Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Thursday 12 Dec 2013

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

NHS
1. DIRTY GP SURGERIES INFESTED WITH MAGGOTS
A third of 900 GP surgeries visited by Care Quality Commission inspectors across England caused concern, making mistakes with storing medicines or, in extreme cases, being so dirty they were infested with maggots. The inspectors were targeting surgeries felt to be at risk. In once case new management was brought in.
2. FIRM GROUNDS 'CLUTHA' HELICOPTERS
Bond Air Services has suspended flights of its EC 135 helicopter, the same model which crashed on to The Clutha bar in Glasgow, killing nine people. The grounding - which will affect 22 police and air ambulance aircraft in the UK - comes after a fault was discovered on a EC 135 operated by Bond for the North West Air Ambulance.
Nelson Mandela
3. MANDELA ‘FAKER’ BLAMES SCHIZOPHRENIA
An interpreter for the deaf who was filmed making nonsensical ‘signs’ with his hands during speeches at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service on Tuesday has claimed he suffered an attack of schizophrenia on stage and was unable to listen properly. Thami Jantjie admitted people might think he was “making this up”.
4. RBS FINED $100M IN US OVER SANCTIONS
Royal Bank of Scotland has agreed to pay a $100m (£161m) fine in the US over alleged illegal transactions with countries facing sanctions, including Iran, Sudan, Burma and Cuba. The bank said in a statement it “acknowledges and deeply regrets” its failings. Commentators said the bank may face further US fines.
World News
5. AUSTRALIA REPEALS GAY MARRIAGE LAW
About 30 newly-wed couples have had their marriages rendered invalid after Australia’s High Court repealed a law allowing same-sex ceremonies in Canberra, saying it could not exist alongside a federal law which only permits marriage between a man and a woman. New PM Tony Abbott opposes gay marriage.
UK News
6. SEX OFFENDERS FACE LONGER SENTENCES
Sex offenders who abuse a position of power over their victims face longer sentences under new guidelines for England and Wales to be introduced next year. Recording a crime - i.e. by taking photographs or using a webcam - has been introduced as an aggravating factor. The guidelines would affect celebrity abusers.
World News
7. MAN CHARGED OVER ‘REVENGE PORN’ SITES
A US man has been charged with extortion and other crimes for running a ‘revenge porn’ website. Kevin Bollaert, who is 27 and from San Diego, created a site called ugotposted.com hosting compromising pictures labelled with the victims’ names and ages. He charged victims as much as $350 to remove the images.
8. DINOSAUR ASTEROID ‘SENT LIFE TO MARS’
Scientists believe it is possible that any evidence of life found on Mars could relate to organisms which actually came from the Earth. They have calculated that the impact of asteroids, including the one at Chicxulub in Mexico usually blamed for the extinction of the dinosaurs, could have thrown life-bearing rocks to Mars.
9. CAVE RECORDS HISTORY OF TSUNAMIS
A cave near Banda Aceh, on the north-east coast of Sumatra, has been found by scientists to contain a natural list of the tsunamis which have hit the area over thousands of years. Only tsunamis and severe storm surges wash silt into the otherwise-dry cave - and the layers of sand give a clue to the past.
Theatre
10. HOT TICKET: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
A burlesque-inspired version of Beauty and the Beast has opened at the Young Vic, London. Husband and wife team, Mat Fraser and Julie Atlas Muz, combine their own romantic history with a saucy retelling of the classic fairy tale. “Beautiful, beastly brilliance,” says the Daily Telegraph. Until 21 December.