News in Scotland - Thursday

salmond-castle2.jpg
First Minister Alex Salmond will announce the date of Scotland's historic
independence referendum in the Scottish parliament today at around 2pm

Scottish News: News in Scotland - Thursday

SCOTLAND

Scotland’s independence referendum date to be confirmed today

The date of the 2014 referendum will be revealed to MSPs this afternoon by First Minister Alex Salmond. While there has been speculation that the referendum would be held on October 18 next year, the Scottish government has said only that it will take place in autumn 2014. Mr Salmond's administration has already put forward legislation to allow 16 and 17-year-olds to take part in the crucial vote. Blair Jenkins, the chief executive of the pro-independence Yes Scotland campaign, said the announcement was "another important landmark day that brings us closer to the referendum”. While opinion polls have mostly showed Scots are in favour of remaining in the UK at present, Mr Jenkins said: "People are not voting tomorrow. I think what people say to us is that they are persuadable, they now want to hear the arguments”.

Scottish independence: Blow to Better Together as more rating agencies set to downgrade UK

Britain's steep economic decline may lead to fresh rating downgrades City analysts have warned. The alarm bells sounding are continued miserable news for Better Together - campaigning for a 'no' vote in Scotland's independence referendum - as the case for remaining within the Union is largely based on the UK's perceived stable and enduring success. Figures released by the Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) showed high-street spending and exports have continued to perform poorly, critically undermining the chancellor's attempts to curtail the UK's skyrocketing debt. Recently Moody's removed the UK's AAA and now analysts are warning that other ratings agencies will follow. The date of Scotland's independence referendum will be revealed today by First Minister Alex Salmond.

More Scottish news:

 

Taxpayers are spending £500k a day to maintain nuclear weapons

Taxpayers in Scotland spend half a million pounds a day maintaining nuclear weapons, according to SNP ministers. The Scottish share of the estimated £2bn a year it costs the UK to maintain Trident is £163mn annually, veterans minister Keith Brown told Holyrood yesterday. As well as costing £2bn a year to maintain, Trident’s replacement is expected to cost £20bn to build and £100bn over its lifetime, Mr Brown said. He quoted two former UK defence secretaries, Tory Michael Portillo and Labour’s Des Browne - who said respectively that nuclear weapons “serve no purpose whatsoever” and that their use would be “suicidal”.

Industry leaders warn Budget puts Whisky jobs at risk in Scotland

Whisky industry chiefs have accused the chancellor of putting jobs and investment in the vital sector at risk. They claimed he had used his Budget to launch an “unfair and incomprehensible attack” on distillers and warned it could have a serious impact in their Moray heartland. While beer drinkers raised a glass to George Osborne and Westminster austerity for scrapping a planned tax rise, whisky producers have turned on him after he confirmed the duty escalator for other alcohol would remain in place – affecting a largely Scottish manufacturing sector.

INTERNATIONAL                                              

Bad news on Budget day followed by more bank bonuses

Chancellor George Osborne defended his Budget today, saying the Government had to tackle the nation's economic problems, which "could be a lot worse". But many view the measures as merely a tweaking of an already failing system. Carl Emmerson, deputy director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, said: “Mr Osborne has again responded to a weakening economic outlook, a worse situation for the public finances, by borrowing a lot more over this parliament, pushing more of the deficit reduction into 2016-17, 2017-18 and beyond,”. On the same day that the Chancellor warned Britain’s increasingly hard pressed citizens that there could be no let-up in his austerity programme - Barclays has handed nine top bosses £40mn in shares – a move that has been described as 'grotesque' and angered many.

Cyprus in talks with Russia after rejecting EU levy

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has criticised the actions of the EU and Cyprus in dealing with the nation’s potential financial meltdown, describing the proposed deposit levy as a confiscatory measure. This comes as Cyprus Finance Minister and top bankers hold talks in Moscow to seek financial help after the EU proposal for a private savings levy was rejected by parliament. The big EU economic powers have expressed concern at the move, calling for Cyprus to continue only holding negotiations with the international creditors, and not third parties such as Russia for fear of losing control of the situation.                                           

North Korea threatens to attack US bases

North Korea has threatened to target US air bases in Okinawa and Guam as it issued an air raid alert on Thursday, ordering its military to stand ready, the country’s state media reported. The threats came as a response to the use of nuclear-armed US B-52 bombers in joint war games South Korea held with the US. Tension is continuing to grow on the Korean Peninsula following the UN Security Council's imposition of strict sanctions on Pyongyang over its third underground nuclear test in February. On Monday, the US said that every military resource at its disposal, including its nuclear arsenal, would be available to South Korea in the event of a confrontation with the North.

US Military to have drone control

The Obama administration is considering shifting lethal drone operations run by the Central Intelligence Agency over to the military, US officials told CNN. The proposal is under "serious consideration," one US official said. By law, the military is not able to act covertly the way the CIA can, and it must answer to Congress. Although the military would operate and fly the drones, an administration official told CNN, the targeting would still be done jointly by various agencies – possibly including still, the CIA. Such a move has arisen after controversial CIA Director John Brennan has expressed a desire to move the intelligence agency back to 'traditional intelligence-collecting' as opposed to enacting military activities.

Sugar is the real killer according to leading US doctor - not fat

Sugar – lacing our breakfast cereals and a major component of fizzy drinks is revealed as the real villain in the obesity epidemic, and not fat as people used to think, according to a leading US doctor who is taking on governments and the food industry. Dr Robert Lustig, likens sugar to controlled drugs. “Cocaine and heroin are deadly because they are addictive and toxic – and so is sugar”, he says. Lustig says he has been under attack from the food industry, but claims they have not managed to fault the science. In the US lobbying by the food industry is big business – as Lustig has been made acutely aware - “The White House is in bed with the food industry and Congress apologises for it" he said.

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published this page in News 2013-03-21 12:31:18 +0000