News in Scotland - Wednesday

childline-scotland.jpg
Childline Scotland is reporting a dramatic increase in children
self-harming and having suicidal thoughts

Scottish News: News in Scotland - Wednesday

SCOTLAND

Salmond calls for capital investment funds

Alex Salmond has advised Chancellor George Osborne to give the devolved nations more capital investment cash. The call for increased cash has come ahead of the UK government’s autumn statement. Scotland’s first minister believes Mr Osborne has an “ideal opportunity” to invest in growth to support the economic recovery and help bolster economic confidence. Mr Salmond stated: “Scotland, together with our friends in Northern Ireland and Wales, is suffering the impact of unprecedented cuts to our capital budget by the UK government.” Mr Osborne is expected to tell MPs that he will again revise his debt eradication target to 2018.

‘Scots’ waters holds billions of barrels of North Sea oil

Almost 17 billion barrels of oil are to be recovered from the North Sea over the next 30 years following a £134bn investment by oil and gas companies, according to an industry economist. The majority of the new developments will be in Scottish waters, while production from older gas fields in the southern North Sea begins declining. With his economic report, Alex Kemp, professor of Petroleum Economics at Aberdeen University, last night fuelled both sides of the independence debate, in which the future of North Sea oil is expected to play a crucial role.

More Scottish news:

Increase in children contacting ChildLine about self-harming

ChildLine Scotland has reported that the number of children contacting them about self-harming has increased by almost 90 percent in one year. The number of children also getting in touch about suicide has also gone up by almost 40 percent. The Head of ChildLine, Elaine Chalmers, stated that while girls make up the majority of the percentage, “boys are also suffering but they are less likely to seek help and we urge them to do so.” While some of the increase can be down to introduced online chat facilities, it does not explain all the statistics according to ChildLine director, Peter Liver.

Scottish independence: Labour shadow security minister says defence firms will quit independent Scotland

Labour’s security minister has claimed a number of defence firms are hiding plans to quit Scotland if it gains independence following the 2014 referendum. The former head of the Royal Navy has claimed defence organisations would shift south of the border because of a “climate of fear.” Lord West of Spithead, also the ex-first sea lord, also said the loss of defence industries in Scotland would be “inevitable” because “defence companies go where the money is.” However, SNP Westminster leader and defence spokesman, Angus Robertson, said: “This is scaremongering without a stitch of evidence from Lord West, and his silly claim has already been dismissed by experts.”

Lochhead criticises EU fishing regulations

Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead has criticised the EU for consistently cutting the number of days that Scottish
fishermen can spend at sea. Mr Lochhead has called for a freeze in the cuts, as well as sanctions on Iceland and the Faroe Islands for over-fishing mackerel to be implemented. Mr Lochhead told MSPs: “The Cod Recovery Plan is supposed to promote conservation but threatens to leave long and winding trails of discarded fish across our seas.” Talks will be held later this month to discuss Scottish fishing regulations in 2013.

Scottish independence: Academics granted £1mn to aid referendum debate

Over £1mn has been granted to senior academics to study the outcomes of Scottish independence. The money will be invested in seven fellowships at the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). The fellowships are also part of the Scotland Senior Fellowships Scheme, which aims to promote issues in relation to Scotland’s future. ESRC Chief Executive Professor Paul Boyle said: “It is crucial that the best possible independent research and evidence should be available to those who need it, such as Scottish voters, and individuals and organisations inside and outside Scotland who are making decisions which may be affected by the outcome.”

Chief Executive of Creative Scotland resigns

Andrew Dixon has resigned from Creative Scotland, a body that distributes £80mn of government and lottery funds. His resignation comes after a year of criticism from leading artists, with Ian Rankin criticizing Creative Scotland’s "ill-conceived decision-making, unclear language and lack of empathy and regard for Scottish culture". An internal report will be presented tomorrow that is thought to list criticisms received and also recommendations regarding funding and relationships with artists.

UK and WORLD

Autumn statement: George Osborne to announce cuts to fund £5bn spending

George Osborne will announce today that he is forcing a fresh round of spending cuts on Whitehall departments to fund £5bn worth of capital investment in schools, transport and science over the next three years. The treasury is keen to be seen to heed the warning of the International Monetary Fund that cuts should be focused on daily spending, and the government should instead boost infrastructure projects that could deliver a long term return to the economy. Tony Dolphin, chief economist at the IPPR think-tank, said: "Any reasonable person might say, these departments are already suffering swingeing cuts, and we're seeing reductions in frontline services: how can you possibly say you're going to take another 1% off without affecting services?”

