STURGEON’S OFFER: Scottish first minister invites Remainers to settle in Scotland if independence occurs

Aberdeen, UNITED KINGDOM
VIJAY SHAH via PATRICK GRAFTON-GREEN and Evening Standard

The first minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, has invited residents of the other parts of the UK who were disappointed with the outcome of last year’s Brexit referendum to settle in her country, as she petitions for a new referendum on Scottish independence.

In a report by London-based newspaper The Evening Standard, the first minister announced an open invitation to the forty-eight per cent of Britons who voted ‘yes’ to staying in the European Union to relocate to Scotland, which plans to rejoin the EU should the outcome of the second ‘indyref’ be in favour of Scotland departing the United Kingdom and going it alone. Sturgeon presided over the first referendum, in 2014, which saw fifty five per cent of voters opt to stay in the UK, and forty-four per cent lean towards independence.

 

 

Sturgeon has expressed that those who have experienced discomfort with the actions of Westminster could relocate to Scotland and be part of a “outward-looking, compassionate country”. The open invite is the latest in a war of words between Sturgeon and UK prime minister Theresa May, who is open in her desire to realise Brexit and complete EU withdrawal by 2019. May has condemned Sturgeon for demanding a new referendum before Brexit negotiations with Brussels are complete, and has refused to give federal government permission for it to go ahead, angering Sturgeon and the Scottish National Party (SNP) which she heads.

In an address she made at the SNP conference in Aberdeen recently, Sturgeon has said that her party will completely guarantee the rights of EU nationals residing in Scotland. This is at odds with May’s approach, where she has refused to give a final ruling on EU settlers’ status in a post-Brexit Britain. May’s critics have accused her of using European nationals in the UK as a ‘bargaining chip’ in order to force the EU to guarantee settlement rights of Britons living in countries like France and Spain. At the address, Sturgeon also said that Scotland had potential for massive opportunities, and criticised the Conservative Party, who are the dominant political party currently in the UK, claiming they were trying to interfere with Scotland and accused them of maintaining a condescending attitude towards the country since the 1980s.

Sturgeon also criticised Westminster for its attitude towards Europeans living in the UK, saying “You cannot lecture others about politics not being a game while you are using the lives of human beings as pawns,” to Prime Minister May.

She told the conference: “Imagine what will happen if Scotland chooses to stay.

“We will become a magnet for talent and investment from all across the UK.

“So let me issue this open invitation today – Scotland isn’t full up.

“If you are as appalled as we are at the path this Westminster Government is taking, come and join us.

“Come here to live, work, invest or study.

“Come to Scotland – and be part of building a modern, progressive, outward-looking, compassionate country.”

SOURCES:
Sonel BC.
BritCits, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/britcits1/
“Nicola Sturgeon tells UK residents: Move to Scotland if you don’t like Brexit” – Patrick Grafton-Green, EveningStandard – News – Politics (18 March 2017) http://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/nicola-sturgeon-tells-uk-residents-move-to-scotland-if-you-don-t-like-brexit-a3493366.html
IMAGE CREDIT:
“File:Welcome to Scotland sign A1 road.jpg” – Amanda Slater via oxyman, Wikimedia Commons (14 September 2008) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Welcome_to_Scotland_sign_A1_road.jpg

 

POST-BREXIT SCOTLAND: First minister may sign off separate trade deal with EU

gb

London, UNITED KINGDOM
VIJAY SHAH via BBC News

As the UK decides what to do next after the life-changing EU referendum in June which saw the country vote largely to leave the European Union, and the nation is facing a rocky political climate coupled with a weak pound, there are concerns about whether the UK will still be able to maintain access to the European single market.

In a sign of the complexity of the situation, and with EU leaders hitting back hard at the UK’s pick-and-choose approach to negotiations, the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, has hinted that her country may go it alone in seeking a separate trade deal with the Continent, the BBC reports.

 

 

Around 62 per cent of eligible Scottish voters were in favour of Remain, and in the aftermath of the highly divisive referendum, some members of Sturgeon’s Scottish National Party pushed for another plebiscite on Scotland quitting the UK and rejoining Europe. In a recent interview with the BBC, the First Minister said that she believed a deal could be struck which will preserve Scotland’s own access to the single market, saving the country millions of pounds in tariffs and other fees for importing European goods.

Speaking on videolink with the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Sturgeon said that Brexit should not come in the way of Scotland establishing its own and separate trade deal that will not be affected by the rest of the union’s departure from the EU.

“I think that is possible,” she said.

