Plane crash

Several of the media run stories covering various aspects of the Russian plane which crashed over Sinai.

The Express carries macabre pictures of some of the victims still strapped in their seats.

THE first pictures of the 224 Russian plane victims have started to emerge as Islamic State (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the horror crash in remote Egypt.

More than 150 bodies – including five children – have already been pulled from the wreckage after the flight carrying 217 passengers crashed in Sinai, Egypt.

The terror group has claimed responsibility for the downing of the plane, which was flying from the Egyptian resort of Sharm El-Sheikh destined for the Russian city of St Petersburg.

But after initial examinations, officials say the Russian jet could have crashed because of a technical fault.

Rescue teams also found the bodies of other victims strapped in to their seats as well as burnt corpses around 5 km (3.1 miles) radius away from the crashed aircraft.

The jet, operated by Russian airline Kogalymavia was an Airbus A-321 jet was carrying 214 Russian passengers and three Ukrainians. Out of the total 217 passegers, 138 were women, 62 men and 17 were children.

So far the victims have been named as Olga Sheina, Yulia Buleyeva, Alena Moiseeva, Anastasia Bogdanova, Valeria Bogdanova, Anton Bogdanova, Yury Shien and his daughter Anastasia.

The Daily Star claims IS downed the plane as revenge for airstrikes

Egyptian security sources have said initial investigations suggest the MetroJet Airbus A321 crashed on Saturday morning due to a “technical fault”.

But a ISIS affiliate in Egypt has claimed it downed the airliner in the Sinai Peninsula – where the jihadists are waging an insurgency.

Two major airlines – Lufthansa and Air France – have halted flights over the area until they get a clear explanation of what caused the crash.

But Moscow has played this claim down, says Sky News. 

Moscow has played down an Islamic State-linked group’s reported claim that it downed a Russian passenger jet in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula.

The Airbus A321 crashed into a mountainous area shortly after losing radar contact near cruising altitude, with all 224 passengers and crew thought to have been killed.

A statement attributed to the Wilayat Sinai (Sinai Province) group said: “The fighters of the Islamic State were able to down a Russian plane over Sinai province that was carrying over 220 Russian crusaders. They were all killed, thanks be to God.”

The statement was circulated on Twitter and also posted on the Aamaq website, which acts as a semi-official news agency for IS.

However, security sources in Egypt said an initial examination suggests the plane suffered a technical fault.

Russia’s transport minister also urged caution, telling the Interfax news agency the claims “can’t be considered accurate”.

And the BBC also reports that the group’s claim has been dismissed.

An investigation is under way after a Russian airliner crashed in Sinai, killing all 224 people on board.

Egypt’s prime minister said a technical fault was the most likely cause, dismissing claims from Islamic State militants that they were responsible.

However, three airlines – Emirates, Air France and Lufthansa – have decided not to fly over the Sinai Peninsula until more information is available.

Russia is observing a day of mourning after its worst air disaster.

The plane’s black boxes have been found and sent for analysis, officials said.

The BBC’s Sally Nabil in Cairo says the crash has been a major blow to Egypt’s already struggling tourism industry, and the Egyptian authorities are trying very hard to accelerate the investigation process.

The Kogalymavia Airbus A-321 came down early on Saturday, shortly after leaving the resort of Sharm el-Sheikh for the Russian city of St Petersburg.

Egypt’s civil aviation minister Hossam Kamal said there had been no sign of any problems on board the flight, contradicting earlier reports that the pilot had asked to make an emergency landing.

The Telegraph adds that there was no SOS call from the plane.

A commercial plane with 17 children and 207 adults on board travelling from Sharm el-Sheikh to St Petersburg crashes in northern Sinai

A Russian airliner carrying 224 people crashed in a mountainous area of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula on Saturday, killing everyone on board. It was one of the deadliest incidents involving Airbus aircraft over the past decade. 

The Islamic State (Isil) group affiliate in Egypt claimed it downed the plane, without saying how. But Egyptian Prime Minister Sharif Ismail expressed doubt about the claim, saying experts confirmed that a plane cannot be downed at such an altitude, and Russian Transport Minister Maksim Sokolov said the claim “cannot be considered accurate”.

Germany’s Lufthansa, Emirates and Air France said they would halt flights over Sinai until the reasons behind the crash became clear.

Egypt’s civil aviation minister Hossam Kamal said there had been no sign of any problems on board the flight.

And the Sun claims British Airways has told its pilots to divert around the area.

BRITISH Airways has secretly told pilots to stop low flying over Egypt amid terror attack fears.

The warning came before 224 died in yesterday’s Russian plane crash.

IS terrorists made claims they downed the flight from Sharm el-Sheikh.

Thousands of Brits jet to resorts in Egypt and to the Middle East. BA says it will continue to fly to Sharm el-Sheik three times a week.

