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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Trident Base to Be Kept If Scotland Becomes Independent, Says MoD

The British government could designate sovereign UK territory the military base that houses the UK’s fleet of Trident nuclear submarines in case Scotland decides to become independent at next year’s referendum, giving it the same status as sovereign British military bases in Cyprus. This would ensure that the Trident fleet would continue to have access to the sea from the Firth of Clyde. At least one of the fleet’s submarine is on patrol at sea at any time, guaranteeing the country’s “continuous at sea deterrent”. The Scottish National Party reacted strongly to the idea. “This is an extraordinary attempt by Westminster to bully Scotland. Neither the people nor parliament of Scotland want nuclear weapons dumped here, and we are clear that Trident would have to be removed as quickly as possible. Only a yes vote next September will empower Scotland to get rid of Trident, and the money saved help build a fairer society and stronger economy”, said Angus Robertson, SNP leader in Parliament.

MP Salary Rise Could Go Ahead Despite Widespread Opposition

Sir Ian Kennedy, chairman of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa), has said that plans to increase MP’s pay by almost £8,000 might go ahead even if the public consultation on the idea demonstrates widespread opposition to it. “Of course we will listen. What we will do having listened is for us“, he said during an interview with the BBC. When asked if he would personally refuse the raise, Chancellor George Osborne said “now is not the right time for a pay rise“, echoing the sentiment of all three main party leaders. “The cost of politics should go down not up. And MPs’ pay shouldn’t go up while public sector pay is, rightly, being constrained”, said a statement released by Downing Street. Labour leader Ed Miliband and Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg said they would refuse the pay rise if it went ahead, though Prime Minister David Cameron, like Chancellor Osborne, has not said explicitly that he would not take the pay rise.

Portuguese President Rejects Call for Early Vote

Portuguese President Aníbal Cavaco Silva has used a televised address to reject claims from the country’s opposition parties to call for early elections in order to solve the country’s political crisis. “The current government has all the authority to exercise its functions”, he said, adding that all parties should reach a compromise to allow the country through its bailout period without needing more funds. The crisis began last week when Finance Minister Vitor Gaspar, seen as the main architect of the country’s austerity measures, and Foreign Minister Paulo Portas quit the government. Portas later agreed to return to the government as deputy prime-minister, a measure that kept his Popular Party (CDS-PP) in government, guaranteeing a majority in parliament. “I will give my firm support to this deal, which in the current context of emergency truly represents a commitment to national salvation”, said Cavaco Silva in his address.

Man Dies After Being Tasered By Police in Manchester

A 23-year-old man has died after police shot him with a Taser gun, according to Greater Manchester Police (GMP). Jordan Begley “suffered a medical episode” after officers responded to an emergency call about a man with a knife in the Gorton area of Manchester on Wednesday night. The weapon was used in an attempt to detain him. “At this time it is unclear what happened but at some point afterwards, the man suffered a medical episode. Paramedics performed first aid on the man at the scene before he was taken to hospital where he sadly died”, said the statement from GMP. “Three Transit vans came storming up to the house then they bashed his door down and you could hear all sorts of shouting and banging. I think he’s been Tasered inside and then the ambulance came outside his house. A bit later he came into the street but something happened again and they started giving him CPR in the road”, said Lee Wilkie, an eyewitness to the incident.

Iran Censors the Voice of Ramadan for Dissent

Millions of Iranians tuned in to the state-owned Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) TV and radio stations at sunset to listen to one particular prayer just before Iftar, the evening meal when the daily fast of Ramadan is broken, only to find it missing for a third year in a row. The prayer, called Rabana (Our Lord), is performed by Mohammed-Raza Shajarian, one of Iran’s most celebrated singers, but has not been broadcast since Shajarian said he sided with the opposition Green Movement in an interview with BBC Persian during the government crackdown after the 2009 presidential elections. “Ramadan without Rabana is like Christmas without Christmas carol. I don’t observe fasting but yet every Ramadan I listened out for it”, said one Iranian interviewed by the Guardian. Kamalodin Pirmoazen, an Iranian MP, asked the IRIB to resume its broadcast of the prayer, but Ali Darabi, deputy head of the state broadcaster, said it would remain blacklisted.

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