Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Friday 20 Apr 2012

1

ABU QATADA COULD BE FREE 'IN DAYS'

Extremist cleric Abu Qatada could be re-released on bail within days, it emerged yesterday as Home Secretary Theresa May faced mounting evidence of a blunder over his appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. Mr Justice Mitting said he would reconsider his detention order if deportation was "not imminent".

2

MURDOCHS TO FACE LEVESON INQUIRY

Rupert Murdoch and his son James will give evidence at the Leveson Inquiry into press ethics next week, testifying separately over three days. Meanwhile the royal editor of The Sun, Duncan Larcombe, has been arrested by police investigating illegal payments to public officials.

3

BREIVIK PLANNED TO 'BEHEAD' PM

Anders Behring Breivik claimed at his trial yesterday that he had planned to behead former Labour Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland during his rampage in Norway last summer, and post a video of it on the internet. He also said he had hoped to kill the entire government with his bomb in Oslo.

4

FRENCH ELECTION: THE FINAL HOURS

Today is the final day of campaigning in the French presidential election before Sunday's first-round vote. President Sarkozy and Socialist Francois Hollande are neck and neck in opinion polls for round one. But the same polls suggest Hollande will win the second round run-off on 6 May comfortably.

5

SYRIA: THREAT OF INTERVENTION

Western leaders gathering in Paris last night threatened international intervention to set up "humanitarian corridors" in Syria after UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned the Security Council that President Assad's regime was flouting ceasefire terms with "grave abuses by government forces".

6

THE BAND'S LEVON HELM DIES AT 71

One of the legends of American rock music, Levon Helm, has died from throat cancer at 71. Helm was the drummer and singer of The Band, whose 1960s numbers The Weight and The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down became rock standards. Martin Scorsese captured the group's 1976 farewell concert in his documentary, The Last Waltz.

7

WAS NEIL HEYWOOD SPYING IN CHINA?

MPs questioned Foreign Secretary William Hague last night over reports that Neil Heywood, the businessman murdered in China, had been a spy for MI6. Heywood is rumoured to have been an "agent of influence" passing information on Gu Kailai, arrested on suspicion of his murder, and her husband, Bo Xilai.

8

FEAR OF LIVE BULLETS AT BAHRAIN GP

Fears for F1 crews at the Bahrain GP grew yesterday amid reports of increasing use of birdshot and live bullets by the police in clashes with pro-democracy demonstrators targeting the race on Sunday. Tear gas and stun grenades were used against marchers in Manama, the capital, as hundreds of foreign journalists were turned away at the airport.

9

BALLOT COULD DELAY TANKER DRIVERS' STRIKE

Fuel delivery tanker drivers may have to hold-off strike action threatening petrol supplies until mid-May as Unite, their union, re-ballots workers at the firm Hoyer who failed to receive ballot papers when the strike vote was taken, it emerged last night. Acas, the arbitration service, said new talks would begin on Monday.

10

HOT TICKET: EWAN GOES FISHING

Brit rom-com 'Salmon Fishing in the Yemen' opens in cinemas today. Based on Paul Torday's best-selling novel, the film stars Ewan McGregor as an unhappy fisheries expert roped into a scheme to bring fly fishing to Yemen where he falls for Emily Blunt. "A delight," says Rolling Stone.

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