Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Monday 20 Aug 2012

1

LATIN AMERICA RALLIES FOR ASSANGE

Latin American nations rallied to Ecuador's defence last night as foreign ministers of the Unasur bloc, led by Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, condemned Britain's "threats" to seize WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from the country's embassy in London. A statement warned of "grave consequences" if Britain raided the Knightsbridge embassy.

2

TOP GUN DIRECTOR JUMPS TO HIS DEATH

Tony Scott, the British-born director of Top Gun and Days of Thunder, has been found dead after jumping from the Vincent Thomas Bridge into Los Angeles Harbor. A suicide note was found in his car parked nearby. He is the younger brother of Ridley Scott, director of Alien and Gladiator.

3

'PUSSY RIOT' PROTEST ARRESTS IN FRANCE

French police arrested a group of seven women among a crowd protesting in sympathy with the jailed Russian punk band Pussy Riot outside the Russian consulate in Marseille yesterday because they were wearing the group's trademark balaclava helmets. France banned full-face coverings in public in 2011 to outlaw the wearing of the Muslim niqab.

4

BAA TO SELL STANSTED AIRPORT

Airport operator BAA has agreed to sell off Stansted after a three-year legal battle to keep control of the airport and has put it up for sale. Budget airline Ryanair could now take a stake in the airport, which is valued at £1.3bn. The Competition Commission ordered BAA to sell Stansted in 2009. It has already sold Gatwick and Edinburgh airports.

5

NEIL HEYWOOD KILLER SENTENCED

The wife of disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai was given a suspended death sentence early today for the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood. Gu Kailai did not contest charges at her 9 August one-day trial that she poisoned Heywood in November 2011. She is expected to serve 14 years if the sentence is commuted to 'life' as expected.

6

ASIL NADIR FOUND GUILTY OF THEFT

Tycoon Asil Nadir has been found guilty of theft at the Old Bailey, 22 years after his company Polly Peck collapsed amid claims he stolen millions from it to pay off his debts. Nadir, now 71, left the UK before his trial in 1993 but returned in 2010. He faces a total of 13 counts, and has so far been convicted of three and cleared of one.

7

ASEXUALS A 'FOURTH SEXUAL ORIENTATION'

An academic study to be published next month claims that the growing number of asexuals in the world should be classed as a "fourth sexual orientation". Professor Anthony Bogaert argues that asexuals account for one per cent of the world's population, or 70 million people with "no sexual attraction at all", some of them in reaction to the "sexualisation" of the culture.

8

PRINCE PHILIP LEAVES HOSPITAL IN ABERDEEN

The Duke of Edinburgh has been discharged after spending five nights in hospital. Buckingham Palace described his admission to the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary - his third hospital stay in nine months - as a "precautionary measure" after the recurrence of a bladder infection. The Queen remained at Balmoral during his absence.

9

OUTRAGE OVER TODD AKIN RAPE CLAIM

Mitt Romney has distanced himself from Republican congressman Todd Akin after he claimed that very few women ever fell pregnant from "legitimate rape" as they could "shut down" their bodies. The claim, made during a TV interview about abortion, puts Romney's running mate, Paul Ryan, in the spotlight as he has links to Akin and is staunchly pro-life.

10

HOT TICKET: INTO THE TRIAD UNDERWORLD

Crime drama video game Sleeping Dogs has been released in the UK. Players control Wei Shen, a Chinese-American police officer, as he goes undercover to infiltrate a Triad organisation called Sun On Yee in underworld Hong Kong. "An absolute blast to play", says The Guardian.

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