News in Scotland - Thursday

lamont.jpg
Labour's Scottish leader Johann Lamont is "running scared" of
debate on public services, say SNP

Scottish News: News in Scotland - Thursday 

SCOTLAND

Lamont “running scared” of debate on universal services, say SNP
Johann Lamont must live up to her own demands for an open debate on universal benefits, the SNP has said after Labour cancelled a member’s debate on the subject due to take place today. SNP MSP Clare Adamson has today written to the Labour Leader calling on the members to sign her motion welcoming the publication of the Jimmy Reid Foundation report the Case for Universalism. Commenting, Ms Adamson said: “I was absolutely exasperated to hear that my debate had been cancelled at short notice. Johann Lamont has repeatedly called for an ‘honest debate’ on the affordability of universal services, yet at that very moment, Labour were working behind the scenes to have a debate on the subject cancelled”.

Scottish independence: Lords warn of Supreme Court challenge if SNP rejects advice 
Non compliance by the Scottish government to accept the advice of the Electoral Commission on the rules and question of the independence referendum could lead to a legal challenge in the Supreme Court, members of the House of Lords stated yesterday. However, several former Scottish secretaries, including Lord Reid, Lord Forsyth and Baroness Eadie, criticised the UK government’s “weak negotiation” in coming up with a deal where there was no date for a referendum or question agreed. Labour former Cabinet minister Lord Reid of Cardowan said it was not in the interests of Scotland to delay the election until next year.

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Work begins to restore flow to crucial North Sea oil pipeline
Offshore industry leaders were today relieved as work began to restore the flow of oil through the pipeline system which handles production from the platforms responsible for ten percent of Britain’s oil and gas output. Mike Tholen, Oil and Gas UK’s economics director, said the shutdown of the Brent system had affected around ten per cent of daily production from the UK Continental Shelf. But he claimed it was unlikely to have a significant impact on production.

Scottish independence: Michael Moore given ‘Tory shield’ say Scottish MPs
Scottish Secretary Michael Moore has been given a “human shield” of English Tories during Scottish questions to protect him from opposition MPs from north of the Border, Labour has claimed. The allegation came as the same ten Tory MPs were drawn for Welsh questions this week as were selected to ask Scottish questions last week. Shadow Welsh secretary Owen Smith said: “Tory whips are so embarrassed at their party’s narrow reach that they have to put up these rent-a-question MPs”. A Downing Street source said: “This is total nonsense. If Labour MPS are claiming this it is quite sad”.

Scottish independence: Better Together warned to beware complacency
Former Labour First Minister Henry McLeish has accused the Better Together campaign of “complacency”, as he believes support for Scotland leaving the UK will increase in the run up to the 2014 referendum. Mr McLeish told The Scotsman he would not be joining the unionist campaign led by former chancellor Alistair Darling, as he claimed it was promoting an “unreformed Union”. Mr McLeish, a supporter of devo-max, or full economic powers for Holyrood, claimed the cross-party Better Together had no vision of how to extend and enhance devolution.

Warning high street store closures will double
Experts have warned there could soon be as many as 40,000 empty shops on Scotland's high streets as the collapse of major chains and retailers shows no sign of ending. The decline of brands has continued with DVD rental store Blockbuster following HMV into administration, with the potential loss of 4190 jobs. A spokesman for the Federation of Small Businesses said: "It's unlikely we will return to the shopping patterns of the past. We need to have a broader range of employers in town centres. We need large public and private-sector firms to open up to help support smaller retailers and keep town centres vibrant”.

INTERNATIONAL

Sense of UK's "unresolved economic crisis" deepened by threat of EU departure
Vince Cable has said that now is a 'terrible time' for David Cameron to risk leaving the EU. He said that Cameron’s EU strategy “will add to sense of unresolved economic crisis in UK”. The UK business secretary spoke ahead of Mr Cameron’s widely anticipated speech on European membership in which he is expected to promise a referendum on Britain's EU status in the next Westminster term. Mr Cameron is under pressure from many eurosceptics inside his party and faces a worrying electoral challenge from UKIP which advocates an EU exit. An 'in-out' referendum would also impact heavily on Scotland's independence referendum debate.

Horsemeat in frozen burgers prompts urgent inquiry by food watchdogs
Food standards watchdogs in Britain have launched an urgent inquiry into beef produce after frozen burgers contaminated with horse and pig meat were identified in Irish tests, leading to four of the major supermarkets clearing their shelves. An academic warned on Wednesday that this lack of testing means consumers could have been unwittingly eating horsemeat "for years". Tim Lang, a professor of food policy at City University, London, told the Daily Telegraph: "For too long we have had light touch regulation. The Food Standards Agency has to be institutionalised into taking a more critical approach."

US needs 7 years to return Germany's gold
Germany's Bundesbank has said that its request to have its gold relocated to Germany will require seven years. It is unclear why the US Federal Reserve requires such a length of time to procure the 300 tonnes it holds on behalf of Germany. The US central bank says that it holds 6720 tonnes of gold in its vaults meaning Germany's allocation amounts to less than 5 percent of that total.

World on brink of new "currency war", warns Russia
A global "currency war" is a real threat according to Russian central bank chief Alexei Ulyukayev. Reported by Bloomberg Mr Ulyukayev's warning comes after European leaders joined Japan in attributing rising exchange rates to economic problems. “Japan is weakening the yen and other countries may follow,” warned Mr Ulyukayev at conference in Moscow.

Russia describes US accusation against Syria as "blasphemous"
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov today blasted the US for its "blasphemous" accusation that this week's bombings in the Syrian city of Aleppo were conducted by government forces. A Russian foreign ministry statement on Wednesday said "terrorists" undertook a "merciless bloody provocation" adding that the blasts were revenge for the "significant losses sustained in their confrontation with government forces." The opposition forces are supported by US allies. Meanwhile Syrian government ally Iran has arranged to provide to Syria a $1bn import credit line.

Al-Qaeda revenge attack against BP plant in Algeria
An attack by Mali-based Al-Qaeda militants on a BP gas field in Algeria may have been an act of revenge, it has been reported. The development comes after the French operation against 'jihadists' in Mali last week. The gas field reprisal resulted in one killing in several kidnappings.

AIDS cure may have been found claims Australian scientist
Australian scientist David Harrich claims he has discovered how to stop the HIV virus progressing to AIDS by having it turn against itself. He claims to have modified an HIV protein to make it inhibit growth instead of replicating. Mr Harrich said that the discovery could lead to a cure for AIDS.

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published this page in News 2013-01-17 11:09:29 +0000