Poisoned former spy released from hospital

After more than two months, 66-year-old former Russian spy Sergei Skripal has been discharged from a hospital after he was poisoned by a military-grade nerve agent, British authorities said Friday.

The former Russian double agent and his daughter, Yulia Skripal, were attacked in the southern English city of Salisbury on March 4 and found slumped over on a park bench.

Last month, British officials said that Skripal was no longer in critical condition, having joined his daughter in a recovery that could lead to the pair helping investigators uncover what happened March 4.

Skripal was still being questioned by investigators as recently as this week, according to British news reports.

The hospital did not release a detailed assessment of the Skripals’ recovery, citing the two patients’ right to privacy.

Malcolm Sperrin, a medical physicist, cautioned in April that a long-term prognosis for the Skripals remained uncertain.

British Prime Minister Theresa May condemned the poisoning as a reckless and hostile act by Russia on British soil.

May subsequently decided to expel 23 Russian diplomats from Britain in the biggest such move since 1985, years before the end of the Cold War. At least 26 other countries joined the retaliatory measures.

Russia has denied having anything to do with the attack.

— Rick Noack

11 dead in second prison riot in a week

Nine prisoners and two guards were killed during a riot in a prison in the northern Venezuelan state of Lara, Prisons Minister Iris Varela said Friday. It was the country’s second such riot in a week.

The latest riot, at the Fenix prison Thursday, was under control, Varela said.

On Wednesday, inmates rioted at the Helicoide prison complex in Caracas, where prominent opponents of President Nicolás Maduro’s government are detained.

Varela said Joshua Holt, a U.S. citizen jailed in the Helicoide, is still incarcerated. The Helicoide revolt prompted the United States to call for his release.

— Reuters

Envoy: U.S. sanctions likely over pipeline

Germany should brace for U.S. sanctions over the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project with Russia, signaling an escalation of economic conflict with Europe, according to an envoy of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government.

Peter Beyer, the German government’s coordinator for trans-Atlantic relations, said that an official in the Trump administration told him at a meeting in Washington last week that sanctions related to the Baltic Sea pipeline are likely.

Nord Stream is meeting resistance across the political spectrum in Washington, including in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives as well as the White House, he said.

The sharpening U.S.-German conflict over Nord Stream 2, which would expand the direct flow of Russian natural gas to Germany, is adding to points of contention including trade, defense spending and the Iran nuclear accord.

— Bloomberg News

11 killed in blasts at Syria weapons warehouse: Blasts set off by an explosion at a weapons warehouse in central Syria killed 11 people and wounded dozens Friday, a war monitor said, amid soaring tensions between regional archenemies Israel and Iran. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the deaths at the Hama air base included Syrian government troops and allied militiamen, adding that it was not clear what triggered the explosions. Syrian state TV also reported the blasts, which sent a large plume of smoke into the sky, but did not give a reason or mention casualties.

3 children among civilians killed in shelling, Pakistan says: The Pakistani army said India shelled a district bordering Kashmir, killing four civilians, including three children. Indian troops initiated an unprovoked cease-fire violation along the "Working Boundary" targeting civilians in Sialkot, the army said in a statement. It said the shelling also wounded 10 Pakistani citizens. The paramilitary Pakistani Rangers responded and targeted the Indian posts, the statement said. No immediate comment was available from New Delhi. Both countries claim in full the picturesque Kashmir Valley and have fought two of their three wars over the Himalayan region.

— From news services