'Call to arms' over Islamic State, Victoria Beckham's London store and PM's apology

Once again, the prospect of UK forces going to war in Iraq features on many front pages.

The Times is among the papers quoting Prime Minister David Cameron's comments to the United Nations, which it describes as a "call to arms" against Islamic State (IS - also known as Isis or Isil).

And the Daily Mirror praises his decision to recall Parliament to seek approval for military intervention. "It is right and proper that MPs vote on the request for help from the democratic government in Baghdad against the zealots who have overrun a large part of the country, murdering captured soldiers and civilians," it says, arguing that it is "no re-run" of the 2003 invasion.

Even so "the debate is likely to be fiery; decisions on military engagement always excite passions among MPs, especially since the second Iraq war", writes Kiran Stacey in the Financial Times. He says Mr Cameron has made efforts to support Labour's backing, and so can expect to win the vote but adds: "That is not to say, however, that there will not be significant dissent from war-weary MPs on all sides."


Approval needed?

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Some papers question Labour leader Ed Miliband's decision to back strikes in Iraq but not in Syria unless they are supported by a UN resolution.

The Daily Telegraph's editorial suggests Mr Miliband is in a "dither", arguing: "To target Isil in Syria, he says, would require a vote by the UN, which he knows would be vetoed by Russia and China. Yet Mr Miliband has also said he supports the US and Arab air raids that have already taken place in Syria over the past few days. If American action is not legal, why is he backing it?"

The Independent agrees that this "appears contradictory", adding: "If the UK has a duty to help fight Isis in Iraq, surely it should do so wherever it would be effective? Mr Miliband would be wrong to allow Russia and China a veto at the UN."

Former UN Appeal Judge Geoffrey Robertson QC writes in the Independent: "Isis is a group of international criminals, committing war crimes and crimes against humanity with genocidal intent, and the right - arguably the duty - to protect their victims does not depend on Russian approval in the [UN] Security Council. As with the pirate, torturer and slave trader, no UN approval is necessary for law-abiding states to use force against such barbarity."


'Gearing up'

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The Times says that RAF personnel in Cyprus are already gearing up for military action in advance of the Commons vote. Should air strikes be ordered, RAF Akrotiri "will be used for the first time as the launchpad for bombing raids by British warplanes on another country", says the paper. "Up until now, Greek Cypriots have been reluctant for it to be used in any offensive action against nearby Arab states. But the threat from Islamic State appears to have altered that mindset."

In his analysis for the Daily Mirror, Chris Hughes says this "could be the operation which sees the West finally steer the Middle East out of its current barbaric mess" but that it will take decades. Even then, "the tricky bit will be when Western forces are seen to leave, while actually staying to help out when needed," he adds.

Britain should be prepared for a "long, bloody, expensive war", according to retired Gulf War officer Maj Gen Tim Cross. In the Sun, he spells out the risks to allied forces, says it's "inevitable" that civilians will die and warns that air power alone will not defeat IS.

Meanwhile, the Daily Express highlights an early success of the US bombing campaign that began on Monday, backed by five Arab states. A man it calls "the world's most evil terrorist" - Mohsin Al Fadhli, who leads the Khorasan group of militants - was among 50 al-Qaeda veterans killed in the first wave of US air strikes, it reports.


Posh frock shop

Much excitement is generated by the opening of Victoria Beckham's first London store, on Dover Street in Mayfair.

Metro's Naomi Mdudu was given a sneak preview by the owner, who assures her there will be no "Pretty Woman moments", telling her: "I think we've all been into stores where we've been made to feel like we shouldn't really be there. I don't want people to feel frightened or scared to come in."

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That doesn't impress Deborah Ross, who writes in the Times: "I like snotty, particularly if it means being ignored. I don't mind being looked over contemptuously and then ignored, as long as I'm ignored... I don't want to exist in shops. I want to go in, not buy anything (probably), not make friends, then leave without having to do that over-bright 'Thanks! Bye!' which is always excruciating."

Telegraph fashion editor Lisa Armstrong, who was also on the tour, notices Mrs Beckham's trousers speckled with dust from the whitewashed walls. "I don't think she has been wielding a paintbrush, but she has overseen all the details (polished concrete floors, gold chain suspended clothes rails, American walnut counters) proposed by her architect, Farshid Moussavi, whose previous projects include, somewhat tellingly, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Cleveland.

