Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Monday 5 May 2014

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

1. GERRY ADAMS GETS BACK ON CAMPAIGN TRAIL
Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams last night questioned the timing of his arrest over the 1972 sectarian murder of Jean McConville, in the run-up to EU elections. Returning to campaigning, he said he was the target of a “sustained, malicious, untruthful” smear. McConville’s family vowed to seek justice.
World News
2. UKRAINE: SLOVIANSK OFFENSIVE EXPECTED
Residents of the pro-Russian stronghold of Sloviask, in eastern Ukraine, fear Ukrainian troops are preparing an offensive after they surrounded the city, cutting off the main road in. Ukraine’s PM, Arseniy Yatsenyuk said yesterday that troops were continuing with an “anti-terror” operation in the east.
Tube strike
3. TUBE STRIKE OFF AFTER LAST-DITCH TALKS
The RMT union has called off a 72-hour strike that had been due to begin this evening. Talks between the union and London Underground at the conciliation service Acas resulted in progress this afternoon. Substantive talks about proposals to save £50m a year by closing every ticket office on the network with the loss of 960 jobs will now follow.
4. FIREFIGHTERS START FOURTH STRIKE
Firefighters in England and Wales are to begin their fourth strike in four days at 10am today, returning to work at 3pm, in protest at plans to raise pension contributions and raise the retirement age. A spokesman for the Fire Brigades Union estimated that 35,000 to 40,000 workers were on strike yesterday.
Madeleine McCann
5. MADELEINE POLICE TO OVERSEE EXCAVATIONS
UK police investigating the 2007 disappearance of Madeleine McCann are preparing to travel to Portugal to oversee excavations near the resort where her family had been staying, according to the Daily Mirror. Forensics officers are to use radar, says the paper. Police refused to confirm or deny the claims.
6. TENNIS STAR ELENA BALTACHA DIES AT 30
Former British tennis number one Elena Baltacha has died of liver cancer at the age of 30. The Ukraine-born Scot had suffered from a chronic liver condition since her teenage years and retired from the game in November last year. Husband and coach Nino Severino said he was “heartbroken beyond words”.
7. ROYAL NAVY: FIRST FEMALE SUBMARINERS
Three women have become the first to serve on Royal Navy submarines in 110 years. Defence secretary Philip Hammond hailed it as a “huge personal achievement” and “historic moment for the armed forces”. Lieutenants Maxine Stiles, Alexandra Olsson and Penny Thackray trained on HMS Vigilant.
Oscar Pistorius
8. PISTORIUS 'BROKEN' AFTER SHOOTING
The trial Oscar Pistorius has restarted in Pretoria after a two-week break with a neighbour saying the South African athlete was deeply upset after shooting his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. "He was broken. He was screaming, he was crying, he was praying," Johan Stander told the court. Pistorius denies intentionally killing Steenkamp.
Arts & Life
9. THOUSANDS GATHER FOR KNOB THROWING
The BBC reports that more than 5,000 people came together in Dorset yesterday for a charity “knob-throwing competition”. A ‘knob’ is a traditional local savoury biscuit, with its spherical shape ideally suited for hurling. Other events include knob-eating, knob-weighing, knob-painting and knob darts.
Theatre
10. HOT TICKET: KINKS MUSICAL, HAMPSTEAD
Ray Davies's Kinks musical Sunny Afternoon has opened at the Hampstead Theatre, London. It charts the rise to fame of 1960s pop group The Kinks and explores the highs and lows of music superstardom featuring the band's hit songs. "Exhilarating," says The Times. Until 24 May.