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News Daily: Essex lorry deaths latest and No 10 denies Brexit split

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Police question driver over Essex lorry deaths

Investigations continue over the grim discovery of 39 bodies in a refrigerated container near an Essex port. As police question a lorry driver - named locally as Mo Robinson - on suspicion of murder, the National Crime Agency (NCA) says its officers are trying to identify any "organised crime groups who may have played a part". The container arrived in Purfleet on the River Thames from Zeebrugge, Belgium, where prosecutors are trying to work out how long the lorry was in the country. "It could be hours or days, we just don't know," they say. Here's what we do know so far.

The lorry cab used to pick up the trailer had been driven from Northern Ireland, where police have raided two houses associated with the arrested man - one in Markethill, County Armagh, and another in nearby Laurelvale. The UN estimates 491 people have died or gone missing crossing Europe since early 2014, including five found dead in - or on - lorries in the UK. And the NCA says Channel crossings are increasingly co-ordinated by criminal gangs. One man who fled war-torn Syria for the UK tells the BBC what it's like to be smuggled in a lorry.

No 10 denies government division over Brexit strategy

Battle to get the prime minister's Brexit deal through Parliament, or abandon efforts in favour of a general election? No 10 is denying Boris Johnson's cabinet is split over what to do next, after MPs narrowly approved his deal - but rejected a fast-track timetable designed to get the UK out of the EU by 31 October. Our assistant political editor Norman Smith says the fact Mr Johnson met Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn on Wednesday - without agreeing anything - suggests No 10 may not be wedded to the idea of a winter general election.

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Scientist gets £2m decades after inventing diabetes test

It was created using his daughter's toy microscope kit and bulldog clips, but Prof Ian Shanks's 1980s prototype has developed into standard technology used by diabetics to test blood sugar levels. What became the electrochemical capillary fill device has since netted his former employer Unilever £24m. And after a 13-year legal battle, the UK's highest court has awarded Prof Shanks a £2m share of the bounty. He says most of the compensation will go on legal fees but he hopes the ruling will benefit future inventors.

The final rush to climb Uluru

By Frances Mao, BBC News, Sydney

For decades, hundreds of thousands of visitors to Australia's desert centre have trekked up Uluru, the ancient red monolith formerly known as Ayers Rock. But from Saturday, the climb will be banned. Uluru is a sacred site for the local indigenous custodians, the Anangu people, who have long asked tourists not to go up.

Most already follow those wishes - only 16% of visitors undertook the climb in 2017, when the ban was announced. In recent weeks, however, park officials have reported a surge in visitor numbers. Pictures of crowds crammed on to the rock have sparked anger, but also debate about the looming change.

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What the papers say

The discovery of 39 bodies in a refrigerated lorry trailer - described as a "tomb of steel" by the Daily Mirror - dominates Thursday's front pages. "Human cargo driven to frozen fate," is the Daily Telegraph's headline. "Why were warnings ignored?" the Daily Mail asks, saying concerns were raised about the Essex port of Purfleet, where the truck arrived in the UK, three years ago. "Every port in the UK has a trafficking problem," according to the i.

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Lookahead

08:00 The Royal British Legion launches its 2019 Poppy Appeal at London's King's Cross Station.

08:00 Royal College of GPs' annual primary care conference gets under way in Liverpool.

On this day

2003 Supersonic aircraft Concorde touches down for the final time at London's Heathrow Airport at the end of its last commercial passenger flight.

From elsewhere

Downing Street knows the best way to get the Brexit it wants is to ask the country a different question (New Statesman)

I voted Leave, she voted Remain: Brexit is tearing me and my wife apart (Telegraph)

Trump has achieved a 'sloppy' success in Syria - for now (Atlantic)

'I formed the 45 Metre Underground Club': Eurostar stories of sex, celebrity and speed (Guardian)

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