News Daily: Two more Novichok victims and customs plan snippets

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Emergency meeting to discuss poisoning

Image copyright PA

Two people who collapsed at a house in the town of Amesbury, in Wiltshire, last weekend were poisoned by Novichok - the same military grade nerve agent that was used against ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in March. The pair, believed to be Charlie Rowley and Dawn Sturgess, are now critically ill in hospital.

Police say there's nothing in their background to suggest they were deliberately targeted, so how did this happen? That's the key question police and public health officials are now trying to answer.

Amesbury is just seven miles from Salisbury, where the Skripals were attacked - and where millions of pounds have been spent to clear up any trace of the highly dangerous chemical. BBC security correspondent Gordon Corera says some may have been left over in a place authorities were unaware of - a park perhaps or a house.

The government's emergency committee Cobra will meet later to discuss the situation. In the meantime, a reminder for you of what happened to the Skripals and what exactly Novichok is.

Latest on the customs impasse

Downing Street has now released some information about the plan it hopes will solve the problem of customs after Brexit. The catchily named "facilitated customs arrangement" would, No 10 says, allow the UK the freedom to set its own tariffs on goods arriving into the country, but would use technology to determine in advance where they will ultimately end up - and therefore whether UK or EU tariffs should be paid. More here on the nitty gritty from the BBC's John Pienaar.

On Friday, Theresa May hopes the cabinet will agree to give the plan their backing, but first it's thought she might run it past German Chancellor Angela Merkel. BBC Berlin correspondent Jenny Hill says the reception may not be a sympathetic one though, because Mrs Merkel - herself preoccupied with a domestic row over migration - has repeatedly warned Britain it can't cherry pick the terms of its exit.

Commuters advised not to travel into London

A signal failure has caused major rail disruption after a total loss of signalling power in the Streatham area. Both Southern and Thameslink have advised passengers not to travel to the capital, and avoid Victoria railway station. Gatwick Express services to and from London are suspended. Disruption is expected until the end of the day, National Rail has said.

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Happy birthday NHS

Seventy years ago today the NHS was born and the BBC is marking the occasion by looking back over its history and forward to its future. A timeline in pictures picks out some of the landmark moments, and here, the key facts and figures are summed up in chart form. We've also talked to Jean Jones, one of the first NHS patients, and brought together two nurses from then and now to compare notes. Follow our live page throughout the day.

'My wife can never shout my name in public'

By Rebecca Seales, BBC News

In Arabic-speaking countries, Jihad - sometimes spelled Jehad - is a perfectly normal thing to call your baby. The word means "a struggle for a noble cause". And in the days before 9/11 and the War on Terror linked it to mass murder in the public imagination, it functioned just like any other name. For Jihad Abdo, one of Syria's best-known actors, it was the name his millions of fans followed. The one the authorities followed. The one that got his car smashed up when he was felt to have criticised the government in the LA Times.

Read the full article

What the papers say

The papers want answers after news of another nerve agent poisoning emerged, but they're also looking ahead to Friday's key cabinet meeting. The Daily Express says the prime minister's customs compromise plan leaves the EU a "chink of light" in the Brexit darkness. But unnamed Remain-backing ministers have told the Guardian it ignores the services sector, while Leavers are worried about freedom of movement. In the Financial Times, the boss of Jaguar Land Rover warns that if the UK crashes out of the EU without a trade deal it would threaten the firm's survival here. Meanwhile, the Daily Mirror feels the NHS's 70th anniversary is "bittersweet" as the "country's most-loved institution" has been starved of funds and its principles undermined by Conservative cuts and privatisation. The Daily Telegraph thinks the health service should not be "worshipped like an ancient god" and advocates a new mixed funding system.

Daily digest

'Revenge porn' New sentencing guidelines come into force

Statue of Liberty Climbing protester detained

Froome Team Sky release minute details about their number one rider

Satisfied customers Which supermarket has the happiest shoppers?

If you see one thing today

'What comics taught me about black history'

If you listen to one thing today

Britain's transport divide

If you read one thing today

Image copyright Zeb McGann

'I hide my salary from my boyfriend'

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11:00 Bank of England Governor Mark Carney gives a speech on what trade wars will do to the UK and the rest of the world.

21:40 The Art Fund Museum of the Year is announced, with the winner getting £100,000.

On this day

1975 American Arthur Ashe becomes the first black winner of Wimbledon men's singles championship.

From elsewhere

A son graduates. A father's deportation hearing looms (New York Times)

The obesity map of England (Daily Mail)

The environmental impact of travel (Guardian)

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