Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Saturday 18 Aug 2012

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

1. PUSSY RIOT TERMS CONDEMENED
The two year jail sentences handed to members of Russian punk band Pussy Riot for hooliganism have been widely condemned. The White House and the UK foreign minister both described the sentences as "disproportionate", while the EU foreign affairs chief said she is "deeply disappointed" with the outcome. The Russian Orthodox Church has called for clemency.
2. BRITS ARE LAZY, CLAIM TORIES
British workers are "among the worst idlers in the world", according to a group of Tory MPs. In a book to be published next month, the five MPs claim the UK "rewards laziness" and that "too many people in Britain prefer a lie-in to hard work". Unions says the claims are "ridiculous" and that Britain's problem is not idleness but a "severe lack of jobs".
3. SUPERMARKETS 'SELL BOTTLED TAP WATER'
Two leading supermarkets have been accused of selling bottled tap water to unsuspecting customers. The Daily Mail reports that Tesco Everyday Value Still Water and Asda Smartprice Still Water are sold alongside mineral water, but actually contain filtered tap water. Both supermarkets deny misleading customers.
4. EXECUTIVE PAY CONTINUES TO RISE
Executive pay for Britain's top company bosses soared by 8.5% to an average of £3m in 2011, while the average pay rise for workers was just 1.6 per cent. Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: "There is still massive inequality between workers and their bosses." Investors will be angry at the figure, particularly as the FTSE 100 fell 6.5 per cent during 2011.
5. IS BRADY LETTER A RUSE?
Police fear that the claim Ian Brady has disclosed the location of one of his victims might be a "ruse" by the Moors murderer to taunt grieving relatives of his victims. “We do not know if this is true or simply a ruse but we clearly have a duty to investigate such information on behalf of Keith's family," said a Greater Manchester detective.
6. DIAMOND 'MISLED' PARLIAMENT CLAIM MPS
The Treasury Select Committee has accused former chief executive of Barclays Bob Diamond of misleading Parliament. In its 121-page report into the Libor scandal, the committee says Diamond “lacked candour”, was “unforthcoming”, and “fell well short of the standard that Parliament expects”.
7. POLICE ELECTIONS 'WILL BE A SHAMBLES'
The November elections for police and crime commissioners will be a "shambles" and will attract an all-time low turnout of electors, the Electoral Reform Society has warned. It predicts that turnout for the elections, which will cost £75 million to hold, will be about 18.5 per cent. Katie Ghose, the society’s chief executive, said: “This election is beginning to look like a perfect storm."
8. BORIS ENTERS PLAYING FIELDS DEBATE
Ministers have admitted that up to 2,000 academy schools are free to sell off their playing fields without any independent checks. Coalition advisers and London mayor Boris Johnson are calling on the government to give academy sports pitches the same protection as those of state schools. Johnson says protecting playing fields is “vital”.
9. EBAY BANS SPELLS AND CURSES
Internet auction site eBay has banned the sales of magic spells, potions, and curses. Its policy update stated that sales of such services would "often result in issues that can be difficult to resolve". Earlier this week the Etsy website, which sells handmade products, issued a ban on the sale of "human remains or body parts".
10. MANCINI SAYS UNITED TITLE FAVOURITES
The Premier League season kicks-off on Saturday, with Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini naming local rivals Manchester United as the favourites to steal back the title. Citing United's new strike partnership of Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney, he said: "I was serious last week when I said Manchester United were the favourites."