Survival rates of premature babies risen, study shows

Research papers published by the British Medical Journal show that the rate of babies born between 22 and 25 weeks that survive has risen from 40% in 1995 to 53% in 2006. The increased survival rate is due to steroids being given to mothers-to-be to help boost the child’s lungs before birth, and neonatologists’ improved ability to help premature newborns to survive. The research also showed, however, that the proportion of such infants who experience severe disability has not changed.

Philip Green to sell 25pc stake in Topshop to US buy-out firm

High Street retail tycoon, Sir Philip Green is in talks to sell a 25pc stake in Topshop and Topman to an American private equity firm in a move that will generate him a multi million pound windfall. The billionaire is in advanced talks to sell the stake to Leonard Green & Partners for as much as £250mn. The deal which is not finalised, but is expected to be announced tomorrow, is said to give Sir Philip the powerful means to now expand around the world. The retailer, estimated to be worth £3bn, is driving an ambitious international expansion programme in America and Asia.

Ireland faces more cuts in new budget

The Irish government will present its sixth budget on Wednesday, which will announce more tax rises and spending cuts so as to save another €3.5bn The budget will announce a new property tax and cuts to the health and social welfare budgets. Unlike Greece, Ireland has adhered to the strict spending limits set by the EU and the IMF.

Tesco exit from US likely

Tesco has today confirmed a ‘strategic review’ of its US business, the Fresh & Easy chain, after spending £1bn in a failed bid to take on Wal-Mart. Fresh and Easy’s Deputy Chief Executive, Tim Mason is also to quit. Chief Executive Phil Clarke stated that Fresh & Easy "will not deliver acceptable shareholder returns on an appropriate timeframe in its current form". The failure comes at the same time as new UK figures show Tesco’s sales dropping by 0.6 percent in the third quarter, while Sainsbury’s has reported a 1.7 percent rise.

Snow causes delays and accidents

Snow has fallen in parts of Southern England and the North East of Scotland, leading to school closures, accidents on main roads and delays at Luton and Stansted airports and on some rail and tube services in England. The BBC weather centre has reported that there will be a hard frost this evening, with ice as a hazard, and more snow tomorrow for Scotland and Northern England.

Israel accuses US of backing Europe’s protest over expansion

Israel has accused its ally, the United States, of supporting European countries in their protest over Israel’s decision to build 3,000 settlers’ homes in an area of the West Bank. The expansion could make the possibility of a Palestinian state unviable. The former US ambassador to Israel accused the Israeli government, after unveiling these plans, of punishing Obama for failing to endorse a previous American-Israeli agreement that many settlements would remain despite any further peace deal.

Syria: 9 killed at school as fears rise over chemical warfare
The Syrian state news agency, SANA, has blamed Syrian rebels for a mortar attack on a school. Nine students and one teacher are thought to have suffered fatal injuries in the attack. Anti-government insurgent groups confirmed the attack but put the death toll at nine. NATO ministers in Brussels expressed “grave” concern about reports that the Syrian government is getting ready to use chemical weapons. NATO secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said: “Any such action would be completely unacceptable and a clear breach of international law.” Such fears have been made public before and observers comment that such claims are an attempt to paint the government as a rogue and extreme in public perceptions.

Philippines: Death toll rises
The number of those dead and missing from typhoon Bhopa in the Philippines has continued to climb. Army Major General Ariel Bernardo said at least forty-three people died when torrents of water came down a mountain, engulfing a school and a village hall. Nine soldiers and a number of villagers are also missing from New Bataan town in Compostela Valley province. President Benigno Aquino III, appealed for people to take Bopha seriously: “This typhoon is not a joke. But we can minimise the damage and loss of lives if we help each other.”

Morsi opponents continue to protest

Opponents of the Egyptian President Mohammad have stated that they intend to continue their protest outside the presidential palace in Cairo. Tuesday saw the protesters clash with police, who released tear gas to disperse them. The protesters were reacting to Morsi’s stripping of judiciary power to challenge his decision, which he claims he will drop, after he has passed through a new constitution on the 15th of December. The constitution has been criticised by judges.

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published this page in News 2012-12-05 12:39:46 +0000