Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Sunday 29 Dec 2013

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

1. RATE RISE TO PUT 1M IN 'PERILOUS' DEBT
More than 1m homeowners will be at risk of defaulting on their mortgages in the wake of even a small rise in interest rates, a new analysis reveals. Borrowers who failed to pay down their mortgages when interest rates were at record low levels now face being overwhelmed by "perilous levels of debt" when the inevitable hike comes.
2. TORIES FEAR SCOTLAND MAY BREAK AWAY
Senior Tories are worried that Alex Salmond, the Scottish first minister and nationalist leader, could defy the odds and pull off a shock victory in the forthcoming referendum on independence. Among those who have voiced concerns about the issue are Lynton Crosby, the prime minister’s election guru and Boris Johnson, the mayor of London.
3. MAN HELD OVER NORTH SEA FERRY BLAZE
A number of crew members and passengers have been flown to hospital after being injured by a fire on a North Sea ferry. A passenger suspected of starting the fire on the MS King Seaways has been detained by ferry staff. The blaze broke out last night when the vessel was off the Yorkshire coast.
4. BRITONS WELCOME EU MIGRANTS SAYS POLL
5. ASHES: ENGLAND LOSE TO AUSTRALIA AGAIN
England's cricketers have been humiliated by Australia once again as they lost the fourth Test of the Ashes series by a demoralising margin. Alastair Cook's team succumbed by eight wickets at the MCG after Chris Rogers scored his second Test hundred. England now face the prospect of an Ashes whitewash in Sydney.
6. £400 PAINTING IS VAN DYCK MASTERPIECE
A painting bought for £400 and featured on the BBC's Antiques Roadshow has been revealed to be a Sir Anthony Van Dyck portrait worth about £400,000, the BBC reports. The owner of the painting, Father Jamie MacLeod, said he intended to sell the work to pay for a new set of bells for his church in Derbyshire. He said he was now planning to sell the piece by the 17th Century Flemish artist to buy new church bells. The BBC show's host Fiona Bruce said she was "thrilled" by the revelation.