News in Scotland - Tuesday

First Minister Alex Salmond and Prime Minister David Cameron both face
key problem on the EU debate

Scottish News: News in Scotland - Tuesday


Independence: UK European exit places pressure on Better Together

The campaign to hold Scotland in the Union, Better Together, will face further questions over whether Scotland will be forced out of Europe if it votes 'no' in next year's independence referendum. In a panic measure to offset the challenge from Ukip, David Cameron will rush out a draft bill on a referendum over Britain's relationship with the European Union. Tory MPs, especially in marginal constituencies fear the loss of their seats should Ukip continue to eat into the Tory vote in England. Better Together have put pressure on the SNP to prove that an independent Scotland would be able to remain in the EU - however the question has now turned on to the 'no' camp after local election results saw a major breakthrough by Ukip.

Independence: referendum influencing North Sea investment decisions

A new survey has shown that operators and contractors in Scotland's North Sea see Scotland's independence referendum as a factor in their investment plans. The survey published by the Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce shows that more detail is required in relation to independence in order that North Sea firms can take an accurate view of the future. However, the issue does not appear to be a priority factor as the industry is experiencing rising confidence as well as a jobs and investment boom.

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Independence: details on independence may come after referendum

Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has warned that key issues relating to independence may be "beyond reach" before next year's referendum. Observers have pointed to a lack of substance from both sides of the debate in terms of the differing futures the rival camps can offer Scotland.                                            

Scottish independence: Rifkind states 10-15 years to remove Trident

The armed forces of an independent Scotland would have just 5,000 frontline combat troops under SNP plans, it was claimed by former Tory defence secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind at a conference yesterday. Mr Rifkind made his claim at a Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) conference, where he also claimed it could “take at least 10 to 15 years and probably more than a generation” to remove nuclear weapons from Scotland. But SNP defence spokesman Angus Robertson argued that the SNP’s plans to spend £2.5bn on defence are consistent with that of Denmark, which is of similar size. He also criticised the UK government for not having technical discussions with the SNP Scottish government over defence ahead of the referendum.


Fears raised over launch of online universal credit

Tens of thousands of people face losing out on vital income as a result of the drive to force benefit claimants to apply online, according to community charity Citizens Advice. Over 70 organisations representing councils, charities, trade unions, business groups and housing organisations have raised concerns about the move, which will see benefit claimants access the new universal credit system via the web. They say millions who have never used the internet or have poor IT skills will be adversely affected by the online push. A testimony from Citizens Advice says: “The new universal credit system risks causing difficulties to the 8.5 million people who have never used the internet and a further 14.5 million who have virtually no ICT skills”. The Government has defended the reforms, which are being rolled out in October 2013.

Confidence in European Union nosediving

New research has shown that over the last 12 months support for the European Union project across member states is now in a minority. The poll conducted by the Pew Research centre shows that support now stands at 45 percent compared to 60 percent just one year ago.

Eurozone attempts to combat tax evasion

European finance ministers today bid to back a trillion-euro annual crackdown on tax evasion, following pressure from EU leaders looking for new measures to boost growth at their Brussels summit next week. The big countries driving the move – the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Spain - say the time is right to implement a new European law. On Friday at G7 talks in England, ministers including US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew firmed up their commitment to combating tax evasion - which is illegal, and tax avoidance - which occurs when individuals and companies take advantage of legal loopholes. Tax evasion and avoidance costs the UK economy around £69.9bn annually which, according to the Tax Justice Network, represents around 56 percent of the country's total healthcare spending.                                          

US government steps up the campaign against media freedom

The US government has stepped up its battle against media freedom by seizing phone records from the offices of the Associated Press news agency in what appears to be an effort to track down the source who disclosed an alleged Yemen terrorist plot story. The US attorney's office for the District of Columbia confirmed on Monday that subpoenas had been issued for phone records – with the reasoning that such actions were in the public interest. Although Obama was elected as a 'transparent' administration in 2008 and again in 2012, his government has mounted a sustained campaign through the courts, and covertly, against whistleblowers, particularly in relation to what it claims are matters of national security. Media organisations and civil rights groups instead view such claims as being instead more aligned with matters of administrative secrecy.

Tensions rise between Taiwan and Philippines

A territorial dispute has caused rising tensions between Taipei and Manila leading to diplomatic and military hostility between the two island nations. The dispute was triggered when a Taiwanese fisherman was killed by the Filipino military as his vessel was supposedly in disputed territory. The Filipino government has not apologised and it is reported that Taiwan is threatening to send F-16 fighters, naval destroyers and warships to the area unless a formal apology is made within 72 hours. The South China Sea is becoming a major source of territorial tensions including a stand-off between China and Japan. Observers point to global debt and capital transfer as the key reason behind the various disputes.

Total world debt £150 Trillion

Total world debt now stands at £152.4tn ($233.3), research by finance firm ING has shown. Standing at 313 percent of GDP, world debt is the key factor behind the global contraction causing geo-political confrontations and a dramatic increase in global poverty. The scale of the debt problem has led to more economists arguing that neither austerity nor stimulus will work as both increase total debt. Instead, they argue, a debt restructuring or staged default is required before the global economy can return to a functional model. ING's findings showed debt in developed economies equalled $157tn (376% of GDP) and emerging markets accounted for $66.3tn at the end of 2012 (224% of GDP).


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published this page in News 2013-05-14 10:45:24 +0100