I will be joined by my colleagues:
David Cameron talks to Hillary Clinton during the Somalia Conference at Lancaster House in February 2012. Photograph: WPA Pool/Getty Images
Rowena Mason Political correspondent
Emails to the US presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton from a close confidant portrayed the British prime minister, David Cameron, as snobbish, William Hague as disingenuous and the first coalition government budget as draconian.
The messages from Clinton’s unofficial adviser Sidney Blumenthal paint an unflattering picture of the Conservative politicians taking over from the Gordon Brown government in 2010.
Marked as confidential, Blumenthal writes (pdf) that the popularity of the Liberal Democrats was cratering after the passage of a “draconian Cameron government” budget.
The emails were released under US freedom of information laws after it emerged Clinton had used a personal email account for government business. Clinton is being forced to release the emails in monthly instalments.
In another memo, he delivered a warning to the then US secretary of state about Hague, the incoming foreign secretary, saying he was “deeply anti-European and will be disingenuous with you”.
“On economic policy, the UK is no partner and no bridge to Europe,” Blumenthal wrote.
He also claimed that at no other time since the second world war had the UK and US governments “been at such odds over international economics”.
He compared the manner of Nick Clegg, the former Lib Dem leader and deputy prime minister, with that of Cameron, saying Clegg had an “inbred arrogance (from no less a privileged background than Cameron, though seeming less snobbish because he went to Westminster instead of Eton).”
One email, written while coalition talks were still going on, said the senior Labour politician Peter Mandelson was playing a “cynical double game” in an attempt to become foreign secretary…………………….
Pope Francis said pardons should be issued as part of the jubilee year he previously announced. Photograph: Fabrizio Belluschi/Demotix/Corbis
Agence France-Presse in Vatican City
Pope Francis has called on priests to pardon women who have abortions and the doctors who perform them during the upcoming jubilee year, overruling hardline traditionalists within the Catholic church.
“I have decided, notwithstanding anything to the contrary, to concede to all priests for the jubilee year the discretion to absolve of the sin of abortion those who have procured it and who, with contrite heart, seek forgiveness for it,” he said on Tuesday.
In a speech outlining special measures for the jubilee, Francis said he knew that while “the tragedy of abortion is experienced by some with a superficial awareness … many others … believe that they have no other option”.
The pope said he was well aware of the pressure that some women faced to abort, adding that he had “met so many women who bear in their heart the scar of this agonising and painful decision”.
Francis, who has repeatedly urged the church to show greater compassion, said priests should use “words of genuine welcome”, and make sure those involved were aware of “the gravity of the sin committed”.
Speaking by satellite from the Vatican to the people of Chicago, the pope hears 17-year-old Valerie Herrera tell him how she’d been bullied because of a rare skin condition and had turned to music for comfort. The pope then asks her to sing for me. ‘Be courageous’, he says when she hesitates
The Edinburgh film festival handed back a £300 grant from the Israeli embassy in London after Ken Loach (above) protested. Photograph: John Stillwell/PA
Severin Carrell Scotland editor
Hillary Clinton asked her senior officials to press Gordon Brown to intervene after director Ken Loach persuaded the Edinburgh film festival to reject a grant from the Israeli government.
An exchange of emails released on Monday by the US State Department shows that Clinton was lobbied in May 2009 by a close friend, Brian Greenspun, to take action after a senior figure in the US Jewish community accused the film festival of “inherent antisemitism” and an “abomination”.
The festival had just handed back a £300 grant from the Israeli embassy in London to cover the travel expenses of Tali Shalom Ezer, whose film Surrogate was being shown in Edinburgh during the festival, after Loach protested.
Backed by pro-Palestinian campaigners, the British director urged filmgoers to boycott the festival, saying: “The massacres and state terrorism in Gaza make this money unacceptable. With regret I must urge all who might consider visiting the festival to show their support for the Palestinian nation and stay away.”
A former college roommate to Bill Clinton, Greenspun sent Clinton, then US secretary of state, an email from his brother-in-law, Bruce Ramer, a former president of the American Jewish Committee and an entertainment lawyer in Los Angeles, which warned that the festival’s decision could damage a UK-Israel treaty on film production.
It also fed the far wider boycott movement and, Ramer hinted, promoted violence against Israel………………………..
Hillary Clinton: ‘I’m confident I never sent or received any classified information using private email’ – video
Hungarian authorities have closed Budapest’s main station to refugees and migrants following chaotic scenes on Monday, when people who had been camped outside for weeks were suddenly allowed to leave for Austria and Germany without visa checks.
The move followed the earlier closing of the train station altogether, when all trains to the west were stopped from leaving. About 100 police in helmets and wielding batons guarded the station and dozens of refugees and migrants who were inside were forced outside.
