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No vote 'will lead to massive cuts in Scottish police'

Edinburgh: The record number of police in Scotland will be put at risk if the country votes to stay in the UK next month, a former senior officer has claimed.

Allan Burnett, who was director of intelligence at Strathclyde Police and was also assistant chief constable in charge of counter-terrorism in Scotland, warned of the impact of rejecting independence.

His concerns were echoed by two other former leading members of the force – James Fraser, a previous chairman of the Scottish Police Federation, and David Ross, an ex-vice-chair of the organisation.

Mr Burnett said in England officer numbers were "being slashed", while in Scotland they have been maintained.

"Police numbers in England and Wales have fallen more rapidly than anywhere else in Europe," he argued.

"Meanwhile, Scotland continues to benefit from record numbers in the police service. A No vote will put that at real risk. A Yes vote will consolidate the progress in police numbers and conditions of service. A No vote ends all of that."

He went on: "Police numbers are being slashed as part of Westminster's austerity programme. It is pretty clear that is exactly what is in prospect for the people of Scotland if there is a No vote next month.

Mr Fraser said: "The truth is, there are real dangers for Scotland if we miss this great opportunity on September 18 and vote No. The people of Scotland need only to look at the way policing in England and Wales is being hammered by this Coalition – and we all know that, in the event of a No vote, Scotland will be next for a hammering."

Mr Ross warned: "Policing in Scotland will suffer dramatically and rapidly if there is a No vote."

Scottish Labour's justice spokesman, Graeme Pearson, said: "The police service in Scotland is fully devolved and is not an independence issue.

Most voters are not convinced they are being told the whole truth by either side in the referendum campaign, according to a new study. The IMC survey on risk and constitutional attitudes found 60% believe both the Yes and No campaigns have not been entirely truthful about the consequences of independence.

Two-thirds of No voters (67%) believe both campaigns have been partial with the truth whereas less than half of all Yes voters (48%) feel the same.

Ebola crisis ‘vastly underestimated’

Liberia: The number of Ebola victims in west Africa may “vastly underestimate the magnitude of the outbreak”, the World Health Organisation has said.

With more than 1,060 deaths and 1,975 sufferers, the Ebola outbreak is already the deadliest ever and the United Nations health agency says it is prepared for the crisis to continue for months.

Liberian officials faced a difficult choice — deciding which handful of Ebola patients would receive an experimental drug that could prove life-saving, ineffective or even harmful.

ZMapp, the untested Ebola drug, arrived in the country on Wednesday. A day later, no one had yet received the treatment, which officials said would go to three people.The outbreak, which was first identified in March in Guinea and since spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, has overwhelmed the already strained health systems in west Africa and raised questions about whether authorities are doing enough to respond.

There is no licensed treatment for Ebola, so doctors have turned to the limited supply of untested drugs to treat some cases. The Liberian government had previously said two doctors would receive ZMapp.

Police chief names officer who shot dead black teenager

Missouri: A police chief has identified the officer whose fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager ignited days of heated protests in a suburb of St Louis.

He also released documents alleging the teen was killed after a robbery in which he was suspected of stealing a $48.99 (£29) box of cigars, a claim met with anger from local people.

Ferguson police chief Thomas Jackson released several police reports and documents during a news conference where he also identified the officer involved as Darren Wilson, who has been on administrative leave since the shooting of Michael Brown (18) on August 9.

Tensions have eased since  oversight of the protests was passed to the Highway Patrol.

Russians let Ukraine inspect aid

Luhansk: Russia has let Ukrainian officials inspect an aid convoy and agreed to let the Red Cross distribute the aid around the rebel-held city.

The move helped ease tensions and dispel Ukrainian fears that the aid operation is a ruse to get military help to separatist rebels.

In violation of an earlier tentative agreement, Russia had sent the convoy of roughly 200 trucks to a border crossing under the control of pro-Russia separatists, raising the prospect that it could enter Ukraine without being inspected by Ukraine and the Red Cross.

Ukraine vowed to use all means necessary to block the convoy in such a scenario, leading to fears of escalation in the conflict. Adding to the tensions, a dozen Russian armored personnel carriers appeared near where the trucks were parked for the night, 17 miles from the border.

Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for Ukraine's security council, said some Russian military vehicles crossed into Ukraine — a charge Russia denied.

US couple charged with suitcase holiday murder

Bali: An American couple have been charged with murder after the body of the woman's 62-year-old mother was found in a suitcase on the resort island.

Heather Mack (19) and her boyfriend Tommy Schaefer (21), both from Chicago, were arrested on Wednesday in Bali's Kuta area, a day after the body of Sheila von Wiese-Mack was found inside the boot of a taxi outside the St Regis Bali Resort.

Police said the couple hired the taxi and then placed the suitcase inside the boot.

809lb shark fed to poor after charity’s donation

Texas: An 809lb tiger shark caught in the Gulf of Mexico earlier this month has been cooked and served to more than 90 poor and homeless people.

Timon's Ministries charity in Corpus Christi set up the donation of about 75lbs of shark meat.

Executive director Kae Berry told the San Antonio Express-News that the 12ft 7in shark was the biggest fish ever donated to the centre. The centre says there are enough leftovers to serve up some shark stew next week.

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