Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Thursday 19 Sep 2013

1. PUTIN IS A CORRUPT AUTOCRAT SAYS MCCAIN

Sen John McCain, a leading proponent of military intervention in Syria, has called Russia’s President Putin a corrupt autocrat who rigs elections, controls the media and cozies up to tyrants like Assad. McCain made the comments in Pravda, in response to Putin’s recent article in the New York Times arguing against US military action.

Vladimir Putin: an increasingly attractive political leader

2. IRAN'S ROUHANI SAYS NO TO NUCLEAR ARMS

Iran's new president has said his country will never build nuclear weapons. In an interview with NBC, Hassan Rouhani also described a recent letter sent to him by President Barack Obama as "positive and constructive" and claimed he had full authority to negotiate over Tehran's controversial uranium enrichment programme.

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Rouhani rules out nuclear bomb: a new era for Iran?

3. SURPRISE FALL IN UK RETAIL SALES

UK retail sales volumes, seen as a sign of consumer confidence, fell 0.9% in August according to the Office for National Statistics, surprising City analysts predicting a 0.4% rise. Economist David Tinsley of BNP Paribas said: "It is probably a sign that upbeat expectations were getting a little out of whack with what the economy is capable of delivering.”

Retail sales fall 0.9%: blame the weather, say experts

4. BEDROOM TAX LEAVES 50,000 IN ARREARS

A third of council tenants affected by the so-called 'bedroom tax' have fallen behind on rent since the policy took effect on 1 April, new figures suggest. Freedom of Information requests to all of Britain's councils found 50,000 tenants are in arrears and face eviction as a result of the new under-occupancy charge.

5. 'POLICE LIED' ABOUT MARIKANA SHOOTINGS

A South African commission of inquiry said today that police had lied about events surrounding the shooting dead of 34 striking miners at the Marikana platimum mine last year. In a damning statement, which has forced the adjournment of the inquiry, the commission said that the police version of events was "in material respects not the truth".

6. UEFA MEMBERS BACK WINTER WORLD CUP

The 2012 Qatar World Cup looks certain to be played in the winter – with huge ramifications for the Premier League and the other top European football leagues – after Uefa’s 54 member associations agreed today that the tournament cannot be played in the summer. Temperatures can reach 50C in Qatar in the summer months.

Uefa backs winter World Cup as Blatter admits foul play

7. COP ‘OGLED’ CORPSE OF WHITNEY HOUSTON

A police officer has been accused of “mistreating” the corpse of Whitney Houston. A colleague claims he removed a sheet covering her body at the Beverley Hills Hotel where she died last year and made lewd comments about how “attractive” she looked. A police spokesman said the force was unaware of any “inappropriate” comments.

Whitney Houston: policeman accused of ogling naked corpse

8. ELITE NHS MANAGERS TO RESCUE HOSPITALS

Managers from top-performing NHS hospitals are to be sent into failing ones in England in an effort to improve them. Eleven trusts were put in 'special measures' in July following a review into high death rates. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt believes teams from leading hospitals can help get failing ones "back to recovery".

9. DEWANI: PANORAMA CASTS DOUBT ON CASE

BBC Panorama will tonight raise concerns about the prosecution case against Shrien Dewani, accused of paying men to shoot his wife Anni Dewani on their honeymoon in South Africa in 2010. The documentary points out contradictions in witness statements and has accessed CCTV footage allegedly showing a hotel clerk arranging her murder.

Shrien Dewani: will inquest resolve unanswered questions?

10. HOT TICKET: SMITH & WALLIAMS A DREAM

Michael Grandage's new production of A Midsummer Night's Dream has opened at the Noel Coward Theatre, London. Sheridan Smith and David Walliams star in Shakespeare's popular comedy about a night of magical mayhem and romantic hijinks in an enchanted forest. "A constant delight," says The Guardian. Until 16 November.

David Walliams a funny ass in Midsummer Night's Dream

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