Sara C Nelson   |   March 31, 2015   10:31 AM ET

A former Ukip candidate has suggested Israel should kidnap US President Barack Obama and put him on trial in the style of a Nazi war criminal.

Hendon candidate Jeremy Zeid made his comments on Facebook as he shared a story about the US declassifying documents about Israel’s nuclear programme.

In a post revealed by the Hope Not Hate blog, which was later deleted, he wrote:

facebook jeremy zeid

“Once Obama is out of office, the Israelis should move to extradite the bastard or ‘do an Eichmann’ on him, and lock him up for leaking state secrets. After all, what’s sauce for the Pollard goose is sauce for the Obama gander, don’t you think?”

Pollard is a reference to the US imprisonment of Jonathan Pollard, who was jailed for selling classified information to Israel.

In response to a comment Zeid added: “Nah just kidnap the bugger, like they did to Eichmann, who suddenly found that he’d woken up in Israel. The problem is that Israeli jails are far more humane and adherent to human rights than American ones.”

barack obama

Zeid has suggested Israel kidnap US President Barack Obama

Nazi mastermind Adolf Eichmann fled to Argentina after the Second World War, though he was kidnapped by Israeli agents in 1960, spirited to Israel, tried and executed.

Zeid told the Times Series he has stood down as the party’s candidate for Hendon but insisted he sticks by his comments "100 per cent".

He told the Jewish Chronicle: “All I said is that we should ‘do an Eichmann’ and extradite him. It is a private opinion.

“Remember that phrase ‘Je Suis Charlie?’ Well, freedom of speech.


Adolf Eichmann, flanked by guards, in the Jerusalem courtroom during his trial in 1961 for war crimes committed during World War II

“People can spin it anyway they want. If people do not like it, well, I am sorry.

“I have not stepped down because of Ukip. Every time I mentioned the NHS or economy everyone was just obsessed with race.

“I am done with politics because people focus on the minutia.”

Last year Zeid caused outrage after claiming some parts of London were being “ethnically cleansed” of white people, The Independent reports.

He later wrote the tweet was “badly worded”.

Chris York   |   March 30, 2015    2:48 PM ET

Despite the millions of dollars of security, helpers and state-of-the-art transport, Barack Obama can still be caught out by the humble step.

We've all been there - negotiated some stairs just a little too enthusiastically forcing us to perform some pretty hasty emergency maneuvers.

Luckily Obama is apparently pretty much unflappable and his recovery is suitably adept which is fortunate as those steps from Air Force One are really high...

air force one


Jessica Elgot   |   March 22, 2015    1:25 AM ET

President Obama has said Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's comments about Arabs could threaten to "erode the meaning of democracy" in the country, in a revealing interview with The Huffington Post at the White House.

In an exclusive sit-down with White House correspondent Sam Stein, the US President called out Netanyahu for his recent comment that there would be no Palestinian state under his leadership.

Obama said Netanyahu had made it hard for people to "seriously believe" peace negotiations are possible.

As his re-election campaign looked shot last week, the Likud leader told a radio station that there would "indeed" be no Palestinian state under his watch, and posted an infamous Facebook tirade, called racist by many, where he accused left-wing parties of "bussing in Arab voters" and warned of Arab voters "heading to the polls in droves".


The Huffington Post meets President Barack Obama

Obama said: "We continue to believe that a two-state solution is the only way for the long-term security of Israel if it wants to stay both a Jewish state and democratic. And I indicated to him that, given his statements prior to the election, it is going to be hard to find a path where people are seriously believing the negotiations are possible."

Obama had raised eyebrows after he waited nearly two days before congratulating Netanyahu by phone. Making clear his distaste for Netanyahu's description of Arab voters, Obama said the rhetoric was "contrary to what is the best of Israel’s traditions. That although Israel was founded based on the historic Jewish homeland and the need to have a Jewish homeland, Israeli democracy has been premised on everybody in the country being treated equally and fairly".

To lose those values, Obama said, would give "ammunition to folks who don’t believe in a Jewish state, but it also I think starts to erode the meaning of democracy in the country".

