Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Thursday 10 May 2012

1

QUEEN'S SPEECH: 'NO HOPE, NO CHANGE'

New government Bills outlined in the Queen's Speech were denounced by both Labour and business last night. Ed Miliband said there was "no hope, no change", while the Chambers of Commerce said the government should "choose between boosting the economy and playing short term politics".

2

PUBLIC SECTOR STRIKES OVER PENSIONS

Hundreds of thousands of public sector workers have been taking part in a 24-hour strike over pension changes and government austerity plans. NHS workers, police, lecturers and border control staff were among those who walked out. Prison officers were threatened with legal action for holding protest meetings.

3

HELICOPTER DITCHES IN NORTH SEA

A helicopter carrying 16 people has ditched in the North Sea. The 14 oil workers and two crew escaped in a life raft after the pilot performed a controlled descent. They are awaiting rescue around 26 miles off Aberdeen.

4

VIDAL SASSOON DIES AT 84

London-born celebrity hairdresser Vidal Sassoon died yesterday at his home in Los Angeles, aged 84. He revolutionised women's haircuts in the 1960s with his signature geometric bob, and counted Mary Quant among his clients before going on to make a fortune with his 'signature' hair products.

5

OBAMA COMES OUT FOR GAY MARRIAGE

President Barack Obama ended months of fudging on the issue of gay marriage yesterday by declaring on TV that he thinks same-sex couples should be able to wed. Presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney immediately declared opposition, ensuring that the issue will be a key "wedge" in November's presidential election.

6

BANK HOLDS INTEREST RATES AND QE

The Bank of England has voted against pumping emergency cash into the economy today despite Britain's return to recession. Members of the Bank's monetary policy committee decided to keep interest rates at their record 0.5 per cent low for a 38th month and maintain quantitative easing at £325bn. Stubbornly high inflation has been blamed for the decisions.

7

COULSON DENIES 'GRAND CONSPIRACY'

Andy Coulson, the former editor of the News of the World and David Cameron's spin doctor, has told the Leveson Inquiry that there was no "grand conspiracy" between Rupert Mudoch's papers and the Tories, but admitted that Cameron did not ask for assurances about the NotW hacking scandal when he was hired.

8

55 DEAD IN SYRIA BOMBINGS

At least 55 people have been killed and 370 wounded after two explosions hit the al-Qazzaz suburb of Damascus. The Syrian government has blamed the bombs, which detonated close to a military intelligence complex, on terrorists. The attack comes against a background of ongoing political unrest in the country.

9

FERRARI SORRY FOR CHINESE WALL STUNT

Ferrari has apologised after one of its cars was filmed performing wheel-spins on top of a 600-year-old Ming-dynasty era wall in the city of Nanjing prior to a publicity stunt. The Italian carmaker blamed a local dealer for the incident, which has upset the Chinese community.

10

HOT TICKET: PETERSHAM CAFÉ BLOOMS AGAIN

Lebanese-Australian chef Greg Malouf has replaced the well-known Skye Gyngell at Petersham Nurseries Café in Richmond. Malouf brings modern Middle Eastern flavours, with signature dishes including Saffron risotto and scallops and Moroccan bistayeea duck pie. "Deeply enticing", says the Evening Standard.

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