News in Scotland - Tuesday

nicola-sturgeon.jpg

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wrote to the European Commission
requesting "early talks" on Scottish independence.
Image © Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body – 2012. Licensed under
the Open Scottish Parliament Licence v1.0.

 

Scottish News: News in Scotland - Tuesday

SCOTLAND

Scottish independence: Government urges EC to hold “early talks”
It is reported that the Scottish government has written to the European Commission calling for “early talks” on the membership of an independent Scotland in the EU. A spokesperson from the European Commission said it had received the letter but had no comments at this time. The move comes after EC President Jose Manuel Barroso stated any new independent country would have to reapply to join the EU – including Scotland. UK Prime Minister David Cameron has publicly commented that Mr Barroso’s opinion is “significant”.

Golf writer urges boycott of Trump course
Bill Elliot, the editor of leading golf magazine Golf Monthly, has told readers to avoid setting foot on Donald Trump’s Scottish golf course, after watching the documentary You’ve Been Trumped. Mr Elliot claims he was shocked at the “nastiness” of the Trump Organisation towards local residents, and vowed to boycott the course as a result. The Trump Organisation has criticised Mr Elliot’s “lack of editorial integrity”, claiming he hadn’t properly investigated the facts.

More Scottish news:



BBC Scotland could face strike action
BBC Scotland could be hit by staff strikes over the next few weeks, as the threat of redundancies loom. Staff voted in favour of industrial action over the cuts, with 70 percent in favour of an all-out strike. BBC Scotland announced in August that 35 jobs would have to be axed, after funding cuts from London. The NUJ are urging the BBC to redeploy staff elsewhere in the corporation.

Scottish police report 10 percent increase in racist incidents
Police in Scotland have released figures showing the number of racist incidents in Scotland has increased by 10 percent. 5, 389 incidents occurred in 2011/12 compared to 4, 911 in 2010/11. The report, entitled ‘Racist Incidents Recorded by the Police in Scotland, 2011-12’, identifies men as more likely to be a victim of a racist incident, and 40 percent of perpetrators were ages twenty or under. Scotland’s Minister for Community Safety, Roseanna Cunningham, said she was “very disappointed” with the rise, adding the government was providing £6mn up to 2015 to support initiatives which would help combat the issue of “bigotry and hatred of all kinds.”

Edinburgh house prices continue to fall
Figures released by ESPC have shown the average selling price of properties in Scotland’s capital are continuing to fall as the UK economy declines. Current market prices in Edinburgh are 6.1 percent lower than in the same period last year. Properties are currently selling for an average of 5.1 percent lower than their Home Report valuation price.

Cervical screening test age to be raised
Women in Scotland will receive their first cervical screening test at 25; the test age was raised from 20 following a review by The UK National Screening Committee (NSC). The body also said that tests should continue for women until age 64, whilst over 50s should attend every five years instead of three.

AG Barr enjoys sales boost
Soft drinks manufacturer AG Barr, the makers of Irn Bru, has posted a growth in revenue over the past year. The group’s sales were up 9 percent on the same period last year, while sales volumes were up by 6.6 percent in the last 18 week period. AG Barr is in the process of a merger with larger rival Britvic, and the latest figures will be encouraging ahead of the deal.


UK and WORLD

UK wars: Army plans in place to support Syrian insurgents
David Cameron has asked Britain’s military chiefs to draw up plans to provide Syrian rebels with military support. However, the move is based only on the assumption that the UK ‘will act only if the US does.’ The Guardian reported that senior defence sources implied British chiefs of staffs are seriously worried about the consequences of intervening in the Syrian crisis. The sources also confirmed that at Cameron’s request, General Sir David Richard, chief of the defence staff, chaired a meeting in London last month with senior military figures from France, the US, Turkey, Jordan, Qatar, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia all in attendance. External involvement in a civil war without UN consent is illegal under international law.

UK crisis: Rail fares rise adding to upsurge in ‘transport poverty’
Demonstrations will be held at fifty railway stations across the country today, to protest against the rising cost of rail travel. Some rail fares are set to rise again by as much as 10 percent in 2013, far above the official rate of inflation. Passenger groups have said these higher prices have left travellers suffering from “transport poverty”, as they struggle to match the cost of their journeys.

