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Daily Politicall Media Summary: 17 March 2010

Reform Scotland

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Daily Political Media Summary: 17 March 2010

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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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Energy: The Scottish Government has approved ten marine energy schemes in the Pentland Firth with the potential to power 750,000 homes. (Scotsman page 1, Jenny Hogan in the Scotsman, Herald page 7, Daily Telegraph page 13, Courier page 1, Press and Journal page 8, Times page 3, Financial Times page 4, Guardian page 8, Daily Mail page 10, Daily Record page 10) 

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European Commission: EU commissioners have warned that the UK government is not doing enough to tackle debt and has suggested that £19 billion cuts should be increased to £39 billion cuts. (Scotsman page 2, Peter Jones in the Scotsman, Herald page 6, Courier page 15) 

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Scottish retail: Scottish retailers suffered their worst February sales in 11 years according to figures released by the Scottish Retail Consortium. (Scotsman Business 1, Herald page 26, Daily Telegraph page 13, Courier page 15, Press and Journal page 15, Daily Mail page 2, BBC, STV) 

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Unemployment: Unemployment in Scotland has risen by 16,000 in the three months leading to January. Unemployment now stands at 205,000 – a rate of 7.6 per cent, which is 0.2 per cent less than the UK rate. (BBC, Times, Guardian) 

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Crime

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Lockerbie bomber: There were fresh demands for full disclosure of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohamed al-Megrahi’s medical records after Colonel Gaddafi’s son claimed al-Megrahi’s condition had “greatly improved”. (Scotsman page 14) 

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Prison Extremism: Muslim police officers are to work in prisons and communities across Scotland in efforts to deter young Muslims becoming involved in crime and extremism and to curb re-offending. (Herald page 6) 

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Police in Schools: Scottish schools with police officers stationed in the school as part of the ‘campus cops’ initiative have seen a reduction in incidents of physical violence and criminal activity according to an official study by Ipsos MORI. (Herald page 11, Times page 8, Daily Mail page 1) 

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Legal Drugs: Campaigners have renewed calls for the legal drug, mephedrone, to be banned immediately following the deaths of two teenagers. (Daily Telegraph page 1, Times, BBC) 

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Transport 

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Petrol prices: The AA has warned that drivers will face paying £1.23 a litre for petrol within weeks because of cost increases and duty rises. (Scotsman page 26, Daily Telegraph page 5, Press and Journal page 11, Daily Express page 7) 

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Subway: Strathclyde Partnership for Transport has announced it will cut the frequency of trains on the Glasgow subway in order to address the current overspend of £3.4 million. (Herald page 1)

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Education

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Economic recovery: Ron Hewitt, chief executive of the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, writes in the Scotsman that the key to economic recovery is to reform education, including granting more autonomy and accountability to schools.

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University Fees: The Chancellor of Oxford University has called for the £3,200 cap on university fees should be scrapped in order for British universities to be able to set their own fees and protect their world class status. (Daily Telegraph page 1) 

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University Places: The Ucas head has warned at least 50,000 more school leavers with good grades will fail to get a university place for this autumn compared with last year. (Times page 1  

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Health

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Hospital Rules: Dr. Iona Heath argues against the rules banning hospital doctors and visitors from sitting on beds or bringing flowers in efforts to prevent the spread of deadly infections are dehumanising and only an illusion of efforts to address the problem. (Herald page 5, Daily Telegraph page 10, Daily Express page 21) 

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Breast Cancer:  Scientists claim to have successfully adapted a technique to freeze breast cancer tumours and avoid the need for surgery. (Daily Telegraph page 10, Daily Express page 1, Daily Mail 

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NHS Hospital Project: Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon has marked the beginning of the £840 million hospital build project in Glasgow – the largest ever undertaken in Scotland. (Herald page 6) 

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Alcohol Legislation:  The Scottish Government has been accused of hypocrisy over its alcohol legislation by the drinks industry and opposition politicians, who argue that the government should not focus on new laws to tackle binge drinking until they have enforced legislation already in place. (Press and Journal page 1) 

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Politics

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Liam Fox: Conservative shadow defence secretary Liam Fox has been ordered to re-pay £22,000 after losing an appeal over his expenses.  (Scotsman page 2, Daily Telegraph page 5, Courier page 9, Guardian page 10) 

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Scottish Labour: The Scottish Labour Party is facing pressure to return a £2,000 donation from City Building, a construction firm wholly owned by Glasgow City Council and currently under scrutiny for its close links to many within the Labour Party, including former council leader Steven Purcell. (Scotsman page 9, Michael Kelly in the Scotsman) 

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Benefit Debt: The Department for Work and Pensions has been told to “significantly improve” the way it pays benefits after it emerged claimants owe £1.85 billion but that the DWP was only recovering £300 million a year. There are half a million people in Scotland claiming forms of workless benefits, with one in five living in Glasgow which has led the city to be targeted as a pilot area for welfare reforms. (Herald page 4, Daily Telegraph page 14, Guardian, Daily Express page 4)

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State visit by the Pope: The Pope is to visit Scotland on 16 September.  His visit will include a meeting with the Queen at Holyrood Palace. (Scotsman page 10, Herald page 1, Daily Telegraph page 1, Courier page 7, Press and Journal page 8, Times page 19, Daily Mail page 4, BBC)