The United Kingdom is still United as Scotland chose to vote 'No' in the Scottish independence referendum on Thursday, Sept 18, 2014. The voting results were released on early morning Friday, Sept 19, 2014. The 307-year long union was thought to broke but it didn't. 55% of voters rejected the proposal of an independent Scotland while 45% voted supporting it. Sadness loomed over nearly half of the Scottish people and happiness among others as the polling results were announced.
Supporters of 'No' Campaign celebrating on Sept 19, 2014
CREDIT: REUTERS/DYLAN MARTINEZ
The independence referendum asked many questions about the future of the Scotland, its economy, what its currency might be, its membership in the European Union. Many dreamed about an independent Scotland. A 'Yes' would've made Scotland an independent country by 2016 in the mean time discussing the stake they had on oil, currency, nuclear weapons and other things.

David Cameron, United Kingdom Prime Minister in the last moment even promised more powers for Scotland if they choose to stay with them. He even said it would break his heart to see United Kingdom break. I'm one of those who curiously waited for the polling results. David Cameron's whining worked and Scotland is still a part of the United Kingdom.

Alex Salmond, First Minister of Scotland said "Can I say thank-you for that reception but above all thank-you to Scotland for 1.6 million votes for Scottish independence".

Alex Salmond accepted defeat in the Scottish independence referendum and asked everyone to do the same. He was impressed with 86% Scottish people participating in the voting, a high number in the Scottish political history and said he even met those who never voted before.

"Today in Inverurie I met a 61-year-old lady just coming out of the polling station who had never voted before in her life". "I met a soldier, a former soldier, who hadn't voted since he left the Army some 24 years ago.

He continued saying all these people choose to vote in the independence referendum with a thought that they make the difference. The campaign touched the sections of people who previously never showed interest in politics.

David Cameron said he was delighted with the result like others and as the issues is "now settled for a generation", we all should come together and move forward. Instead of blocking the Scottish independence referendum, he allowed the Scottish people to choose their way from a democratic perspective. He congratulated the ones participated in the 'No' campaign and promised Scotland more powers.

"Scotland voted for a stronger Scottish Parliament backed by the strength and security of the United Kingdom, and I want to congratulate the No campaign for that for showing people that our nations really are better together".

"So, just as Scotland will vote separately in the Scottish Parliament on their issues of tax, spending and welfare, so too England, as well as Wales and Northern Ireland, should be able to vote on these issues".
The United Kingdom got what they wanted which is Scotland to stay with the union. Now, I think its time for the United Kingdom to focus on the unemployment and others issues Scotland is facing. They should resolve the issues and provide better lives for Scottish people otherwise another incident like this could happen ending with a different result.
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On Thursday, Sept 18 2014, the future of the United Kingdom will be known as the Scotland votes for its freedom. The vote decides whether Scotland becomes an independent country or not? The voting is about to take place in less than 24 hours.

Scottish citizens of 16 years of age or above are allowed to vote either choosing yes or no for the question 'Should Scotland be an independent country?'. Supporting and opposing, two campaigns have been running in the recent past. One is 'Yes Scotland' campaign supporting independence and the other is 'Better Together' opposing the independence.
Photo by islandsofthemind / CC BY
Great Britain is comprised of England, Wales and Scotland. The Union was formed in 1707 and for 307 years the union stayed. Scotland was alongside of Great Britain when they were expanding the empire and was once called 'The empire on which the sun never sets'. With the technique 'divide and rule', Great Britain conquered many countries in the world is now suffering from the division saga.

Unemployment, Britain's authority over the Scottish people and their oil were the main reasons that led to the self rule movement. The union is threatened as the Scotland is getting ready to say goodbye to Great Britain in less than 24 hours.

David Cameron, United Kingdom Prime Minister gave an emotional speech ahead of the voting urging the voters to stay with the United kingdom. He said "On Thursday, Scotland votes, and the future of our country is at stake. On Friday, people could be living in a different country, with a different place in the world and a different future ahead of it. This is a decision that could break up our family of nations, and rip Scotland from the rest of the UK".

David Cameron asked while voting, people should keep few things in mind that they aren't just voting for themselves but also they are voting for their future generations. He said there is no going back from the decision that is about to be made and "It could end the United Kingdom as we know it". Talking about the outcome, he said “Independence would not be a trial separation. It would be a painful divorce”.

