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By a Newsnet reporter

A senior figure within the anti-independence campaign has caused anger after appearing to gloat at what he described as the ‘pumping’ suffered by Scottish boxer Ricky Burns in his world title fight on Saturday night.

Rob Shorthouse, who is the Communications Head of the Better Together campaign, also described the playing of Flower of Scotland before the fight as a “debacle” and suggested the “writing was on the wall” for the Scottish fighter after the anthem was played.


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SNP MSP Joan McAlpine has condemned broadcasters for continuing to leave Borderers frozen out of the referendum TV coverage.

The South Scotland MSP has written to Michael Jermey, Director of News, Current Affairs and Sport at ITV, condemning ITV Borders for leaving some people living in the area unable to watch the new STV series Road to Referendum.


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By Lynda Williamson
The National Audit Office has blasted the UK government’s flagship welfare programme, Universal Credit. The watchdog said that welfare reform has been badly managed, is “over ambitious” and is poor value for money. In a report published today the NAO also slated the project for having “poor governance, ineffective control and weak management.”

Universal Credit is a new single monthly payment which takes the place of six key means – tested benefits. It was introduced in parts of Greater Manchester and Cheshire in April as part of a pilot scheme which was plagued by technical glitches. New claimants were due to receive the benefit from next month as part of a phased implementation plan but that has now been delayed. Instead further pilot schemes taking on the simplest claims will be put in place.


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  By Lynn Malone

The UN’s Special Rapporteur on housing meets with academics at Glasgow University today to thrash out Westminster’s welfare reform which imposes the hated bedroom tax on vulnerable Scots.

She will assess the impact of the Con-Dem policy which leaves people on low incomes and those with disabilities and terminal illness facing the threat of eviction. Tenants considered to have more bedrooms than they need have had their housing benefit cut since the Bedroom Tax was introduced in April with up to 80,000 households in Scotland affected.

The average loss is calculated at £620 per household a year.  Ms Rolnik met tenants affected by the policy as well as officials, campaigners and academics at an earlier visit to Edinburgh.


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By G.A.Ponsonby

A survey claiming support for Yes has dropped to just 25 per cent has been criticised after it emerged no weightings had been carried out.

The latest survey by pollster TNS claimed support for Yes had dropped by five points since its last survey, whilst support for No had dropped by only four.  The team behind the survey also claimed to have uncovered a huge surge in those describing themselves as ‘Don’t Knows’.


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By Lynn Malone

British charities will be afraid of prosecution and may face restraints on political campaigning brought about by the UK government’s proposed gagging bill, according to a top human rights lawyer.

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), backed by a host of well know charities including the Salvation Army, Oxfam and the Royal British Legion, has written to Cabinet Office minister, Chloë Smith,  to express its concern about proposals in the lobbying bill on “non-party campaigning.”


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By a Newsnet reporter

After the failure of David Cameron to gain the support of the House of Commons to authorise UK military action against Syria, the United States is gearing up to launch a military strike, possibly within days.

In a statement on Friday, US Secretary of State John Kerry said that the US had a “clear and compelling” case and “high confidence” that the Syrian government was responsible for the chemical attack last week in Damascus, which Mr Kerry said had caused the deaths of 1429 civilians including over 400 children.