Train Terrorism

The Telegraph leads with “US marines prevent French train massacre: latest

A man has been arrested after firing a Kalashnikov rifle on board an Amsterdam-Paris train, according to French media. Le Parisien reports that a Briton and an American are “seriously” wounded.

A third person, the French actor Jean-Hugues Anglade, was also wounded and is said to have raised the alarm. La Voix du Nord, a newspaper in the Calais region, said a man was arrested on suspicion of firing the weapon on a Thalys train near the northern town of Arras.

Police say that have not ruled out terrorism as a possible motive and Bernard Cazeneuve, the French interior minister, has been summoned to the region. The gunman, said to be of “North African origin,” is said to have been “taken down” by a group of US marines onboard the train.

Other papers naturally report this: The Independent,  The Guardian and Daily Mail

Immigration

And, linked to the previous item if you like, Nigel Farage writes in the Telegraph with “Immigration will be the defining issue of this EU referendum campaign

The results of Ipsos-MORI’s new poll are astounding – yet unsurprising. They describe the real concern that the majority of British people have for uncontrolled immigration: half of the respondents rank it as one of their biggest worries, compared with just over a quarter who said their greatest fear was the economy.

It is particularly interesting that this concern transcends political ideologies: both Labour and Conservative supporters admitted it was their number one issue, demonstrating the disconnect between the old parties’ base support and their elected representatives.

I still find it astonishing that we live in an age where the two biggest parties share the same policy on the defining issue of the time – they are both are committed to open borders with the European Union. You only have to look at the numbers to see the truth: in the 12 months to June 2005 under Tony Blair, net migration was at 320,000. Under David Cameron’s premiership, net migration in 2014 was 318,000. Different parties, different prime ministers: same undesirable outcome.

World Economy

But perhaps people should be worried about the economy with reports such as: “Record capital flight from China as industrial slump drags on

Capital outflows from China have surged to $190bn over the last seven weeks, forcing the authorities to intervene on an unprecedented scale to defend the Chinese currency. The exodus of funds is draining liquidity from interbank markets and has pushed up overnight Shibor rates by 30 basis points in the last ten trading days, a sign of market stress.

Yang Zhao from Nomura said $90bn left the country in July. The pace has accelerated since the central bank (PBOC) shocked the markets by ditching its currency peg to the US dollar. Capital flight for the first three weeks of August is already close to $100bn, despite draconian use of anti-terrorism and money-laundering laws to curb illicit flows.

And, this: “Panic selling grips global markets as stocks crash on China turmoil

The FTSE 100 capped off a “frightful fortnight” which has seen more than £135bn wiped off from the index as investors were rocked by renewed fears of China’s economic hard-landing.

Britain’s benchmark index closed down 2.83pc at 6,187 on Friday, ending a ninth consecutive days of falls which has led its descent into official “correction” territory. The index has now fallen by more than 13pc since hitting a high of 7,104 in April.

The panicked sell-off was sparked by another round of disappointing data from China, where factory output (PMI) contracted at its fastest pace since the height of the global financial crisis in 2009.

Chinese Corruption

The Independent lifts the lid on China’s flawed corruption crusade: How the Tianjin disaster pulls back the curtain on the way the country really functions

Balzac suggested that behind every great fortune lies a great crime. In China today it seems that behind every industrial accident lies a reeking morass of corruption.

This week Chinese state media reported that the son of a former local police chief was secretly a joint owner of the Tianjin warehouse that went up in a devastating fireball last week, killing 114 people, injuring 674 and damaging some 17,000 homes.

According to the official Xinhua news agency, this son used his official connections to obtain licences for the warehouse, even though it flagrantly breached regulations prohibiting the storage of hazardous chemicals (sodium cyanide in this case) near residential areas.

Benefits

The Independent reports that “Iain Duncan Smith faces calls to quit over fake quotes scandal as petition attracts more than 19,000 names”

Iain Duncan Smith is facing calls to quit over his department’s admission that it fabricated quotes to promote its benefit sanctions regime. A petition demanding that the Work and Pensions Secretary resign has already attracted more than 19,000 signatures on its first day.

The Department for Work and Pensions was forced to admit it had made up comments from supposed “benefit claimants” earlier this week. The fake quotes appeared on leaflets that offered ‘case studies’ of people who had apparently been helped by the strict new benefit sanctions system introduced by Mr Duncan Smith under the Coalition Government.

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Justice

The Independent reports that Crippling court costs force poverty-stricken people to ‘plead guilty to crimes they didn’t commit’

Poverty-stricken people are being encouraged to plead guilty to crimes they did not commit out of fear they will face crippling costs imposed by new financial penalties, leading lawyers, magistrates and campaigners have warned.

Legal experts have called for an urgent review of the criminal courts charge, which has been compared to “18th-century” forms of justice after being implemented earlier this year.

The new levy was introduced by the former Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, to make criminals pay for the upkeep of the courts. Because the charge can be up to 10 times higher if someone is found guilty after pleading innocence, critics say it is undermining the justice system by encouraging impoverished defendants to plead guilty even if they have done nothing wrong.

Islamic Fundamentalism

The Daily Mail has a report: “Groomed as a jihadi bride by her OWN parents: Judge puts girl, 16, in care to save her from a family home filled with ISIS propaganda

A girl radicalised in a family home filled with Islamic State propaganda must be removed from her parents, a judge ruled on Friday. Bombmaking guides and pictures of beheadings were found at the home of the 16-year-old, who this week achieved a string of As and A*s at GCSE.