The Notice to Airmen (Notam) highlights the risk to planes flying below 25,000ft, seen as the maximum height for a shoulder-launched missile.

Hundreds of Egyptian security forces have been killed fighting IS in Sinai, where the plane crashed yesterday.

The Notam was issued in August. A pilot source said: “Below 25,000ft you would be a sitting duck for any terrorist.’’

BA said: “The safety and security of our customers and crew is our priority. We conduct very detailed risk assessments into every route we operate.’’

Snoopers’ charter

Sky News claims the government will backtrack on its plans for the new law.

Police will not get automatic access to people’s web browsing history under new investigatory powers being proposed this week.

However, sources at the Home Office have not ruled out giving the Home Secretary powers to issue warrants for the police to access browsing data.

It is also likely that telecommunications companies will be ordered to retain some data which would disclose the websites visited by their customers for 12 months.

The revival of the so-called “snoopers’ charter” will get its draft publication in Parliament on Wednesday – but the Government has promised the new version of the controversial bill will have “world-leading oversight” by an appointed commissioner.

The original communications data bill of 2012 was shelved after being blocked by the Liberal Democrats, and Government sources say some of the more contentious powers from that bill have been dropped.

There will be no demand for UK communication service providers (CSPs) to store internet traffic from companies in the US, such as Google or Facebook, nor “third-party” data from companies based overseas.

Police will not be able to, or seek to, access everyone’s full browsing history. However, there is a distinction between web browsing (which shows detailed internet search data) and internet connection records (which give names of websites visited).

Although the Telegraph reports a potential clash between Home Secretary Theresa May and intelligence chief Dominic Grieve over the matter.

Theresa May is heading for a dramatic confrontation with Parliament’s official intelligence watchdog over sweeping new powers for spies.

The Home Secretary will publish plans for a major overhaul of the law under which MI5, MI6 and GCHQ, the government’s listening station, operate in secret.

The policy is likely to require mobile phone and internet companies to store web browsing and email records of all their customers for at least one year so that intelligence agents can access them if they suspect individuals are plotting terrorist attacks or crimes.

However, Mrs May is widely expected to reject calls to require the intelligence services to seek authorisation from an independent judge before they can listen to private phone calls, or read the contents of emails and text messages.

Instead, she is likely to insist that she, as Home Secretary, must continue to have the final say over whether to approve permission for MI5 and GCHQ to intercept these private communications.

EU renegotiation

The Telegraph reports that the EU is prepared to give the Prime Minister some of the concessions he is demanding.

David Cameron has been handed a significant window of opportunity to secure his flagship immigration reform as he prepares to set out his full list of demands to European Union leaders.

The European Commission is expected to announce within weeks plans for new restrictions on migrants’ access to benefits, a move that will be a boost to Mr Cameron’s hopes of renegotiating Britain’s relations with the EU.

Amid concerns in Brussels that public support for European migration rules is at risk, plans under consideration include longer waiting times before migrants can claim welfare, and banning the “export” of child benefits to offspring overseas.

Insiders say it offers Mr Cameron his best chance of achieving by far his most difficult demand – denying EU migrants in-work benefits for four years. He also wants to ensure parents only receive payments if their children live with them in Britain.

The Prime Minister has begun talks aimed at securing a better deal for Britain’s EU membership, which will be put to voters at an “In/out” referendum before the end of 2017. This week, George Osborne will travel to Berlin to set out formally his demands for protections for the City of London against new regulations drawn up by countries in the Eurozone.

Breitbart adds that the Chancellor will also be asking for concessions. 

Britain’s Chancellor will outline how he wants to protect London’s financial services industry in a reformed European Union (EU) when he travels to Germany next week.

Prime Minister David Cameron is trying to convince other EU leaders to agree to changes in the way the 28-country bloc is run ahead of Britain’s in-out membership referendum which is due to be held by the end of 2017.

“We are now starting to negotiate directly with our colleagues in Europe through the European Council and setting out more detail of what we think is required,” Chancellor George Osborne said on Friday in York.

Osborne said that in Berlin he would add details of how the British government hopes to achieve its twin aims of addressing the concerns of voters at home about the relationship with Europe, whilst convincing European peers that British-led reforms will improve the bloc.

Polls show British voters are largely split on whether to leave the bloc, with a small majority currently saying they would vote to stay a member.

In talks with his German counterpart Wolfgang Schaeuble, Osborne, one of Cameron’s lead negotiators in Europe, is expected to explain Britain’s fears that ever-closer integration of the euro zone could leave London sidelined in financial policymaking, affecting its banking sector.

Protection for states in the EU but outside the 19-member single currency area is a key priority for Britain, whose financial services industry accounts for around 8 percent of the economy.

Greece

The Telegraph reports that a huge ‘black hole’ has been found in Greece’s finances.

