News Daily: Commonwealth decision and Salisbury nerve agent warning

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April 20, 2018 5:29 am Published by

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Commonwealth: Will Charles be the next leader?

The Queen has given him her backing, but it isn’t certain that the Prince of Wales will be chosen as the next head of the Commonwealth. National leaders of the 53-member body, meeting at Buckingham Palace, will hold talks later about who will take over from Her Majesty.

The role is not hereditary and BBC diplomatic correspondent James Landale says there have been suggestions it could be rotated around member states. But UK and Canadian prime ministers Theresa May and Justin Trudeau have given Prince Charles their support. So, what other options are there?

Spy poisoning: Salisbury warned of toxic ‘hotspots’

People living in Salisbury have been warned that toxic “hotspots” of the nerve agent used to poison ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Julia may still exist around the city. Government scientist Ian Boyd said he was assuming that “relatively high concentrations” of Novichok remained in places. Decontamination work, expected to take months, has begun at nine locations. Here’s what we know so far about the poisonings.

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Jowell first to donate data to cancer project

Former Culture Secretary Baroness Jowell has become the first person to donate her medical records to the Universal Cancer Databank, a global initiative aimed at improving treatments. The Labour politician, who has an aggressive brain tumour, said she hoped scientists could “speed up” their efforts as a result of the scheme. Researchers will be able to access the anonymised data in the UCD, set up by an Australian billionaire, for free.

Five ways China’s past has shaped its present

By Prof Rana Mitter, Oxford University

In Beijing, there are long memories of a period, nearly a century and a half ago, when China had little control over its own trade. Britain attacked China in a series of Opium Wars, starting in 1839. In the decades that followed, Britain founded an institution called the Imperial Maritime Customs Service to fix tariffs on goods imported into China.

It was part of the Chinese government, but it was a very British institution, run not by a mandarin from Beijing, but a man from Portadown. Sir Robert Hart ended up becoming inspector-general of the Customs of China, which became a fiefdom for Brits for a century afterwards. Hart was honest and helped to generate a great deal of income for China. But the memories of that time still rankle.

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What the papers say

The Daily Telegraph leads on a report that the EU has rejected UK proposals for avoiding a hard Irish border after Brexit, its headline saying Theresa May’s plans are “in tatters”. Meanwhile, the Times says the cabinet is split over future immigration policy. Elsewhere, the Daily Express complains of “injustice” in the provision of social care, claiming that it is a “postcode lottery”. The i chooses to focus on the unusually warm April weather, using the good old-fashioned tabloid headline “Scorching”.

Daily digest

Stranger Things Time magazine names actress Millie Bobby Brown, 14, one of world’s 100 most influential people

National Trust Charity should be more radical, its new boss tells the BBC

‘Rivers of blood’ The shadow cast by Enoch Powell’s speech 50 years ago

Seven days quiz Who’s clipping peacocks’ wings?

If you see one thing today

The hidden Westerners in Korean drama

If you listen to one thing today

The enduring appeal of Middlemarch

If you read one thing today

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Marathon runner’s hero to join him

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Lookahead

16:30 The International Monetary Fund and World Bank spring meetings take place in Washington DC.

18:00 Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks at a gala dinner celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Muslim Council of Britain.

On this day

1974 The conflict in Northern Ireland claims its 1,000th victim, a petrol station owner.

From elsewhere

Prince’s unclear legacy (Washington Post)

Death and the Great Barrier Reef (The Atlantic)

Five parenting tips from around the world (Independent)

Max Hastings: My love of household chores (Daily Mail)

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