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This is BBC World News Today with me, Rajesh Mirchandani.
It's getting too close to call, but could Scotland be
Scottish voters will decide next week.
Now one poll says a majority favour independence.
And we'll see what happened when people in Quebec in Canada also
thought their bid for independence was about to become a reality.
Also coming up, Iraq's parliament votes on a new government,
a critical step in the fight against Islamic State jihadists.
And a new Royal baby is on the way here in Britain.
Delight all round, but the Duchess of Cambridge is once more suffering
It's early days, but we hope things settle down
A referendum on whether Scotland should leave
Now it's taken on new impetus because, for the first time,
a poll has suggested that more Scots would vote for independence than
The survey gave the pro-independence,
The British pound has already fallen to a low against the US dollar. This
report from Dundee. At campaign headquarters, they are
on dawn to buy the value of the pound or shaky set prices. They say
Dundee is yes city, so great has been the defection of Labour voters
to the yes cause. What difference has the poll giving them a narrow
lead made? Will it give yes voters pause, might there be a loss of
nerve? To the contrary, I think as people start realising we can do
this, people will find their nerve, people who perhaps before were a wee
bit sitting on the fence, not convinced we will do it. Now they
understand we can, they are finding their nerve. What will win it or
lose it for the yes campaign is the ability to maximise the campaign in
places like this, working-class Scotland where people's natural
inclination in the past has been to vote Labour. To do that, they will
have to reassure people that negative reaction in the
international markets and the global economy will be short lived. The yes
campaigners say it's Westminster that is stoking nervousness. The
blame for any uncertainty has to lie with the UK government which refuses
point blank to have sensible discussion with the Scottish
government about a currency union and the kind of things that would
help give reinsurance to those markets. Yesterday's a poll gave yes
a 2-point lead, the first time they have surged ahead. An aggregate of
recent polls suggest the pro union side's commanding lead has almost
vanished. I think we are winning the argument. We will win this
referendum next week because I think, as people approach polling
day, they will see the stakes couldn't be higher. We don't have to
break up the country to make Scotland a better, stronger country
in which to live. They've reassured by that in the other Scotland, the
Scotland that still feels British to its core? At Kelso in the Borders,
some are dismayed that the no campaign's leads seems to have
evaporated in a month. I am worried about what's going to happen if
Scotland goes independent, what's going to happen to my pension, my
health care? And also my family, who live here? A very worrying time.
It's a huge decision, the biggest we will ever make. You can change the
government from time to time, every five years if you wish, but this,
this is for ever. But the momentum is with the yes campaign now, pro
union leaders must hope that action on more powers for the Scottish
parliament, however late in the day, will halt that.
If you're watching in Canada, this all might sound familiar.
The vote for independence in Scotland has piqued
the interest of many people in the mostly French-speaking province
of Quebec, because they held two referenda on sovereignty.
Both time, voters chose to remain in Canada, but the last vote
So does Quebec's experience offer any lessons for Scotland?
The BBC's Nick Bryant has been to Quebec City to find out.
A pageant through the streets of old Quebec city, retelling
the story of the settlements of what was then called New France.
The British conquest in the mid-18th-century meant Quebec
The province has retained its Francophone character, even though
Festival organiser Stefan Perrin exemplifies the separatist dilemma.
He sees himself as a Quebecer first and a Canadian second.
But like many Scottish voters, he fears the economic consequences
Are we going to be still with the Canadian dollar?
Are we still going to trade with our neighbours, Ontario?
Is it going to be that easy to trade with the other Canadian provinces?
How would the Americans consider us if we decided to separate, to split?
Those were big concerns for a big part of the population.
In their decades-long struggle, Quebec separatists have suffered
Adding to the agony, they came within 1% of securing a
The lesson from Quebec for Scotland is that independence is a multiphase
affair, according to the politicians who advised the SNP.
They just had a new parliament in 1997 and now they are already having
To me, if it won't work this time, it might next time.
From laws protecting the French language to control over
immigration, Quebec has achieved a great deal of autonomy.
