News in Scotland Thursday

News in Scotland Thursday

Russian President Vladimir Putin has called directly on the American people and their politicians to show caution on Syria

Scottish News: News in Scotland – Thursday

Mail privatisation will not deliver for Scotland, blasts SNP and Greens

After the Westminster confirmed the sell off of Royal Mail, SNP MP Mike Weir has warned: “This is a deeply flawed Westminster decision, which threatens to have particularly harmful consequences for Scotland where so many of our rural communities and so much of our rural economy rely on our existing Royal Mail service. The UK Government are refusing to heed the real and genuine concerns that privatisation will mean a reduction in rural services as companies cherry-pick and compete in the larger urban areas.” Alison Johnstone, Green MSP for Lothian warned: “This is a dark day for a much-valued public service and voters will not forget that it was the Liberal Democrats that sold off the Royal Mail to investors motivated by profit. Just like the bedroom tax, this is an example of Scottish politicians voting strongly against a damaging policy and having it imposed anyway by Westminster. The CWU are entirely justified in seeking a ballot on industrial action as a tool to defend this public service.”

Scotland’s green energy target being undermined

The Scottish government’s target of supplying the nation’s entire electricity demand using green energy sources by 2020 is being compromised, according to Audit Scotland. A combination of the current economic crisis, UK energy policy revisions, EU regulations and private sector tentativeness means the target is becoming “optimistic”.

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Torture equipment promoted at London fair

Companies offering leg irons and electric batons have been discovered to have been illegally marketing their equipment at the Defence Security and Equipment International (DSEI) fair in the London Docklands, according to The Independent newspaper. French company MagForce International and Chinese firm Tian Jin MyWay International Trading, were promoting the torture equipment at the world’s largest arms fair which has been attended by UK Defence Secretary Philip Hammond and includes attendees from global companies such as BAE Systems. After the matter was raised in parliament by Green MP Caroline Lucas the organisers ordered the firms to dismantle their stalls and ejected them from the fair. The DSEI responded through their website claiming: “We can confirm that the Tianjin Myway International Trading Co. and Magforce International have been ejected from DSEI having been found with literature in breach of British law. This action highlights our commitment to ensuring that all equipment, services, promotional material, documentation and anything else on display at DSEI complies with domestic and international law.”

Putin warns US not to attack Syria

Russian President Vladimir Putin has authored an article published in the New York Times op-ed section calling for caution in relation to military intervention in Syria. Appealing publicly “to the American people and their political leaders” Putin warns of the terrifying consequences that intervention would unleash. He said: “The potential strike by the United States against Syria, despite strong opposition from many countries and major political and religious leaders, including the pope, will result in more innocent victims and escalation, potentially spreading the conflict far beyond Syria’s borders. A strike would increase violence and unleash a new wave of terrorism. It could undermine multilateral efforts to resolve the Iranian nuclear problem and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and further destabilize the Middle East and North Africa. It could throw the entire system of international law and order out of balance.” Meanwhile, Syrian opposition forces have dismissed the Russian plan for a diplomatic solution. Many intelligence experts and politicians, including Putin, around the world believe however that it was the opposition forces who committed the atrocity in a bid to provoke a military intervention by Western powers and reverse the advances of President Assad’s forces who have been winning the conflict.

Bank told to rehire traders sacked in Libor investigation

Four traders who worked for Deutche Bank must be rehired ordered a judge in the Frankfurt Labour Court yesterday (Wednesday). The traders, including a managing director and a vice-president of the bank’s Global Markets division, were unlawfully dismissed according to Judge Annika Gey. They had been sacked for “inappropriate communications” with derivatives traders in relation to Libor and Euribor calculations however the traders took legal action claiming that they were not aware of any ban which prohibited them from communicating with other trading desks on such matters. The sackings were “out of proportion” ruled Judge Gey who found that the bank did not have sufficient internal rules and controls in place to separate rate submissions from derivatives trading. The verdict will escalate fears that banks had a systemic culture of fraudulent activity but have sought to scapegoat traders rather than have senior banking executives prosecuted. Libor-rigging fraud has involved the largest of the UK banks and the Bank of England itself was implicated in the scandal in which a market worth hundreds of trillions of pounds and scamming mortgage-holders, credit card holders and borrowers among other.

9/11 Commission chair condemns NSA spying

The former US Representative and co-chair of the 9/11 Commission Lee Hamilton has warned that the misinformation being spread about the US government’s surveillance programmes is “astounding and appalling”. Mr Hamilton, who worked at the NSA for 3 decades and is now director of the Center on Congress as Indian University, said he is waiting for Attorney General Eric Holder to indict the US Director of Intelligence James Clapper for perjury after claiming his agencies were not spying on US citizens – a claim subsequently found to be false after leaks by Edward Snowdon uncovered spying programmes involving data mining through telecommunication company Verizon. Hamilton also denounced legislators who enabled secret courts to allow spy programmes to run without adequate oversight and saying the volume of information the NSA has would “knock your socks off” and as “mind-boggling.” The news comes as it has emerged that the NSA shares data on US citizens with Israel.

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