Barack Obama, United States president said, "I would say that the United Kingdom has been an extraordinary partner to us. From the outside, at least, it looks like things have worked pretty well. And we obviously have a deep interest in making sure that one of the closest allies that we will ever have remains strong, robust, united, and an effective partner. But ultimately these are decisions that are to be made by the folks there”.

A large number of Scottish voters are yet to decide and they could shift to any side in the last moment. This is the main reasons polls cannot decide or give a clarity on whether the United Kingdom can stay united.

If Yes is voted, Scotland becomes independent then Scottish people will be the happiest ones. If No is the outcome of the vote, British people will be the happiest ones then Scotland might focus on demanding more powers.

Loud voices could be heard about resigning but David Cameron said he will not resign as the United Kingdom Prime Minister if Scotland votes yes.

United Kingdom is worried this could spark and increase division intentions among other countries which have been internal part.
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On Tuesday, Sept 16, 2014, Martin E. Dempsey, United States Army general and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff recommended to send ground troops if the ongoing airstrikes and the formed coalition with Europe and Middle East are no longer effective in the fight against the Islamic State.
“My view at this point is that this coalition is the appropriate way forward. I believe that will prove true. But if it fails to be true and if there are threats to the United States, then I of course would go back to the president and make a recommendation that may include the use of U.S. military ground forces”.

The recommendation came during the Senate Armed Services Committee, which is meant to talk about the United States policies towards Islamic State.

Chuck Hagel, United States Secretary of Defense during the meet talked about the treat Islamic State possess to the world, "ISIL (Islamic State) poses a real threat to all countries in the Middle East, our European allies and to America" and the willingness from the world to support their actions, "More than 40 nations have already expressed their willingness to participate in this effort, and more than 30 nations have indicated their readiness to offer military support".

Barack Obama, United States President setup four strategies for the United States to fight against the Islamic State that includes expanding airstrikes, supporting the forces fighting the Islamic State, preventing attacks on the homelands of the coalition and continue the humanitarian aid to the refugees.

Chuck Hagel said these strategies developed to destroy the Islamic State will not be that easy without continuous support from the coalition and for now, "We are at war with ISIL, as we are with al Qaeda".

The United States decided to extend its airstrikes mainly to protect its citizens from the threat they face from the Islamic State and help the Iraqi forces, Kurdish forces to keep gain control over the Islamic State territories. Since Friday, Aug 8, 2014, United States launched airstrikes more than 160 times in Iraq targeting Islamic State positions and equipment. There are almost 1,600 military advisors in Iraq not to engage in ground combat but to provide support.

Deb Fischer, United States senator said the Congress should have a full debate on the Barack Obama's request of $500 million to train the Syrian rebels. The House of Representatives will vote on this issue on Wednesday, Sept 17, 2014 and the voting will take place later this week in the Senate.

John Boehner, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives supporting the Barack Obama's request said, "If our goal here is to destroy ISIL, we've got to do more than train a few folks in Syria and train a few folks in Iraq and drop some bombs".

Previously, On Monday, Sept 15, 2014, United States said it would attack and destroy the Syrian air defenses if Syria attacks their planes launching airstrikes targeting Islamic State inside Syria. The warning came as Syria warned about the unauthorized airstrikes and United States decides to push-on.

United States officials said they are well aware of the Syrian air defenses along with the locations of their command and control centers. Bashar al-Assad will risk damaging his countries air defenses if he and his government attacks the United States planes.
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On Friday, Sept 12, 2014, Germany banned promoting and flying the Islamic State flags inside their borders. Now, its officially illegal in the country to carry out the activities of the Islamic State or support it or raise their flags. The ban also includes raising funds or hiring fighters or wearing, displaying symbols and propagation on the internet.

Thomas de Maiziere, Interior Minister in a press conference held in Berlin said, "Germany is a well-fortified democracy, there's no place here for a terrorist organization which opposes the constitutional order as well as the notion of international understanding".

Thomas de Maiziere added, "We are resolutely confronting this threat today. Today's ban is directed solely against terrorists who abuse religion for their criminal goals".

The Islamic State is a threat to internal security of Germany. More than 400 Germans went to fight alongside of the self-declared Islamic State. Almost 100 of them even returned and some of them directly fought in the war zone. They are now staying in Germany probably attracting the locals and building support.

Thomas de Maiziere mentioning about the returning fighters said "some with combat experience who have learned to hate" and added, "We don't know what they are doing, but it could be that they will carry out attacks".

The Islamic State has been using social media to recruit young Germans both men and women to join the group, fight and kill others.