"The bank of bags that greets customers at the entrance (no conventional mannequins here) is lit like a gallery display," Armstrong adds.

Under the headline "vend it like Beckham", Rebecca Gonsalves writes in the Independent that there will be no sound of ringing tills on the store's opening day. "That's not because the designer doesn't have appeal - selling in 60 countries, she has it in spades - but because she's done away with anything as aesthetically unappealing as a till. Instead sales will be processed on iPads before being luxuriously wrapped and packaged."

Meanwhile, the Daily Star imagines how Posh's Big Day might work out, hiring Beckham lookalikes to act out key scenes, including Victoria playing the Spice Girls' greatest hits in store, David sweeping up after closing and a "Maccy D's" to celebrate their first day of trade.


The hardest word

The prime minister might have been forgiven for thinking he'd seen the last embarrassing headline referring to him being caught on camera telling former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg the Queen had "purred" with delight over the phone when he told her that Scotland had rejected independence.

But the Mail splashes his apology across its front page, with the headline: "I'm sorry, Your Majesty." It quotes Mr Cameron saying the personal phone call of apology he will make "will be the most awkward call of his career". And the paper finds space inside to reel off more examples of Mr Cameron's "careless chat". "He once let slip that the Queen had teased him about a play in which she is depicted falling asleep at one of their meetings. The Queen assured him it had never happened in real life before adding - after a pause for comic effect - 'Yet!'."

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"After this week's rash outburst she is more likely to tell him that he is a very silly boy," suggests Simon Edge in the Daily Express, as he runs over the Queen's relationships with each of the prime ministers who've held power during her reign. The writer remembers her "strong bond" with Winston Churchill and "famously good rapport" with Harold Wilson.

The Telegraph's Allison Pearson would love to be a fly on the wall during Mr Cameron's next royal audience. "There is something ghastly about that use of 'purred', isn't there? Something patronising and egregiously sexist. It's as though the 88-year-old monarch were some moggy whose tummy clever Cameron had tickled until the old thing was beside herself with pleasure," she writes.

"The Sovereign is not a plaything and, knowing cats as I do, my one hope is that the purring was a prelude to a pounce. We all know the result of that: a mouse without a head. Good luck at the Palace, prime minister. Miaow!"


Pursuit of happiness

The Daily Telegraph reports the case of a bond investor who quit his high-pressure job after his 10-year-old daughter presented him with a list of 22 life events he had missed because of work commitments, such as her first day at school, first football match and parent-teacher meeting.

Elsewhere, the paper highlights figures from the official national "wellbeing" index suggesting that mothers who put their career aside to care for their children have a stronger sense that their lives are "worthwhile" than the rest of society.

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That conclusion came from an Office for National Statistics (ONS) report indicating that Britons are more content than previously, which the Sun sums up by saying: "We are officially happier than we have been since 2011." That's despite also reporting a separate - less widely conducted - survey that concluded half of Britons are "completely bored" with life, with a quarter fed up with their social lives and a fifth unhappy with their relationship.

Using the ONS data, the paper lists the happiest parts of the UK - with four areas of Northern Ireland making the top five - along with those areas declared the saddest, most chilled and most anxious.

The Independent's Chris Blackhurst leaps to the defence of his hometown - Barrow-in-Furness, in Cumbria - saying it doesn't deserve its "most miserable" title. "Where the researchers may have been mistaken was in interpreting a natural grumpiness for dissatisfaction with life in general. They should have realised that staring into the bottom of a tankard, putting the world to rights, is where the good, solid folk of Barrow are at their happiest."

Perhaps the writer's age affects his demeanour. The Daily Mail pulls out a statistic suggesting people in their early 50s are the most unhappy in Britain. There's hope for most of us, however, if the Telegraph's interpretation of the figures is correct. It says people are happiest in their 70s.

In the meantime, the Daily Express has printed a helpful list of 10 things that make life worthwhile, according to one insurance company. Many are free, including good weather, an unexpected compliment, bumping into a friend and receiving help from a stranger.


Making people click

Mail: Does the new iPhone 6 BEND in your pocket? Angry users post photos of phones warped just a few days after buying them

Telegraph: Woman secretly films life under Isil in Raqqa, Syria

Financial Times: BlackBerry launches square phone in push for business users

Mirror: Stunning politician proud after her naked photos leaked after iCloud hack

Guardian: Neil Gaiman: 'Terry Pratchett isn't jolly. He's angry'

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