French Labour Minister Michel Sapin admitted that France is
Scottish News: News in Scotland - Tuesday
Scots more pro-Europe than the English, new poll shows
Scottish support for remaining in the EU stands at 45 percent - almost twice the number for those who wish to leave. This compares starkly with the UK as a whole where support and opposition is level pegging at 34 percent. This latest Angus Reid poll is evidence, argues the SNP, that voting 'no' in the independence referendum would threaten Scotland's relationship to Europe: “It is clear that Westminster Euroscepticism poses the only threat to Scotland's position in the EU and its market of half a billion people - which completely rubbishes the scaremongering of Alistair Darling and the rest of the No campaign."
High-speed rail urged for Scottish implementation
Scots Transport Minister Keith Brown yesterday demanded that Westminster commits to a solid timeframe for the High Speed 2 (HS2) trains project to be implemented in Scotland. Scottish rail activists, business leaders and both the SNP and Labour have stressed that a clear plan to offer any advantages north of the border is essential and must be committed to sooner rather than later.
More Scottish news:
- Scottish independence: campaign too important to be left to politicians
- Salmond warns Osborne: Westminster austerity won’t cut it for Scotland
- Scotland should “pay for itself”, says senior Tory
- North Sea oil helps Scotland through UK crisis
Scottish independence: Nicola Sturgeon promises 100 embassies for Scotland
Scotland’s deputy first minister has said that an independent Scotland would have around 100 embassies and consular offices worldwide as well as an MI5-type internal security service while a service similar to MI6 was “an option”. Speaking at a special session of the foreign affairs committee in Edinburgh, Ms Sturgeon said that an independent Scotland’s “presence would be, in terms of physical presence on the ground, comparable to other small independent countries,” while critics retorted that Scotland’s diplomatic network could not match that of the UK, with its 270 embassies.
14 projects of ‘Year of Natural Scotland’ named
Fourteen projects will share over half a million pounds worth of funding for arts and culture initiatives during the “Year of Natural Scotland” campaign. Light shows, dance productions, visual art installations, musical pieces, and new festivals will all be developed over the next 12 months. Organisations involved include the Scottish Poetry Library, and environmental arts body NVA, who staged last year’s “Speed of Light” show on Arthur’s Seat. Iain Munro, director of creative development at Creative Scotland said: “Scotland is renowned for its breathtaking scenery, unique natural heritage, and world class arts”. VisitScotland hopes it will generate an extra £68mn for the economy.
Row breaks over 2014 poll question
Over 27,000 Better Together supporters have signed a letter urging Alex Salmond to accept the recommendations of the Electoral Commission on the referendum question which it will publish tomorrow. The letter, written by the pro-UK campaign chief Alistair Darling, calls for a "fair referee and fair rules" for the 2014 vote. Better Together's letter follows fears that ministers and SNP MSPs will overrule the Electoral Commission; whose role is only advisory. A Scottish government spokesman said: "It is for the Government to propose the question, for the Electoral Commission to test those proposals and it will ultimately be for the Scottish Parliament to decide on the question".
Scottish government to update climate plan
The Scottish environment minister, Paul Wheelhouse, is preparing to explain how the government intends to meet climate change targets. The publication of the government's report on proposals and policies (RPP) has brought a joint call from opposition parties for greater clarity. They claim that the Scottish government has failed to meet targets and needs to look again at policies across all departments. But ahead of the report's publication, First Minister Alex Salmond announced that a target has been set to cut carbon emissions from electricity generation by more than four-fifths by 2030, and that the huge market for offshore wind beyond 2020 is underlined by this new carbon emissions target.
UK crisis: pound plunges as British economic decline deepens
The pound continues to nosedive against an under threat euro and the weakening US dollar. As UK debt climbs and the Bank of England continues with quantitative easing (money printing) measures - thus devaluing the purchasing power of the citizen's money - investors are selling off their sterling holdings. As the UK is an import economy the falling pound means consumers will face stiff price rises while parts imported to produce goods in Britain offset any advantage exporters' receive. Another disadvantage is that any new money created in Britain through 'stimulus' or QE benefits overseas’ producers.
