Newspaper headlines: Jihadi threat, green cash and festive food for £2.66

The extremist Muslim group Islamic State (IS, formally known as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) features extensively in Monday's newspapers, after it released a video on Sunday which showed the apparent beheading of US hostage Abdul-Rahman Kassig.

The Daily Telegraph leads on the story, saying the masked militant who announced Mr Kassig's death in the video - a man with a London accent the papers have called "Jihadi John" - threatened to bring "slaughter" to the streets of the West and is the "most explicit" threat yet.

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The Daily Mail says the presence of "Jihadi John" in the video "would seem to confirm his seniority and status as 'chief executioner' of Islamic State".

Prime Minister David Cameron says he wants "Jihadi John to face justice for the appalling acts that have been carried out in Syria", says the Daily Express. The paper adds the Briton has apparently killed four Western hostages whose deaths have been recorded and released on the internet.

The Sun terms the video the "most horrific" yet and says in its leader column that Islamic State are "the living, breathing definition of terrorism, since everything they do is designed to instil terror. Beheadings are the most grotesque example of that". It goes on to call for "real action against IS in Syria and Iraq, rather than the current half-hearted show of dropping a few bombs from the air".

Police in Britain have been told not to travel to work in their uniform "amid fears jihadists are plotting to murder off-duty officers", reports the Daily Mirror. According to the paper "listening station GCHQ has picked up terrorist 'chatter' on the subject of targeting a British police officer".

Mr Kassig, a 26-year-old from Indiana who changed his name from Peter to Abdul-Rahman after converting to Islam while in captivity, is described in the Guardian as someone who was "consumed by the immense humanitarian crisis triggered by the Syrian conflict".

The paper also prints extracts from letters sent by Mr Kassig to his parents in the US, in which he says he is "pretty scared to die, but the hardest part is not knowing... if I should even hope at all".

In its profile of Mr Kassig, the Times says it was the plight of the Syrian refugees who compelled him to go to the country - "an act of kindness that cost him his life".


Green cash woes

With the flooding of last winter casting a long shadow over many British communities, the prime minister's announcement of UK cash to help environmental projects in the developing world plays badly in the right-leaning papers.

"David Cameron will this week enrage Tory hardliners by committing £600m to helping Third World countries tackle climate change," says the Sun. It takes the prime minister to task in an editorial: "Instead of finding yet another way to spend out hard-earned money on aid - why not just hand it back and let us spend it as we see fit?".

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According to the Times, Mr Cameron "had hoped to avoid attention being drawn to the UK's contribution to the United Nations' Green Climate Fund until after the Rochester and Strood by-election". Noting that the UK Independence Party - which is the main challenger to the Tories in the election - has campaigned for cuts in Britain's aid budget, Mr Cameron is reported as saying the cash is "not new money" and had already been set aside.

The Guardian notes that a government minister said just last month the UK would "donate strongly to the UN's green fund" and says the move threatens to "hand political ammunition to UKIP".

The money will be pledged on the actual day of the by-election, says the Daily Telegraph, and will be invested in "renewable energy, the construction of sea walls and crop research". Tory MP Peter Bone tells the paper that "to spend £600m on what I would say is a wasted project just seems crackers".

In its leader column, the Daily Mail does not hold back. "As waters are once again rising on the Somerset Levels" and "cracks are appearing" in the sea wall at Dawlish, Devon, now is "the perfect time" to spend money overseas on projects "including new flood defences Britain cannot afford".


The papers are split over which celebrity/reality TV show has the better story on Monday. Is it the arrival of former BBC News foreign correspondent and newsreader Michael Buerk on ITV's I'm A Celebrity: Get Me Out Of Here, or is it tennis coach Judy Murray's departure from Strictly Come Dancing?

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Certainly Buerk parachuting into the Australian jungle on IACGMOOH (as some refer to it on social media) makes for the better picture, and is the Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph's choice, although both report on Murray's failure to avoid the judge's vote on SCD (Strictly Come Dancing).

