Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Tuesday 18 Feb 2014

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

UK storms
1. FLOODS: INSURERS CALLED TO DOWNING ST
Insurance company bosses have been summoned to Number 10 today to discuss their response to the recent flooding after one minister said they must “step up” to help process claims as quickly as possible. Severe flood warnings along the Thames have been downgraded today, though two remain in place for the southwest.
Europe
2. MAN ARRESTED OVER AL-HILLI MURDERS
French police have arrested a 48-year-old man in connection with the murder of Iraqi-born Briton Saad al-Hilli, his wife, mother in law and a French cyclist in the Alps in September 2012. Mystery has surrounded the shootings at a beauty spot near Chevaline. The arrest comes after police released an image of a motorcyclist seen nearby.
Law
3. COURT OF APPEAL BACKS LIFE TERMS
The Court of Appeal has upheld the principle of whole-life prison terms in two cases involving murderers, even though the European Court of Human Rights has said the sentences are a breach of human rights and must be reviewed. Sentencing in some cases, including that of the killers of Lee Rigby, had been put on hold until the court's judgement.
4. UK INFLATION RATE FALLS TO 1.9%
The UK inflation rate, measured by the consumer price index, fell to 1.9% in January, below the Bank of England's target rate of 2% for the first time in four years. The news, which reduces pressure on interest rates, is a boost for the BoE which also predicts growth of 3.4 per cent this year and falling unemployment as well as low inflation.
5. PUSSY RIOT WOMEN DETAINED IN SOCHI
Two former members of the Russian punk-rock band Pussy Riot have been detained this afternoon in Sochi over an alleged theft at their hotel. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhinawere in the Black Sea resort for a planned demonstration when they were picked up by police.
World News
6. ASYLUM SEEKER DIES IN AUSTRALIAN CENTRE
One asylum seeker has died, with another 77 injured, during a second night of violent protest at one of Australia’s two controversial offshore immigration detention centres, this one in Papua New Guinea. The injuries occurred outside the camp after some detainees broke out. The UN has criticised conditions in the camps.
7. ARTIST SMASHES £1M VASE
A vase worth $1m, part of an exhibition by dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei in Miami, has been smashed by an artist in protest at a lack of support for local art. Maximo Caminero, 51, was charged with criminal mischief after Sunday's incident at the Perez Art Museum.
8. VIOLENCE FLARES AGAIN IN UKRAINE
Violence has flared once again in Ukraine, with reports of several deaths in Kiev after after police used rubber bullets and stun grenades to stop thousands of protesters marching on parliament, where politicians were due to vote on constitutional changes designed to curb the powers of president Viktor Yanukovych.
9. QUEEN: I KEEP MY BAFTA ON TOP OF TV
The Queen last night met Hollywood and UK stars and filmmakers at Buckingham Palace and told 12 Years a Slave director, Steve McQueen, that she keeps her own honorary Bafta, awarded last year, on top of her television. Lenny Henry made the monarch laugh by claiming she was Helen Mirren wearing a wig.
Theatre
10. HOT TICKET: ORWELL'S 1984 AT THE ALMEIDA
A new stage adaptation of George Orwell's classic dystopian novel, 1984, has opened at the Almeida Theatre, London. In an imagined oppressive future Britain a man commits the subversive acts of thinking, writing a diary, and falling in love, under the gaze of Big Brother. "Ingenious," says The Times.