Two recent shipwrecks in the Mediterranean Sea believed to have taken the lives of as many as 1,300 asylum seekers and migrants highlight the growing number of people fleeing persecution, war and economic difficulties in their homelands.
Scotland would have to make "substantial" spending cuts or increase taxes if the Scottish National Party (SNP) gained full control of the country's finances after next month's general election, the Institute for Fiscal Studies said on Tuesday. On Monday, the SNP launched their manifesto ahead of a knife-edge vote in which neither Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron nor Labour's Ed Miliband are expected to win a majority - an outcome which could see the nationalist party team up with Labour to form the next government. Alongside plans for higher public spending and an end to austerity, the SNP manifesto set a medium-term ambition for Scotland to be granted full fiscal autonomy - control over all its tax and spending. The SNP's longer-term aim is for Scotland to gain full independence.