Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Wednesday 4 Jul 2018

1. ‘Unknown substance’ leaves pair critically ill near Salisbury

Police in Wiltshire have declared a major incident amid fears that a man and woman found unconscious just a few miles from Salisbury, where former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned, had been exposed to an unknown substance. The pair found in Amesbury, who are both in their 40s, are in a critical condition in hospital. A number of scenes in the area have been cordoned off as a precaution.

2. Death of six-year-old Alesha ‘was murder’

Police Scotland say they are treating the death of six-year-old Alesha MacPhail on the Isle of Bute as murder. A body was found in woodland on the site of a former hotel on Monday by a member of the public after the girl had been reported missing at 6.25am. She had been staying there with her father and grandparents during the school holidays.

3. World Cup: England reach quarter-finals

England last night beat Colombia on penalties to go through to the last eight of the World Cup for the first time since 2006. The match proper ended with a 1-1 draw and England then won the penalty shoot-out 4-3, the first time the national side have ever won a shoot-out in the World Cup and the second time in any major tournament.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

4. Vote Leave breached electoral rules

The former head of the Vote Leave campaign has jumped the gun to announce the findings of an inquiry by the electoral commission into spending during the EU referendum campaign. Matthew Elliott said the commission has found Vote Leave guilty of breaking rules and making a donation to a group that it should not have.

5. New video shows Thai boys still in cave

A new video has been released of the 12 Thai boys and their football coach who have been trapped by floodwaters in a cave since 23 June. The film shows them introducing themselves to the camera and saying they are in good health. Two divers will stay with them from now on but it is still not clear how they will be brought out.

6. Nurse arrested on suspicion of murdering babies

A neonatal nurse arrested yesterday by detectives investigating the deaths of 17 babies at the Countess of Chester Hospital is suspected of murdering eight infants and attempting to kill another six, police have confirmed. If convicted, 28-year-old Lucy Letby would be the worst child killer known in the UK. Friends have described her as “kind-hearted” and “amazing”.

7. Doctors may prescribe cannabis within weeks

NHS doctors may be able to prescribe cannabis for medical use within weeks, after a review by the chief medical officer for England, Dame Sally Davies, concluded that the current rules on the drug were “very difficult to defend” because of “conclusive evidence of therapeutic benefit”. The Government’s official drugs advisers will now conduct a separate review.

8. VIP paedophile accuser ‘Nick’ charged

The man whose anonymous accusations of a VIP paedophile ring in Westminster in the 1970s and 1980s led to a major police inquiry is to face 12 charges of perverting the course of justice and one of fraud. Named only as Nick, the 50-year-old is also accused of falsely claiming to have seen children murdered and of falsely receiving £22,000 from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.

9. Victoria Pendleton separates from husband

Olympic cyclist Victoria Pendleton has announced she is separating from her sports scientist husband, Scott Gardner. The 37-year-old gold medallist said the two had “grown apart” since their 2013 marriage. They got together at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. Pendleton pulled out of a bid to climb Everest last month and has been battling depression.

10. Briefing: fuel and alcohol prices tipped to rise

The Government is reportedly poised to end the eight-year freeze on fuel duty in order to boost spending on the NHS.

An inflation-linked increase in fuel prices would raise an extra £800m for Treasury coffers next year and would be used to help pay for Theresa May’s promised £20bn a year increase in funding for the health service, says The Guardian.

Fuel and alcohol prices tipped to rise

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.