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Support for Scottish independence has risen in recent months


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Support for Scottish independence has hit 55 per cent despite Boris Johnson’s efforts to defend the Union.

The new Panelbase poll shows a reversal of the 2014 referendum result which ended – with voters rejecting independence by 55 to 45%.

The study, which was commissioned by pro-independence group Business for Scotland, also found that with undecided voters included there was still a slim majority for independence, with 51% backing Yes, 42% for No and 7% undecided.

The figures will come as a blow to the Prime Minister and his recent efforts to boost support for the Union, which has been marked by a number of visits to Scotland by senior UK cabinet ministers.

Last week, Mr Johnson confirmed plans to stamp the Union flag on major projects north of the border which are funded by the UK government, and will replace the European Union symbol that is added to Brussels-funded schemes.

New Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said the move would show the UK was “unashamed of our investment in Scotland”.

But Business for Scotland chief executive Gordan MacIntyre-Kemp said the new figures were a “huge landmark” in the campaign for independence.

“The reversal of the 2014 result is a huge landmark. 55% Yes will send shockwaves throughout the political world,” he added.

“There is no conclusion to draw from this new set of data other than the writing is very definitely on the wall for the union.

“Our June poll found independence support at 54%. That poll changed the dynamic of the constitutional conversation and led to claims of panic in the Westminster cabinet, with a series of high profile Tory visits to Scotland.”

SNP depute leader Keith Brown said: “With consecutive polls putting support for independence above 50%, it’s clear this is not a trend but the established position of the Scottish electorate.”

  • Panelbase polled 1,011 Scottish voters over the age of 16 between August 12 and August 18.

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Nagorno-Karabakh: The boy who swapped his piano for a gun

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The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan is over, but some families are still waiting for news of their missing relatives.

Bodies are still being counted and identified, and there is no clear information on what has happened to the missing.

Twenty-two-year-old Soghomon was fighting on the Armenian frontline against Azerbaijan. The last time his family heard from him was 1 October.

He was a soldier, but also an artist and a talented piano player.

His father and sister say they can’t give up hope that he will return.

Video by: Sofia Bettiza, Gabriel Chaim and Aren Melikyan

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Afghan car bomb kills at least 40 soldiers

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An attacker detonated an explosive packed vehicle in front of a security base in the Deh Yak district of the province.

According to a statement from the Afghan Ministry of Defense, the attacker was confronted by security forces as he tried to enter the base. No group has claimed responsibility yet.

The blast targeted a compound of the public protection force, a wing of the Afghan security forces, local officials told Reuters. It damaged civilian residences around the compound, and there could be more casualties from there, they said.

Interior ministry spokesman Tariq Arian confirmed that there had been a car bomb blast but did not provide further information on the target or possible casualties.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, when contacted by Reuters, did not confirm or deny responsibility.

Afghanistan has seen a spate of car bombings over the last few months, despite peace talks being under way between negotiation teams of the insurgent Taliban and the government in the Qatari capital of Doha.

Violence in the country, at war for two decades, remains unacceptably high, foreign governments and institutions say, calling for an immediate ceasefire between the Afghan government and Taliban.
Afghan President orders resumption of offensive operations against the Taliban in blow to Trump's deal

Another bombing on Sunday, in the eastern province of Zabul, targeting a top provincial official, killed at least one person and injured 23, said Gul Islam Syaal, the spokesman for the province’s governor.

Haji Ata Jan Haqbayan, head of the provincial council of Zabul, suffered minor injuries in the attack on his convoy.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack on Haqbayan, an outspoken critic of the Taliban.

The Trump administration’s peace deal with the Taliban was dealt a blow in May as the Afghan government announced it was resuming offensive operations against the insurgent group following a spate of deadly terrorist attacks.

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Incoming GOP congresswoman to take aim at AOC with conservative ‘squad’

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Malliotakis, who frequently attacked Ocasio-Cortez during her campaign against Democratic Rep. Max Rose, took aim again at her New York counterpart when asked about the future of the Republican Party.

“I think one of the reasons why we were so motivated to run is seeing the Democratic women being elected in 2018 that don’t necessarily reflect our values, particularly those who are self-described socialists,” Malliotakis said. “I think there’s just a stark contrast between what we’re offering and what people like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are offering. And that’s something that needs to be debated in Washington.”

House Republicans more than doubled the number of women in their conference in November, bringing the number to at least 28 from 13. Democrats, who added a record number of women to their ranks during the 2018 election, have at least 89.

A number of House races still remain uncalled, including New York Republican Claudia Tenney’s challenge against Rep. Anthony Brindisi; Tenney’s lead has narrowed significantly to just 13 votes as of Friday.

Malliotakis, who will be the only Republican to represent New York City in Congress, credited House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Rep. Liz Cheney for their efforts in recruiting “qualified women who have something to share with the American people” for the gains.

“What we stand for are freedom, liberty. We love this nation. We want to see it prevail. We want to see it remain the land of opportunity, what has, in essence, attracted millions of immigrants from around the world, to pursue that American dream,” Malliontakis said. “Somebody like me, daughter of a Cuban refuge, I want to be there to be a part of the discussion, debate and provide a counterview.”

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