Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Wednesday 6 Jun 2012

1

SYRIA EXPELS WESTERN DIPLOMATS

Damascus has expelled 17 diplomats from Britain, the United States, Canada, Turkey and several other European countries in response to the coordinated expulsion of Syrian ambassadors from western nations last week. There were reports yesterday that government helicopter gunships were used to attack rebels in the coastal province of Latakia.

2

'THANK YOU ALL' SAYS QUEEN

The Queen thanked the UK and Commonwealth last night in a TV and radio address as four days of Diamond Jubilee celebrations came to an end. Today she attended lunch with Commonwealth leaders as Prince Philip remained in hospital with a bladder infection, but he has "improved considerably" since Sunday.

3

LEGIONNAIRES' CASES CONTINUE TO RISE

A man has died in Edinburgh of Legionnaires' disease as an outbreak of the bacterial infection continues to spread. The man, in his 50s, had underlying health conditions. NHS Lothian says it has identified 21 confirmed and 19 suspected cases of Legionnaires'. The source of the infection could be 16 industrial cooling towers in the southwest of the city.

4

SPAIN DENIES BAILOUT REQUEST

Spain's economic minister has denied that his country is about to request a bailout for its banking sector. Luis de Guindos insisted there would be no decision until after an audit of the banks was completed later this month. Germany has dismissed suggestions that EU bailout funds could be used to save Spanish banks.

5

AUTHOR RAY BRADBURY DIES AT 91

Science fiction writer Ray Bradbury, the author of Fahrenheit 451, Something Wicked This Way Comes and the Martian Chronicles has died at his home in Los Angeles at the age of 91. Fahrenheit 451, published in 1953, depicts a future society in which books are banned and the title relates to the temperature at which paper burns. He only allowed it to be published as an e-book last year.

6

ASTRONOMERS WATCH TRANSIT OF VENUS

Skywatchers around the world have observed the transit of Venus across the Sun – the last time the astronomical phenomenon will be seen until 2117. Conditions in the UK were not good, with cloud frustrating the efforts of many in the one-hour window between sunrise and the end of the transit just before 6am.

7

'CANADIAN PSYCHO' WON'T FIGHT EXTRADITION

Porn star Luka Rocco Magnotta, dubbed the 'Canadian Psycho', has said he will not fight extradition from Germany. Canadian authorities suspect the 29-year-old of hacking his 33-year-old victim to death last month with an ice pick before posting body parts to political offices in Ottawa. Magnotta was arrested in a Berlin internet café on Monday.

8

WARSI TO FACE STANDARDS PROBE

Conservative co-chairman Lady Warsi will be formally investigated by the Lords standards commissioner over her expenses claims. Scotland Yard decided not to take action and passed the matter back to the Lords. Earlier, David Cameron ordered his adviser on standards to investigate Warsi, despite refusing to order a similar investigation into Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

9

MILLIONS OF LINKEDIN PASSWORDS STOLEN

Professional networking site LinkedIn is investigating claims that the passwords of 6.5 million of its users were stolen and published in encrypted form on a Russian hacking forum. Members of the website have been urged to change their passwords as soon as possible, while hackers appeal for help in decoding the passwords.

10

HOT TICKET: GREEK POLITICAL THRILLER

A new production of Sophocles's Greek tragedy Antigone has opened at the National Theatre. Christopher Eccleston stars as Creon, an inflexible ruler locked in a battle of wills with his headstrong niece Antigone (Jodie Whitaker) that soon turns to tragedy. "Gripping and topical", says The Daily Telegraph. Until 21 July.

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