Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Friday 2 Aug 2013

1

US PAYS GCHQ £100M TO SPY ON ITS BEHALF

The United States has paid £100m over three years to have GCHQ spy on its behalf, documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and seen by The Guardian reveal. The documents show that the US expects a return on its investment. "GCHQ must pull its weight and be seen to pull its weight," a GCHQ strategy briefing said.

2

RBS GIVES CEO ROLE TO ROSS MCEWAN

Royal Bank of Scotland has confirmed this morning that Ross McEwan, currently head of the bank's retail arm, is to take up the role of chief executive vacated by Stephen Hester. He will be paid £1m a year but will take no bonus this year or next. The bank has announced first half pre-tax profits of £1.4bn for the six months to end June.

3

BERLUSCONI RAGES AT SENTENCE RULING

In an angry and emotional video message, former Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi has denounced a court decision to uphold his prison sentence for tax fraud. He said the decision was "based on nothing" and deprived him of "political rights". The 76-year-old is unlikely to be jailed because of his age, but faces house arrest and community service.

4

MILIBAND 'HESITANT AND COCOONED'

Labour leader Ed Miliband is too hesitant and "cocooned in a bunker" while no one understands what his party stands for, Labour backbencher George Mudie said yesterday. The veteran MP's intervention came amid anxiety in Labour circles over recent opinion polls showing the Conservatives doing much better than expected.

5

PELKA KILLERS MUST SERVE 30 YEARS

The mother and stepfather of murdered four-year-old Daniel Pelka have been sentenced to life in prison and must serve a minimum of 30 years behind bars. Poles Magdelena Luczak and Mariusz Krezolek embarked of a campaign of "incomprehensible brutality" against Daniel, who was starved, poisoned with salt, locked in a box room and eventually killed by a blow to the head.

6

'AL-QAEDA THREAT': US WARNS TRAVELLERS

The US State Department has issued a global travel alert urging all American citizens travelling abroad to be vigilant – especially in the Middle East and North Africa - because of an unspecified al-Qaeda threat. It follows an earlier announcement that all US embassies in the region would be closed this Sunday, a normal working day in the Muslim world.

7

ARIEL CASTRO GETS LIFE PLUS 1,000 YEARS

Cleveland, Ohio kidnapper Ariel Castro finally received his jail sentence yesterday – life without parole plus 1,000 years. "I am a monster," he told the sentencing hearing. Michelle Knight, one of three women kidnapped and repeatedly raped for a decade, told him: "I spent 11 years in hell... but you will face hell for eternity."

8

ROBERT MUGABE WINS PARLIAMENT MAJORITY

In the face of vote-rigging charges, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission ruled today that Zanu-PF, the party of incumbent president Robert Mugabe, won 142 seats in the 210-seat chamber in Wednesday's national elections. The result of the presidential race between Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC is yet to be announced.

9

AUSTRALIA DECLARE ON MASSIVE 527-7

Australia continued to dominate the third Ashes Test, finally declaring just after tea today on 527 for 7. Captain Michael Clarke scored 187 before being bowled by Stuart Broad. At the crease when they declared were Brad Haddin on 65 and Mitchell Starc on 66. England's best bowler was Graeme Swann who took five for 159.

10

HOT TICKET: FEMALE BUDDY MOVIE THE HEAT

Female buddy comedy 'The Heat' opens in UK cinemas today. From 'Bridesmaids' director Paul Feig, it stars Sandra Bullock as a by-the-book FBI agent and Melissa McCarthy from 'Bridesmaids' as a streetwise Boston cop. Together they team up to bring down a drug lord. "Extremely funny," says Film 4.

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