Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Monday 23 Dec 2013

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

1. DRIVER DIES AS RAIN AND GALES LASH UK
Heavy rain, possible flooding and winds up to 80mph are expected to hit Christmas travellers today and tomorrow, bringing disruption and delays to rail and road. At least 21 train companies are predicting cancellations and a likely 50mph speed limit on many routes. In London, Winter Wonderland will not be open today.
Pussy Riot
2. PUSSY RIOT MEMBERS FREED AFTER PARDON
Two members of Russian punk protest band Pussy Riot jailed for performing a punk prayer in a Moscow cathedral have been freed from prison. Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova walked free today after serving 16 months of their two year sentences. The women were released under an amnesty widley seen as a bid to improve Russia's image ahead of the Sochi winter Olympics.
UK News
3. DENIS MACSHANE JAILED FOR SIX MONTHS
Former Labour minister Denis MacShane has been given a six month jail term after admitting making £13,000 of bogus expense claims. The ex-MP previously pleaded guilty to false accounting by filing 19 fake receipts for "research and translation" services. MacShane, 65, used the money to fund a series of trips to Europe, including one to judge a literary competition in Paris.
4. ROLF HARRIS FACES FURTHER SEX CHARGES
Entertainer Rolf Harris is now facing a further three prosecutions for sexual assault, including one against a girl of “seven or eight”, in addition to 13 charges brought against him in August. The new charges involve females who were aged 19 in 1984, seven or eight in 1968 or 1969, and 14 in 1975. Harris is now 83.
5. ENGLISH COUNCILS MAKE PARKING RECORD
Councils in England are making record surpluses from parking charges and penalties, according to the RAC Foundation, which has calculated local authorities made a ‘profit’ of £549m from parking in 2012-13. Seven of the ten areas with the highest surplus were in London. Westminster had the largest ‘profit’, at £39.7m
6. MAY STRIPS UK JIHADIS OF NATIONALITY
Theresa May has used ‘deprivation of citizenship’ powers to prevent 20 dual-nationals returning to the UK after going abroad to fight jihad in Syria. Previously, she has only used the power 17 times in two and a half years. Official figures say there are up to 240 UK fighters in Syria - but some claim there are more.
7. CHINA DEAL IS SALES BOOST FOR APPLE
Apple will finally bring its iPhone smartphone to China after signing a deal with China Mobile, the world’s biggest network, with 750 million subscribers. The latest models of the handset will go on sale in China from 17 January and analysts are forecasting sales of anywhere between 10 and 25 million in the next year.
8. SARAH’S LAW SEES 700 PAEDOPHILES NAMED
Almost 700 child sex offenders have been identified across the UK after requests from members of the public since the so-called ‘Sarah’s Law’ was introduced in 2011, a freedom of information request shows. Some groups said the figures showed a “worrying shift in responsibility” from the state to the general public.
9. NAVY CREW HAVE XMAS DINNER ON ICE
The crew of a Royal Navy ice patrol ship, HMS Protector, have celebrated Christmas early with a turkey dinner and a football match, both held on the Antarctic ice, because they expect to be at sea on 25 December. Captain Rhett Hatcher said spending Christmas in Antarctica was “a unique privilege”.
Theatre
10. HOT TICKET: WIND IN THE WILLOWS SHOW
The Royal Opera House production of The Wind in the Willows has transferred to the Duchess Theatre, West End. Kenneth Grahame's children's classic about four woodland friends Toad, Ratty, Mole and Badger is told through dance, puppetry and song. "Utterly charming," says the Evening Standard. With Tony Robinson. Until 1 February.