Scotland is experiencing a boom in its North Sea oil and gas sector despite
warnings that next year's independence referendum would cause uncertainty
Scottish News: News in Scotland - Wednesday
Scottish independence: Oil firms in record North Sea investment
Despite claims that the independence referendum would create uncertainty in the North Sea oil and gas sector, investment this year will hit a record of £13bn this year according to the Oil and Gas UK 2013 report. The report also suggests that the sector will be active beyond 2050 with up to 24 billion recoverable barrels with an estimated £1.5tn in wholesale value remaining to be extracted. The news comes after former chancellor Alisdair Darling admitted that the UK should have invested North Sea oil revenues in a national oil fund but was remiss. Commenting on the new report, SNP MSP Maureen Watt said: “This report is welcome confirmation of the record investment taking place in the oil & gas sector and flies in the face of the negative picture of the industry that anti-independence politicians have tried to create – not least with Alistair Darling’s recent utterly bogus claim that the North Sea only has just 2 billion barrels of oil remaining."
Scottish oil magnate pledges £50mn to Aberdeen
Scottish businessman Sir Ian Wood has promised £50mn from his own fortune to the redevelopment of Aberdeen city centre on the condition that the City council can provide plans to transform the centre of the city by the end of the year. The billionaire Scot withdrew his offer last year after the new Labour-led city council ditched plans, previously backed by a local referendum, to renovate Aberdeen centre. Sir Ian warned: “We need to have a competitive, attractive, culturally vibrant city with excellent connectivity and quality of life...I do passionately believe that the city centre badly needs significant intervention.” A report recently flagged up that the city could not cope with the demand for skilled labour and population without a radical vision facilitated by the local authority.
More Scottish news:
- UK crisis: Corruption levels soaring since 2008 financial crash
- Scottish independence: Man's limitations and Scotland's money
- 'No' vote to independence risks population exodus
- Bank of England should be abolished
Cameron was "dumb" to report Pope's view on Falklands
Prime Minister David Cameron was "dumb" in his management of the dispute over the Malvinas Islands (Falklands) according to Argentina's ambassador to Britain when he publicised the views of the then Buenos Aires Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio who claimed the disputed islands belong to Argentina. “When the pope was named I asked one of our people to look into what Bergoglio had said regarding the Malvinas. Cameron did the same and was foolish enough to disseminate the information,” Castro said.
UK crisis: Government debt rises in July
Britain's budget deficit expanded in July by £100mn which compares poorly compared to the £0.8bn surplus recorded at the same time in 2012. The UK's debt load continues to expand, according to official figures, despite claims - largely from bank economists and politicians - that there is an economic recovery. July is usually a strong month for government income however the UK government's debts actually rose raising further doubts of the credibility of Chancellor Osborne's debt reduction programme. However, if the income accrued from the government's quantitative easing (money printing) programme are excluded, the deficit increases to 0.5bn. From the beginning of the current financial year government debt climbed to £36.8bn compared to £35.2bn at the same point last year. With Britain's debt escalating despite deep austerity cuts and huge amounts of monetary stimulus, economic activity can be viewed as government induced and temporary rather than organic economic growth.
Wikileaks whistleblower Bradley Manning sentenced to 35 years
Bradley Manning has been sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking classified information which was diplomatically sensitive to Wikileaks in 2010. Manning will be dishonourably discharged and will lose all pay after being convicted of six charges of espionage. Manning, now 25, will be eligible for parole however he must first complete one-third of sentence which offset by time already served and including other credits means he may be released when he is 35. The sentence is expected to be appealed. Manning has become a hero to many - some of whom argue his leaks led to the Arab Spring - around the world with Amnesty International and other rights organisations claiming the sentence is unjust.
Mubarak to be freed from prison amid crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood
A court ruling is expected to lead to the release of former Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak from prison on Thursday potentially adding to the tensions in the country. After Mubarak's successor President Mursi was deposed by the military there is the prospect of Mubarak being returned to power while Mursi loyalists demand their president be reinstated.
Syria: Insurgents claim hundreds killed in 'gas' attack by government
Insurgents in Syria have claimed that government forces have carried out a "poisonous gas" attack near the capital Damascus which has left hundreds dead. There are conflicting reports on the number of fatalities in the alleged incident ranging from dozens to nearly 1300. The attack comes as UN chemical weapons' inspectors visit Syria to investigate claims that such weapons have been used by both sides of the conflict. The Russian foreign ministry claims that the rockets containing the chemical substances were launched from an area controlled by the insurgents. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Aleksandr Lukashevich, is reported as being cynical about the reporting of the insurgent allegations saying that “It draws attention to the fact that biased regional media have immediately, as if on command, begun an aggressive information attack, laying all the responsibility on the government,”.
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