Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Friday 22 Jun 2012
MOODY'S DOWNGRADES UK BANKS
RBS, Barclays and HSBC are among a number of institutions whose credit rating has been downgraded by Moody's. The Lib Dems' Lord Oakeshott warned banks not to raise interest rates for customers. Referring to last week's offer from the Bank of England of billions of pounds in cheap loans he said: "The banks have just had their mouths stuffed with even more government gold."
MILIBAND: LABOUR WRONG ON IMMIGRATION
Labour mishandled the issue of immigration when in government, Ed Miliband admitted today, saying the party had "got it wrong" when it allowed uncontrolled immigration from new EU members in 2004. He said that not all critics of that policy had been "bigots".
AIRBORNE BIRD FLU POSSIBLE IN 5 MUTATIONS
Scientists at the Erasmus Medical Centre in the Netherlands have shown that the deadly H5N1 bird flu would only require mutations at five locations in its genome to enable airborne transmission and create a pandemic virus – and these mutations could happen in nature.
Publication of the paper was delayed because of worries that terrorists would take advantage of the research.
FLOOD CHAOS AT ISLE OF WIGHT FESTIVAL
Flooding left hundreds of people stranded on ferries yesterday and caused long traffic delays for 65,000 fans heading to the Isle of Wight Festival at Seaclose Park in Newport. Three Wightlink ferries with 600 passengers on board were stranded offshore in the Solent, unable to dock and offload cars because of flooding in Fishbourne.
TORY 'HYPOCRISY' ON LOANS FROM TAX EXILES
David Cameron last night faced accusations of "hypocrisy" over tax avoidance by the wealthy, with demands that he order the Conservative Party to repay £1.2 million in cheap loans made at giveaway interest rates by two companies, Juniper Trading and the Medlina Foundation, based in the offshore tax havens of the British Virgin Islands and Liechtenstein.
PROTESTS IN EGYPT
Thousands of protesters are gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square. The Muslim Brotherhood, which claims victory in the presidential election, called for demonstrations against what it describes as a coup by the military. But Ahmed Shafiq, a former Prime Minister under Mubarak's deposed military government, also claims victory.
REBEKAH BROOKS IN COURT
Former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks and her husband Charlie appeared at Southwark Crown Court today in a preliminary hearing on charges of conspiring to pervert the course of justice. A date of September 26 was set for a plea and case management hearing by Mr Justice Fulford.
GUN BATTLE ENDS TALIBAN HOTEL SIEGE
Thirteen people were killed before the siege was ended at a "wild party hotel" outside the Afghan capital, during which Taliban gunmen took scores of hostages. The siege ended after a twelve-hour gun battle between the Taliban and Afghan security forces. Five Taliban gunmen among the dead.
NATWEST GLITCH ENTERS THIRD DAY
A computer glitch at NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland that meant millions could not access their salaries has stretched to a third day, despite assurances from the banks that the matter had been resolved. Customers were blocked from taking money out of cash machines, while others had internet order deliveries stopped after payments were rejected.
HOT TICKET: SPIDER-MAN . . . WITH ROMANCE
The latest summer superhero blockbuster, Marvel's The Amazing Spider-Man opens in cinemas today. Andrew Garfield (The Social
Network) stars as Peter Parker, a teenage outcast on a quest to solve the mystery of his missing parents with the help of classmate Gwen (Emma Stone). "An enjoyable rush", says The Guardian.