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Ten things you need to know today

Original Source: FIRST POST: FRIDAY 18 FEBRUARY 2011
By Eliot Sefton

Friday: The First Post's super-quick catch-up on the main news talking points

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.

OBAMAS TO MAKE STATE VISIT IN MAYBarack and Michelle Obama have accepted an invitation from the Queen to make a state visit to Britain on May 24-26, the first by a US president since George Bush came in 2003. The Obamas will stay at Buckingham Palace, and receive a ceremonial welcome and a state banquet. They will travel on to Deauville for this year's G8 summmit.

MORE VIOLENCE FEARED AFTER FRIDAY PRAYERS Arab nations are braced for further violence after Friday prayers today, especially in Libya, Bahrain and Yemen. As manay as 15 people are reported dead in Libya following the violent putdown of anti-Gaddafi protesters there yesterday. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has expressed "deep concern" at the apparently brutal police tactics in Bahrain, home to the US Fifth Fleet.

In pictures: Pearl Square crackdown

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COALITION ATTACKS 'CRAZY' LOCAL COUNCIL NON-JOBS As local councils threaten to cut frontline service because of cuts in funding from central government, the coalition has turned on the growing number of wasteful 'non-jobs' created by councils since 1997. "Crazy non-jobs like cheerleading development officers and press officers tasked with spinning propaganda on bin collections provide no value to the public," said Bob Neill, the local government minister.

Big Society video comes back to haunt Sam Cam

BREWER RECALLS BEER BOTTLES IN GLASS SCARE The UK brewer Wells and Young's has recalled up to 750,000 bottles of beer, including such brands as Wells Bombardier and Courage Directors, after glass was found in a small number of bottles during an internal quality check. Supermarkets, off-licences and some pubs are affected. The BBC has a full list of the affected brands.

MADDIE IS IN AMERICA, CLAIMS PRIVATE EYE Marcelino Italiano, a private investigator, has told Spanish and Portuguese police the identities of two people who he is certain were responsible for abducting Madeleine McCann on the Algarve in 2007, according to the Sun. Italiano says: "I know these people were involved and I have been told that Madeleine may now be in America." Kate and Gerry McCann are said to be "grateful" for the information.

THREE EX-MINISTERS ARRESTED IN CAIROThree former Egyptian government ministers and the steel tycoon Ahmed Ezz, a close friend of ex-President Mubarak, have been arrested for alleged corruption in what is seen as an attempt by the military-led interim government to calm continuing unrest. The ministers include Habib el-Adly, who as interior minister was in charge of police and is blamed for over-the-top use of force against protesters.

INSURERS LAUNCH PRIVATE FLEET TO FIGHT PIRATES Leading figures at Lloyd's are finalising plans to launch a private fleet of armed patrol boats to fight Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden, according to the Times. The Convoy Escort Programme (CEP) was conceived by the insurance bosses in a bid to cut the rocketing cost of insuring vessels, cargo and crews against pirate attacks. The Royal Navy is said to be 'monitoring' the project.

ROD STEWART A FATHER FOR EIGHTH TIMERock star Rod Stewart has become a father for the eight time after his third wife, model Penny Lancaster, gave birth to a boy, Aiden. Stewart, 65, also has children by each of his first two wives, Rachel Hunter and Alana Hamilton, and from a relationship with model Kelly Emberg. His first child, Sarah, was given up for adoption when the singer was a teenager in London in the early Sixties.

BRITAIN 16th in world drinking leagueThe average Briton drinks the equivalent of almost 500 pints of beer, or 13-and-a-half litres of pure alcohol, a year according to figures published by the World Health Organisation. The UK comes 16th in the WHO's league table of alcohol consumption. Moldova is top. The report claims one in 15 men in Britain is an alcoholic.


SOLAR ERUPTIONS HEAD FOR EARTHThe Northern Lights may be visible in mainland Britain tonight thanks to a series of huge eruptions on the face of the sun. The coronal mass ejections have sent a cloud of magnetic particles and radiation towards earth. When the 'solar tsunami' hits it could affect satellites, power grids and communications networks.

Aurora could be visible in UK after huge solar flares


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