Scientists at the UK’s Porton Down defence laboratory have not been able to determine where the nerve agent used in the Salisbury spy attack was made, the boss of the facility has revealed. Gary Aitkenhead, the chief executive of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) at Porton Down, said that chemical weapons experts had “not verified the precise source” of the material but making the substance was "probably only within the capabilities of a state actor". However, he said that “it is not our job” to determine precisely where the nerve agent, identified as belonging to the novichok family, was manufactured but he explained the work done at Porton Down formed part of the Government's wider... Register or log in to view this and other Politics articles. It's free and easy to do. Join regular debates with our journalists by commenting on articles Sign up to exclusive newsletters that give you the inside track on … [Read more...] about Porton Down scientists ‘have not verified the precise source’ of nerve agent used in Salisbury spy attack
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The Russian government has demanded to see Yulia Skripal in hospital after it was revealed she is awake and talking. The daughter of ex-spy Sergei Skripal is “improving rapidly” after being poisoned with a nerve agent., the Mirror reports. The Russian Embassy said on Friday it "insists" on the right to see Ms Skripal, 33, after it emerged she was improving rapidly. A tweet from the embassy read: “Good news. We insist on the right to see her.” On Saturday, the UK Foreign Office has said it is considering the request. A spokeswoman for the FCO said the "rights and wishes of Yulia" will be taken into account as well as internal laws. An FCO spokeswoman said: "We are considering requests for consular access in line with our obligations under international and domestic law, including the rights and wishes of Yulia Skripal." Ms Skripal spent three weeks in a critical condition after she and her father Sergei Skripal were exposed to Novichok on March 4. Ms Skripal's … [Read more...] about Kremlin demands visit to daughter of ex Russian spy Sergei Skripal
MORE than 150 Russian diplomats have been expelled by Britain, two dozen allies and Nato in the wake of the Salisbury spy poisoning - and now Russia is hitting back by sending back even more. While we often hear about the work of diplomats, many of us might not know exactly what their role entails and how sometimes it is code for "spy". Here's the lowdown. What is a diplomat? A diplomat is an ambassador, envoy or other official whose job is to represent their country while based abroad. This can be split into three main roles involving political, commercial and consular interests. A political diplomat monitors political and economic developments in other countries as well as representing a country in government and the media. Commercial diplomats promote trade and investment, while consular staff assist citizens from their country abroad and process visa applications. Nikesh Mehta currently based at the British High Commission in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, has also worked in Iraq and … [Read more...] about What is a diplomat and how has Russia responded after the UK, US, EU and Nato countries expelled Russian spies?
Dundee People by Stewart Ross March 28, 2018, 6:00 am FacebookTwitterLinkedInWhatsAppEmail Sign up to our Daily newsletter Photographing a wedding must be brilliant fun — all the happy people and pretty dresses. But it’s actually one of the most difficult jobs, and if you mess up in any way, you can’t get everyone back the next day. Downfield Studio Photography has been in business for 30 years and weddings are a speciality. “Photography has changed out of all recognition in terms of technology since we started,” said Sandra Ewing. “But what has not changed is that you must have the skill to catch a moment, to see a candid situation develop and be ready to press the button. “Capturing the whole wedding day, from the bride and groom getting ready, up to the dancing is what most couples are looking for nowadays. “One of the trickiest things about wedding photography is getting couples to relax. “A wedding can be … [Read more...] about ‘Exciting job … but very nerve-racking’; Would you be able to handle the pressure of this job?
The New Zealand Labour government’s refusal to join international collective action against Russia over the nerve agent attack in the UK on former spy Sergei Skripal is perplexing. The 26-nation solidarity coalition expelling Russian diplomats and intelligence officers from their soil includes all of New Zealand’s major security partners as well as important trade counterparts. New Zealand is a member of the Five Eyes signals intelligence collection and sharing network including Australia, Canada, the UK and the US, so it has better knowledge than most as to what evidence the UK has to indicate that Vladimir Putin’s regime ordered the hit on Sergei Skripal. New Zealand is an extra-regional Nato and EU associate, and like the majority of the members of the coalition it is a democracy. New Zealand fashions itself as a good international citizen and honest broker in international affairs, so it seems odd that it would not join its closest diplomatic interlocutors in … [Read more...] about New Zealand’s claim it has no Russian spies is perplexing. Why is it isolating itself?