Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Friday 18 Oct 2013

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

Nairobi attack
1. NORWEGIAN SUSPECT IN KENYA MALL ATTACK
A 24-year-old Norwegian national is suspected of involvement in the Nairobi mall attack. Hassan Abdi Dhuhulow, who is of Somali origin, left Norway for Africa in 2009, the BBC reports. Graphic footage of the attack released yesterday appears to show Dhuhulow as one of four terrorists seen gunning down some of the 67 victims.
2. SAUDIS REJECT SECURITY COUNCIL SEAT
Saudi Arabia has said it would not take up its seat on the United Nations Security Council. The announcement was described by the Washington Post as "an unprecedented show of anger at the failure of the international community to end the war in Syria and act on other Middle East issues".
3. HUNT: SHAME OF OUR FORGOTTEN ELDERLY
A “forgotten million” elderly people are “ignored” and isolated because friends and relatives fail to visit them, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt will say today, as he urges families to take more responsibility for grandparents. He believes the UK should learn from Asian cultures, where “residential care is a last rather than a first option”.
4. RUSSIA DOESN'T HAVE FILES SAYS SNOWDEN
Edward Snowden says Russia and China have not had access to classified US intelligence documents he leaked to The Guardian because he did not bring the material into Russia. The 30-year-old said he gave all the secret files to journalists in Hong Kong before boarding a plane to Moscow.
World News
5. SYDNEY WILDFIRES CAUSE DEVASTATION
A 63-year-old man has died and hundreds are thought to have lost their homes after a series of wildfires broke out near Sydney. Overnight, fire-fighters said 27 separate wildfires, caused by unseasonably hot temperatures and high winds, remained “uncontained”. It is the worst blaze to hit New South Wales in more than a decade.
UK News
6. ‘LEGAL CREEP SAPPING ABILITY TO FIGHT WAR’
The threat of legal action is sapping Britain’s ability to fight wars, with commanders increasingly worried about being sued under human rights law, a think tank has warned. Policy Exchange said 5,827 claims were brought against the MoD last year, “undermining the Armed Forces’ ability to operate effectively on the battlefield”.
UK News
7. BRITISH GAS: PRICE HIKE BACKLASH
Attempts by British Gas to use social media to explain an energy price hike turned into a “public relations disaster” after 16,000 people criticised the move during a Q&A on Twitter. People used “askBG” for advice on when they should start “burning the furniture” after the firm asked for questions about a 10% increase in energy bills.
Politics
8. MINISTER JO SWINSON IN PREGNANCY ROW
Minister for equalities Jo Swinson, who is seven months pregnant, unwittingly found herself at the centre of an etiquette row after she was forced to stand during Prime Minister’s Questions. She later said she had been “happier” standing after one commentator criticised a “really shocking lack of manners and decency” in the Commons.
9. THE SECRET OF SLEEP: BRAIN CLEANING
The brain uses sleep to wash away waste toxins built up during the day, a cleaning process that is a “vital” function for staying alive, according to scientists from the University of Rochester. They found brain cells shrink during sleep, creating gaps between neurons which allow fluid to wash the brain clean like a biological dishwasher.
Film
10. HOT TICKET: HANKS IS CAPTAIN PHILLIPS
Paul Greengrass's new maritime thriller, Captain Phillips, opens in UK cinemas today. Based on real events, the film stars Tom Hanks as the captain of an American container ship hijacked off the coast of Somalia by a small band of pirates. "Riveting, emotionally complex and hugely intelligent," says Empire.