Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Thursday 7 Aug 2014

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

Islamic State
1. CHRISTIANS FLEE ISLAMISTS IN IRAQ
As many as 100,000 Christians in Iraq have fled their homes after Islamic State (IS) fighters captured the town of Qaraqosh in Nineveh province, and began taking down crosses. Meanwhile 40,000 members of the minority Yazidis sect are trapped on Mount Sinjar, surrounded by IS militants, and fear being slaughtered if they come down.
Oscar Pistorius
2. PISTORIUS TRIAL: PROSECUTION SUMS UP
Oscar Pistorius, on trial for murder in South Africa, has been described as a "deceitful witness" by prosecutor Gerrie Nel as he sums up the case against the Paralympian. Pistorius admits shooting girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp but says he thought she was an intruder in his home. The defence will also wrap up their case before the judge retires.
Gaza
3. ISRAEL OFFERS TO EXTEND GAZA TRUCE
Israel has said it will extend a ceasefire in Gaza beyond a 72-hour deadline. Hamas has yet to agree to the plan. Speaking yesterday, Israeli PM Benjamin Netenyahu blamed Hamas for all of 1,867 Palestinian deaths caused by Israeli air strikes, claiming it had used civilians as human shields.
4. PRINCE TO PILOT AIR AMBULANCES
Prince William will become an air ambulance pilot next spring, Kensington Palance has announced. He will work for the East Anglian Air Ambulance flying both day and night shifts. although he will be given time off to undertake duties on behalf of the Queen. An experienced helicopter pilot, the Prince will donate his salary to charity.
World News
5. KHMER ROUGE PAIR JAILED FOR LIFE
Two octogenarian former high-ranking members of the Khmer Rouge regime which dominated Cambodia in the late 1970s have been found guilty of crimes against humanity by a UN-backed tribunal and given life sentences. Nuon Chea, 88, was Pol Pot’s deputy and Khieu Samphan, 83, was head of state.
6. LOW VITAMIN D LINKED TO DEMENTIA
Older people with a severe vitamin D deficiency are at greater risk of dementia, according to international research led by the University of Exeter. The study is the largest to suggest this link, having looked at 1,650 people. Older people’s skin is less efficient at extracting vitamin D from sunlight.
7. TECH USE OVERTAKES SLEEP IN BRITAIN
Research by media watchdog Ofcom suggests Britons now spend more time using technological devices such as TV and smartphones than they do asleep. The average person out of the 2,800 adults and children surveyed spends 8hrs 41mins a day on technology use and just 8hrs 21mins asleep.
8. SCHUMACHER SUSPECT FOUND HANGED
A man accused to trying to sell Michael Schumacher's medical notes to the media has been found hanged in his police cell in Zurich. The unnamed man is reported to be a manager at the Swiss air ambulance company which transferred the former F1 champion to hospital in Lausanne near his family home near Lake Geneva in June.
9. INTEREST RATES HELD AT 0.5%
The Bank of England has held interest rates at their historic low of 0.5% for a 62nd consecutive month. Earlier this year the bank's governor, Mark Carney, hinted that rates could rise sooner than expected, but although unemployment continues to fall, wage growth remains weak and there are concerns about the economic recovery overseas.
Hot Ticket
10. HOT TICKET: MARIINSKY SWAN LAKE
The Mariinsky Ballet's Swan Lake has opened at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. The famed St Petersburg company recreates Konstantin Sergeyev's classic ballet in which Prince Siegfried and swan-princess Odette overcome the forces of evil to find true love. "Sublime," says The Times. Until 14 August.