News in Scotland - Friday

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Julian Assange will release one million more documents next year

Scottish News: News in Scotland - Friday

SCOTLAND

NHS accused of patient ‘manipulation’
New official reports have accused the Scottish NHS staff of bullying patients and manipulating data in order to reach government targets. Internal audits relating to appointment procedures suggest some health boards, including NHS Tayside, have massaged their figures. Accusations of misconduct include some patients only being given notice of an appointment two days in advance, then marked ‘unavailable’ if they were unable to attend. The internal reports details instances of NHS employees being pressured into doing “whatever was required” to clear the waiting list. Health secretary Alex Neil said: “There is no evidence of deliberate manipulation of the figures like those found at NHS Lothian but there are improvements in waiting times management than can be put in place.”

World’s End murders: Sinclair faces potential retrial
Angus Sinclair may become the first person in Scotland to be tried twice for the same crime. It has been reported that the Crown Office will attempt to convince a judge that new and compelling evidence has been acquired which “substantially strengthens” the case against Sinclair. The 67 year old was previously on trial for the murders of Helen Scott and Christine Eadie in 2007, but was cleared after the judge ruled the prosecution did not have sufficient evidence. The retrial must be based on evidence that was not available to prosecutors at the time of the previous trial. If the Crown is successful, Sinclair is likely to be brought back to court sometime in 2014.

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Scottish independence: Union flag protests target Holyrood
Rallies in support of the Loyalist protests in Northern Ireland have been organized across Scotland. Demonstrators who have taken part in the Scottish events say they are now as much anti-independence rallies as they are in support of the Northern Irish Loyalist debate. The Herald reported one Scottish parliament source as saying: “It’s hard to see the point. Not only is it a Saturday and no politicians will be around, but its also recess. They’ll be protesting to a security guard or two.”

Libyan government to release Lockerbie files
The recently formed Libyan government is prepared to open all files relating to the Lockerbie bombing. The Libyan ambassador to the UK confirmed the reports, stating that it would be at least another year before Libya was in a position to release whatever information it holds. Though Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was the only person ever convicted of the bombing, Scottish police hope to pursue other suspect in Libya following the downfall of Colonel Gaddafi in 2011.  Ambassador Nacua told the BBC no formal agreement had been reached, but that Libya would open the files it holds on the case.

Local councils put Santa suits on plastic
The Conservative Party has released details of local councils’ credit card bills in the last two years. Items purchased include skateboards, luxury hair dryers and a device for repelling dangerous dogs. Scottish Conservative deputy leader Jackson Carlaw said the disclosures were “deeply worrying.” However, the president of the council umbrella body Cosla, David O’Neill, hit back at the Tories, saying: “I do not see the point the Conservatives are trying to make here about the use of credit cards. They are well-controlled, have a superb audit trail, and offer a range of things that other methods of payment don’t, such as security controls.”

UK and WORLD

Banking Commission: Bank reform plans should be tougher
A report has warned proposed bank reforms “fall well short of what is required.” The Banking Standards Commission wants the government to strengthen regulations so banks will not attempt to “game” the rules. The Banking Commission was asked by Chancellor George Osborne to comment on the draft version of the government’s Financial Services Bill. The new banking reform legislation was based on last year’s recommendations made by Sir John Vickers. However, the chairman of the Banking Standards Commission, Andrew Tyrie, said the government’s draft legislation was a watered-down version of the Vickers report. Speaking to the BBC Today programme, Mr Tyrie said: “What we’ve done with the Commission proposals is to put back some of that stiff separation into the ring-fence and then make clear that the key problem – that banks are going to be at the ring-fence all the time, which will be a nightmare for the regulators – needs to be dealt with.”

France acknowledges colonisation of Algeria was ‘brutal and unfair’
French president Francois Hollande has acknowledged Algeria was subjected to a brutal and unfair system of colonisation. Speaking to the Algerian parliament on Thursday, Hollande said: “There is a duty of truth on the violence, the injustices, the massacres and the torture.”  The French president made clear that he was not in Algeria to apologise for crimes committed in the past, but stressed the importance of recognizing what happened as a way of beginning a new era in relations between the two countries.

Egypt: Top prosecutor withdraws resignation
One of Egypt’s top prosecutors has withdrawn his resignation resulting in uproar throughout the country. Talaat Abdullah originally resigned on Monday amid accusations that he pressurized a judge not to release protesters opposed to President Mohammed Morsi. Abdullah’s appointment was part of Morsi’s highly controversial November 22 decrees in which he gave himself immunity from judicial oversight. Morsie offered a referendum on the draft constitution in response protests and civil unrest in the country. However, the first round of voting witnessed an exceptionally low turnout of about 32 percent, with the second round of voting set for Saturday.

Founder of WikiLeaks to publish ‘million more files’
Julian Assange has said he will release over a million more documents in the coming year that will affect “every country in the world.” The activist released the news on the balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has spent the last six months in refuge avoiding extradition to Sweden for alleged sex crimes. Addressing a crowd of supporters and various members of media organisations from around the world, Assange said: “My work will not be cowed, but while this immoral investigation continues and while the Australian government will not defend the journalism and publishing of WikiLeaks I must remain here.”

Republicans veto plans to stop US recession
US Republicans have cancelled a tax vote in Congress, less than two weeks before a deadline for budget reform. Politicians have been set the deadline of 1 January to reach a decision on fiscal rules, or steep tax rises and deep-spending cuts will take effect. Analysts say the so-called ‘fiscal cliff’ could take the US into recession. Republican House speaker John Boehner, the reputation of whom has been damaged by the undermining veto by his own party, originally called for the vote. Boehner had hoped Republicans would swallow his so-called ‘Plan B’. Instead, the Republican House Speaker is left to orchestrate a bipartisan deal that pulls in Democratic support.

Kenya: Fatal tribal fighting erupts
The Kenyan Red Cross has reported at least 30 people have been killed in an attack on a village in southeast Kenya. Al Jazeera reported a police officer confirmed unknown people raided the village of Kipao at dawn. In August and September, more than 100 people were killed in violence between rival communities along the Tana River. Tension exists between two main tribes in the region; the Orma who are herders and the Pokomo who are mainly farmers. Elections are set in the region for March 2013, but speculation surrounds violence spilling over before then.

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published this page in News 2012-12-21 13:33:54 +0000