But another lesson for Scotland - that's thought to have dampened
Despite two separate referenda, despite the fact the last poll was
almost 20 years ago, the question of independence hasn't really been
In Canada, they even have a phrase to describe this long-protracted
constitutional struggle - they call it the Neverendum Referendum.
But for all the celebrations of Quebec's distinctive culture,
there's no great appetite right now for a third referendum.
Many feel that the history of this province has not yet reached
Independence - that struggle may be more a part
With me is Peter Kellner, president of YouGov, an international market
research firm that measures of public opinion and consumer
You have already corrected me on the plural of referendum being
referendums, so thank you, but your organisation at the weekend put the
yes campaign ahead 51-49 at the weekend, I'm undecided voters. What
should we take away from that one snapshot of just over 1000 voters?
Firstly, it's too close to call. A 2-point lead does not definitely
show yes is in the lead, it's within the margin of error. However we have
shown a progressive closing of the gap from a few weeks ago, and if we
look into the innards of the poll, especially people we have questioned
more than once, what is absolutely clear, a number of no voters are
switching to yes, and a lock of the undecideds are making up their minds
going much more to yes than to no. The move towards yes is real, recent
and big. So more importantly there is a trend, why is there a trend
towards yes in the latter stages? The reason is that the no campaign
was built very much on the fear factor, that Scotland's economy and
prosperity would be at risk. Those fears are subsiding. More and more
people think London is bluffing. When a London government says
Scotland couldn't keep the pound, which is what Alex Salmond says it
wants... He has been leading the yes campaign. The argument over the
pound is a thing that the no campaign has been hammering. That is
right, London has been saying you are independent, sort out your own
currency. Alex Salmond is saying, of course we are part of the pound and
when push comes to shove, London will have to come to terms...
Increasingly, people are agreeing with Alex Salmond. Secondly, the
fear is that Scotland's economy will go down the tubes. Those fears are
subsiding. A further factor, Alex Salmond, if you stay in the union,
you are going to be subject to Tory policies, Tory laws coming from
London, a Conservative led government. The biggest group moving
across are Labour supporters. A month ago, only 18% of Labour voters
in Scotland said they would vote yes. That has doubled in a month to
35%. Alex Salmond is playing the Tory London card and winning a lot
of Labour voters. The politics may lead to a result one way or another,
but let's internationalise for a second. If the Spanish government is
watching, they have a population in Catalonia that wants a referendum,
maybe the QuebecoISwatching, what will people make of this if Scotland
goes independent? -- the Quebecois. It is not the first time parts of
countries have seceded, you had checkers wackier breaking up into
the Czech Republic and Slovakia, but it would be the first time a stable
economic country has spread out like this. -- you had checkers wackier
breaking up. It is not civil war, economic upheaval, anything like
that, this is a reasonably stable, healthy, civil society saying
perhaps, narrowly in ten days' time, we choose to go our own way and
cease to be part of the United Kingdom. I think people in
Catalonia, Quebec, other places around the world are saying, if they
can do it, perhaps we can too. It's a big deal, Peter. Thank you. Ten
days to go, I imagine we will be having you back.
In Baghdad, a vote has begun to form a new government for the country.
It is considered to be a key step in the struggle against Islamic State.
Iraq's parliament is reconvening to try to approve a new government.
It's a critical step in the fight against Islamic State
militants who are occupying parts of Iraq and Syria.
On Sunday, the Arab League promised to do its part to stop
The town of Duluiyah briefly fell to the Sunni-dominated Islamic State
group for few days in July, but the Jabour tribesmen,
who have aligned themselves with the Iraqi forces in the battle against
Jim Muir is in Irbil. Where is Baghdad in putting together this
elusive, inclusive government? It does seem to be happening. The
session of Parliament began a short while ago. It got off to a rocky
start, quite a lot of barracking from MPs. Quite a number stayed out
in the corridors and didn't actually join proceedings going on inside.
