IF you really want to know what damage is going to be caused to Scotland by Brexit then read this and try not to weep ...

Despite Scotland being recognised globally for the excellence of its computing skills, particularly in education and the financial sector, this nation will not feature in the new European supercomputers projects.

Instead three countries with populations the same as – or considerably less than that of – Scotland have been selected to host what will be the world’s eight fastest supercomputers as part of the €840 million project.

Kajaani in Finland, Maribor in Slovenia and Bissen in Luxembourg will all be included as hosts along with Sofia in Bulgaria, Ostrava in the Czech Republic, Bologna in Italy, Minho in Portugal and the Catalan capital Barcelona in Spain.

The UK, including Scotland, was not considered for this huge and vital European Union project because Brexit was supposed to have happened at the end of March, and the UK is not one of the countries taking part in the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking.

The supercomputers will support the development of major applications in domains such as personalised medicine, drug and material design, bio-engineering, weather forecasting, and climate change. The European Commission vice-president for the digital single market, Andrus Ansip, said: “These sites will give our researchers access to world-class supercomputers, a strategic resource for the future of European industry. They will be able to process their data inside the EU, not outside it.

“It is a major step forward for Europe to reach the next level of computing capacity.”

Commissioner for budget and human resources, Gunther Oettinger, added: “This initiative demonstrates how joint investment between the EU and its Member States in support of a common objective can contribute to making Europe a leader in a high-technology sector, bringing significant benefits to all European citizens and businesses.”

‘State actor’ blamed for tanker attack

NORWAY found itself in the Middle East limelight last month when one of its ships, the oil tanker Andrea Victory, was attacked with a mine while lying at anchorage off the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the Gulf of Oman.

What is being described by UAE officials as a “sabotage attack” saw four vessels – two Saudi, one Emirati and the Norwegian taker – damaged by limpet mines off the port of Fujairah on May 12.

Norway responded by joining with the UAE and Saudi Arabia to conduct investigations, and one Norwegian insurance company quickly concluded that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard was responsible.

The attacks took place after a rise in tensions between the USA and Iran, following the American moves led by President Donald Trump to cut Iran’s oil exports to zero. The USA also increased its military presence in the Persian Gulf after what it called Iranian threats.

Iran has denied any involvement in the ship mines incident, but the Norwegian investigators have joined with their colleagues from Saudi Arabia, UAE and France there as a neutral independent onlookers – in an inquiry into the incident.

Norway, which has a large merchant fleet of nearly 1500 vessels, joined the UAE and Saudi Arabia in a joint protest to the UN Security Council stating “it appears most likely that the mines were placed on the vessels by divers deployed from fast boats.”

The statement added: “The four attacks were part of a sophisticated and co-ordinated operation carried out by an actor with significant operational capacity, most likely a state actor.”

Norway did not name the “state actor”, but the USA had already blamed Iran – which in turn said it was a “false flag” attack aimed at stirring up hatred towards the country in the Gulf states.

Cyprus and Turkey in new fall out over drilling

AS one of the smallest countries in the European Union in terms of population, Cyprus looks to the EU for support in its ongoing fraught relations with Turkey.

With almost 80 million in its population, Turkey dwarves Cyprus where there are just 850,000 people.

A further 300,000 people live in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, whose claim to statehood is recognised internationally only by Turkey.

The National has reported on the growing tensions between Cyprus and Turkey over the exploitation of oil and gas reserves found in the Mediterranean around the island.

Cyprus has declared an Exclusive Economic Zone around the island, but Turkey has sent a drilling ship into the zone and is reported to be sending another ship soon.

The National:

On Monday the Cypriot authorities issued arrest warrants naming 25 people, including crew members currently assisting the Turkish ship and officials at firms who have partnered with the state-run Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO).

Cyprus knows that it has backing for the move which escalates the situation. The Greek Cypriots are also aware that Turkey wants to join the EU but cannot do so while Cyprus objects to Northern Cyprus being recognised by the EU.

News agencies quoted Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) spokesman Omer Celik (pictured above) as saying: “The news that the Greek Cypriot administration issuing arrest warrants for the crew of our Fatih drillship and officials of the companies cooperating with TPAO is a clear provocation.”