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British Muslims urge IS captors to 'see the errors of their ways'

More than 100 Muslim leaders from across the UK have signed an open letter calling for the release of British aid worker Alan Henning.

The letter, printed in The Independent, is also supported by the Muslim Council of Britain which represents more than 500 Muslim organisations:

We, the undersigned British Muslim Imams, organisations and individuals, wish to express our horror and revulsion at the senseless murder of David Haines and the threat to the life of our fellow British citizen, Alan Henning ...

We plead with those holding Alan Henning to see the errors of their ways. To embrace the word of the Quran and accept that what they are now doing constitutes the worst condemnable sin.

– open letter

Expert: Those targeted in raids likely motivated by events in Syria and Iraq

An expert on terrorism and Islam has said that those targeted in the overnight raids were likely motivated by what has been happening in Syria and Iraq rather than in Australia.

Greg Barton, acting director of the Centre for Islam and the Modern World at Monash University, described the raids in two Australian cities as "massive" and the "largest in history".


British hostage's friend urges IS to 'show him some mercy'

A British aid worker who was with Alan Henning when he was captured by Islamic State militants in Syria has pleaded for mercy for his friend.

In an interview with BBC News, Majid Freeman had this message for Mr Henning's captors:

Please show him some mercy and understand he is a humanitarian aid worker. He's not a fighter, he's not come there for no political reasons, he's come there strictly to help the people. Please, please don't kill him.

– Majid Freeman

He also spoke of Mr Henning's motivation in going to Syria:

When he seen the difference he made himself on the ground. When he went to the refugee camps, when he held a baby in his hands himself, it was very powerful for him. I think that changed his whole life.

– Majid Freeman

Australian PM says police acted to prevent 'demonstration killings'

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said that the overnight raids were prompted by fears that "demonstration killings" were being planned.

Speaking at a press conference, he said that police acted on intelligence showing directions from "an Australian who is apparently quite senior in ISIL ... to conduct demonstration killings here in this country".

"So this is not just suspicion, this is intent and that's why the police and security agencies decided to act in the way they have," he said.

WHO and UNICEF send experts to investigate vaccination deaths

The World Health Organisation and UNICEF have said they are providing a team of experts to help investigate how 15 children died following a vaccination programme in northern Syria.

Children take shelter at a camp for internally-displaced people in Idlib province Credit: REUTERS/Badi Khlif

A joint statement said that they supported the suspension of the programme "for as long as the facts remain unclear" but that it was vital to start it again as soon as possible.


Alexander Armstrong to be voice of Danger Mouse

Alexander Armstrong has landed the starring role for the return of much-loved cartoon character Danger Mouse.

The comedy actor - who hosts BBC One's Pointless - will be voicing the debonair but diminutive secret agent for his comeback next year, more than two decades after the series ended.

Danger Mouse is set for a return after more than 20 years Credit: FremantleMedia Limited/PA Wire

White-clad hero DM, who wore a patch over one eye, was previously voiced by Sir David Jason in the original shows which ran for more than 10 years.

The new CBBC series will also feature the voice of Come Dine With Me, Dave Lamb, who has landed the all-important role of narrator.

Danger Mouse ended in 1992 and his return created a buzz when it was announced in June.

Study: Chimps, like humans, are natural-born killers

Scientists have overturned the widely-held view of chimpanzees and revealed that they are, like humans, natural-born killers.

A chimpanzee in the Royev Ruchey zoo in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia Credit: REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin

A team of 30 researchers studied 152 killings by chimpanzees observed over five decades and concluded that the apes have an almost psychopathic tendency towards violence and slaughter.

A widely-held theory is that chimps only turn on each other when humans disrupt their forest habitats or food supplies.

Instead, the scientists found that human variables had no impact on the rates of killings and that the chimps fight and kill to get what they want and "eliminate rivals". The study is published in the journal Nature.

'Clear concern' among motorists over tax disc changes

The chief engineer for RAC has said that a survey shows there is "clearly concern among motorists about forthcoming changes to tax disc rules:

There is clearly concern among motorists over the issue of enforcement. Most of the changes make sense and will benefit the motorist, but too many motorists are unaware of the detail.

The big question has to be whether enforcement using only cameras and automatic number plate recognition will be sufficiently effective.

– David Bizley, RAC chief engineer

Andy Murray swayed by No campaign 'negativity'

Wimbledon champion Andy Murray has broken his silence on the Scottish referendum, announcing his support for independence on Twitter:

He has been quizzed on the issue previously but dodged the question, although in an interview in June he did criticise Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond for waving the country's flag at the tournament last year.

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