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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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Health

Sleeping in on weekends may help live longer

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Sleep deprivation has been found to have numerous negative effects on a person’s health. But the new study has shown that sleeping more on the weekend might help ease health problems associated with not getting enough during the week, and even reduce the risk of an early death.

The study, published in Journal of Sleep Research by scientists from Sweden and the United States, suggested that the negative effects of a few nights of short sleep could be counteracted by staying in bed over the weekend.

The from the Stress Research Institute (SRI) at Stockholm University and the Karolinska Institute discovered that people below 65 years old who slept less than five hours on weekends had a higher risk of early death after examining medical and lifestyle data from more than 43,000 adults, following them for a period of 13 years.

For people who slept for less than five hours throughout the week but slept longer on the weekends for about nine hours, there was no increase in mortality risk. But, for people who consistently slept for less than five hours through the whole week, the mortality risk is higher.

Torbjorn Akerstedt, one of the authors of the research and a clinical neuroscience professor from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, said that the findings were consistent with previous studies on the link between sleep duration and mortality.

However, those previous studies only focused on sleep during weekdays.

“The results imply that short sleep is not a risk factor for mortality if it is combined with a medium or long weekend sleep,” the researchers wrote in the study.

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