Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Wednesday 15 Sep 2010

Pregnant nun ad

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... PREGNANT NUN ICE CREAM AD BANNED The ice cream company Antonio Federici has been ordered to withdraw an advertisement (above) which features a pregnant nun eating its product and carries the slogan: 'Immaculately conceived'. But the company claims it will defy the Advertising Standards Authority edict and place similarly themed poster ads near Westminster Abbey before Pope Benedict's visit on Friday. Anger, apathy, ridicule: here comes the Pope PUBLIC SECTOR WORKERS GET BETTER PAY Public sector workers receive better pay and pensions than their counterparts in the private sector to the tune of £7,000 a year, according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics. It throws into doubt the confidence of union leaders meeting in Manchester that the general public will support a wave of strikes in protest at government job cuts. Can Cameron's low-profile strategy survive winter of discontent? TEA PARTY TRIUMPH IN DELAWARE A Tea Party candidate who was considered too right-wing to be electable - she is pro-gun, anti-abortion and believes masturbation is a sin - has beaten the Republican establishment favourite to win the right to stand for the Senate in Delaware this November. Christine O'Donnell took 53 per cent of the vote in last night's Republican primary. However, polls suggest she will not beat the Democrats' Chris Coons to the seat. POPE'S ADVISER CALLS UK 'THIRD WORLD'Cardinal Walter Kasper, a senior adviser to the Pope, has pulled out of the papal visit to Britain after describing the UK as a "Third World country" marked by "a new and aggressive atheism". A Vatican spokesman said the 77-year-old's absence was because of an attack of gout and not because of his comments, which were published in the German magazine Focus. Pope's aide calls Britain "Third World" BURKA IS BANNED IN FRANCE Wearing a full-face burka in public in France will soon be a crime, carrying a €150 fine, after the upper house of the French parliament overwhelmingly voted for the ban yesterday by 246 to 1. The vote followed the lower house's similar vote in July. President Sarkozy has described the burka as a "walking coffin". Any man who forces his wife or daughter to wear one will face a €30,000 fine when the rule is incorporated into French law, probably next year. I CAN'T BELIEVE IT, SAYS JAILED MICHAEL George Michael, jailed for eight weeks for driving under the influence of cannabis, is reported to have said from behind bars last night: "I can't believe this has happened to me". The still damaged frontage of the Snappy Snaps store in Hampstead, north London, into which he crashed his car in July, bears the simple graffiti legend: 'Wham'. Why didn't he listen to his own lyrics? Give licenses to cannabis users, says expert UK DEFENCE REVIEW 'TOO HASTY' MPs sitting on the Commons defence committee have complained that the Strategic Defence Review is being conducted at a "startling" pace which risks "serious mistakes". Their complaints follow yesterday's report by The First Post's defence correspondent Robert Fox which quoted one former defence chief saying: "It's not policy-led, it's slash and burn in an almost nonsensical way." Falklands warning PENELOPE CRUZ PREGNANT The Oscar-winning Spanish actress Penelope Cruz, who married her compatriot actor boyfriend Javier Bardem this summer, has announced she is four-and-a-half months pregnant. Cruz is currently filming opposite Johnny Depp in the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean movie. She and Bardem got together while filming Woody Allen's Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Allen and the 'psychotic' rumours about Bruni RAPE REVIEW SHELVED BECAUSE OF CUTS The Home Secretary, looking for budget cuts ahead of next month's spending review, has shelved a nationwide inquiry into why British police make so many blunders when investigating rape cases. According to the Times, campaigners have accused the Home Office of throwing away an opportunity to investigate why Britain has the worst record in Europe for rape convictions. The Times article in full OBAMA PRODUCES A CHILDREN'S BOOK Barack Obama has a new book out - and it's aimed at three-year-olds. Titled Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters, it is a tribute to American pioneers including George Washington, black baseball player Jackie Robinson and artist Georgia O'Keeffe. Snarky press speculation about how the leader of the free world could find the time has been countered by publishers Knopf - he wrote it before he became president.

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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.