First Minister Alex Salmond has reshuffled his cabinetleader Willie Rennie
Scottish news: News in Scotland - Wednesday
First Minister to announce Scottish Cabinet reshuffle
First Minister Alex Salmond has announced his shake-up of his cabinet. Mr Salmond’s deputy, Nicola Sturgeon will move from her role as health minister to become cabinet secretary for infrastructure, investment and cities, while Alex Neil will take over the health brief. Ms Sturgeon has also been given responsibility for driving the government’s independence referendum campaign. Bruce Crawford has retired as a cabinet secretary along with ministers Stewart Stevenson and Brian Adams. Meanwhile, Margaret Burgess, Humza Yousaf, Joe Fitzpatrick and Paul Wheelhouse are all handed ministerial posts for the first time.
Irn Bru and Tango producers in merger talks
Irn Bru’s maker A G Barr has confirmed it is in talks with Tango producer Britvic over a possible £1.4bn merger deal which will create one of Europe’s leading soft-drink companies. Cumbernauld manufacturer AG Barr, which was founded in 1875, also produces Tizer and Rubicon and may amalgamate production with Essex-based rival Britvic, which is responsible for Robinsons and J2O.
Referendum deal imminent
The Scottish government will introduce a bill within nine months detailing a referendum on independence for the latter half of 2014. Westminster politicians insist that First Minister Alex Salmond must reach an agreement with the UK government regarding the wording of the question however it is not clear if Westminster has any mandate to conduct referendum negotiations.
Aberdeen Hogmanay celebrations cancelled
Aberdeen City Council is set to cancel this year’s Hogmanay celebrations due to a severe lack of funding. This will be the first year that Scotland’s third-largest city has had to cancel the New Year’s street party since the Winter Festival began in 2005.
- Scottish food parcel requests double in a year
- Postcode lottery sees poor Scots miss out
- Independence referendum and same-sex marriage dominate SNP government programme
- Scottish independence: what will happen after the referendum?
- Moore position in doubt as Cameron set to reshuffle cabinet
Aberdeen risks losing ‘global energy hub’ status
Aberdeen must double its workforce by 2022 to harness its potential as a global energy hub, an accountancy firm has claimed. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, the granite city must recruit around 120,000 additional workers within the next decade to safeguard its future as world renowned energy centre.
Fife whale remains removed
The bodies of seventeen whales which died after being washed up on a Fife beach at the weekend have been removed. However, ten whales were refloated on Sunday after being kept alive by the British Divers Marine Life Rescue; a group has since been seen near the Forth Bridges.
Audit reveals Glasgow council security flaws
Glasgow City Council has brought to light a large number of security shortfalls which has left sensitive data exposed. The council carried out an audit following the theft of two laptops, whilst some 286 laptops and 487 desktop computers were among the many hundreds of pieces of equipment stolen. Two computers which were stolen contained details of around 17,000 bank accounts belonging both to major businesses and individuals.
Edinburgh airport Scotland’s first to welcome pets
Edinburgh has become the first Scottish airport to allow pets from EU countries and listed non-EU countries to enter the country. The pet passport hub will allow pet owners to bring dogs, cats and ferrets into Scotland, provided they have been micro-chipped and vaccinated against rabies.
Scotland’s whisky industry to excel
Investment and growth in Scotland’s whisky industry is accelerating further, according to a Moray MP. Angus Robertson said the industry in both the region and the whole of Scotland is “incredibly bright” following news of further investments in one of Scotland’s most popular exports in recent weeks.
Scottish middle ages document to be released online
Details of Scotland’s history are set to be made available to the public through an online database chronicling life in the Middle Ages. The People of Medieval Scotland project combines documents dated from 1093 to 1314 which has catalogued about 21,000 people referenced in 8,600 files.
MSPs refuse public viewings of taxpayer-funded Holyrood bar
Members of the public will not be allowed to view the new £125,000 Holyrood bar, which cost taxpayers £75,000 to build. Parliament bosses are preventing Scots from seeing the Queensberry House Lounge due to concerns over “privacy”. The remainder of the sum was paid for by French multinational corporation Sodexo.
Scottish government doubles housing ladder scheme funding
Funding for a Scottish Government scheme aimed to help people get on the housing ladder has been doubled. The budget for the open market shared equity scheme has been increased from around £10m to around £20m to appeal to first time-buyers.
Fisherman escapes shark attack
A fisherman has escaped unscathed from a shark attack near the coast of Islay. Hamish Currie, 53, was attempting to tag the shark after reports that it had been attacking seals. After hauling it onto the deck, the shark attempted to bite Mr Currie’s foot and managed to puncture the boat. Mr Currie said that “he was nasty and got me by the foot. Luckily I was wearing steel toe-capped boots”. His crew eventually managed to wrench the fish from Mr Currie foot.
Life terms for murderers of William Faulds
Three men have been jailed after being convicted of murdering Glasgow resident William Faulds in a park in the Ruchazie area. Steven Evans, 28, and Christopher Harrison, 20, were given a minimum of 18 years, while Daniel Harrison, 16, was told to serve at least 15 years. Faulds was stabbed 10 times at Hogganfield Park on 5 November 2011. At the High Court in Glasgow, Judge Lord Bonomy told the three men that “the violence of the attack was such that his heart was almost sliced in two and he was dead in minutes”.
