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Daily Political Media Summary: 11 February 2010

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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Growth forecasts: The Bank of England has cut its growth forecasts for the UK economy and warned it might have to increase the money supply. (Herald page 30, Mail page 6, FT page 2, Courier page 14, P&J page 5)

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Oil shortage: A group of business leaders has warned that the UK faces fuel shortages and higher food costs within five years due to the impact of global oil shortages. (Scotsman page 12)

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Scottish financial watchdog: John Swinney has distanced himself from the idea of a separate Scottish financial watchdog by saying that too many layers for regulation could confuse efforts to reform the banking system. (Scotsman business 1)

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Crime

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Knife crime: Labour Leader Iain Gray yesterday called for compulsory jail sentences for all knife offenders to be included in the Criminal Justice Bill currently going through the Scottish Parliament.  He said that knife possession should be treated in the same way as gun possession. (Scotsman page 4, Record page 7, Herald page 6, Sun page 14, Express page 2, Mail page 12, Courier page 15, P&J page 9, Telegraph page 8)

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Racism: Mohammed Atif Siddique, the Scot who was freed on Tuesday after his main conviction for terrorism was quashed, has said he would never have been sent to prison if he was white and Christian. (Scotsman page 6)

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Dog ASBOs: The Scottish Parliament yesterday backed a bill which will replace the Dangerous Dogs Act and will introduce dog-control notices for dog owners. (Scotsman page 17, Herald page 6, Sun page 2, Telegraph page 12)

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Cocaine use: According to a UN report, more people per head of population use cocaine in Scotland than anywhere else in the world. (Record page 11)

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Transport 

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Prestwick airport: Ryanair yesterday announced plans for a new hanger at Prestwick Airport which will create 200 engineering jobs. (Record page 2, Express page 4)

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Search and rescue operations are to be withdrawn from Prestwick airport and transferred to Glasgow as part of a £6b private finance deal. (Times page 18, Courier page 15, P&J page 7)

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Potholes: The Scottish Government have announced an additional £5million to be shared amongst Scotland’s councils to help cover the cost of potholes following the prolonged winter weather.  However critics have said the money is not enough. (Scotsman page 5, Express page 4, Courier page 9)

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Health

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Minimum pricing: Dr Petra Meier, one of the scientists whose research has been used by the Scottish Government to help push for the introduction of minimum pricing of alcohol, said yesterday that there is no evidence to show the policy would work. (Scotsman page 9)

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Waiting times: Patients are waiting longer for surgery in Scotland due to the high number of broken bones and fall injuries that were caused by the icy weather. (Herald page 1)

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Education

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Foreign students: Azeem Ibrahim in the Scotsman argues that Alan Johnston’s announcement to make it harder for foreign students to get into the UK is the wrong approach.

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University funding: Opposition parties have called for an independent review into university funding following the call from Professor Bernard King for the introduction of a graduate tax. (Herald page 6)

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Local Government

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Council tax:  The Finance Secretary John Swinney has called on councils to freeze council tax for the third time when they meet today. (P&J page 1)

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Politics

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Nicola Sturgeon: Opposition parties have called for the Deputy First Minister’s resignation after it emerged she had written to court in support of a convicted fraudster asking for him not to be sent to prison. Abdul Rauf had been found guilty of defrauding £80,000 from the Department of Work and Pensions.  The SNP have defended Ms Sturgeon’s actions stating that representations on behalf of constituents were routine for MSPs. (Scotsman page 1, Tom Peterkin in the Scotsman, Record page 1, Herald page 1, Times page 1, Sun page 1, Express page 1, Mail page 1, Courier page 1, P&J page 1, Telegraph page 1)

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Holyrood’s committee system: Margo MacDonald has criticised unionist parties in the Scottish Parliament for sending her assisted suicide bill to an ad hoc committee rather than the health committee.  The decision is seen as a tactic to prevent the SNP holding the convenership of the ad hoc committee which will be established for the independence referendum bill. (Scotsman page 10, Herald page 6, Express page)

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Hung parliament: George Kerevan in the Scotsman discusses the prospects of a hung parliament.

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Gordon Brown: The Prime Minister is interviewed in the FT.

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Scottish Tories: Ahead of the Scottish Conservative Party conference Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph compares the Tories in Scotland to their counterparts in Wales, with the Welsh Tories performing better in opinion polls and being seen to have embraced devolution more.