In today’s newsletter: The use of surveillance balloons has gone largely under the radar until several floating orbs were shot down in North America. But China’s not the only country full of hot air – a look at this mysterious twist in international espionage
Good morning. UFOs are being shot down over North America, and one of them is octagonal. OK, that’s a slightly breathless account of events since a Chinese balloon was sighted over Montana 10 days ago, and aliens probably aren’t involved – but the full story is almost as interesting.
After that first balloon was brought down and US secretary of state Anthony Blinken postponed a trip to Beijing in response, three other mysterious objects have been taken out in US and Canadian airspace in the last few days – the last of them an “octagonal structure” with strings attached to it. The US views them as potential surveillance tools.
Policing | Police missed clear chances to identify Wayne Couzens as a danger to women before he murdered Sarah Everard, it emerged as he pleaded guilty to three offences of indecent exposure on Monday. Witnesses recorded either full or partial registration details of vehicles Couzens used, but the cases were not linked to the then-Metropolitan police officer.
Turkey-Syria earthquake | Abu Mohammad al-Jolani, a Syrian rebel leader with a $10m US government bounty on his head, has made an urgent appeal for international aid to Idlib, a province in the north-west under opposition control. Meanwhile, Syrian regime leader Bashar al-Assad has agreed to open two border crossing points with Turkey to allow more emergency aid to the regoin.
UK news | The family of Brianna Ghey, a 16-year-old from Warrington who was stabbed to death on Saturday, said her death “has left a massive hole in our family”. They described Brianna, who was transgender, as “strong, fearless and one-of-a-kind”, and thanked the public for their support.
Israel | Tens of thousands of Israelis gathered in Jerusalem to protest against legislation introduced by the country’s hard-right government aimed at overhauling the judicial system. The changes, which give politicians greater control over the supreme court, could help prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu avoid conviction in his corruption trial, in which he denies all charges.
Fan safety | Uefa bears “primary responsibility” for the catastrophic failures that turned last season’s Champions League final into a horrific experience for thousands of supporters, the organisation’s own review has concluded. The report found no evidence for claims that Liverpool fans were at fault. Continue reading...