Netanyahu attempted to row back on his two-state solution comments in his first post-election interview with MSNBC, after his party took 30 seats in the Israeli parliament, the Knesset. "I want a sustainable, peaceful two-state solution, but for that, circumstances have to change,” Netanyahu told the broadcaster. “I was talking about what is achievable and what is not achievable. To make it achievable, then you have to have real negotiations with people who are committed to peace.”


On the table were Iran, Israel and getting enough sleep

But speaking to Huffington Post, Obama made it clear he was taking Netanyahu's pre-election comments seriously. "We take him at his word when he said that it wouldn’t happen during his prime ministership," Obama said. "And so, that’s why we’ve got to evaluate what other options are available to make sure that we don’t see a chaotic situation in the region.

"We’re going to make sure, regardless of disagreements we have on policy, that our military and intelligence cooperation to keep the Israeli people safe continues and that cooperation also helps the American people stay safe."

"But we are going to continue to insist that from our point of view, the status quo is unsustainable, and that while taking into complete account Israel’s security, we can’t just in perpetuity maintain the status quo, expand settlements, that’s not a recipe for stability in the region."

The President said he was optimistic that the Israeli elections would not have a "significant impact" on the USA's attempts to do a nuclear deal with Iran that would please both Congress and the American public, despite acknowledging "skepticism" in Israel that "Iran has made vile comments, anti-Semitic comments, comments about the destruction of Israel".


President Obama gestures as he speaks to Sam Stein

"It is precisely for that reason that even before I became President, I said Iran could not have a nuclear weapon," he added.

Speaking about the negotiations between his country and Iran, Obama said that President Hassan Rouhani's regime had "not yet made the kind of concessions that are I think going to be needed for a final deal to get done".

"But they have moved, and so there’s the possibility," he said, speaking optimistically about the resumption of talks when the two sides meet again next week, after the Nowruz holidays in Iran. "Our goal, though, is to get this done in a matter of weeks, not months."



In your seventh year in office, what have you learned about pacing yourself and managing the stress of the job?

THE PRESIDENT: You know, the truth is that I'm lucky to, by inclination and temperament, be fairly steady --

Your Hawaiian roots, basically?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, exactly. I think that's probably what it is - good weather and beaches.

So I don't get too high, don't get too low. I've been very consistent about exercising in the morning. That helps. But I think the most important - I'm very consistent about spending time with family. And when you have dinner with your daughters, particularly teenage daughters, they’ll keep you in your place and they’ll teach you something about perspective.

But I think the most important thing is to take the long view on things. We live in such a 24/7, Twitter-fed, constant news cycle, and everything is a crisis and --

You're not on Twitter.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I'm not. But everything is a crisis. Everything is terrible. Everything is doom’s day. Everything is if it doesn’t get solved tomorrow your presidency is going off the rails. I mean, there must have been -- what -- 15, 20 things that over the last seven years folks have said, this is it, it's over.

We had the Gulf oil spill, worst environmental disaster in history. Everybody said, oh, he’s handling this terribly. A year later, nobody was talking about it, and in retrospect, it turns out that we handled that as well as any environmental crisis has been handled.

Ebola, remember that? Obviously it's still a serious problem and we've got to get down to zero, but that was probably one of the most effective international public health responses in history, and that was led by us. If we hadn’t acted it would still be raging and everybody else would be at risk.

And so, those experiences I think remind you that my job is to keep my eye on the ball and to stay focused on what can we get done every single day to advance the vision and the values that brought me here.

What can I do to make sure that middle-class families are feeling more secure; that more young people are able to access opportunity; that we are safe; that we are working with our international partners to try to create more order at a time when there’s a lot of chaos; how do we deal with terrorism in a way that's consistent with our values? As long as I stay focused on those North Stars, then I tend not to get too rattled.

I was wondering how many hours of sleep you're getting a night?

THE PRESIDENT: Probably not enough.

That's what I figured.

THE PRESIDENT: I will say that when people leave the administration and I see them six months later, they’ve got the post-administration glow. (Laughter.) They really look good. So I'm hoping the same happens to me.

There’s hope for you. Thank you, Mr. President.