Some bad vibes there. A prime ministerial nominee is currently
addressing parliament laying out the programme, and he will shortly
introduce the ministers he has chosen to implement that and will
ask for a vote of confidence in them. In his opening address, he
talked about an administrative revolution, he talked about
decentralisation, introducing balance within the Armed Forces,
which is very important because the current Iraqi army is seen as a bit
of a Shia militia, certainly a bit weak on the Sunni front. The whole
idea of this new government is to bring everybody on board, that is
what the Americans and others are looking for. We have yet to hear him
confirm the names of his ministers, but we have been told pretty much
what to expect. The Sunnis have got the defence Ministry, which they
would be happy about because that should put them in charge of the
army. The Shia have got the interior ministry. The man nominated there is
a Shia militia organisation, closely tied to Iran, so that may raise some
eyebrows. Otherwise, a lot of reshuffling. Well-known Foreign
Minister will become a Deputy Prime Minister. The Foreign Ministry job
that he has had for eight years, being the face of Iraq to the
outside world, will go to Ibrahim Jeffrey, a Shia politician who was
Prime Minister before the outgoing Nouri al-Maliki. We do expect this
government to be voted on and presumably passed in the coming
minutes. It might be a bit of a long night for you. Keep us updated.
Thanks, Jim. Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko
has said that pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine have released 1,200
prisoners. He was speaking during a visit to
the strategic south-eastern port city of Mariupol, the last city
in Donetsk region still held by the Ukrainian government,
which has come under shelling from The announcement follows Friday's
ceasefire deal, which has been described
by the head of the OSCE as shaky. Meanwhile the EU says it's imposing
further sanctions on Russia because of its continued involvement
in the crisis in Ukraine. Russia has responded by saying
it may block some international Through all of this, it's the people
in the region who continue to suffer.
To the neighbours, who watched them grow up.
The family want the story of Carolina, aged six, and her disabled
Shellfire killed them both on the day the cease-fire was declared.
She was taking care of them when they were killed.
She cries, God, why have you taken them?
Like Nikita and Carolina, they lived in places where land
became something men were willing to kill for.
Children faced death and displacement with their families,
driven to makeshift camps like this old Soviet era holiday resort.
The propaganda pictures of forgotten heroes yellowing
The war has distorted life and disrupted normality.
I want to go home, but there is no home to go to, she says.
In the crowded bunk rooms, medical aid is being provided,
including the help of psychologists for traumatised children.
They have of course been traumatised by the conflicts, hearing shelling
and bombs, fleeing their homes and not being in their normal
environment. It has a huge impact on the psychology of those children.
It is a serious situation for those displaced people.
If the conflict continues, this will worsen, definitely.
The cease-fire is supposed to end the random cruelty that destroys
the lives of children like Nikita and Carolina.
But for their parents, it is a truce empty of meaning.
Now a look at some of the day's other news.
The World Health Organisation says the ebola virus is spreading
It's warning that many thousands of new cases may emerge there in the
next three weeks and that measures to stop it spreading were not
working. Liberia has recorded almost 1,100 deaths out
Rescue workers are battling hard to reach villagers stranded
in remote areas of Indian administered Kashmir after
Six days of rain have caused floods and landslides and killed almost
three in 20 people. That my 320 people.
A five-year-old British boy whose parents took him from a hospital in
Britain last month has arrived in the Czech Republic for radiotherapy
Ashya King has been at the centre of an international legal wrangle.
His parents were arrested and detained
We're -- to Afghanistan now, and more instability looms there because
one of the two presidential candidates, Abdullah Abdullah, has
said he will reject the outcome of the second round of the disputed
election. The results are expected this week. The election has been
gridlocked for months. Both sides allege voter fraud.
With the disputed Afghan election process now entering its
one of the candidates, Abdullah Abdullah, has had enough.
He said he would not accept the results of the audited vote
as he believes it has not discovered fraud and despite
a personal appeal from President Obama, he told me that talks for a
government of national unity, backed by the US, are at a dead-end.
The future Afghanistan, which will be a viable partner with
the international community, to be able to deal with the challenges,
the challenges that Afghanistan has faced or global peace has faced in
this part of the world, could not be based on the foundation
The announcement was made to a room packed with supporters.
One prominent backer, a former head of the intelligence service,
said the deal had foundered because
A political settlement, ensuring equal partnership, should
The timing of Dr Abdullah's announcement was highly charged,
coming as Afghanistan prepares to commemorate the death of the former
guerrilla leader killed in 2001,
Dr Abdullah appealed to his followers not to protest
violently, but his message that he would not recognise a government
that may be about to come to our that does not include his people
Dr Abdullah has appealed for peace, but at the same time,
he has said that any negotiations are now over and that he won't
accept a government led by his opponent.
