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REFORM SCOTLAND NEWS: 21 December 2010

Reform Scotland

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Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 21 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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Trade unions: Prime Minister David Cameron met with TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber and 14 other trade union leaders yesterday to discuss the economy, public services and pensions. The aim of the meeting was to encourage communication between the Government and the unions and discourage strike action. (Daily Express page 2, Sun page 2, Daily Record page 4, Scotsman page 14, Guardian page 7, Telegraph page 8, FT page 3)

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Moray flood defences: The Scottish Government has approved the £90 million project which would protect homes in the town of Elgin, which is often hit by major flooding. However, there are still issues relating to the amount allocated in the plan, which is only half of what is believed to be necessary. (Scotsman page 16)

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Economy

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Recession: The recent economic downturn has seen more than 76,000 homes lie empty due to the collapse of the property market. First-time buyers are still unable to finance the purchase of homes, leaving many unsold and empty. The low mortgage interest rates have prevented more homes being repossessed and becoming vacant. (Daily Mail page 2, Herald page 12)

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Justice

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Previous convictions: The ban which stops previous convictions being brought into evidence during trials has moved a step closer to being lifted with the Scottish Law Commission reviewing the ban. (Scotsman page 2, Daily Mail page 19, Telegraph page 12, Courier page 9, Press & Journal)

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Prison numbers: The number of inmates held in Scotland’s prisons has risen by 5% over the past year, despite sentences being shorter. The number of people held in remand has dropped by 10%. Glasgow and Dundee have the highest percentages of their populations behind bars and Aberdeenshire has the lowest (52 for every 100,000 people). (Sun page 2, Daily Record page 2, Scotsman page 12, Telegraph page 12, Courier page 10, Press & Journal page 8)

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Sheridan trial: The perjury trial has entered its closing stages with the prosecution dropping five more claims. Tommy Sheridan’s wife, Gail, was cleared last week, but the trial goes on. The former Scottish Socialist Party leader is still charged with three instances of perjury regarding the so-called Moat House Hotel incident. (Scotsman page 3, Herald page 4, Daily Mail page 5, Daily Express page 7, Sun page 15, Daily Record page 9, Times page 8, Telegraph page 5, Courier page 8, Press & Journal page 9)

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Transport

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Snow: The continuing adverse weather conditions are severely disrupting all travel, including air and rail. In the days leading up to Christmas day, road traffic is set to worsen, due to holiday makers being unable to travel any other way and Christmas shoppers finally venturing out to prepare for the day. However, the bad weather is also set to continue, making travel even more perilous. (Scotsman page 4, Herald page 5, Daily Mail page 6, Daily Express page 4, Daily Record page 5, Guardian page 4, Times page 4, Telegraph page 6, FT page 2, Courier page 6-7, Press & Journal page 10)

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Hydrogen fuel: Edinburgh University has been conducting research into the creation of cheap hydrogen fuel. Scientists recently made a breakthrough in the study which would make the production of the fuel easier, cheaper and faster, benefiting thousands of homes, businesses and vehicles. (Scotsman page 20)

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Health

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Hospital hygiene: The Ninewells Hospital in Dundee, where an outbreak of Clostridium Difficile killed five patients last year, has once again been criticised by the Healthcare Environment Inspectorate after dirty equipment and poor standards of hygiene were discovered on site. (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 10, Daily Mail page 4, Daily Express page 2, Sun page 19, Daily Record page 2, Times page 11, Courier page 11, Press & Journal page 7)

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Flu outbreak: More than 9 million Britons have been hit with the flu this year so far, causing concern over a possible outbreak. Doctors are also worried due to the severity of the symptoms shown and caution the public to take extra care with their hygiene to avoid catching the disease. (Daily Mail page 4, Telegraph page 2)

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Education

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University cuts: Leaders of Scotland’s universities are trying to discourage the planned 10% teaching cuts set out by the Scottish Government. The cuts would be across the board and they believe could cause long-term damage if implemented. (Scotsman page 10, Herald page 11, Daily Mail page 24, Daily Express page 8, guardian page 7, Times page 11, Telegraph page 2, FT page 2, Courier page 10, Press & Journal page 7)