Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Friday 12 Feb 2016

1. Syria: Assad vows to retake 'the whole country'

President Bashar al-Assad says he intends to retake "the whole country" from rebels, raising doubts about an agreed ceasefire in Syria. His comments came after US Secretary of State John Kerry announced plans for a "nationwide cessation" of fighting to pave the way for peace talks. Terror groups were not included and Russia said it would continue its bombing campaign.

US and Russia spar over vetoed Syria sanctions

2. Clinton and Sanders clash on immigration in TV debate

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, the two leading candidates for the Democratic nomination for the US presidential election, traded barbs about each other's record on immigration and race in a TV debate yesterday. Both are "eyeing Latino and African American voters" ahead of the next primaries, The Guardian says.

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3. Rolf Harris to face more charges of indecent assault

Disgraced entertainer Rolf Harris is to face seven more counts of indecent assault and will appear in court next month. The 85-year-old former TV favourite was jailed in 2014 for 12 counts of indecent assault against four girls. He has now been charged with seven further offences against seven young girls and women aged between 12 and 27 between 1971 and 2004.

Rolf Harris charged with seven counts of indecent assault

4. EastEnders actor's partner charged over her murder

The partner of Sian Blake, the former EastEnders actor whose body was found buried in her own back garden alongside her two young sons, has been charged with their murders. Arthur Simpson-Kent was held at Heathrow Airport after arriving on a flight from Ghana, where he had travelled after reporting Blake missing.

5. Footballer Adam Johnson 'abused' his fame

England footballer Adam Johnson has gone on trial accused of sexual contact with a child. Bradford Crown Court was told the 28-year-old "abused" his position in society to take advantage of a 15-year-old girl with an "enormous crush on him" after the pair met on Facebook. Johnson was sacked by his club, Sunderland, on Thursday.

Adam Johnson jailed for six years for child sex offences

6. The Independent newspaper to end print editions

The Independent and Independent on Sunday are to stop their print editions next month and become online only. Owner ESI Media said there would be redundancies but added that some new "digital-content" roles would be created. ESI has also confirmed it will sell its sister title, i newspaper, to Johnston Press.

Independent newspaper to cease publication

7. Man admits plotting London terror attack

A man has pleaded guilty to planning a series of drive-by terror attacks in London. Tarik Hassane, 22, changed his plea midway through his trial at the Old Bailey and admitted conspiracy to murder and preparation of terrorist acts. It has been claimed Hassane was inspired by Islamic State. The trial of three other men will continue.

8. For sale: UK's only private motorway, the M6 Toll

The M6 Toll road, Britain's only private motorway, is for sale, with an asking price of nearly £2bn. The 23-mile motorway, which offers an alternative route to the M6 around the north of Birmingham, was constructed in 2003, at a cost of £900m. Owner Midland Expressway Ltd has been running it at a loss and is heavily in debt.

9. Canada: man missing for 30 years recovers memory

A missing Canadian man has been identified after losing his memory for 30 years. Edgar Latulip, who has a mental age of 12, went missing in Ontario province at the age of 21. It is thought he suffered a head injury, losing his memory. He lived under another identity for three decades but eventually experienced flashbacks to his old life.

10. Briefing: what are gravitational waves and why are they important?

Scientists have confirmed the existence of gravitational waves ­ exactly a century after they were first predicted by Albert Einstein. These waves represent movements in the fabric of space-time created by major cosmic events, such as the collision of black holes. Their existence was first proposed by Einstein and formed a key part of his general theory of relativity, but they have never before been detected.

What are gravitational waves and why are they important?

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