The Daily Mirror says Murray's son - Britain's number one tennis player Andy - voted for her 12 times to keep her out of the dance-off (by my calculation at a cost of £1.50, against his 2014 prize money of £2m). However, Judy Murray tells the paper she had "a blast".

The Daily Express says despite criticism for "wooden performances", the Scot admitted she "lasted longer than I thought I would".


Sober judgement

They're a commonly-used method of enforcement for drink-related crimes in the US and according to Monday's papers so-called sobriety bracelets could be coming to England and Wales, if the Conservative Party wins next year's general election.

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"Under the £15m scheme, judges will have the power to order offenders to wear the bracelets rather than jailing them," reports the Daily Telegraph. It adds that if the offender goes 120 days without drinking, "they will escape with a police caution".

According to the Times, "the tags, developed in America, monitor alcohol levels through the skin and send readings to a base station kept at the offender's home". If they fail the test, an alert is sent to their probation officer.

The Sun recalls that Hollywood actress Lindsay Lohan was fitted with such a tag after one of her alcohol-related misdemeanours. The paper says "5,000 thugs guilty of drunken assaults or criminal damage" would be subject to "sobriety orders" in the first 12 months.

"Sozbos", as the Daily Mirror terms the orders, have been trialled in London, Cheshire and Northamptonshire and any roll-out across England and Wales is expected to cost the taxpayer £15m.

The Daily Mail points out that people considered for the punishment will have had to have been drunk at the time of the offence and "alcoholics will not be eligible".


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Any student of the Highway Code - ie, someone who has completed their Cycling Proficiency Certificate and/or driving test - will instantly recognise the sign alerting the road user to older citizens of reduced mobility.

But the representation of two elderly people (the woman seemingly picking the man's back pocket) is under attack from the government's older workers' champion Ros Altmann, who the Daily Mail says, wants the depiction retired because it is discriminatory.

Ms Altmann believes the sign "stereotypes the over-50s to such a degree it could even stop employers giving them jobs", says the Sun, while the Times goes further, saying "they reinforced the belief that it was not worth training older people".

However, the Daily Telegraph quotes Ms Altmann as saying our ageing population are "in no way like that picture of people being stooped over and needing a walking stick".


Good deals to all men

£2.66. That is the price - per head - of Christmas dinner this year if you shop around, according to Good Housekeeping magazine, and is widely reported on Monday.

The Daily Telegraph says the magazine's sixth annual survey found the cheapest Christmas basket has gone down by 3%, and that all the ingredients to feed eight people on Christmas Day "could cost as little as £21.31".

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Christmas dinner 2014 will be the third cheapest since 2009, the Daily Express reports, and quotes Good Housekeeping's Caroline Bloor as saying "the cost of potatoes and carrots is broadly the same across all retailers".

"Cut-throat competition among supermarkets" is the reason for the reduced cost of the festive feed, according to the Times, which helpfully tells you where to go and what to buy to achieve the £2.66 cost (although due to the unique way in which the BBC is funded, I cannot say where to go and what to buy).

"The battle between traditional supermarkets and discounters is pulling prices down - and will continue to do so", Ms Bloor tells the Daily Mail.

The Daily Mirror rightly points out that, according to these figures, Christmas dinner is "64p cheaper than a Turkey Feast sandwich from Marks and Spencer".


Making them click

Daily Mirror - Rosetta mission: First image of Philae probe's 'bounce' as it landed on comet revealed

The Times - Muslims found America first, claims Erdogan

The Guardian - Tanzania accused of backtracking over sale of Masai's ancestral land

Daily Mail - The letter from a five-year-old rape victim that shames every police officer

Daily Telegraph - US army veteran Peter Kassig 'murdered by Isil'

The Independent - Band Aid 30: Adele turns down Bob Geldof's offer to join charity Ebola sin