Great to see you.

Daniel Welsh   |   March 20, 2015    8:59 AM ET

Charlie Sheen has been accused of racism after he posted a tweet about President Barack Obama.

The ‘Anger Management’ actor had been making a point on his Twitter page about the funeral of Major General Harold Greene, which the President did not attend, claiming it was unfair for him to miss memorial services for war veterans when he could make time for basketball brackets.

charlie sheen

Charlie Sheen

Writing on his Twitter page, Charlie addressed the President as “Barry Satera Kenya”, along with a message questioning his priorities as a public figure.

However, a lot of people have claimed that it was racist of him to refer to Barack Obama as such, because his father originally came from Kenya.

Charlie himself has defended himself from accusations of racism, insisting that the nickname he used was one he actually heard Obama use himself in jest, asking his Twitter followers: “So is he bad to? [sic]”

He also used the hashtag #FoSpeech, though, no, we’re still not exactly sure what that means either.

Of course, Charlie is no stranger to scandal, and the last time we saw him, he was chatting to a shocked fan at Taco Bell, to whom he confessed he was “f***ing hammered”.

Before that he was causing an uproar on Twitter once again, although this time it was Rihanna on the receiving end of his furious jibes, after the ‘FourFiveSeconds’ singer refused to meet with him while they were dining at the same restaurant.


The Idea and Reality of Change: Lessons From the Film Selma

Bukky Olaleye   |   March 19, 2015    3:33 PM ET

President Barack Obama's speech given on the 50th anniversary of the civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama has been variously dissected and defended, prodded and praised. Nevertheless it helps to capture today, the essence of struggle and triumph that took place during that period in 1965. There is a section of his speech that expresses a central theme of the film Selma, the act of people coming together for the purpose of change. He asks "What could more profoundly vindicate the idea of America than plain and humble people - the unsung, the downtrodden, the dreamers not of high station, not born to wealth or privilege, not of one religious tradition but many - coming together to shape their country's course?"

The film is a dramatisation of the events that took place in Selma, Alabama as part of the African American people's movement to exercise their constitutional right to vote. There were three marches that month, the last two led by Dr Martin Luther King. There have been many portrayals of Martin Luther King Jr but Selma director, Ava Duvernay wanted to present a different view of his character. For example Dr King, who is often referenced by his 'I Have a Dream speech, is seen from the perspective of man, husband, father as well as powerful leader. By doing that, the film tries to humanise the struggle and speaks to us of our own potential. The film is a study of what happens when intention and action result in revolution, based largely on the commitment, resolve and shared aims of the people.

It is a study in dedication

The commitment of the men and women who took part in the marches is remarkable; it is echoed in the dedication of those who brought this story to the screen. There were many passionate people involved in the making of the film, perhaps none more than the main actor, David Oyelowo. David tells the story of how he 'knew' he was to play Martin Luther King Jr and describes how when given the opportunity, he embodied the character such that it could ring true on screen. His commitment to the process paid off, earning him much praise for his performance.

It is a study in determination

The people that marched were aware of the risks to their lives but went ahead regardless. They were determined to change the course of history and literally put their lives on the line. The first march termed Bloody Sunday was as the name implies violent, but they were undeterred. Many of them held on to their resolve, facing off against the batons, tear gas, sticks and stones. They rallied together for the second time, and it is during the third that they actually completed the march and gained victory. The makers of Selma were determined to get the story told, and many of those who took part in the actual march were part of the film, fifty years on, just as invested.

It is a study in solidarity

Such a demonstration reminds us of what is possible when people get together in unity, to galvanise change. It is recorded that were 600 people from different walks of life, from different faiths and different backgrounds united for one cause. White and black came together determined to stand up against injustice. We don't always appreciate the power of unity or even the power that we have within us. In one scene in the film, Amelia Boynton Robinson, played by Lorraine Toussaint, reassures Coretta Scott King. She reminds her of her ancestors: 'They are in our blood stream, pumping in our hearts every second. They prepared you. You are prepared.