Sturgeon also added that her government are examining the technicalities of a separate trade deal and mentioned We will publish proposals over the next few weeks.”

In recent days, EU leaders have warned the UK that continued access to the single market is dependent on it continuing to allow free movement of EU citizens. Concerns over the UK being a magnet to EU arrivals was one of the issues vocalised by supporters of Leave.

SOURCES:
Half-Eaten Mind, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/halfeatenmind
Ace News Services, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/AceNewsServices
“Nicola Sturgeon: Scotland may seek separate EU trade deal” – BBC News – UK – Scotland – Scotland politics (16 October 2016) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-37671236?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter
IMAGE CREDIT:
“Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland” – First Minister of Scotland, Flickr (29 November 2014) https://www.flickr.com/photos/firstministerofscotland/15805899567

5G WORLD: Post-Brexit strategies webinar

gb

London, UNITED KINGDOM
VIJAY SHAH

KNect365, a subsidiary business of leading multinational events company Informa, is releasing a webinar for telecoms organisations figuring out their next steps in the aftermath of the 24th June referendum that saw the United Kingdom vote by a slim margin to leave the European Union.

In what is an uncertain time for many British businesses, the webinar, which is being held as part of Informa’s telecoms.com e-magazine, will help players in the telecommunications industry explore their post-Brexit strategies, as upcoming negotiations over the UK’s eventual status concerning the EU leave the country’s firms wondering what is in their future, and the direction of the national and international telecoms market.

 

 

Currently the UK regulatory framework for telecommunications is partly underpinned by the EU Regulatory Framework with Ofcom acting as national regulatory body for companies based here such as Sky and TalkTalk. Should the UK Parliament honour the outcome of the referendum and trigger Article 50 for withdrawal from the EU, then it is expected that all telecoms regulation will pass completely to Ofcom.

In addition to regulation, UK telecoms firms are also concerned about other implications post-Brexit, such as increased roaming charges for British tourists travelling in the EU and the termination of EU funding which support research and development for 5G networks in British laboratories and investment into alternative network providers.

The webinar, entitled What’s Your Post-Brexit Strategy?” will also examine other core issues such as the impact of Brexit on fixed and mobile phone operators, corporate preparation work in regards to the split from the EU and the potential changes in Ofcom’s regulatory set-up and directives once EU law ceases to be valid here.

Speakers lined up to offer their advice at the webinar include Mike Conradi, a partner with law firm DLA Piper UK LLP, who specialises in dispensing commercial and regulatory advice to telecoms firms. His speciality is regulatory matters, telecoms and IT outsourcing and in telecoms infrastructure projects. Joining him will be Malcolm Corbett, the chief executive officer of Independent Networks Co-operative Association (INCA), the trade association for private, public and community sector organisations building next generation fibre and wireless broadband networks in the UK, and Informa’s own Tim Skinner, head of intelligence for telecoms.com, who is in charge of  delivering editorial content on client services, such as white papers, reports, webinars and surveys.

The event is free of charge but requires registration via KNect365. It is scheduled for Tuesday, August 2, 2016 at 3 pm British Summer Time, lasting one hour. To register, please see the sources link below.

DISCLAIMER: The writer is an employee of KNect365.
SOURCES:
Informa Accounts, The Half-Eaten Mind, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/halfeatenmind/lists/informa-accounts
5G World Series, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/5GWorldSeries
“Event Registration” – Knect365 & telecoms.com via ON24 https://event.on24.com/eventRegistration/EventLobbyServlet?target=reg20.jsp&partnerref=KNect365&eventid=1226515&sessionid=1&key=61D49E9A99BB88FDC13D0053BF883671&regTag=&sourcepage=register
IMAGE CREDIT:
5G World Series, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/5GWorldSeries

UK EU REFERENDUM: Brexit or Bremain table

(c) Stephen Hill

With only a week to go until the UK holds a nationwide referendum on whether to remain in the European Union or go it alone, a Remain campaigner have put together a handy little table on Word of prominent leaders, British politicians, economists, historians, scientists and other significant people and organisations and their preferences for Britain to leave or stay. A quick perusal of the Leave side of the table does reveal some rather unsavoury supporters.

I should hasten to mention that as a news blog, the Half-Eaten Mind remains neutral in the debate, and supporters of both sides are encouraged to comment on this table. This is simply something to provoke discussion on a very sensitive and history defining topic, which will affect the UK and its people for a very long time.

The EU referendum takes place on the 23rd of June, 2016, with a similar format to a normal election, albeit with a simple two-question choice rather than a selection of candidates.

