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The Scottish independence debate is being reshaped by the pandemic

There was a moment, five days before 2014’s historic vote on Scottish independence, when the contest came alive. Electrified by an opinion poll that put the rival camps neck-and-neck, supporters of both sides poured onto the streets in a deluge of democratic fervor. A carnival atmosphere engulfed Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city, as activists made their final, thunderous push for victory.

Scottish islands: Guinea pigs for post-lockdown measures? | DW | 28.05.2020

Barren, beautiful, and sparsely populated. Social distancing comes easily on the remote islands of Scotland. Mile after mile of "machair" — windswept coastal grassland — can be strolled without encountering another living soul. For those in need of a little solitude, it's perfect; for a populace determined to keep a pandemic at bay, it's even better. As coronavirus wreaked havoc on the mainland, Scotland's offshore communities acted fast to insulate themselves, halting ferry and air arrivals fo

Coronavirus takes tragic toll on UK care homes | DW | 03.05.2020

How best to describe his employees' mood last week? Mike Padgham, who runs a number of care homes in Yorkshire, doesn't know. After a lengthy pause, he finds the word: "solemn." The specter of COVID-19 had suddenly materialized, killing three of his care home residents in quick succession. To his staff, they were "part of the family." But there's been little time to mourn. Five weeks into the lockdown, Britain's care homes have become a critical front in the coronavirus fight. More than any ot

Moratorium on travel may devastate U.K. fruit and vegetable growers

GLASGOW, Scotland — Cultivating hops is a difficult business. Long before the little cone-shaped flowers are ready for harvest, days of gruelling groundwork must be laid. For hours on end, workers kneel as they intricately thread the infant shoots around lengths of string. “Training,” as the process is known, takes skill, focus and patience. But most of all, it requires manpower — and that’s why Ali Capper is worried. “We’ve already recruited. We’ve got a team of people all hoping to come. They

Scotland Has Found the Perfect Solution to Homelessness

Eight weeks ago, Chris* was waking to the bitter winter chill of Scotland’s east coast. With nowhere to call home and “absolutely nothing” to his name, he had run out of options, and was living on the streets. “I felt really hopeless, it was so depressing,” recalls the 30-year-old Edinburgh man. But today, he’s feeling a little brighter. “I have a nice room with its own bathroom. It’s restful and I respect everyone here,” Chris says of his current accommodation – Edinburgh’s Old Waverley Hotel,

Europe-China Relations Start To Show Coronavirus Strain

China’s new year celebrations involve travel on an unimaginable scale. Upwards of half-a-billion people piled onto trains, planes, and busses, criss-crossing a continent-sized country. It’s an epidemiologist’s nightmare. And yet, somehow, Beijing managed to get a lid on its coronavirus outbreak—which emerged on the eve of the holiday—with remarkable success. Scarcely 3% of COVID-19 deaths globally have been recorded in China, a nation home to one-fifth of the planet’s population. That is, of c

British costume designers make scrubs for coronavirus 'superheroes'

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings. GLASGOW — From Downton Abbey to Game of Thrones, Star Wars and Batman, their artistry has enthralled millions. But now a group of British costume designers are fulfilling an altogether different public service: making scrubs for medics on the front line of the coronavirus fight. Working from makeshift studios in homes across the country, hundreds of people from the arts are plugging the

UK Parliament To Go Virtual Amid Coronavirus Crisis - But There Are Problems

In 1940, as German bombers filled the skies over London, parliamentarians fled the historic Palace of Westminster, convening at a less obvious target nearby. Eighty years on, British lawmakers are again uprooting in the face of catastrophe, retreating to a place their predecessors could scarcely have imagined: cyberspace. While the UK remains in coronavirus lockdown, parliamentary business is to be conducted virtually, authorities announced this week. The scheme will see MPs quizzing government

British bakers reintroduce World War II bread in coronavirus fight

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings. GLASGOW — As British politicians invoke memories of World War II’s “Blitz Spirit” during the coronavirus lockdown, and many are quietly channeling the stoic resolve their elders showed in the face of enormous hardship, some in the nation’s baking community are taking a more direct cue from history. Britain's National Loaf — a nutrient-dense whole wheat bread first produced in 1942 — has

Behind closed doors: UK domestic abuse surges during coronavirus lockdown | DW | 09.04.2020

