The Telegraph leads with British hostage Alan Henning ‘beheaded by Islamic State killers’

Islamic extremists have released a video showing the beheading of Alan Henning, the British aid worker kidnapped in Syria. The British-accented jihadist known as Jihadi John again appeared in the video, claiming that Mr Henning’s death was in retaliation for UK strikes against the jihadist group.

He declared that Mr Henning’s blood was “on the hands of the British parliament”. MPs voted last week in favour of taking military action against the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (Isil) militants. RAF Tornados began air strikes this week.

The Independent and Guardian also carry the story.  The Daily Mail goes on to report on the hunt for ‘Jihadi John’ and they also report on battles near the Turkish-Syrian border.


The Telegraph continues to support the Tories with “David Cameron: Tax cuts could start before Britain is ‘back in black’

Middle-class families could be taken out of the 40p rate within a year of a Conservative government being elected, David Cameron has indicated. The Prime Minister said he would not have to wait until Britain’s finances are “back in the black” in 2018 to start delivering tax cuts.

His intervention means that under a Conservative government Britons could start to enjoy the benefits of the economic recovery significantly earlier than expected. However, the Prime Minister twice refused to pledge that defence spending would be kept above 2 per cent despite repeated calls from senior military figures. By contrast, the health and aid budget has been ring fenced.

The Guardian bears out that story, while The Independent doesn’t give them such an easy ride with “Tories suppressed vital reports on drug abuse, says Home Office minister

Moves to help addicts kick their habit have been thwarted by senior Conservatives “playing politics” with the lives of vulnerable people ahead of the general election, the drugs minister has claimed.

Norman Baker opened a new Coalition rift after he condemned the Tories for “suppressing” two Home Office reports which set out plans to tackle addiction and combat the popularity of “legal highs”.

His attack came on the eve of the Lib Dem conference in Glasgow which will lay bare the differences between the Coalition partners on human rights, anti-terror legislation, health spending and welfare cuts. Simon Hughes, the justice minister, will also today condemn his Tory boss, Chris Grayling, for banning prisoners from receiving books.


The Independents reports that Authors, teachers and parents launch revolt over ‘exam factory’ schools

More than 400 children’s writers, parents and teachers have signed a letter to The Independent expressing concern over the anxiety caused to children by the ever-higher stakes of so-called “exam factories”.

The signatories – who include the author and former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen, as well as child development expert Sue Palmer and parenting writer Sue Cowley – say they are “increasingly concerned at the pressure that is being placed on our children”, especially by the testing regime.

The concerns have tapped into a storm of debate about the nature of schooling, after the CBI’s director general, John Cridland, recently called for a move away from the “exam factory” model of education towards pupils getting a more “rounded and grounded education” for their own sakes and for that of the economy.


The Telegraph also reports that Tory defector Mark Reckless moves family into hiding

Ukip recruit Mark Reckless has moved his wife and children to an undisclosed location amid the political furore over his defection from the Conservative Party. Mr Reckless has faced an onslaught of criticism from his former party colleagues since announcing his switch on the eve of the final Tory party conference before the 2015 general election.

Some have accused him of openly lying about his plans to defect, which has triggered a by-election in the Rochester and Strood constituency in Kent. During campaigning among locals, he told BBC South East Today: “My wife and two children are taking a bit of a break at an undisclosed location, put it that way.


The Independent asks the awkward question “Is Latvia next on Putin’s hit list?

With Russian fighter jets active on its border, Latvia fears it will suffer the same fate as Ukraine. As the Baltic state goes to the polls, Charlotte McDonald-Gibson reports from Riga on a country living in fear.

Historical parallels are not hard to find at Latvia’s Museum of Occupation as the country prepares for elections overshadowed by the Ukraine crisis. Gunars Nagels, the museum director, recalls the first presence of Soviet troops on Latvian soil in 1939, just before the start of a five-decade occupation. “They were supposed to stay in their bases, just like in Crimea,” he says.

Mr Nagels also sees worrying similarities between Russia’s actions today and Nazi forays into neighbours’ territories before the Second World War. “If you look at the excuses being put forward for what is happening in Ukraine, you can see what Hitler did,” says Mr Nagels. “First he complained about the status of Germans in the Sudetenland. So there was an agreement they could have Sudetenland, and he took the rest of Czechoslovakia. Next up was the status of Germans in Poland. So they took over Poland.”


The Guardian reports on a speech where George Osborne faces backlash after branding charities ‘anti-business’

George Osborne has triggered a backlash from charities after he urged companies to defend the economy against their “anti-business views” and those of pressure groups and trade unions. The chancellor called on business leaders to raise their heads “above the parapet” and fight back against charities and others who he said were making arguments against the free market and standing in the way of economic prosperity.

