Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Saturday 30 Dec 2017

1. White House tells Iran 'world is watching' protests

Washington says "the world is watching" how Iranian authorities respond to anti-government protests. In a statement, the White House said Iranians were fed up with "the regime's corruption and its squandering of the nation's wealth to fund terrorism". Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on Twitter that Tehran should "respect their people's rights, including their right to express themselves".

2. Knighthoods for Ringo, Clegg and Bussell

Beatles drummer Ringo Starr has been awarded a knighthood for services to music and charity work. As the Queen's New Year Honours are announced, Strictly judge Darcey Bussell is made a dame and there are knighthoods for Bee Gees singer Barry Gibb, former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg and War Horse author Michael Murpurgo. Meanwhile, Nigel Farage, who was overlooked, complained that awards are given for "services to the establishment".

3. Lord Adonis says Brexit is 'infecting' the government

Brexit is "infecting" the government, Lord Adonis told the BBC following his resignation as infrastructure advisor. As the former Labour minister quit his role as chairman of the government's Infrastructure Commission, he said Theresa May was "pursuing a course fraught with danger" and claimed the PM is "allying with Ukip and the Tory hard right to wrench Britain out of the key economic and political institutions of modern Europe".

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4. Australian army base on alert over Russian bomber exercise

An Australian air force base was put on alert as Russian strategic bombers conducted exercises in neutral waters off Indonesia. The base was briefly put on a state of "increased readiness" during the Russian exercises, which Moscow says involved two nuclear-capable Tu-95MS bombers and more than 100 personnel. Analysts say the activity showed Moscow was looking to extend its influence in the Pacific.

5. Mining stocks send FTSE 100 to a record high

The FTSE 100 ended 2017 on a new record high on Friday. During a curtailed final day of trading before the New Year break, the index closed up 0.9% at a new closing high of 7,687.77 points. It was boosted by robust mining stocks. The blue-chip index has risen 3.9% since the beginning of December, and is up 7.6% over the year.

6. Tens of thousands of UK men 'want to abuse children'

The police chief in charge of child protection says more than 20,000 British men have shown an interest in sexually abusing children. Simon Bailey, the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead on child protection, said investigators monitoring a single online chatroom identified 4,000 men using it from the UK alone. "We are having to prioritise the threat," he said.

7. Surge in Irish passport demands linked to Brexit

A record number of Irish passports are being issued to people living in Britain. In a surge being linked to Brexit, more than a fifth of all Irish passports issued in the last year went to people living in the UK. The Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin said more than 779,000 of the Republic's identity papers were issued in 2017 - another record-breaking stat.

8. 'Conflicting' Sat Nav advice leads to prosecutions

Motoring organisations say drivers are being prosecuted for using their mobile phones as Sat Navs amid "conflicting" advice from ministers and police forces. Edmund King, president of the AA, said it is "not surprising there is some confusion among drivers". Donal Lawler, secretary of the Criminal Bar Association, added: "The law is open to interpretation."

9. Holiday firms mislead with time-limited offers

Holiday firms advertising time-limited offers may be misleading consumers, according to Which. Tour operators frequently offer discounts if travellers book by a certain date, but the consumer group found that half the holidays advertised were the same price - or even cheaper - after the offer expired. A spokesman said "tight deadlines, emotive language and countdown clocks are all designed to rush us".

10. Safety zone for women at Berlin's NYE bash

Germany’s biggest New Year’s Eve party at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate will feature a safety zone for women who have been assaulted or feel threatened. The development comes two years after hundreds of women were harassed, sexually molested and robbed by gangs of men during New Year’s Eve festivities in Cologne. Hundreds of thousands are expected at Berlin’s party mile on Sunday.

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