President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela has died of cancer, aged 58.
A mural of the South American folk hero leader is painted on a wall
Scottish News: News in Scotland - Wednesday
Jim Murphy confirms that only a ‘Yes’ vote will get rid of Trident
Jim Murphy today confirmed that the only possible way of Scotland getting rid of Trident was if Scots vote for independence - as he reiterated Labour’s absolute support for retaining nuclear weapons. The confirmation means the claims of Mr Murphy’s junior colleague Anas Sarwar that Labour is an antinuclear party are seemingly compromised. SNP Defence spokesperson Angus Robertson said: "Only a Yes vote in the independence referendum can get rid of Trident from Scotland, and ensure that the billions of pounds the Westminster parties want to waste on weapons of mass destruction can be invested instead in building a fair society and strong economy”.
Independence would mean more Scots armed forces
An independent Scotland would have thousands more armed forces personnel than under the current UK Government plans, the SNP has said, as it accused Whitehall of another broken promise on defence. But the SNP insisted in an independent Scotland the full contingent would be 15,000 service personnel. Nicola Sturgeon, the Deputy First Minister, accused David Cameron and his colleagues of a "breach of trust and a failure to work together to meet the principles the UK Government set out in its covenant with the Armed Forces". She added: "The rise in Army personnel announced today, if it's fulfilled, would simply return us to the numbers of military personnel here in 2008”.
More Scottish news:
- ASK SCOTLAND
- Scottish independence: UK downgrade means promised 'recovery' is like Waiting for Godot
- Scots go hungry to maintain London’s global status
- Scottish government criticised over ‘coherence’ of education reforms
- Scottish independence: economy will be a success after independence, says expert group
UK debt drag on Scotland
The latest release of the official GERS report shows that in the year 2011 - 2012, Scotland's debt was 2.3 percent of the nation's GDP. By contrast the UK as a whole had a debt to GDP ratio of 6 percent - more than twice that of Scotland's. In recent years Scotland has managed to run a surplus while UK government debt has risen by around £500bn (or approximately sixteen times the total annual budget of the Scottish parliament). Recent forecasts show UK debt heading for the £1.5tn mark while markets are showing concern over the stability of the UK economy and currency which is reflected in the loss of the UK's AAA credit rating.
Payday loan companies face tougher legislation
Payday loan companies will face restrictions on how they advertise, and be forced to share information about applicants, after a government-commissioned report found that consumers are being harmed by serious problems in the sector. Some campaigners have suggested that such a cap would prevent some of the worse practices in the industry, while others have called for better affordability checks. The market for high cost short-term loans has boomed in recent years, driven by the recession and an increasing number of firms offering fast borrowing to those desperate at interest rates of 4000 percent and higher.
South American socialist and freedom fighter Chavez dies
Chavez, the symbol of Latin American socialism, sadly died on Tuesday evening after succumbing to a respiratory infection in his battle with cancer. He will be given a state funeral in Caracas on Friday, likely to be attended by millions of supporters and left wing leaders from across the globe who have been inspired by Chávez's doctrine of "Bolivarian 21st-century socialism". Vice President Nicolas Maduro – his designated successor - has said President Hugo Chavez's enemies had poisoned him with cancer before announcing that two US Air Force officials would be expelled from Venezuela for spying on the military and plotting to destabilise the country. As the world's richest untapped source of oil, replacing one of the most colourful and charismatic politician's on the global landscape to lead Venezuela will be an enormous challenge - with many global powers having a vested interest in seeing Chavez's oil funded socialist welfare policies fail. Commentators point out that the nation’s poor indigenous population have lost their champion.
Repressive right wing former administrations face trial in Argentina
A trial over one of Latin America's darkest eras is underway in Argentina, where 25 defendants are accused of crimes against humanity for their alleged role in a 1970s reign of repression and violence. Operation Condor was an organised campaign by the continent's right-wing governments to suppress and crush political opposition. The clandestine nature of Operation Condor means that its full extent may never be known, but researchers estimate that 50,000 were killed, 30,000 were "disappeared" and presumed killed, and 400,000 were jailed, according to The Centre for Justice and Accountability.
Voting system complications raise concern over Kenyan election
Election officials from across Kenya are travelling to Nairobi to deliver election ballots manually after the widespread failure of the country's new electronic voting system, leading to criticism of the country's complex voting rules. There have been multiple complaints at the widespread failure of electronic biometric voting registration (BVR) kits introduced by the IEBC. The results of the 2007 poll, which President Mwai Kibaki won against Odinga, were criticised for a lack of transparency in the way the votes were counted, helping to spark a wave of deadly violence in which more than 1,200 died. Odinga and his rival Kenyatta - the son of independent Kenya's founding president - have vowed there will be no repeat of the 2007-08 bloodshed.
Syrian exodus reaches 1mn
The number of Syrians who have fled the country since the civil war began almost two years ago reached 1 mn on Wednesday, the UN refugee agency said. An average of almost 1,400 refugees cross the border daily, with the 1mn figure representing about 5 percent of Syria's total population. "With a million people in flight, millions more displaced internally, and thousands of people continuing to cross the border every day, Syria is spiralling towards full-scale disaster," UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said. The pace of exodus has spiked dramatically in recent months, with around half the refugees being children.
South Korea will retaliate if struck by North Korea
South Korea's military said it will strike back at North Korea and target its top leadership if Pyongyang launches a threatened attack in response to what it says are "hostile" drills between US and South Korean forces. One of North Korea's top generals said Pyongyang had torn up its armistice deal with Washington and threatened military action against the US and South Korea if the drills went ahead. The military exercises began on March 1. The impoverished country of North Korea, has an economy smaller than it was 20 years ago, has been subject to sanctions from the US for almost all of its existence and since 2006 has seen United Nations sanctions imposed for its long range rocket and nuclear tests.
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