Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Monday 7 Dec 2015

1. Storm Desmond: schools and hospitals closed

Services including schools and hospitals are closed today in north-west England after Storm Desmond's high winds and torrential rain caused floods and disrupted power supplies. Cumbria, Lancashire and parts of Scotland are the worst-hit areas. The army is still out on the streets helping the emergency services rescue people from floods.

2. Obama resists pressure for ground war in Syria

Barack Obama last night vowed to overcome the threat of terror but refused to listen to voices in the US calling for a ground war on Islamic State in Syria. Obama's rare speech from the Oval Office came in response to the shootings at a care centre in San Bernardino which he called "an act of terrorism designed to kill innocent people".

3. Leytonstone tube station stabbing: man charged

A 29-year-old man is appearing before magistrates in London today, charged with attempted murder of a 56-year-old man in a knife attack at an East London tube station on Saturday evening. Muhaydin Mire was arrested at the scene. Police have increased patrols at transport hubs in the capital to "identify and deter terrorism".

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4. Front National wins first round of French election

Marine Le Pen's far-right Front National (FN) has won the opening round in France's local elections. The NF's 27-30% of the national vote is the party's best-ever performance - and the NF was the only party to make significant gains. If Le Pen can maintain this momentum, she could challenge Francois Hollande for the presidency in 2017.

5. Fifa's Sepp Blatter investigated for $100m bribes

The BBC says Sepp Blatter, the 79-year-old Fifa president, is being investigated by the FBI over bribes paid to Fifa officials in the 1990s, despite having always denied any knowledge of the scandal. Sports marketers ISL paid a total of $100m to officials including Joao Havelange and Ricardo Teixeira. Now a letter implicates Blatter.

6. UK manufacturing suffers as demand slumps

Manufacturing in the UK is suffering as a downturn in the global economy leads to less demand for products, says the manufacturers' association (EEF). The group has worsened its estimate for performance in 2015, expecting a 0.1% slump, and is highlighting decline in the oil industry as pointing to poorer job prospects.

7. Russian ship 'aimed rocket launcher at Turkey'

Turkish TV has broadcast images it says show a Russian serviceman with a rocket launcher on his shoulder on the deck of a Russian ship passing Istanbul, prompting Turkey's foreign minister to accuse Russia of provocation. This is just the latest round of a diplomatic spat after Turkey shot down a Russian warplane last month.

8. Stonehenge 'is second-hand monument from Wales'

A new theory suggests that the huge bluestones which form Stonehenge came 'second-hand' to Wiltshire after first being erected in Wales. It has long been known that the stones were quarried in what is now Pembrokeshire, 140 miles away, but now experts say that happened 500 years before they were put up on Salisbury plain.

9. Star Wars fans relieved by Jar Jar Binks denial

Star Wars fans at a comics convention cheered producer Kathleen Kennedy yesterday when she announced that the character Jar Jar Binks does not feature in latest instalment of the sci-fi franchise, The Force Awakens. The goofy amphibian with an "inexplicable cod-Jamaican accent" is much hated, says The Guardian.

10. Briefing: the smarter way for retirees to save

Research has found that people in their 60s, 70s and 80s are the nation's biggest savers - putting aside far more a year than younger generations. But the majority of savings made by older people are sitting in low interest current accounts - when there may be far more lucrative options available.

Are retirees saving in the right places?

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