Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Saturday 1 Sep 2012

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

1. ENGLISH GCSES WON'T BE REGRADED
Exams regulator Ofqual has refused to order examination boards to regrade this summer's GCSEs in English, instead offering students the chance to re-sit the exams free of charge in November, ahead of the traditional re-sit month of January. Head teachers have reacted angrily, with one union considering a legal challenge over the issue.
2. THALIDOMIDE MAKER APOLOGISES TO VICTIMS
The German pharmaceutical company that manufactured thalidomide has apologised to those born with disabilities as a result of their mothers taking the drug. Harald Stock, chief executive of Gruenenthal, said: "We ask that you regard our long silence as a sign of the shock that your fate caused in us." Over 10,000 babies were born with disabilities caused by the drug.
3. CLEGG VOWS TO SEE TERM THROUGH
Nick Clegg says both he and David Cameron are determined to "keep a cool head" and see the coalition government through to 2015. Speaking of his bust-up with Cameron over House of Lords reform, he told The Times they would "draw a line under it", adding: “I would like to think we are both very grown up about these things."
4. BLUNKETT 'BARRED FROM PARALYMPIC SEAT'
Former Home Secretary David Blunkett has revealed that a "stroppy and insensitive" Paralympic Games official refused to let him take his seat at the opening ceremony because he had his guide dog with him. The official moved Blunkett and his dog to an "exposed, blustery gantry". Blunkett said he rarely encounters difficulties as a guide dog user, and found the incident "shocking".
5. THATCHER SUITS TO BE AUCTIONED
Suits worn by Margaret Thatcher are to be auctioned at Christie's in London on Monday. The seven suits, including bright two piece she wore as she was elected leader of the Conservative Party in 1975, are expected to raise up to £1,500 each when they go under the hammer. A handbag belonging to Thatcher raised £25,000 in a charity auction last year.
6. US SCALES BACK ISRAELI DRILL
Washington has decided to scale down its involvement in a joint military drill planned by America and Israel for October. Time magazine reports the US has slashed by 60% the number of troops it will send. "Basically what the Americans are saying is, 'We don’t trust you,'" a senior Israeli military official told the magazine.
7. ROYAL MAIL'S FIRST CLASS FAILURES
Hundreds of thousands of first class letters and packages are not being delivered on time despite the huge increase in the price of stamps in April. The Royal Mail's own figures show that nearly one in 10 items of first class mail were delivered late between April and June. Its performance for second class mail was better: it delivered 98.6 per cent of letters and packets on time.
8. WARSI: 'I CAN ATTRACT KEY GROUPS'
Baroness Warsi, the controversial chairman of the Conservative Party, has appealed to David Cameron to allow her to remain in her post, arguing she can help attract female, working class and ethnic minority voters. Ahead of a rumoured reshuffle next week, Warsi said: "All the groups that we’re aiming for are groups that I’m familiar with.”
9. MAN CITY LAND £16M GARCIA
Manchester City's acquisition of Benfica's Javi Garcia for £16m and Dimitar Berbatov's move from Fulham to Manchester United were the big deals completed on transfer deadline day. Fulham forward Clint Dempsey and Lyon's goalkeeper Hugo Lloris both moved to Tottenham. A total of £490m was spent by Premier League clubs during the summer transfer window.
10. CHELSEA THUMPED IN SUPER CUP
Chelsea suffered a humbling defeat in the Super Cup, losing 4-1 to Atletico Madrid in Monaco last night. Radamel Falcao scored a hat-trick for Europa League winners Atletico in the tie that pitted them against the European champions. Ashley Cole stormed: "Well that was a lesson, absolute joke - no fight, desire, passion, and a big reality check."