Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Monday 22 Feb 2010

Madeira mudslide

Slept through the Today programme? Never read the Sunday papers? Missed Lord Mandelson trying to persuade Andrew Marr that the PM never bullied anyone? The First Post's Monday morning service, posted at 8.0 am, is designed to help... 42 DEAD IN MADEIRA MUDSLIDESRescue teams are continuing to search for victims of the floods which caused havoc on the Portuguese island of Madeira on Saturday. At least 42 people are known to have died in the mud and rock slides that ensued in the regional capital, Funchal. An emergency cabinet meeting today is set to call for three days of national mourning. In pictures... 'BROWN BULLY' SCANDAL SNOWBALLSAllegations that Gordon Brown has bullied staff at Number Ten, contained in a new book by the Observer's chief political commentator Andrew Rawnsley, were denied by the Prime Minister in an interview with the Independent on Sunday. "It is simply a lie to say that I have ever hit anybody in my life," he said. But the CEO of the National Bullying Helpline has claimed that "three or four" people inside Downing Street have contacted them in recent years with complaints. Number Ten has demanded to see the evidence. More... LUFTHANSA PILOTS STRIKELufthansa has cancelled about 3,000 flights and warned of delays following the start last night of a four-day strike by pilots over job security. At British Airways, the result of a strike ballot among 12,000 cabin crew is expected today. If they vote to walk out, other staff, including pilots, have said they will help management break the strike by working as stewards and air hostesses. 'THE HURT LOCKER' WINS BEST FILMThe Hurt Locker was awarded best film at the Baftas on Sunday night, with director Kathryn Bigelow also picking up the best director award - the first woman to do so in the history of the British Academy awards. She now hopes to repeat her coup at the Oscars on March 7. Colin Firth and Carey Mulligan won the best actor and best actress awards. More... ANOTHER EUROSTAR TRAIN IS DELAYEDMore than 700 passengers on the late-night Eurostar from Paris to London last night were stranded by what appeared to be a power failure on the train. Having set off from the Gare du Nord at 2043 GMT they were due in London at 2159 and eventually reached the capital at 0235. It is the latest in a series of incidents affecting Eurostar trains. A spokesman said: "We are investigating what happened fully. We ensured a rescue train was there incredibly quickly." YOUGOV POLL SHOWS GAP CLOSINGA YouGov poll in the Sunday Times has shown the Tory lead over Labour shrinking to just six points. If there were an election tomorrow, this would translate as 290 Commons seats for the Tories and 280 for Labour, with the LibDems, on course to win 50 seats, in a position to decide which party should form the next government. More... ALEXANDER HAIG DIES AT 85Alexander Haig, the former US Secretary of State famous for preparing President Nixon's defence against impeachment over Watergate, for his tough Cold War stance against Communism, and for his role in the Falklands War, died on Saturday at the age of 85. In 1988 he tried and failed to win the Republican nomination for the presidency. POLANSKI WINS SILVER BEARRoman Polanski won the Silver Bear for best director at the Berlin film festival on Saturday - but was unable to collect the award because he is still under house arrest in Gstaad, Switzerland. The honour was given for his film The Ghost Writer, based on a story by Robert Harris. Polanski said via his producer that he was sorry not to be there but added that "even if I could, I wouldn't [have come] because the last time I went to a festival to get a prize, I ended up in jail." The Turkish film, Bal (Honey), was the surprise winner of the Golden Bear for best picture. Cheryl 'drops ashley by text'Singer Cheryl Cole is reported to have told her footballer husband Ashley Cole that she wants a divorce, sending him a text message from Los Angeles reading: "Move out. It's over." This follows revelations that the Chelsea and England player has had affairs with five other women - despite his 26-year-old wife being voted the woman most men want to sleep with by readers of Esquire magazine. More... EASTENDERS WHODUNNIT More than 16.5 millions viewers tuned into EastEnders on Friday night, broadcast live to mark the show's 25th anniversary. Stacey Branner - played by Lacey Turner - was revealed to be the killer of Archie Mitchell. Bookmakers were said to have taken more than £500,000 in bets. Most viewers guessed wrong, assuming the killer would be Sean Branning or Ben Mitchell.

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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.