This feels like a very dangerous moment for Afghanistan.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have announced that they are
The Duchess, who is still in the very early stages
of pregnancy, is suffering once again from acute morning sickness.
This time, she is being treated by doctors at Kensington Palace.
The BBC's royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell reports.
William was there at a long planned visit to Oxford
today, but Catherine couldn't make it, and Kensington Palace realised
that it would have to explain the reason for her unexpected absence.
She was pregnant with the couple's second child, the Palace said,
So William was asked, how was she feeling?
It has been a tricky few days for a week or so.
I'm hoping things can settle down and she will feel better.
It's important we all focus on the big news,
That is where my thoughts are at the moment.
In December 2012, early in her pregnancy with George,
doctors hospitalised the Duchess for a couple of days.
On this occasion, with this pregnancy yet to reach the 12 week
stage, it is hoped the sickness can be managed at home and that it
George was a summer baby, born in July last year.
The chances are that his younger brother or sister will be due in the
He or she will automatically come fourth in line to the throne,
fulfilling William and Catherine's obligation to ensure that
The Queen, seen here at the Braemar Gathering near Balmoral at
I think George will be over the moon.
The family continues to grow. a younger brother or sister.
News of the pregnancy is making headlines around the world.
International fascination with Britain's royal family
Hugo Vickers is a writer and broadcaster and he joins us from our
studio in Reading. You have written extensively about the Royal Family.
This is interesting, married couple expecting second baby. Why is that a
story that has lit up headlines around the world and social media?
Of course, it is a very happy story, and the monarchy has been doing for
many generations. So anything to do with the monarchy always attract
attention. But it is because the Cambridges themselves are such a
popular figure. Wherever they go in the Commonwealth, they seem to make
people feel happy. So we are all very much on their side and
rejoicing alongside them that there is more good news on the way.
Everyone seems to be getting in on the congratulations. I was looking
at Twitter and apparently, the royal baby # has been used 50,000 times,
the worst one from an international pizza chain that says
congratulations. May we humbly suggest naming the royal baby Pizza?
I will not name that chain! Everyone seems be getting in on the act. It
is internationally big news. It is. At the time of the royal wedding,
everybody got excited about Prince William. I know that royal weddings
are a cause of great excitement, but I remember wondering at the time why
this was so much the case with him. I think the real reason was that the
world had probably last seen Prince William when he was a forlorn
teenager following his mother's coffin, and he didn't go off the
rails. He went through school and universe tea and met a nice girl
with freedom of choice. They are clearly happy together and that is a
great story. I think it has gone on like that. The arrival of Prince
George was very much welcomed, and wherever Prince George has been
taken, he is a huge success. Funny you should talk about that, because
I remember at the time of the royal wedding, I interviewed the Queen of
American journalism, Barbara Walters, who said that was the
reason America were going crazy about the royal wedding, because
everybody remembered the tragedy of Diana, and now they have something
happy to talk about. We also saw in that report, Prince Harry was saying
great, I am not going to be king. There is also an issue for this
second baby. Prince George is the heir to the throne and now there is
a spare as well, as they say. Yes, that is the traditional duty as your
commentator said. They must keep the Protestant succession going. It may
be that they will have another child after that. Of course, supposing
they have a girl, she would automatically be after Prince
George. If there was a younger brother, he would not overtake her
the wake since Andrew and Prince Edward overtook Princess Anne. So
that is a change. And Will this child be born as a prince or
princess of the United Kingdom? Will Scotland be involved? We hope so.
That is a whole new area of conversation. Sadly, we don't have
time to get into that. Thanks for joining us. And thank you as well
The weather is looking fine and settled for the next few days and
for the week ahead, with high pressure in charge. Tomorrow could
have a misty start of the day, but sunny spells are soon developing. We
could start Tuesday morning on a chilly note, particularly from any
rural areas, but that mist and fog soon clears away. We are looking at
bright skies. Perhaps