News in Scotland - Monday

Scottish Secretary Michael Moore has been moved from his office to
make way for David Clegg

Scottish News: News in Scotland - Monday


One in four Scots struggle to keep homes
A survey has found one in four people believe they are one pay cheque away from losing the roof over their heads. The study, conducted by homelessness charity Shelter Scotland, said 26 percent of people would struggle to continue paying their mortgage or rent for more than a month if they lost their job next year - an increasing possibility as the UK crisis deepens. The charity also reported that approximately 5,300 children in Scotland will be homeless this Christmas. Shelter’s director, Graeme Brown, said funding for its services is also being cut at a time when the number of people seeking advice about home repossession is soaring.

Scottish population reaches new heights in 2011
The 2011 Census in Scotland has shown the country’s population was at its highest level ever. The Scottish population on Census Day was 5,292,000 – up 5 percent since 2001. The UK population as of 27 March 2011 also comprised: 53,012,456 people living in England; 1,810,863 living in Northern Ireland, and 3,063,456 in Wales. The combined figures resulted in the UK population for that day being 63,181,775.

More Scottish news:

Embarrassment as Moore demoted in his own department
Michael Moore is being moved out of his office to make way for Nick Clegg in the New Year. Clegg’s move to the Scottish Office is said to be due to asbestos in his current office with officials stating that it is the most cost-effective option. A new route is being built to allow the Deputy Prime Minister direct access to 10 Downing Street. Moore will be moving into a junior minister’s room in the department.

Waverly station pollution above legal limits
Air pollution is seven times above the recommended safety limits in Scotland’s second-busiest station. Passengers are exposed to fumes from trains and cars, with dust from the station’s construction work added into the toxic mix. Scientists tested levels of harmful chemicals in four areas of the station and found some to be higher than European air quality laws allow. For example, nitrogen dioxide levels were found to be between 205 and 304 micrograms per cubic metre, above the legal limit of 200 micrograms per cubic metre for one hour’s exposure.

Unionist parties have less influence within UK
The Scottish Labour Party has been accused of being under the control of Westminster after it emerged that the party’s new general secretary would be line managed by the UK party’s top official. However, party insiders believe Johann Lamont should use her authority to push through reform of Scottish Labour's headquarters in Glasgow, as MSPs believe the party HQ to be more sensitive to the needs of Westminster than Holyrood. The news has recently been compounded by news that Nick Clegg is to take up residence in the Scottish Office from January, temporarily displacing Scottish Secretary Michael Moore from his own office.

Scottish employment: jobs market sees ‘strong growth’
A survey of recruitment agencies has found Scotland’s labour market was lifted last month by the strongest growth in permanent placements since April. The Bank of Scotland report said the increases generally reflected greater client demand. The findings of the report came as the Scottish parliament’s economy committee launched an inquiry into why people end up doing jobs for which they are overqualified. Tory MSP Murdo Fraser, convener of the economy committee, said there was a concern that jobs figures were masking a more complicated picture, with underemployment on an upward trend.

Alistair Gray criticises English arts ‘colonisers’
Highly-respected Scottish author and artist Alistair Gray has criticised the appointment of English ‘colonists’ to powerful and influential positions in Scottish arts. The comments were published as part of an essay “Settlers and Colonists” in a book on Scottish independence. Gray claims that there’s a difference between long term settlers and colonists. He said: “English settlers are as much a part of Scotland as Asian restaurateurs and shopkeepers, or the Italians who brought us fish and chips. The colonists look forward to a future back in England through promotion or by retirement.”


Police officer arrested in Mitchell 'pleb' leak
A police officer has been arrested on suspicion of misconduct in public office over the leak of information to national newspapers about Tory former chief whip Andrew Mitchell's tirade at officers on Downing Street. A constable in the Diplomatic Protection Group was held on Saturday evening and bailed yesterday to return next month, Scotland Yard said. Mr Mitchell resigned in October after weeks of controversy over reports of verbal abuse directed at police after being told he could not ride his bike through the main gates.

Clegg: Benefits should not apply to wealthy pensioners
Nick Clegg has called for a revision of universal benefits legislation. In a major speech on the welfare state, the deputy prime minister insisted the government has an “absolute duty” to ensure the system is fair to all. Clegg said this means not paying out to “people who do not need it”, such as wealthy pensioners who receive free bus passes and winter fuel allowance. The speech to the Centre Forum think tank came after polls showed the Lib Dems had been pushed into fourth place, behind Ukip.

