Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Sunday 23 Feb 2014

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

1. EX-PM TELLS KIEV PROTESTORS TO STAY
Former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko has called on opposition protestor’s in Kiev to continue their Independence Square protests. At the end of an eventful day, in which president Viktor Yanukovych was removed by MPs and fled Kiev, she told the demonstrators: "Until you finish this job... nobody has the right to leave.” Yanukovych refuses to stand down.
2. ASSANGE ‘SEXIST TYRANT’ SAYS AUTHOR
Julian Assange is an egotistical tyrant who leers at young women and makes sexist and antisemitic remarks, says the man asked to ghost the WikiLeaks founder’s autobiography. In a 45-page essay in the London Review of Books, Andrew O’Hagan writes: "The man who put himself in charge of disclosing the world’s secrets simply couldn’t bear his own.”
3. BUCK HOUSE FACES WORST POLLUTION
Buckingham Palace faces the worst air pollution in Britain, according to figures released under the freedom of information laws. The busy road that runs alongside the royal residence has the country’s highest levels of nitrogen dioxide. The annual average level is 152 micrograms per cubic metre of air – almost four times the legal limit.
4. SIR TIM RICE 'DONATES £7,500 TO UKIP'
Multi-millionaire music man and former Tory donor Sir Tim Rice has donated money to UKIP, says the Sunday Times. Rice, who was awarded his knighthood by John Major, donated £7,500 to UKIP last year after a lunch with Stuart Wheeler. Rice believes Britain should be “free from Europe” and is “intrigued” by UKIP’s rising popularity.
5. FLOODS INCREASE WW2 BOMB DISCOVERIES
Recent floods and storms have increased the number of discoveries of unexploded wartime bombs in Britain. The extreme weather that has reshaped the British coastline has led to a 20% increase in reports of unexploded bombs since January. There are now fears that flooding along the Thames will erode riverbanks leading to further discoveries.
6. COMPUTERS ‘TO OVERTAKE HUMANS’
Computers will be more intelligent than humans by 2029, says Google’s director of engineering. Ray Kurzweil tells The Observer than within 15 years, computers will be able to crack jokes, learn from experience and even flirt. Kurzweil has been described by Bill Gates as "the best person I know at predicting the future of artificial intelligence".
7. WHAT’S UP WITH WHATSAPP?
There were red faces at Facebook yesterday as WhatsApp went out of service just days after the social network giant bought it for £10bn. The instant messaging app was offline for nearly three hours yesterday, prompting anger and derision on Twitter and other platforms. Facebook apologised to WhatsApp’s 450m users, blaming “server issues”.
8. ENGLAND BLOW SIX NATIONS OPEN
England mounted a spectacular comeback to beat Ireland 13-10 in a Six Nations clash at Twickenham. The result means England, Ireland, France and Wales have now all won two and lost one in a wide-open Six Nations championship. The remaining two weekends now become enticing prospects as the big four sides eye possible victory.
9. DIVORCE REACHES A 30-YEAR LOW
Young married couples are becoming more likely to stay together, sending divorce rates during the early years of marriage to their lowest level for more than 30 years. Couples who married in 2005 were 24% more likely to still be together after seven years than they were when divorce was at its peak, says Office for National Statistics data.
10. TERRY KEEPS CHELSEA ON TOP
An injury time winner from John Terry enabled Chelsea to retain their place at the top of the Premier League table. The Blues captain struck during injury time against Everton yesterday. Arsenal remain a point behind Chelsea after beating Sunderland 4-1, with the returning Oliver Giroud scoring twice. Liverpool and Tottenham are both in action today.