08 Aug News in Scotland Thursday
The new governor has changed the mission of the Bank of England in a move that appears to justify continued low-interest rates
Scottish News: News in Scotland – Thursday
Scottish population increases to record high
The population of Scotland reached a record high of 5,313,600 in mid-2012, according to newly released official figures. The increase of around 18,000 has been attributed to immigration mostly from overseas and an increased birth rate. Historically, Scotland’s population was around one-sixth of England’s but since Union it has dropped to around one-eleventh. Tim Ellis of National Records of Scotland (NRS) – which published the figures – said: “Scotland’s population has continued to grow, reaching its highest ever level last year. The increase from the Census in 2011 to end June 2012 was 18,200…The rise was because there were over 6,000 more births than deaths and a net in-flow of 15,200 more people coming to Scotland than leaving.”
UK crisis: Carney changes mission of Bank of England
The new governor of the Bank of England (BoE), Mark Carney, has announced that interest rates (the cost that banks can borrow money) will be remain at their current record low level of 0.5 percent until UK unemployment falls to 7 percent or below. The BoE’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) which set rates was established with the mission of keeping inflation below 2 percent however Mr Carney has now changed that mission to targeting employment levels. Critics argue that low interest rates actually creates unemployment and so Carney’s policy is a deliberate distraction from the need to provide banks with more cheap money to hide their insolvency – a policy which will lead to higher inflation which the MPC now expects. More and more economists believe that with interest rates well below the rate of inflation savers are being penalised and their money is being transferred to speculators in the financial sector in a policy of national wealth transfer.
Obama calls off Putin meeting amid Snowdon tensions
President Obama cancelled a presidential summit due to be held next month with President Vladimir Putin of Russia. Tensions have mounted since NSA whistleblower Edward Snowdon was given temporary asylum in Russia. The day before the cancellation Obama appeared on a US chat show claiming he was unhappy at a newly enacted anti-gay law in Russia. Responding to the Obama snub Russian officials said: “We are disappointed… but the Snowden situation wasn’t created by us”.
Damage caused by whistleblower Bradley Manning’s leaks questioned by judge
The impact caused by Bradley Manning’s leaks of classified information has been questioned by a military judge who has ruled that some evidence provided by the US government, which claimed his actions had “chilling effects”, is inadmissible. Judge Denise Lind, who will pass sentence on Mr Manning after he was found guilty of numerous offences relating to passing on secrets to Wikileaks, is expected to show leniency however Mr Manning’s supporters around the world face the realistic prospect of him spending his life behind bars.
Syria & Iran update
It has been reported that US-backed Syrian insurgents have downed an Iranian cargo plane at Damascus Airport. There have also been reports that President Assad’s motorcade was attacked while he was en route to perform prayers at a mosque however the government have denied the attack and state television have shown him unharmed. Meanwhile military analysts have claimed that Iran has built a new rocket launch site which can be used for testing ballistic missiles using solid fuel – the Iranian government has argued that it is building up its domestic satellite programme.
Egypt: End ‘dangerous stalemate’ urges EU and US
The prospect of further political deadlock in Egypt “holds risk of more bloodshed” the EU and US has warned while the interim government has said that the time for diplomacy is over and that foreign mediation had failed. The joint announcement comes as the interim government, installed by the army after President Morsi was deposed, has repeated its threat to take action against Morsi loyalists who continue to demonstrate in large numbers.