The Papers: Speculation on spy case

The Papers: Speculation on spy case
Times front page - 07/03/18
Image caption The daughter of Sergei Skripal is pictured on many front pages following the confirmation she is the woman found collapsed in Salisbury alongside the Russian former double agent. The Times quotes Whitehall sources as saying police and MI5 are treating the suspected poisoning as an assassination attempt linked to Moscow, although “alternative theories” have not been ruled out.
Daily Telegraph front page - 07/03/18
Image caption The Daily Telegraph says remarks made by Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2010, when Sergei Skripal was sent to the UK in a spy exchange, reinforce the belief he was targeted as part of a state-sponsored act because of his work for MI6. Russia has denied any involvement.
Sun front page - 07/03/18
Image caption The Sun says police fear a Kremlin assassin might have spiked Sergei Skripal’s drink with poison. The ex-spy and his daughter had been drinking in a pub before collapsing on Sunday, it reports.
i front page - 07/03/18
Image caption The i carries the headline “Britain’s World Cup threat to Russia”. The paper highlights the foreign secretary’s suggestion that dignitaries from the UK could be unlikely to travel to support the England team in Russia this summer if evidence is found to link the Kremlin to the former spy’s collapse.
Daily Mail front page - 07/03/18
Image caption The Daily Mail says royals and government ministers could find themselves under pressure to boycott the World Cup. It also reports the government is being urged to reassess the safety of British fans at the tournament.
Daily Express front page - 07/03/18
Image caption The Daily Express says there were “dramatic scenes” in the Commons as Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson branded Russia a “malign” force in the world.
Daily Star front page - 07/03/18
Image caption The lead in the Daily Star also focuses on Boris Johnson’s remarks about the World Cup. The paper says the England squad could “miss out” – although a source close to the foreign secretary clarified he was not seeking to have the team withdrawn from the tournament.
Guardian front page - 07/03/18
Image caption The Guardian reports the announcement that counter terrorism police have taken over the investigation into the possible poisoning. The police presence in Salisbury has been stepped up, it adds.
Metro front page - 07/03/18
Image caption The Metro says chemical experts at the Porton Down military research lab are probing the incident, as Sergei Skripal, 66, and Yulia, 33, remain critically ill in hospital.
Daily Mirror front page - 07/03/18
Image caption The Daily Mirror says there is a worldwide hunt under way for the possible assassins. Its lead story reports that Coronation Street actor Michael Le Vell has been declared bankrupt.
Financial Times front page - 07/03/18
Image caption The Financial Times leads on North Korea’s indication it was open to negotiations over ending its nuclear weapons programme. The move was its most significant step towards defusing the stand-off with the US, says the FT.

The papers and news websites continue to pore over the details of the suspected poisoning in Salisbury of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

According to the Times, Whitehall sources say the police and MI5 are treating it as a suspected assassination attempt linked to Russia although they have not ruled out alternative theories, such as a rival faction wanting to frame Russia and undermine President Putin’s regime.

Image copyright Reuters

An analysis in the Guardian suggests Mr Skripal may have been punished for having a continuing relationship with British intelligence, or the suspicion of one.

The Sun turns to the hunt for whoever did it with a huge headline: “Find lady with a red handbag”. It claims a blonde woman apparently seen in CCTV footage walking with an older man near the bench where the stricken pair were discovered was initially thought to be Yulia, but is is, in fact, a suspect.

Several papers carry reports that Mr Skripal feared for his life after the mysterious deaths of his wife and son. The Daily Mail says that, although his wife’s 2012 death certificate gave the cause as cancer, neighbours say she was killed in a car crash.

The Financial Times says any evidence implicating Moscow in the poisoning would send UK-Russian relations, which are at a post-war low, into the deep freeze.

A former associate of the murdered ex-KGB agent Alexander Livinenko is quoted by Huffpost saying “this has all the hallmarks of a Putin assassination”.

Yuri Felshtinsky believes the Russian president is warning other agents never to defect, while Ed West in the Spectator asks: “Will Britain stand up to Russia?”

Russian newspapers are also taking an interest. Komosomolskaya Pravda is dismissive of the whole affair, finding it “amazing” that the “odious” Boris Johnson actively supports new sanctions while admitting that “it is too early to draw conclusions”.

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The Daily Mirror highlights the case of a child who it says was forced to wait more than more than six days for a hospital bed.

It says the case, in Derby, is included in figures for the last 12 months showing A&E delays at their worst levels in NHS history.

Image copyright PA

Derby Teaching Hospital tells the paper the child, who was awaiting mental health treatment, was not on a trolley, but being cared for in a paediatric assessment unit.

Moderating force

Several papers report a major new study suggesting that screening men for prostate cancer may do more harm than good.

The Daily Telegraph says the largest ever trial funded by Cancer Research UK found that the screening made no difference to death rates and often detected tumours that were harmless while missing others that were fatal.

“Symptomless men,” says the Sun, “often underwent surgery for slow-growing tumours that were harmless”.

According to the Times, any screening is better than no screening but better screening is needed.

Image copyright Getty Images

Across the Atlantic, the big news is the resignation of Donald Trump’s top economic adviser, Gary Cohn

The New York Times says it leaves the president surrounded by people with strong protectionist views.

According to the Washington Post, Mr Cohn was a financial heavyweight who was regarded by business executives and foreign leaders as a moderating force.

Hedonistic baby boomers

Finally, the Daily Mail reports that medical experts have urged GPs to question the over-50s about their drinking and drug taking habits.

A report by the Royal College of Pyschiatrists says “hedonistic” baby boomers have very liberal attitudes after growing up in the 1960s and 1970s.

Some are also self-medicating to combat loneliness, insomnia or chronic pain and the paper says GPs are being advised to look out for signs, such as slurred speech or abnormal liver test results.

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