U.S. President Barack Obama did not “publicly broach the subject of religious freedom” during talks with Saudi King Abdullah, despite a letter from 70 members of Congress urging him to “address specific human rights reforms” both in public and in direct meetings with King Abdullah. It was “remarkable that the president could stay completely silent about religious freedom…. as well as other human rights concerns, with King Abdullah.” — International Christian Concern advocacy group.
Al-Shabaab Islamists publicly beheaded a mother of two girls and her cousin after discovering they were Christians. The two daughters of one of the women, ages 8 and 15, “were witnesses to the slaughter,” sources said, with the younger girl screaming for someone to save her mother.
“You will regret why you left the prophet’s religion.” — Threatening phone message, Kenya.
In short, to finish off jihadists, Washington will now work with the man who until recently funded and reinforced these same jihadists, and is proud of his love affairs with Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. Hamas’s overseas command center happens to be based in Turkey. Good luck.
Turkish soldiers in tanks are lined up along Turkey’s border with Iraq, “observing” ISIS troops close in on the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani, in what appears an approaching massacre.
In pragmatic Islamist thinking, one does not properly become a “martyr” if he gets killed by an army other than Israel’s.
So, the other day, a Kurdish student attempted to get the National Union of Students to pass a motion condemning the “Islamic State”. It’s a pretty uncontroversial motion; after all, what Isil are doing on a day to day basis – the murders, the rapes, the imposition of slavery – is absolutely monstrous.
Yet, the National Union of Students refused to pass the motion, saying that to criticise the “Islamic State” would in some way fuel Islamophobia. In some ways, this is a pretty predictable story – if you offer a student union politician 10,000 doors, they will almost always stride purposefully, waving a banner, towards the one marked “Socialist Worker-inspired idiocy and self-destruction”.
Good morning. David Cameron and a phalanx of MPs are on their way to Rochester, where they will begin their campaign to stop the People’s Army in its tracks. Already in Rochester is our own Matt Holehouse, who has written an essential profile of Nigel Farage’s latest recruit Mark Reckless. Today’s campaign stop will followed by a 1,000 member blitzkrieg of the constituency, with CCHQ relying on its superior machine and financial capacity to outgun Ukip.
The latest clutch of polls show why they must succeed. Record showings for Survation (25%) and ICM (14%) are now followed by Ukip’s highest ever showing for YouGov (16%) and IpsosMori (16%). It’s hurting both parties – Labour are down to 34% in our rolling average while the Conservatives are down to 31% – but it’s the Tories who have the most to lose from the Ukip surge.
It may take something more than a superior ground game to see off Mr Reckless. The PM signalled his backbenchers that further red meat was on its way as far as European migration was concerned. Francis Elliot reports in the Times that Downing Street is considering demanding an “emergency brake” on migration, although Number 10 is divided about whether or not the PM should make his move before the by-election or after. Tom Newton Dunn has got the details for the Sun. The PM will make control over Britain’s borders a “red line” in his renegotiation with the European Union, and will back a British exit in the 2017 referendum if he doesn’t get his way.
The hope was to hold back the announcement until nearer the election, with the decision to adopt the plans made in the summer, but the policy will be unveiled sooner rather than later, in order to spike Mr Farage’s guns. The danger, as Tom puts it, “with firing a big bazooka is that it then leaves the armoury empty – and you’re left with only prayers that it works.”
A FREUDIAN SLIP
Ed Miliband scored a surprise victory in the House yesterday thanks to Lord Freud’s remarks at a Conservative Party fringe that some disabled people were “not worth” the minimum wage. “Labour have got their press operation in gear on this one,” purr the team at Order-Order, who appreciate a good going-over when they see one. The Opposition have more Conference gaffes in the can, a Labour insider tells Steven Swinford.
AN EXPENSIVE MISTAKE
Mistakes in the NHS cost £2.5 billion a year, Jeremy Hunt will say today. The most common costs of poor care include urinary tract infections, blood clots and bed sores. Laura Donnelly has the details.
Jacob Rees-Mogg has joined forces with Stuart Wheeler, the Ukip millionaire who has been instrumental in recruiting Conservative defectors, in order to block the European Arrest Warrant, Matt Holehouse and Chris Hope report. The EAW must be approved by the 1st of December; a further Euro-headache that the PM could really do without.
TIP OF THE ICEBERG
“Rotherham abuse scandal is tip of iceberg – police chief” is the Guardian’s splash. Simon Bailey, the chief constable of the Norfolk police force, tells Randeep Ramesh that sex crimes involving children have “for too long been a hidden crime”.
OVER FOR A GENERATION?
Nicola Sturgeon has been confirmed as Alex Salmond’s successor as leader of the SNP and First Minister after no other candidates came forward to challenge her for the leadership. Scotland will become an independent country “well within her lifetime”, Ms Sturgeon says. Simon Johnson has the story.
ARE YOU LOCAL?
Half of the housing stock in new developments will be reserved for “local” first-time buyers seeking to become owner-occupiers under a Labour government, the party has pledged. People will have to live in an area for two years to qualify as “local”, the party explained.
THE CAM IN WHITEHALL KNOWS BEST
The PM will have the final say over new permanent secretaries, from a shortlist drawn up by the Civil Service, the FT reports. The move has been strongly resisted within Whitehall although the PM’s victory has been greeted by approval from all three parties.
A Polish man married an American girl, and though his English wasn’t very good, they got along very well.
One day he rushes into a lawyer’s office and asks him to arrange a divorce for him. The lawyer says that getting a divorce would depend on the circumstances, and asks him the following questions:
“Have you any grounds?”
“Yes, an acre and half and nice little home.”
“No, I mean what is the foundation of this case?”
“It made of concrete.”
“I don’t think you understand. Does either of you have a real grudge?”
“No, we have carport, and not need one.”
I mean what are your relations like?
All my relations still in Poland.
“Is there any infidelity in your marriage?”
“We have hi-fidelity stereo and good DVD player.”
“Does your wife beat you up?”
“No, I always up before her.”
“Why do you want this divorce?”
“She going to kill me.”
“What makes you think that??”
“I got proof.”
“What kind of proof?”
“She going to poison me. She buy a bottle at drugstore and put on shelf in bathroom. I can read English pretty good, and it say:
Iran has moderated its hostility and should be an ally in the fight against ISIS
The “sudden” discovery that ISIS is a threat to the region and beyond has led the United States and others to rush into alliances with countries that espouse policies that are not significantly different from ISIS. The regional fight with ISIS is not only about territory and power, it is also a continuation of the centuries old conflict between Sunnis and Shiites.
As a Sunni group, ISIS has naturally drawn the wrath of Shiites, particularly in Iraq and Iran (and by extension their Lebanese proxies, Hezbollah). Even Sunni nations are afraid of ISIS, however, because of its declared goal of establishing a caliphate (which they’ve already declared) with its leaders as rulers. Consequently, Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf States have joined the coalition to stop ISIS.