Police believe a nerve agent was used to deliberately poison a former Russian double agent and his daughter, Britain’s top counter-terrorism officer says, in a case that threatens to further damage London’s ties with Moscow, according to a report on ABC news.
Sergei Skripal, once a colonel in Russia’s GRU military intelligence service, and his 33-year-old daughter, Yulia, were found slumped unconscious on a bench outside a shopping centre in the southern English city of Salisbury on Sunday afternoon.
Both remain critically ill and a police officer who attended the scene is also in a serious condition in hospital.
“This is being treated as a major incident involving attempted murder by administration of a nerve agent,” Metropolitan Police counterterrorism chief Mark Rowley said in a statement.
He declined to give specific details of the substance used or how the victims were exposed to the poison.
He added that police believed they were specifically targeted.
England’s chief medical officer said the incident posed a low risk to the wider public.
While Mr Rowley would not say any more about the investigation, a US security source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the main line of police inquiry was that Russians may have used the substance against Skripal in revenge for his treachery.
Australian vice-captain David Warner has been cleared to take on South Africa in the second Test after accepting three demerit points and a heavy fine for his role in a stairway scuffle in Durban, according to Reuters.
Warner forfeited 75 per cent of his match fee — approximately $13,500 — after being slapped with a charge of bringing “the game into disrepute” for clashing with South Africa’s Quintin de Kock outside the dressing rooms after a tense final session on Day 4 of the first Test at Kingsmead.
The Australian batsman was handed a Level 2 charge by the International Cricket Council, which is worth three to four demerit points and up to 100 per cent of a player’s match fee, with four points resulting in an automatic one-Test suspension.
By accepting a penalty of three demerit points, Warner will be free to play in Port Elizabeth on Friday.
Proteas wicketkeeper de Kock was handed a Level 1 charge, worth one to two demerit points and up to 50 per cent of the match payment, for his role in the confrontation where he was accused of making derogatory comments about Warner’s wife.
One man who was in close proximity to both players — both throughout the day’s play and heading in to the players’ tunnel — was Australian wicket-keeper Tim Paine.
He insists nothing personal was said by Warner, and that the umpires would have stepped in if something had been said.
“As I went past de Kock, he said what he said and luckily I suppose I was there in between,” Paine said in Port Elizabeth.
“When you are bringing people’s families or wives into it, it’s unacceptable.
“He [Warner] was certainly extremely fired up and he had every right to be.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says she has “no expectation” that Australia will be spared the Trump administration’s steel and aluminium tariffs.
The Federal Government has been pressing key figures in the administration to exempt Australia from the tariffs.
But Ms Bishop says while some companies might be exempted, it is clear no countries will be.
“I have no expectation that the administration will change the decision,” she said.
“While we continue to advocate that the US not go down this path, I have no expectation that the administration will change the decision.”
However, this morning the White House said Canada and Mexico, and possibly other countries, may be exempted from the tariffs.