News in Scotland - Monday

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Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has dismissed the latest round of
'scaremongering' over independence as "puerile"

Scottish News: News in Scotland - Monday 

SCOTLAND

Independence: phone charge 'scare story' discredited

Mobile phone tariffs are the latest example of a Westminster "scare story" relating to Scotland's independence referendum according to the SNP. In a further sign that Westminster is deliberately manipulating Scotland's referendum campaign claims were made in a report from Vince Cable's business department that Scots may have to pay expensive international roaming charges on their phones when in England as do EU citizens when in other member EU nations. However it transpires that the European Commission are scrapping the charges next year in order to create a single European telecoms market. The blunder underlines growing concerns that Westminster is focusing resources in support of the 'no' campaign in Scotland in an attempt to secure a 'no' vote.

No campaign 'scaremongering' reaches fever pitch

The UK government's campaign to scare different groups into voting 'no' in next year's independence referendum have turned to motorists, hauliers and flight passengers as they paint a picture of risk and uncertainty should Scotland become independent. Over the weekend there were dire warnings to mobile phone and web consumers about tariffs under independence. Worryingly, the former head of intelligence and counter-terrorism for Strathclyde Police branded negative claims about security in an independent Scotland as ‘scurrilous scaremongering’. Hauliers according to reports might face an extra £1,000 per year while driving licences could see a hike as well. It is becoming increasingly clear that Westminster resources are being utilised in collaboration with the 'no' campaign in to spread fears about the 'risk' and 'impact' of independence. Commenting, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the latest round of "scare-stories" had been dismissed as "silly” and “puerile" even by senior Tories such as Jackson Carlaw.

More Scottish news:

 

Taskforce to discuss opencast mine revival

A taskforce set up after the closure of a major Scottish coal-mining firm is to discuss the revival of opencast mines in Scotland. The latest meeting comes after concerns about restoration were raised by communities after the Scottish government rejected a call from the Scottish Opencast Communities Alliance (Soca) for a public inquiry into the opencast industry last month. Ministers argued there was no need for an inquiry into restoration of sites as "all the relevant parties" were already working on the issue. The taskforce, which is chaired by Energy Minister Fergus Ewing, said: "The Scottish government is working hard to support continued mining operations and the preservation of Scottish jobs, as well as ensuring the responsible restoration of sites”.

INTERNATIONAL                                          

UK crisis: new trade minister’s £20mn shares in BT a ‘conflict of interest’

Despite David Cameron’s promises on transparency and accountability, the outgoing boss of BT is to become a government trade minister later this year, bringing with him a multimillion pound stake in the telecoms giant. Ian Livingston is expected to hold around £20mn worth of shares in BT when he becomes a minister in the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) which will oversee the very industry where the telecommunications giant competes. Although UK government rules stipulate ministers must “scrupulously avoid any danger of an actual or perceived conflict of interest between the ministerial position and their private financial interests”, BIS has issued no specific orders to the new minister. One former minister, who asked not to be named, said: “As we helped build this glasshouse, it’s difficult for us to start throwing stones, even if that’s exactly what we should be doing now”.                                             

Latest NSA leaks show US methods in bugging EU allies

According to the latest top secret US NSA documents leaked by whistleblower Edwards Snowden, US intelligence services are spying on the EU mission in New York and its embassy in Washington. One document details a range of spying methods used against targets, from bugs planted in electronic communications equipment, to the collection of transmissions with specialised antennae. As well as several middle eastern countries, the list of targets includes the EU missions, the French, Italian and Greek embassies, as well as a number of other American allies, including Japan, Mexico, South Korea, India and Turkey. The new revelations come at a time when there is already considerable anger building up across the EU over earlier evidence provided by Snowden of NSA eavesdropping on America's European allies.                                            

Egypt opposition to continue protesting for Morsi resignation

As huge crowds gather across Egypt to demand the resignation of President Mohammed Morsi on the first anniversary of his inauguration, Morsi loyalists are staging counter demonstrations – despite being in the minority. Seven people have been killed so far, and hundreds injured on Sunday as millions took to the streets. The main opposition movement, Tamarod, which has led the demonstrations has given Morsi a deadline of Tuesday to quit, threatening a campaign of civil disobedience if he stays. Although Morsi supporters are full of praise for his first year in office, insisting that the president has strengthened civilian rule in Egypt and done his best to manage a flailing economy - anti-government protesters dismiss Morsi’s first term as a failure, describing him as a dictatorial leader. The main complaint however is the worsening economy, which has been in steady decline since Morsi took office, with the Egyptian pound losing nearly 20 percent of its value and industry crippled by fuel and electricity shortages.

GSK senior management investigated for ‘economic crimes’

Chinese police are investigating senior management from UK drug firm GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) for suspected "economic crimes", according to a statement. Hong Kong's South China Morning Post today said police had detained company employees in three cities: Changsha, the commercial hub Shanghai and Beijing. The exact nature of the investigation has not been specified by Changsha police, but the authorities are often known to use the phrase "economic crimes" when referring to corruption. According to industry insiders, it is common practice for Chinese pharmaceutical firms to offer doctors and hospitals bribes to have their products used. GSK is one of the largest multinational pharmaceutical companies in China with a total investment of more than $500mn (£328mn). A spokeswoman for the company declined to comment, saying she was not authorised to speak to overseas media.

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published this page in News 2013-07-01 10:59:04 +0100