Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Friday 19 Oct 2012

1

MPS' EXPENSES: NEW 'LOOPHOLE' EXPOSED

Dozens of MPs have been claiming parliamentary expenses to pay the rent on homes in London, when they already own properties in the capital and rent them out, The Daily Telegraph reports. Among the 27 MPs are Liam Fox and Chris Bryant. The Telegraph says that at least eight MPs are either letting to or renting from other politicians.

2

IT'S OFFICIAL: UK HAS 'WEIRDEST WEATHER'

Britain really has experienced its "weirdest" weather on record, scientists from the three main weather agencies, the Environment Agency, the Met Office and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, said last night. The driest spring in more than a century gave way to the wettest summer, but there was no evidence that these weather changes were "man made".

3

CAMERON STANDS BY ENERGY COST PROMISE

David Cameron last night insisted that energy firms WILL be compelled to offer customers "the lowest tariff" as he struggled to clear up confusion over energy policy amid accusations of the fastest ever U-turn on record. But details of how this will be achieved in next month's Energy Bill remained unknown as Energy Secretary Ed Davey distances himself from the pledge.

4

TRADING SUSPENDED OVER GOOGLE ERROR

Trading in Google shares was suspended for two-and-a-half hours yesterday after the company released its third-quarter results early by mistake, revealing a drop in profits which prompted a sell-off wiping $22bn off share values. Google chief Larry Page apologised, blaming printers for sending out results which had been expected only after the closing bell.

5

LEAKED EMAIL ADDS TO NEWSNIGHT PUZZLE

A leaked BBC email casts into doubt the corporation's claim that a Newsnight investigation into Jimmy Savile was dropped for purely editorial reasons, says The Times. The email from a BBC press officer mentions Newsnight "focusing on allegations of abuse" and shows the press department preparing "lines to take" to respond to questions.

6

SYRIA: LATEST AIR STRIKES KILL DOZENS

Air strikes on rebel strongholds in Idlib and Aleppo provinces, close to Syria's northern border with Turkey, are reported to have killed dozens of people. At least 20 are said to have died in a government attack on the village of Maaret al-Numan. Human right groups claim that regime forces have kidnapped and "disappeared" at least 20,000 people.

7

ROMNEY PULLS AHEAD IN NATIONAL POLL

Mitt Romney has "catapulted" ahead of Barack Obama in a national poll, his lead growing to seven per cent in a Gallup tracking poll of likely voters. Obama gets some comfort from local polls in the battleground states of Wisconsin and Iowa: with less than three weeks to go before the election, he's ahead in both states.

8

RISING COSTS COULD KILL BADGER CULL

Controversial badger cull trials in the west of England could be postponed or abandoned because of rising costs, according to a government source. The news comes amid claims of yet another Coalition ‘omnishambles’ after environment secretary Owen Paterson twice cancelled an interview with ITV News yesterday, in which he was expected to announce a reprieve for the badgers.

9

BOAT RACE PROTESTOR JAILED

Trenton Oldfield, the man who disrupted the Oxford and Cambridge boat race by swimming into the Thames in front of the crews has been jailed for six months for causing a public nuisance. Judge Anne Molyneux told Oldfield his anti-elitist protest was "prejudiced" and that his actions were "dangerous and disproportionate".

10

HOT TICKET: BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD

An American fantasy film inspired by the Hurricane Katrina disaster, 'Beasts of the Southern Wild', opens in UK cinemas today to rave reviews. A tale of childhood imagination in the face of environmental and personal disaster, featuring with a largely non-professional cast, it is "simply unmissable", says The Daily Telegraph.

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