Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Thursday 16 Dec 2010

Julian Assange in a prison van

Our popular news catch-up service is posted Monday to Friday at 8.0 am. You can rely on it to keep you up to date through the working day with the main news talking points. ASSANGE TO WALK FREE AS JUDGE UPHOLDS BAIL WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will not be spending Christmas behind bars after a judge at the High Court today denied an appeal against Tuesday's decision to grant him bail. Bail conditions are now under discussion. Earlier, Assange's lawyers were surprised to learn objections came not from Swedish prosecutors but from the CPS. Julian Assange granted bail after British ban fails ECHR: IRELAND'S ABORTION BAN VIOLATES HUMAN RIGHTSIreland's restrictive abortion laws, which allow terminations only in certain extreme cases, may have to be rewritten after the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) found in favour of a woman who claims the laws violated her human rights. Doctors had decided she was not under sufficient risk of ill health to abort her foetus. 100,000 public sector redundancies in post At least 100,000 public sector workers will receive redundancy letters over the Christmas and New Year period as local authorities rush to meet a January 1 deadline. The sorry news has to be broken 90 days before the end of the financial year when the coalition's swingeing cuts will start to be enacted in earnest by councils across the UK. ENGLAND BOWL OUT AUSTRALIAEngland made a great start to the third Ashes Test in Perth, bowling out Australia for 268 on day one. Andrew Strauss won the toss and put Australia into bat, and the gamble paid off as the Aussies were reduced to 36 for 4 and then 69 for 5 by England's pace attack led by recalled Chris Tremlett. Half centuries for Australia's Mike Hussey, Brad Haddin and Mitchell Johnson gave the score some respectability. GEORGE MICHAEL TO JOIN US X FACTORGeorge Michael seems to be rallying after a bad year, PR-wise. The 47-year-old former Wham! singer, who spent time in jail for drug driving in September, is to join the judging team for the US version of X Factor for a £1m fee, the Sun claims. Michael would be the second ex-convict on Simon Cowell's list - Cheryl Cole has a conviction for ABH. Michael is second ex-con bound for X Factor USA BIG FREEZE TO HIT WEST OF UKHeavy snows are expected to return to the country today, with the West worst hit this time. There could be up to eight inches of snow in the worst-affected areas on Friday, the Met Office said. Meanwhile, online retailers are still struggling to clear a backlog of more than four million parcels caused by the last blast of severe weather. In pictures: Snow and ice grip the northern hemisphere FACEBOOK FOUNDER IS TIME'S MAN OF THE YEAR Twenty-six-year-old billionaire Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, is the latest high achiever to be named Time magazine's 'Man of the Year'. The baby-faced uber-geek was honoured for "connecting more than half a billion people … and for changing how we live our lives" and features on the cover of the latest issue. Facebook unveils picture-centric profile page PHONE HACKING 'WAS SANCTIONED FROM TOP'New documents have come to light in the News of the World phone hacking scandal, filed at the High Court by lawyers representing the actress Sienna Miller, who believes her voicemail was accessed by the paper. They provide evidence that the hacking was sanctioned by a top editorial executive at the newspaper. WHITE AL-QAEDA MEMBERS KILLED BY DRONETwo white British men, Muslim converts who had joined al-Qaeda, were killed five days ago by a US drone in Datta Khel, in the west of Pakistan, Channel 4 news claims. One of the men is thought to have been called Steve but they used the names Abu Bakr and Mansoor Ahmed. US intelligence have not confirmed the report. BIG INCREASE IN LONDON TB CASESA huge rise in reported cases of Tuberculosis in London – up 50 over cent over the past decade - is to be revealed in reports due out in coming days, according to Robert Fox, writing for The First Post today. It appears the increase is not the fault of recent immigrants, but due to insanitary and overcrowded conditions in London’s East End. Massive increase in TB in London to be revealed

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