Scottish National Party chief executive accused of misleading inquiry

Peter Murrell rejected claims that he had given contradictory answers | Pool photo by Andy Buchanan/Getty Images GLASGOW — The chief executive of the Scottish National Party was accused on Monday of misleading an inquiry into the handling of harassment complaints against former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond. Peter Murrell — who is also the husband of current First Minister Nicola Sturgeon — had been hauled before a parliamentary committee to clarify comments made during a previous sessi

Scotland fails to curb spiraling drug death epidemic

It’s a distinction that would shame any government, let alone one chasing the dream of self-rule. Scotland, by a dizzying margin, is the drug death capital of Europe, new figures reveal — a tragedy and a blot on the record of Nicola Sturgeon’s pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP) government; but one that's unlikely break her country's political fixation with Brexit, nor derail plans for a second say on separation from the United Kingdom. More than 1,200 Scots died in drug-related cas

Brexit: Scottish independence back in the spotlight | DW | 15.12.2020

With Brexit talks sputtering, though not quite dead, the specter of tariffs, travel restrictions, and towering economic uncertainty looms large over Europe. From Berlin to Brussels, Belfast and beyond, leaders are scrambling to shore up no-deal contingencies, finessing plans many hoped would never see the light of day. Yet, in one corner of the continent, a quiet sense of satisfaction simmers. Officially, Scotland's pro-independence government wants an agreement: The country's exporters are as

What Dominic Cummings’ Departure Means For Brexit

He is the man who vowed to “Take Back Control” and “Get Brexit Done”, but as Dominic Cummings stalked out of Downing Street for the final time yesterday, Britain’s EU departure was far from resolved. Boris Johnson’s chief aide cultivated a poisonous and pugnacious aura around the prime minister, critics say, and few people — particularly among Conservative MPs — will be sorry to see him go. But now, as the dust from a bombastic week in Westminster settles, minds will be focusing on the future,

President Biden: Bad News For Britain, Brexit And Boris?

An air of anticipation, and anxiety, will hang heavy around 10 Downing Street this morning. Ears straining for the familiar chimes of the Prime Minister’s phone, awaiting feverishly the most coveted call in world politics: “Please hold for the President-Elect.” For Boris Johnson, unsure of where he stands with Joe Biden, America’s chosen man, it’ll be a nervy moment. On the face of it, he’s a more natural fit with Donald Trump: two populist showmen set on shaking up the established order. Scra

Brexit Turmoil As Boris Stands By Law Breaking Plan

There are rumblings of rebellion in Westminster this evening. The trigger: a breach of international law sanctioned at the very top. In an incendiary move, Prime Minister Boris Johnson this week set out plans to override a legally binding Brexit pact—one he brokered himself just eleven months ago. The British government’s proposed Internal Market Bill addresses a cornerstone of the last year's Brexit withdrawal agreement, one that ensured a hard border wouldn’t return to the island of Ireland

UK faces new surge in migrant arrivals | DW | 15.08.2020

When at last he arrived in Calais, a port town on France's north coast, Gulwali Passarlay felt a surge of hope long suppressed: safety and the promise of a new life was at hand. But his optimism soon faded. "I had a really, really inhumane experience in Calais. Several times I spent 18 hours in a cell in police custody. We didn't have any dignity or value whatsoever." Read more: Migrants in France up against pandemic, police abuse The Afghan, then just 13 years old, had first fled the horrors

Groundbreaking A.I. Robots Will Hold Conversations and Learn Users’ Personalities

This year, as coronavirus-induced panic caused public life to retreat behind closed doors, the fortunes of socially vulnerable senior citizens plummeted. For many, being forced to curtail visits from friends and family, keeping coronavirus out meant letting loneliness in. In the not-so-distant future, however, this painful trade-off may not be necessary. That’s thanks to advances in the realm of “socially intelligent” artificial intelligence, a phenomenon that a group of British scientists is

British Prisoners And Their Families—The Forgotten Victims Of COVID-19

In the frenzied first days of Britain’s coronavirus outbreak, as contagion fears reached fever pitch and public life retreated behind closed doors, the nation’s lockups locked-down. With little notice, prison visits were cancelled, exercise and education activities curtailed, and out-of-cell time cut to as little as thirty minutes a day. Such muscular measures were necessary, officials said, spurred by fears that a single super-spreader might bring down an entire institution. That COVID-19 has

UK: Fears of resurgent terrorism as COVID-19 lockdown ends | DW | 12.07.2020

On June 20, as Brits basked in the mid-summer sunshine, terror struck with little warning. Armed with a knife, 25-year-old Khairi Saadallah walked into a park in Reading and stabbed to death three friendsin a frenzied, indiscriminate attack, prosecutors allege. It was — in the words of Neil Basu, head of UK counter-terror policing — the "re-emergence" of one disease, extremism, as another, COVID-19, recedes. He is not alone in his concern. Deprived of social stimulation during lockdown, expert

UK-China Relations In Freefall Pose A Big Brexit Problem

In 2015, George Osborne - then the U.K.’s finance minister - crowed that Britain was China’s “best partner in the West”. What a difference five years can make. As Beijing mobilizes against Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement, and London looks to lock Huawei out of its 5G future, Anglo-Chinese relations are in freefall. On Monday (July 6), things came to a head. The U.K. is guilty of “gross interference,” decried Ambassador Liu Xiaoming, Beijing’s man in Britain, in typically sharp-tongued fash

What Poland’s Presidential Election Means For European Unity

As Poles head to the polls today, a presidential race-cum-culture war reaches its climax. The incumbent Andrzej Duda - a man who plays fast and loose with press freedom and the rule of law - seeks re-election on a platform of Eurosceptic populism. His principle rival, Warsaw’s cosmopolitan mayor Rafal Trzaskowski, offers voters a very different vision, one that defends Poland’s beleaguered minorities, and endorses ever closer E.U. integration. In many ways, the contest is a microcosm of much de

Uncertain Future For European Kids Detained In Syria’s Terror Prison Camps

In the sprawling prison camps of northeastern Syria, home to hundreds-of-thousands of Islamic State (IS) detainees, coronavirus is far from the only chronic health concern. Malnutrition, hypothermia, and preventable disease stalk the fetid, overflowing terrorist penitentiaries, whilst another contagion, religious fundamentalism, proliferates unchecked. Every year, hundreds of children, many of European lineage, are born into this abject deprivation. They are the sons and daughters of some 12,00

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,
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