We too are prepared. We may not agree with the rhetoric of President Obama, or disagree with the stylisation or representation of the film. What is difficult to contest is the ability of a well told story to impart huge life lessons, to teach, lead, and position us to walk in our own potential and to 'shape the course of things.'

Thomas Tamblyn   |   March 17, 2015    9:36 AM ET

Jimmy Kimmel is determined to prove that aliens are real. Not content with persuading former US President Bill Clinton to talk about Area 51, the talk show host took full advantage of having current US President Barack Obama on his show as well.

It didn't take him long to get onto the subject, suggesting that if he had been made President the first thing he would do is head straight down to Area 51 and find out for himself.

Of course President Obama wasn't going to fall for that trick, instead joking that that's precisely why Kimmel probably wouldn't be President.

When asked seriously if he knows anything about the existence of aliens, the President simply responds "I can't reveal anything."


Thomas Tamblyn   |   March 13, 2015    4:23 PM ET

It's that time of the year again when the prestigious "GIFYS" reveals the web's favourite GIFs, whether they're a cat wiggling its bottom or President Obama cooly skateboarding his way through a major worldwide peace conference.

It should come as no surprise then that President Obama skateboarding his way through the 'Nuclear Security Summit' has been crowned GIF of the year.

A glorious piece of image manipulation the GIF looks utterly real and even though the GIF itself is actually around three years old, the award is simply proof that the moment something appears on the internet, it becomes timeless.

Check out the slideshow below to see all the winners from the 2014 "GIFYS":

Ryan Barrell   |   March 13, 2015    9:43 AM ET

Jimmy Kimmel is fairly well known for getting celebrities to read mean tweets about themselves, and it's always hilarious. Now he's managed to turbo-charge the segment by getting the most powerful man in the world to do it too.

President Barack Obama, who is reaching the end of his second and final term as the US Commander-in-Chief, has been hoping to secure a positive place in the minds of the US public by popping up on various media you wouldn't expect.

Earlier this year he appeared in a BuzzFeed video using a selfie stick and the internet went into meltdown.

Following the tirade of angry tweets, Obama went on to talk to the late-night host who introduced him as the USA's "first Kenyan-born Muslim Socialist ever elected president", to which he responded: "You should see what the Senate says about me."

The President is ineligible to be the President after the 2016 election, due to term restrictions laid out in the 22nd Amendment. The election is scheduled for 8 November, and the new President-elect will take office on 20 January 2017.


Ryan Barrell   |   March 12, 2015   12:16 PM ET

A pair of President Barack Obama's Secret Service agents are being investigated for allegedly crashing a vehicle into a White House barricade after attending a party.

The agents, identified by the Washington Post as Mark Connolly, the second-in-command on Obama's detail, and George Ogilvie, a senior supervisor in the Washington field office, have reportedly been reassigned to "non-supervisory, non-operational assignments".

A spokesperson for the Secret Service told the BBC the crash occurred on 4 March at around 10:30pm local time.

mark connolly secret service

Mark Connolly, left, is being investigated for the alleged incident

Witnesses claim to have seen the officers driving a car with emergency lights flashing and showing their badges in an attempt to gain access to the secure grounds of the White House.

The men were not allowed into the area due to a previous security alert surrounding a suspicious package, and at that point they drove into the barriers and through some security tape.

It is illegal to use emergency lights on a government vehicle without a security reason, and agents are bound by law to not drive after consuming any alcohol.


March 2014: Agent found passed out drunk in a hallway of a Dutch hotel, unable to make it back to his room.
Agents are forbidden to drink alcohol in the 10 hours leading up to an assignment.

October 2014: First female head of the Secret Service resigns over security breaches which saw an armed man allowed into an elevator with the President and a man with a knife jump the fence and enter the building.

January 2015: Secret Service agent drunkenly crashes surveillance drone on White House lawn, causes security alert.

Agents on duty reportedly wanted to arrest Connolly and Ogilvie, but were told to let them go home by a supervisor.

The agency's new director Joseph P. Clancy said the incident will be investigated by the Department of Homeland Security inspector general because it involves such senior officials.

"If misconduct is identified, appropriate action will be taken based on established rules and regulations," agency spokesman Brian Leary said.


