Cumbrian soldier awarded

A Cumbrian soldier who took on the role of his absent officer to get supplies to one of the deadliest regions in Afghanistan is awarded.

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Pictures: Syrian children helped by Cumbrian fundraiser

Robin Yassin-Kassab is raising money by shaving off his eyebrows to help Syrian refugees.

The money raised will go towards buying hats, coats and blankets for children out in the country.

A child poses for the camera out in Syria Credit: Robin Yassin-Kassab
The fundraising is to help children out in Syria Credit: Robin Yassin-Kassab
The money will go towards buying warm clothes and blankets for the children Credit: Robin Yassin-Kassab
A group of Syrian children Credit: Robin Yassin-Kassab
The war in Syria has uprooted many children's lives Credit: Robin Yassin-Kassab
Children in a make-shift school Credit: Robin Yassin-Kassab
A boy with crutches out in Syria smiles for the camera Credit: Robin Yassin-Kassab
Children show the peace sign in Syria Credit: Robin Yassin-Kassab

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Writer shaves eyebrows to fundraise for Syrian children

A British-Syrian writer who lives in Castle Douglas is raising money for Syrian refugees by shaving his moustache and monobrow to create eyebrows .

Robin Yassin-Kassab is heading out to the Turkish border later this week to help the Syrian refugees.

Robin is part of a team that has raised $30,000 so far, with donations as far afield as the United States as well as the United Kingdom.

$20 will buy a coat, blanket and hat for a child out in Syria.

To find out how you can donate, click here.

Full Report: Spain says 'No EU' for independent Scotland

Spain's Prime Minister has suggested Scotland would have to apply to join the European Union after a 'Yes' vote in next year's independence referendum.

Mariano Rajoy's intervention prompted heated exchanges at First Minister's questions today as Alex Salmond clashed with Labour leader Johann Lamont.

Watch the full report from our Political Editor Peter MacMahon below.

Politicians clash over future of Scotland in EU

The Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond has clashed with Labour leader Johann Lamont today over an independent Scotland's membership of the European Union.

Spain's Prime Minster Mariano Rajoy has suggested that Scotland would have to apply to join the EU after a referendum Yes vote.

His intervention led to heated exchanges at First Minister's Questions at Holyrood this afternoon.

SNP dismiss independent EU membership concerns

A suggestion that an independent Scotland would have to apply for membership of the European Union as a new state has been dismissed by a member of Alex Salmond's cabinet.

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said if there was a Yes vote in next year's referendum, Scotland would negotiate to become an independent member of the EU from within Europe.

Speaking to BBC Radio Scotland, he said the country would enjoy a:

"seamless transition because we have the unique position that we're not joining Europe from outside of Europe, we're joining Europe from within Europe."

– Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead

He spoke out after Spanish prime minster Mariano Rajoy said that if part of an existing member state became independent, it would be "left out of the European Union" and would need to apply for membership as a new state.

Mr Rajoy reportedly told a press conference in Madrid yesterday:

"I would like to see the consequences of secession presented to Scots in a realist way. Citizens have the right to be well-informed.

"If part of a member state becomes independent, it would be left out of the European Union and it would be good for citizens (in the EU) and Scots to know that. EU entry would need to be be approved by all 28 member states."

– Mariano Rajoy, Spanish Prime Minister

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Spain's opposition a 'blow to Salmond's EU claims'

After comments made by Mariano Rajoy, Prime Minister of Spain concerning an independent Scotland's membership of the EU, Better Together leader Alistair Darling said:

This is another blow to Alex Salmond's claims that nothing would change if we vote to go it alone. The Spanish Prime Minister has just made it clear that everything would change.

We now know what the position of the Spanish government would be if we vote for independence. This has created even more uncertainty.

National

Spain: Independent Scotland 'will stay outside EU'

Mariano Rajoy speaks during a joint news conference with Francois Hollande in Madrid today. Credit: Reuters

The Prime Minister of Spain has said that Scotland will remain outside the European Union if it becomes independent of the UK.

EU rules state that new countries require a unanimous vote by existing member states if they are to join the union.

But speaking today at a joint press conference with France's Francois Hollande, Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy suggested he would use his country's veto if Scotland applied.

"It is very clear to me, as it is for the rest of the world that a region that obtains independence which is part of a nation state of the EU will stay outside the EU," he said.

"The citizens know it, the Scottish know it - as do all the rest of the citizens of the EU."

Spain's position may be influenced by the likelihood of a would-be independent Catalonia also wanting to remain within the union.

Europe Editor James Mates: Scotland in Europe?

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