Scottish Conservatives leader, Ruth Davidson, has been named
politician of the year by leading charity
Scottish news: News in Scotland - Friday
Scots pay £163mn per year for Trident
Alex Salmond has told MSPs that the Trident nuclear weapons system is currently costing Scottish taxpayers £163mn a year, stating: “We’re not standing for it anymore.” Westminster commenced plans this week to replace the weapons system, based on the Clyde, despite the project being potentially removed from Scottish territory if a yes vote is cast in 2014. The first minister accused London of treating Scotland as a “nuclear dump.” UK Defence Secretary Philip Hampton visited Faslane this week where he announced £350mn of funding towards the Trident design, based on the belief that Scotland will not gain independence following the 2014 referendum.
Shell: primary concern is tax, not independence
Chief Financial Officer for Shell, Simon Henry, has refused to comment on the independence debate from a political perspective, but has reconfirmed Shell’s commitment to the North Sea by announcing plans to make bumper investments. Speaking after the Anglo-Dutch firm announced a fifteen percent drop in third-quarter profits, Mr Henry stated that any government ruling the North Sea needs to provide a “long term attractive stable investment environment.” The chief financial officer also indicated Shell remains unhappy about the Chancellor’s decision to increase the Supplementary Charge on North Sea profits in the 2011 Budget. Henry stated: “We still believe the Supplementary Charge will have an impact long term and make gas, especially, less attractive.”
- SNP under pressure to reevaluate EU policy
- Independence dividend of Trident equates to 18 hospitals, claims SNP
- SNP hit back at Lib Dems over home rule
- US-made weapons found in Syria amidst threat of regional conflict
- Scottish North Sea - Shell deal provokes call for revenues not to be milked by UK treasury
Westminster: Scotland will need to apply to EU
Westminster issued a brief statement on Thursday hinting that its legal advice directly contradicted claims made my Scotland’s first minister regarding Scotland’s access to the EU. As the question of entry to the EU dominated first minister’s questions at Holyrood, the UK government said its position was that only Scotland would have to apply to join as a new state if voters chose independence in 2014. Nick Clegg entered the debate during a speech to the Royal United Services Institute at Chatham House in London, claiming that Salmond’s statement on Scotland about gaining automatic membership of the EU “has no basis in fact.” Salmond has referred to claims made by UK government officials as the “scaremongering campaign of Labour and their unionist colleagues in the Conservative party.”
Ruth Davidson honoured as Cardinal O’Brien named “bigot of the year”
The UK’s most senior Roman Catholic was branded “bigot of the year” last night by a leading charity. Stonewall, which promotes the rights of lesbian, gay and bisexual people, chose the cardinal over four other contenders for the title. Cardinal Keith O’Brien has consistently clashed with the Scottish government over same-sex marriage legislation, condemning it as an “aberration” and likening it to slavery and abortion. In response to receiving the title, a spokesperson for the Catholic Church said the announcement “reveals the depth of their intolerance and willingness to attack and demean those who don’t share their views.” Ruth Davidson MSP was also named ‘politician of the year’ at the ceremony at the Victoria and Albert museum, beating Nicola Sturgeon and Iain Stewart.
Scottish Police demand more rights to search homes
Senior officials of the Scottish police are calling for increased rights to search suspects’ homes and businesses without having to wait for the approval of a judge or justice of the peace for a warrant. The group representing police superintendent claim the waiting time results in stolen property, drugs and firearms being destroyed or removed by suspects before officers can gain entry to the location. The Association of Scottish Police Superintendents (ASPS) said its officers were often left in the position where had reason to believe a serious crime suspect was inside a property but were unable to complete the arrest without first seeking a search warrant. Human rights lawyer John Scott, QC, branded the move “irresponsible” and warned police already had the necessary powers to ensure evidence was not destroyed or removed from properties.”
Holyrood back plans for stricter drink-drive limit
MSPs backed plans this week to cut the drink-driving limit from 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood to 50mg. The plans followed data released from an Ipsos MORI poll showing seven out of ten Scots agreed with the move, with fifty-five percent “strongly” supporting the reduced level. Just over one-quarter opposed a cut in the limit. The poll of more than one thousand people came as MSPs debated calls to reduce the drink-drive limit for the first time since powers were transferred from Westminster. Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill told MSPs: “We believe the current limit has had its day.”
UK and WORLD
Freddie Starr released on bail pending Savile investigation
Freddie Starr has been released on bail following his arrest by officers investigating alleged sexual abuse by Jimmy Savile and other BBC figures. The comic was arrested in Thursday on “suspicion of sexual offences” and was taken into custody. The Met police said in a statement: “The individual falls under the strand of the investigation we have termed ‘Savile and others.” Starr branded Savile “despicable” and “disgusting” last month while urging police to interview him so he could clear his name.