Sara C Nelson   |   March 6, 2015   12:01 PM ET

Russell Brand poses an intriguing question in his latest online news broadcast, musing: “ISIS vs climate change – which kills more?”

As Brand rightly points out, stories about climate change fail to inspire the same visceral reactions as, say, coverage of terror attacks and uprisings.

But he quotes sobering figures from climate change group DARA, which estimates deaths related to global warming in 2010 amounted to 5 million.

russell brand

Russell Brand addresses the links between terrorism and climate change

The number marks a sharp contrast to reports which claim 26 Americans were killed in jihadi attacks in the US in the last 10 years.

And Brand cites an unlikely ally in this debate – in the form of US President Barack Obama.

Obama gave a lengthy Vox interview last month in which when asked if the media “sometimes overstates” the risks posed by terrorism as opposed to climate change and epidemic disease, he replied: “Absolutely.”

He added: “Climate change is one that is happening at such a broad scale and at such a complex system, it’s a hard story for the media to tell on a day-to-day basis.”

syria drought

Farmers in the drought-hit region of Hasaka in northeastern Syria in 2010

Brand references a recent National Academy of Sciences study which traces the conflict that has torn Syria apart in part, to a record drought worsened by global warming.

Climate change leading to crop failures, hunger, anger and dissent are, he says: “The perfect condition there for terrorism, for mayhem.”

Given that the Syrian conflict has resulted in the deaths of 210,000 and the displacement of 10million, Brand asks: “These events occur because of conditions, so if climate change is causing five million deaths and terrorism is causing 26 deaths, why is climate change largely being ignored and terrorism being vehemently promoted?”

The answer, Brand says is his ever-present foe: The carbon emission-pumping behemoth that is capitalism.


Brand points the finger squarely at big businesses like Exxon, which he alleges: “Last year made $44.9bn, make that money as a direct result of 210,000 people being killed and 10 million people being displaced in Syria because their social conditions are being destroyed because of climate change."

He adds: “So the truth that terrorism is a problem created by climate change and not as bad a problem as the climate change itself, that truth is never revealed because the politicians have been bribed and the media makes money from that situation.”

A number of Brand's followers were not convinced by his argument, but links between climate change and conflict are not new.

Last October, then-US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel unveiled a Pentagon report that made exactly that point. "Droughts and crop failures can leave millions of people without any lifeline, and trigger waves of mass migration," Hagel said.

Also, last year the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded: "Human security will be progressively threatened as the climate changes."

Brand signs off with the following suggested checklist for President Obama:

  • Withdraw troops from the Middle East.

  • Make it illegal to profit from Middle Eastern interests and limit involvement solely to humanitarian.

  • Invest in green energy.

  • Make it illegal to have media conglomerates which dominate the global narrative.

Is the U.S. Opening the Door for Europe to Lead in Tech?

Andrea Giuricin   |   March 4, 2015   10:09 AM ET

This week, more than 80,000 people gathered in Barcelona for Mobile World Congress. Leaders from across the mobile industry will come together to discuss how we're on the "Edge of Innovation" and the endless possibilities the mobile Internet creates.

Over the past several years, the mobile Internet and connectivity have changed our lives. It started in the U.S. where a light-touch regulatory approach combined with an investment-friendly environment enabled providers to deploy next-generation infrastructure and entrepreneurs to create new businesses from Facebook to Uber and more. We've seen other regions look to replicate this success.
Thanks to this light-touch regulation, the market has a strong increase and the sector is leading in the creation of new high-skilled jobs. The market capitalization of the first three companies born due to this infrastructure development reached 1342 billion of dollar (February 2015).

Unfortunately, as we enter one of the largest events of the year for the mobile industry, we're also seeing the beginning of the downfall of U.S. Internet policy.

Last Thursday, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Tom Wheeler, introduced a regulatory framework that place the Internet under heavy regulation created in the 1930s. The FCC took unilateral decision to change the way the U.S. Internet is regulated despite the possibility for bipartisan legislation in the U.S. Congress to update the country's communications laws.

