As many as 50, 000 new jobs could be created in the North Sea
this year according to new research
Scottish News: News in Scotland - Monday
UK talks shun: an attempt to “scare” Scots voters
The SNP have slammed UK government moves to block pre-referendum independence talks. SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson said that any vetoes by the UK government against talks would be seen as an attempt to scare Scottish voters into voting No in the 2014 referendum. Mr Robertson dismissed claims by Scottish Secretary Michael Moore that beginning preparations for independence in Edinburgh and London ahead of the 2014 vote would be a “betrayal” of Scots. Mr Robertson said that the refusal to hold talks was “part of the tactics” of the Unionist parties to attack the Yes Scotland campaign. The Scottish government issued a statement saying that it was in “everyone’s interests that preparations are in place” for the prospect of a ‘yes’ vote in the referendum.
Signs of growth in Scottish economy
Scotland’s economy looks to be in “growth mode” since the start of 2013, according to a report by the Bank of Scotland. The Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) report shows that output rose at its fastest rate since June 2012. Employment in Scotland has also risen, contrasting with a decline in the rest of the UK. A Scottish government spokesperson said: “This month's PMI report shows positive improvements in Scotland’s economy, suggesting that the private sector in Scotland grew at its fastest rate for six months in December, out-performing the UK economy where there was no expansion at all. “Business growth and investment will be key to securing economic expansion over the coming year. The Scottish Government will continue to do all we can to support our businesses but we could do even more with the full fiscal and economic powers of independence to strengthen our economy and create jobs.”
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
Jobs boom forecast for Scotland's North Sea
Oil and gas jobs in the North Sea are expected to ‘boom’ in 2013. Recruitment agency for the energy sector, oilandgaspeople.com, has suggested that there may be between 40,000 and 50,000 new jobs created in 2013 with the potential for even more jobs from the shale gas sector. Kevin Forbes from oilandgaspeople.com said: "Large projects backed by BP West of Shetland are already under way and Total's new Terminal project in Shetland is in full swing. There are too many new projects to mention and from our own industry knowledge we expect more big announcements in 2013." However, the agency warns that the industry may suffer from continued skill shortages with an increased need for skilled and experienced staff.
Independent Scotland: world leader in aid
The SNP aim to make an independent Scotland a world leader in aid with a 'yes' vote in 2014. Humza Yousaf, Scotland's Minister for External Affairs and International Development said that the SNP plan to make Scotland a “world leader in international development”. Mr Yousaf, who would be Scotland’s Foreign Secretary if independent, said: “The aim should be, when independence comes we would essentially go from having a budget as we have now of £9 million, modest, to a budget of hundreds of millions.” The UK has missed the UN aid target of 0.7 percent of gross national income for over 40 years. Mr Yousaf claims the SNP would aim to surpass this target and reach around one percent. Along with increasing aid, the SNP are also “actively considering” cancelling third world debt.
UK flat-rate state pension expected for 2017
Details of the new flat-rate state pension are to be outlined by Westminster today. The new pension system, expected to come into play in April 2017, will be a combination of the current full state pension and second state pension to provide a flat-rate for everyone. The weekly payment will rise from £107.45 (£142.70 with the second state pension top-up) to £144 plus any inflation rises between now and 2017. "At the moment, nobody has a clue what the state is going to pay them," said Steve Webb, UK pensions minister. "Now, men and women will build up pensions in their own right. And women coming up to pension age who have got a damaged pension record, because they brought up children, will have that restored.” The new system will be the biggest pension overhaul seen in Scotland, England and Wales for decades.
Eight arrested over shooting of British girl in Jamaica
Police are holding eight people over the shooting of British girl Imani Green in Jamaica. The eight-year-old from South London was visiting relatives in the country when she was shot twice in what is suspected to be a revenge gang attack. Deputy Supt Steve Brown, from Jamaica's police force, said: "We have taken people into custody as we search for a motive for the attack. We've heard about gang warfare but we find it a bit difficult to believe because where the incident took place it is a sleepy community, nothing happens there, it's an isolated incident.” Imani was shot in the head and shoulder in the attack that also injured three others. She was taken to hospital but later died. Mr Brown said that the attack could be linked to a number of things. He added: "We are confident we will make a breakthrough very, very soon."
Mali operation to be ‘short’
France’s campaign against Islamic extremists in Mali will be completed in a matter of weeks, said French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius. On Sunday, Mr Fabius said that “stopping the terrorists” is done, "Today we started taking care of the terrorists' rear bases." France launched the operation on Friday in conjunction with the Malian army in an attempt to prevent insurgents from advancing on the capital Bamako. It is believed that over 100 rebel soldiers, ten Malian soldiers, one French pilot and ten civilians have been killed since France’s intervention.
Chavez’s health improving, say Venezuelan officials
Hugo Chavez’s health is looking “positive”, though he is still in treatment for respiratory failure, said Venezuelan communications minister Ernesto Villegas. In a statement on Sunday, Mr Villegas said: "Despite his delicate health state since his complex surgery on December 11, his general health has improved in recent days and the president is in strict compliance with his medical treatment." However, former vice president Elias Jaua said that Chavez is still “fighting for his life”. Opposition parties have argued that the leader should have been inaugurated on 10 January, however, a controversial court ruling has delayed the process indefinitely. Presidential supporters have held rallies over the weekend defending the ruling and waving signs and banners wishing Chavez good health.
Chinese media call for pollution transparency
Public uproar over harmful levels of air pollution in Beijing has led to media officials questioning government transparency. The blanket of acrid smog that has spread across the capital has pushed state media to join internet users in calling for a re-evaluation of the country’s modernisation process, where urbanisation and industrial development have taken priority over the environment. This weekend, the smog cut visibility in areas of northern China to 100 metres resulting in flight cancellations. Scientists in Beijing found levels of PM2.5, particles small enough to penetrate the lungs, were dangerously high at 993 micrograms per cubic metre, over 40 times the World Health Organisation’s safe limit. The state-run newspaper, Global Times, ran an editorial on Monday calling for more transparent figures on pollution and urging the government to stop “covering up the problems” and instead publish the facts.
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