Scottish MSPs, trade unions and charties are calling on Chancellor
Osborne to axe the 'Bedroom Tax'
Scottish News: News in Scotland - Wednesday
'Axe the Tax' demand Scottish parties and civic organisations
SNP, Greens and Independents have joined forces with voluntary organisations, trade unions and disability groups to call on Chancellor George Osborne to scrap the ‘Bedroom Tax’ in this year’s Budget Statement on March 20th. Today a letter demanding the tax be axed will be co-signed by STUC General Secretary Grahame Smith along with numerous Scottish civic organisations and MSPs.
Trident poll “huge opportunity” for Yes campaign
The SNP has pointed to the "huge opportunity" for the independence campaign in the TNS BMRB poll on Trident published in the Herald newspaper today - which reveals that the vast majority of people on both sides of the referendum debate are opposed to replacing Trident nuclear weapons. The SNP has pointed out that only a Yes vote for an independent Scotland in next year’s vote will get rid of Trident. Welcoming the poll from Scottish CND, SNP MSP Bill Kidd said: “The poll underlines the huge opportunity for the Yes campaign, because only a Yes vote for an independent Scotland in next year’s referendum will remove these obscene nuclear weapons from our shores”.
Salmond gives negotiation lesson to Cable over RBS 'bonanza' claim
Vince Cable, the UK government's business secretary has claimed that Scots could lose our on RBS share 'bonanza' of £800 if they vote for independence. Currently the treasury is contemplating issuing every taxpayer in Britain RBS shares worth between £400 and £800 per person but Mr Cable claimed in an interview with The Herald that Scots would not be entitled if they voted for independence. First Minister Alex Salmond responded by saying that if Scots could not expect a fair share of the UK's assets after independence then they could not be expected to pay their fare share of the UK's sky-rocketing debt which is soon to reach £1.5tn.
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
SNP: Johann Lamont should explain her position on Iraq
Ten years on from a key Holyrood debate in the run up to the Iraq war, the SNP has highlighted the lessons that must be learnt from the conflict. Despite the horrendous loss of life that has scarred Iraq, no weapons of mass destruction were ever found - even though the case for war was based on their presence. Commenting, SNP MSP and former Cabinet Secretary Bruce Crawford said: “Johann Lamont should explain why she put Westminster’s determination to invade ahead of the views of people in Scotland...The most striking lesson of all from the conflict is that never again should Scotland find itself dragged into illegal conflicts by Westminster governments - that requires achieving the powers of independence, which is why a Yes vote in next autumn's referendum is so important”.
Medieval knight remains found in Old Town Edinburgh
The remains of a medieval knight have been discovered underneath a car park that is being demolished at a city-centre building site. The skeleton was found in Edinburgh’s Old Town after archaeologists uncovered the corner of an elaborately decorated sandstone slab bearing markings of a member of the nobility – the carvings of the Calvary Cross and an ornate sword. The discovery is being hailed as having the potential to be “one of the most significant and exciting archaeological discoveries in the city for years” - and comes just a month after a skeleton unearthed in a car park in Leicester was confirmed as being English king Richard III, who was killed in battle in 1485.
Holyrood to quiz health chiefs over manipulation of waiting lists
The most senior NHS official in Scotland is being questioned by MSPs following the discovery that waiting lists were manipulated. Derek Feeley, chief executive of the NHS, is facing questions at Holyrood, alongside health board bosses. It follows the possibly deliberate alterations of lists by NHS Lothian and a national Audit Scotland report which found "poor" information-keeping, calling for better scrutiny. The health board was criticised for removing patients from the 18-week waiting list when they refused to travel to England for treatment, marking them as "unavailable for social reasons". Mr Feeley has said there is no indication of wider list manipulation.
Bedroom tax “in chaos” amid last minute changes
The work and pensions secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, has denied claims that his controversial bedroom tax policy has descended into "total chaos" after he announced a U-turn to exempt foster carers and parents of teenage armed forces personnel - just three weeks before it is due to come into force. However, the opposition and campaigners pointed out that the concessions would exempt just a fraction of the 660,000 people affected by the ‘Bedroom Tax’. The row came as the TUC published research claiming that just over half of all children will be living in below minimum income poverty standards within two years as a result of the government's welfare and tax reforms. It said tax and welfare changes would be compounded by wage freezes in the public sector, pushing 500,000 more children into poverty.
RBS to sell of Direct Line
Royal Bank of Scotland is to give up control of Direct Line after selling part of its stake in the insurer. RBS said that 229.4mn shares of the insurer's total outstanding shares will be sold. Direct Line was spun off from RBS last year as a condition for the bank's £45bn government bailout after the 2008 financial crisis. The BBC's business editor, Robert Peston, suggested that to raise more capital, RBS may have to sell even more assets than it currently plans, including the so-called Queen's bank, Coutts. Recently, RBS's chief executive, Stephen Hester, insisted that the bank's return to the private sector was on track and could be completed within two years.
Syria’s children emerging as the real victims of the bloody conflict
Syria's children are emerging as the biggest victims of their country's conflict, suffering "layers and layers of emotional trauma", Save the Children's chief executive told Reuters. Syrian children are being subjected to shootings, torture and rape amid the two years of unrest and civil war, the London-based international charity said in a report released on Wednesday. Two million children, it said, face malnutrition, disease, early marriage and severe trauma, becoming victims of a bloody conflict that has already claimed 70,000 lives. Syria's civil war began with largely peaceful protests against the rule of President Assad – but soon the revolt turned into a civil war. Western-backed rebels now control large swathes of Syria.
Venezuela setting up commission to probe Chavez’s death
The Venezuelan government is setting up a formal inquiry into suspicions that the late President Hugo Chavez's cancer was the result of poisoning by enemies abroad. The decision to investigate the circumstances surrounding the former president's death comes days after Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, one of the foreign dignitaries at Chavez's funeral, alleged he died of a "suspect illness". "We have the intuition that our commander Chavez was poisoned by dark forces that wanted him out of the way” Acting President Maduro said. Foreign scientists will be invited to join the commission to probe the accusation, the OPEC nation's acting leader said.
Argentine President dismisses “Las Malvinas” referendum
Argentine President Cristina Kirchner dismissed a referendum that saw Falkland islanders vote overwhelmingly to remain a British territory, rejecting demands that she accept the outcome. Kirchner's government had dismissed the referendum as meaningless and said it would not affect its claims on the Falklands, calling them "Las Malvinas" - which it failed to seize back from Britain in a brief but bloody war in 1982. International observers monitored the referendum on Sunday and Monday and declared it "free and fair." However, Alicia Castro, Argentina's ambassador to London, said the referendum was "a very predictable result, because the current inhabitants of the Malvinas are British. But the territory in which they live is not”. The Falklands issues has been compared by some observers to Israeli settlements.
Manning trial testimony heard for first time
The FPF - a speech freedom advocacy group has released audio of Bradley Manning’s testimony revealing his motives for leaking secret US government documents to WikiLeaks. It marks the first time the public has heard Manning's voice since his 2010 arrest. Manning justifies his actions with a firm belief that what he sees as US government wrongdoings, and their need to be exposed in order to “spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general as it relates to Iraq and Afghanistan”. This defies the military ban on making recordings at Manning’s pre-trial tribunal at the military court at Fort Meade - but despite the Pentagon pursuing measures to strengthen security, many activists continue to fight for the Private's human rights .
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