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REFORM SCOTLAND NEWS: 22 February 2011

Reform Scotland

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Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 22 February 2011

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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 highlighted 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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Libya: Amid reports regarding the excessive use of force to quell the protesters, there are now concerns that Colonel Gaddafi ordered the air force to attack the anti-government protesters from the air. Some have refused to obey the order, while others are following through with it, striking crowds gathered in the capital, Tripoli. There are reports that Colonel Gaddafi has fled the country although this does not appear to be the case. (Scotsman page 4, Herald page 3, Press & Journal page 10, Courier page 11, FT page 1, Times page 8, Telegraph page 2, Guardian page 2, Daily Record page 6, Daily Mail page 6, Daily Express page 4-5, Daily Mirror page 8-9, Sun page 6-7)

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Bill Aitken: Conservative MSP Bill Aitken has stepped down as the Convener of Holyrood\\\’s Justice Committee following comments he was reported to have made about rape.

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Mr Aitken faced a parliamentary motion condemning comments made after the recent gang rape of a woman in Glasgow. The decision was yesterday described as a "highly unfortunate" end to a "distinguished political career". The veteran Tory MSP will not be standing for re-election to Holyrood. (Scotsman page 2, Herald page 2, Press & Journal page 8, Courier page 10, Times page 4, Telegraph page 10, Daily Record page 4, Daily Mail page 27, Daily Express page 11, Sun page 2)

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Labour’s ‘Green Revolution’: Labour has promised that thousands of homes will be heated via renewable energy sources if they win May’s Holyrood election. Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray has said this would create hundreds of jobs and cheaper household fuel bills. Mr Gray also said the party plans to make green-energy powered homes the norm by 2020. (Scotsman page 2, Courier page 7, Daily Record page 10)

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Jacqui Smith: Former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has spoken out about the porn scandal that ended her career and has suggested her expenses were scrutinised more because she is a woman and there was a view that she should have been devoting more time to looking after her husband and children. (Scotsman page 10, Herald page 6, Times page 4, Telegraph page 3, Daily Mail page 19, Daily Express page 19)

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Census: 7,000 people have been drafted in to help carry out the biggest population survey in Scotland. More than 2.5 million households are set to receive Census forms over the next few weeks, asking questions on areas such as work, education and ethnic background. The 2011 Census will take place on Sunday 27 March and a campaign to raise awareness of the study, which will cost taxpayers about £65 million, was launched yesterday. Organisers said the Census was a vital tool to help the government and local authorities best target billions of pounds of public money. (Scotsman page 11, Herald page 4, Press & Journal page 8, Times page 13, Daily Express page 15)

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Scotland Bill: The Chairman of Reform Scotland, Ben Thomson, comments on the Scotland Bill after appearing before the Committee scrutinising the bill. He says of the bill that “there are not enough fiscal tools to create a balance of taxes to encourage economic growth”. (Times Business Insight, page 6)

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Economy

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Lloyds payments: Bank of Scotland owner Lloyds is to pay out £500 million in compensation payments after failing to tell hundreds of thousands of customers of a potential rise in mortgage costs. The group revealed yesterday that it had agreed with the City watchdog to make redress payments to 300,000 customers with Halifax, its mortgage arm, who were making higher mortgage repayments than they expected because of confusing wording in their contracts. (Scotsman page 21, Herald page 4, FT page 1, Telegraph Business page 1, Guardian page 25, Daily Mail page 25, Daily Express page 2)

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ProStraken: Scottish pharmaceutical group ProStraken is close to completing a £292 million deal with the Japanese firm Kyowa Hakko Kirin, ending the 5-months long competition for control over the Borders-based firm. (Herald page 26)

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Justice

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Jail time: figures released by the Scottish Parliament show that many offenders found guilty of serious crimes, including attempted murder and possession of an offensive weapon, received jail terms of less than a year. In 2009-10, over 13,000 were sentenced to less than 12 months. (Scotsman page 8-9)

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Transport

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Edinburgh Trams: The Scottish Government has given the City of Edinburgh Council a ten-year extension on land powers needed to build the controversial trams network. The powers were awarded when the Scottish Parliament approved the first two tram lines in Edinburgh in 2006, but were due to expire in April this year. The Scottish Government could have halted the project in its tracks if it had refused to grant the extension, which will run until 2016 for some parts of the route, and until 2021 on others. (Scotsman page 16)

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Local Government

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Unesco: World heritage experts have been told that Edinburgh City Council will enforce stricter guidelines on new tall buildings in a move to safeguard the historic capital’s skyline. Unesco inspectors who visited Edinburgh in November 2008 had warned that towering new buildings and large-scale developments amidst historic surroundings risked damaging the city\\\’s Old and New Towns, which won world heritage status in 1995. (Scotsman page 6)

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Health

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Breast Cancer: Scientists at the Institute of Cancer Research have found that a particular enzyme is involved in the spread of tumour cells from the breast to other parts of the body, and that blocking a key chemical can stop breast cancer, which kills thousands of women in the UK each year, from spreading to other organs. According to Dr Janine Erler, lead researcher from the ICR, more than 90 per cent of cancer deaths are because the disease has spread to other organs. This knowledge could help to develop tailor-made treatment for individual patients. (Scotsman page 7, Herald page 4, Courier page 6, Telegraph page 9, Daily Mail page 2, Daily Express page 9)

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Appetite study: A major study is to be undertaken to determine what makes people feel hungry or full. The European Union-funded project, Full4Health, co-ordinated by the University of Aberdeen Rowett Institute for Nutrition and Health, will examine how the body responds to food at different stages in our lives. It aims to help people learn more about the relationship between food, the gut and the brain, and how this regulates feelings of hunger or fullness. (Scotsman page 16, Press & Journal page 7, Courier page 9, Times page 13, Daily Mail page 13, Daily Express page 27)

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Education

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University funding: Thousands of students face being turned away from universities unless a funding solution is found for Scottish higher education, principals have warned. Umbrella group Universities Scotland has proposed a graduate contribution, payable once graduates earn a certain amount. Scottish students do not pay tuition fees and the Scottish Government has repeatedly ruled out the introduction of fees north of the Border.

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Susannah Lane, head of public affairs at Universities Scotland, said Universities Scotland had had its funding cut for the academic year 2011-12 but agreed to maintain student numbers, however this was not sustainable. (Scotsman page 11, Press & Journal page 12, Times page 3, Daily Mail page 2, Daily Express page 10, Sun page 2)