Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said that Trident will remain
on the Clyde in the immediate years after independence and not go
immediately as previously promised. Critics expect another revision in the
Scottish News: News in Scotland - Tuesday
SNP unveil plans to build patrol ships on the Clyde - Trident could take ‘a couple of years’ to scrap
The SNP is to unveil plans today to build patrol ships for a Scottish navy on the Clyde, soon after a vote for independence. Veterans minister Keith Brown will tell MPs on the Commons defence select committee that there is already a “gap” in naval patrol defences in Scottish waters, and that decommissioning the Nimrod fleet has left the UK without effective maritime surveillance aircraft. Mr Brown will tell MPs that new ships would be built on the Clyde to protect the jobs of thousands of Scots employed in shipyards, and maintain first class conventional forces. Meanwhile, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has admitted Trident could remain at Faslane for up to two years after independence. However, she said the SNP remained committed to scrapping nuclear weapons as a matter of principle. She said: “We want rid of weapons on the Clyde, but we don’t want rid of Faslane”. “I think CND said it could take a matter of months, a couple of years at most. We are not going to be irresponsible; safety is paramount”.
Majority support for independence from small business, shows survey
A new survey of small and medium sized businesses based in Scotland shows that a majority are in favour of independence - 52 percent, while only one-third feel independence would be a negative thing. The survey undertaken by AXA Business Insurance was welcomed by the SNP's Kenneth Gibson MSP: "This is a welcome report which shows that among the SMEs surveyed in Scotland, a clear majority favour independence. On the day that the UK Government presents its latest 'Project Fear' report, this survey indicates that the negative approach of the No campaign is backfiring”.
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Pay day loan companies continue to make huge profits from the poor
More than 100 Scots a week are lodging complaints about payday loan companies – an industry now worth around £2bn. Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) has said that more than 1200 people had contacted it over the past three months, with the vast majority struggling to pay back the emergency cash they had borrowed, mostly due to astronomical interest rates. CAS chief executive Margaret Lynch said she believed the true figure was far higher, adding: "People tend to only come to us when their situation gets really desperate. The fact that over 1200 Scots have done so in just three months is a very worrying sign of just how widespread and how serious this problem has become". The number of payday lenders across the UK has rapidly increased in recent years, largely due to the UK’s sharp economic decline and targeting of deprived areas which suffer most from Westminster’s austerity programme and where many are struggling on a daily basis to make ends meet. Independent MSP Margo MacDonald, who has been urging Westminster to take a far tougher stance, said high interest payday loans should be banned. The Lothian MSP thinks more should be done to promote the use of credit unions for loans as an alternative to payday lenders.
SNP calls neo-conservative think tank report ‘partial, partisan and inaccurate’
The SNP has criticised a new report on the defence implications of independence by the neo-conservative Henry Jackson Society as ‘partial, partisan and inaccurate’. The party has published a detailed list of shortcomings both in the report, and in the last defence section of the UK National Asset Register which lists £92bn of UK defence assets, of which Scotland has nearly a £8bn population share in. Speaking about the report the Westminster SNP Leader and Defence spokesman Angus Robertson MP said: “This neo-conservative report is partial, partisan and inaccurate. It is what we have come to expect from ‘Project Fear ‘as the scare-mongering reaches fever pitch”. “It has simply ignored the billions of pounds invested by Scots in the defence of the UK and the Scottish assets that would be inherited following independence”. “Following a Yes vote next year we would want to engage positively and negotiate a position where Scottish assets are judged on how they meet the needs of a future Scottish defence policy”.
MONETARY INDEPENDENCE v UNION LATEST
(International news on monetary union to inform the Scottish referendum debate)
EU officials threaten Greece with bankruptcy
Greece has been given three days to demonstrate it will meet its international bailout conditions or face the prospect of its next tranche of aid being withheld, EU officials said today (Tuesday). The small European nation was pressured into repaying the debts its private banks owed, however it had to borrow money with tough austerity conditions attached to do so. The nation now faces social and political meltdown. Greece had a relatively stable economy before joining the eurozone but now has to have its taxation policies agreed by the EC/IMF/ECB Troika.