Mr Justice Hayden said her ‘deceitful’ mother and father had done as much harm to her as child molesters. She was suffering ‘psychological and emotional harm’ through exposure to extremism and had even tried to travel to Syria to become a jihadi bride.

The High Court judge said she needed to be safe from the pernicious influence of IS propaganda. He read out a list of the disturbing terror documents that police found on electronic files at her east London home. Some of it belonged to her, some to her siblings and parents but police say it was swapped among them all. Electronic devices said to belong to the parents showed lectures inciting armed attacks on non-Muslims.

The same paper also has this: “Monstrous lie luring British girls to be sex slaves for ISIS: Jihadis flood the internet with photos showing women as revered gun-toting fighters. But they just want them as playthings to torture and abuse

EU Corruption and Deceit

The Express has two stories with different angles on this. The first may not be pure corruption, but some might say so: “Brussels bureacrats spend £435k of YOUR money teaching American kids about benefits of EU

Officials are advertising for “partners” to go into US schools in a bid to give pupils “understanding and knowledge of the EU as a major player in the global economic system”. Critics have branded the project “vile propaganda” and slammed it as a shocking waste of money.

But the EU has justified the huge expense by saying the contract falls into its “external aid programmes”. The advert says the role involves organising a competition for youngsters across the US where they give presentations about the EU.

Officials hope the event will create “an increased understanding of European history, economics, institutions, and current events relating to the EU and the euro area”.

And this article, of real live corruption: “MEP’s son poses as dead mother to claim £750,000 from the EU in pension scam

THE son of a former MEP posed as his dead mother to claim a staggering £750,000 from the European Union. Kenneth Stewart reportedly hanged himself after confessing the fraud to police earlier this summer. The 63-year-old impersonated his mother Margaret for 14 years after her death in 2001 to claim her widow’s pension.

She was paid £4,000 a month from the European Commission after her MEP husband, also called Kenneth, died in 1996. The money was paid into an account controlled by Mr Stewart before police discovered the fraud during an unrelated investigation.

An insider told the Telegraph: “There will be questions asked about this. Pensioners are normally expected to provide documentation every two years proving they are still alive, so this should never have been able to go on for so long.”

Korea

The Guardian reports from the two Koreas with “North Korea prepared to risk ‘all-out war’ as Kim Jong-un puts troops on alert

North Korea warned it was prepared to risk “all-out war” as leader Kim Jong-un put his frontline troops on combat readiness to back up an ultimatum for South Korea to halt propaganda broadcasts across the border by Saturday afternoon. The warning came as military tensions on the divided Korean peninsula soared following a rare exchange of artillery fire on Thursday that put the South Korean army on maximum alert.

“Our military and people are prepared to risk an all-out war not just to simply respond or retaliate, but to defend the system our people chose,” North Korea’s foreign ministry said in a statement early Saturday on the official KCNA news agency, according to the South’s Yonhap news agency. The situation has reached the verge of war and can no longer be reversed,” it said, after the ultimatum for the South to switch off its loudspeakers by 5pm local time on Saturday afternoon (8.30am GMT) or face military action.

Seoul said it would continue the broadcasts unless the North accepts responsibility for landmine explosions this month in the demilitarised zone (DMZ) that wounded two South Korean soldiers. Pyongyang denies it planted the mines.

The Mirror also reports on this.

Labour Leadership

The Guardian also reports that Harriet Harman insists result of Labour leadership election will be final

Harriet Harman has been forced to publicly defend Labour’s handling of its increasingly fractious leadership contest as the party came under attack from Andy Burnham’s campaign and supporters of the frontrunner, Jeremy Corbyn. The acting Labour leader stressed that the outcome of the ballot due next month would be final and promised the party’s rules would be applied in a “rigorous, fair, robust and even-handed way”. She said: “Whoever is elected, they will be legally elected and the result will stand.”

She said it was “dishonest and shameful” for Conservatives to sign up to vote, many in the belief that a Corbyn victory would harm Labour’s electoral chances, but stressed her determination that only Labour supporters would be able to vote in the contest. Harman was speaking after criticism of the contest intensified on Friday. Burnham’s campaign gave a heavy hint that it may challenge the outcome of the election if Corbyn wins, given the scale of feared infiltration by Tory voters.

The Mirror also reports on the battle with: “Jeremy Corbyn CAN lead Labour to victory in 2020, say bosses of the biggest unions

The leaders of six of the biggest trade unions have hit back at claims Jeremy Corbyn cannot lead Labour to victory in 2020. In a joint open letter, shown to the Mirror, the six general secretaries said it was time for Labour to “move on” from the Blair-Brown years.

The six – including Len McCluskey, boss of biggest Labour donor, Unite – warn Labour lost in May because voters did not believe the party had changed. And they said picking Mr Corbyn as the next leader offers the best hope of winning voters back. They told us: “We want Labour to win, which is why we back Jeremy Corbyn.  Labour lost because it didn’t speak clearly enough to large parts of the electorate, it failed to show voters it had changed and moved on.”

The letter added: “Our members need a Labour Government, and they also need a Labour Opposition that will stand up for them – this is why our unions have nominated Jeremy Corbyn.”

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