Piers Morgan faces a petition to have him deported from the US
Scottish News: Top stories - Monday
Record levels of compensation for stressed-out teachers
Compensation for teachers in Scotland suffering from stress has doubled in the past year, according to new figures released by the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS). The teaching union experienced an increase from 20 percent to 40 percent of claims related to stress. Increased stress levels have been credited to the axing of more than 4000 school staff in the last 5 years, with other public sectors seeing the same problems. In 2010/2011, there were 32,000 cases of work/related stress in the Scottish public sector. Larry Flanagan, general secretary of the EIS, said: "Every year we hope that the number of compensation cases will fall but, sadly, the evidence from 2012 is that employers still have a great deal of work to do.
Union warns of 10 year public sector pay freeze
Unison have claimed that public sector workers may not see a pay rise for the next ten years. Thousands of public sector employees have already faced three year pay freezes and in their Christmas message, the union warns that these could continue on for a decade due to the UK economic crisis. Scottish Secretary Mike Kirby said: The real wages of public service workers have dived far below the freezing point and many are being frozen out from real pay rises for up to 10 years into the future. The pensions tax of 3 percent which faces many of our members adds an extra burden. All this is as a result of the unfair and unnecessary austerity measures being visited upon us through all levels of government.” In response, the Scottish government have argued that they have protected NHS spending and have put measures in place to maintain numbers of teachers and police officers.
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
Scottish independence: Scots can have more referendums
SNP MSP, Sandra White, has said that should Scotland's independence referendum result in a close 'no' vote, another could be held soon after. Anti-independence parties reacted by dubbing Ms White's party position as advocating a "neverendum" referencing the situation in Quebec - one of the few example where such a referendum has been held twice and is still inconclusive. First Minister Alex Salmond has said the referendum would be a "once-in-a-generation opportunity”. Referendums are are a form of direct democracy which facilitates an electorate to express its will without having to vote for a party.
Christmas flood warnings continue
31 flood warnings are still in place throughout Scotland with a total of 18 flood alerts. The clean-up has already begun in Stonehaven, where residents had to evacuate their homes after Sunday's severe flooding. Grampian police have warned that there are areas still experiencing localised flooding leading to stretches of roads being closed, but have noted that water levels are starting to subside. Stonehaven residents are concerned about health and safety after raw sewage has mixed into flood water in the town centre. The emergency services will be issuing health advice to locals.
Councils “unsure” over number of wind farms
Two-thirds of councils can't “put a number” on how many operational wind farms are in their areas, according to a recent survey. Only ten of the 32 councils in Scotland could provide a definite number of how many wind farms were in use, out of the 2000 confirmed to be in use. Holyrood’s energy committee convenor, Murdo Fraser, said: “I find it astonishing that most councils can’t put a number on how many wind turbines are in the ground and working.” However, Mr Fraser's comments have been dismissed by the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities as “opportunistic council bashing” claiming that councils do know the number of operational wind farms and that the way the question was phrased in the survey led to some confusion.
Former council leader found dead in Glasgow
Former East Dunbartonshire council leader was found dead after being assaulted on Friday evening. John Morrison, the former LibDem councillor was found on Argyle Street at 12:40 on Saturday morning. The cause of death has yet to be established. A 25-year-old man as been arrested in connection with the assault, according to Strathclyde police. 50-year-old Mr Morrison served as deputy council leader from 1999 to 2003 before he took his place as council leader until 2007. His family have been informed of the attack.
UK and WORLD
Flood alert over Christmas
The UK Environment Agency has warned that widespread showers mean that many places across Britain remain on flood alert. Across Britain homes and businesses have experienced flooding as citizens brace themselves for one of the wettest Christmas holidays on record.
Russia reported to be supporting Syrian military
In a further sign that Syria is caught in a geo-political tug-of-war, it has been reported that Russian advisers have been deployed along with surface-to-air defences to support government forces in the country's 21 month-old civil war. The Russian presence would complicate the option of a US-led intervention in the conflict or NATO-imposed no-fly zone. Iran's military recently warned that the deployment of Patriot missiles to Turkey would set the stage for a "world war". Gas from the other side of the Caspian sea can only be piped to Europe via Russia or Iran. With the US using its influence to impose crippling sanctions on Iran, Russian strategists view the war in Syria as part of a strategy to encircle Iran and bring down its government and so undermine Russia’s global influence.
Egypt awaiting referendum result
Egyptians are awaiting the results of a referendum on a draft constitution for the country. The ballot which received low participation among the electorate is expected to show more than 60 percent of voters in favour of the new constitution.
Eastern Europe freeze claims 220 lives
The drop in temperatures across Eastern Europe has brought hundreds of fatalities particularly in Russia, Ukraine and Poland. The extreme weather conditions has been attributed to a high pressure front over Russia and Kazakhstan.
Piers Morgan: Will he be deported from the US?
The former UK tabloid editor and US TV presenter Piers Morgan should be deported from the US, according to a petition which has been posted on the White House website. The petition comes after an interview with Gun Owners of America executive director Larry Pratt in which Morgan accused his interviewee of being "stupid". The petition argues that Mr Morgan is engaged in a "hostile attack against the US Constitution by targeting the Second Amendment". In the Second Amendment of the US Constitution the "right to bear arms" is enshrined. The intention of the amendment was to protect American citizens after the experience of British rule - against the possibility of a tyrannical government coming to power. Mr Morgan points out that by trying to have him deported the petitioners are targeting the 1st Amendment which enshrines freedom of speech.
Violent protests in India after gang rape
Indian PM Manmohan Singh has called for calm following violent protests over the gang rape of a woman. Mr Singh offered assurances that his government would do what it could to protect the safety of women. According to police reports 60 officers were injured in clashes after the rape which took place on a bus in Delhi. The woman was left in a critical condition and many protesters are calling for the death penalty.
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