UK crisis: Bank of England accused of “defective governance”
Andrew Tyrie, chair of the Treasury select committee, has accused the Bank of England of “defective governance” after it published three reports on the financial crisis that he said had failed to tackle how well the central bank performed. Tyrie said the reviews were limited in scope and “fell well short of what is required” of a body that was at the heart of decision-making during the banking collapse. Sir Mervyn King, the Bank governor, has rejected concerns that he and his officials mishandled the near collapse of Northern Rock in 2007, and underplayed the weakness of Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds TSB. Tyrie has warned against King being handed extra powers to regulate the financial system.
UK crisis: RBS to enter talks to resolve Libor-rigging claims
The Chief Executive of Royal Bank of Scotland, Stephen Hester, is preparing to enter talks with regulators to settle Libor-rigging claims. The chief executive admitted the cost of the payment protection insurance (PPI) disgrace had now reached £1.7bn. Hester is awaiting the news of the scale of the Libor fine, and has stated that he would be “disappointed” if he did not have more information on the size of the fine by the time the bank reports its full-year results in February. The eighty percent taxpayer-owned bank is yet to know if the fine will be equal to or larger than the £290mn penalty paid by Barclays to the Financial Services Authority and regulators in the United States. Hester has stated that even if the fine is smaller, it would still be a “miserable day in RBS’s history.”
UK crisis: Lloyds wants 'bogus' compensation claims penalised
Lloyd Banking Group is pushing for claims management companies - which are acting on behalf of bank customers who are claiming compensation after allegedly being mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI) - to be penalised if they submit "bogus or duplicate" applications.
Females killed in Spanish Halloween stampede
Officials say three women have been killed and two others severely injured during a stampede at a Halloween rave in Spain’s capital, Madrid. American DJ Steve Aoki was performing when the stampede occurred just before dawn on Thursday. An anonymous party attender had set off a flare or firework which caused the stampede. Deputy Mayor Villanueva said the venue's maximum capacity of 10,600 people had not been exceeded and that authorities decided not to evacuate the arena when the accident occurred.
Greek journalist acquitted over publishing Swiss bank list
Greek magazine editor, Costas Vaxevanis, has been found "innocent" of breaking data privacy laws after being tried for publishing a list showing 2,000 Greeks with Swiss bank accounts. The case was widely seen as a test over press freedom. Vaxevanis, 46, had accused politicians of concealing the truth and protection of "untouchable" wealthy figures. He claimed he was the subject of a "targeted and vengeful" politically motivated trial.
Syria: Russia warns Western 'sponsors' of rebels
Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister, Gennady Gatilov, has warned that any attempt by the West to predetermine a future leadership of Syria would contradict the Syrian peace plan agreed by world leaders in Geneva in June. He said: "Attempts by Western sponsors of the Syrian opposition to enforce a list of the nation's future leadership from the outside contradict the Geneva agreements,"
Syria: Rebel ‘war crimes’ caught on tape
Video footage has emerged showing rebel fights executing Syrian government forces, after they were captured. The government hostages were among twenty-eight soldiers killed in attacks on three army checkpoints around Saraqeb. The video shows the rebels abused the soldiers, calling them “Assad’s Dogs”, before executing them. The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the al-Qaida-inspired Jabhat al-Nusra rebel group was responsible for the executions. UN human rights spokesman, Rupert Colville, told a news briefing: “We need to examine this carefully. It will be examined carefully.”
Syria: President Al-Assad weakened in Aleppo
A violence monitoring group have reported Syrian forces serving President Bashar al-Assad to have withdrawn from their base near the northern town of Saraqeb, weakening his ability to fight rebels in the country’s largest city Aleppo. Saraqeb links the two main highways leading to Aleppo and the retreat of the government forces will make it harder to reinforce or resupply Aleppo, where they have been battling rebels for control since last July. This report has not been verified as of yet due to restricted media access to Syria.
Syria: China and UN clash on peace plans
China has revealed a four-point proposal to resolve the Syrian conflict by political means. The plan is an attempt to replace the six-point plan proposed by Kofi Annan, former UN secretary general. The US and other allies have said they will move beyond the UN if Russia and China continue to hamper peace progress, Reuters said. A representative from China’s official news agency said Brahimi “expressed appreciation for Chinese efforts towards a political resolution in Syria.”
Low profile launch of iPad mini in Asia
Apple released the iPad mini in Asia on Friday in its latest attempt to battle competition from rivals Amazon, Google and Samsung. The opening lacked its usual flare as three-hundred people queued outside Apple’s flagship store in Tokyo, a crowd that quickly disappeared after the initial rush. Numbers of customers in Singapore were substantially lower than for previous launches while in Hong Kong, merely thirty people queued to pick up their pre-ordered devices before the Apple store opened, contrasting the hundreds who lined up for the iPad 2 last year. Apple’s senior vice president for marketing Phil Schiller insisted the iPad mini is an entirely new design and not “just a shrunken down iPad.”
Support Our INDEPENDENCE REFERENDUM APPEAL