Refugee Crisis

The Telegraph leads with “German and Austria will accept Syrians, Afghans and Somalis as they embark on 150-mile trek to Vienna

Concession announced by Werner Faymann, the Austrian Chancellor, within hours of Hungarian authorities providing buses for more 1,000 refugees who had set off on foot for Vienna after nearly a week stranded in squalor outside Budapest’s main railway station.

After nearly a week stranded in mounting squalor outside Budapest’s main railway station, more than 1,000 refugees took matters into their own hands on Friday and decided to try to walk towards a better life.

Half protest-march, half procession, the dismal crocodile of refugees left the Keleti station at 10am carrying what meagre possessions they could – a carrier bag of clothes, a bag of baby’s bottles, a few books or a phone – and set off for Vienna more than 150 miles away. Many carried pictures of Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, which they waved defiantly at the police, demanding to know why Hungary was not treating the refugees from Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia with more compassion.

Naturally, the Guardian also leads with this and “First refugees arrive from Hungary after Austria and Germany open borders

The first of thousands of refugees reached Austria early on Saturday morning after busloads left Hungary in a sudden exodus when the Austrian and German governments agreed to receive them.

About 1,200 people had set off westwards through Hungary early on Friday evening, on foot and in cars, while many more remained at Budapest’s Keleti railway terminus. But then Hungarian authorities announced they would provide buses to take the refugees to the Austrian border and a rapid embarkation began in Budapest, where many were camped at Keleti railway station.

By 3am local time news channels and social media were showing people being met by Austrian authorities at Nickelsdorf as the first buses arrived. There were scenes of hot drinks being handed out in cups from an outdoor kitchen to passengers from the buses, while other footage showed police explaining what would happen next. Later they were ushered into shelters where more food and stretcher beds awaited.

The Independent reports on a slightly different aspect with “Hungary to bus people to Austrian border after over 1,200 people start 135km walk after international trains blocked

Hungary has made the unexpected decision to bus refugees to the Austrian border, after over a thousand people blocked from boarding international trains from the capital took matters into their own hands and embarked on the 135km (85 mile) journey on foot.

The government dispatched the buses after a nearly half-mile-long line of people streamed from the international Keleti rail station in Budapest onto a main road on Friday. Shortly after, the Austrian and German governments confirmed they would accept the refugees into their territories.

“Because of today’s emergency situation on the Hungarian border, Austria and Germany agree in this case to a continuation of the refugees’ journey into their countries,” Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann confirmed on Facebook.

Russia, Syria and Cameron

The Telegraph reports that “Vladimir Putin confirms Russian military involvement in Syria’s civil war

Russia is providing “serious” training and logistical support to the Syrian army, Vladimir Putin has said, in the first public confirmation of the depth of Russia’s involvement in Syria’s civil war.

Commenting on reports that Russian combat troops have been deployed to Syria, the Russian president said discussion of direct military intervention is “so far premature,” but did not rule out that such a step could be taken in future. To say we’re ready to do this today – so far it’s premature to talk about this. But we are already giving Syria quite serious help with equipment and training soldiers, with our weapons,” the state-owned RIA Novosti news agency quoted Mr Putin as saying when asked about Russian intervention in Syria during an economic forum in Vladivostok. We really want to create some kind of an international coalition to fight terrorism and extremism,” Mr Putin said.

The Guardian reports on Cameron looking for excuses to avoid a head-on clash with Russia: “Cameron signals he would drop Syria airstrikes vote if Corbyn is Labour leader

David Cameron has indicated he will abandon plans to extend military airstrikes against Islamic State (Isis) targets from Iraq to Syria if Jeremy Corbyn is elected leader of the Labour party.

In a sign of how the leftwinger could have an impact on Britain’s foreign policy, even as opposition leader, the prime minister said that he would only hold a parliamentary vote on the strikes if there is “genuine consensus”.

Speaking in Madrid, the prime minister said: “I would only proceed going further on this issue if there is genuine consensus in the United Kingdom about it before going back to parliament.” The frontrunner for the Labour leadership is opposed to the current airstrikes against Isis targets in Iraq and to extending them to Syria.

