News Daily: EU backs UK against Russia and May urges Brexit 'energy'

By Justin Parkinson
BBC News


Hello. Here's your morning briefing:

image source, AFP
image captionEU leaders backed Theresa May's assessment of the Salisbury nerve gas attack

EU recalls Russia ambassador over spy attack

The EU has recalled its ambassador to Moscow. This comes after the leaders of the other 27 member states backed Theresa May's assessment that it was "highly likely" Russia was behind the nerve agent attack in Salisbury. They've issued a joint statement saying there's no "plausible alternative explanation" for the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia on 4 March.

Moscow continues to deny any involvement but the European Council - meeting in Brussels - promised to stand behind the UK in "unqualified solidarity". BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg says it's unlikely Mrs May will persuade other EU leaders to follow her example and expel Russian diplomats immediately - although some haven't ruled this out.

Det Sgt Nick Bailey, who became ill after attending the scene of the attack, is no longer in a serious condition and has been discharged from hospital. Read the latest on the nerve agent case.

May: Let's be ambitious in Brexit talks

Theresa May won't be in attendance at the EU meeting today, as the other leaders discuss the 21-month transitional period after Brexit, and begin to work out what they want from the next phase of negotiations. On Thursday she told her counterparts she wanted to "create a new dynamic" in talks, adding that issues like Northern Ireland, trade and security should be tackled with "energy and ambition". European Council President Donald Tusk has said he's "absolutely sure" the two sides will work out a way of preventing the return of physical checks on the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Trump appoints 'hawk' as security adviser

Donald Trump's made another change to his top team, replacing national security adviser HR McMaster with former United Nations ambassador John Bolton. Mr Bolton, seen as hawkish on North Korea and Iran, promised to help the US president "make our country safer at home and stronger abroad". Mr Bolton helped build the case that Iraq's Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction, which turned out to be wrong. Mr Trump has described the Iraq war as a mistake. Mr Bolton, who will be Mr Trump's third national security adviser since taking office, begins work on 9 April.

US guns: Why I'm marching on Washington DC

Nikki, Florida high school shooting survivor

A day after the shooting, sitting in the park with all of the students of my school, we mourned the loss of our friends, teachers, and coaches. I felt despair the likes of which I've never experienced in my life. That night, the activism began. My friends started appearing on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, every show on America's dinnertime TV. They talked about what happened in their part of the building, the changes they wanted to see, and the reform that is needed in this country. By the next week, they had a name and they had a purpose.

What the papers say

The Times reports that other EU countries are preparing to join the UK in expelling Russian diplomats following the nerve agent attack in Salisbury, in which Russia denies any involvement. The i and Metro quote Det Sgt Nick Bailey, who has been discharged from hospital after he became ill when exposed to the agent, saying his life will "never be the same again". Meanwhile, the Daily Mail leads on a "wave of fury" over the post-Brexit blue UK passport being manufactured in France. And the Daily Star splashes on a driver who, when stopped by police, handed over a driving licence for Only Fools and Horses Character Del Boy Trotter. Its headline? "Plonker."

Daily digest

Heathrow expansion Extend night-flight ban to seven hours, say MPs

Cancer figures Obesity is a growing cause of the disease, study finds

After THAT collapse How are England's cricketers doing against New Zealand?

Seven days quiz Why is Footloose in the news this week?

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image source, Fabia Mendoza


Today Clothing, footwear and home products retailer Next announces its preliminary full-year results.

19:45 The England team play a World Cup warm-up match against the Netherlands in Amsterdam. Scotland host Costa Rica in another friendly.

On this day

1983 US President Ronald Reagan unveils plans to prevent nuclear war using laser or particle beam technology in space to "intercept and destroy" incoming missiles. The plans quickly become known as "Star Wars".

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