Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Wednesday 20 Mar 2013

1

OSBORNE HALVES GROWTH FORECAST

Chancellor George Osborne has cut his official growth forecast in half, but insisted the UK would avoid a "triple dip" recession. He said growth in 2013 would be 0.6% - half the 1.2% he predicted four months ago. Osborne used today's Budget to cut corporation tax by 1% to 20%, and cancelled this autumn's planned fuel duty rise.

2

BLOGGERS FEAR NEW PRESS REGULATIONS

Bloggers have raised the alarm that they too may face stiff libel fines under rules imposed by the new press watchdog in the wake of the Leveson report. Political blogger Iain Dale said he would "certainly" be covered by the regulator, but the government claimed the new rules would protect "a single blogger".

3

CYPRUS DUMPS LEVY AND TURNS TO RUSSIA

Cyprus is turning to Russia for financial assistance after MPs yesterday voted down the proposal to dock up to 9.9 per cent from all bank accounts. But while Cypriots celebrated the vote, Germany made it clear Cyprus would not now get the €10bn UE bailout loan needed to save the economy. The island's banks remain closed.

4

INDIA: BALCONY JUMP TO AVOID SEX ASSAULT

A 32-year-old London woman visiting the Taj Mahal in India claims she had to jump 15ft from her balcony to escape a hotel manager who tried to sexually assault her. The man knocked on her door at 3.45 am asking to give her a massage and shower. The incident comes days after a Swiss tourist was gang-raped in front of her husband.

5

OBAMA VISITS ISRAEL FOR FIRST TIME

President Barack Obama has described the alliance between Israel and the US as "eternal" after touching down at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport today. The president is making his first visit to Israel. The White House has played down any expectations that he will succeed in reviving peace talks.

6

SUN DEPUTY EDITOR TO BE CHARGED

The deputy editor of the Sun, Geoff Webster, is to be charged with allegedly authorising payments to public officials for information, the CPS has said. Webster is to be charged with two counts of misconduct in a public office, relating to two payments totalling £8,000. The charges are part of the Met's Operation Elveden.

7

EVENING STANDARD LEAKS BUDGET IN TWEET

A young journalist at the London Evening Standard has been suspended after tweeting the newspaper's front page, carrying details of George Osborne's Budget, before the Chancellor had even uttered a word. The paper had been given an embargoed copy of the speech. The opposition front bench embarrassed Osborne by brandishing print-outs of the cover as he spoke.

8

PIETERSEN: KNEE PUTS HIM OUT OF NZ TEST

England batsman Kevin Pietersen will miss the final test against New Zealand due to a right knee injury that will rule him out of competition for six to eight weeks. The 32-year-old has also pulled out of next month's Indian Premier League and it remains to be seen if he can return in time for New Zealand's tour to England.

9

HOCKNEY AIDE DIDN'T DIE OF NATURAL CAUSES

David Hockney's studio assistant did not die of natural causes, a post mortem has indicated. Dominic Elliott, 23, died earlier in the week after being taken to hospital from the artist's home in Bridlington, East Yorkshire. Police said further toxicology tests could take between six and eight weeks, and there is likely to be an inquest.

10

HOT TICKET: CURIOUS INCIDENT IN WEST END

The National Theatre's 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time' has transferred to the Apollo Theatre, West End. The story of a teenage maths prodigy who uncovers family secrets when he investigates the death of a neighbour's dog is based on Mark Haddon's bestselling novel. "Dazzling," says The Times. Until 31 August.

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