Wednesday’s World News Updates: My Views

Bringing you a rounded view of the news by collating stories from various publications and broadcasters, and sharing my opinion on this week’s top news stories.

1. The role of the media in the Scottish referendum campaign. The last few weeks have seen Scotland and its people engaging in politics and self-battling between the ‘Yes’ ‘No’ votes. In my last blog post, I explained the implications for Scotland and England if the public voted ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. On Tip TV this week, Zak Mir and I debated the role of the media where I urged that the media has presented a two-sided story, whereas Zak argued that Scotland’s voice has been drowned out by the central media – ironically as this is half the reason they want independence from London.

Echoing Zak’s sentiments was George Monbiot in yesterday’s The Guardian Online who wrote ‘perhaps the most arresting fact about the Scottish referendum is this: that there is no newspaper – local, regional or national, English or Scottish – that supports independence except the Sunday Herald. The Scots who will vote yes have been almost without representation in the media.’

‘Living within their tiny circle of light, most senior journalists seem unable to comprehend a desire for change. If they notice it at all, they perceive it as a mortal threat.’

It is indeed correct that the ‘No’ campaign has received substantial coverage but it could be down to the fact that the whole of Westminster is campaigning ‘No’ whereas it is only really the Scottish National Party and Alex Salmond urging the ‘Yes’ vote. So, the majority are receiving more press coverage. It is also true that Scotland are sick of being controlled by London, and the media coverage has seemed to drown out their voices.

But without the media, I would not have been able to collate information for my last blog on the positives and negatives of the Union splitting – and the sources I referred to all represented two sides of the story. Maybe the negatives of leaving the Union outweigh the positives. And even if the media have seemed to support the ‘No’ campaign, I believe it shows solidarity and a want for unity between nations – can that ever be a bad thing?

Latest on voting: ‘An exclusive YouGov poll for Sky News has found almost two-thirds of people in Scotland are unclear what powers would be devolved to them if they stayed within the union.’

According to Bloomberg, ‘Scottish ‘No’ vote takes lead in late-stage polls’.

Watch the debate between Zak and I here: TIP TV SCOTTISH REFERENDUM DEBATE

2. Fall in unemployment: According to the BBC, ‘UK jobless rate falls to lowest level since 2008’.‘The unemployment rate fell to 6.2% over the three months to the end of July, its lowest level since 2008, official figures show.’ ‘The number of jobless people fell by 146,000 to 2.02 million over the quarter, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported.’

‘Those claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in August fell below one million for the first time in six years.’ There has been good news for young people as The MailOnline reports: ‘Young people saw the largest annual fall in unemployment since records began in 1984 – falling by 213,000 on the year – and has been dropping for the last year.’

The BBC further reports: ‘Last month, the Bank of England halved its forecast for average wage growth in 2014 to 1.25%, leading some commentators to believe it is under little pressure to raise interest rates any time soon.’

However, the Federal Reserve suggested they may begin winding down on quantitative easing and injecting money into the US economy, this may also see interest rates in the US rise and have a domino effect worldwide. According to the This Is Money website, ‘Economists and markets expect a rate rise near the end of the year, but there is uncertainty as to whether that will fall in 2014 or 2015.’

Although there has been a fall in unemployment, the Financial Times has reported there is still little sign of recovery in workers’ pay packets. The Business Spectator states: ‘Earnings excluding bonuses in the three months to July were 0.7 per cent higher than over the same period last year, equalling the record low rate of growth seen over the previous two months, the ONS said. That is less than half the latest inflation rate released on Tuesday, which showed consumer prices were 1.5 per cent higher on the year.’

3. ISIS – According to The Independent today, ‘The Islamic State (Isis) group has released a video appearing to warn the US that fighters are waiting in Iraq if President Barack Obama chooses to send troops in there.’

‘The 52-second film, entitled ‘Flames of War’ purports to be a trailer and shows tanks being hit, wounded US soldiers and men on their knees as they are about to be executed. It features blockbuster style slow-motion replays and explosions and appears to have been released by the Al Hayat Media Centre, which distributes Isis propaganda.’

‘It then shows a clip of Mr Obama saying American combat troops will not be returning to Iraq, followed by a strapline that reads: “fighting has just begun”.’

‘The video ‘appears to have been released hours after General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee that if current Iraq strategy is not sufficient he could recommend deploying US soldiers.’

However, CNN’s latest reports states that President Barack Obama insisted again today that ‘The U.S. is not returning combat troops to Iraq’ ‘despite the suggestion by his top general that option is something the Pentagon could consider.’

‘Speaking at U.S. Central Command in Florida, Obama said again that U.S. troops “do not and will not have a combat mission” in Iraq against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.’

‘”After a decade of massive ground deployments, it is more effective to use our unique capabilities in support of partners on the ground so they can secure their own countries’ futures,” he said. “And that’s the only solution that will succeed over the long term.”’

‘”As your commander in chief, I will not commit you and the rest of our armed forces to fighting another ground war in Iraq,” Obama told troops at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. Rather, the U.S. forces will support Iraqi forces on the ground as the Iraqis fight ISIS, he said.’

4. 5 months after #BringBackOurGirls – It is not that I ran out of news stories so decided to revert back to an ‘old’ topic, but it is precisely that point that news moves so fast that today’s headline is tomorrows chip paper.

On Sunday 14th September, Charlotte Alfred’s article ‘Remember #BringBackOurGirls? This Is What Has Happened In The 5 Months Since’ marked 5 months since hundreds of school girls were kidnapped by the Islamist militant group Boko Haram in Nigeria.

She outlines in starking points the following: (all information taken from her article – link below)

  1. Not only student has been rescued
  2. Even though they were reportedly located months ago
  3. Other countries have made little progress
  4. Meanwhile, the girls’ hometown is still in danger
  5. And Boko Haram violence rages on
  6. Nigeria’s military has buckled under pressure…
  7. …And been accused of grave human rights abuses
  8. While the country worries about its image problem- Nigeria’s government paid a Washington public relations firm more than $1.2 million to change the media narrative surrounding the schoolgirls’ abduction, according to a June report by The Hill.
    Read the full article here: