News in Scotland - Monday

The SNP has warned Scots that only through independence can
Scotland be free of Trident

Scottish News: News in Scotland - Monday


Scots invest in heritage groups
National heritage groups have reported a rise in memberships in recent years despite the economic downturn. Historic Scotland, for example, have seen a 45 percent rise in members to over 130,000, their highest membership ever. The numbers are expected to grow in the coming years with visitors looking to invest their leisure money more wisely. “Scottish consumers are continuing to look for value for money and an increase in schemes such as membership is certainly one of the ways that this is demonstrated,” said a spokesperson for Historic Scotland. “Given the ongoing economic challenges, it’s certainly a trend that we would anticipate seeing continuing for the foreseeable future.”

MSPs to hear evidence on benefit changes
A Scottish parliament committee is to take evidence from people affected by the UK government's welfare reforms. Welfare reform committee convener Michael McMahon, a Labour MSP, said: "It is all too easy for talk of welfare reform to be about numbers or to generalise and stereotype. The reality is it affects individuals with unique circumstances". The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has said the changes will help some of the poorest families. Last week, the DWP revealed more than a quarter of Scots on incapacity benefit prior to October 2010 had now been reclassified as "fit for work" - in excess of 17,000 people.

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Only an independent Scotland can remove Trident, warns SNP
The SNP have stated that the Westminster system has made clear their disinterest in nuclear disarmament in MoD spending figures released last week. “it was revealed that last year only £2.125mn (0.005%) of the MoD budget was directed toward developing expertise on non-nuclear alternatives". Commenting, SNP MSP Bill Kidd – a Co-President of the international organisation Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament – said: “These figures reveal a shocking disregard for the will of the Scottish people to have nuclear weapons removed from our soil. It is clear that the only way to stop this waste of taxpayer money and remove Trident once and for all is to vote Yes for the powers of independence in 2014".

Scotland to invest more in infrastructure
The Scottish government will release further information on plans to improve Scotland’s infrastructure. Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will today reveal details of an updated version of the 2011 Infrastructure Investment Plan that will involve developments in the nation’s housing, health, education and transport. Ms Sturgeon said: “"The updated plan that we will publish today goes into a lot of detail about projects that are live or will become live - there will be more than 100 of those.” Opposition parties have called the plans a “wish list”, with the Scottish Conservatives questioning the Scottish government’s record of infrastructure investment. Ms Sturgeon added: “We are under no illusion about how difficult it still is for key sectors of our economy. Construction is one of those, and that makes it all the more important that we are focused on ensuring the capital investment that the country needs."

Yes campaigners attempt to silence cybernats
Senior Nationalists have launched a crackdown on so-called "cybernats" who use the internet to abuse and attack political opponents. A group of party activists, with a high-profile presence on social media, has begun policing offensive comments on blogs and social networking site Twitter. In a separate move, the pro-independence Yes Scotland campaign has highlighted warnings to supporters not to make personal attacks or engage in abuse. The latest spat followed BBC reports on the Scottish government's decision to accept a more neutrally-worded referendum question, which attracted more than 1300 comments on the corporation's website.


Police stole IDs of dead children
Undercover police officers used the identities of dead children to create aliases during operations mainly in the 1980s, a Guardian report has revealed. Covert officers of the now disbanded Special Demonstration Squad were issued identity documents including passports and driving licenses matching the names of children that had died in early life, an action that was secretly authorised by the Metropolitan Police. The Met has said in a statement that the practice is not “currently” authorised, but that an investigation has been launched into “past arrangements for undercover identities used by SDS [Special Demonstration Squad] officers”.  

UK crisis: Osborne threatens to break up banks
George Osborne is to threaten to break up banks if they flout new rules intended to prevent another taxpayer bailout of the financial system. The chancellor's pledge to force through changes to the industry came amid continued upheaval at Barclays, which is losing two more executives after being hit by a £290mn fine for rigging Libor, the rate at which banks lend to each other. Royal Bank of Scotland also faces a £500mn fine for manipulating the key interest rate. However in his speech in Bournemouth, Osborne will not bash banks, but instead blame Labour for the regulatory system that led to the bank bailout and outline changes he is making to break up the Financial Services Authority - handing more powers to the Bank of England.

UK deploys toy-sized spy drones in Afghanistan
British troops in Afghanistan are now using 10 centimeter long 16 gram spy helicopters to survey Taliban firing spots. The UK Defence Ministry plans to buy 160 of the drones under a contract worth more than $31mn. The remote controlled PD-100 PRS aircraft, dubbed the Black Hornet, is produced by Norwegian designer Prox Dynamics. The drone is a traditional single rotor helicopter, scaled down to the size of a toy. British troops are to use the drones for reconnaissance missions, sending them ahead to inspect enemy positions.

Greece: islands cut off as seamen extend strike
Greek seamen and farmers are continuing to protest across the country against government austerity measures. Seamen extended their strike by 48 hours meaning that many island have been cut off from the mainland for six days. Farmers are also continuing their strike against tax increases by holding sit-ins and handing out rice to drivers. The protests began on Thursday and have already led to grocery shortages and disrupted agricultural exports. The seamen are calling for repeal of a draft law that weakens their union and demanding months of unpaid wages. The Greek government are holding talks with protesters, however, they are refusing to change deficit-cutting plans, a condition of bailout fund and debt relief from the EU and International Monetary Fund.

French airstrike in Northern Mali
Thirty French jets have bombed Kidal in Northern Mali in attempts to regain the final rebel stronghold. The warplanes targeted militant training and communication centres in the area, however there are fears that they may regroup in the surrounding mountains. The attack is part of a three-week campaign in Mali where French forces were deployed to help fight insurgencies by Islamist rebels. While French troops captured Kidal’s airport, the area is still controlled by the MNLA rebels who are seeking the independence of Azawad. Malian Interim President Dioncounda Traore has said he will hold talks with the MNLA to help secure Kidal.

Israel plans buffer belt in Syria
The Israeli military have announced plans to prevent militants entering Israel by setting up a 16km security zone inside Syria. A map of the plans has been submitted to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu following recent reports that Islamist insurgents are entering the country through Syrian villages near the border. An Israeli military source told the media: “This is to prevent a situation where terror reaches the fence without us being able to prevent it, by allowing us to see it.”

Israelis question authenticity of Iranian 'fighter jet'
Israelis have cast doubt on Sunday about the authenticity of a new radar evading fighter jet unveiled by Iran over the weekend. In an unveiling ceremony inside a hangar on Saturday, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad unveiled the futuristic looking F-313 fighter jet, saying it ranks among the most sophisticated aircraft in the world. Israelis who looked over the photos that were released of the jet, however, told the Ma’ariv daily they doubted it was authentic. Saturday’s unveiling of the fighter jet came as Iran marks the 34th anniversary of the 1979 revolution, which replaced the US-backed Shah with an Islamic regime.


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published this page in News 2013-02-04 12:30:13 +0000