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REFORM SCOTLAND NEWS: 17 December 2010

Reform Scotland

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Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 17 December 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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In addition to the newspaper stories outlined below, further news coverage can be found online at BBC News Scotland, STV News and Sky News.

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Politics

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Wikileaks: Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks has been released on bail; He is wanted in Sweden for alleged sex charges, and is currently awaiting his extradition trial which will take place in the New Year. (Scotsman page 2, Press and Journal page 5, Daily Express page 9, Guardian page 4, Daily Record page 2, FT page 4, Courier page 15, Telegraph page 14, Times page 4, Daily mirror page 4, Daily Mail page 12, Herald page 2)

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Heating oil rationing: The UK Government has warned that heating oil may need to be rationed amid fears that homes in the north and north east may have difficulty heating their homes through this long winter. 200,000 homes north of the border are currently being monitored closely to avoid a potentially disastrous situation. (Press and Journal page 10, Scotsman page 14, Courier page 5, Telegraph page 4, Daily Mail page 4, Herald page 9)

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Economy

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Snow: Estimates show that the snow-related disruption this winter could cost the Scottish economy nearly £2 billion. The adverse weather conditions have already cost more than £400 million, but with more bad weather forecast, the potential damage to businesses is increasing. (Scotsman page 8, Telegraph page 4)

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Justice

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Antisocial behaviour: The Scottish Government has been accused of being complacent in the ongoing fight against antisocial behaviour. Experts state that the causes need to be addressed in order to find a long-term solution. (Scotsman page 17)

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Transport

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Edinburgh Trams: Lothian buses has been put in charge of the city’s trams. The controversial merger between Lothian buses and the city council’s tram firm has been put on hold, but there are still unresolved issues between the parties involved in the construction process. (Scotsman page 13)

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Coastguard: Scotland could be left will only one full time coastguard station if cost-cutting plans go ahead. The only 24 hour station would be in Aberdeen, and it would be responsible for over 6,000 miles of coastline; the Forth and Clyde Coastguards are to be cut, and Stornoway and the Shetlands are still discussing which of them should remain active. (Scotsman page 6, Press and Journal page 8, Daily Express page 10, Sun page 29, Daily Record page 2, Telegraph page 11, Daily Mail page 6, Herald page 6)

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Health

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Vitamin D: People in Britain are being encouraged to spend at least 15 minutes in the sun, three times a week, to maintain adequate levels of vitamin D, which is essential to maintain good health and strong bones. However, experts continue to caution against excessive exposure and its connection to skin cancer. (Scotsman page 15, Daily Express page 27, Telegraph page 6, Daily mirror page 37)

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Vaccines: Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Harry Burns, has told GP surgeries to manage their time more efficiently by giving babies six vaccines in one day. Currently one-year-olds receive the injections over the space of one month, but the new plan would see all of the necessary immunisations given on the same day, but in different arms. Critics argue this does not allow the body enough time to respond to each vaccine appropriately. (Herald page 12)

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Education

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University Funding: Michael Russell, the Education Secretary, continues to argue that Scotland should not follow in the footsteps of England and that the State should be responsible for the cost of university education. However, the 50-page green paper published by the Education Secretary yesterday outlines plans to sell university places privately, substantially increase tuition fees for English students in Scotland and raise contributions from businesses. (Scotsman page 4, Press and Journal page 12, Daily Express page 4, Sun page 4, Guardian page 17, Daily Record page 4, Courier page 11, Telegraph page 9, Times page 19, Daily Mail page 4, herald page 4)