Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Friday 4 Mar 2011
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. LABOUR LEAVE LIB DEMS IN SIXTH PLACE AT BY-ELECTIONLabour have retained Barnsley Central at a by-election, pushing the Lib Dems into a humiliating sixth place. Labour's Dan Jarvis took 60 per cent of the vote, with UKIP second, the Tories third, the BNP fourth and an independent candidate in fifth place, still some 200 votes ahead of the Lib Dems' Dominic Carman, who lost his deposit. MINISTERS PLAN TO MOVE MAY DAY BANK HOLIDAY The government has unveiled plans to move the May Day Bank Holiday to either St George's Day on April 23 or Trafalgar Day in October. Tourism minister John Penrose said that either outcome would extend the tourism season in the UK. A consultation has now begun and no change will be made until 2013 at the earliest. LSE HEAD RESIGNS OVER GADDAFI LINKSSir Howard Davies, the director of the London School of Economics, has stepped down after an independent inquiry was ordered into its links to Colonel Gaddafi's brutal Libyan regime. Davies said the School's reputation had been damaged after it accepted a £1.5m donation from Gaddafi's son Saif, to whom it granted a PhD. The Mole: Libya wakes up to Cameron's willy-waving Africa on the move: why Italy fears migrant flood In pictures: Inside Libya, scenes from Tripoli, Brega and Benghazi LILY ALLEN PURSUED BY SIMON COWELL Chanteuse Lily Allen is in talks to replace Simon Cowell as judge on X Factor for the next series. Cowell, whose company makes the talent show, has told the production team to 'break the bank' in an effort to persuade the 25-year-old to join the cast. But Allen is said to be reluctant as she has chosen to step out of the limelight recently. HUHNE WARNS OF 1970S-STYLE OIL PRICE CRISISClimate and energy secretary Chris Huhne warned yesterday that rising oil prices could cost the UK economy £45bn over two years in a 1970s-style shock. Making the case for measures to kick-start a green economy in the UK, Huhne spoke as oil prices hit a 2.5 year high of $102 per barrel and turmoil engulfed the Middle East. Why David Cameron fears the fuel duty time-bomb KNIGHTHOOD FOR KING'S SPEECH STAR?King's Speech star Colin Firth, who has returned to the UK with the Oscar for Best Actor, could receive a knighthood in the Queen's birthday honours in June. It has been rumoured before that Firth may become a 'Sir' – but now the Cabinet Office has confirmed that he has been nominated for an honour, and it could be a knighthood. Oscar winner Colin Firth eyes Bridget Jones 3 BUNGA BUNGA RUBY AND LARRY HAGMAN HAVE A BALLFormer Dallas star Larry Hagman joined Karima el Mahroug, the 18-year-old belly dancer Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi is alleged to have paid for sex, as guests of eccentric Austrian mogul Richard Lugner at last night's state opera ball in Vienna. Mahroug's attendance, for a £35,000 fee, caused outrage in Austrian high society. You shall go to the ball, Ruby the Heart Stealer In pictures: Ruby at the ball MAZDA RECALLS 65,000 CARS OVER SPIDER PROBLEMJapanese car manufacturer Mazda is recalling 65,000 Mazda6 vehicles in North America after dealers reported 20 cases where yellow sac spiders were found to be nesting in the fuel line. The company say this could increase pressure in the fuel tank, in theory leading to cracks and a fire risk – though no crashes have been reported. Why do yellow sac spiders love the Mazda6? TEACHER 'SORRY' FOR IMPERSONATING VARGAS LLOSAAn Italian schoolteacher who has spent ten years pretending to be various well-known writers on the internet has apologised after he set up a bogus Facebook page in the name of Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa. Reactionary comments made by Tommaso Debenedetti led to calls to ban the author from an Argentine book fair. BOB DYLAN TO PLAY IN CHINAProtest singer Bob Dylan has been given permission to play two concerts in China next month to mark his 50th anniversary as a performer. Dylan, who will be 70 in May, will perform at Beijing and Shanghai in early April according to his promoters. Last year the musician, who became an anti-estbalishment icon in the 1960s and 70s, was denied permission to perform in the communist country.