Scottish news bulletin: 10th March 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

Lloyds Banking Group: Pressure was said to be growing last night on the two senior figures at Lloyds Banking Group, Eric Daniels and Sir Victor Blank, to resign as further evidence emerged that the takeover of HBOS had been a disaster. (Scotsman page 8)

Stem Cell Research: President Barack Obama’s decision to lift a ban on public funding for stem-cell research in the United States might lead to a ‘brain drain’ from Scotland, scientists have warned. Scotland leads the field in many areas of stem-cell research and it is estimated it could be worth £50million to the Scottish economy by 2015. (Scotsman page 15, Telegraph page 18, Guardian page 23)

Scottish Futures Trust: The Scottish Government’s flagship infrastructure funding scheme came under fresh fire last night as Bob Hall, the chairman of the Scottish division of UK architects practice Archial Group, warned of a ‘gap’ emerging in a number of public-sector building projects being planned. (Scotsman page 36)

Bank Bail Out: The UK Government’s new £260 billion insurance policy to cover Lloyds bank’s toxic assets is proof that last year’s £585bn bailout of Britain’s ailing banks has failed, the Conservatives said last night. (Herald page 6)

Crime

Northern Ireland: A policeman was shot dead in Northern Ireland last night; 48 hours after two soldiers were murdered outside their barracks in Co Antrim. (The Scotsman page 1)

Firearms: Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, has come under criticism from SNP ministers after again refusing them permission to introduce tighter controls on air guns. Speaking after a meeting in London, Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill described her decision not to devolve control to Scotland as ‘regrettable’. (Telegraph page 6)

Health

Hospital Wards: Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon warned that hospital bosses will be sacked if they fail to ensure wards are clean. She said she would use ministerial powers to the full and remove senior officials if standards of cleanliness were not met. (Herald page 8, Press and Journal page 8)

Alcohol Crackdown: Business leaders have accused the Scottish Government of trying to prevent MSPs from scrutinising its radical plans to tackle the country’s binge-drinking culture. If SNP ministers get their proposal approved, Scotland could become the first country in Europe to introduce minimum pricing on beer, wine and spirits. (Press and Journal page 1)

Politics

Independence Referendum: Hamish Macdonell comments in the Scotsman on the SNP’s referendum hopes and how securing more SNP seats at Westminster will help drive plans for independence. (Scotsman page 26)

Climate Change:
The economy is a more important issue for Scotland than the environment, a new survey has revealed. (Herald page 11, Press and Journal page 11)

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