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Europe briefing: 7 stories to know about today

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Europe briefing: 7 stories to know about today

Europe briefing: 7 stories to know about today
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Reuters
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1) Identity second suspect accused of poisoning Skripals revealed

The second Russian who Britain says was responsible for the poisoning of former double-agent Sergei Skripal was a military doctor for Russia's GRU military intelligence unit, investigative website Bellingcat said on Monday.

Bellingcat said the real name of the man previously known as 'Alexander Petrov' was Alexander Yevgenyevich Mishkin.

"Bellingcat's identification process included multiple open sources, testimony from people familiar with the person, as well as copies of personally identifying documents, including a scanned copy of his passport," the website said.

2) Bulgarian journalist third killed in EU in last year

Bulgarian authorities are investigating the rape and murder of an investigative reporter. Viktoria Marinova, 30, is the third journalist to have been killed in the EU in a year.

The brutal "Mafia-style" murder of Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in October last year shocked the continent.

She had been probing numerous cases of corruption on the Mediterranean island before a powerful bomb blew her car up near her home.

Slovakia-based investigative journalist Ján Kuciak was murdered in February 2018 and the subsequent national outcry helped topple the government.

2) Jamal Khashoggi case

Turkish authorities continue to look for clues in the alleged murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who entered his country's embassy last week in Istanbul and failed to emerge.

Istanbul said it believed he was killed inside his nation’s consulate.

He was a harsh critic of the Saudi regime and wrote for The Washington Post.

Before disappearing, the prominent Saudi writer had been living in self-imposed exile in Washington, fearing retribution for his critical views on the kingdom’s policies.

4) Trump apologises to Kavanaugh

Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in as the newest Associate Justice of the Supreme Court during a ceremony with President Donald Trump at the White House on Monday night.

During the ceremony, Trump offered an apology to Kavanaugh for his experience during the confirmation process.

"On behalf of our nation, I want to apologise to Brett and the entire Kavanaugh family for the terrible pain and suffering you have been forced to endure," he said, adding that the confirmation process was based on "lies and deception."

"You, sir, under historic scrutiny, were proven innocent," said Trump.

5) DUP leader in Brussels

Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Arlene Foster was on Tuesday in Brussels to hold an "intensive" three-day set of meetings with chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier and representatives of EU countries.

In her opening remarks, she said there could be no regulatory barriers within the UK and said her party has not overplayed its hand and the PM has "accepted its red line".

6) Explosion at Ukrainian ammunitions depot: defence ministry

Around 12,000 people were evacuated after a fire and explosions at a rate of two to three a second hit a Ukrainian Defence Ministry ammunition depot early on Tuesday morning, officials said. No casualties were reported.

Ukraine's state security service said it was investigating possible sabotage, and the defence ministry's spokesman echoed this said the fact that explosions were set off in different parts of the depot pointed to sabotage.

The depot is located in the Chernihiv region, 176 km (109 miles) east of the capital, Kiev. A woman who lived 50 km away told the TV channel 112 she could hear the explosions.

7) Venezuelan opposition lawmaker who dies in custody

Venezuela's government said on Monday that a jailed opposition lawmaker killed himself by jumping from the 10th floor of the state intelligence agency headquarters (SEBIN) where he was being held, but his party said he was murdered by the government.

Municipal lawmaker Fernando Alban, 56, was jailed last Friday for alleged involvement in the explosion of two drones during a military parade in August that was led by President Nicolas Maduro, Interior Minister Nestor Reverol said.

"At the moment he was going to be transported to court, while he was in the SEBIN waiting room, he jumped from the window of the building and fell, causing his death," Reverol wrote in a post on Twitter.

That account differed from the one by Chief Prosecutor Tarek Saab, who said in televised statements that Alban had asked to use a bathroom and jumped from there.

The opposition First Justice party, for which Alban was a Caracas municipal counsellor, said he was murdered.