Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Wednesday 18 Jun 2014

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

ISIS
1. IRAQ REFINERY UNDER ATTACK FROM ISIS
David Cameron is to discuss the crisis in Iraq, chairing a meeting of the National Security Council. The PM has ruled out sending troops to Iraq but will discuss how to protect the UK from battle-hardened fighters returning here. Meanwhile, Iraqi troops are battling Isis fighters at the country's biggest oil refinery, 130 miles from Baghdad.
NHS
2. NHS ENGLAND FACES £2BN FUNDING GAP
Senior NHS officials have warned the service is facing a £2bn gap in its funding for England next year, the BBC says. The budget has been frozen for several years, only increasing at the rate of inflation, to around £100bn for 2015. The shortfall is caused by population growth and increased pension costs.
3. CHINA SIGNS DEALS WITH 'DECLINING' UK
On the second day of a state visit by China's premier, Li Keqiang, to the UK yesterday, it was announced that China has signed £14bn in trade deals with Britain and wants to back major infrastructure projects including HS2 and the next generations of nuclear power stations. However, an official Chinese paper today called the UK an "old, declining empire".
4. UKRAINE PRESIDENT ANNOUNCES CEASEFIRE
Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko has announced plans for a unilateral ceasefire to end violence in the east of the country where pro-Russian militias have been fighting the government. The aim, he said, was the "disarmament of military groups and restoration of order". Kiev says 147 Ukrainian military personnel had been killed and 267 injured since March.
5. MP HANCOCK MAKES PUBLIC APOLOGY
MP Mike Hancock has made a public apology for his "inappropriate and unprofessional" behaviour towards a female constituent. The former Lib Dem MP who lost the party whip after allegations he had sexually assaulted the woman, is currently being treated at the Priory Hospital in Southampton. The apology was part of a settlement with the constituent.
Technology
6. UK SECURITY SERVICE ‘TAPS INTO SOCIAL MEDIA’
The government’s most senior security official, Charles Farr, says security services monitor Google, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube - even private direct messages - on the basis they are “external communications” and do not require a warrant before interception. Emails to overseas recipients are also tapped.
UK News
7. MAY APOLOGISES FOR PASSPORT DELAY
Home Secretary Theresa May has apologised in Parliament over the backlog in passport applications. "I am sorry and the government is sorry," she told MPs during a Commons debate on the delays called by Labour. "We are doing all we can to put things right," said May, who insisted that the delays were caused by higher-than-usual demand.
US
8. FIRST US EXECUTIONS SINCE INJECTION ERROR
The first prisoners have been executed in the US since a lethal injection of an inmate went badly wrong in April this year. Marcus Wellons, 59, was killed by injection in Georgia, convicted of raping and murdering a 15-year-old in 1989. John Winfield was executed in Missouri after shooting three people.
9. ANDY MURRAY SEEDED THREE AT WIMBLEDON
Andy Murray, the defending Wimbledon champion, will be the No 3 seed at this year's championships, which start next week. Serbian Novak Djokovich, ranked No 2 in the world is top seed, with Rafael Nadal the world No 1 who won the French Open earlier this month, seeded second. Roger Federer is seeded fourth, in line with his world ranking.
Hot Ticket
10. HOT TICKET: RA'S SUMMER EXHIBITION
The 246th Summer Exhibition has opened at the Royal Academy, London. The world's largest annual open entry exhibition showcases over 1,200 works by emerging and well-known artists including Jeremy Deller, Yinka Shonibare and James Turrell. "Something for everyone," says The Spectator. Until 17 August.