Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Tuesday 4 Sep 2012

1

KEN CLARKE GETS NEW CABINET JOB

Tory veteran Ken Clarke is a surprise winner from today’s cabinet reshuffle. He has been moved from Justice not to the backbenches as many expected but to the Cabinet Office with a brief to advise on the economy. Jeremy Hunt moves from Culture to Health – a move he called "a huge privilege" - replacing Andrew Lansley who is demoted to Leader of the Commons.

2

PARALYMPICS: SECOND GOLD FOR SIMMONDS

Swimmer Ellie Simmonds, 17, won her second gold of the London Paralympics in the SM6 200m to cement GB’s second place in the medals table yesterday, and was presented with the medal by David Cameron. She goes for a third gold in the 50m freestyle today. Earlier Team GB won two bronze medals in boccia and shooting and two equestrian silver medals.

3

COCAINE QUEEN GRISELDA SHOT DEAD

The Colombian drug trafficker Griselda Blanco, known as the “Queen of Cocaine”, is reported to have been shot dead by two gunmen as she left a butcher’s in Medellin. She was 69. In the 1970s and 80s she was at the centre of the cocaine trade in New York and Miami, reportedly making $8m a month and responsible for the murders of numerous rivals.

4

GREENING OUT, GOLDSMITH BY-ELECTION THREAT

Tory MP and environmentalist Zac Goldsmith has threatened to stand down and trigger an immediate by-election if the government goes back on its pledge to block a third runway at Heathrow. But Transport Secretary Justine Greening, who opposes airport expansion, lost her job in today's cabinet reshuffle.

5

RECORD NUMBERS OF REFUGEES FLEE SYRIA

More than 100,000 Syrians fled the country to escape the civil war in August says the UN. The exodus took the overall number of refugees since the uprising begannin March 2011 to almost 250,000. Head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Peter Maurer, today met Bashar al-Assad to ask for better access for aid workers.

6

MCDONALD'S GOES VEGETARIAN IN INDIA

Fast-food giant McDonalds is to open two vegetarian restaurants in India as it seeks to expand in a market where beef is often frowned upon. The burger chain has just 271 outlets in India compared to 1200 in the UK. The vegetarian outlets are due to open in Amritsar, home of the Golden Temple, and Katra, near the Hindu shrine of Vaishno Devi.

7

CAT MICROBE INFECTS 350,000 A YEAR

The Food Standards Agency is to publish a study that says the toxoplasma parasite, which breeds inside the domestic cat, infects up to 350,000 people every year in the UK, The Independent reports. Most infections are caught through eating contaminated food such as sheep. Scientists want the FSA to change its current advice that it is safe to eat lamb that is not well cooked.

8

WEST COAST RAIL DEAL ‘REMAINS LIVE’

Transport minister Theresa Villiers said last night that the deal to transfer the West Coast Main Line franchise to FirstGroup was on hold during legal action launched by Virgin Railways. She said the government would defend the deal “robustly” but because the contract with FirstGroup has yet to be signed, “the competition remains live”.

9

PRINCE HARRY BACK IN PUBLIC EYE

Prince Harry has returned to public duties for the first time since the publication of photographs of him romping naked in a Las Vegas hotel room, presenting awards at the WellChild charity of which he is patron. He joked that he was “never shy about coming forward” and was greeted with laughter and a warm round of applause.

10

HOT TICKET: DUCK’S VIEW OF LONDON

Duck & Waffle, a new restaurant from the creators of Sushisamba, has opened on the 40th floor of the Heron Tower in the City of London. Its signature dish is duck confit served with a fried duck’s egg and waffle. With panoramic views of London, it’s a “faultless experience”, says The Independent.

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