Britain points finger at Putin over spy poisoning

Britain pointed the finger at Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday for a nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy in England. (AP)
Updated 06 September 2018
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Britain points finger at Putin over spy poisoning

LONDON: Britain pointed the finger at Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday for a nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy in England — a charge that Moscow rejected as “unacceptable.”
The leaders of the United States, France, Germany and Canada later said they had “full confidence” in Britain’s assessment that officers from Russia’s military intelligence service were behind the Novichok attack that nearly killed Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in March.
British Security Minister Ben Wallace said that Putin was “ultimately” responsible for the poisoning in the southwestern city of Salisbury, prompting an angry response from Moscow.
“For us any sort of accusation regarding the Russian leadership is unacceptable,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists.
Britain has previously accused Russia of orchestrating the attack, but Moscow denies any involvement and insists it is ready to cooperate in any investigation.
“Neither Russia’s top leadership nor those in the ranks below, nor any official representatives have anything to do with the events in Salisbury,” Peskov said.
London and its allies expelled dozens of Russian diplomats after the poisoning, prompting a tit-for-tat response from Moscow and plunging relations to a new low.
In a major new development, Prime Minister Theresa May announced Wednesday that police had issued international arrest warrants for the two suspects, identified as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov.
She said they were members of Russian military intelligence and acted on orders from a “high level,” but Wallace went further when asked if Putin had any responsibility.
“Ultimately he does in so far as he is the president of the Russian Federation and it is his government that controls, funds and directs the military intelligence, the GRU, via his ministry of defense,” Wallace told BBC radio.


South African court says marijuana use in private is legal

Members of the African Democratic Change political party sing outside the Constitutional Court in Johannesburg on September 18, 2018, as South Africa's top court is ruling over a law banning cannabis use. (AFP)
Updated 44 min 15 sec ago
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South African court says marijuana use in private is legal

  • The court also ordered parliament to draft new laws within 24 months to reflect the order
  • Previous court hearings on the emotive issue have drawn protests by those opposed to legalising cannabis, as well as by those in favour of decriminalisation

JOHANNESBURG: South Africa’s top court says adults can use marijuana in private.
The Constitutional Court on Tuesday upheld a provincial court’s ruling in a case involving Gareth Prince, who advocates the decriminalization of the drug.
Prince says cannabis should be regulated in the same way as alcohol and tobacco. Government authorities have said cannabis is harmful and should be illegal.
The top court says an adult can cultivate cannabis in “a private place” as long as it is for personal consumption in private. It says the right to privacy “extends beyond the boundaries of a home.”
The court says it would be up to a police officer to decide if the amount of marijuana in someone’s possession is for personal consumption or dealing.