Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Thursday 17 Mar 2011

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

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Our popular news catch-up service is posted Monday to Friday at 8.00 am. You can rely on it to keep you up to date through the working day with the main news talking points.

UN condemns 'shocking' crackdown in BahrainThe United Nations high commissioner for human rights has condemned Bahrain for its "shocking and illegal" use of force against democracy protesters, citing reports of "arbitrary arrests, killings, beatings of protesters and of medical personnel". Shia Muslims are seeking reforms to a system dominated by the Sunni minority. At least three civilians and three policemen died in clashes yesterday and six opposition leaders are believed to be in custody.

GADDAFI’S SON SAYS VICTORY IMMINENTAs Col Gaddafi's troops advanced towards the rebel capital, Benghazi, his son Saif al-Islam told the West that the UN debate about a no-fly zone was fast becoming irrelevant. The army would "finish the job" of defeating the insurrection against its rule by Friday, he said, and "traitors and mercenaries" should flee the country or face the consequences.

BRITONS URGED TO LEAVE TOKYOBritons were advised last night to leave Tokyo as technicians struggled to bring the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant in northeast Japan under control. With many flights cancelled, the Foreign Office was examining the availability of charter flights to bring back Britons. There is a mounting international anxiety that Japan is not entirely on top of its nuclear crisis.
Nuclear power: the future or history?

Another Fukushima? In America? Not if, but when

JOBLESS FIGURE HITS 17-YEAR HIGHGeorge Osborne has been given mixed news by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development ahead of next week’s Budget. Though it has downgraded its forecast for Britain's economic growth, the OECD endorsed the spending cuts as "vital". The analysis came on the day that UK unemployment hit a 17-year high, rising to 2.53 million in the final quarter of last year.
Neil Clark: If Cameron really cares, he will act on unemployment

BERLUSCONI REMINDS ACCUSERS OF HIS AGESilvio Berlusconi has mocked claims by Italian prosecutors that he paid 33 women for sex in a matter of months. The Italian prime minister, who will stand trial on April 6 on charges of having sex with an underage prostitute and abuse of office, protested: "I'm 74 years old and even though I may be a bit of a rascal ... 33 girls in two months seems to me too much even for a 30-year-old."
Ruby 'spotted at 16 and groomed for bunga, bunga'

ALLEGED HITMAN WAS 15A 15-year-old schoolboy hitman shot a young mother on her doorstep in a £200 contract killing over access to her nine-year-old son, a court was told yesterday. The alleged killer was recruited by Serdar Ozbek, who feared that his former partner, Gulistan Subasi, 26, was about to take their child out of the country, jurors at the Old Bailey were told.

SHADOW MINISTER CLAIMS POLICY IS ANTI-MUSLIMA Labour shadow minister accused the government of using welfare cuts to rid central London of ethnic minorities. Karen Buck, shadow work and pensions minister, said that ministers "don't want Muslims living in central London", and are "deeply hostile" to poor people having children. Conservative Party chairman Baroness Warsi called for Buck’s sacking.

PEPSI PIN THEIR HOPES ON SIMON COWELLIndustry data due to be released today is expected to show that Coca-Cola now has the top two spots in the $74bn-a-year soft drinks trade in America, with Diet Coke knocking Pepsi from second spot. (Coke itself remains number one.) Pepsi aim to fight back by spending more than $60m on sponsoring Simon Cowell's US version of The X Factor this autumn.
Music mogul LA Reid first judge to join X Factor US

JACKO GETS A STATUE AT FULHAM FCMohamed Fayed will unveil a commemorative statue of his friend Michael Jackson at Fulham FC’s ground Craven Cottage next month. Jackson twice visited Harrods when Fayed owned the store and once attended Craven Cottage at Fayed's invitation, watching Fulham's 2-0 victory over Wigan in 1999.

Big buck's wins third consecutive world hurdle Big Buck's has made horse racing history by winning his third Ladbrokes World Hurdle in a row. Jockey Ruby Walsh rode Big Buck's to victory one-and-three-quarter-lengths ahead of Grands Crus at the Cheltenham Festival. Walsh said: "He's an aeroplane, but I made a bad mistake as I dropped my stick halfway to the last hurdle."