Meanwhile, the Express has another angle on it: “Britain pledges to help thousands of refugees – but rich Arab states have taken in NONE

Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates – all relatively close to war-ravaged Syria and said by commentators to have the capacity to quickly house refugees – are yet to take any of the four million Syrians fleeing the region. The news comes as record numbers embark on the life-threatening journey to Europe – and packed refugee camps in Iraq, Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt come under threat from the Islamic State advance.

And although the tragic death of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi has seen European attitudes to the crisis change overnight, campaigners have slammed Gulf states’ unwillingness to change tack. Syrians must apply for tourist visas and work permits in order to have any hope of starting a new life in the Gulf – with few of the costly documents ever granted.

Labour and Jeremy Corbyn

John McTernan in the Telegraph says “The Corbyn doctrine on war is a betrayal of what makes Britain great

In defence circles in Washington there is only one question ever really asked of representatives of the UK – are you Britain or Belgium? We don’t mind, the Americans say, we just need to know for planning purposes. Traditionally this has extracted an embarrassed shuffle and a knowing grin.

Now we have a new answer. The Corbyn Doctrine. We saw that position set out in full during the last of the Labour leadership debates. First, Jeremy Corbyn said that he couldn’t think of any circumstances in which he would deploy military forces. Shameful enough when you think he should really have recalled genocide in Rwanda, ethnic cleansing in former Yugoslavia and atrocities in Sierra Leone. Then he went much further, saying: ‘We have to think about the level of armed expenditure we have in this country – £35bn a year. We are in the top five of military spending across the whole world … Can we afford to have global reach as a country of 65 million people on the north-west coast of Europe?’ In other words, should we even aspire to be Belgium?”

Labour and Yvette Cooper

The Guardian has a report “Yvette Cooper: change Labour’s clause IV to champion equality

Yvette Cooper has sought to energised her determined late run for the Labour leadership by announcing she wants to rework the famous clause IV of Labour’s constitution so that it includes a new explicit commitment to champion equality.

The shadow home secretary said that the current clause IV– rewritten two decades ago by Tony Blair in a symbolic ideological break with Labour’s previous commitment to public ownership – was striking in that it calls only for equality of opportunity.

In an interview with the Guardian, Cooper said: “That is not enough. We need to tackle widening inequality itself. In the 90s it was argued, ‘So long as we just champion equality of opportunity everything else will look after itself,’ but it does not. The big challenge of the next 10 to 20 years is widening inequality.”

Cameron and Refugees

The Independent is scathing about Cameron’s offer on refugees: “David Cameron bows to public opinion with pledge to take ‘thousands’ of extra refugees – but is the promise a diversion?

David Cameron has pledged that the UK will take “thousands” of extra refugees from Syria, accepting Britain has a moral responsibility to act after previously suggesting that “taking more and more” would not help.

Speaking during a trip to Spain and Portugal, the Prime Minister also announced that the UK would spend an extra £100million supporting refugee camps in countries bordering Syria, where four million are currently living.

But he indicated that he would hold back from calling a parliamentary vote to bomb Isis in Syria, in an extension from the current missions in Iraq, despite its rise worsening the humanitarian situation in the country.

BBC Propaganda

The Independent reports that “BBC to face down Vladimir Putin with plan for new World Service Russian TV channel

The BBC is proposing to set up a new World Service satellite news channel for Russian speakers, in a direct challenge to Russia Today, the Kremlin-funded television service found guilty of impartiality breaches.

The World Service would expand services in Russia, North Korea, the Middle East and other territories where state-sponsored broadcasters are denying audiences an impartial and independent source of news.

Tony Hall, the BBC Director-General, will set out plans to enhance the World Service’s role as “the UK’s most important cultural export”, in a speech on 7 September, in which he will deliver the corporation’s response to Government proposals which could radically reduce its size and scope.

The Daily Mail expands on the North Korean element with “BBC to take on dictator Kim with service for North Korea in bid to break open secretive country

The BBC is planning to begin radio broadcasts in North Korea – the first time it has ever targeted the notoriously secretive country. It is one of a number of new foreign-language services which the BBC is putting forward under proposals to expand the World Service, which is often blocked by authoritarian states.

