The Daily: May 12

We scour the news so you don't have to
Picasso painting sets new world record at auction
Pablo Picasso's Women of Algiers has become the most expensive painting ever sold, reaching $179.3m at auction in Christie's, New York. The oil painting is a rich exploration of colour, line and composition, painted between 1954-5 as part of the Women of Algiers series. Picasso was inspired to continue the Odalisque theme -the style of paintings depicting Turkish women in harems-after the death of his friend and exponent of the art Henri Matisse. After eleven minutes of close bidding from telephone buyers, the hammer was finally brought down on the now record setting price. The sale also included Alberto Giacometti's Pointing Man, which at $141m has taken the title of most expensive sculpture ever sold at auction.

Poldark to return for five more series
Given that Poldark is adapted from Winston Graham's twelve novel epic, there should be plenty of mileage for the show: and Ben Stephenson, head of drama at the BBC, has now confirmed that the programme will run for five more series. The announcement comes after a series two was confirmed, with Aidan Turner continuing his role as the brooding ex sea captain. The news will come as a relief to fans, many of which shared George Osborne's sense of loss when he complained "I'm enjoying Poldark at the moment, but in a couple of weeks it will be over." However, viewers will have to wait up to a year for Poldark's return, with Stephenson commenting that it was "a good thing" to prolong the wait as it built expectation. The show will aim to cover two books a series, taking in the whole of Winston Graham's drama.

Plain old bottled water to overtake fizzy drinks for first time
Market researchers have reported that bottled water will overtake carbonated drinks as the world's best selling soft drink this year. There has been an increasing demand for bottled water in recent years, with sales growing by an average 6 per cent per year since 2008 compared to a sluggish 1.3 per cent for fizzy drinks. In Britain alone, there was a 10 per cent rise in bottled water sales according to market researcher Nielsen. The move has come as health conscious consumers are increasingly put off by the sugar content of fizzy drinks, failing to be swayed by the lure of bright labels and marketing slogans. However, the trend has caused fierce competition between sellers of bottled water, with France's Danone, owner of Evian, mounting an aggressive ad campaign to gain 10 per cent of the market share.

Austrian postal workers now armed with doggy treats
Austrian postmen and women have been taking part in a new trial to help calm over-zealous dogs: taking treats on their daily rounds. The move was taken after postal workers reported 47 attacks in 2014 and many posties were using treats bought with their own money. The post office has contracted a local pet manufacturer to provide around ten tons of snacks per year for 9,000 workers. Although the trial is still in its early stages, employees such as Maria Stocker are already reporting a difference, saying "the dogs are now nice". Dog owners have also praised the move with one owner commenting "our dogs will certainly be pacified if they're given treats and then they're less likely to be aggressive".

Chocolate really is good for us (dark, that is)
New research has found that good quality chocolate, eaten in moderation, is actually good for our health. Chocolate with a cocoa percentage of around seventy and upwards does in fact boast a plethora of health benefits, such as benefitting the heart and circulation and reducing the risk of stroke by up to 17 per cent. Dark chocolate also boasts the minerals potassium, selenium and zinc, as well as reducing cholesterol and potentially preventing diabetes. Good news for dieters too: neuroscientist Will Clower says placing a small square of good chocolate on your tongue before a meal and allowing it to melt triggers that feeling of fullness, cutting down the amount you consume after. Finally, chocolate has been scientifically proven to make us happy (as if we didn't know) containing the chemical phenylethylamine, which stimulates the release of endorphins in out brain.