Mar 14, 2018

U.K. calls for Security Council meeting after attack on ex-spy

Military personnel in protective gear investigate the scene of the nerve agent attack in Salisbury. Photo: Adrian Dennis / AFP via Getty Images

The United Kingdom has called for an urgent meeting of the United Nations Security Council this afternoon to discuss the use of a Russian-manufactured nerve agent against ex- spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter on British soil, per the BBC. And, during a speech to the House of Commons later this morning, Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to announce a "significant" expulsion of Russian diplomats, according to Sky News.

The big picture: After May declared it "highly likely" that Russia was behind the attack during a speech on Monday, she gave the Kremlin a deadline of midnight last night to provide an appropriate response. Russia — at least publicly — continued to deny its involvement in the attack via a series of incendiary social media posts, prompting today's response from the U.K. Also today, all 29 NATO countries have asked Russia to answer the U.K.'s questions in a joint statement, per AFP's Danny Kemp.

Go deeper

Coronavirus cases rise, as more Americans on cruise confirmed ill

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's NHC; Note: China refers to mainland China and the Diamond Princess is the cruise ship offshore Yokohama, Japan. Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

A U.S. public health official confirms more than 40 Americans on the Diamond Princess cruise ship off Japan have coronavirus, while the remaining U.S. citizens without symptoms are being evacuated.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 1,770 people and infected almost 70,000 others. Most cases and all but five of the deaths have occurred in mainland China. Taiwan confirmed its first death on Sunday, per multiple reports, in a 61-year-old man with underlying health conditions. Health officials were investigating how he became ill.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health

Scoop: Inside the Trump campaign's big hedge on Facebook

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The Trump campaign has invested most of its advertising budget to date on Facebook, testing thousands of versions of ads per day to maximize its spending.

But behind the scenes, a source familiar with the campaign tells Axios, the thinking has shifted: "As everyone can see, we still have strong spending on Facebook, but the percentage of our total media budget [on Facebook] is shrinking."

Trump's revenge tour has the House in its sights

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Saul Loeb/Getty Contributor

In the lead-up to the 2018 midterm elections — buoyed by Republican control of both chambers — President Trump viewed campaigning for the House as a lower-tier priority and instead poured his energy into rallying for the Senate.

But after the GOP reckoning in 2018, and experiencing firsthand how damaging a Democratic-led House has been to him, Trump is now personally invested in helping Republicans regain the majority in November, several people familiar with his thinking tell Axios.