SOURCES/IMAGE CREDIT:
Stephen Hill via Ali Hassan Besher.
Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/

 

VENEZUELA CRISIS: President Maduro threatens to seize defunct factories, punish owners

Caracas, VENEZUELA
VIJAY SHAH via BBC

The president of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, whose country is experiencing a crisis in electricity and other materials, has passed a new decree enabling his government to seize control of underperforming or closing factories and jail their owners, BBC News reports.

As Venezuela’s economy continues to slump, President Maduro held a meeting with supporters in the capital Caracas. He told them that the country needed to sort out the crisis and to ramp up levels of manufacturing. This past Friday, Maduro had also brought in a nationwide state of emergency as Venezuela suffers food and electricity shortages. Maduro told observers that the state of emergency was needed to counteract ‘foreign aggression’, although the BBC report does not say which countries were responsible. He also said that the country was being held to ransom by business leaders opposed to Maduro’s left-wing rule.

Maduro said: “We must take all measures to recover productive capacity, which is being paralysed by the bourgeoisie,”

“Anyone who wants to halt [production] to sabotage the country should get out, and those who do must be handcuffed and sent to the PGV [Venezuelan General Penitentiary],” he said.

“We’re going to tell imperialism and the international right that the people are present, with their farm instruments in one hand and a gun in the other… to defend this sacred land,” he added.

The state of emergency announced recently builds on the emergency measures Maduro instituted in January this year. The original plan was to keep the situation in place for the next three months, but in reality it may not end until 2017.

He did not specify if there would be limits to other constitutional rights but he said the decree would provide “a fuller, more comprehensive protection for our people.”

A previous state of emergency was implemented in states near the Colombian border last year.

It suspended constitutional guarantees in those areas but did not suspend guarantees related to human rights, the BBC said. Venezuela’s minister for communications and information, Luis Jose Marcano, said the state of emergency would enable the government to better distribute rations and tackle the crisis more easily. He also said that it would also enable the government to deal with perceived threats from ‘armed groups’ and protect public order. Opponents fear the emergency could be used by the Maduro administration to stifle free speech in the country.

Opponents of the president have been holding rallies in Caracas demanding he step down, pushing for a ‘recall vote’ to push him out of power. The government’s opposition in the Venezuelan parliament have submitted a petition with 1.8 million signatures calling for a referendum on Maduro, but National Electoral Board has not yet verified the voters’ signatures. Opponents have chided the Board for being ‘deaf, dumb and blind’ and that it is deliberately procrastinating. The referendum cannot happen until the petition moves onto the next stage and acquires another 4 million signatures.

At the Saturday anti-Maduro rally in Caracas, opposition leader and former presidential candidate Henrique Capriles said: “We want a country without queues, where we can find medicines. We want change.”

He described Venezuela as a “time bomb that can explode at any given moment”. Fellow opponent Marisol dos Santos warned there would be a ‘social explosion’ of massive popular unrest if President Maduro refused to honour the recall vote and referendum results, should they happen.

In the light of the emergency situation, the Venezuelan leader also announced the start of military exercises from next weekend to guard the country against unspecified foreign threats.

Though Venezuela is one of South America’s largest oil producers, it has been weakened by falls in global oil prices. Financial analysis showed that its economy contracted by 5.7% in 2015, with the inflation rate at a shocking 180% so far.

Citizens are struggling to obtain basic necessities such as food, medicines, and utilities. Nicolas Maduro attributed this to the United States and local business leaders attempting to undermine his government via a covert economic war. A photo released by the BBC shows people queueing outside a store to buy rationed goods. The crisis has forced the government to bring in a four-day working week to save on electricity. Water is also being rationed, adding to the woes of the ordinary Venezuelan.

The threat to seize closed-down factories came after Venezuela’s largest edibles manufacturer, Grupa Polar, stopped producing beer, accusing the government for preventing it importing barley, a key ingredient of the drink. The group is owned by billionaire Lorenzo Mendoza, who is a fierce critic of President Maduro, according to the BBC.

SOURCES:
Google News – World Edition https://news.google.com/news/section?cf=all&pz=1&ned=uk&topic=w&siidp=d6c5bae49fa7e10b0015a3b6f5cbe77011e8&ict=ln&ar=1463303214
“Venezuela crisis: Maduro threatens seizure of closed factories” – BBC – News – World – Latin America (15 May 2016) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-36294939
IMAGE CREDITS:
Getty Images via Zemanta.