Osborne told the annual convention of the Institute of Directors in London: “You have to get out there and put the business argument, because there are plenty of pressure groups, plenty of trade unions and plenty of charities and the like, that will put the counter view. It is, I know, a difficult decision sometimes to put your head above the parapet, but that is the only way we are going to win this argument for an enterprising, business, low-tax economy that delivers prosperity for the people and generations to come.  There is a big argument in our country … about our future, about whether we are a country that is for business, for enterprise, for the free market.”

Liberal Democrats

The Guardian reports on a warm-up for the Liberal Democrats’ conference with “Liberal Democrats pledge to spend extra £1bn a year on NHS

The Liberal Democrats will today move to outflank their Tory coalition partners by pledging to spend an extra £1bn a year on the NHS – over and above the amount promised by David Cameron – as the party tries to overcome dire poll ratings in the runup to the general election.

As the Lib Dem cabinet minister Ed Davey predicted in a Guardian interview that the “Cleggmania” of 2010 will be replaced by “Clegg respect” next year, the party announced that it would target a series of tax and pension reliefs for the well off to provide extra funding for the NHS from 2016.

The announcement by Danny Alexander, the Lib Dem Treasury chief secretary who spoke of the need to fund “the jewel in our country’s crown”, came as the party gathered in Glasgow for the last of the pre-election conferences of the main UK parties.


The Mail reports on David Cameron’s visit to Afghanistan and his “pep talk” to British troops with “Struggle against Islamist fanatics is this generation’s Second World War Cameron tells troops on surprise visit to Kabul, as he admits Afghanistan is STILL a terror hotbed

The fight against Islamist terror is this generation’s Second World War, David Cameron said today on a surprise visit to Afghanistan. In a speech to British troops at Camp Bastion in Helmand, the Prime Minister said the Army should be ‘incredibly proud’ of what it had achieved. But he said that the atrocities committed by groups like Islamic State in Iraq and Syria showed that there was still a long battle ahead.

Mr Cameron said: ‘If our great grandfathers were fighting against Prussian domination of Europe; if our grand fathers were fighting fascism; if our fathers were fighting the cold war against communism; I’m afraid to say, this struggle, against Islamist extremist terrorism, this is the struggle of our generation. It is about protecting ourselves in our streets, in our homes, in our towns.’

The trouble is that with his ring fencing of health and foreign aid, and intention to reduce the deficit, and no commitment on maintaining defence spending, those very forces would be cut under him.

Human Rights

The Express reports that Human rights madness to end: Europe’s judges to be stopped from meddling in our affairs

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling will promise a sweeping overhaul of Britain’s  relationship with the European Court of Human Rights to end its meddling in our affairs. The Strasbourg state will no longer be able to claim some European family right to stay in the country.”

Fellow Tory backbencher Dominic Raab said: “These plans will ensure we can protect our fundamental freedoms while ending the mission creep of the Strasbourg court which has wrought such damage to our criminal justice system.”

A new Bill of Rights and Responsibilities will restore “common sense” to the application of human rights law, stopping terror suspects and other serious foreign criminals using it to block deportation. The Bill will scrap the Human Rights Act introduced by Labour in 1998.

However, The Express totally ignores the response from the EU, as reported by Breitbart: “ECHR Plans Dubbed ‘Insincere’ As European Commission Refutes Tory Pledges

Conservative proposals to repeal the Human Rights Act and replace it with a ‘Bill of Rights’ have hit a stumbling block as the European Commission has made it clear that adherence to the European Convention of Human Rights is a key requirement of EU membership…

However the proposals have been met with anger by UKIP leader Nigel Farage MEP who said they were “utterly insincere” and “simply being done as a response to UKIP pressure.”


While The Independent reports on the likely closure of Blackpool airport on Tuesday, the Mirror reports that Thousands of EasyJet employees set for huge payout after airline’s profits soar

Thousands of EasyJet cabin crew and engineers are in line for a huge payout after the budget airline announced its profits had soared, thanks to surging demand for beach ­holidays and angry French flyers climbing aboard.

EasyJet said yesterday that it was ramping up the amount it paid in dividends to 40% of its annual profits-after-tax figure rather than the existing 33%. Around 95% of easyJet’s 9,000 staff are shareholders.

Last year, the group made a pre-tax profit of £478million and after-tax of £398m. It said its pre-tax profits would be even bigger this year at between £575m and £580m compared to forecast £545m to £570m. It has yet to calculate an after-tax figure.

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