Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Tuesday 25 Jan 2011

Colin Firth, George VI, The King's Speech

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. THE KINGS SPEECH LEADS OSCAR NOMINATIONS The King's Speech leads the Oscars race following today's announcement in Hollywood of the 83rd Academy Awards nominations. Among 12 nominations for the story of the stammering George VI and his unorthodox speech therapist, Colin Firth is up for best actor, Geoffrey Rush for best supporting actor, Helena Bonham Carter for best supporting actress and the film is nominated for best picture and best director (Tom Hooper). True Grit, a remake of the John Wayne classic starring Jeff Bridges, is the next most nominated, followed by The Social Network and Inception. In pictures: Oscar nominations 2011 The Academy Award nominations in full ANDY GRAY SACKED IN SKY SPORTS SEXISM ROWAndy Gray, Sky Sports' senior football pundit, has been sacked after what the broadcaster called "new evidence of unacceptable and offensive behaviour" emerged. Gray had already been suspended, along with anchor Richard Keys and touchline reporter Andy Burton, over remarks they made off-air about a female linesman. The Scot was fired on Tuesday when another clip, taken during rehearsals for the Sky Sports Christmas Special, emerged in which he appears to proposition fellow presenter Charlotte Jackson. First Post: Andy Gray row highlights tensions at Sky CAMERON FACES QUESTIONS OVER MURDOCH DINNER David Cameron is under pressure from Labour to explain whether he broke the ministerial code by having dinner over Christmas with James Murdoch, only days after he stripped Business Secretary Vince Cable of his power to decide whether News Corp's bid to take over BSkyB should be referred to the CompeTition Commission. Cameron met Murdoch, who is Europe and Asia chairman of News Corp, at the Oxfordshire home of Rebekah Brooks, chief executive of News International, which runs Rupert Murdoch's British newspapers. MOSCOW AIRPORT BOMB: DEAD BRITON NAMEDAt least one British passenger, Gordon Campbell Cousland, was among the 35 people killed yesterday when a suicide bomber blew himself up in the international arrivals zone at Moscow's Domodedovo airport at 4.32pm local time. Up to 170 people were injured, many critically. Investigators are reported to have found the bomber's head. Islamist radicals in the North Caucasus are considered the most likely culprits - though no one has yet claimed responsibility. First post: 35 dead - and Moscow is back to business in hours In pictures: Moscow airport bomb CARDINAL ATTACKS BERLUSCONI SCANDALCardinal Angelo Bagnasco, head of the Italian bishops conference, said Italians were dismayed by the scandal surrounding their prime minister Silvio Berlusconi and that the matter needed to be resolved rapidly. Meanwhile, Milan prosecutors confirmed on Monday they are pursuing a fast-track tril for the PM on charges relating to underage prostitution. First Post: Italians deserve sober leadership, says Cardinal   GOOGLE TO TAKE ON 1,000 NEW STAFFGoogle's departing chief executive, Eric Schmidt, has announced plans to hire more than 1,000 staff in Europe over the coming year after the search giant unveiled fourth-quarter profits of $2.54bn. The aggressive expansion will boost Google's workforce across Europe, the Middle East and Africa by a fifth, and the new recruits will be split between sales and technology. Schmidt hands control of the company to co-founder Larry Page in April. DOUBLE-DIP fears as UK ECONOMY SHRINKSThe UK economy shrank by 0.5 per cent between October and December, with last month's wintry weather hitting GDP hard, according to the Office for National Statistics. Analysts had expected weak growth of about 0.3 per cent, but the shock figure will put the coalition government's austerity measures in the spotlight. If the current quarter also produces negative growth, the UK economy will be back in recession - officially confirming economists' worst fears of a double-dip. First Post: GDP figures are a nasty shock for Osborne ARIZONA KILLINGS: LOUGHNER PLEADS NOT GUILTY Jared Lee Loughner, the man accused of the Tucson, Arizona shooting that left six people dead and congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords with a bullet in the brain, pleaded not guilty yesterday to attempting to assassinate Giffords and attempting to murder two of her aides. Loughner, 22, shackled and dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit, smiled broadly throughout the court hearing. YOUNG DRINKERS HIT BY LIVER DISEASENHS figures show a 50 per cent rise over a decade in the number of drinkers being hospitalised with serious liver problems. Latest statistics show 351 people under 30 being admitted in 2009/10, up from 230 in 2000/01. But one specialist, Dr Jonathan Mitchell, told the BBC said the problem was much worse - and the figures were a gross underestimate. 80 HANDGUNS SMUGGLED INTO UK ON FLIGHTS FROM US Authorities in London and Washington have held crisis talks in an effort to establish how a man managed to buy more than 80 handguns in the US and smuggle them into Britain where they have been been offered to sale to criminal contacts at up to £5,000 a piece.  The guns, which include 20 Glock 9mm semi-automatic pistols, were purchased for about $500 each in a North Carolina gunshop. Full report at the Times

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