Snoopers’ Charter: Nick Clegg urges re-think
Nick Clegg has told Sky News that the government must go back to the drawing board with plans for new digital surveillance laws. Mr Clegg said the coalition should have a ‘fundamental rethink’ about the draft Communications Data Bill, dubbed the ‘Snoopers Charter’ by opponents. Mr Clegg said: “Their report makes a number of serious criticisms – not least on scope; proportionality’ cost; checks and balances; and the need for much wider consultation.” However, writing in The Sun, Home Secretary Theresa May maintained countries across the world are developing actions plans to help track paedophiles and terrorists. Ms May stated: “I will not allow these vitally important laws to be delayed any longer in this Parliament. This law is needed and it is needed now. I am determined to see it through.”

HSBC to pay £1.2bn after investigation
HSBC must pay £1.2bn to settle an investigation into money laundering for drug cartels and breaking sanctions in the US. The giant British bank admitted to transfers of billions of dollars on behalf of nations such as Iran, and money laundering through the US financial system for Mexican drug cartels.

EU accepts Nobel prize amid allegations of ‘military’ influence
The European Union has accepted the Nobel Peace Prize despite previous winners’ criticism that the bloc is based on “military power.” The prize, awarded for the stability and democracy brought to the continent, was received jointly by European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, European parliament President Martin Schulz and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. However, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who won the prize in 1984 for his campaign against South African apartheid, said it was wrong to recognise the EU as it was an organisation based on “military force.” Former winners of the prize Mairead Maguire of Northern Ireland and Adolfo Perez Esquivel from Argentina joined the Mr Tutu in his opposition to the award.

Egypt: Protests expected over constitution
Rallies in Cairo have been planned over President Morsi’s decision to go ahead with Saturday’s vote on Egypt’s draft constitution. Opponents of the plans have vowed to take to the streets in Cairo, with leftists, liberals and other opposition groups calling for marches on the presidential palace. Supporters of the constitution have urged their followers to turn out “in millions” on the same day in a show of support for the president. Critics of the draft constitution say it disregards the rights of women and ignores personal freedoms. The elite Republican Guard has yet to use force to keep protesters away from the palace. But a decree issued by Morsi late on Sunday gives the armed forces power to arrest civilians during the referendum.

Iran: Israel suspected over nuclear programme inquiry leaks
Allegations have been made that Israel may have leaked information from IAEA investigations in a bid to raise global pressure on Tehran. The latest leak published by the Associated Press displayed an Iranian diagram showing the physics of a nuclear blast. However, an article in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists was quick to dispel the allegations stateding: “This diagram does nothing more than indicate either slipshod analysis or an amateurish hoax.” Western officials say they have reason to suspect Israel of being behind the most recent leak and a series of previous disclosures from the IAEA investigation, pointing to Israel’s impatience at what it sees as international complacency over Iranian nuclear activity. The next round of IAEA talks with Iran will take place on Sunday in Tehran.

Afghan women still suffer from violence
Afghan women are still victims of violence despite an anti-violence law implemented in 2009, according to a UN report. Violence has “remained low” since the law’s introduction however cultural behaviour and a lack of police protection limit the law’s effects.

US report: Asia ‘to eclipse’ US and Europe by 2030
A forecast from the US intelligence community has found Asia will wield more global power than the US and Europe combined by 2030. The Chinese economy is expected to overtake that of the US within the next two decades. The report entitled ‘Global Trends 2030’, was published by the National Intelligence Council (NIC) and says it aims to promote strategic thinking. Though the report suggests Asia will have more “overall power” than the US and Europe, it does not anticipate China to emerge as a superpower in the mould of the US, forging coalitions to take on international issues. Speaking at a news briefing, Mathew Burrows, councillor to the National Intelligence Council said: “Being the largest economic power is important… [but] it isn’t necessarily the largest economic power that always is going to be the superpower.”

 

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published this page in News 2012-12-11 12:32:11 +0000