Terrorism

After the Russian airliner and Bucharest tragedies, a gambling story and Justin Bieber we find the real meaty news in the Telegraph, starting with “Shaker Aamer: Britain under pressure to track activities of released Guantanamo prisoner

Britain is under renewed pressure from the United States to track the activities of the final British resident to be released from Guantanamo Bay, as costs to the UK taxpayer spiral to at least £20 million. The Telegraph understands high-level discussions have taken place between London and Washington over how the British security services will monitor potential threats posed by Shaker Aamer, who flew back to Britain on Friday.

He landed at Biggin Hill airport in Kent at lunchtime in a Gulfstream IV private jet, chartered by the British Government, and was immediately taken by ambulance for medical tests.

David Cameron, the Prime Minister, is understood to have been personally briefed on the security arrangements which will be put in place surrounding Mr Aamer.

Each of the nine British nationals released from Guantanamo and half a dozen others who, like Mr Aamer, hold British resident status are each thought to have received £1 million compensation pay-outs from the British taxpayer. Mr Cameron’s official spokesman hinted that Mr Aamer would also benefit from a similar compensation package.

(Ed: but, but Jeremy and Gorgeous George have assured us he’s a very nice man…)

The Guardian makes no reference to possible security surveillance, merely focusing on the “human rights abuse”. The Mirror, however, takes a more balanced view with “‘It would foolish for our security forces not to keep an eye on Guantanamo Brit’

The Independent has another story on “Mohammed Omar Bakri Mohammed: British son of hate preacher killed by Isis militants in Syria

The British son of the hate preacher Omar Bakri Mohammed has reportedly been killed by Isis militants who accused him of insulting Islam.  Mohammed Omar Bakri Mohammed is thought to have been “executed” for apostasy in the Syrian city of Aleppo this week.

Originally from London, he moved to the Lebanese capital Beirut before leaving to fight alongside Isis in Syria more than a year ago. His father preached a hard-line brand of Islam and founded the al-Muhajiroun network of Islamic extremists in the UK, which was known to support al-Qaeda.

Mohammed Omar Bakri Mohammed’s death at the hands of Isis was first reported on 28 October by  the Lebanese news service Lebanon24. Reports suggest he was fighting under the name Abu Ahmed the Lebanese and was killed for “cursing the Prophet Mohamed”, a crime punishable by death under Sharia.

NHS

The Guardian reports that “Foreigners may be charged for A&E treatment under new proposals

Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, is considering whether to charge foreigners for using ambulances and visiting A&E in a move that could further escalate tensions with the medical profession. In a bid to raise money, Hunt is expected to announce a consultation within the next month on whether the NHS should charge patients from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) for emergency treatment.

While no one would be denied urgent care, hospitals would be allowed to withhold treatment for non-urgent medical problems until a payment was made. Patients from inside the EEA would have to present their European Health Insurance card to receive treatment, and their government would be sent a bill. Under the proposals, there would be certain exemptions on charging up front, such as for women in labour, while asylum seekers would be excluded from the system altogether.

The Express carries the same story.

Constitution

The Independent reports that there is a “New Lords revolt looms over plans to allow police to view everyone’s internet browsing history

Peers are preparing for a fresh showdown with the Government over plans to allow police to examine people’s online browsing histories. They are also concerned that the Government has rejected calls for judges, rather than ministers, to issue eavesdropping warrants.

The moves, which come days after the House of Lords torpedoed George Osborne’s tax credit plans, reflect growing anxiety over the impact of a wide-ranging surveillance Bill to be published next week. Critics from across the political divide say they fear the Bill, which will update 15-year-old legislation, could amount to the return of the “Snooper’s Charter” and undermine the privacy of individuals.

The draft Investigatory Powers Bill is expected to give police the authority to access the browsing history of any computer user in Britain and require telecommunications companies to retain information about customers’ website visits.

Free Speech

The Daily Mail reports on the “Death of free speech: As Germaine Greer is branded ‘transphobic’ by student feminists, a top academic attacks the self-righteous zealots censoring history and literature and crushing debate in our universities

Germaine Greer has spent a lifetime courting controversy in her relentless and often provocative battle to advance women’s rights but now it is the high priestess of feminism herself who has been accused of betraying women.

Greer said she was pulling out of giving a lecture at Cardiff University after female students there branded her ‘transphobic’, and lobbied for her to be banned. What had the 76-year-old professor done to warrant this fury?

She had once expressed the opinion that even if a man had himself castrated, he would not look, sound or behave like a woman. She also said that ‘a great many women’ think ‘male to female transgender people’ do not ‘look like, sound like or behave like women’.

