Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Saturday 11 Jan 2014

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

Middle East
1. ARIEL SHARON DIES AFTER 8 YEARS IN COMA
Ariel Sharon, the former Israeli prime minister who has been in a coma for eight years since suffering a stroke, died today aged 85. Benjamin Netanyahu called the controversial former general a great warrior. David Cameron said Israel had lost one of the most significant figures in its history.
2. LABOUR TALKS TOUGH ON TEACHERS
Teachers would have to be licensed under a Labour government and would face the sack if they failed tough checks. Shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt tells The Times: “Veterinary surgeons, accountants, doctors all have to be re-licensed. If we want to re-professionalise the teachers it would be crazy not to do it. If teachers aren’t re-licensed, they won’t be allowed to teach.”
3. BILL GATES ‘WORLD’S MOST ADMIRED PERSON'
Microsoft founder Bill Gates is the most admired person on the planet, according to a global survey in The Times. Barack Obama came in second place with his Russian opposite number Vladimir Putin in third. No British person made the top ten of the list, with Stephen Hawking placed highest at 16th. Almost 14,000 people in Great Britain and 12 other countries were surveyed for the poll.
4. TORIES ‘HUSHING UP CITY REPORT’
The Conservative Party has suppressed a report which recommends building two new garden cities to combat the housing shortage, says Liberal Democrat president Tim Farron. He accuses his coalition partners of hushing up the report over fears of alienating voters in southern England. Farron believes the report identified sites in Buckinghamshire and Oxford.
5. FIRE DESTROYS ANCIENT TIBETAN TOWN
A night fire has destroyed an ancient Tibetan town in China. Over 2,000 firefighters were joined by police, soldiers, local officials and volunteers as they tackled the blaze which destroyed Dukezong, in China’s southwest Yunnan province. The cause of the fire, which raged for 10 hours, is unclear. There were no immediate reports of casualties.
6. NO ONE OWNS MOON, SAYS SCIENTIST
No one owns the moon but a United Nations treaty should be developed over its ownership, says a planetary scientist. Ian Crawford, of Birkbeck College, says that under current UN law, member states are “prohibited from appropriating the moon”. However, he tells the BBC that there is a “strong case” for developing international law over the satellite.
7. ‘BULLISH’ FARAGE OUT TO DEMOLARISE TORIES
The European elections in May could leave Conservative MPs thinking they are "doomed”, Nigel Farage tells the Daily Telegraph. The UKIP leader is in confident mood, saying: “I’m enormously bullish about this country, I really am. I’m bullish about everything, of course, but I am very optimistic about this country.” His party has been tipped to come first in the European elections.
8. WHICH MP PAYS JUST £5 FOR HAIRCUT?
Jim Sheridan MP pays just £5 to a local barber for his haircuts, reveals The Independent. Following the news that David Cameron’s barber received an MBE, the newspaper has quizzed MPs over their haircut arrangements. Sheridan says of his cutter: "It is important that you can trust your barber as he has some dangerous tools around him/her."
9. BORDER COLLIE LEARNS GRAMMAR
A nine-year old dog has learnt more than a thousand words, understands grammar and has demonstrated logic which would stretch the minds of dolphins and chimps. Chaser, a collie, has been studying under the tutelage of animal psychologist John Pilley. “We have got Chaser up to sentences that contain four words,” said Pilley. “We challenged her to learn three elements of grammar.”
10. DAVID MOYES FACES FA CHARGE
The beleaguered Manchester United boss David Moyes has been charged with misconduct by the FA. The charge relates to comments he made about referees after the semi-final first-leg defeat by Sunderland. His side hosts Swansea in today’s evening kick-off, keen to halt a run of three defeats on the trot. The last time United lost four games in succession was 1981.