Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Thursday 2 Dec 2010

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. ENGLAND LOSE - RUSSIA WINS WORLD CUP 2018 The England bid for the 2018 World Cup has failed. Despite a spirited 11th-hour campaign led by David Cameron, David Beckham and Prince William, England were knocked out in the first round of voting by the 22 members of the Fifa executive committee. The winner for 2018, announced by Sepp Blatter at 3.40pm GMT today, is Russia. Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich and Arsenal footballer Andrei Arshavin were on hand in Zurich to hear the news. It was also announced that Qatar will host the 2022 World Cup. FA humiliated as Russia wins World Cup WIKILEAKS LATEST: RUSSIA 'A GANGSTER STATE'Russia is depicted as a land of gangsters, blighted by corruption and inefficiency, according to the latest US diplomatic cables posted by WikiLeaks. Vladimir Putin (above) is rumoured to have enriched himself while in office via a Swiss-based oil company, Gunvor, which allegedly levies a $1 surcharge per barrel instead of the usual 5 cents. Hopes of a promised "reset" of US-Russian relations, once promised by President Obama, look bleak. Julian Assange: wanted by the Empire, dead or alive WikiLeaks cables: Putin ‘runs virtual Mafia state’ ASSANGE'S MOTHER FEARS FOR HIS LIFEThe mother of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says she is proud of her son but worried he may have "gotten too smart for himself". Christine Assange, who runs a puppet theatre in the Queensland seaside resort of Noosa, told the Herald Sun newspaper: "I'm concerned it's gotten too big and the forces that he's challenging are too big." His son, Daniel, has already said he's surprised his father has not been assassinated. Mrs Assange defends her boy for 'fighting baddies' SNOW AND ICE: NO LET-UP FOR BRITAINFurther heavy snowfalls and freezing temperatures mean Gatwick remains closed until at least 6am on Friday while train services in the south of England are either suspended or running on emergency timetables. The Met Office has issued warnings of heavy snow for the north of England and the east Midlands. Temperatures in the Grampians could hit -25C tonight. In pictures: The big chill SHARK ATTACKS CLOSE SHARM EL SHEIKH BEACHES Beaches have been closed at Egypt's popular Red Sea resort of Sharm El Sheikh after four swimmers were attacked by a white-tip shark. In the worst incident, a woman diver had both her legs bitten off. She was flown to Cairo for treatment. National park divers are searching for the shark which they plan to remove from the area and release into the Gulf of Suez. JFK KILLER'S COFFIN GOES TO AUCTIONThe wooden coffin in which Lee Harvey Oswald, the man accused of killing President John F Kennedy in 1963, was buried is to be sold at auction in Los Angeles on December 16. Oswald was never brought to trial because he was shot dead by nightclub owner Jack Ruby. The coffin became "available" after Oswald's family had him exhumed in 1981 to check a conspiracy theory that his body had been switched for that of a Russian agent. It hadn't. ENGLAND ON A HIGH DOWN UNDERThe second Ashes Test between England and Australia starts in the early hours of Friday with the visitors on a high after the astonishing rearguard performance in Brisbane. The Australians have come in for some heavy criticism from the press and public and are set to ring the changes and drop bowler Mitchell Johnson. England will field the same XI for the second Test. CAMERON ORDERS SCHOOL SPORTS RETHINKA growing campaign led by headteachers, Olympic stars and politicians has forced David Cameron to announce a "rethink" over Education Secretary Michael Gove's recent decision to cut £162m in school sports funding in England. "There are clearly very strong feelings about this," a No 10 source said. "We are listening to people's concerns." AIRBUS SCARE: INVESTIGATORS HAVE AN ANSWER Australian air safety investigators claim to have discovered a serious manufacturing flaw in the Rolls Royce Trent 900 engines fitted to Airbus A380 superjumbos after examining the one that exploded a month ago, forcing Quantas pilots to execute an emergency landing in Singapore. They say a misaligned component caused an oil pipe to crack, which led to oil leaking and causing a fire. Qantas launches legal action against Rolls Royce EMINEM TOP CONTENDER FOR GRAMMY AWARDS 2011 White rapper Eminem leads the field for the 2011 Grammy Awards after picking up 10 nominations at last night's event in Los Angeles. They include album of the year, in which category he has to fight off Lady Gaga and Kate Perry as well as Arcade Fire and the country-pop band Lady Antebellum. Hawaiin-born Bruno Mars has seven nominations while Lady Gaga, Jay-Z and country group Lady Antebellum have six each. In pictures: The Grammy nominees

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Jack Bremer is a London-based reporter, attached to The Week.co.uk. He has reported regularly from the United States and France.