The U.S.'s new approach of prescriptive regulations on the Internet- created by one agency - threaten its position as a leader in the mobile revolution and the direction of the rest of the world. For 20 years, U.S. Internet policy was the gold standard. It led to massive investments in infrastructure and drove innovation. Europe and the rest of the world are still trying to catch-up.

Last week, U.S. President Barack Obama criticised Europe for trying to rein in the power of U.S. tech companies on the continent. It's an interesting criticism given his strong push to have the FCC regulate U.S. Internet companies. So now it's OK for the U.S. to create burden some regulations in their country but Europe should make everything flexible for them. The U.S. also criticises Russia and China for creating unnecessary regulations making it more difficult to deploy new services but the U.S. can create all the unnecessary regulations they want? It's a risky precedent.

In a White House's report on "Four Years of Broadband Growth", they highlight the annual investment in U.S. wireless networks. It grew more than 40% between 2009 and 2012, from $21 billion to $30 billion, and exceeds investment by the major oil and gas or auto companies in the country. The report also notes that investment in European wireless networks remained flat during the same period.

Why did FCC and U.S. President Barack Obama want to change such successful policies? Without a doubt, we can expect years of litigation in the U.S. on this issue and it will have an impact on the global Internet ecosystem.

The Silicon Valley cluster was born in USA also thanks to the light-touch regulation. Over regulation could lead USA to lose the world leadership the IT sector.

On the positive side, it opens the door for Europe to once again become the leader in the technology sector.

Paul Vale   |   March 3, 2015    4:42 PM ET

Benjamin Netanyahu boosted his domestic election chances with a high-profile speech to a joint session of US Congress on Tuesday, lambasting the current negotiations between the Western nations and Iran, warning the days the Jewish people remain passive in the face of a genocidal threat "are over".

In a speech that stirred political intrigue in Washington as well as Tel Aviv, the Israeli prime minister called the negotiations with Tehran "all but [a] guarantee" that Iran will get nuclear weapons, a step that the world must avoid at all costs.

"Iran has proven time and again that it cannot be trusted," no matter what it says about permitting verification of the terms of any accord designed to prevent it from getting such weapons, he said. "The greatest danger facing our world is the marriage of militant Islam with nuclear weapons," he said in remarks before a packed House chamber.

Netanyahu spoke shortly after Secretary of State John Kerry met for more than two hours in Switzerland with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in hopes of completing an international framework agreement later this month to curb Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

The Israeli leader's appeal also came two weeks before elections in which he is seeking a new term -- and after the invitation to address Congress extended by House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican, triggered a political furor in the United States. More than four dozen House and Senate Democrats said in advance they would not attend the event, a highly unusual move given historically close ties between the two allies.


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses a joint session of the US Congress at the Capitol March 3, 2015 in Washington, DC

The White House expressed its displeasure with the appearance by word and deed, dispatching Vice President Joe Biden on an overseas trip that meant he did not fill his customary seat behind the House rostrum during the speech. Nor did Netanyahu meet at the White House with Obama on his trip to the United States.

The prime minister was greeted with a roaring welcome as he walked down the same center aisle of the House chamber that presidents tread before their annual State of the Union speeches.

He also sought to smooth over any political unpleasantness, thanking Obama lavishly for the help he has given Israel since he became president. In a grace note, he took a moment to mention Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, who is back at work after suffering an eye injury in an accident at home.

At the same time, Netanyahu was unrelenting in his condemnation of the negotiations the administration is conducting with Tehran.

He said that with the concessions the United States was prepared to make Iran would not only gain nuclear weapons, but also eventually would become free of international economic sanctions. As a result, he said, it would be emboldened to finance even more terrorism around the Middle East and the world.

The result for Iran, he said, would be "aggression abroad and prosperity at home." Instead, he said that if Iran wants to be "treated like a normal country, it ought to behave like a normal country."

Peter Griffin and Homer Simpson Can't Stop Kids Joining Isis, But These Characters Might

Tanya Silverman   |   March 3, 2015   12:00 AM ET

President Obama has a certain cool about him. He's made a Buzzfeed video, he knows his pop-culture, and plays basketball. So, it should come as no surprise that at last week's White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Obama, alongside other less cool U.S. administration types, were impressed by the creative new approaches at the heart of tackling violent extremism in Europe. Animations were just one of these. US government representatives were all staring up as bold characters took to the screens.

