Dramatic SNP surge in Scotland set to leave Labour with just TWO MPs (5)

A dramatic surge by the SNP looks set to claim Gordon Brown’s Scottish seat and rob Ed Miliband of a Commons majority, according to a new poll last night.

The study of marginal constituencies suggests Labour and the Conservatives are heading for electoral deadlock in May, with neither party able to govern alone.

The poll, commissioned by former Tory treasurer Lord Ashcroft, suggests the SNP is on course for a landslide at the General Election, winning as many as 56 of Scotland’s 59 seats – up from just six at present.

The SNP surge would claim seats held by a string of household names, including those of departing Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling, and former Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy. The Tories are also in danger of losing their one Scottish seat, held by David Mundell.

At Westminster the poll suggests Labour and the Conservatives will be tied on 272 seats each – well short of the 326 needed to command a Commons majority. Lord Ashcroft said the astonishing surge by the SNP in the wake of last year’s independence referendum had thrown a ‘giant spanner in Labour’s works’, although the party is forecast to win Tory seats south of the border.

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See Also:

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#2 — Where Greece hopes to find cash – and why the ECB says no

#3 — Shock as millions of workers will not qualify for full state pension

“The 30 years necessary to qualify is being raised to 35 years from April 2016 and 28 per cent of employees will not have been in work long enough, it says.”

#4 — Fears pig plague from EU could DECIMATE Britain’s pork industry

#5 — Nigel Farage: Ukip will hit ‘double figures’ at the general election despite ‘Marmite’ reaction

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Evans-Pritchard: Liquidity evaporates in China as ‘fiscal cliff’ nears

Unless China changes course, it is set to tighten fiscal policy by 5.5pc of GDP this year, five times Britain’s austerity dose annually since the Lehman crisis

Nobody can fault China’s leaders for lack of bravery. The Politburo has kept its nerve as the world’s most giddy experiment in credit-driven growth faces assault on three major fronts at once.

Real interest rates have rocketed. The trade-weighted rise in the yuan over the past two years has been spectacular. Fiscal policy is about to tighten drastically as the authorities clamp down on big-spending local governments.

Put together, China is pursuing the most contractionary mix of economic policies in the G20, relative to the status quo ante. Collateral damage is already visible in the sliding global prices of iron ore, copper, nickel, lead and zinc over recent months, as well as thermal coal, oil, corn and even sugar.

Zhiwei Zhang, from Deutsche Bank, says China faces a “fiscal cliff” this year as Beijing attempts to rein in spending. “This year, China will likely face the worst fiscal challenge since 1981. This is not well recognised in the market,” he said.

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In “Unprecedented Move” Nobel Peace Prize Chairman Demoted For Decision To Give Obama 2009 Award

Back in 2009, just months after his swearing in, president Barack Obama was crowned with an unexpected glory: he won the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 due to “his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.” Back then there was little indication that just a few years after his crowning achievement of “ending the war” in and returning US troops from Iraq, he would send US troops right back in Iraq for the 3rd US invasion of the country in three decades, but also send out US troops across the globe, and launch the second cold war, pushing the world to the brink of another “large scale war.” Those who wish to read Obama’s teleprompted and ghostwritten acceptance “speech can do so here.

At the time the White House, and the fawning media, was delighted by this crowning, if premature, achievement of the progressive president.

Which is why don’t expect much coverage of the inevitable aftermath: earlier today, in what France24 dubbed an “in an unprecedented move“, the controversial head of Norway’s Nobel Peace Prize committee was removed Tuesday and demoted to the rank of mere member.

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CRTC issues first fine under anti-spam law, $1.1M penalty for Compu-Finder

OTTAWA — The CRTC has issued its first fine under Canada’s anti-spam law.

Compu-Finder has 30 days to contest the CRTC’s ruling or a face a penalty of $1.1 million.

The CRTC alleges the company has sent commercial emails to consumers without their consent and did not allow recipients to unsubscribe from the mailings.

The emails typically promoted corporate training courses.

The first phase of Canada’s anti-spam legislation covering unsolicited emails kicked in last summer.

A second phase involving computer programs came into effect in January.

[Source]

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Quebec resident Alain Philippon charged at border for not giving up phone password

The case of a Quebec man charged with obstructing border officials by refusing to give up his smartphone password has raised a new legal question in Canada, a law professor says.

Alain Philippon, 38, of Ste-Anne-des-Plaines, Que., refused to divulge his cellphone password to Canada Border Services Agency during a customs search Monday night at Halifax Stanfield International Airport.

Philippon had arrived in Halifax on a flight from Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic. The charge against him carries a maximum penalty of $25,000 and a year in prison.

Rob Currie, director of the Law and Technology Institute at the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University, said that under Canadian law, travellers crossing the Canadian border have a reduced expectation of privacy.

He said border officials have wide-ranging powers to search travellers and their belongings.

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OPP urge caution in wake of sudden deaths

Western Region OPP have issued a public safety bulletin after four sudden death investigations across the region in recent days.

“We’re trying to be diligent in terms of getting our message out to the public about staying warm,” Sgt. David Rektor told QMI Agency Wednesday.