A government spokesman said Hungary was trying to enforce EU law, which requires anyone who wishes to travel in the borderless Schengen zone to hold a valid passport and visa…………………
Tamimi family members try to pull the Israeli soldier off Mohammed, 11, during protests against Palestinian land confiscation in Nabi Saleh, West Bank. Photograph: Abbas Momani/AFP/Getty Images
Peter Beaumont in Jerusalem
Late last Friday a series of photographs from a protest in the Palestinian village of Nabi Saleh dropped on the news wires.
They portrayed a masked IDF soldier trying to arrest a boy accused of throwing stones (denied by villagers) before his mother and teenage sister intervened.
The pictures, taken by agency photographers, were striking, if not the fact of the demonstration and scuffle itself.
The soldier, armed with an assault rifle, holds the boy in a headlock while sitting on him; the family claws at his mask; the daughter bites him on the wrist.
The soldier detains Mohammed, aged 11. Photograph: Mohamad Torokman/Reuters
Ahed Tamimi bites the soldier’s hand. Photograph: Abbas Momani/AFP/Getty Images
In the 24 hours and more that followed, the pictures and video footage of the scuffle shot by another member of the family went viral, prompting comment in the Israeli and international media as well as on pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian websites………………………….
Next week, she’ll be our longest-reigning monarch. But historians will struggle to find glory in her era
Long to reign over us – that old incantation has worked, so next week the Queen’s reign becomes the longest ever. She overtakes Victoria, who kept going for 63 years, seven months and two days. That’s all they need do – stay alive, procreate and do nothing to upset the multitudes.
She is past-mistress of nothingness. A dutiful enigma, say her flatterers, or a conveniently empty vessel into which Helen Mirren can imagine any amount of knowingness and intelligence. Another avalanche of adulation is about to asphyxiate us; with glossy supplements on “The Greatest Reign”, exhibitions in royal palaces selling souvenir albums, and Douglas Hurd’s gushing biography, Elizabeth II: The Steadfast. Steadfast or hanging on until grim death? Charles is now the oldest ever heir to the British throne. If the Queen lives as long as her mother, he’ll be 79 when/if he accedes. His lugubrious presence at Queen Beatrix’s abdication in 2013 couldn’t but suggest a certain longing, the same year Belgium’s King Albert stood down for his son. Is steadfastly denying her son so admirable, when other parents remortgage and raid pensions to help their children on their way? But then, “they” are not at all like us.
Though we mark eras by their comings and goings, “Elizabethan” hasn’t caught on as an architectural, moral or social signifier. Regency, Victorian and Edwardian have resonance, but trying to crystallise her decades into an epoch will cause furious debate. At her coronation, they tried to make her the symbol of TV-age modernity, a pretty young mother in excelsis in Westminster Abbey, heralding what Winston Churchill promised would be “an immense and undreamed of prosperity, with culture and leisure even more widely spread”. Living standards did soar, though by less than our competitors and far less fairly spread.
By then, the great Labour government of 1945 had collapsed back into the hands of aged cold-warrior Churchill. Yet optimistic not dystopian futurology was the fashion, with scientists predicting we’d be living in space by now. My older sister had the improving Young Elizabethan magazine, with earnest articles on Edmund Hillary climbing Mount Everest………………….
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The First Vice President Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum returned to Kabul today after participating in a month long military operation in northern provinces of Afghanistan, specifically in northern Faryab province. Gen. Dostum appeared in a press conference after his return from the north and accused Pakistan, particularly the country’s military and Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) for being involved in the killing of innocent civilians and Afghan leaders.
08/31/15 KP: 600 pro Akhtar Mansour Taliban arrived in Zabul’s Khak-e-Afghan to confront with opponents
Afghanistan Casualties, Exclusive of Civilians
U. S. Casualties Total To Date Killed: 2363
Recently Identified Color denotes today’s confirmation
Staff Sgt. Forrest B. Sibley, 31, of Pensacola, Florida. He was assigned to the 21st Special Tactics Squadron, Pope Army Airfield, North Carolina….died of wounds suffered Aug. 26 when the vehicle they were traveling in was attacked near Camp Antonik, Afghanistan.
Capt. Matthew D. Roland, 27, of Lexington, Kentucky. He was assigned to the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Florida…died of wounds suffered Aug. 26 when the vehicle they were traveling in was attacked near Camp Antonik, Afghanistan.
Master Sgt. Peter A. McKenna Jr., 35, of Bristol, Rhode Island, died Aug. 8, in Kabul, Afghanistan, of wounds when he was attacked by enemy small arms fire. McKenna was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.?