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 BREAKAWAY
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
Romanians and Bulgarians coming to the UK on New Year's Day will be welcomed by more than two-thirds of Britons if they integrate and work hard, a new Ipsos Mori poll suggests. In spite of a surge of anti-immigrant rhetoric from leading politicians, British people are happy to accept migrants from the east of Europe who learn English, get a job, pay taxes and become part of their local community.
5. POWER CHIEF REGRETS STORM RESPONSE
The chief executive of one of the UK's biggest power distributors admits its efforts to restore power to thousands of people should have been better, as the UK prepares for more rain and high winds. Basil Scarsella, chief executive of the UK Power Networks, told the Mail on Sunday the company was not prepared for the storm and too many staff were on holiday.
6. ECHR IS 'TOO POWERFUL' SAYS JUDGE
The European Court of Human Rights is undermining Parliament's sovereignty and must "stop here", the former Lord Chief Justice has said. Lord Judge warned that "activism" by European judges is creating a "very serious problem" and that Parliament should have "ultimate sovereignty".
7. 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.
8. BBC REHIRES MORE THAN 200 LAID-OFF STAFF
More than 200 staff made redundant by the BBC in the past decade have been rehired by the broadcaster. At least one of them was an executive who was given a six figure pay-off, The Telegraph has found. The corporation has revealed it has re-employed 233 staff who are now on fixed-term or permanent contracts, a practice critics have described as the BBC “merry-go-round”.
9. £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.
10. HOT TICKET: ROBERT REDFORD AT SEA
Robert Redford, 77, turns in a fine performance as a yachtsman at the helm of a stricken boat in All is Lost, a tense disaster movie directed by JC Chandor. Chandor's "icy, intense and brilliantly unadorned drama recasts the Hollywood legend as a desperate ancient mariner, travelling solo on what may prove to be his last significant voyage," writes The Guardian.