Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Sunday 12 Jan 2014

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

1. ISRAELIS MOURNING ARIEL SHARON
Former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon died yesterday after eight years in a coma. The 85-year-old was a controversial figure, who fought in several conflicts including the 1967 Six Day War. As a minister he led Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon. Later, as prime minister, he took a more conciliatory stance, withdrawing from the Gaza Strip in 2005.
2. OPTIMISM GROWS OVER ECONOMIC RECOVERY
Three times as many people are optimistic about the British economy in the year ahead compared to when they were polled two years ago, says The Observer. More than a quarter (29%) now say they are optimistic, compared with just 9% at the start of 2012. The level of hope varies by region: 24% of those living in the north are optimistic, compared with 34% of those in the south-east.
3. TAX FRUIT JUICE, SAYS OBESITY TSAR
The government’s obesity tsar says fruit juice contains so much sugar that it should be taxed, reports the Sunday Times. Susan Jebb also argues that juice should not be counted as one of the ‘five a day’ portions of fruit. “Fruit juice isn’t the same as intact fruit and it has got as much sugar as many classical sugar drinks,” she said.
4. IDS CALLS FOR WELFARE REFORM
European Union migrants should be banned from claiming welfare payments for up to two years after arriving in Britain, says work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith. The coalition government is working with several European states to try to restrict the benefits migrants can claim when they move from one EU country to another.
5. TENSE DUGGAN VIGIL PASSES PEACEFULLY
Yesterday’s vigil for Mark Duggan remained peaceful despite tension in the crowd, reports The Observer. More than 300 gathered outside Tottenham police station in support of the 29-year-old who was killed by police in 2011. The Sunday Times says anarchist groups are planning to join forces with criminal gangs to exploit racial tensions reignited by the lawful killing verdict.
6. TORY BACKBENCHERS IN EU VETO CALL
Nearly 100 Tory MPs have called for an EU law veto, reports the Sunday Telegraph. Some 95 backbenchers have written to David Cameron urging him to legislate so the House of Commons has the right to block new EU legislation and repeal existing measures that threaten the UK’s “national interests”. It is believed that six more Tory MPs privately back the letter.
7. UKIP MEPS IN EU EXPENSES ROW
Nigel Farage and other UKIP MEPs have claimed nearly £800,000 in expenses and allowances from the European Union while campaigning for Britain to leave, says the Sunday Mirror. Deputy leader Paul Nuttall employed 12 members of staff at public expense. A source says: “Farage makes a big thing of pretending UKIP are different from other parties. But this shows they’re even worse.”
8. PRIZE WINNER IS CONVICTED MURDERER
An author who won a crime novel award turned out to be a murderer serving a life sentence for killing a graduate student, reports the Sunday Telegraph. Judges from the Private Eye Writers of America panel, who were unaware of the identity of the the author, hailed Alaric Hunt’s novel, Cuts Through Bone, for its authenticity.
9. BRUM COUPLE IN BOOKING MIX-UP
A West Midlands couple thought they had booked bargain flights to the Caribbean only to discover they had mistakenly booked to fly from Birmingham Alabama, reports the Sun On Sunday. "The girl at the information desk broke the news with a very sympathetic look that our flight was leaving over 2,000 miles away,” said Kevin Jones.
10. RELIEF FOR MOYES AS UNITED WIN
Manchester United enjoyed their first victory of 2014 with a 2-0 win over Swansea yesterday. To the relief of the embattled David Moyes, 18-year-old Adnan Januzaj was in fine fettle, setting up second-half goals for Antonio Valencia and Danny Welbeck. Chelsea went top with a 2-0 victory at Hull. Manchester City can replace them with victory at Newcastle today.