The service would broadcast in Korean in an effort to counter the diet of propaganda aired under the leadership of its despotic leader, Kim Jong-un. The Corporation is also aiming to launch its first Russian-language TV channel, as it battles to combat the growing influence of foreign propaganda broadcasters such as the Kremlin-backed RT – formerly Russia Today – and China’s CCTV.

ISIS and Anjem Choudary

The Mail reports that Hate cleric Anjem Choudary is freed on bail ahead of trial over ‘support for ISIS’

Radical preacher Anjem Choudary has been granted bail as he awaits trial for allegedly encouraging support for Islamic State. The 48-year-old married father-of-five appeared before the Old Bailey via video link from top security Belmarsh prison alongside his co-accused Mohammed Rahman.

Following lengthy legal argument Mr Justice Saunders granted them both bail with a range of strict conditions ahead of their trial, which is due to start next year. hey are both charged with inviting support for the banned terror group Isil, also known as Isis or Islamic State, between June 29, 2014, and March 6, 2015, by posting on social media.

In his ruling, Mr Justice Saunders said: ‘I am not persuaded in either case that there are substantial grounds for believing that either defendant will fail to surrender to custody. While I accept the points made by the prosecution, they are both men who are settled in this country. They have families to support and with the conditions that are suggested I think it is unlikely that they will attempt to abscond. I have been much more concerned to whether there are substantial grounds for believing that they will commit further offences.’


The Express reports that “Government ‘forced to recruit foreign teachers to plug gaps’ amid schools crisis

Schools are struggling to recruit teachers for the understaffed subjects locally, and the Department for Education has launched a programme to draw in staff from abroad. Whitehall mandarins could place adverts across the EU, as well as in China and Singapore, whose schools consistently top international league tables for sciences and maths.

The news comes in the wake of the government missing its recruitment target for trainee teachers of the subjects – and as two London academies hired 66 Jamaican teachers to cope with shortages.  Teaching unions gave cautious welcome to the move to increase staff numbers – but said it was an “overdue” response and acted as “just a sticking plaster”.

ATL union boss Mary Bousted said: “This is overdue recognition and acceptance by the Government that we have a teacher shortage. Until the Government recognises that teachers’ pay is too low and the impact of constant Government-induced policy changes, and does something to improve working conditions, teachers will continue to haemorrhage from our schools.”


The Mirror reports that “Frontline police are being pushed into office jobs as part of budget cuts

Police officers may have to take on back office roles in the wake of fresh budget cuts , crime commissioners have warned. Forces are already said to be warning that they will have “no option” but to shift uniformed officers into support posts if a new round of austerity means civilian staff numbers are scaled back.

The Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) has submitted an analysis of the possible impact on the police service of possible cuts over the next five years. The Home Office, which is responsible for handing out money which makes up the majority of police budgets, has been told to prepare proposals that would achieve savings of 25% and 40% by 2019/20.

The department said no decisions have been taken on police funding beyond the current financial year.

Human Rights

Sarkis Zeronian writes in Breitbart with “Abolish Human Rights Act and Britain is like Putin’s Russia says EU

One of the most senior Brussels bureaucrats has warned Britain it would be on a par with Putin’s Russia if the Conservative Government follows through on its pledge to repeal the Human Rights Act. A government minister has hit back at the suggestion, depicting it as irresponsibly wrong.

The Conservative Party fought the last general election on a manifesto which contained a pledge to abolish the Labour government’s Human Rights Act. Although backbench colleagues feared the policy had been quietly dropped after it was left out of The Queen’s Speech in May, at the June events commemorating the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta the Prime Minister reaffirmed the policy. On that occasion he declared it the duty of politicians to restore the ‘distorted’ reputation of human rights.

Now, the Daily Mail reports, European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans has “strongly rebuked” the proposed reform, warning of “alarming tendencies emerging” on the rule of law across Europe. He said it would be impossible to criticise Russia for human rights violations if the government honoured the manifesto pledge, saying: “You can only challenge others if you are ready to be challenged yourself. I take issue with people in the UK who say ‘we don’t need a Court in Strasbourg to check what we’re doing. If you take that position in London, the same position will be taken in Moscow or elsewhere. It only works if you’re prepared to be criticised.”

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