RBS helped rig €10 trillion derivatives market, Brussels says
Royal Bank of Scotland has once again been found to be rigging markets, according to an investigation by the European Commission. This time the financial crimes, which appeared to continue after the UK treasury took ownership of the bailed out bank, relate to the €10tn (£8.6tn) derivatives market. The EC's investigation, which started in 2011, uncovered anti-competitive practices in the credit default swap (CDS) market during the 2008/9 financial crisis. The EU found that UK's Barclays Bank was also involved in the scam which "delayed the emergence of exchange trading of these financial products because they feared that it would reduce their revenues." Recently, Finance Minister John Swinney raised eyebrows by appearing to argue that all the financial problems which caused the 2008 financial crisis ended in 2008, and that rules put in place to prevent financial problems happening again were robust. The latest revelation further confirms that UK banking institutions have been involved in corrupt practices since 2008 raising questions over whether an independent Scotland should create an independent financial regulatory infrastructure or depend on London's.
UK crisis: Michael Gove turning over schooling to the highest bidder
Academies and free schools should instead become profit making businesses using hedge funds and venture capitalists to raise money according to private plans being drawn up by the controversial Education Secretary, Michael Gove. Details of the scheme were leaked to The Independent by Department for Education insiders concerned that Mr Gove is already sealing deals in his ambition to convert all 30,000 schools in England to academies. Christine Blowers, the National Union of Teacher's general secretary, said that if those providing education were answering "first and foremost to their shareholders, then corners will be cut”, adding: "parents will be aghast that their children could soon be taught by unqualified teachers in schools where the central driver is profit”. However in support of further privatisation the chief executive of a leading academy trust told The Independent – on the condition of anonymity - that large international firms, which run schools for profit in Dubai, India, and Abu Dhabi, would be attracted into the market.
Egypt: President Morsi could face a military coup
In a statement issued by President Morsi's office, the Egyptian leader rebuffed the army's 48 hour deadline to meet the demands of the people, despite warnings that such a move could result in a military coup. On Monday the Egyptian military had issued a stark warning that it would be prepared to mount a coup against the Muslim Brotherhood, setting the 48-hour deadline for the government and its opponents to solve the growing political crisis or face military intervention. The state news agency also announced yesterday that five cabinet ministers were tendering their resignations in solidarity with the anti-government protests, and the coalition behind this week’s massive demonstrations issued its own ultimatum to Mr Morsi, telling the president he must stand down today. The developments come following a night of deadly violence outside the Muslim Brotherhood’s national headquarters in Cairo. Sixteen people are believed to have been killed in the protests since Sunday.
Edward Snowden criticises ‘political aggression’ of Obama regime
Edward Snowden on Monday has criticised the Obama administration in a statement for using “the old, bad tools of political aggression” in pursuing him, after a phone call on Friday between US Vice President Joe Biden and Rafael Correa, the president of Ecuador, saw Biden ask Correa to reject Snowden’s request for political asylum. However, Sarah Harrison, WikiLeaks' legal advisor to Edward Snowden, has made requests for asylum to a long list of nations, according to a news release posted to the organisation’s website early this morning. Snowden, who revealed information about highly invasive NSA surveillance programs in hopes to initiate change, is seeking political asylum in several countries, including Austria, Brazil, the Republic of Ireland and Norway. The whistleblower's future at present however remains unclear as he remains in limbo, reportedly in Moscow’s airport. The US has revoked his American passport, and no one has yet promised him safe passage. In his statement, Snowden said: “In the end the Obama administration is not afraid of whistleblowers like me, Bradley Manning or Thomas Drake ... We are stateless, imprisoned, or powerless. No, the Obama administration is afraid of you. It is afraid of an informed, angry public demanding the constitutional government it was promised — and it should be”.
UAE sentences government critics to 15 years in jail
A top United Arab Emirates court today sentenced 64 Islamists to jail terms of up 15 years on charges of plotting to overthrow the government. Political movements are banned in the UAE and prosecutors say the accused are linked to the Al-Islah group, which has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. Their trial was the largest in the history of the UAE, which has not seen any of the widespread pro-reform protests that have swept other Arab states, as authorities often brutally crackdown on dissent and calls for democratic reform. The defendants, among them lawyers, university professors and students, were arrested between March and December 2012, with supporters of their cause alleging the detainees have been subjected to systematic mistreatment including torture since then.
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