"You're safer at home." In the UK — like other nations affected by the coronavirus pandemic — it's the enduring public health message. But for hundreds-of-thousands of British women, there's no sanctuary to be found within their own four walls. "His emotional and verbal abuse is escalating the longer we're isolated and I'm concerned that mentally I won't survive this." "We are trapped under lockdown and he can turn up at any time." "I'm having to sit in my car to get away." Shut in with thei

Scotland sees concerning rise in non-coronavirus deaths

Glasgow, Scotland - Non-coronavirus deaths in Scotland have risen since the pandemic took hold, amid warnings of "eerily quiet" hospital departments as vulnerable people miss out on medical care. Scottish deaths in late March and early April were 60 percent higher than the five-year average - with less than half of the increase attributed to COVID-19. • Coronavirus: All you need to know about symptoms and risks • Coronavirus pandemic: Which politicians and celebs are affected? • Don't self-isol

Coronavirus is death knell for Scottish fishing industry | DW | 01.04.2020

As the worst of the winter weather recedes and Easter approaches, Fraserburgh harbor in northeast Scotland ought to be teeming with activity. Under clear skies, dozens of trawler boats would — in normal times — be setting off for the bountiful fishing grounds of the North Sea, or returning to unload their catch. But these are not normal times, and the port sits silent. A full four-fifths of the fleet is currently tied up, estimates veteran Fraserburgh skipper Mark Robertson. Like businesses the

Scotland's shameful record: Homelessness fuels highest drug-death rate in Europe

It's a bitterly cold night in Glasgow, Scotland's largest city. Kevin Barry Duffin's hat is pulled low against the winter chill, and he warms his hands with a steaming cup of coffee. His smile is broad as he approaches for a chat; but behind the homeless man's eyes, there is sadness. "First it was codeine. Then heroin when I was 26. Now, in the last four years, it's been coke. I was abused growing up. That's what's f---ed me up. I took drugs to cover the pain," he says. Kevin is one of dozens

Brexit And The Regions: Fear Of No Deal Disaster In England’s Industrial Heartlands

Visualise Brexit. Big Ben may spring to mind, or the prime minister at his podium in Downing Street. But Britain’s E.U. departure isn’t a London phenomenon. It was on the streets of Hartlepool, Walsall, and Dudley—not Westminster—that the Leave campaign prevailed. Brexit was forged in England’s former industrial heartlands—and now, as trade talks commence, the regions’ message is clear: do not ignore us. Devastated by steep decline in the 1980s, decades of regeneration have shaped the economies

Brexit Fishing: Battle Lines Drawn On Access To U.K. Waters

Floundering trade talks. Gunboat diplomacy. Stormy waters ahead. With Brexit and fishing, the puns come easily. But for the fishing industry’s 180,000 European employees, Britain’s E.U. departure is no joke. Its economic significance may be slight—1.6% of GDP at most—but across the continent, fishing sustains whole coastal communities. With London and Brussels at loggerheads over the sector’s future, their survival is in doubt. Britain’s waters—and the creatures in them—have long been a symbol

Coronavirus: Is The U.K. Prepared?

Britain is on edge. Coronavirus’s steady creep is starting to look more like a surge: a thousand cases in South Korea, fifteen dead in Iran, over three hundred infected in Italy. The U.K.’s health secretary confessed this week that he is “pretty worried”; a jarring understatement to Brits already battling the virus. That group is currently small—a dozen or so—but experts are clear: the worst is still to come. ‘Covid-19’, the disease’s official designation, has brought chaos to China. With almo

New U.K. Immigration Plan Is ‘Life Sentence’ For Social Care Workers

Karolina Gerlich came to the United Kingdom 12 years ago. Her native Poland had acceded to the E.U. three years earlier, allowing her unfettered access to Britain's job market. She first worked as an au pair, before moving into manufacturing and hospitality. And then she found her calling: social care. Looking after people—in their own homes or at specialized care facilities—is what makes her feel the most “fulfilled and useful”. She has worked hard over the last decade, and can now proudly int

Power Politics: Reshuffle Reveals Johnson And Cummings’ Iron Grip

It was billed as a moderate shake-up. A few fresh faces—particularly in the junior ranks—but effectively a continuity Cabinet, one committed to carrying out the Conservatives’ winning manifesto. Did nobody tell Dominic Cummings? Boris Johnson’s tough-as-nails top aide was in no mood for compromise this morning, forcing from office Britain’s second most powerful politician. Sajid Javid—now former Chancellor of the Exchequer—had been given an ultimatum: sack your senior staff, or you’re finished.
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