Scottish news bulletin: 6th January 2009

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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.

Economy

Scots Investors: Scots proved to be canny investors in 2008, beating the market and their UK counterparts when it came to picking shares. (Scotsman page 30)

Tourism: Scotland is on the brink of a tourist boom that could lift large parts of the economy, Bill Jamieson argues in the Scotsman. ( page 31)

Recession: More than 6000 jobs were under threat last night as the recession broke into the New Year. (Herald page 1, Press and Journal page 1)

Sterling: Sterling regained significant ground against a broadly weaker euro yesterday. Sterling also managed an advance against the dollar yesterday, closing at $1.47. (Herald page 27, Daily Telegraph page 10)

Credit: ‘Arm locking’ banks would free up credit says Peter Hughes, Chief Executive of Scottish Engineering. Ministers should put the UK’s banks in an arm lock and force them to boost lending to firms or run the risk of the country suffering massive damage to its economic base. (Herald page 28, FT page 13)

Interest rates: The Bank of England is expected to breach the 315 year old nadir for interest rates by setting a record low interest rate of 1.5 percent on Thursday. (FT page 4)

Scotland's Euro Fund: Ministers have rushed to spend European structural funds meant to last Scotland until 2013. Finance Secretary John Swinney has decided to front-load the European funds to provide a direct stimulus to the Scottish economy. (Daily Express page 5, Courier page 3)

Crime

Primary Age Criminals: Ministers are set to raise the age of criminal responsibility in Scotland from eight to at least 12, taking all primary school pupils out of the formal justice system. This is following a UN draft response demanding a radical change to the age of culpability in Scots law. (Herald page 1)

Drug Barons: A crackdown on feuding drug barons and gangsters by the Strathclyde Police has helped cut violence in the South Lanarkshire area. (Herald page 4)

Drink-Driving: Police chiefs welcomed a fall in the number of motorists caught drink-driving in Scotland over the festive period. A total of 654 people were caught this year. In 2007-2008 the figure was 839. (Times page 18, Press and Journal
page 1, Courier page 11)

Child Abuse: The head teacher of one of Fife’s biggest secondary schools has appeared in court charged with possessing child pornography. (Courier page 1)

Transport

Forth Road Bridge: There is a continuing search for a solution in the stalemate over funding for the Forth Road Bridge. SNP ministers have also been accused of ignoring the advice of their own officials on the timing of the announcement. (Herald page 14, Daily Express page 4, Courier page 6, Times
page 5)

Health

Self-Harm: One in seven Scottish teenagers self-harms, research conducted by Stirling University has shown. (Scotsman page 8)

Hospital Car Parking: Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon says that ending hospital parking charges would cost tens of millions of pounds. (Scotsman page 12, The Daily Mail page 16, Press and Journal page 6)

Education

Harassed Scottish Schoolteacher: A schoolteacher who was convicted last month of assaulting two pupils has put his house up for sale after a number of attacks on his property. The teacher was admonished for assaulting the pupils, but it was acknowledged that he has suffered ‘extreme abuse’ from the students. (Times page 18, Sun page 27, Press and Journal page 3, Courier page 1)

Politics

Scottish Government Energy: Public buildings run by the Scottish Government have failed to achieve acceptable standards of energy efficiency. (Scotsman page 1)

Creative Scotland: 440 artists and writers have signed a letter to MSPs urging them to vote down Creative Scotland, the merger between the Scottish Arts Council and Scottish Screen. (Herald page 3)

Government aims: The prospect of a longer recession has put a question mark over future UK Government aims. (Herald page 6, FT page 3)

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