South African flag flying at half-mast alongside the Saltire outside Scottish Government headquarters http://t.co/B3D7S5Ar4G
First Minister Alex Salmond said:
“The death of Nelson Mandela marks the passing of a great statesman and a global icon, so it is only appropriate that we here in Scotland, a land Mr Mandela had great affinity with, mark his passing appropriately.
“That is why I have today instructed that the South African national flag should fly at half-mast alongside the Saltire outside St Andrew's House in Edinburgh.
“The whole world is marking the loss of a great leader – all of Scotland feels that loss, and we join the people of South Africa in particular in marking Mr Mandela’s passing.”
A new paper setting out how the Scottish Government thinks pensions would operate after independence will be launched this morning. Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is visiting a sheltered housing complex to make the announcement.
From October next year shoppers in Scotland will have to pay 5p for carrier bags, Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead has announced.
The charge will be applied to all forms of carrier bags- not just plastic ones.
Mr Lochhead said that Scots use around 750 million bags every year and says the new scheme will show that the Scottish Government is taking "decision action" to cut down on the amount of bags being thrown out.
The proceeds from the bag charges will go to charity, with good causes expected to receive up to £5 million as a result of the scheme.
"Discarded carrier bags highlight our throwaway society. We use more carrier bags per head in Scotland than any other part of the UK and this is unsustainable.
"Carrier bags are a highly visible aspect of litter and we are taking decisive action to decrease their number. By reducing the amount being carelessly discarded we can cut litter and its impact on our environment and economy.
"A small charge should also encourage us all to stop and think about what we discard and what can be re-used.
"We have seen elsewhere that carrier bag charging has been effective in encouraging people to reuse bags.
"This charge is not a tax but will see retailers donating the proceeds to charity - this could be up to £5 million per year after retailers have covered their costs.
"Thousands of Scottish people already use bags for life and some retailers already charge. It is now time, however, for a national effort."