Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Friday 11 Mar 2011

Japan tsunami

Our popular news catch-up service is posted Monday to Friday at 8.00 am. You can rely on it to keep you up to date through the working day with the main news talking points. 10-METRE TSUNAMI HITS JAPANA tsunami, triggered by a massive 8.9-magnitude earthquake 80 miles off the Pacific coast, has hit Japan, with several aftershocks reported hours afterwards. The 10-metre high surge of water carried ships inland and wiped out houses and other buildings. The deathtoll is rising and more than 200 bodies are reported to have been found in the port of Sendai. A state of emergency was declared at a nuclear power plant but officials said there was no radiation leak. Tsunami hits Japan: how bad is this going to get? In pictures: Japan tsunami Japan quake and tsunami causes stock market drop WISCONSIN VOTES THROUGH ANTI-UNION BILLThe Wisconsin state assembly has voted through a bill to strip public service unions of their right to collective bargaining. The issue has divided Americans in recent weeks – and some states are considering following Wisconsin's lead. Republican governor Scott Walker promised to sign the bill into law as quickly as possible. Union leaders call it "a corruption of democracy". Alexander Cockburn: Wisconsin's just the start LIBYA: UK AND FRANCE PUSH FOR NO FLY ZONEBritain and France urged EU partners at a summit today to consider a no fly zone over Libya - even if this means, in effect, declaring war on Gaddafi. Meanwhile forces loyal to the Libyan leader have made major gains against the rebels. Gaddafi has retaken Zawiya, west of Tripoli, after days of bombardment, and rebels have fled from the oil port of Ras Lanuf in the east. DIPLOMAT SLAMS PRINCE ANDREWStephen Day, a former head of the Foreign Office's Middle East section, has made an impassioned plea for the government to end the Duke of York's "embarrassing" activities as Britain's trade envoy. The letter, reports the Daily Telegraph, said the Duke was the "worst person" to deploy in countries such as Qatar, where his presence was seen as "crass". Royalist press turn the screws on Prince Andrew HISTORIANS VOTE AGAINST AVA change to Britain's voting system would threaten its democracy, a group of 26 prominent historians warns today. In a letter to the Times today, the group, which includes Professor Niall Ferguson, Simon Sebag Montefiore and Dr David Starkey, warns that the Alternative Vote system will destroy the notion of "one man or woman, one vote".   SNOOP OF THE WIRE ARRESTED IN BALTIMOREFelicia Pearson, a young woman plucked off the streets of Baltimore to play the ruthless drug assassin 'Snoop' in the cult TV series The Wire, is one of more than 60 people arrested in the Maryland capital on Thursday. They are all suspected of involvement in a large-scale heroin and cannabis ring. The arrests came after a five-month police investigation. THREE-PARENT BABIES EXPECTEDBabies with three biological parents could be conceived as early as next year, after the Health Secretary invited scientists to advise on a new IVF technique for preventing severe inherited diseases. The treatment involves merging DNA from two fertilised eggs, so that malfunctioning structures called mitochondria are replaced by healthy ones. MANNING WRITES OF MISTREATMENTBradley Manning, the US soldier being held in solitary confinement on suspicion of having released state secrets to WikiLeaks, has issued an 11-page letter via his lawyer, in which he complains that he has been "left to languish under the unduly harsh conditions of max [security] custody" in Quantico marine base in Virginia since July last year. Bradley Manning begs for better prison conditions Matthew Carr: Persecuting Bradley Manning is a futile gesture PENSIONER FRAUDSTER CONVICTEDA multi-millionaire faces up to 20 years in a US jail after admitting he conned thousands of British pensioners out of their life savings. Richard Pope, 53, sold fake shares to more than 2,300 victims. One victim alone lost more than £800,000, in what was estimated to be a £100m scam. SHEEN SUES WARNER BROS OVER SACKINGActor Charlie Sheen has filed a $100m lawsuit against Warner Bros for firing him earlier this week from the hit TV comedy, Two and a Half Men. The lawsuit accuses the show's producer and co-creator Chuck Lorre of sacking Sheen only because Lorre "hated" him. As a back-up argument, Sheen's lawyer also claims his client was fired when he was sick - a violation of Californian and federal law. Charlie Sheen cooks up a storm in kitchen show

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