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‘Putin the pariah’ and asteroid strike
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‘Putin the pariah’ and asteroid strike

The papers continue to be dominated by the Salisbury poisoning case.

The Daily Telegraph reports that security sources now think the nerve agent was placed in a suitcase belonging to Yulia Skripal when she was visiting Moscow – meaning the “Kremlin-backed hit squad” responsible for attacking her and her father didn’t come to the UK.

The paper says intelligence agencies are working on the theory that an item of clothing, cosmetics or a gift was “impregnated with the toxin”.

Many of the papers emphasise the significance of the joint statement, condemning Russia, signed yesterday by the leaders of the UK, US, France and Germany.

The Independent describes it as “unprecedented” saying such statements from the “quad” countries have only previously been made at foreign minister level.

The Financial Times characterises it as “Nato’s leading powers closing ranks against Vladimir Putin”.

The Metro agrees. Its headline is “Putin the pariah.”

The Times uses its editorial to praise the unified response. It suggests Mr Putin might have hoped to create divisions – perhaps by playing off states heavily dependent on Russian gas.

But the “Western alliance is holding”, the Times says, “for now at least.”

‘Thin ice’

Such harmony is in short supply in the White House, according to the Washington Post, which reports that President Donald Trump has decided to fire yet another member of his top team – the national security adviser, HR McMaster.

Also on “thin ice”, the paper says, are the veterans affairs secretary, the housing and urban development secretary and the education secretary.

The Post says it reflects how an “impulsive” Mr Trump is feeling emboldened by what he considers “triumphant” recent decisions, such as agreeing to meet Kim Jong-Un and imposing tariffs on imported metal.

The Daily Mail is among several papers to record the marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle has been given the most official of seals of approval – a formal blessing from the Queen.

Her consent to a “contract of matrimony” was issued after a Privy Council meeting.

The Mail says without the declaration from his grandmother, Prince Harry’s descendants could technically have been disqualified from succeeding to the throne.

But, the paper points out, given the Queen is hosting and helping to pay for the wedding that was always an unlikely outcome.

Asteroids

Nasa, meanwhile, has weightier matters on its mind: how to prevent a huge asteroid strike.

And, according to the Daily Telegraph, it has a potential solution – a huge nuclear spacecraft, capable of shunting asteroids or blowing them up.

Anyone questioning the worth of the project need only consider a 100-foot asteroid passed within 27,000 miles of the earth last year – a distance, the Telegraph says, that astronomers consider “damn close”.

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