Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Friday 1 Feb 2013

1

FOOTBALLERS SMARTER THAN PHDS

A new study claims that footballers have better cognitive skills than undergraduates and even PhD students. Research by Jocelyn Faubert of the University of Montreal found that sports stars were able to "hyper-focus" when doing tests, thanks to physical differences in their brains. The study involved Manchester United footballers, Canadian hockey players, and French rugby players.

2

CAMERON 'RISKS CONFIDENCE VOTE'

David Cameron faces a backbench Tory revolt to unseat him if he doesn't do something to increase the party's popularity, The Guardian reports. A confidence vote over his leadership will come in the summer of 2014, a year before the next general election, if his poll ratings fail to improve, sources have told the paper.

3

BLAST OUTSIDE US EMBASSY IN ANKARA

A security guard has been killed when a suicide bomber detonated a device in front of the side entrance to the US Embassy in the Turkish capital Ankara today. There are reports of a number of other casualties. Embassy staff were taken to secure rooms in the building, according to Turkish television, and police have sealed off the embassy. No group has yet claimed responsibility.

4

COURT OPENS WAY TO 'SHARIA' DIVORCE

The prospect of divorce cases being settled by Sharia law was opened yesterday by a landmark legal decision in the High Court in which a Jewish couple's divorce under Beth Din rabbinical process was approved under English law. The Muslim Council of Britain said: "If it leads to the eventual acceptance of Sharia court divorces, then Muslims will be very encouraged."

5

BEYONCE PROVES TO CRITICS SHE CAN SING

Pop star Beyoncé answered her critics yesterday by giving a cappella rendition of The Star Spangled Banner to a an audience of sports journalists in New Orleans for Sunday's Super Bowl, where she will perform at half-time. She then explained that she had lip-synched her performance at Obama's inauguration because she is a "perfectionist".

6

WIND TURBINE MAY HAVE BEEN SABOTAGED

A 115ft wind turbine in Bradworthy, Devon which collapsed last week during a 50mph gale may have been sabotaged. Local councillors say bolts were found to be missing. Suspicions were further raised after a second turbine was brought down less than 20 miles away. Local residents had campaigned fiercely against the Bradworthy turbine.

7

MET OFFICER APRIL CASBURN JAILED

Police officer April Casburn, the first person to be prosecuted as part of the investigation into payments by journalists to officials, has been sentenced to 15 months in prison. Casburn, 53, claimed she made contact with the News of the World out of public interest. The judge at the Old Bailey said is was a straightforward case of corruption.

8

FORMER NYC MAYOR ED KOCH DIES AT 88

Ed Koch, the much-loved New York City mayor who helped turn round the Big Apple’s fortunes between 1978 and 1989, has died at the age of 88. He was known for asking New Yorkers: “How’m I doin’?” As the Washington Post reports, the question was delivered “in a whiny, nasal voice that was as recognisably New York as the screech of an A Train”.

9

ARSENAL SPEND £8.5M ON NACHO MONREAL

Football's January transfer window closed at 11pm yesterday. Among the big last-minute signings was Malaga defender Ignacio 'Nacho' Monreal, 26, who joins Arsenal in a £8.5m deal. Premier League clubs spent about £120m in the window, with struggling QPR among the big spenders, signing Jermaine Jenas from Spurs among others.

10

HOT TICKET: DENZEL WASHINGTON FLIES

Robert Zemeckis's new drama 'Flight' opens in UK cinemas today. Denzel Washington stars as an airline pilot with an alcohol problem who is hailed as a hero after he crash-lands a plane, but has some explaining to do. Washington is up for the best actor Oscar for his role. "Compelling old-school melodrama," says Time Out.

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