Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Wednesday 6 Mar 2013

1

US PLOT ALLEGED IN DEATH OF CHAVEZ

The death from cancer yesterday of Venezuela's socialist president Hugo Chavez at 58 was immediately blamed by his vice-president Nicolas Maduro on a US plot. He had "no doubt" that the cancer first diagnosed in 2011 had been induced by "an enemy attack" and that a scientific commission would investigate. The US said the accusation was "absurd".

2

STOCK MARKETS HIT RECORD HIGHS

New York's Dow Jones share index set a new all-time high yesterday, while London's FTSE 100 closed at its highest level in five years, as stock markets around the world returned to pre-global financial crisis levels. The Dow closed at 14,256, beating 2007's record of 14,198. The FTSE closed at 6,432, the highest since January 2008.

3

RED CARD ENDS MAN U EUROPEAN CUP DREAM

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson refused to talk to the press last night after his team went out of the Champions League, beaten 2-1 by Real Madrid. Ferguson was said to be "distraught" at the harsh red card given to Nani in the 56th minute, which changed the course of the game. Real coach Jose Mourinho confessed: "The best team lost."

4

CHILD SEX ABUSE: DPP'S POLICY SHAKE-UP

The Director of Public Prosecutions has announced new guidelines for how police and prosecutors deal with alleged sexual offences against children. In the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal, he said that victims' accounts "have been treated too cautiously". Police tend to believe the stories of burglary victims – why not child abuse victims?

5

KENYA POLL: UHURU KENYATTA TAKES LEAD

Uhuru Kenyatta, who faces trial at The Hague next month for allegedly instigating violence after the Kenyan elections of 2007, has established a commanding lead over rival Raila Odinga in results from the first 40% of polling stations in Monday's presidential election. He has 53% of the vote, against 42% for Odinga.

6

DID KATE LET SLIP THAT BABY IS A GIRL?

The Duchess of Cambridge appeared to let slip during a visit to Grimsby yesterday that her baby is a girl. Accepting the gift of a teddy bear, the Duchess said: "Thank you, I'll take that for my d ..." before stopping herself. When a bystander asked if she was in the process of saying "daughter" she replied: "We're not telling." The baby is due in July.

7

BOLSHOI DANCER HELD OVER ACID ATTACK

Pavel Dmitrichenko, a leading dancer with the Bolshoi Ballet, was arrested yesterday for masterminding the attack in which ballet director Sergei Filin had a jar of sulphuric acid thrown in his face in January. Dmitrichenko along with Yury Zarutsky, who carried out the attack, and Andrei Lipatov, who drove Filin to the scene, have all signed confessions.

8

SYRIA: UK TO SEND ARMOURED CARS

The UK is to supply armoured vehicles and body armour to opposition forces in Syria, Foreign Secretary William Hague said. In a statement to the Commons, he said Britain would increase aid to Syrian opposition forces, including providing "new types of non-lethal equipment for the protection of civilians", after EU sanctions had been amended.

9

THOMAS COOK TO AXE 2,500 JOBS

Travel group Thomas Cook has announced it will cut 2,500 jobs in the UK and close some branches as it attempts to revive its profitability. Most of the job losses will come from its "back-office functions and its retail network", the company said. For the last financial year to September, the firm reported pre-tax losses of £485.3m.

10

HOT TICKET: ‘THIS HOUSE' BACK AT NT

James Graham's witty political drama, 'This House', has re-opened at the National Theatre. Set during the 1970s under a minority Labour government, it explores the backroom deals politicians make to stay in power. Runs until 16 May. "A landslide success," says the Evening Standard.

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