Immigration

The Express carries a story “As UK lets thousands flood IN illegally widow aged 91 faces heartbreak of being kicked OUT

In a case that highlights deep flaws in our immigration system, Myrtle Cothill faces being split up from her family and kicked out of the UK. Her heartbreaking plight comes after her family made a honest mistake in her application for residency. Mrs Cothill’s devastated daughter now fears she will die alone in her native South Africa because Government pen-pushers have failed to show leniency and common-sense.

The treatment of the frail grandmother comes as thousands of asylum seekers remain in the UK at taxpayers expense while they wait for a decision on their futures and many illegal immigrants are working in the black economy. The injustice has prompted former Shadow Home Secretary and Daily Express columnist Ann Widdecombe to rally to her cause.

Last night she demanded Home Secretary Theresa May seize control of the situation and allow seriously ill Mrs Cothill to stay here on compassionate grounds.

Portugal

The Telegraph reports from a nation where democracy struggles to survive with “Portugal risks becoming ‘ungovernable’ as conservative government set to collapse after just 11 days

Portugal risks becoming “ungovernable” as Leftist forces prepare to topple the returning government of prime minister Pedro Passos Coelho after just 11 days, the country’s president has warned.

Mr Passos Coelho – whose pro-bail-out coalition presided over four years of austerity policies – was sworn into office on Friday after his ruling coalition finished first in recent elections, but lost its parliamentary majority.

The appointment was met with controversy after the country’s president vowed to block an alliance of Leftist, anti-EU parties from taking the reins of office. The coalition of Socialists, Communists and the radical Left have vowed to bring down the minority government when a parliamentary vote is held on November 10.

Syria

The Guardian reports that “Obama orders US special forces to ‘assist’ fight against Isis in Syria

Barack Obama has ordered up to 50 special operations troops to Syria, US officials announced on Friday, in an apparent breach of a promise not to put US “boots on the ground”, to fight Islamic State militants in the country.

The Pentagon has also been “consulting” with the Iraqi prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, to establish a special operations taskforce to fight Isis “leaders and networks” across the Syrian border in Iraq, a senior administration official told the Guardian on Friday.

But the White House insisted that its overall strategy to combat Isis remained the same and said the special forces troops would be helping coordinate local ground forces in the north of the country and other non-specified “coalition efforts” to counter Isis rather than engaging in major ground operations.

Taxation

The Telegraph finds a new take on making taxation popular with “Five new taxes that British voters would actually welcome

George Osborne says he wants to get the public finances under control. But he’s got a problem. On the one hand, any major cuts the Chancellor tries to make are going to be bitterly opposed; yet on the other, voters refuse to pay more in taxes. Or so the conventional wisdom has it. Here are five new taxes the public would welcome with open arms.

These taxes are:

Bumble Tax
Jabber Tax
Migraine Tax
Rucksack Tax
Troll Tax

Silly story really, and they’re fines rather than taxes.

The Guardian has a more serious tax story with “Scottish Labour promises to restore tax credits

Scottish Labour is to announce plans to restore tax credits for 350,000 working families in a bid to outflank the Scottish National party over the new tax powers coming to Holyrood. Kezia Dugdale, the party’s Scottish leader, will tell delegates at the party’s annual conference that she would pay for the new policy, forecast to cost £440m by 2021, by resisting tax cuts being proposed by the SNP and the Tories.

The proposal is designed to pile pressure on John Swinney, the Scottish finance secretary and deputy first minister, after he said his government could not afford to reverse the abolition of tax credits by the UK government or restore all the UK government’s welfare cuts. It signals the start of a highly-charged contest before next May’s Holyrood election between Scotland’s parties over the use of new tax powers for Holyrood, including the power to set and vary income tax rates from April 2017.

Kids Company

The Daily Mail reports that  “Ministers handed Kids Company its final £3million grant ‘just three days after receiving details of huge payments to individual clients and relatives of staff’

Details of huge payments made to individual clients and relatives of staff at Kids Company were sent to ministers just days before the Government handed over a £3 million grant, according to a leaked report. The report – drawn up by auditors at Price Waterhouse Coopers – revealed that the charity spent £50,000 on a PhD for the relative of an Iranian diplomat, while two children of staff members were awarded more than £130,000 in client payments. One client also received more than £47,000 in tax-free support in 2014, according to the PwC report.

Before agreeing to make the £3million payment, on June 26, Cabinet Office officials warned ministers that a further grant would ‘not represent value for money’. But cabinet ministers Oliver Letwin and Matthew Hancock later agreed to give the money to help restructure the charity, it said.

The PwC report was sent to the Cabinet Office on July 27, three days before the grant was actually paid to the charity, according to the BBC and Buzzfeed News.

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