Murray satisfied with form ahead of quarter final
Andy Murray has said that his victory over Milos Raonic will stand him in good stead for his quarter-final meeting with Marin Cilic. After beating the Canadian in straight sets, Murray said that “It’s good to play a match like that at this stage of the tournament. It gives me some confidence going into the next round because I didn’t feel great after the last round.” This will be Murray’s eighth straight Grand Slam quarter final.
Children hit hardest in poverty-stricken families
The children’s charity Save the Children has found that one in six children from low-income families are going to bed hungry. The report also claimed that 40 percent of parents in Scotland on low incomes are living on less than £30 per week to feed their families. The figure contrasts with the national average of £76 per week. Rising prices have also meant that three-fifths of the poorest families in Scotland were compelled to cut the amount that they spend on food last year.
New Cabinet meets today
David Cameron’s new cabinet, which has been viewed as lurching to the right, will hold their first meeting today. Kenneth Clarke, the justice secretary, who has liberal sympathies, has been replaced by Chris Grayling, a right-wing hardliner. Andrew Lansley has also been moved from the post of Health Secretary to Leader of the Commons, with the Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt taking up Lansley’s old post. Other cabinet members who have lost their positions include the Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman and Justice Secretary Justine Greening. The five Liberal Democrat ministers currently serving in cabinet l all kept their positions.
More information comes to light at Barclays
The investigation into attempted manipulation of the benchmark interest rates has again hit Barlcays Plc. According to regulatory filings released on Tuesday the bank has recently fired an executive and a trader in relation to the scandal which engulfed the bank earlier this year. The report claims that a top executive, Ritankar Pal, was sacked because the bank had a “loss of confidence” in him for his failure to “properly supervise his team”. The trader, who has been identified as Dong Kun Lee, reported to Pal that he was engaged in “communications involving inappropriate requests relating to Libor”.
FSA to shut down commission-based product sales
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has called for a lockdown on commission-based sales which have encouraged the mis-selling of financial products over a period of decades.
Martin Wheatley, managing director at the city regulator, FSA has insisted that sales of all financial products, not just investment-related sales, should be commission free except in certain restricted circumstances; these “poorly designed incentive schemes” have long allowed banks to sell customers products they do not need or cannot use.
Police attacked in north Belfast
Police were attacked in north Belfast on Tuesday with fireworks and other missiles. The Police Federation said that 62 officers have been injured in the past 48 hours. Local reports claim that around 200 people have gathered in Denmark Street which is a sectarian flashpoint.
Spanish minister issues veiled attack on EU authority
A Spanish minister has issued a covert warning that his country will not accept a bail-out from Europe if its terms are too harsh. Finance Minister Luis de Guindos told Handelsblatt that before signing up to transfer fiscal sovereignty to the EU “one must clarify the conditions”. He also warned north Europe not to make Spain a scapegoat for the problems within the Eurozone. His statement comes as German Chancellor Angela Merkel meets with Spanish premier Mariano Rajoy to discuss conditions on a full rescue package for the country of up to €300bn.
Sansom emerges as new threat
The Netherlands takes to the polls next week in a parliamentary election that had been expected to be a contest between current conservative, pro-euro Prime Minister Marke Rutte and the Socialist leader Emile Roemer. However the new Labour Party leader Diederik Samsom has emerged as a new contender after attracting many undecided Dutch voters with his more honest approach. While both Rutte and Roemer have taken the populist line that they will not support any more bail-outs for crisis-stricken Greece, Diederik has claimed that he would not be opposed in principle to further supporting Greece if it would help to help to save the eurozone.
French judges investigating Arafat's death seek exhumation
Judges are seeking to exhume the body of Yasser Arafat as part of an investigation into whether the former Palestinian leader was murdered in a Paris military hospital in 2004. Arafat’s widow, Suha, said in a statement to Reuters that the murder investigation “should take precedence over all other procedures, because it is the incontestable guarantee of independence and neutrality”.
Shooting mars Quebec separatists’ victory
A gunman killed one man and badly injured another inside the Montreal theatre where Parti Quebecois leader, Pauline Marois, was giving a victory speech. A man, reported to be in his fifties was arrested in the wake of the attack. The shootings occurred at a victory celebration following preliminary results which indicated the party would win 54 of the 125 seats in the primarily French-speaking province.
Mexico captures drug gang boss
Mexico has captured the leader of Gulf Cartel – one of the country’s most high-profile drug gangs. Mexican marines captured Mario Cardenas in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas on Monday; the criminal syndicate’s leader was paraded in front of the media in Mexico City on Tuesday as President Felipe Calderon continues his declared war on drug gangs.
UN reports record number of refugees fleeing Syria
The UN refugee agency has reported a huge increase in the number of refugees fleeing Syria during the past month. According to that organisation more than 100,000 people have fled to neighbouring countries during August. UN agencies are expected to revise up their estimates for the costs of aiding the refugees, which originally stood at $193mn. The head of the International Committee has met with Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, who has reacted favourably to plans to extend humanitarian operation within crisis-hit towns in Syria.
Clinton struggles to assuage China’s fears
The US secretary of state Hilary Clinton has been criticised by the Chinese media after she failed to assuage doubts about US containment. Clinton was in talks with Chinese leaders on Wednesday. The People’s Daily, a government-controlled newspaper stated that “If American foreign policy damages China’s core interests, that can only lead to China hitting back strongly”. Washington’s Asia policy has been criticised in the past by China, and has been further exacerbated by the secretary of state in recent months. Many Chinese authorities have condemned the US for their role in talks with Japan, a US ally, over the disputed Senkaku islands.
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