Libya

♦ Borzou Daragahi ventured into Libya’s badlands: a combination of guns, trafficking and inter-ethnic conflict.
♦ The winner of the Bodley Head/FT Essay Prize is an account of being a British Muslim soldier.
♦ John Plender argues that the real driver of income inequality over the past decade or so has been top pay and this is unlikely to change.
♦ Juan Carlos, the King of Spain, is fighting for his legacy.
♦ The National Review looks at the deep poverty among masses of white working class people in the US heartlands.
♦ Gamal Essam El-Din at Ahram Online has put together a comprehensive nuts and bolts guide to Egypt’s constitutional referendumRead more

♦ Spain may be emerging from the recession with a more competitive economy, but critics claim that confidence in the rebound is premature and potentially dangerous.
♦ A leaked video shows Egyptian Army officers debating how to influence the media before the military takeover.
♦ Patrick Cockburn writes about how media coverage of conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria doesn’t always reflect the whole reality of each war.
♦ Justice officials in Hong Kong admitted to knowing that one of Berlusconi’s allies tried to interfere with evidence in a money laundering case, where Berlusconi’s son is one of the defendents, according to the South China Morning Post.
♦ The stance of some Republican House members on the US government shutdown is generating anger among senior Republican officials, who think the small bloc of conservatives is undermining the party and helping President Obama. Read more

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Ready and waiting – the venue for tonight's second presidential debate. (Reuters)

Welcome to the US election round-up on the morning of the second presidential debate, with polls showing the closest race for the White House since the Bush/Gore election in 2000 that was finally decided in the Supreme Court.

The RCP rolling average of polls is constantly changing – hardly a surprise when 10 national surveys of voting intention are published every day – but after showing a tie late on Monday night, Tuesday dawned with Mitt Romney holding a 0.1 per cent lead over President Barack Obama. Read more

Here are the stories that were stoking our fire this morning:

Here’s today’s menu for you:

By Ruona Agbroko

Articles you might want to take a look at today:

Roula Khalaf

Since the eruption of Syria’s uprising six months ago, one thing has been clear, for the protestors and the world alike: there would be no international military intervention to get rid of Bashar al-Assad.

Syrians are far too nationalistic to accept anything resembling outside military involvement, the argument went, and the Libya mission was too messy, too fraught with risk, to be attempted again. Read more