The US Central Intelligence Agency has been operating a secret airbase for unmanned drones in Saudi Arabia for the past two years it has been revealed. The facility, which was established to hunt for members of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, was used in September 2011 to kill the US-born cleric and alleged terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki.
COMMONS VOTES FOR SAME-SEX MARRIAGE
The gay marriage bill was passed by 400 to 175 votes in the Commons last night. It was an historic moment for gay rights supporters – but a political humiliation for David Cameron, who saw more than half his MPs reject his appeal to support the bill. Of 305 Tory MPs, only 126 backed the legislation, the majority voting against or abstaining.
NHS STAFF ORDERED TO REVEAL POOR CARE
An inquiry into the scandal at two Mid-Staffordshire hospitals, where 1,200 patients died between 2005 and 2009 through neglect, has called for a "statutory duty of candour" to be imposed on all NHS medical staff in future. Mid-Staffordshire nurses claimed that they had been "forced" not to raise concerns to inspectors.
RBS FINED £390M OVER LIBOR SCANDAL
Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has been fined £390m by UK and US regulators for its part in the Libor rate-fixing scandal. The UK's Financial Services Authority issued a fine of £87.5m, while about £300m will be paid to US regulators and the US Department of Justice. RBS' investment chief John Hourican is expected to step down in the wake of the affair.
LEWIS HAMILTON CRASHES MERCEDES
Lewis Hamilton's career as a Mercedes driver has got off to a terrible start when he crashed out of testing in Jerez, Spain today. The 2008 Formula 1 world champion, who left McLaren at the end of last season, lost control of his car after the brakes failed and ploughed into a tyre wall. Yesterday, the car caught fire due to an electrical problem.
MICHAEL GOVE AIMS FOR 'CORE KNOWLEDGE'
Education Secretary Michael Gove yesterday promised to rid the school curriculum of "vapid happy talk" and replace it with a robust "core knowledge" of facts and information when he announces the new curriculum for England and Wales. He blamed Labour for limiting social mobility through ignorance bred by attacks on the traditional curriculum.
YODA TO STAR IN STAR WARS MOVIE
Disney, the new owner of the Star Wars franchise, has revealed it is planning a series of movies starring individual characters from the films. The Jedi Master Yoda is rumoured to be the first Star Wars character to get a standalone movie, but the internet is abuzz with other suggestions. Disney chief Bob Iger confirmed the films would be released from 2015 onwards.
STUBBS' KANGAROO AND DINGO 'SAVED'
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey yesterday issued a temporary ban on the export of two George Stubbs paintings that first introduced Londoners to exotic Australian animals in 1773, one of a kangaroo and the second of a 'dingo' wild dog. The ban means that a UK buyer has until 5 August to come up with £5.5M to match a foreign bid and keep the paintings in Britain.
ALL DOGS IN ENGLAND TO BE MICROCHIPPED
Every dog owner in England will be obliged by law to have their animal fitted with a microchip by April 2016 under a new plan to cut the cost of dealing with strays. More than 100,000 dogs are dumped or lost each year, costing taxpayers and animal welfare charities an estimated £57m. Failure to comply will bring fines of up to £500.
HOT TICKET: PINTER'S OLD TIMES REVISITED
A revival of Harold Pinter's 'Old Times' has opened at the Harold Pinter Theatre in London's West End. Kristin Scott Thomas, Rufus Sewell and Lia Williams star in a tale of a married couple whose memories are disturbed by a visit from the wife's old friend. "Compelling," says The Times. Until 6 April.