The proportion of pupils who received top grades in their GCSE exams has fallen for the first time since they were introduced in the 1980s. This year 69.4% of entries earned grades A*-C, compared with 69.8% last year. The proportion of pupils receiving A and A* grades, fell from 23.2% to 22.4%. More than 650,000 pupils got their results today.
NAKED HARRY: PALACE CONFIRMS WARNING
St James's Palace has confirmed that it contacted the Press Complaints Commission to warn that the publication in any British newspaper of the shots of a naked Prince Harry taken in a Las Vegas hotel suite would constitute an invasion of privacy. As a result, the photos, posted by US gossip site TMZ.com, have not appeared so far in any UK paper.
AUSTRALIA ‘IGNORES’ JULIAN ASSANGE
Australian authorities have been accused of ignoring recent requests for diplomatic assistance from Julian Assange. His Spanish lawyer Baltasar Garzón Real, speaking in Brisbane today, said: “Not at any point in time have consular authorities visited Mr Assange. And I understand that to be an obligation for all citizens of Australia.”
ASIL NADIR JAILED FOR TEN YEARS
Tycoon Asil Nadir has been jailed for ten years after being convicted of stealing £29m from his Polly Peck empire before it collapsed in 1990. He was told by judge Mr Justice Holyode: "You were a wealthy man who stole out of pure greed." Nadir's wife Nur said outside court that he would appeal against the convictions.
UK BACKS OBAMA OVER SYRIAN WMDs
The UK has joined the US in warning Syria that the use or threat of chemical weapons would force them "to revisit their approach" over a military intervention, following telephone talks between Prime Minster David Cameron, President Obama and French President Francois Hollande. They discussed building support for the Free Syria rebel forces.
GREECE FACES ‘LAST CHANCE’ ON BAIL-OUT
Eurozone finance chief Jean-Claude Juncker said after talks in Athens yesterday that the Greeks have to realise the country is facing its "last chance" for a euro bail-out in exchange for reforms to cut its deficit. German and French leaders will hold talks in Berlin this week as Greek PM Antonis Samaras calls for two more years to implement cuts.
TODD AKIN TO MISS PARTY CONVENTION
Todd Akin, the pariah Republican candidate who claimed women's bodies prevent pregnancy in “legitimate rape” cases, agreed yesterday to stay away from next week’s party convention in Florida. But he accused party bosses of trying to override the Missouri voters who picked him for the Senate race and of trying to “take down a pro-life conservative”.
50 DEAD IN KENYA FARM CLASHES
At least 52 people have been killed in ethnic clashes between Orma and Pokomo grups in south-eastern Kenya following disputes between farmers and cattle herders over grazing rights, police said yesterday. It is the worst violence recorded since elections in 2008. The dead included 31 women and 11 children, burned to death in their huts.
MARS ROVER BEGINS TO ROVE
The US space agency Nasa’s Curiosity ‘rover’ finally began to roll on Mars yesterday, two weeks after it landed. It turned its six wheels, drove forward, U-turned and returned to its starting point. "We built a rover and unless the rover roves, we really haven't accomplished anything," said project manager Pete Theisinger, who plans to drive it 20 km.
HOT TICKET – STAND BY FOR KASABIAN
Leicester rock band Kasabian will headline the Reading and Leeds festivals this weekend after a well-received warm-up gig at the O2 Academy Brixton. “Music to move mountains,” the Evening Standard said of the band whose music gets compared with that of the Stone Roses and Oasis.