Greece’s battered banking system will need to plug a €14bn black hole to get back on its feet, the European Central Bank has found.

Following months of “stress testing”, supervisors at the ECB have calculated that under its worst case scenario, where the economy deteriorates and loans turn bad, the country’s four biggest lenders will need recapitalising to the tune of €14.4bn. This falls to €4.4bn under its baseline forecast which assumes the economy will return to robust growth by 2017.

The banks – Alpha, Piraeus, National Bank of Greece, and Eurobank – have until November 6 to inform the ECB how they plan to cover the capital shortfall.

Getting the illiquid banking system back to health is a key part of creditors efforts to rehabilitate Greece’s moribund economy following a €86bn bail-out agreed after months of turmoil in August.

The final deadline to resolve banks has been set for the end of the year to avoid private sector shareholders and depositors from being hit under new EU-wide “bail-in” laws that could see them foot the bill for part of the recapitalisation.

Around €25bn had been set aside as part of the country’s third bail-out deal to resolve failing banks with €10bn immediately available under Greece’s European Stability Mechanism loan.

Iraq war

Further pressure on those connected with the Chilcot enquiry has arisen with revelations that ministers were told to destroy evidence, says the Mail.

Tony Blair was rocked last night by a new crisis over Iraq after it was revealed that Ministers were told to ‘burn’ a secret document which said the war was illegal.

The Mail on Sunday has learned how Downing Street descended into panic on the eve of the war when Attorney General Lord Goldsmith told Mr Blair the conflict could be challenged under international law.

The Prime Minister was horrified, and Ministers and officials who had a copy of Goldsmith’s written opinion were told: ‘Burn it. Destroy it.’

Ten days later, with the invasion just days away, Goldsmith did a U-turn and said an attack could be justified. Among those who were told to ‘burn’ their copy was Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon, who flatly ignored the order.

It is also claimed that Mr Hoon threatened to expose such Iraq War secrets when he resisted a bid by Tony Blair to kick him out of the Cabinet. Mr Hoon denied those claims last night. The disclosure is one of the most shocking indications yet that Blair and his inner circle were intent on war, while publicly claiming to be pursuing a diplomatic solution.

It has long been suspected that Labour’s ruling clique put pressure on the Attorney General to come up with a legal opinion in favour of the conflict – an accusation which is being investigated by Sir John Chilcot as a key part of his long-delayed inquiry into the war.

Last week, Sir John announced his report would not be published until June or July 2016.

And the BBC claims former Prime Minister Tony Blair has denied the revelations.

The Mail on Sunday says a report by Attorney General Lord Goldsmith in 2003 said the conflict could be challenged under international law.

It claims PM Mr Blair was horrified and those who had a copy were told to “burn it, destroy it.”

Any idea of destroying such a report was absurd, Mr Blair’s office said.

The newspaper alleges the “burn it” order was issued after a 13-page legal opinion was presented by Lord Goldsmith to Mr Blair less than three weeks before the outbreak of war.

The Mail quotes a senior No 10 figure at the time as saying: “There was pandemonium. The date when war was expected to start was already in the diary, and here was Goldsmith saying it could be challenged under international law. They said ‘burn it, destroy it’ and got to work on the AG.”

The paper reports that among those who were told to destroy their copy was the Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon, who it says flatly ignored the order. It says Mr Hoon told it that he would not comment on the allegations while the Chilcot inquiry into the war was still under way.

“This is nonsense as far as Tony Blair knows,” his spokesman said of the Mail’s allegations.

“No one ever said that in his presence and in any event it would be quite absurd to think that anyone could destroy any such document.

“Mr Blair and Lord Goldsmith dealt with all the circumstances surrounding the advice at the (Iraq) Inquiry at length and with all the documents. The fact is the advice given was that the action was legal and it was given for perfectly good reasons.”

Trident

The Independent claims that Scottish Labour is expected to vote against renewing Britain’s nuclear weapons system.

The Royal Navy’s Trident-class nuclear submarine Vanguard moored in Farslane, Scotland. The SNP has already voted to maintain the party’s firm opposition to renewing Trident when the existing fleet is taken out of service in 2020 PA

The future of Britain’s nuclear deterrent could be thrown into doubt on 1 November when the Scottish Labour Party conference is expected to vote against the renewal of the Trident missile system.

In a move that will highlight  the struggle between the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters and the party’s centre-right, the Scottish branch of the party is set to have the debate that the UK Labour conference at Brighton in September conspicuously avoided.

If delegates back the motion, it would mean that parties representing more than 75 per cent of people who voted in May’s general election in Scotland were clearly against nuclear weapons.

Britain’s nuclear submarines are based at Faslane, while the weapons are stored and maintained at Coulport, both on the Firth of Clyde, and experts warn there are no other viable locations for the current weapons system in the UK.

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