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Daily Political Media Summary: 13 August 2009

Reform Scotland

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Daily Political Media Summary: 13 August 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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Jobs: Unemployment in Scotland soared by almost 20 per cent in the last three months, twice the rate of England, according to the latest government figures. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 2, Guardian page 1, FT page 2, Courier page 11, Press and Journal page 11, STV)

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Fragile recovery: Britain’s economy will stage a "fragile" recovery next year, central bank policymakers yesterday forecast, pushing shares higher on hopes that the worst of the downturn has passed. In its quarterly inflation report, the Bank of England predicted Britain\’s worst recession since the Second World War would end early next year. But it warned it would take time for GDP to return to pre-crisis levels, pushing unemployment up from the current 13-year high. (Scotsman page 3, Herald page 36, Telegraph page 1, FT page 1)

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Bank bonuses: The City\’s watchdog has been accused of "capitulation" as it watered down key proposals to rein in bank pay. The Financial Services Authority (FSA) dropped previous proposals on deferring bonuses as well as linking payouts to banks\’ overall performance,  relegating them to guidance. (Scotsman page 2, Times page 1, Press and Journal page 7)

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Bank of England: Bill Jamieson comments in the Scotsman on the Bank of England and Mervyn King’s worries on inflation. “The Bank accepts the view of both the OECD and the International Monetary Fund that the recession and financial crisis are seriously cutting into the UK\’s potential growth. But such is the amount of slack in the economy , the amount of productive capacity lying idle, that the Bank believes inflation is likely to stay subdued for an extended period.” (Scotsman page 35)

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Diageo: Workers at the threatened Johnnie Walker plant in Kilmarnock have hired Barack Obama’s campaign team in an attempt to take their case worldwide. Unite, the union that represents the staff, has enlisted the services of Blue State Digital, which ran Mr Obama’s online operation during his presidential campaign last year. (Times page 20)

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Crime

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Drugs: The human cost of long-term drug use was laid bare yesterday, as figures show Scotland\’s drug death toll has risen to record levels, with a sharp increase in deaths among older users. And last night government ministers warned that drug deaths could continue to rise in the future, as the next generation of addicts faced the consequences of experimenting with drugs in their youth. (Scotsman page 10, Times page 3, Telegraph page 1, Alan Cochrane, Press and Journal page 12, STV, BBC)

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Lockerbie: The man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing is expected to be released next week on compassionate grounds, nearly eight-and-a-half years after he was jailed for life for the murders of 270 people in the atrocity over Scotland. Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, who is in the terminal stages of prostate cancer, is expected to return home to Tripoli before the start of Ramadan on August 21. His return will also coincide with the 40th anniversary of the coming to power of Libya\’s leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.  The decision has not been confirmed by Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill. (Herald page 1, Times page 3, Telegraph page 1, Guardian page 1, Courier page 1, Press and Journal page 6, STV, BBC)

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Education

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Scots nursery: A Scottish nursery school has been given one of the worst reports ever awarded by education inspectors. The nursery was given an "unsatisfactory" rating across all five areas examined by Her Majesty\’s Inspectorate of Education (HMIe). Croftbank Nursery in Kinross caters for pre-school children aged up to five years. It is registered for 60 children at any one session, though the total roll was 89 at the time of the inspection. (Scotsman page 17, Herald page 1, Press and Journal page 1)

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Politics

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Shadow Commons Leader: Alan Duncan MP apologised yesterday after he was recorded complaining that MPs were treated poorly and forced to exist on "rations". Shadow Commons leader Alan Duncan was filmed saying no capable person would want to enter Parliament in the wake of the MPs\’ expenses scandal. His remarks were secretly recorded by campaigner Heydon Prowse during a visit to the House of Commons. (Scotsman page 6, Times page 8, Daily Telegraph page 1, Guardian page 1, Press and Journal page 1)

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UK Border Agency: A bid by Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy to resolve a wrangle that saw a Pakistani pipe band and business delegation barred from Scotland ended in failure last night. Mr Murphy has urged the Home Office to see whether anything could be done to salvage the planned visit by the 65 Pakistanis. But the UK Border Agency later issued a toughly worded statement saying: "We will make no apology for maintaining tough border controls created to prevent abuse of the immigration system." Glasgow City Council confirmed it was too late to rescue this year\’s visit. (Scotsman page 7, Telegraph page 8, Courier page 9)

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Donald Trump: One of the five home-owners facing possible eviction to pave the way for Donald Trump\’s £1 billion golf resort yesterday accused the tycoon of planning to "steal" his land in a modern-day version of the Highland Clearances. David Milne, who is refusing to sell his cottage home overlooking the area where the main championship course would be built, has written to all 68 members of Aberdeenshire Council in advance of a critical debate on the possible use of compulsory purchase orders at the Menie estate development, where the American tycoon is planning to build the "world\’s greatest golf course". (Scotsman page 13)

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Conservatives: George Kerevan comments in the Scotsman on today’s Conservatives and how they are ‘no more progressive than is the burnt-out shell of the Labour Party’. (Scotsman page 26)

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UK/Scotland comparisons: Jim Mather, the Scottish Government’s Enterprise Minister, reportedly put a positive gloss on the latest jobless figures by saying that while unemployment continued to rise, in comparison Scotland maintained higher employment, lower unemployment and higher rates of economic activity. The Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) immediately accused Mr Mather of having an “irrelevant obsession” about how Scotland was performing in comparison to Britain. (Times page 7)