After seven years of preparations, Danny Boyle’s Olympic opening ceremony will start tonight when the largest harmonically-tuned bell in the world is struck at 9pm It is not yet known who will light the Olympic flame. Yesterday, Team GB men drew 1-1 with Senegal as the games began ahead of the ceremony.
U.S. FEARS MASSACRE FOR ALEPPO
The US says it believes Syrian troops encircling the country’s second city of Aleppo are preparing a massacre. Tanks, helicopter gunships and aircraft have been deployed, prompting the fears. But America insisted it would not intervene, with a spokesman saying that would be “pouring more fuel on the fire”.
BOXING DAY ‘PSYCHO’ FACES LIFE IN JAIL
A self-styled “psycho” who murdered an Indian student on Boxing Day last year in Salford now faces at least 30 years in jail. He will be sentenced today. The 21-year-old, who shot Anuj Bidve at point blank range, was described as a “bad man, a cruel man” by his victim’s parents, who came from India for the trial.
BO XILAI’S WIFE CHARGED WITH MURDER
The wife of a now-disgraced Chinese politician who had challenged the country’s ruling elite, Bo Xilai, has been charged with the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood. Gu Kailai is accused of the murder with her family aide Zhang Xiaojun, after a conflict of business interest led her to worry for her son’s safety.
‘ROMNEYSHAMBLES’ LEAVES NO ONE HAPPY
US Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney left all three of the UK’s main political parties unimpressed on an official visit yesterday, reports The Times, a day dubbed ‘Romneyshambles’. After a bad start, telling US TV the Games preparation was “disconcerting”, Romney called Ed Miliband "Mr Leader" in error.
GREEK PM TO PLEAD FOR BAIL OUT
Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras today meets the country’s international creditors to ask for a final tranche of bail-out money, armed with a two-year, €11.7bn austerity plan including cuts to pensions, benefits and healthcare. The struggling economy has already received two payments of €100bn and €130bn.
TERRORISTS RE-FORM A ‘NEW IRA’
Three of four surviving Republican terror groups in Northern Ireland have merged, says The Guardian. The Real IRA has joined two others, leaving only the Continuity IRA outside its coalition, to make a “new IRA”. A statement said the Irish people had been “sold a phoney peace … by a token legislature”.
OSBORNE TO KEEP HIS DUAL ROLES
David Cameron has insisted that George Osborne will – and can – maintain both his roles, as chancellor and chief strategist for the Conservative party. Osborne has come under pressure from figures in his own party and others to focus on one role or the other, but Cameron is adamant, according to the Daily Mail.
ECUADOR SEEKS ASSURANCE ON ASSANGE
Diplomats for the small central-American nation of Ecuador, whose embassy in London is still home to WikiLeaks founder Julian Asssange, are seeking assurance from the UK that he will not be extradited from Sweden to the USA if he goes there to face charges of sexual misdemeanour against two women.
HOT TICKET: SEARCH FOR RODRIGUEZ
Award-winning music documentary Searching for the Sugarman opens in cinemas today. The film follows the story of two fans who set out to discover what happened to 1970s Mexican-American folk singer Rodriguez, once hailed as the new Bob Dylan. “Fascinating, unexpected and cherishable,” says Time Out.