You take the high road


With three days until polling day in the UK, perhaps the most crucial battleground is north of the border – which remains a major challenge for the Labour opposition. As the BBC says: “Scotland, once an impregnable Labour redoubt, has become increasingly hostile territory for the party – and the political implications for governing the UK are significant.

The latest YouGov poll showed the two main parties still neck-and-neck, on 33 per cent, increasing speculation about a hung parliament – something Jonathan Jones at The Guardian says could be “the greatest thing for British culture since the 1970s.”

Meanwhile, for the Lib Dems, the challenge remains making sure they’re not left out in the cold.

The Independent endorsed a continuation of the current coalition. Its Sunday sister did not. The IoS leader says:

Thursday may not, of course, be the end of the democratic process. Our politics seems to have entered a new world in which the post-election negotiations are as important as the pre-election campaigning. Our view is that the coalition was too rushed last time, and that if there are to be multi-party negotiations, they should take time, they should be transparent and the people should feel that they reflect how they voted rather than being stitched up behind closed doors. To be continued next week …


* WORLD * According to Paul Farhi at the Washington Post, Fox News briefly reported that Baltimore police had shot a man on Monday afternoon before a network anchor corrected the report. The Baltimore Sun reported that a shot had been fired by a “fleeing suspect” but that no-one had been hurt. Other media outlets also covered the erroneous report before police issued a statement.

The Post’s Farhi writes:

[Mike] Tobin’s report caused about 30 minutes of unease in Baltimore before Fox anchor Shepard Smith went on-air to correct the story and apologize for the incorrect information. His apology followed a statement from Baltimore police that there had been no shooting.

Live news reports often have errors, and Tobin’s is merely the latest in a long series of them. Yet few recent reports have had as much potential as Tobin’s to stir a violent reaction, considering it came amid more than a week of protests about alleged police misconduct.


A new report by Amnesty International says people in the Syrian city of Aleppo are suffering “unthinkable atrocities,”  the BBC reports.

syria(image: AFP/Yahoo)


* US POLITICS * Tuesday is shaping up to be a crunch day for congressional legislation on review of any Iran nuclear deal. The Hill reports that the full Republican conference is to discuss procedural approaches to the bill at their lunchtime meeting.

After two former aides of Gov Chris Christie pleaded not guilty over charges related to the so-called “Bridgegate” episode, Robert Hennelly writes at Salon on “the outrage no-one is talking about.”

As Hillary Clinton agreed to testify “later this month” before a House panel investigating Benghazi, her husband talked about recent criticism surrounding his Foundation. Politico reports:

Bill Clinton firmly asserted that the foundation he started after his presidency has not done anything “knowingly inappropriate” in accepting foreign cash while his wife was secretary of state. He also veered into territory that was classic Clinton, and not in a good way.

His justification for his own $500,000-a-pop speaking fees — “I gotta pay our bills” — and his insistence that his family is held to unfair standards, in an interview aired Monday on NBC, raised eyebrows inside of Clinton world and out.


After Ben Carson – with his “over the top ego” according to Dana Milbank – and Carly Fiorina (who seems to have a domain name problem) joined the GOP field on Monday, Mike Huckabee looks set to be the latest to declare his candidacy, at an event in Hope, Arkansas on Tuesday.


* MEDIA * The FT’s Shannon Bond reports that a “third top executive in a week” has left Al Jazeera America.


* CULTURE * Tuesday sees the controversial PEN Literary Gala in the wake of a boycott by some prominent writers over an award to Charlie Hebdo sparked what the New York Times calls “an unusually intense war of words in the heart of the American literary establishment.” The event comes in the aftermath of the shooting incident in Texas on Sunday in which two gunmen were killed after attacking an event organized by a group  considered to be anti-Muslim.

Muslim groups condemned the attack.

Finally, the AP reports that scholars at Berkeley have uncovered a number of newspaper columns written by Mark Twain dating from 1865, when Twain was 29.


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