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Friday, 15 December, 2000, 16:34 GMT
Backing for embryo research
Labour's Anne Begg has appealed to MPs to pass controversial regulations which would allow new embryology research.

Opponents assert that stem cell research could lead to human cloning but the government has rejected the accusations.

It has insisted that the research could result in a cure for thousands of people with a range of degenerative diseases.

The Aberdeen South MP explained that she suffered from a single gene defect and the research could help her and many others.


Concern over Gaelic education

The Scottish National Party has called on the education minister to clarify the executive's position on Gaelic medium education.

Education spokesman Mike Russell said he has demanded answers after Jack McConnell had "failed" to place Gaelic medium education among his national educational priorities.

He said: "I cannot stress in strong enough terms to Mr McConnell that Gaelic will not survive more than two or three decades as a community language unless there is now a very rapid increase in the number of children who are fluent in the language."


Child safety pledge

The cost of checking the criminal records of people wanting to work with children and other vulnerable groups will be met by the Scottish Executive.

Social Justice Minister Jackie Baillie announced that a 1m will be made available to pay for the checks.

A further 250,000 a year will be used to set up the central registered body and to process the applications.

The move has been welcomed by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations and by the Scout Association.

Each check costs around 10.


Water bodies in plea

The country's three water authorities have told the Scottish Parliament that they want to be able to compete on equal terms with private sector suppliers.

The publicly owned water industry in Scotland is being forced to open up to competition under recent legislation.

However, in evidence to the parliament's environment committee, the authorities said private companies should not be allowed to cherry pick the most profitable parts of the industry.

The bodies said companies should also be subject to the same standards on water quality and pollution.

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23 May 00 | Scotland
BBC Scotland - Politics On Air
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