Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Friday 17 Sep 2010

Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy

Our popular news catch-up service is posted Monday to Friday at 8.0 am, and on weekends at 11.0 am. You can rely on it to keep you up to date with the main news talking points... SARKOZY-MERKEL DISPUTE OVER ROMA Nicolas Sarkozy has managed to get into a row with his closest European ally, Angela Merkel. Furious at criticism from an EU Commissioner that his administration's expulsion of Roma - gypsies - is reminiscent of the treatment of Jews under wartime Vichy France, Sarkozy claimed in Brussels that the Chancellor had told him the Germans were about to follow the French lead and dismantle Roma camps. A spokesman for Merkel said there was no such plan and she had never told Sarkozy anything of the kind. Bruni used police reports to prove Dati behind plot five arrested over ASSASSINATION threat to POPe Five male street cleaners, believed to be Algerian Muslims, have been arrested in London over a suspected terrorist threat to the Pope. Police said no hazardous materials have yet been found, although searches are continuing at three premises in central, north and east London. Pope Benedict XVI is in London today, where he will attend a service at Westminster Abbey and give a speech to parliamentarians. The Pope's UK visit in pictures Pope's aide calls Britain 'Third World' Public figures hit out at Pope visit CHERYL GOES TO HOLLYWOOD Cheryl Cole is to quit ITV's The X Factor to become a judge on the American version when it is launched by Simon Cowell next year, according to the Daily Mail. A source close to Cowell told the paper: "It's something that Simon and Cheryl have been discussing for months... Cheryl loves Los Angeles and this is extremely exciting. It is all part of a fresh new start for her." Among others rumoured for the US judging panel are Nicole Scherzinger of the Pussycat Dolls and Katy Perry. Will Americans get the Cheryl Cole factor? FLINTOFF HEADS FOR REALITY TV Andrew 'Freddie' Flintoff is expected to try to forge a career in television after announcing yesterday that he was retiring at the age of 32 from cricket because of persistent injuries. He is thought likely to exploit his popularity by looking for opportunities in reality TV and sports quizzes rather than cricket commentary. Freddie Flintoff hangs up his boots MI5 CHIEF WARNS OF TERROR THREAT FROM SOMALIA The head of MI5 says it is "only a matter of time" before Britain suffers a terrorist atrocity led by British citizens who have trained with the Islamist militant group al Shabaab in Somalia. Jonathan Evans said in a speech in the City that Somalia now showed many of the characteristics that once made Afghanistan "so dangerous as a seedbed for terrorism". Because of the threat from al Shabaab and other al Qaeda-linked groups, the 2012 London Olympics now posed a major security challenge. An intelligence analyst reads between the lines PAKISTANI POLITICIAN KILLED IN LONDON Scotland Yard detectives are hunting for the murderer of a fugitive Pakistani politician who was stabbed to death outside his north London home on Thursday. Imran Farooq, 50, was a founder member of MQM (Muttahida Qaumi Movement), the Karachi-based party. He sought asylum in Britain in 1999 after going on the run from what he claimed were politically motivated murder charges. MICHELLE OBAMA DENIES 'LIFE IS HELL' REMARK Both the White House and the Elysee Palace denied yeterday that Michelle Obama had ever told Carla Bruni that life as First Lady was "hell". The allegation came up in a new book about Bruni called Carla and the Ambitious. Bruni was reported to have once asked her counterpart what life was like, and received the reply: "Don't ask. It's hell. I can't stand it." LANDMARK CASE AGAINST EXCESSIVE STORE WRAPPING Sainsbury's is the target of a prosecution for excessive wrapping which, if successful, could open the door to a slew of similar charges against British supermarkets. Lincolnshire Trading Standards launched the case after a consumer complained about Sainsbury's Taste the Difference Slow Matured Ultimate Beef which is shrink-wrapped, placed inside a plastic tray, topped with a transparent plastic lid and given a cardboard sleeve. JOHN LENNON'S KILLER' WANTED TO BE SOMEBODY' Mark David Chapman, jailed for life after shooting dead John Lennon in December 1980, told a New York parole board that he killed the former Beatle because he wanted to "be somebody". He said Lennon was top of a list of potential targets which included actress Elizabeth Taylor and chat show host Johnny Carson. He now realised he had "made a horrible decision to end another human being's life for reasons of selfishness". Chapman was denied parole - for the sixth time. Joaquin phoenix documentary was faked A documentary supposedly charting actor Joaquin Phoenix's withdrawal from acting and mental breakdown was faked, its director, Casey Affleck has admitted. Phoenix's performance in I'm Still Here, which includes a bizarre appearance on the David Letterman show and an attempted change of career to become a rapper, was "terrific", Affleck told the New York Times: "the performance of his career". Affleck admits Phoenix film was a hoax facebook places launches in the uk Facebook has launched Places, an application that allows iPhone users to let their friends know their exact location, in the UK. Facebook users will need to opt in to the service, which sparked fears over privacy when it was rolled out in the US last month. A version of Places for Android, the operating system used by phones made by the Apple iPhone's big rival, HTC, is in the pipeline, but Facebook would not give a launch date.

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Jack Bremer is a London-based reporter, attached to The Week.co.uk. He has reported regularly from the United States and France.