Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Sunday 30 Mar 2014

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

UK News
1. LABOUR PLANS TO SLASH TUITION FEES
A Labour government would slash university tuition fees by between £3,000 and £5,000 a year in an attempt to win over middle England, says the Sunday Times. Leader Ed Miliband is expected to pledge he will cut the £9,000 maximum fee to £6,000. He is also considering a more far-reaching proposal that would see the fee fall to £4,000.
2. UKRAINE: KERRY TO MEET LAVROV
US secretary of state John Kerry abruptly diverted his homebound flight at the last minute, for hastily arranged talks with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov. The decision came after Barack Obama spoke to Vladimir Putin on the phone on Friday. The two foreign ministers are scheduled to meet in Paris this evening to discuss the Ukraine crisis.
3. TORY MP QUITS OVER ESCORT CLAIMS
A Tory MP has quit his post as a parliamentary private secretary after Sunday newspapers claimed he paid a Brazilian male escort for sex. However, Mark Menzies MP says some of the claims made against him are “untrue” and that he will set the record straight. He said: "I have decided to resign as a PPS tonight after a series of allegations were made against me in a Sunday newspaper.”
4. FLIGHT MH370: TERROR THEORY GROWS
The theory that the missing Malaysia Airlines flight was hijacked by terrorists is growing after it was revealed that MI6 have joined the CIA in assisting the Malaysian authorities. Hope was growing last night that part of the wreckage may have been found, three weeks after the plane disappeared. An object floating in the southern Indian Ocean is to be examined.
UK News
5. KIDS MUST LEARN TO FAIL SAYS PRINCE
Experiencing failure is good for children, says Prince Andrew. Speaking to the Sunday Times, he says the most important lesson he learned during his schooling was that “failure was not something to be afraid of or something to feel guilty about, because so much of life is about understanding failure and the lessons to be learnt from failure”.
6. LABOUR LEAD LOWEST SINCE 2010
Support for Labour has sunk to its lowest level since 2010, says a new poll for The Observer. It puts Labour on 33% (down two points), and the Tories on 32% (up two points). Ukip are down one at 15%, with the Liberal Democrats unchanged on 10%. Ukip’s score will alarm opponents ahead of a second head-to-head debate between Nigel Farage and Nick Clegg on Wednesday.
Health & Science
7. RATS NOT TO BLAME FOR BLACK DEATH
Scientists have absolved rats and fleas from blame for the Black Death, which hit Europe in 1348. Studies of skeletons dug up in London suggest that the only explanation for the extraordinarily high death rate of 60 per cent is that the plague spread from human to human via cough and sneezes.
Climate change
8. ROWAN WILLIAMS SPEAKS OUT ON CLIMATE
Western lifestyles are to blame for climate catastrophes, says the former Archbishop of Canterbury. Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, Dr Rowan Williams says recent “appalling” flooding in Britain and meteorological “catastrophes” elsewhere prove that predictions of “accelerated warming of the Earth” caused by “the uncontrolled burning of fossil fuels … are coming true”.
9. IS RAW MEAT KILLING UK DOGS?
Raw meat could be the cause of a mysterious illness which has killed more than 40 dogs in Britain, an American scientist has warned. It was initially thought they had caught an infection during walks but now vets say they died from a strain of Alabama Rot, which a scientist says might be caused by bacteria in raw meat. Feeding dogs raw meat has become increasingly popular.
10. CHELSEA AND CITY DROP POINTS
Manchester City blew the chance to return to the top of the Premier League as they drew 1-1 with Arsenal yesterday. Earlier, Chelsea had suffered a surprise 1-0 defeat at Crystal Palace. Although yesterday’s matches leave Chelsea top of the league, boss Jose Mourinho effectively conceded the title. "I think now we have lost any chance of finishing first," he said.