Scottish Secretary Michael Moore will tell a US audience today that
Scotland has international influence as part of the UK
Scottish News: News in Scotland - Monday
Scotland has influence as part of UK, claims Scottish Secretary
Scottish Secretary Michael Moore will tell an audience at Washington DC's Georgetown University that an independent Scotland would have 'reduced clout' and 'diluted influence' in regional and global corridors of power if it becomes independent. Despite being the EU's largest oil and gas producer and UK austerity deepening, an independent Scotland would - according to the Tory/LibDem cabinet minister - be diminished in the influence it has inside a "comparatively large, wealthy and powerful" Britain.
More flights between Scotland and Heathrow
Eighteen flights per day between Scotland and Heathrow have been announced by Virgin Atlantic, creating competition for British Airways which would otherwise have enjoyed a monopoly on Scottish flights to the UK's largest airport. Virgin’s new service begins on 31 March, 2013.
More Scottish news:
- Hall's of Broxburn - Call for enquiry into legality of Vion activities
- Scottish independence: Chairman of ‘yes’ campaign rejects monarchy
- Trump’s case of wind farm ‘financial suicide’ dismissed
- Scottish independence: Convicted prisoners will not get referendum vote
Holyrood report: Women subjected to ‘occupational segregation’
A new report has found women in Scotland are segregated into low-paid and low-status work. MSPs responding to the report by the Equal Opportunities Committee have demanded urgent action to tackle problems faced by women in the workplace. Committee convener Mary Fee, also MSP for the West of Scotland, said: “We all want equality in the workforce. This committee is looking to identify the steps we need to get there.” An organiser for the trade union Unison, Dave Watson, commented: “At a time when the UK Government is seeking to weaken equality measures, it is very welcome that the Scottish Parliament is looking at practical ways to strengthen equality in the workplace.”
New Conservative group supports gay church weddings
Ruth Davidson has launched a new group to campaign for gay marriages. The Scottish Conservative leader has been joined by other senior Conservatives willing to support the move, such as Boris Johnson and Education Secretary Michael Grove. The creation of the group has sparked a serious rift in the Conservative Party, with more than 100 MPs expected to oppose the change in the Commons next year. Legislation is expected to be introduced before Easter and could take effect about a year later, with the first ceremonies likely to be held in spring 2014.
UK and WORLD
RBS braced for release of Libor scandal emails
Insiders are reportedly warning of an expected dossier of humiliating emails related to Libor (London Interbank Offered Rate). The RBS emails are thought to be embarrassing and indicative of general UK banking culture of systemic corruption with one source claiming bankers ‘just didn’t seem to think they were doing anything wrong’. The email release will follow a regulatory investigation of the bank which is expected to be fined to the tune of hundreds of millions of pounds for its part in rigging a market worth hundreds of trillions of pounds.
US and UK to reveal plan for insolvent banks
Regulators in both Britain and the US will reveal plans to manage the failing banking system. Shareholders who were previously bailed out at taxpayers’ expense - resulting in deficits and austerity - will be forced along with creditors to take losses and so improve banks' capital reserves. A strategy paper devised by the Bank of England and the US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation warns that shareholders will be wiped out and unsecured bondholders “can expect that their claims would be written down to reflect any losses that shareholders cannot cover”. These measures controversially were not taken when the US and UK made the decision to support wealthy investors in their international banks after the 2008 crisis.
Italy: Markets react negatively to Monti news
Markets have taken fright at the news that the 'technocrat' prime minister (unelected) Mario Monti will step down after losing the support of Silvio Berlusconi's PDL party - the largest group in the Italian parliament. With a background in Goldman Sachs, Mr Monti's economic reforms have been promoted by financiers and corporate economists. The news comes after it emerged that Mr Berlusconi is set to stand for the position of Italian prime minister again. The developments have seen Italian borrowing costs increase dramatically and with share prices tumble.
Syria: Brahimi lauds 'constructive' talks with US and Russia
After meeting Russian and US diplomats at an undisclosed location in Geneva, special envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi said "The meeting was constructive and held in a spirit of co-operation,". Mr Brahimi commented on the status of the Syrian conflict saying the situation is "getting worse" but that political resolution is "still possible".
South Korea: Refiners cut Iranian crude oil imports
Reuters has reported South Korean refiners will cut imports of Iranian crude oil by up to 20 percent. The move is to avoid sanctions by Washington. The United States granted 180-day waivers on Iran sanctions to China, India, South Korea and some other countries after they cut oil purchases from the Islamic Republic. The US sanctions are in place to restrict Iran’s oil trade, forcing the government to postpone its nuclear energy program. Refiners in Asia are reluctant to impose sanctions beyond 20 percent as many of them run plants configured to process Iranian crude oil. The next review of sanctions’ waivers is due in early June.
Iranian experts assist North Korean rocket launch programme
Iranian missile experts are in North Korea to give technical assistance for a long-range rocket launch. The window for the launch was extended by a week due to a "technical deficiency". The launch, considered by the US, Japan and South Korea a test for developing a ballistic missile carrying nuclear warheads, had been planned for between 10-22 December. The Iranian experts were invited by Pyongyang after the last rocket launch in April ended in failure.
Philippines: UN appeal for help
The United Nations are collaborating with the government of the Phillippines in a £40mn global appeal to help the victims of Typhoon Bopha. Nearly 650 people have been registered fatally injured as a result of the typhoon, with millions left homeless and in desperate need of basic aid. It has been reported that families and fishing companies have also registered over 300 fishermen missing at sea. The Philippine president, Benigno Aquino III, declared a state of national calamity on Friday, which allows for price controls on basic commodities in typhoon-affected areas and the quick release of emergency funds.
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