Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Wednesday 18 Dec 2013

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

Crime
1. IAN WATKINS JAILED FOR 35 YEARS
Lostprophets singer Ian Watkins has been sentenced to 35 years for child sex offences including the attempted rape of a baby. Watkins, 36, from Pontypridd, pleaded guilty to 13 child sex offences at Cardiff Crown Court in November. Today, the court heard he was "deeply deeply sorry" and "belatedly realised the gravity of what happened".
World News
2. PUSSY RIOT, ARCTIC 30 TO BE SET FREE
Two jailed members of Pussy Riot and 30 Greenpeace activists could be freed this week after Russia’s parliament voted to extend an amnesty to those accused of “hooliganism”. Russia's State Duma voted 446-0 in favour of the amnesty bill, which will apply to up to 22.000 people convicted of minor crimes.
UK News
3. GREAT TRAIN ROBBER BIGGS DEAD AT 84
Ronnie Biggs, part of the gang who carried out the Great Train Robbery in 1963 has died at 84 after years of ill health in a care home. Biggs was jailed for the record £2.6m robbery - during which the driver was struck with an iron bar and never worked again - but escaped and fled to Brazil, only returning in 2001.
UK News
4. BIG FALL IN UK UNEMPLOYMENT RATE
Unemployment in the UK unexpectedly fell in the three months through October to the lowest level in 4 and a half years. The sharp drop means it is lurching toward the 7 per cent threshold at which Bank of England officials say they will consider raising interest rates.
Syria
5. SYRIA: UK DOCTOR’S FAMILY REBUKE FCO
The Foreign Office has been criticised by the family of British doctor Abbas Khan, who died in suspicious circumstances in a Syrian jail, having been arrested when he went to the country to offer medical assistance. Khan’s brother said the FCO had “treated his case like he’s some wayward traveller … caught drunk”.
6. POLICE SEARCH GRAVE FOR MISSING JAYDEN
Police hunting for missing Oxfordshire girl Jayden Parkinson, last seen on 3 December, are searching a grave in a churchyard in Didcot, acting on the suspicion her body has been buried alongside a legitimately buried person. The girl’s former boyfriend, 22-year-old Ben Blakeley, has been charged with murder.
7. PIPPA MIDDLETON ENGAGED SAYS PAPER
A New York tabloid says Pippa Middleton has got engaged to her boyfriend, banker Nico Jackson. According to the New York Daily News Jackson popped the question to the 30-year-old earlier this month while the couple was vacationing at India's Oberoi Amarvilas.
EU immigration
8. CURBS ON MIGRANT BENEFITS START EARLY
Government plans to reduce the access of EU migrants to welfare will be introduced early after being rushed through parliament. From 1 January - also the date Romanians and Bulgarians will be able to enter the UK without restrictions - EU applicants will have to wait three months before they can claim benefits.
9. CLASHES IN SOUTH SUDAN KILL 400-500
The UN believes hundreds of people have been killed in clashes between rival factions of the army in South Sudan after a reported coup attempt against president Salva Kiir. Ten senior political figures including a former finance minister have been arrested. The UN’s death toll can not be independently verified.
Film
10. HOT TICKET: RON BURGUNDY RETURNS
Will Ferrell's comedy sequel Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, opens in UK cinemas today. Ferrell’s pompous, self-satisfied newsreader, Ron Burgundy, leaves 1970s San Diego behind for a 24-hour news channel in 1980s New York. With Christina Applegate, Steve Carell and Paul Rudd. "Howlingly funny," says The Times.