Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Tuesday 21 Aug 2012

1

APPLE BECOMES MOST VALUABLE COMPANY EVER

Apple became the most valuable company of all time yesterday, reaching a market value of $623 bn to overtake Microsoft's record of $616.34 bn set in 1999, although that figure was not adjusted for inflation. Apple shares closed in New York at $665.15 yesterday ahead of the anticipated launch of the iPhone5 and a cheaper iPad.

2

OLYMPIANS 'CAN BE HONOURED'

Downing Street last night denied that rules drawn up by head of the Civil Service Sir Bob Kerslake would prevent Team GB's gold medal winners being awarded honours unless they "put something back into society". Although David Cameron is said to have been behind the rule change, he now favours ever gold medallist being recognised.

3

GALLOWAY: ASSANGE CASE 'NOT RAPE'

George Galloway, the controversial Respect MP for Bradford, said yesterday that the sex offences claimed against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in Sweden were "bad sexual etiquette" which even if true did "not constitute rape", and accused his two alleged victims of conspiracy. The comments were met with outrage from women's groups.

4

TONY SCOTT 'DID NOT HAVE BRAIN CANCER'

The family of film director Tony Scott have denied reports that he had inoperable brain cancer and jumped to his death to spare them the pain of watching his slow death. Early autopsy results confirm that there was no cancer, says TMZ.com. The reason for his 180ft leap from a Los Angeles bridge remains a mystery.

5

NHS TO EXPORT 'BRAND' HOSPITALS

Some of Britain's best-known hospitals, including the Great Ormond Street children's hospital, the Royal Marsden, Guy's and St Thomas's are being lined up by the Government to export the "NHS brand" around the world, with profit-making overseas branches being established to boost revenue. The Gulf, China, Libya and India are likely customers.

6

'RAPE' GAFFE: AKIN TOLD TO QUIT

Todd Akin, the Republican candidate for the Senate and close colleague of vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan who made the gaffe that women do not get pregnant if victims of "legitimate rape", was told yesterday that he would get no more money from Republican Party coffers and should quit his race. President Obama condemned him, saying "rape is rape".

7

WHICH? CALLS FREE BANKING A 'MYTH'

Consumer group Which? says an analysis of hidden bank charges of up to £900 a year "completely shatters the myth of free banking" in Britain. Research found large variations in the cost of "free" current accounts from charging for overdrafts to "hefty" fees for overseas banking. The British Bankers' Association called the report "disingenuous".

8

OBAMA WARNS SYRIA ON CHEMICAL WEAPONS

US President Barack Obama warned yesterday that the use of chemical weapons by Syria would be a "red line" that would change his thinking on intervention in the crisis in which he had "at this point not ordered military engagement". Syria holds the world's fourth-largest stockpile of chemical weapons and there are reports that the regime may turn them on rebels.

9

GOVERNMENT FORCED TO BORROW £600M

The UK was forced to borrow £600m last month as spending outstripped income. The news has shocked the City and undermined George Osborne's borrowing targets for the year. Analysts had expected a suplus of £2.5bn last month but 20 per cent fall in corporate tax receipts and an increase in public spending led to a surprise deficit.

10

HOT TICKET: CAROUSEL COMES ROUND

Jo Davies's revival of the Rogers and Hammerstein classic musical Carousel for Opera North has opened at the Barbican. The story of a tragic romance between a carousel barker and a millworker features the classics June Is Bustin' Out All Over and You'll Never Walk Alone. "Unmissable", says The Observer. Until 15 September.

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