Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Thursday 27 Feb 2014

1. ARMED MEN ‘SEIZE CRIMEA PARLIAMENT’

Russian news agency Interfax says armed men have seized the regional government building and parliament in Crimea, an autonomous province of Ukraine. A witness heard gunfire in the night. The men are said to have hoisted a Russian flag over both buildings and put up signs saying ‘Crimea is Russian’.

Ukraine rekindles Nato aspirations, angering Russia

2. SCOTS INDEPENDENCE: STANDARD WILL QUIT

Pensions and savings firm Standard Life, based in Edinburgh for 189 years, has used its annual report say it will quit Scotland in the event of independence - unless uncertainties about currency and regulation are resolved. The firm has already started establishing English operations, chief executive David Nish says.

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Scottish independence: Is IndyRef2 'dead' after election losses?

3. CAMERON CALLS NI LETTERS REVIEW

David Cameron has appointed an independent judge to review the secret letters sent to on-the-run IRA suspects promising them immunity from prosecution during the peace process. The move comes after the collapse of the trial of suspected Hyde Park bomber John Downey and claims of a "secret deal" with Sinn Fein in the 1990s.

Bloody Sunday troops ‘should be given immunity’

4. RBS POSTS SIXTH ANNUAL LOSS - £8.2BN

Royal Bank of Scotland has posted its sixth annual loss since being bailed out and part-nationalised by the government. The bank’s pre-tax loss for 2013 was £8.2bn. If the bank’s debts - bad bank and legacy costs - are ignored, it made a profit of £2.5bn. The bank is due to pay £237m in bonuses to senior staff.

RBS pays £576m in bonuses despite suffering £8.2bn loss

5. KATY PERRY ACCUSED OF BLASPHEMY

Katy Perry has been accused of blasphemy, in a petition started by a UK Muslim and signed by 60,000 people around the world, in the video for her song Dark Horse. The video shows Perry as a Cleopatra-like queen who turns suitors into sand. One of the suitors is wearing a pendant with ‘Allah’ written on it in Arabic.

6. INCREASE IN MIGRATION TO THE UK

Net migration the the UK rose to more than 200,000 in the year to September, more than double the Conservative Party target of 100,000 or less. The Office for National Statistics said net flow - the number of people moving to the UK minus the numbers leaving - rose to 212,000. The increase has been driven by EU citizens coming to Britain.

7. MERKEL WARNS BRITAIN OVER EU REFORM

German chancellor Angela Merkel has warned Parliament that the EU will not undergo "fundamental reform" to keep Britain in Europe. In a speech at Westminster Merkel insisted she wanted Britain to remain a "strong voice" in Europe but ruled out major changes. However, she added that Germany saw Britain as a vital ally in reforming the EU.

8. NASA FINDS ‘MOTHER LODE’ OF EXOPLANETS

Nasa’s Kepler telescope has doubled the number of exoplanets - planets in other solar systems than our own - known to humanity, finding more than 700 in one day. All are similar in size to earth and four are in the ‘goldilocks zone’ - the right distance from their Suns to support liquid water, and possibly therefore life.

Nasa Kepler telescope discovers 715 new planets

9. SIGNED COPY OF MEIN KAMPF FOR SALE

An online auction house in LA has put up for sale a signed copy of Adolf Hitler’s two-volume memoir/political manifesto Mein Kampf. Hitler inscribed the books to Josef Bauer, an SS officer, as a Christmas gift. Bidding starts at $20,000 and auction owner Nate D Sanders (who is Jewish) expects them to make $25,000.

10. HOT TICKET: GERMAN RENAISSANCE ART

The National Gallery's new exhibition, Strange Beauty: Masters of the German Renaissance has opened in London. It features paintings, drawings and prints by the best-known German artists of the 15th and 16th centuries including Hans Holbein, Albrecht Durer and Lucas Cranach. "Riveting," says The Observer. Until 11 May.

Strange Beauty – reviews of German Renaissance art show

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