Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Monday 16 Sep 2013

1. UN CONFIRMS SARIN GAS ATTACK IN SYRIA

UN weapons inspectors have found "convincing evidence" that sarin gas was used in rocket attacks on the Syrian captial Damascus, but have not apportioned blame in their report, handed to Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon today. Meanwhile, French president Francois Hollande welcomed a US-Russian deal on Syria, but said the threat of military action must remain.

France, Britain and US to seek 'robust' UN Syria resolution

2. BENEFIT CHEATS TO GET 10 YEARS IN PRISON

The director of public prosecutions has issued new sentencing guidelines under which people convicted of benefit fraud could now spend up to ten years in jail. Keir Starmer QC said the annual £1.9bn cost to the nation of benefit fraud meant it was time for a “tough stance” on the crime, prosecuting it under fraud laws.

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Benefit fraud: tough new sentencing guidelines

3. COSTA CONCORDIA FREED FROM ROCKS

Engineers working on the project to salvage the Costa Concordia, which sank off the Tuscany coast in January 2012 killing 32 people, say they have freed the cruise ship from the rocks. It has been moved onto a platform constructed on the sea bed. The next step is to rotate the ship to its upright position. There is no sign yet of the two bodies still missing.

4. POLICE LETTER FOR LIBELLED JEFFRIES

Christopher Jeffries, the retired teacher who was arrested by police over the December 2010 murder of landscape architect Jo Yeates in Bristol but released without charge, has received a letter from Avon and Somerset Police admitting they should have issued a statement once he was no longer a suspect.

Christopher Jefferies: police offer 'unusual' vindication

5. LIB DEMS SEEK WEALTH TAX FOR £50K EARNERS

The Lib Dems are proposing to impose a wealth tax on anyone earning £50,000 a year or more, according to a leaked 'lines to take' document. It was intended for party spokesmen but was accidentally sent out by the party's press office to reporters covering the Glasgow conference. £50k is twice the UK's median earnings figure.

Lib Dem wealth tax leak: new levy on £50k earners proposed

6. HONEYMOON MURDER: FAMILY FURY AT BBC

The family of Anni Dewani, murdered on her South African honeymoon, has complained to the BBC about an upcoming Panorama documentary which suggests her death was an accident and her husband, Shrien, currently fighting extradition, is innocent. Ashok Hindocha, Anni's uncle, says: “We cannot see why the BBC has declared itself as judge and jury.”

Shrien Dewani: will inquest resolve unanswered questions?

7. OBAMA ‘WILL MEET IRANIAN PRESIDENT'

Barack Obama may next week become the first US president to meet an Iranian leader since Jimmy Carter in 1979, with a staged encounter in a UN corridor. Speaking on ABC, Obama confirmed he had exchanged letters with politically moderate Hassan Rouhani, seen by some observers as a prelude to a meeting.

Iran: in from the cold? Rouhani 'will meet Obama'

8. BILLY CONNOLLY HAS CANCER SURGERY

Comedian Billy Connolly has undergone surgery for prostate cancer and is being treated for the “initial symptoms” of Parkinson's disease, according to his spokeswoman. She described the cancer operation as a “total success” and said the 70-year-old will continue to work in television and on stage.

Billy Connolly diagnosed with Parkinson's and prostate cancer

9. POLICE HUNT GUNMAN AFTER DC SHOOTING

Police in Washington DC are responding to reports of a gunman inside a military building at the Washington Navy Yard, a US Navy base. There are reports of multiple victims and staff have been ordered to take immediate shelter, according to the US Navy. One Fox News reporter described the scene as "frantic".

10. HOT TICKET: WITTY KELLY AT ROYAL COURT

Dennis Kelly’s ‘The Ritual Slaughter of Gorge Mastromas’ has opened at the Royal Court, London. The new play from Kelly, writer of the Matilda musical book, is a morality fable about the evils of rampant greed. Stars Tom Brooke. “Darkly witty,” says The Independent. Until 19 October.

Dennis Kelly's Ritual Slaughter of Gorge Mastromas 'chilling'

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