Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Thursday 5 Jul 2018

1

Wiltshire couple exposed to novichok nerve agent, police say

A man and woman found unconscious in Wiltshire were exposed to novichok, the nerve agent used to poison ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, police say. Charlie Rowley, 45, and Dawn Sturgess, 44, are fighting for their lives in hospital after collapsing at a house in Amesbury, near Salisbury, where the Skripals were poisoned. It has been speculated that Rowley and Sturgess were exposed to the remains of the nerve gas from the previous poisoning. 

2

Downing Street outlines new Brexit proposals

Theresa May’s office has released some details of her new “third way” plan for Britain’s customs relationship with EU nations after Brexit, to be discussed by ministers at Chequers tomorrow. The “facilitated customs arrangement” would use technology to track whether goods were ultimately heading to the UK or EU and apply tariffs accordingly.

3

Thanksgiving for NHS on 70th anniversary

The 70th anniversary of the founding of the National Health Service by Nye Bevan under the Labour government of Clement Attlee is being celebrated across Britain today. Thanksgiving services will be held at Westminster Abbey and York Minster. On Saturday, there will be a march through the centre of London to celebrate the NHS.

4

Teenager arrested after death of six-year-old

A teenage boy has been arrested on suspicion of murdering six-year-old Alesha MacPhail on the isle of Bute in Scotland. Because he is under 18, his identity is secret. Police are still appealing for information about the death of the young girl, who was staying with her grandmother for the school holidays. Her body was found on Monday.

5

Jaguar Land Rover warns of £80bn Brexit risk

Britain’s biggest car manufacturer, Jaguar Land Rover, has warned it cannot start a planned £80bn investment in the UK over the next five years until it knows the terms of Brexit. Chief executive Ralf Speth said a hard Brexit could cost £1.2bn in profit every year. The firm directly employs 40,000, with 260,000 jobs in its supply chain. 

6

Thai cave boys: progress made on pumping out

The 12 boys and their football coach trapped in a Thai cave for the last 12 days may soon be able to walk out, if enough water can be pumped out before monsoon rains arrive at the weekend. One official told The Guardian that the water level had been reduced by 40% by recent efforts. The alternative is to teach the boys to dive.

7

Commuters advised to avoid Victoria station

Travellers have been warned to avoid Britain’s second-busiest railway station, London Victoria, today after a signal failure caused major disruption across the capital. The Gatwick Express is not running and Southern and Thameslink services are badly affected. The latter two firms are both advising passengers not to visit London.

8

Statue of Liberty protest climber in custody

A woman who climbed up the plinth on which the Statue of Liberty sits in New York Harbour yesterday has been taken into detention by police, after the island was evacuated because of her. Therese Okoumou, a 44-year-old immigrant from DR Congo, is said to have been protesting against US President Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant stance.

9

Charles I’s message of hope found in poetry book

Former University Challenge presenter Bamber Gascoigne inherited a stately home with a library from his 99-year-old great aunt four years ago. He is turning it into a centre for the arts and selling the books to raise money. One volume of poetry contains an inscription – ‘While I breathe, I hope’ – made by Charles I awaiting execution. 

10

Briefing: how DNA testing will help improve the NHS

The NHS is set to become the first health service in the world to routinely offer DNA tests, marking a big step towards more efficient treatment tailored to individuals.

From 1 October, “hospitals across England will be connected to specialist centres that read, analyse and interpret patient DNA to help diagnose rare diseases, match patients to the most effective treatments, and reduce adverse drug reactions”, reports The Guardian.

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