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Daily Political Media Summary: 21 May 2009

Reform Scotland

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Daily Political Media Summary: 21 May 2009

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All newspaper references refer to Scottish editions. Where there is a link to a newspaper’s website, the relevant page reference is blue and underlined.

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 Economy

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RBS: About 200 jobs will be lost in Edinburgh in the first round of redundancies at Royal Bank of Scotland. The worst of the job cuts in Scottish banking as a result of the financial crisis are still to come, bank insiders said yesterday. (Scotsman page 2, Times page 23, Press and Journal page 5)

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 Graduates: Cuts in graduate jobs are forcing increasing numbers of young Scots to go overseas, a new study has shown. In just a year, the number in Scotland taking a gap year has increased by 50 percent, according to the Year Out Group. (Scotsman page 21)

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 Lloyds Banking Group: Shares in Lloyds Banking Group tumbled 30% yesterday after it admitted it might have to sell key businesses to meet European Union rules on state aid. (Herald page 32, Times page 53, Guardian page 26, FT page 1, Press and Journal page 7)

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 IMF: In its annual health check of the UK, the IMF echoed last week’s verdict from the Bank of England, concluding that that there are hopeful signs that the pace of the slump is easing but that the economy remains vulnerable and recovery will be slow. (Times page 48, Telegraph page 12, Guardian page 24, FT page 3)

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 Scottish Business: With mergers and acquisitions going on the back burner in Scotland’s economy, inward investment from abroad is becoming an increasingly important source of finance. Recent investment deals in Scotland are focused on sectors in which the nation is known internationally to be a leader- life sciences, energy, sport and tourism. (Scotsman Special Report)

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 Transport

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Trams: The launch of Edinburgh’s trams has again been put back by several months, in at least the fourth delay to the scheme since it was approved. Trams were due to start running in July 2011, but this has been postponed to late in that year following a series of setbacks to the project. (Scotsman page 12)

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 Smart Cards: Trials are about to get underway on Scotland’s railways of the UK’s most advanced electronic payment smartcards. The credit card-sized smart cards are effectively electronic tickets, which can be renewed or topped up at ticket machines or online, or automatically via bank direct debits. (Scotsman page 23)

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 Health

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Swine Flu: A Scottish primary school that closed after one of its pupils contracted swine flu reopened yesterday. Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon thanked the parents and carers of those affected by the closures. (Scotsman page 27)

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 Hospital Wards: More than half of hospital patients would prefer to stay in a ward with other people than in private accommodation, according to research. Scottish Ministers claim that the phasing out of traditional wards will increase patient dignity and reduce the risk of patients catching infections. (Herald page 10)

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 Education

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Schools: Proposed Scottish Government powers to stop school closures may leave a ‘cloud hanging’ over youngsters’ education, MSPs heard yesterday. The measures are part of the schools consultation Bill, which is being considered by Holyrood’s Education committee.  (Herald page 7)

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 Politics

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General Election: Gordon Brown sidestepped demands for an immediate general election, as campaigners intensified calls for the public to be given their say over the MPs’ expenses scandal. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 6, Times page 24, Telegraph page 2, Press and Journal page 10)

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 Nuclear Power: Nuclear power must be part of the energy mix for the future, according to the chairman and chief executive of Iberdrola, ScottishPower’s parent company. Ignacio Galan said nuclear power and renewable sources had to be complementary. This puts him at odds with the SNP administration, which has ruled out the construction of new stations in Scotland. (Scotsman page 9, Times page 17)

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 Wind power: Europe’s largest onshore wind farm was officially switched on by Alex Salmond yesterday; with news it is to get even bigger. (Press and Journal page 9)

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 Gurkhas: Gurkha veterans will be told today they have the right to live in the UK, as the UK Government moves to quell the backlash over its treatment of the Nepalese warriors. (Scotsman page 10, Herald page 7, Times page 13, Telegraph page 7, Guardian page 12)

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 Expenses: The potential impact of Westminster’s expenses scandal on the Labour Party was laid bare last night with party sources suggesting as many as 50 MPs could face de-selection. Gordon Brown acknowledged the scale of damage could be significant as the governing party introduces new disciplinary measures to punish offenders. (Herald page 1)

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 Constitution: Ambitious plans to reform the British constitution are being considered in Whitehall on the back of proposals to clean up the discredited system of MPs’ expenses.  George Kerevan comments in the Scotsman on the ‘Very British Revolution’; a constitutional change that would see the Commons recover its ancient role as the defender of civil liberties. (Herald page 6, Scotsman page 28, Times page 12, Guardian page 1, FT page 3)

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