Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Monday 20 Jan 2014

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

Politics
1. LORD RENNARD SUSPENDED BY LIB DEMS
Liberal Democrat peer Lord Rennard has been suspended from the party after declining to apologise over sexual harassment claims. An internal committee rescinded the ex-chief executive's membership pending disciplinary proceedings - meaning he cannot sit in the House of Lords.
Syria
2. IRAN INVITE THREATENS SYRIA TALKS
Syria's main opposition group has said it will suspend its participation in upcoming peace talks in Geneva, Switzerland, unless certain conditions regarding Iran are met tonight. The Syria National Coalition said that for it to participate, either the United Nations must rescind the invitation it made to Iran to engage in the talks, or Iran must agree to certain conditions.
Europe
3. CONDUCTOR CLAUDIO ABBADO DIES
Claudio Abbado, the 80-year-old Italian conductor often described as one of the greatest and most acclaimed maestros of his age, has died. Among his many posts were music director of La Scala, Milan's famous opera house, principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra from 1979 to 1988, and from 1989 to 2002 he was the chief conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic.
Mikaeel Kular
4. MIKAEEL MOTHER CHARGED WITH MURDER
Rosdeep Kular, mother of three-year-old Mikaeel, whose body was found in woodland in Fife after an extensive search, has appeared in court charged with his murder. The 33-year-old appeared in private at Edinburgh Sheriff Court under her married name Adekoya. She did not enter a plea and was remanded in custody.
Ukraine
5. UKRAINE PRESIDENT AGREES TO CRISIS TALKS
Ukraine’s president, Viktor Yanukovych, has agreed to hold crisis talks with leaders of the opposition and protesters who want closer ties with Europe after violent clashes between police and demonstrators in the capital left dozens injured. Thousands of protesters had taken to the streets in outrage at new laws.
6. UKIP SUSPENDS ‘GAY FLOODS’ COUNCILLOR
David Silvester, the Ukip councillor for Henley-on-Thames who provoked outrage and ridicule by claiming the recent floods in Britain were a punishment from God for plans to legalise gay marriage, has been suspended by his party. Ukip said his views did not reflect the party’s but defended his right to a “religious ideology”.
World News
7. RUNAWAY TEENS FOUND IN CARIBBEAN
Two teenagers who disappeared from their boarding school in the middle of the night have been found in the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean. Edward Bunyan and Indira Gainiyeya reportedly fled their school last week because they were sick of the British weather.
8. MURRAY INTO LAST EIGHT IN MELBOURNE
Andy Murray booked his place in the last eight of the Australian Open with a four set win over Frenchman Stephane Robert. Murray easily won the first two sets but lost the third on a tiebreak. Normal service was resumed in the fourth, which Murray won 6-2. He faces Roger Federer in the quarter finals.
Space
9. ROSETTA SPACECRAFT TO BE ‘WOKEN’
The European Space Agency (ESA) will today attempt to ‘wake’ its comet-chasing spacecraft, Rosetta. The probe was shut down 2.5 years ago to save energy. It has been chasing the Churyumov-Gerasimenko comet for 10 years, travelling at more than 60,000mph for 600m miles to land on its surface, it is hoped.
Games
10. HOT TICKET: BANNER SAGA VIKING GAME
Viking-themed tactical role-playing video game The Banner Saga has been released for PC and Mac. Players assemble a band of warriors to traverse a frozen, Norse-inspired fantasy world and fight an evil invading force called the Dredge using medieval-style combat and strategy. "Exquisitely produced fantasy," says The Guardian.