for the Holyrood parliament. Catholics and the Church of Scotland are against the plans, but the SNP has said it would ensure that no minister of a religion who refused to preside over a gay marriage could be prosecuted.
Politics
3. BOJO: ‘I PAY CASH-IN-HAND A LOT’
Boris Johnson, London’s Tory mayor, says he pays cash-in-hand for services such as plumbing, gardening and cleaning "a lot". Yesterday, Tory minister David Gauke declared paying cash to tradesmen in expectation of avoiding VAT to be “morally wrong”. Nick Clegg and David Cameron also admitted to the practice.
4. CHRISTIAN BALE VISITS AURORA
The English actor who plays Batman, Christian Bale, has visited the survivors of the Aurora atrocity, where 12 were shot dead as they watched the latest instalment in the franchise. The 38-year-old spent two hours talking to survivors and medical staff and laid flowers at an impromptu memorial to the victims.
Syria
5. SYRIA: GENERAL ADMITS DEFECTION
A Syrian general and former aide to president Bashar al-Assad has appeared publicly for the first time since he went over to the rebel side, admitting on TV that he has defected and appealing for Syrians to unite against Assad. Yesterday, fighter jets and helicopter gunships attacked parts of Syria's second city, Aleppo.
6. BODY FOUND AT DORSET CLIFF LANDSLIDE
Rescuers searching for a 22-year-old women believed to have been caught in a landslide at Burton Bradstock on the Jurassic Coast in Dorset have found a body. Police say they believe it is that of the missing woman. Recent heavy rains made the cliff unsteady and had prompted Dorset Council to issue a danger warning.
Business
7. APPLE SHARES TAKE A DIVE
Shares in Apple, the world’s largest tech firm, fell by six per cent last night when investors took umbrage that its healthy $8.8bn profits were $1bn short of predictions. The shortfall – only the second time in a decade that predictions have not been met – was caused by declining sales of the once-mighty iPhone.
8. OLYMPIC LANES CAUSE CONGESTION
The controversial Olympic Games lanes came into force across London today, causing disruption on the capital's already crowded roads. Traffic jams were reported on a number of roads into London, including the A40 and M4 in west London and A12 and A13 in east London. The Games Lanes are reserved for members of the 'Olympic family'; any other motorist caught using them faces a £130 fine.
9. ‘BRING BACK BECKS’ SAYS MACCA
Sir Paul McCartney, gearing up to close the opening ceremony of the Olympic games, has branded the bosses of Team GB football “idiots” for leaving David Beckham out of the team. “He is a national hero. I would’ve thought Beckham would be first choice… he’s a crowd-puller,” said the 70-year-old former Beatle.
Art
10. HOT TICKET: LIVE ART AT THE TATE
British-German artist Tino Sehgal’s new commission, ‘These Associations’, has opened at Tate Modern. Sehgal’s live art installation involves “participants” who move about the Turbine Hall space in patterns and engage visitors in conversations about their emotional experiences. “Dazzlingly powerful,” says The Independent.