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Scots, Northern Irish eye UK escape after Brexit vote

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EDINBURGH — Britain’s vote to leave the European Union has put the question of Scottish freedom once more into play, with Scotland having voted vigorously for the UK to stay in the alliance.

While dominant parts of voters in England and Wales upheld the campaign to leave the 28-country alliance, the UK’s two different regions of Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to stay.

Hot on the heels of Friday’s results, nationalist leaders in both countries vowed to leave the UK if that is the required price to keep their homelands fully connected to Europe.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the result put another independence referendum ‘on the table’, adding that it was ‘highly likely’ within two years.

Scotland, where nationalists already in power narrowly lost a 2014 independence referendum, appears poised to be first out the UK door if its English neighbors don’t manage a negotiated U-turn to remain inside the EU.

“As things stand, Scotland faces the prospect of being taken out of the EU against our will. I regard that as democratically unacceptable,” she said.

Throughout the 2014 campaign Ms Sturgeon made it clear that if Scotland was pulled out of the EU against its will,  that would be grounds for a second referendum on seceding from the United Kingdom.

The UK as a whole voted by 52 per cent to 48 per cent to leave the EU. However, Scotland voted strongly for Britain to remain — by 62 per cent to 38 per cent — with a majority in all 32 of its local authority areas.

Wales and England, except London, voted for Britain to leave the EU, while Northern Ireland voted for it to stay in.

Ms Sturgeon said her devolved government would now draw up legislation to allow a second Scottish independence referendum.

Citing a clause in her Scottish National Party manifesto, she said there had now been a “significant and material change in the circumstances in which Scotland voted against independence” in 2014, when 55 per cent of Scots voted to stay in the UK.

Next door, Irish nationalists in the long-disputed UK region of Northern Ireland say the British vote has reignited their demands for an all-island referendum to reunite the two parts of Ireland after 95 years of partition.

They argue that a British withdrawal from the EU would force authorities in both parts of Ireland to renew customs and security controls on what would become the UK’s only land border with an EU state, the Republic of Ireland.

Agencies

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Tourist arrivals jumped 73.5 percent in July

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KATHMANDU — Tourist arrivals to Nepal jumped 73.5 percent in the month of July, according to statistics released by Nepal Tourism Board (NTB).

The NTB said that this increment is because of a sharp increase in the number of travellers from countries like India, China, the US and the UK. The growth in the numbers has also been attributed to Indian pilgrims visiting Mount Kailash Mansarovar in Tibet, via Nepal.

The statistics show that Nepal received a whopping 73,285 international tourists in July—a time of the year that is considered to be an off-season for tourists due to the monsoons. With July’s figures, the number of foreign tourists visiting Nepal in the first seven months (January–July) of 2018 reached 593,299, which is an increase of 18 percent as compared to the same period last year.

Total 18,385 Indian tourists visited Nepal via air transport, which is up 80.4 percent compared to the same period last year.

After India, Nepal received the highest number of visitors from China. The Chinese tourist numbers have more than doubled to 13,123 in the month of July. This is a 125.4 percent growth in comparison to the arrivals in the same month last year.

Overall arrivals from SAARC countries registered a growth of 66 percent, in comparison to the same month last year. However, arrivals from Bangladesh declined by nine percent. Arrivals from rest of the Asian countries have also recorded a robust growth of 86.2 percent.

Visitors from Japan and South Korea to Nepal also increased by 36 percent and 21.9 percent respectively.

Likewise, an overall increase of 54.1 percent in July has been recorded from European source markets. However, arrivals from Austria declined by 72.6 percent.

The number of visitors from the US and Canada have also grown by 79.6 percent and 73.3 percent respectively.

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