Crisis-hit heating in Greece as fuel prices rise
Fuel taxes are higher than ever Greece while temperatures are falling fast this winter, especially in the northern regions, where temperatures can fall under 15 degrees. Households are getting hit by the economic crisis leading to owners and tenants struggling to afford heating fuel with a litre of heating oil now costing €1.35 (£1.10) compared to 95 cents (£0.77) a year ago.

UN: Violence escalating in Syria
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has expressed alarm at the worsening violence in Syria. Ban’s spokesman, Martin Nesirky, said in a statement: “The Secretary-General is alarmed by the continued dramatic escalation of violence in Syria over the past several days, and the grave danger facing civilians in areas under fire.” Opposition activists have reported up to 200 members of President Bashar al-Assad’s Alawite minority were injured or killed in the Aqrab incident on Tuesday.

Egyptian’s back Mursi’s constitutional referendum
Egypt’s president has won initial backing from Egyptians for a new constitution. Results from the first day of voting on the draft basic law showed 56.5 percent of voters were in favour of Mursi’s constitutional reform. Reuters reported a statement from the opposition National Salvation Front saying they did not explicitly challenge the Brotherhood’s vote tally, saying instead that voting malpractices meant a rerun was needed. Human rights groups reported malfunctions at polling stations which opened late with officials telling people how to vote and reports of bribery.

Pakistani car bomb kills 17
A powerful blast in a market in Khyber, Northwest Pakistan, has killed at least 17 people and injured 70 others. The attack took place near the area’s tribal administration offices where several buildings and vehicles were also destroyed. The target of the blast has not yet been identified and so far no group has claimed to have instigated it. The bomb follows a 15-day standoff between militants and security forces at nearby Peshawar airport.

More deadly bombings hit Iraq
A series of car bombs near Shia places of worship has killed at least 20 people and injured many, a day after multiple blasts had hit two Iraqi cities killing nine people. Two car bombs and seven roadside bombs on Sunday targeted two Shia places of worship in Kirkuk, one in the city's north and another in its south, killing a total of five people and wounding 14, a senior police officer told the AFP news agency. The dispute over territory in northern Iraq is the greatest threat to the country's long-term stability, diplomats and officials say; a year after US forces departed the country claiming stability had returned.

Newtown shootings: Obama says tragedies must end
President Barack Obama has said the US must do more to protect its children in the wake of Friday's shootings at a school in Newtown, Connecticut. Mr Obama said he would use the powers of his office to prevent a repeat of the tragedy. Twenty children and six women died in the assault on Sandy Hook school by a lone man who then took his own life. The incident has again sparked debate over tougher gun control, with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a strong gun control advocate, urging President Obama to act. "We have heard all the rhetoric before," he said. "What we have not seen is leadership, not from the White House and not from Congress. That must end today”.

Treasure flight: Afghan’s baffling gold exodus

Afghanistan, one of the world’s poorest countries, is reportedly experiencing travellers taking large quantities of gold out of the country, mostly to Dubai. Heroin money laundering and sanctions evasions by Iran are the rumoured causes. The surge in gold trafficking began this summer, the New York Times reported. Passengers carry bags full of gold on commercial flights leaving Kabul, most of them to Dubai. Tracking the gold could prove difficult however, as Afghanistan’s economy operates with little oversight. Nearly 90 percent of financial activity is done outside of formal banks. Written contracts and bookkeeping are rare; leaving Afghan officials unable to track down how much gold is taken out of the country.

Japan: Yen plunges after conservative election win
The yen plunged in Asian currency markets on Monday after Japan’s conservative opposition emerged victorious in national polls. LDP head Shinzo Abe is in favour of increased money printing (quantitative easing) and also pledged to bolster Japan’s defences in the face of rising border tensions with China. However, AsiaOne reported that the National Australia Bank has said in a note: “The upper house will…still have a say in the appointment of new BoJ officials.” This is of some significance as it means the LDP cannot automatically appoint its preferred choices for the posts of BoJ governor and deputy governors, all of whose terms expire next March and April.


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published this page in News 2012-12-17 11:56:58 +0000