Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Friday 25 Feb 2011

Nick Clegg

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. WHO'S IN CHARGE OF BRITAIN? CONFUSION REIGNS Deputy PM Nick Clegg returned early from a skiing trip to Switzerland after "forgetting" that he was supposed to be at the helm while Prime Minister David Cameron was touring the Middle East. Asked if he was taking charge in his boss's absence, Clegg responded: "Yeah, I suppose I am. I forgot about that." Cameron, speaking in Oman, tried to rectify the situation by stating: "Just because I leave the country doesn't mean I am not in charge." PRO-GADDAFI TROOPS FIRE ON TRIPOLI PROTESToRS Anti-government protestors in the Libyan capital Tripoli have come under heavy fire from troops loyal to Muammar Gaddafi and several are reported to have been killed. Earlier anti-Gaddafi forces were said to have taken the Mitiga airbase near the capital. Fighting is now thought to have claimed as many as 2,000 lives. Also on Friday the Libyan delegations at the UN in Geneva and Arab League in Cairo renounced Gaddafi, but his son Saif appeared on TV to declare that his family would "live and die in Libya". Gene Sharp: Libyans 'must not meet violence with violence' NAVY CUTS 'PUT LIVES AT RISK'A private letter to the Prime Minister signed by former armed forces chiefs warns that the scrapping of the aircraft carrier Ark Royal and the Navy's fleet of Harrier jets will have "profound consequences" that "strike at the heart" of the UK's defence structure. The letter, leaked to the Daily Telegraph, says Britain can no longer mount an amphibious operation without putting troops' lives at risk and urges a rethink of October's defence review. 'TWO AND A HALF MEN' CANNED AFTER SHEEN MELTDOWNProduction of the hit US sitcom Two and a Half Men has been cancelled forthwith by CBS and Warner Bros after actor Charlie Sheen phoned into a US radio programme to rant about the show's creator Chuck Lorrre and Alcoholics Anonymous, among other targets. "I'm dealing with fools and trolls," Sheen said. "They lay down with their ugly wives and their ugly children and just look at their loser lives, and then they look at me and say, 'I can't process it'." US sitcom canned after Charlie Sheen meltdown FOX NEWS - FROM THE TOP OF THE SHARDAn urban fox has been discovered living on the 72nd floor of the Shard, Britain's tallest skyscraper, currently under construction at London Bridge. The fox is thought to have reached the roof by climbing the central stairs and to have survived on scraps of food left by builders working on the 288-metre tower. GDP FIGURE FOR END OF 2010 WORSE THAN PREDICTED The UK economy contracted by 0.6 per cent in the final quarter of 2010, 0.1 per cent more than was predicted in the initial estimate, according to fresh data from the Office for National Statistics. The chief economist of the ONS, Joe Grice, told the BBC that in his estimatation the 'snow effect' accounted for 0.5 per cent. "On the basis of that, the economy is still flattish at minus 0.1 per cent." MORE FAMILIES EAT DINNER APARTResearch carried out on behalf of Bisto, the powdered gravy makers, shows that 57 per cent of British families no longer eat their evening meal together, but instead eat in as many as four different rooms in the house, contributing to a rise in "four-room dining". In the survey of 2,000 British families, nearly a third of respondents admitted to eating dinner in front of a computer screen. BUSINESSES URGED TO PROMOTE MORE WOMENFTSE-100 companies have been called upon to fill one in four board positions with women by 2015, or face the introduction of compulsory quotas. That's double the number of women at the top now. Lord Davies's report on gender equality also recommends that chief executives of Britain's 350 largest companies should announce "inspirational targets" for more female board members by September. 'Radical change' needed to promote gender equality in boardroom RUGBY: ENGLAND BUOYED UP BEFORE FRENCH GAME News that the French full-back Maxime Medard has withdrawn from Saturday's match against England because of a thigh injury has increased England's hopes of victory at Twickenham. The game has been billed as the Six Nations decider, with the French coach Marc Lievremont trying to unnerve the home team by saying earlier this week: "We don't really like the English" - and claiming everyone else in the contest feels the same. Everyone hates England, says French rugby coach DIOR SUSPENDS JOHN GALLIANO AFTER ARRESTJohn Galliano, the head designer at Christian Dior, has been suspended by the fashion house after he was arrested in Paris following an altercation in a Paris bar in which he allegedly made anti-semitic remarks. The fashion house said it had a "zero tolerance" approach to racism and had suspended the British designer until police inquiries were complete. Galliano arrested over 'anti-semitic' assault

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