The front pages: Jihadist 'recruiters' unmasked

The appearance online of a Jihadist "recruitment video" made by three young Britons and two Australians is examined in many of Saturday's newspapers.

Image caption The video which appeared on Jihadist sympathising websites had "high production values" experts said

The Daily Mail leads with the story and examines the background of the one Briton identified in the video - student Nasser Muthana from Cardiff.

Muthana, who urges fellow Muslims to join him fighting for the extremist Isis group in Syria and Iraq, was an academic high-achiever, the paper says, having gained 13 GCSE's, 12 at A or A* level.

The paper reports that Mr Muthana, 20, left Cardiff eight months ago with his 17-year-old brother. Their family says they had no idea of any intention to go to Syria.

His father, Ahmed, tells the paper that he thinks the "Westernised" boys were "brainwashed" at a mosque he did not attend.

"They don't represent me now and I don't want to see them again," he says.

The Daily Mirror says Britain's security services are investigating reports of another Briton, an 18-year-old from Coventry, who is said to be fighting with Isis.

The paper's commentary adds that intelligence sources fear that the trans-national Jihadist group will attack Jordan next.

The Daily Telegraph reports that in a separate development, the Americans arrested a US-based Bangladeshi who was allegedly involved in recruiting Westerners to fight in Somalia for the Jihadist group al-Shabaab.

The man was in contact with a Briton who was arranging travel for men from the UK to join al-Shabaab, the FBI told the Telegraph.

In a feature in the Telegraph, Philip Johnston looks at the work to identify the Britons fighting abroad and, if possible, to bar them from returning to the UK.

It quotes MI5 director-general Andrew Parker as saying:"we only know what we know".

"But that is a lot more than they are letting on - or at least we hope it is," comments Johnston.

Looking at the wider issues of the conflict in Iraq, the Independent predicts that the days are numbered for the country's prime minister Nouri al-Maliki.

The paper says the US and Iran have lost faith in his administration, and Iraq's leading Shia cleric has called for an "effective" government to be appointed that "avoided the mistakes of the old".

The Guardian's leader column says "the danger now is that Mr Maliki, having governed in such a sectarian way, will fight his war in an equally sectarian manner.

"What he wants from allies abroad is not advice, criticism or political recommendations, but military help with no strings attached."

The paper concludes that Mr al-Maliki should change his ways "or go".

'Hasty proposals'

The government is to announce the "end of the road for car parking zealots", the Daily Telegraph announces on its front page.

The "zealots" concerned are "greedy" councils who use "spy" parking cameras and mobile vans as a "cash cow" to "rake in cash", according to local government minister Eric Pickles.

The paper says Mr Pickles will ban the use of "spy" cameras and encourage more appeals against fines, by giving a 25% discount to those who try to overturn a fine but fail.

Image caption Eric Pickles said councils were bending rules to use parking fines to make a profit

The Telegraph explains "ministers are trying to ease the policing of parking, as they believe it often makes driving to the shops too difficult and forces people to go out of town or online."

The Daily Mail reports that pedestrian groups have been less-than-enthusiastic about the new guidelines.

Dr Kevin Golding-Williams, of the charity Living Streets, told the paper: "This hasty proposal is contrary to any strategy to encourage families to walk or cycle and once again places priority on motor traffic above the safety and ease of pedestrians."

The Sun publishes a list of how much councils do "rake in" via parking charges and fines, with London councils taking the top seven spots nationally and two boroughs, Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea making above £30m each annually.

However the paper despite hailing Mr Pickles' plan as an easing of the "war against motorists", is not fully convinced.

Its leader column says that the recently increased maximum fines for speeding - which it dubs "draconian" hardly makes for "joined-up government".

The Times headlines another of Mr Pickles' parking plans - a relaxation of policy that will allow motorists to park in streets for free if the parking meter is broken.

In another government road initiative, the prime minister has promised a "blitz" on potholes, the Daily Express says.

An extra £168m would be spent on fixing "three million potholes", David Cameron is quoted as saying.

The cash - first announced in March's budget - will be distributed nationally, but councils such as Hampshire's, Northamptonshire's and Lancashire's, which have demonstrated "best practice" in road-mending, will get the most.


Good news could be afoot for those who - like this writer - live in areas with little or no mobile coverage.

The Times headlines a government plan to end rural phone reception blackspots by forcing the various operators to share networks.

This will enable mobile users to switch to rival networks instantaneously when they lose the signal from their own provider, creating "national roaming", the paper explains.

The Times says the plan, which is unprecedented worldwide, will set the government "at loggerheads" with phone service providers.

The paper says the scheme is the brainchild of culture secretary Sajid Javid, who won the PM's support for it after David Cameron became exasperated when repeatedly losing his phone signal on a recent visit to Norfolk.

There are challenges, however, as the Times points out.

"National roaming" would need a system that could drop calls being made by customers as they moved from one area into another where a different service provider had a stronger system.

It could also "disincentivise" companies from providing expensive facilities in rural areas if their non-spending competitors could simply use them.

The problem of poor mobile coverage is not just a countryside one, the Daily Mail adds. It says that Downing Street itself "is a notorious mobile backspot".

The paper says that phone operators are putting forward a counter-suggestion to national roaming involving a network of "neutral masts" that are co-owned by all the major firms.

This may not be enough for Somerton and Frome MP David Heath, the Mail notes, who has said he has to "squat against the sink" in his constituency office in Somerset in order to be able to make calls.


Italy's loss to Costa Rica in the World Cup has meant that for England, the contest is finished -and Fleet Street being Fleet Street the protracted inquest starts now.

The Sun seems quite sanguine about the side's early exit, quoting the Monty Python song Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life, and headlining "Roll on 2018".

The paper reckons "England's youthful side have at times - OK, only at times - looked their most exciting for years."

The Financial Times' pundit, Simon Kuper, says the cause of the ignominious group stage flop was simple.

"Other countries understand the key element in football is the pass," he writes, yet in this cup and others in recent times, "England passed poorly."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption England's banana skin came in the form of Uruguay's Luis Suarez on Thursday night

The Guardian's coverage asks "so whose fault is it this time?" and draws up a case for the prosecution against England's manger Roy Hodgson ; players; the system, and even the media and the public.

The paper concludes "in the final analysis, most fans said before the tournament that the minimum they wanted to see was evidence of improvement and hope for the future.

"The disappointment over the display against Uruguay stemmed from their absence.

"Hodgson's future, and the final analysis of England's performance, may now rest on whether they can salvage some pride from the wreckage against Costa Rica."

The Times points out that there are more losers than the team, with the pub trade anticipating the swift curtailing of the "£45m bonanza" it enjoyed for the first two England matches.

The paper adds it's not just pubs and those selling national team merchandise who are suffering, but the country as a whole is missing out on a "feel-good factor", according to economist Howard Archer.

He may well not be talking about Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland when he made that assessment.

Making people click

Star: Britain's hottest couple

Independent: Clarkson's lap dance question to Mandela

Mail: Ugly truth behind "handsome" criminal

Mirror: The rise of the C-string

Guardian: Lana Del Ray's difficult interview