Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Sunday 26 Jan 2014

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

1. LABOUR UNDER FIRE FOR 50P TAX MOVE
Ed Miliband is under fire after Labour announced plans to restore the 50p top rate of tax. Ed Balls yesterday argued it is “right” that highest earners bear a “fairer share” of the tax burden. But although opinion polls suggest most voters back the 50p rate, it was slammed by business leaders, think tanks and several Labour donors.
2. BLAIR: RELIGION AT HEART OF WARS
Religious extremism is the root of today’s conflicts, says Tony Blair. Referring to global wars, he writes in The Observer: “There is one thing self-evidently in common: the acts of terrorism are perpetrated by people motivated by an abuse of religion.” Meanwhile, victims of the IRA may sue Blair over an alleged intervention in a claim they made against Colonel Gaddafi for supplying Semtex.
3. OLDER ROYALS ‘BORING’ SAYS PRINCESS
The older generation of royals are “boring” and Princess Diana was uneducated, says Princess Michael of Kent. Nicknamed ‘Princess Pushy’, she made the comments during a chat with Conrad Black on Canadian television. She said the public enjoyed the marriage of William and Kate, because “the older generation are a bit boring for most people”.
4. INSPECTOR ‘SPITTING BLOOD’ OVER GOVE
The chief inspector of schools says Michael Gove is running a dirty tricks campaign against him. Sir Michael Wilshaw tells the Sunday Times he is “spitting blood” over attacks by right-wingers on the integrity of inspectorate. “I was never intimidated as a headteacher and I do not intend to be intimidated as a chief inspector,” he said.
5. £10M FUND TO ‘BEAT THE BIG SIX’
The government will announce a £10m fund offering local communities the chance to take on the ‘big six’ energy companies, reports the Independent On Sunday. Communities will be offered up to £150,000 each to create their own renewable energy through solar panels or wind turbines. Ed Davey has previously encouraged householders to switch suppliers en masse.
6. ADOLF HITLER ‘DIED IN BRAZIL IN 1984’
Adolf Hitler did not die in a Berlin bunker in 1945 but escaped and died in Brazil in 1984 at the ripe old age of 95, claims a new book. Author Simoni Reene Guerreiro Dias says Hitler hunted for treasure in Brazil using a map given to him by Vatican allies. The book, which features an alleged photo of the dictator, claims Hitler had a black girlfriend to disguise his background.
7. HOLLANDE ANNOUNCES LE SPLIT
French president François Hollande has announced his separation from Valérie Trierweiler, two weeks after allegations he had an affair with an actress. Hollande told the state-run AFP news agency that the couple’s “shared life” is over. Trierweiler, who spent a week in hospital after the revelations, said she would “never forget” the “wonderful staff” at the Elysee Palace.
8. CHINA JAILS ZU ZHIYONG
Human rights activist Zu Zhiyong has been sentenced to four years in prison by a Chinese court. Anti-corruption campaigner Xu, who has also worked for children’s rights, was convicted of “gathering crowds to disrupt public order”. He told the court that "the last shred of dignity of China's rule of law" has been destroyed.
9. FARAH AND BOYLE IN INFLUENCE LIST
Mo Farah, Emma Thompson and Holly Willoughby are among the figures to be named in the Sunday Times’ inaugural Influence List. The newspaper, well-known for its Rich List, has teamed up with etiquette gurus Debretts to name 500 influential Brits. Also on the list are Danny Boyle, Chris Evans and both Beckhams.
10. FOOTBALL: JUAN CAN THE MATA BE?
Juan Mata is officially a Manchester United player after completing his £37.1m move from Chelsea. The Spanish midfielder passed a medical yesterday and is expected to make his debut at home against Cardiff on Tuesday. Mata scored 32 goals and made 28 assists in the last two Premier League seasons but failed to cement a place under new manager Jose Mourinho.