Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Thursday 2 Jan 2014

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

1. ANGRY PASSENGERS SLAM RAIL FARE RISE
Angry passengers have condemned an average price increase of 2.8 per cent that came into effect on Britain’s trains toda. The rise means some season tickets will now cost more than £5,000. George Osborne said last month he would keep fares in line with July’s 3.1 per cent RPI inflation - but campaigners warn they are rising three times faster than incomes.
Help to Buy
2. HELP-TO-BUY UPTAKE TREBLES IN MONTHS
The number of people taking advantage of the new Help To Buy scheme, meant to assist new homeowners getting onto the property ladder, has trebled in the past two months. More than 6,000 have applied for a mortgage under the scheme and 750 have completed a purchase. But Labour warns new houses must also be built.
3. TEN HURT IN KENYA GRENADE ATTACK
At least ten people have been injured in a Kenyan tourist resort by a grenade thrown into a crowded bar in what is widely assumed to be an attack by Islamist terrorists. Three men threw the device into the Tandoori bar in Diani Beach early this morning before escaping on a motorbike. Nobody has claimed responsibility.
Technology
4. ROB FORD STANDS FOR RE-ELECTION
Disgraced Toronto mayor Rob Ford has filed the papers required to allow him to seek re-election. The controversial figure, who has admitted smoking crack cocaine during a "drunken stupor", was the first person to declare his candidacy this morning. The poll will be held on 27 October.
5. ICE SHIP PASSENGERS ALL RESCUED
A helicopter has rescued all 52 passengers from a research ship that has been trapped in Antarctic ice since Christmas Eve after weather conditions finally cleared enough for the operation. A helicopter carried the scientists and tourists from the Russian ship MV Akademik Shokalski in groups of 12 to a Australian icebreaker.
6. SEARCHES CONTINUE AS FLOODS HIT BRITAIN
Wind and rain are forecast for Britain in the next few days as floods worsen and searches continue for several missing people not seen since New Year’s Eve. The Cobra emergency committee is meeting in Whitehall to discuss the flooding. Dozens of flood warnings are in place, most affecting the southwest of England.
7. FRESH PRINCE ACTOR AVERY DIES AT 65
James Avery, the actor who played Phil Banks in The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, has died at the age of 65 of complications following open-heart surgery. Avery’s character was Will Smith’s wealthy uncle in the groundbreaking black show. A Vietnam veteran, Avery wrote scripts and poetry for the PBS network.
Nigella Lawson
8. NIGELLA: COOK RECALLS 'MORTIFYING' TRIAL
Nigella Lawson says the public scrutiny she endured as a witness in the fraud trial of two former assistants was "mortifying". But the celebrity cook told a US TV programme that many people were "enduring an awful lot worse" and it would be "self-pity" to dwell on the ordeal.
9. ARIEL SHARON: COMA CONDITION WORSENS
Former Israeli PM Ariel Sharon, who has been in a coma since 2006 after a devastating stroke he suffered in office, is said to be in a deteriorating condition. A spokesman for the Tel Aviv hospital where the 85-year-old has been treated for the past eight years said his condition had “deteriorated in the past few days”.
10. HOT TICKET: NT’S EMIL AND THE DETECTIVES
The National Theatre's Christmas show is a stage adaptation of children’s classic Emil and the Detectives. Set in 1920s Berlin, it follows Emil’s attempts to track down a thief with the aid of a gang of streetwise kids. “Exhilarating,” says the Financial Times. Until 18 March.