UK crisis: £250m in bonuses for Libor-implicated RBS division
New controversy has arisen regarding controversially generous bank bonuses after RBS is set to pay out £250m in bonuses to its staff in a division linked to the Libor rigging scandal. Both George Osborne and financial regulators face increased public displeasure as taxpayers prepare to pay some £400mn to US regulators following the manipulation of Libor rates by RBS traders.
BBC documentary reveals corrupt work programme firm
One of the firms which undertakes the Westminster government's £5bn work programme allegedly refers to its clients as ‘LTB’ - short for "lying, thieving bastards", according to a former worker. The company which attempts to move disabled and unemployed residents of Scotland and Northern England into work, was accused by previous employee Linda Smith of striving to find disabled clients to reap more money, spending little to no time finding them work.
France 'totally bankrupt', admits French minister
French labour minister Michel Sapin placed his nation in a state of shock yesterday (Monday) after he described the country as “totally bankrupt”. Mr Sapin made his admission in a radio interview: “There is a state but it is a totally bankrupt state,” Mr Sapin said. There is already the start of a run on French banks however the situation is not as bad as in Spain and Greece, both of which are experiencing rapid capital flight. Given that the UK's combined public and private sector debt is worse than France's, it is perhaps a matter of time before investors see Britain as bankrupt too.
Mali: Britain prepared to send 'sizeable amount' of troops to support French
Britain is prepared to take the risk of sending a "sizeable amount" of troops to Mali and neighbouring West African countries as David Cameron offers support to France in its operation to drive Islamist militants from its former colony. As news emerged that insurgents retreating from Timbuktu had set fire to a library containing priceless historic manuscripts, Downing Street said the prime minister told François Hollande on Sunday night Britain was "keen" to provide further military assistance to France. The spokesman said Britain's position on having a no combat role in Mali remained "absolutely unchanged", but he said No 10 was prepared to provide more help "around logistics, intelligence and surveillance support". It recently emerged that US special forces have been operating in Mali for years and that the US is hoping to source a drone base in the region as geopolitical tensions between the West and China over Africa’s resources surfaces.
Egypt army chief warns of 'state collapse'
The Egyptian defence minister, General Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, has given warning that the unrest sweeping the country could lead to the collapse of the state. Failure to resolve the situation "could lead to grave repercussions if the political forces do not act" to tackle it, Sissi said on Tuesday. Sissi, who is also the head of Egypt's military, further said that the political, economic, social and security problems facing Egypt constitute "a threat to the country's security and stability". His comments will be seen as a warning to Egypt's political class, which has done little to end the unrest. The violence started primarily in Cairo and the eastern city of Suez on Friday, the second anniversary of the revolution that toppled Mubarak.
US considering new drone base in Africa
The US is planning to consolidate its position in Africa with a new drone outpost in Niger, with the stated purpose of providing unarmed surveillance support to French efforts in Mali, and keeping tabs on al-Qaeda elements on the continent. The robotic unmanned aircraft would likely be based in Niger, where French forces are currently waging a campaign against Al-Qaeda, AFP has reported. No final decision had been made, but a status-of-forces agreement has been reached between the two governments in Niger on Monday, providing legal protection to American troops in the African country. If the drone base plan goes through, the facility could become home to as many as 300 American military and contractual personnel.
Google unveils detailed North Korea map
Google's Maps service has unveiled a highly detailed map of North Korea, an area that went largely undocumented on the service previously. Monday's development comes just weeks after Eric Schmidt, chairman of the California based internet company, embarked on a secret trip to the country. Only a tiny proportion of its 23 million people have access to the internet, and Google is unable to turn to local commercial providers to create maps as it does in most other countries. Despite the update, Google's was not the most comprehensive map of North Korea, the North Korea Tech Blog has said - North Korea uncovered, by the analyst Curtis Melvin, and the DPRK digital atlas have been instead recommended.
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