India should do what Germany did and ban people from showing support inside its territorial borders. Flags were already seen in the Indian states like Kashmir and Tamil Nadu. Few people flewn to fight in-support of the Islamic State.

Others countries like United States and European countries should follow Germany in this issue. All the countries should unite and put an end to the Islamic State atrocities as quickly as possible. Armed struggle can't destroy the Islamic State, the world leaders have to think of new strategy. Otherwise, things get very difficult to contain.
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On Thursday, Sept 11. 2014, Ali Haidar, Syria's Minister of Reconciliation said that any airstrike by the United States on the Islamic Sate inside Syria without the involvement of Syrian government will be considered as aggression. Previously, Syrian Foreign Minister warned United States about the airstrikes in a similar way.

On Wednesday, Sept 10. 2014, Barack Obama, United States President said the United States will launch airstrikes on the self-declared Islamic State inside Syria and expand the ongoing strikes to other places in Iraq. This new strategy is the United States relentless effort to destroy Islamic State. Barack Obama did not gave clarity on the starting date of airstrikes.

Barack Obama said Bashar al-Assad, Syrian President will not be a part of these airstrikes targeting the Islamic State inside Syria, as he lost the legitimacy and will never regain it.

Barack Obama once again urged a permission from Congress to open a program, which includes training and arming the rebels fighting the Islamic State, Bashar al-Assad government in Syria. This plan could fill few gaps in the conflict, as the United States is hesitant to use its ground troops. John Boehner, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives supported the Barack Obama's plan and Congress will make decision on this issue next week.

Syria's main opposition groups backed by the United States praised the plans of airstrikes targeting the Islamic State inside Syria and said it is ready to support and help the international communities in the fight.

Hoshyar Zebari, Iraq's deputy prime minister said the new airstrikes strategy would work with the help of Iraqi forces, Kurdish fighters and others local fighters.

Sharif Shehadeh, a Syrian lawmaker said unauthorized airstrikes is a violation of Syrian sovereignty and it will have unintended consequences on the security in a regional or international level.

Iran is an ally of Bashar al-Assad government in Syria and for that; they were not invited to join the international coalition, which was formed to fight the Islamic State.

On Thursday, Sept 11, 2014, Hassan Rouhani, Iran President said the regional and international countries should cooperate with each other to destroy the Islamic State and this cooperation will be vital.

Marzieh Afkham, Iran foreign ministry spokeswoman said there are ambiguities about the coalition and Iran has serious doubts about the seriousness of newly formed coalition, which is constantly blaming the supporters of the terrorism in Iraq and Syria without naming them.

For now, the airstrikes only target the Islamic State. During the Syrian civil war, the United States government armed the Islamic State to fight the Bashar al-Assad's regime with a goal to overthrow the regime. United States intervention made it difficult for Bashar al-Assad to destroy the Islamic State. Now weakening the Islamic State with these airstrikes will unintentionally strengthen the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria.

Hadi al-Bahra, chief of the Syrian National Coalition opposition group said they are ready to fight alongside of United States to defeat the Islamic State and finally help, relive the Syrian people from the cruel Bashar al-Assad regime.

Russia said the United States airstrikes against the Islamic State without the backing of United Nations is blatant violation of the international law.
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On Wednesday, Sept 10, 2014, John Kerry, United States Secretary of State started a Middle East tour to talk about a coalition to fight against the Islamic State with Baghdad as the first stop, In the Iraq capital, John Kerry met Haider al-Abadi. Iraq Prime Minister and his newly formed government.
Photo by nostri-imago / CC BY
John Kerry praised the Haider al-Abadi's determination to fight the Islamic State and retake the lost territories. He said the World could not watch the evil from the Islamic State spread. A global plan will defeat the biggest threat Iraq face and there should be more involvement from Iraq.

Haider al-Abadi asked the international communities to help Iraq and its military in the fight against Islamic State. He compared the Islamic State and its territorial expansion to cancer spreading.

The newly Prime Minister said, "Of course our role is to defend our country, but the international community is responsible for protecting Iraq and protecting Iraqis and the whole region".

In the recent past, the United States tasted criticism from inside and outside for not doing much in the ongoing fight with the Islamic State. John Kerry visit came just after 2 days; Haider al-Abadi formed a new government. United States considers a coalition with this new government helps them to weaken the Islamic State.

On Monday, Sept 8, 2014, Haider al-Abadi formed an inclusive government with the acceptance from Parliament. Even though the new government has major political support compared to Nouri al-Maliki, Haider al-Abadi still be facing issues and need to tackle many challenges. He has to bring the unity among different sections of people.