No, they didn't all take a break and decide to watch the Simpsons. There were a few new characters introduced at the Summit in a showcase of the finest and most innovative approaches to CVE in the world - the use of animation. They're set to make it to the top, and whilst they might not be able to compete with the banter of the Griffins for a spot on Adult Swim, they can certainly compete with extremist groups like ISIS. They are cartoon characters that are making steps to counter the online recruitment propaganda of extremist groups like ISIS, famed for their relentless use of social media to draw in vulnerable youth.

Abdullah-X is but one of these fictional characters that has taken a life of his own. When he's not time travelling or hosting the Abdullah-X show, he's a normal teenager exploring what it means to be a young British Muslim. As with many of his (non-fictional) contemporaries, he challenges Islamophobia, western foreign policy, and asks questions about groups such as ISIS such as "Five Considerations for a Muslim on Syria". Like many internet stars, Abdullah-X is making it big on his YouTube channel and social media.

Abdullah-X is at the centre of a campaign that aims to challenge the narratives of jihadists through audio-visual content. Engaging videos, music, and spoken word are at the core of what makes him appealing to youth at risk of radicalisation. Why? Because at risk youth are just that - youth - and kids like multi-sensory explosions, especially when they find it themselves trawling the internet.

However, counter-narratives can't just appeal to the eyes and ears. There needs to be a message - an alternative script to read from that provides youth with a storyline that is different to that of extremist groups. Credible messengers - former extremists, survivors of violent extremism, and community and religious leaders - can provide that. Obama said it himself. Due to their personal circumstances these individuals are prime agents to deliver messages that challenge dangerous narratives. Abdullah-X is the brainchild of a former extremist that once followed the teachings of notorious clerics Abu Hamza and Omar Bakri - both of which are definitely not role-model characters.

We need to fight back with campaigns that encourage critical thinking, and answer the questions that youth want answers to in a positive way. This 'been there, done that' reality of former extremists gives legitimacy to the message that there is 'something better' than the 'false promises' of extremist movements.

Average Mohamed is Abdullah-X's more matured counterpart. He can't quite time travel, but that's his thing - he's average, and he's confident there's nothing wrong with that. He's around to "talk plainly to humanity" and give average parents who deal with average kids a way of approaching every day topics that can empower them to discredit extremist ideologies. The creator of the project, NAME, said "the day you put the word Jihad in YouTube and 100 messages for peace created pops up" is how he measures success.

Our male friends aren't the only ones spreading positive and alternative messages. The Burka Avenger is a female force to be reckoned with. Created by famous Pakistani social activist and rock star Haroon, the award-winning animated series features Jiya, a teacher by day, a burka-wearing superheroine by night. Instead of fighting with fists, swords, and a scowl she uses books and pens to fight crime.

With so much attention on the young girls flocking to join ISIS from the UK and elsewhere, surely a message like Jiya's that empowers girls and stands up to extremism should be spread.

On the big screen we often see a good guy and a bad guy. In this animated feature that follows a battle for hearts and minds campaigns like Abdullah-X, Average Mohammed, and the Burka Avenger are the good guys that rival violent extremist groups. But, they need sidekicks. They need more appealing campaigns to come forward that challenge the narratives of all extremist groups and ideologies. They need the facilitative support of governments and more direct help from the private and tech sectors to help reach their target audiences on social media and disseminate their messages.

Extremist groups like ISIS have taken leaps to disseminate their harmful messages on the internet where we have taken steps. The White House Summit concluded that "we need to find new ways to amplify the voices of peace and tolerance and inclusion, and we especially need to do it online." Online animations like these have taken proactive steps to reclaim that online space, and in so doing embed themselves in the offline realities. With stories and script-writing like this, these animations-come-heroes are true contenders to win the online battle against extremist groups like ISIS.

