Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Wednesday 30 Jan 2013

1

POLISH NOW SECOND LANGUAGE IN ENGLAND

Polish is England’s new second language with 546,000 speakers, according to latest figures from the 2011 Census released today. The statistics paint a picture of a multi-lingual country where more than one million households do not speak English as a main language. In London, 22 per cent of residents use a main language other than English.

2

TRANSPLANT HISTORY: SOLDIER GETS 2 ARMS

US Iraq war veteran Brendan Marrocco, 26, the first soldier to have survived losing all four limbs in a bomb explosion, has undergone a pioneering double-arm transplant. Chosen for his extraordinary resilience by doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Marrocco said he was gaining some feeling in the limbs and planned to take-up hand-cycling.

3

MASS EXECUTION IN SYRIA: 79 MEN DEAD

The death toll in the massacre in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo has been revised up to 79. All the men had apparently been summarily executed with their hands bound and bullet wounds to the head. Government and rebels have blamed each other for what has been described as the worst mass execution of the Syrian civil war.

4

BRAZIL PLANS WORLD CUP SAFETY SHAKE-UP

Brazil's Congress is to be asked to enact new public safety laws in time for the 2014 World Cup following the nightclub fire which killed more than 230 people. The laws would cover licensing of clubs and mass events and bring in uniform fire prevention codes. Football legend Pele said the laws "must be a priority".

5

BOLSHOI BALLERINA FLEES TO CANADA

One of the world's top ballerinas, Svetlana Lunkina of the Bolshoi Ballet, has decided suddenly to leave Russia to live in Canada after receiving unspecified threats. It follows the assault earlier this month on the Bolshoi's artistic director Sergie Fin who had sulphuric acid thrown in his face. It is unclear whether there is a link.

6

TOPS COPS COULD BE FAST-TRACKED

Police recruits will be fast-tracked to superintendent after only 15 months training in a radical shake-up proposed today. The plans are designed to encourage outsiders – and foreigners - to join the force. It would be possible to become a chief constable within 10 years, rather than taking 25 years to climb the ladder from beat constable.

7

MIDDLE-CLASSES HIT HARDEST BY DRINK LAW

Older, middle-class drinkers will "bear the brunt" of government alcohol policy if David Cameron's minimum alcohol price of 45p a unit goes ahead. Researchers say one of the main effects of the plan would be to end supermarket multi-buy deals, such as three bottles of wine for £10, which are popular with those who drink at home.

8

HILARY MANTEL MAKES HISTORY WITH COSTA

Hilary Mantel has won the prestigious Costa Book of the Year award for her novel 'Bring Up the Bodies', making her the first author to win both the Costa and the Booker Prize in the same year. Jenni Murray, chair of the judges, said they decided to ignore the earlier prize because "it was quite simply the best book".

9

'BONKERS BALOTELLI' LEAVES MAN CITY

AC Milan have agreed a deal to sign Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli, one of the most controversial footballers to play in the Premier League. The clubs have agreed a £22 million transfer deal. City manager Roberto Mancini said Balotelli will undergo medical tests in Milan today, after which the deal will be signed.

10

HOT TICKET: EXPLORE THE CAVE

Double Fine's new puzzle adventure video game 'The Cave' has been released in Britain. Players enter a magical, wise-cracking cave that draws characters into exploring it, while prompting them to solve puzzles and examine the darker aspects of their personalities. "A witty, nostalgic treat," says The Guardian.

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