Parallels
7:42 am
Tue November 26, 2013

World Headlines: Scotland Unveils Independence Blueprint

Britain, Guardian

First Minister Alex Salmond has released a blueprint for independence, urging Scotland's 4 million voters to create of fairer, richer country when they vote in a referendum on Sept. 18 2014.

"It will no longer be possible for governments to be elected and pursue policies against the wishes of the Scottish people," he said in a foreword to Scotland's Future, the manifesto released Tuesday. "Independence will put the people of Scotland in charge of our destiny."

"If we vote no, Scotland stands still," he added. "A once-in-a-generation opportunity to follow a different path, and choose a new and better direction for our nation, is lost. Decisions about Scotland would remain in the hands of others."

An independent Scotland would, among other things:

- Retain the British pound as its currency and take on a portion of the United Kingdom's debt;

- take a share of North Sea oil;

- retain the queen as head of state;

- cut corporate taxes by 3 percent;

- extend free childcare to 1-year-olds;

- replace the BBC with a Scottish broadcaster;

- and remove Trident nuclear missiles from Scotland.

Scotland has had its own Parliament since 1999 and its own laws. The Scottish National Party backs independence; the Conservatives and Labor parties oppose it.

Australia, Sydney Morning Herald

Immigration will drive Australia's population growth over the next 50 years and beyond, according to new projections by the country's Bureau of Statistics.

More than 40 million people will live in the country by 2060, and more than 50 million by 2100, the projections say. There will be 10 million migrants in the next 50 years.

Much of the population growth will be in Australia's major cities. Melbourne will overtake Sydney as Australia's biggest city by 2060.

Melbourne's population would double to 8.5 million people. Sydney would rise to 8.4 million, an 80 percent increase from present levels, the Bureau says.

Japan, Asahi Shimbun

Lawmakers in Japan's Lower House approved a state secrets bill that would target civil servants who leak secrets as well as journalists who seek them.

"With the current Diet session scheduled to end on Dec. 6, the Liberal Democratic Party and junior coalition partner New Komeito decided to ramrod the legislation through the Lower House in time for a vote in the Upper House," the newspaper reported. "If passed by both chambers, the new law would instill harsher penalties, including up to 10 years in prison, for the leaking of designated state secrets."

The measure is opposed by opposition parties who wanted more debate on the bill.

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