The Three Mega-trends That Prove the War on Carbon Is Being Won

Jeremy Leggett   |   March 1, 2015    9:56 AM ET

I have a dream. It involves climate negotiators. They are bleary-eyed, exhausted, but happy. Nestled inside some grey building in the heart of Paris, they are weeping with relief at the result of all-night negotiations that leave climate campaigners like me elated, and the carbon-fuel lobbyists staring into the abyss, desolated.

It's a dream that could yet become a reality later this year at the climate talks being held in the French capital, as I argue in my new book, 'The Winning of the Carbon War'. For the last 25 years, I have fought hard against defenders of finite carbon fuels, careless of the impact they have on our world by clinging to coal, oil, and gas. And I have lost battle after battle against the dark side.

But in 2013, something changed and the tide began to turn. Now, in 2015, I'm genuinely hopeful the light side can win the war. Let me explain why.

The world has witnessed an extraordinary series of events that have combined to develop a 'tipping point' in the DECLINE of fossil fuel industries, driven by three emerging mega-trends.

First, the cost of deploying renewable energy systems is falling. In fact, 2013 saw new renewable energy generation overtake conventional fossil fuel and nuclear installations globally. According to UBS, a combination of a solar roof, an electric car, and a domestic battery tank will offer a 7% return on investment every year, with a 6 to 8-year capital payback, without subsidy support, by 2020. It's no wonder tech-giant Apple has announced plans to jump into the mass-production of electric cars, complementing its already impressive adoption of solar energy.

Secondly, the cost of delivering hydrocarbons is rising. Drilling for shale is losing its appeal, with US shale companies going bankrupt, drillers losing money and assets being written off by the multiple billions. Meanwhile, last year saw peak capex spending by the oil and gas industry, and the lowest rate of discovery of new reserves in 20 years. The situation is compounded by a Bank of England investigating whether or not fossil-fuel industries pose a threat to the stability of the capital markets and continuous divestment away from oil and gas being the ultimate trend. September 2014 saw the heirs to the fabled Rockefeller oil fortune, who control around $860m in assets, withdraw their funds from fossil fuel investments as part of a wider divestment movement involving 800 global investors promising to remove $50bn worth of support over the next five years.

Thirdly, the politics of climate abatement are showing signs of aligning. More than 100 countries now have a 2050 target to reach zero net greenhouse gas emissions. SO HAVE businesses such as Virgin and Unilever. In the UK, all three main political parties agree that a strong treaty is required in Paris, with the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Opposition Leader co-signing a letter of intention.

Meanwhile, the deal struck between the US and China in Beijing, in November, is huge. China has for the first time committed to cap its carbon output by 2030 while generating at least 20% of its energy needs using clean energy sources, such as solar and wind. And with Barack Obama agreeing to double the pace of the cuts in US emissions, reducing them to between 26% and 28% below 2005 levels by 2025, the future looks bright. Even political parties are aligning in the US, with most Republicans claiming to favour a candidate that possesses strong climate policies.

Imagine yourself as the CEO of a big energy company, with these three mega-trends playing out around you right now. Your cost base is soaring. Your investors are becoming increasingly dissatisfied. Your clean-energy competitors are finding it easier to grow, thanks to plunging costs. Analysts are more and more bullish about the need and potential for a low-carbon clean energy future to be realized, buoyed by a clear shift in direction by policymakers and society's increasing refusal to continue to accept the activities of fossil fuel industries.

Any one of these challenges would be bad enough to confront and face on their own. Facing them all at once is going to be tough and could trigger the long-delayed managed retreat of the industry to the clean energy alternatives. You only have to look at the strategic decision taken by E.ON to see the sort of transition that could soon become the norm among the big energy players.

Of course, my dream might not come true; governments may fail to codify their intentions in international law in Paris this December. I've witnessed enough of these negotiations over the years to acknowledge that that is a real possibility. (And I have worded the title of my book precisely: it does not read "How we won the carbon war".

But it is clear that the Carbon War can now be won, and I am very excited to witness how things play out in the next ten crucial months.

'The Winning of the Carbon War' will be downloadable for free and released in a ten-part series month by month through to the last day of the Paris climate summit in December 2015. Follow the blog and download the book