Politics Summary: Friday, November 6th

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The shooting dead of 12 US soldiers overnight at a Texas military base makes the front page of the Guardian, Mail, Independent and Telegrpah, who report that Major Malik Nidal Hasan, “armed with two handguns, walked into a training centre and opened fire on fellow soldiers who were having last-minute medical check-ups before being deployed to Afghanistan”. The Guardian and Telegraph both carry profiles of Major Hasan, who according to his aunt “wanted out of the military and they would not let him leave”. The Telegraph also reports on fears among Muslim groups of a backlash following the attack.

The Times and Independent report Mahmoud Abbas’s “shock decision” to stand down as Palestininan president, described by the Times as a “fresh blow” to the peace process. According to the Independent, he was “‘surprised’ that the Obama administration had ‘favoured’ Israel in arguments over the re-launch of peace talks”. Among those vying to succeed him, adds the Times, are Ahmed Qureia (Abu Ala), 70, one of the key negotiators of the Oslo Peace Accords, Marwan Barghouti, 50, currently languishing in an Israeli prison, Salam Fayyad, 57, A US-educated former World Bank economist and current Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority, and Mustafa Barghouti, 55, who ran against Mr Abbas in 2005 and won 20 per cent of the vote.

The Prime Minister’s speech later today in defence of the war in Afghanistan is previewed by the Telegraph and Guardian, who reveal that he will tell the nation that “al-Qaida continue to train and plot attacks on Britain from the region”. “We cannot, must not and will not walk away,” he will add. “We will not be deterred, dissuaded or diverted from taking whatever measures are necessary to protect our security.” Both papers report a sharp rise in public opposition to the war, evidenced by a Channel 4 News/You Gov poll which found 35% of the public think all British troops should be withdrawn immediately, with 20% believing they should remain, and 57% saying victory was no longer possible, against only 33% believing the war could be won.

The Times, Guardian and Independent all report a delay of up to a year on a global treaty to fight climate change, with no chance of one being signed at the Copenhagen summit next month, the consequences of which are explained by the Independent: “It means another 50 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide will go into the atmosphere from industry, power generation, transport and deforestation before the world can agree on how to cut it back and try to keep rising temperatures below the critical C above the pre-industrial level, which is regarded as the danger threshold.” The paper also carries a column by the Chancellor, in which he outlines the “substantial barriers” to any deal.

And the Guardian has an exclusive on Iran’s test-firing of an “advanced nuclear warhead design”. “The sophisticated technology, once mastered, allows for the production of smaller and simpler warheads than older models,” writes diplomatic editor Julian Borger. “It reduces the diameter of a warhead and makes it easier to put a nuclear warhead on a missile. Documentation referring to experiments testing a two-point detonation design are part of the evidence of nuclear weaponisation gathered by the IAEA and presented to Iran for its response.”

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