Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Thursday 14 Feb 2013

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

Oscar Pistorius
1. OSCAR PISTORIUS CHARGED WITH MURDER
Paralympian Oscar Pistorius has been charged with murder after allegedly shooting dead his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp, at his home in South Africa. Police said they were “very surprised” by earlier reports that he had mistaken her for an intruder. They said they had been called to the house before to deal with "allegations of a domestic nature".
horsemeat scandal
2. HORSEMEAT SCANDAL: 'FLAT-FOOTED' RESPONSE
The government's response to the horsemeat scandal has been "flat-footed" while consumers have been "cynically and systematically duped in pursuit of profit by elements within the food industry", according to a report by the cross-party Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee. It calls for the Food Standards Agency to be given more powers to demand testing
Politics
3. 'LIVING STANDARDS' ELECTION - MILIBAND
Labour leader Ed Miliband will promise today at a speech in Bedford - where Harold Macmillan declared nearly 60 years ago that "You've never had it so good" - to make the 2015 general election a "living standards elections". He says the coalition's squeeze on middle-income Britain has deepened the recession and created the "chilling prospect" of a further fall in living standards.
4. POPE CHIDES RIVALS AT HIS FINAL MASS
Retiring Pope Benedict XVI criticised recent infighting among clerics inside the Vatican in his final homily as he celebrated his last Mass in St Peter's Basilica on Ash Wednesday. Looking tired, he anointed the foreheads of the faithful with ashes in a service attended by cardinals, bishops, monks, friars and pilgrims.
5. MAN UTD HOLD REAL TO 1-1 DRAW IN MADRID
Manchester United have the advantage after the first leg of their Champions League tie with Real Madrid with Danny Welbeck scoring an away goal in the 1-1 draw at the Bernabeu stadium. "It is definitely within our grasp," said manager Alex Ferguson, who had to admit that Cristiano Ronaldo's equalising header for Real was "unbelievable".
6. ISRAEL ADMITS DEATH OF SECRET 'PRISONER X'
Israel has for the first time confirmed it imprisoned an Australian-Israeli man under a false identity for security reasons, and that he died by suicide in custody. The man was known only as 'Prisoner X' until identified by Australian television as Ben Zygier, who had been recruited by the Israeli intelligence service Mossad.
7. ON-THE-SPOT FINES FOR SPITTING
The London council of Waltham Forest yesterday introduced on-the-spot fines of £80 for spitting in the street. Councillors believe they have got around legal snags by classifying spit as 'waste' and prosecuting under environmental law. "It's not just spitting, its urinating too," said Councillor Clyde Loakes.
Europe
8. FRENCHMAN'S 125 MPH SCARE AS BRAKES FAIL
Franck Lecerf, 36, found himself on a white-knuckle 125 mph drive which lasted for an hour and ended in a ditch when the brakes failed on his Renault and the speed regulator jammed, French media reported yesterday. Police cars hurtled after him, a Renault technician tried to make contact and toll booth barriers were opened, but he stopped only when he ran out of petrol.
9. PRINCE CHARLES TO EDIT 'COUNTRYFILE'
Prince Charles is editing a special edition of the BBC's Countryfile programme as part of a 25th anniversary celebration of the show. He has been filmed at his organic farm in Gloucestershire and at a hill farm in the north of England, and will use the show, which he often watches with the Duchess, to highlight difficulties faced by traditional farmers.
Theatre
10. HOT TICKET: OUR COUNTRY'S GOOD AGAIN
A revival of Timberlake Wertenbaker's award-winning play 'Our Country's Good' has opened at the St James Theatre, London. Max Stafford-Clark directs the story of a group of colonial Australian convicts whose lives are changed when they put on a play. "A modern masterpiece," says the Financial Times. Until 23 March.