The Iraq military is more in count but less powerful compared to the Islamic State. Iraq's armed forces lost many territories and ran away during the fight in June 2014. The new prime Minister need to take decisive steps to strengthen them and give stiff resistance in the future encounters.

Last week, the United States formed a coalition with nine European countries to combat the Islamic State. This Middle East trip could be an aim to form a bigger coalition.

John Kerry said few countries in the coalition help train and arm Iraqi forces, others will be helpful in carrying out humanitarian activities necessary for refugees or block the military funding reaching the Islamic State or stop the foreign fighters from joining.

Cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, head of a powerful Shi'ite movement in Iraq called the United States an occupier and said that Iraq shouldn't help them. They should cooperate with its neighbors and allies to fight the Islamic State.

The tour was started with a goal to get military, financial and political support from the neighboring regions. Saudi Arabia is the next stop in the John Kerry's Middle East tour, which will happen on Thursday, Sept 11, 2014. After that, he will meet other regional countries too.

The United States expanded its airstrikes in Syria. It is mainly expecting the Gulf States to stop the flow of funds and foreign fighters to the Islamic State.

On Friday, Sept 12, 2014, Francois Hollande, French President will travel to Baghdad to meet and talk to the Iraq government about the ways to tackle the Islamic State.
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On Tuesday, Sept 9, 2014, Dutch Safety Board released its report on the Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash. The report, the Dutch Safety Board released said "large number of high-energy objects" hit Malaysia Airlines MH17 and was the reason for the crash.

The incident happened in the eastern Ukraine, where the Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian rebels been fighting since April 2014. Different conspiracies about the crash flew around at the time.

Ukrainian State Air Traffic Service Enterprise (UkSATSE) alerted the National Bureau of Air Accidents Investigation of Ukraine (NBAAI) about losing contacts with Malaysia Airlines MH17, which happened on Thursday, July 17, 2014.

On Friday, July 18, 2014, NBAAI sent notification to the countries which MH17 was operating and manufactured i.e., Malaysia and United States. Along with those two, International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Netherlands and Australia received the notification.

NBAAI started the investigation on the day of the crash but on Wednesday, July 23, 2014, it transferred the investigation to Dutch Safety Board, Dutch Safety Board had experts from different countries and aviation agencies.

The Dutch Safety Board made use of aircraft maintenance data, operational data, Air Traffic Control (ATC) surveillance data, data stored in Flight Data Recorder (FDR) and Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) in its investigation. It even used satellite images, images released by NBAAI, Australian Federal Police (AFP) and photos publicly available.

pro-Russian rebels took the flight recorders from the crash site and on Monday, July 21, 2014, handed it over to Malaysian official. Later, on Tuesday, July 22, 2014, the flight recorder was handed over to the Dutch Safety Board. The investigators did not find any evidence that the recorders were manipulated.

The Dutch Safety Board released its reports after investigating the incident for almost two months. In the report, it concluded many things that all the crewmembers were medically fit to take the flight and MH17 had no technical malfunctions before takeoff. The recorders were clean and didn't find any evidence of system malfunction during the flight.

UkSATSE restricted the airspace below FL 320 to fly and Malaysia Airlines MH17 was flying at a height of FL 330, which is the unrestricted airspace. Before losing contact, ATC did not receive any distress signals.
Part of inside cockpit, indicating penetration with objects from outside. (Source: DCA)
The cockpit and the fuselage of the Malaysia Airlines MH17 was damaged which indicated that "large number of high-energy objects" hit the moving flight. This resulted the crash and the flight broke into many pieces before it hit the ground. The Dutch Safety Board clearly pointed out the reason for the crash of Malaysia Airlines MH17 but it didn't accuse any side.

This report is a preliminary report and it could be corrected if additional details were found about the crash. Najib Razak, Malaysian Prime Minister said surface-to-air missile was the reason and welcomed the collective effort to make the report. He asked all sides to provide more support to the team in releasing the final report.

On Tuesday, Sept 9, 2014, after the report was released, pro-Russian rebels once again said they don't have the necessary technology to bring down the Malaysia Airlines MH17 and it was the Ukrainian armed forces deliberate action to provoke the conflict and discredit Russia and them.

The victims families of Malaysia Airlines MH17 once again demanded justice after the report was released and wanted the government to severely punish the culprit. Some were frustrated that the report didn't pointed the criminals involved in the act.
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