Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Thursday 20 Feb 2014

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

Ukraine
1. DOZENS DEAD IN UKRAINE VIOLENCE
Dozens of people are feared dead in Kiev after a truce between anti-government protesters and police collapsed. The foreign ministers of Germany, Poland and France are to hold crisis talks with president Viktor Yanukovych in Ukraine, before reporting back to other EU ministers. Russia has characterised the protests as an attempted coup.
hacking trial
2. BROOKS CLEARED OF MISCONDUCT CHARGE
Rebekah Brooks has been formally cleared of one count of misconduct in a public office at her trial at the Old Bailey. The former newspaper editor and News International executive still faces four other charges. Brooks denied any knowledge of phone hacking during her time at the News of the World as her defence began today.
3. BRONZE FOR GB WOMEN'S CURLING TEAM
Team GB claimed its third medal of the Winter Olympics at Sochi as the women's curling team beat Switzerland in the bronze medal play-off. With the scores tied at 5-5 in the final end, skipper Eve Muirhead sent down the final stone of the match to claim victory and spark emotional scenes. The men's team play for gold on Friday.
Technology
4. FACEBOOK TO BUY WHATSAPP FOR $19BN
Facebook has agreed a deal to buy WhatsApp, an increasingly popular alternative to part of the gigantic social network’s service, for $19bn (£11.4bn) in cash and shares. The app allows phone users to avoid text message charges by supplying a similar service on the internet. Founder Jan Koum will join Facebook’s board.
5. OSBORNE: RECOVERY IS ‘NOT YET SECURE’
Speaking ahead of next month’s budget, chancellor George Osborne has warned that the UK’s recovery is “not yet secure” with the economic situation remaining “unbalanced”. Speaking in Hong Kong, he warned cuts to the national debt must continue. Labour said Osborne’s policies had “choked off” the recovery.
energy prices
6. BRITISH GAS PROFITS DROP 6% TO £571M
British Gas has blamed warmer weather and an increase in wholesale prices for a six per cent drop in profits for residential business in 2013. The UK’s biggest energy provider’s adjusted operating profit for the full year was £571m, as opposed to £606m last year. Owner Centrica’s profits dropped from £2.74bn to £2.7bn.
7. EARTHQUAKE BELOW THE BRISTOL CHANNEL
A 4-1 magnitude earthquake was recorded under the Bristol Channel, the British Geological Survey has confirmed. The quake happened at around 1.20pm today and was felt in Somerset, Devon and south Wales. The epicentre was three miles below the Bristol Channel. The quake lasted several seconds, but there were no reports of injuries.
Scots Independence
8. DAVID BOWIE: STAY WITH US, SCOTLAND
David Bowie last night made an unexpected entry into politics, ending his acceptance speech for best male solo artists at the Brit Awards with: “Scotland, stay with us.” The speech was delivered for Bowie by Kate Moss. Arctic Monkeys won two awards, with singer Alex Turner claiming that rock and roll would never die.
9. ECCLESTONE BRANDED 'UNRELIABLE' BY JUDGE
F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has won an £84m damages case brought by German media company Constantin Medien over the sale of the sport in 2006, but has been labelled "unreliable" by a High Court judge. The case centred on payments made by Ecclestone to a German banker. Mr Justice Newey called the payments a bribe and said he did not regard Ecclestone as "truthful".
Arts & Life
10. HOT TICKET: ARTHUR SMITH SINGS COHEN
Edinburgh Festival Fringe comedy hit, Arthur Smith Sings Leonard Cohen, has opened at the Soho Theatre, London. Smith reflects on death, dementia and his relationship with Cohen, while performing renditions of Cohen's songs with backing musicians. "Touching, uplifting and very funny," says the Evening Standard. Until 2 March.