Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Wednesday 2 May 2012

1

MURDOCH CRITICISM 'UNJUSTIFIED'

Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation said last night that the Commons culture committee's conclusion that he is "not a fit person" to run a media company was "unjustified and highly partisan". In Washington, there were calls for the removal of Murdoch's 27 Fox News licences.

2

OBAMA BROADCASTS FROM AFGHANISTAN

President Obama marked the anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden with a surprise visit to Afghanistan to broadcast a prime-time television speech from the Bagram Air Base. Criticised in Washington for exploiting bin Laden's death for political gain, he promised a "responsible" end to America's Afghan war.

3

GM SCIENTISTS APPEAL TO PROTESTERS

Scientists in Hertfordshire developing wheat genetically modified to deter aphids have appealed to protesters not to destroy their trial crops and talk to them instead. In an open letter, the scientists write: "We appeal to you as environmentalists. Our GM wheat could substantially reduce the use of agricultural chemicals."

4

BORDER STAFF TO JOIN PENSION STRIKE

David Cameron ordered radical steps to end the border control chaos at Heathrow with plans to draft 80 'back office' passport inspectors into a flying squad to process queues at airports. However, his plans were dealt a blow after immigration staff announced their intention to join next week's pension strike.

5

DRY WINTER COULD MEAN STANDPIPES

Water shortages could lead to standpipes being introduced next year if drought-hit areas of England experience another dry winter, environment secretary Caroline Spelman has said. Groundwater levels remain low despite recent rain. Spelman said we must find ways to "reduce demand for water and become more water efficient".

6

MCCANNS: MADDIE PROBE WILL BE REOPENED

Kate and Gerry McCann, the parents of missing schoolgirl Madeleine who disappeared five years ago, say they have "no doubt" that the Portuguse authorities will reopen the case. Scotland Yard still believe the mystery can be solved, but the Portuguese police investigation ended in 2008.

7

MI6 DEATH 'MAY NEVER BE EXPLAINED'

MI6 officer Gareth Williams, found dead inside a locked bag in his London flat in 2010, was probably "unlawfully killed", although his death is "unlikely" to ever be explained. Despite a 21-month police investigation, experts were unable to agree how the 31-year-old code breaker died and the coroner delivered a narrative verdict, a statement of facts rather than a definitive verdict.

8

CHEN GUANGCHENG LEAVES US EMBASSY

Blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng has been reunited with his family at a Beijing hospital after leaving the US embassy where he had been hiding. Hillary Clinton said the US had been offered "assurances" by China and had arranged for his safety, but Chen's friends are sceptical and fear his family have been threatened.

9

SNOOKER GREAT HENDRY RETIRES

Stephen Hendry, billed as the greatest snooker champion of all time, shocked the sport yesterday by announcing his retirement immediately after a 13-2 defeat by Stephen Maguire in the world championship quarter finals at the Crucible in Sheffield. He said it was an "easy decision" after realising he had lost his game.

10

HOT TICKET: STREETCAR BALLET

The Scottish Ballet's production of Tennessee Williams's classic play A Streetcar Named Desire is on tour in Britain. Directed by Nancy Meckler, Streetcar tells the story of Southern belle Blanch Dubois's doomed escape from her past. "Poisonously beautiful", says The Evening Standard.

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