Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Monday 25 Jan 2010

Mark Wahlburg, George Clooney, Jack Nicholson, Haiti telethon

Slept through the Today programme? Never read the Sunday papers? Missed Andrew Marr? Forgot to pledge George Clooney your spare cash? The First Post's Monday morning service, posted at 8.0 am, is designed to help... 90 FEARED DEAD AS PLANE CRASHES OFF BEIRUTAn Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 carrying 82 passengers and eight crew crashed into the Mediterranean shortly after take-off from Beirut airport early this morning. Flight ET409 to Addis Ababa disappeared from radar screens within five minutes of taking off from the Lebanese capital in stormy weather at 2 am local time. Rescuers had found no survivors by day break. Picture of the Day... CLOONEY TELETHON RAISES £35M FOR HAITIJulia Roberts, Steven Spielberg and Robert De Niro were among the Hollywood names who manned the phones during George Clooney's Friday night/Saturday morning telethon to raise £35m for Haiti's earthquake victims. There were performances by Bruce Springsteen, Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake, Madonna and Christina Aguilera. Chris Martin of Coldplay accompanied Beyonce on piano for a version of Halo and the Haitian-born Wyclef Jean closed with Rivers of Babylon. Pictures... OSAMA BIN LADEN CLAIMS DETROIT PLOTOsama bin Laden yesterday claimed responsibility for the failed Christmas Day plot to explode a plane above Detroit and pledged further attacks on America. The message came in a short audiotape - 'From Osama to Obama' - amid new fears of an al-Qaeda attack on the west. In Britain, the alert level was raised to "severe" on Saturday, meaning an attack is "highly likely". More... ARSENAL OUT OF THE FA CUPArsenal were dumped out of the FA Cup by Stoke City yesterday, losing 3-1 in a surprising defeat. The star of the weekend was Wayne Rooney who scored all four goals in Manchester United's drubbing of Hull in a Premier League game on Saturday, taking Man Utd to the top of the table. More... GENERAL ELECTION: IT LOOKS LIKE MAY 6Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth apparently let slip the date of the General Election when he said in a Sky TV interview that the British public will "rue the day if they wind up with a Conservative government... after the 6 May". Meanwhile, a new opinion poll by ICM gives the Conservatives a projected 38-seat majority in the House of Commons. The majority of respondents felt David Cameron was more likely than Gordon Brown to modernise the NHS, improve schools and cut crime. ACTRESS JEAN SIMMONS DIES AT 80The British actress Jean Simmons, who became a huge Hollywood star after playing Ophelia to Laurence Olivier's Prince of Denmark in the 1948 film of Hamlet, has died from lung cancer at 80. She starred opposite Kirk Douglas in Spartacus, Marlon Brando in Guys and Dolls, Gregory Peck in The Big Country and married Stewart Granger. ROMAN POLANSKI REFUSED 'IN ABSENTIA' REQUESTA Los Angeles Superior Court judge has denied film director Roman Polanski's request to be sentenced "in absentia" on a 33-year-old charge of unlawful sex with an underage girl. Polanski, still under house arrest in Switzerland, will appeal the decision. In the meantime, he has managed to complete editing his latest film, The Ghost Writer, which will have its premiere at next month's Berlin film festival. TIGER WOODS: 'BRITISH MISTRESS REVEALED' The News of the World has claimed that Tiger Woods's most recent mistress was a 42-year-old British woman, Emma Rotherham, and that he paid her $500,000 in cash to secure her silence. The paper stated that she lives close to Tiger and Elin Woods' home in Florida and was "always on call". More... ASHA MUNEER'S EX-BOYFRIEND CHARGED The former boyfriend of the 18-year-old Reading girl found stabbed to death on a path beside the River Kennet has been charged with her murder. Gulamyr Akhter, 19, was remanded in custody at a hearing on Saturday in Slough. The victim, Asha Muneer, 18, who was studying for her A-levels, was found last Monday with 25 stab wounds. 'BRANGELINA' SPLIT DENIEDActors Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are not on the point of breaking up, according to two normally well-informed gossip websites, People.com and TMZ.com. They were responding to a report in yesterday's News of the World which claimed that, though the couple never married, they had called in divorce lawyers to discuss a division of assets and shared custody of their children, three of whom are adopted. More...

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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.