- - Sunday, January 8, 2012

UNITED KINGDOM

Cameron: Hold vote soon on Scottish independence

LONDON — A referendum on Scottish independence should be held soon because the uncertainty about the issue is damaging Scotland’s economy, British Prime Minister David Cameron said Sunday.

Mr. Cameron, who said he would be strongly opposed to the breakup of the United Kingdom, promised that the British government in coming days would set out the legal situation for a referendum.

“The uncertainty about this issue is damaging to Scotland and Scotland’s economy because you have companies and other organizations asking, what’s Scotland’s future - is it within the United Kingdom or not? That’s damaging,” Mr. Cameron told BBC TV.

In elections in May, Alex Salmond’s Scottish National Party won the first overall majority in Edinburgh’s Parliament since it opened in 1999 and promised to hold a referendum on independence from Britain.

NIGERIA

Government braces for strikes amid Islamic violence

LAGOS — Nigeria on Sunday braced for nationwide strikes while also seeking to stop a wave of Islamic attacks on Christians, as anger mounted in Africa’s most populous nation and largest oil producer.

The strikes set for Monday over soaring fuel prices led to a massive security deployment, as well as long lines at some gas stations, with several running dry, and warnings from unions that residents should stock up on food.

Security forces are already under heavy pressure over spiraling violence blamed on an Islamist terrorist group, Boko Haram.

On Saturday, the head of Nigeria’s Christians warned that Islamist attacks suggest “religious cleansing,” while vowing to defend themselves.

IRAQ

Government demand Kurds turn over fugitive veep

BAGHDAD — Iraq’s Shiite-led government on Sunday demanded that authorities in the semiautonomous Kurdish region hand over the country’s top Sunni official to face terrorism charges, turning up the heat in a political crisis that is stoking sectarian tensions.

Story Continues →