Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Saturday 14 Dec 2013

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

1. JAILED MARINE’S WIFE: HE’S NO MURDERER
The Royal Marine jailed for executing a wounded Taliban fighter is not a murderer, his wife tells the Daily Telegraph. Claire Blackman says her husband, Sgt Alexander Blackman, acted in a moment of madness. “If you ask someone what murder is in this country they might say someone stabbing a little old lady in the high street,” she said.
2. TUTU BARRED FROM MANDELA FUNERAL
Desmond Tutu has been excluded from the funeral of Nelson Mandela on Sunday. It is believed that the retired archbishop, one of the most prominent figures in the anti-apartheid struggle, was excluded due to his fierce criticisms of the ANC. In 2011, Tutu compared the governing ANC to the apartheid regime and said that “one day we will pray for the defeat of the ANC government”.
3. UNIS DROP SEGREGATION GUIDANCE
Speakers at universities will no longer be allowed to demand that men and women sit apart after segregation guidelines were scrapped. Vice-chancellors withdrew the guidelines after the prime minister said he was “absolutely clear” that such segregation was “not the right approach”. Some Islamic groups had fought to keep men and women apart at meetings.
4. SHOOTING AT COLORADO SCHOOL
A student at a Colorado school has shot and wounded two students. On the eve of the anniversary of the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting, the gunman opened fire just eight miles from Columbine High School, the site of a mass school shooting in 1999. The shooter has been identified as 18-year-old Karl Halverson Pierson. He was later found with fatal self-inflicted gunshot wounds.
5. REPUBLICANISM STILL JAILABLE OFFENCE
The government has confirmed that it remains illegal to call for the abolition of the monarchy and that people can be jailed for even “imagining” overthrowing the Queen. The Treason Felony Act 1848, which has not been used to prosecute anyone since 1879, was mistakenly included on a list of obsolete offences which have been repealed. The government confirmed it remains on the statute book.
6. BELFAST BOMB 'COULD HAVE KILLED'
A bomb exploded in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter last night. Police say the device, which exploded at 18:45, could have killed and injured. The area was being cleared at the time following a warning which had been phoned to a newspaper. Nobody was injured in the attack, which Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers called "deplorable".
7. ASHES: ENGLAND LOSE MOMENTUM BEFORE TEA
England were 91-2 at tea after dismissing Australia for 385 in the third test. Alastair Cook led England’s reply but the tourists lost both Joe Root and Michael Carberry shortly before tea on day two. The tourists had claimed the last four home wickets for 59 runs in the morning session. They then reached 85 without loss before Carberry was bowled off an inside edge.
8. NIGELLA ‘LET KIDS SMOKE CANNABIS’
Nigella Lawson allowed her children to smoke cannabis, a jury was told yesterday. Her former housekeeper explained that she bought cigarettes for her employer’s children because Lawson “lets the children smoke weed”. Elisabetta Grillo also claimed that the infamous restaurant row between Lawson and her former husband Charles Saatchi was over Lawson’s cocaine use.
9. GEORDIES BRITAIN’S 'BIGGEST BOOZERS'
Geordies are the UK’s biggest drinkers, claims a new government survey. The research found that people in the North East consume an average 1,354ml of alcohol a week, compared to Londoners, who neck 837ml. The same survey found that Londoners eat out the most, consuming 163g of food at restaurants each week compared to Scots who eat just 124g away from homes.
10. WOBBLING ARSENAL FACE MAN CITY
Leaders Arsenal play at fourth-placed Manchester City today in the lunchtime kick-off. Chelsea, who are third, host struggling Crystal Palace. Meanwhile, Manchester United’s star striker Robin van Persie has been ruled out for a month with a thigh strain. The Dutchman could miss eight matches. "It's unfortunate," said boss David Moyes.