Skripals’ blood can be taken for testing by chemical weapons body: UK judge

Photo showing a bus carrying expelled Russian diplomats from Britain leaves Vnukovo 2 government airport outside Moscow, after they were expelled over a nerve agent attack on British soil. (AP)
Updated 22 March 2018
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Skripals’ blood can be taken for testing by chemical weapons body: UK judge

LONDON: A British court revealed that samples taken from the ex Russian spy and his daughter were analyzed by UK’s military laboratory in Porton Down point to exposure to Novichok nerve agent or a related agent.

The same court said that Blood samples from former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia can be taken for testing by the world chemical weapons body (OPCW), an English judge ruled Thursday.
The Skripals, victims of a nerve agent attack that Britain has blamed on Russia, are in a coma in a critical but stable condition in hospital in Salisbury, southwest England but sources revealed that even if they survived the poisoning they might suffer damage to their nervous system.
High Court judge David Williams ruled it was lawful for doctors “to take blood samples for provision to OPCW (the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) and to provide copies of medical notes to OPCW.”
In slasbury today, British police briefed the public about the latest in their investigation. A police spokesperson said that UK policeman in poisoned ex-spy incident has been discharged from hospital. 
Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey was left seriously ill after taking part in the early response to the attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the southern English city of Salisbury on March 4.
“People ask me how I am feeling – but there are really no words to explain how I feel right now,” he said in statement issued by his local force. “Surreal is the word that keeps cropping up — and it really has been completely surreal.” 


Macron fires bodyguard filmed beating protester; critics say too late

Updated 6 min 48 sec ago
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Macron fires bodyguard filmed beating protester; critics say too late

  • Alexandre Benalla, who as Macron’s top bodyguard has long been a fixture by his side, was taken into custody for police questioning over the incident, which took place when Benalla appeared at May Day protests in a riot helmet and police tags.
  • Lawmakers have launched a parliamentary inquiry into the incident itself, the lenient initial punishment and the failure of the authorities to report Benalla promptly to the judiciary.

PARIS: French President Emmanuel Macron fired the head of his personal security detail on Friday but faced criticism for failing to act sooner, after a video was released showing the man posing as a police officer and beating a protester while off duty in May.
Alexandre Benalla, who as Macron’s top bodyguard has long been a fixture by his side, was taken into custody for police questioning over the incident, which took place when Benalla appeared at May Day protests in a riot helmet and police tags.
He had initially been suspended for just 15 days and allowed to return to work. Just days ago he was seen in public helping to organize security for celebrations for the return of France’s World Cup champion soccer team.
Lawmakers have launched a parliamentary inquiry into the incident itself, the lenient initial punishment and the failure of the authorities to report Benalla promptly to the judiciary.
In the footage, which was released on Wednesday by Le Monde newspaper, Benalla can be seen dragging a woman away from a protest and later beating a male demonstrator. On Friday, French media released a second video which showed Benalla also manhandling the woman.
He had been given permission by the president’s office to attend the protests as an observer of the security operation, but had no authorization to take part in police work.
The president’s office brushed off accusations that it had responded only because the nearly three-month-old videos had become public. It said the decision had now been taken to fire Benalla because the bodyguard had improperly obtained a document while trying to make his case over the accusations.
“New facts that could constitute a misdemeanour by Alexandre Benalla were brought to the president’s attention,” an official at the presidential palace told Reuters. “As a result ... the presidency has decided to start Alexandre Benalla’s dismissal procedure.”
Critics of Macron called the president’s delayed response a characteristic sign that he is out of touch. It follows controversies over government spending on official crockery, a swimming pool at a presidential retreat and cutting remarks by the president about the costs of welfare.
After hours of debate in the lower house on Thursday, lawmakers agreed to launch a parliamentary inquiry.
“Why did he protect this person? Does he head up a parallel police force? Refusing to answer makes (Macron) complicit in these acts of violence,” Eric Ciotti, a senior member of the conservative Republicans party, said on Twitter.