On Feb. 20, a 70-year-old woman’s body was discovered on a public school property in Tillsonburg.

Just two days later, the bodies of two men in their 60s were found outdoors along Public Bush Road on Walpole Island.

Early Sunday morning, a Hamilton woman was found unresponsive on a roadway in Waterford.

The 49-year-old woman was transported to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead.

All four deaths are being investigated as non-suspicious.

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Spengler: The World Bows to Iran’s Hegemony

The problem with Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress March 3 was not the risk of offending Washington, but rather Washington’s receding relevance. President Barack Obama is not the only leader who wants to acknowledge what is already a fact in the ground, namely that “Iran has become the preeminent strategic player in West Asia to the increasing disadvantage of the US and its regional allies,” as a former Indian ambassador to Oman wrote this week.

For differing reasons, the powers of the world have elected to legitimize Iran’s dominant position, hoping to delay but not deter its eventual acquisition of nuclear weapons. Except for Israel and the Sunni Arab states, the world has no desire to confront Iran. Short of an American military strike, which is unthinkable for this administration, there may be little that Washington can do to influence the course of events. Its influence has fallen catastrophically in consequence of a chain of policy blunders.

The best that Prime Minister Netanyahu can hope for is that the US Congress will in some way disrupt the Administration’s efforts to strike a deal with Iran by provoking the Iranians. That is what the White House fears, and that explains its rage over Netanyahu’s appearance.

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Hanson: Confederacy of Dunces?

From the president on down, they are in resolute denial about radical Islam.

The military effort against the Islamic State hinges on a successful threefold approach involving intelligence, homeland security, and diplomacy. Unfortunately, the Obama administration does not have much past history in these areas to warrant confidence.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper just announced that the U.S. has underestimated the Islamic State. Clapper was probably correct, if unwise in apprising the world of U.S. incompetence. But he left out of his apologia any mention of why the U.S. has continuously downplayed the dangers of radical Islam. The answer is largely found among the Obama team, of which Clapper is a key part, and which has constructed its assessments to fit preconceived political directives.

The overriding belief of the Obama administration is that there is not really a radical Islamic movement that seeks to destroy the present nation-state order in the Middle East, form some sort of caliphate out of the mess, and then marshal the region’s population and resources to attack the West.

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Morning Update March 6th, 2015 (10)

CANADA

#1 — CNews | Ont. may change time-of-use electricity pricing

TORONTO — The Ontario government may increase the cost differential in time-of-use electricity pricing to take greater advantage of smart meters, Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli says.

[…]

#2 — CTV | B.C. First Nation lawsuit could impact controversial Site C dam project

VANCOUVER — A British Columbia First Nation has launched a lawsuit alleging its treaty rights have been violated by decades of development — a legal challenge that could affect the province’s planned Site C hydroelectric dam project, as well as the expansion of mineral, oil and gas extraction in the province’s north.

[…]

#3 — Globe | Making waves: The Navy’s Arctic ambition revealed

The designs are complete and first steel is due to be cut later this year. It’s now clear what kind of patrol ships Canada will be sending into the Arctic – and how the Royal Canadian Navy plans to use them.

[…]

#4 — Postmedia | Police bust sophisticated Port Coquitlam theft, fraud ring

METRO VANCOUVER – Drugs, credit-card-making equipment, identification, piles of mail, an arsenal of weapons and thousands of dollars are among items seized in connection with what police are calling a sophisticated Port Coquitlam theft and fraud ring.

[…]

#5 — Sun | Hints of Alberta sales tax panned by Canadian Federation of Independent Business

Premier Jim Prentice should shut the till on the notion of a provincial sales tax, says a group representing some of Alberta’s small businesses.

[…]

WORLD

#6 — BBC | Islamic State crisis: Thousands flee Iraqi advance on Tikrit

A military operation to retake the Iraqi city of Tikrit from Islamic State (IS) has caused about 28,000 people to flee their homes, the UN says.

[…]

#7 — CNS | State Dep’t Believes Clinton Has Handed in All Her Work Emails Because Her Staff Says So

(CNSNews.com) – Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used her personal email account — reportedly on her own private server — to conduct all her official government business, but don’t worry, the State Department assumes she’s now handed in every one of her work-related emails — because her staff says so.

[…]

Fox | White House counsel reportedly kept in dark on Clinton’s personal email use

#8 — Fox | Death toll from explosion in eastern Ukraine mine reaches 32

DONETSK, Ukraine – Officials in a separatist rebel-held city in east Ukraine say the death toll from an accidental explosion at a coal mine has risen to 32.

[…]

#9 — DM | The laser that blasts trucks from a MILE away

Military security experts have successfully managed to stop a truck in its tracks by destroying its engine with a laser.

[…]

#10 — WT | Dems steadfast in ‘witch hunt’ of doomsday-denying climate scientists

DENVER — Democrats may be flustered after a week of being accused of engineering an anti-science “witch hunt,” but they aren’t backing down from their investigations into the financial backing of climate-change researchers who challenge the movement’s doomsday scenarios.

[…]

WSJ | The Political Assault on Climate Skeptics

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