Scottish Green Party leader Patrick Harvie give support to using the
powers of independence to battle inequality in Scotland
Scottish News: News in Scotland - Friday
Royal Mile to receive overhaul
Edinburgh’s Royal Mile is due a radical revamp in a bid to combat the street’s flagging tourism opportunities. The city’s council leaders announced that they want to make the tourist attraction more pedestrian-friendly and transform it into the “world’s best cultural living street”. The changes considered include widening pavements, traffic bans, reviving disused closes and limiting “tartan tat” shops. The plans come a year after a summit was called to address wide-spread complaints over the condition of the Mile. The changes that will be implemented in August are set to affect almost every part of the street.
Horsemeat found in Scottish school food
Horsemeat has been found in Scottish children’s school food for the first time, despite government reassurances that beef products supplied to education establishments were traceable. North Lanarkshire Council has confirmed traces of horse DNA were detected in a frozen burger removed for testing last week from a school kitchen. On Thursday, the Scottish government responded to Nairn's demands for reassurances over the horsemeat scandal saying the authorities must come clean about what has gone into school food.
More Scottish news:
- Scottish independence: campaign too important to be left to politicians
- Salmond warns Osborne: Westminster austerity won’t cut it for Scotland
- Scotland should “pay for itself”, says senior Tory
- North Sea oil helps Scotland through UK crisis
BP tanker drivers begin pension strike
Tanker drivers at the Grangemouth Oil Refinery have gone on a three-day strike over a pension dispute. 90 percent of the 42 BP drivers voted in favour of the strike protesting against cuts made to pensions and pay following the transfer of a key contract. Unite, who represent the striking drivers, said the cuts meant a loss of £1,400 in the drivers’ annual pay and up to £100,000 from their pensions. A BP spokesperson said: "Our priority remains the safe delivery of fuel products to all our customers. We have been working to, and continue to work to, minimise any potential disruption the industrial action planned for this weekend at Grangemouth could cause." A second strike is due on 28 February if the dispute is not resolved.
Greens welcome a report addressing inequality in Scotland
The Scottish Greens are welcoming a major report, Yes to a Just Scotland, by pro-independence group Yes Scotland. The report says successive UK governments have failed to arrest the widening gap in inequality. Patrick Harvie, Green MSP for Glasgow and Co-convener of the Scottish Greens, said: "It's clear that to me that there are many undecided voters who will be open to the idea of an independent Scotland which restores progressive taxation and protects the public services we all depend on”.
US ambassador claims neutrality in the independent Scotland debate
The US ambassador to Britain has told the BBC that his country will not take sides in the Scottish independence referendum debate. Louis Susman said the Washington government was watching the debate unfold and would be staying "neutral". During an interview with BBC Scotland, Mr Susman said: "this is up for the Scottish people to decide and where their best future is for their children and their grandchildren”. "We will watch it and we won't take sides. We are neutral and we will just have to see what will happen”. However he made it clear that "there are ramifications either way”.
Welfare- to- work scheme a flop
A multi-billion-pound scheme to help long-term unemployed people into work has been branded extremely poor by MPs. The government's Work Programme only managed to get 3.6 percent of the people on the scheme off benefits and into secure employment in its first 14 months, the Public Accounts Committee said. The committee shared concerns that providers were concentrating on people more likely to generate a fee, and sidelining jobless clients who required more time and investment - a process known as ''creaming and parking''.
Eurozone economy set to shrink again in 2013
The eurozone will not return to growth until 2014, the European Commission has said today, reversing its prediction for an end to recession this year - blaming a lack of bank lending and record joblessness for delaying the recovery. Joblessness in the eurozone is also set to peak at 12.2 percent, or more than 19 million people in 2013, the commission added. The damage from the 2008/2009 global financial crisis and the ensuing euro zone debt crisis has been greater than expected on the real economy, with global demand for euro zone exports one of the few saviours in terms of generating growth.
India on high alert after lethal bombings
Two explosions killing 15 people have resulted in India’s major cities being put on high alert. Police are currently searching for those responsible for the bombs that were set off in the southern city of Hyderabad, which also injured around 100 people. No official information has been revealed on who might be to blame although a top state police officer V Dinesh Reddy has said the attack was part of a “terrorist network”. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called the attacks a "dastardly act" and pledged justice for those affected.
Pistorius bail decision due
A South African magistrate is set to rule on whether Oscar Pistorius, accused of murdering his girlfriend, should be freed on bail. The Paralympic sprinter denies murder, saying he shot Reeva Steenkamp thinking she was an intruder at his home. After the final arguments, magistrate Desmond Nair said he would announce his decision at about 2:30pm (12:30GMT). In his closing argument, prosecutor Gerrie Nel said that Oscar Pistorius's version of events was "improbable" and there was a clear risk he would flee if granted bail.
Syria: US, UK and West justifying terrorism by blocking bomb condemnation, warns Russia
By blocking a UN statement condemning a car bomb which killed 53 people and damaged Russian embassy buildings the US and its allies are guilty of "double standards" said the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. He added that the US which backs the insurgents are showing a "very dangerous tendency by our American colleagues to depart from the fundamental principle of unconditional condemnation of any terrorist act, a principle which secures the unity of the international community in the fight against terrorism." In a reference to al-Qaeda which is an ally of the US-backed insurgency, Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s envoy to the UN, said: “We consider unacceptable this search for justifications for terrorist actions. It is obvious that by doing so the US delegation encourages those who have been repeatedly targeting American interests, including US diplomatic missions,”.
UN rejects Haiti cholera claims
The United Nations have rejected compensation claims for damages over the cholera epidemic that killed nearly 8,000 people in Haiti. The outbreak is thought to be caused by leaking sewage pipes at a UN peacekeepers’ base, however the UN has so far refused any blame claiming that it is impossible to pinpoint the exact source of infection. Lawyers for families of the deceased and some of those infected have predicted a damage claim of around $1bn. UN spokesperson Martin Nesirky said that the damages claim was “non-receivable” under a 1946 convention that grants global body immunity for its actions.
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