Oscar Wilde love letters discovered

Remarkable love letters written by Oscar Wilde to a young magazine editor are to be auctioned off later on this month at Bamfords of Derby auction house.

The letters addressed to Alsager Vian have been revealed for the first time. They were written at the height of Wilde’s fame and show the author’s struggles with homosexuality at time when it was punishable by prison.

The intriguing collection of five letters, which were kept under lock and key until Vian’s death in 1924, is expected to sell for £10,000 on the 24th of September.

The content of those intimate letters reveals Wilde’s sexuality. They show his deep affection to fellow editor of Society Magazine who is being continually invited to dine with the author.

“Come and dine at Pagani’s in Portland Street on Friday 7.30pm. No dress, just ourselves and a flask of Italian wine.

“Afterwards we will smoke cigarettes and Talk over the Journalistic article, could we go to your rooms, I am so far off, and clubs are difficult to Talk in.”

The letter revealed Wilde’s sexuality much earlier than the well-known case from 1887. Wide was arrested under gross indecency under Section 11 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885, which covered homosexual acts, and spent two years in jail.

The discovery has been made just in time of the upcoming exhibition, Britain’s 19th Century Aesthetic Movement, at the Victoria And Albert Museum in London, which is going to feature Wilde’s lifestyle and legacy.

Gas blast woman in court

Theresa Riggi and children

 A woman who has been charged with murdering her three children is set to appear in Edinburgh Sheriff Court today for the first time. Theresa Riggi is suspected of killing her two twins Austin and Luke, eight as well as her daughter Cecilia, five.

 The three children were found in a flat on Stateford Road, after police were alerted to a small gas explosion. The following post-mortem examination revvealed the children did not die as a result of the gas leak or small fire.  

 Mrs Riggi was admitted into hospital after she fell off the balcony of the home where the children were found.

 Because of her medical condition she was unable to attend court for her original hearing. She was charged with murder at a private hearing, which was held at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary on the August 24.

The children’s father, Pasquale Riggi, 46 spoke of his loss in a statement to the BBC. He said : “It’s been shocking. You are paralysed with grief. The hardest moment was when I first found out. Your life is all about your children. In one instant that’s gone.”

During this statement he did not mention his wife.

He added that the support he had received from around the world had been important in getting him through this traumatic time. He said: “I am doing pretty well, because I have had my closest friends and family around me”.

Second Teenager Assaulted In Glenrothes

Two teenagers have been assaulted in Fife town Glenrothes over the space of two days.

An 18 year old woman was approached by a man in the Stenton area around 2030 on Wednesday night. She was grabbed but managed to run away.

The suspect has been described as being in his late 30s, 6ft tall, well built and has short brown hair. He was wearing a white polo shirt which had writing on the front and dark jeans.

A 15 year old was also assaulted in Glenrothes on Monday night when she was making her way home from Anima night club area to Pitteuchar around 2200.

The suspect has been described as being in his late 20s and of slim build. He has been reported have been wearing a dark coloured waterproof jacket and jeans. He also smelled strongly of alcohol.

The girl became aware of a man following her after she passed the night club in Church Street. She then made her way along Seaton Path, across Warout Road, then through Warout Woods towards Pitteuchar. She was then grabbed from behind when she approached Craigievar Drive and sexually assaulted.

Police are not linking the two incidents but are keeping an open mind. They want to speak to anyone who has any further information.

The victim of Monday’s incident has been described to have been wearing light coloured clothing and had been carrying a carrier bag.

Officers particularly want to talk to a man seen walking in Craigievar Drive on Monday night who may have seen the victim. He has been described as being in his early 20s.

They also are appealing to speak to a group of people who were seen standing near the entrance of Anima. It is thought that they may have seen the victim when she walked past at around 2140 on Monday.

Who Ate all the Pies?

Scots are set to boost Britain’s deflated economy in an appetizing way over the next two years.Scotland’s love of pies is set to help the market reach a value of more than one billion by the year 2012.Sales of the pastry-based savouries are increasing by 5% a year in Scotland says market research firm Mintel. The company states the most popular item in what it calls the “pies and pasties” category is now the beef-filled pie, which has ousted the sausage roll was the number one choice.

Vivianne Ihekweazu, senior food and drink analyst at Mintel, said they had also become fashionable.”While pies were often previously seen as being old fashioned, they have benefited from being repositioned as a popular gastro pub meal staple – moving them a step beyond the sausage roll in the eyes of the consumer as a versatile snack or viable main meal.”

The pork pie market on its own is worth £145m a year, according to the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association.

Judith Constable, from pork pie makers Dickinson & Morris, said their popularity was part of the trend towards locally sourced foods.”We are seeing consumers returning to traditional British foods such as pork pies and looking for authentic regional products with a long heritage,” she added.But Mintel warns tradition alone will not be enough to keep people buying pies.”For future growth to stay strong, manufacturers will also need to reformulate their pie and pasty ranges, making them healthier, with the use of natural ingredients,” Ms Ihekweazu advised.

From Easter road to Africa.

By CHRISTOPHER HARRESS

An ex-Hibs football player has established a footballing charity that combines the incentive  of football with education.

Jimmy Adjovi-Boco, who was born in Benin and now lives in the French town of Arras, says: “I created this charity 10 years ago, but the idea goes back a little further. At the end of my career at Hibs, I decided to go back to university and I graduated from a prestigious business school in Lille.

The charity combines hard work in the classroom with teamwork on the pitch to allow children to become professional footballers or go on to further education. It is through this combination that Jimmy believes Africa could find the answer to long-term prosperity.

“I wanted to do something for the African continent. I consider education to be one of the priorities if we want this continent to develop.”

Twelve years after his last season in professional football, the 46-year-old is able to look back on a notable career in French and Scottish football, where he is still idolised.
Although his only season in Edinburgh proved to be an unsuccessful one, it hasn’t dampened any of Jimmy’s memories of his time in “one of the most beautiful” cities, even eulogising about Hibs fans singing Sunshine on Leith.

Jimmy adds: “The players who made the biggest impression on me are big Yogi (John Hughes) and, above all, Chic Charnley, who is one of the most talented players I have played with.”

It was during Jimmy’s time at Easter Road that the concept of Diambars was born. He was one of a few African players playing outside France at the time, and the only professional football player from Benin.

Jimmy says: “Now we have been able to see – through the World Cup – that there is still a long way to go to reach the highest international level. Even for a competition played on our continent, we did not manage to go further than the quarter-finals. We still have a lot to do regarding the training of our young players, but also of our coaches.”

Along with Patrick Vieira and close friend Bernard Lama, who was having an equally disastrous season at Paris St Germain and also facing the end of his career, Jimmy decided in 1998 that it was time to give something back to Africa.


Jimmy lays the first stone of the Diambars charity complex in Senegal.

He explains: “When you have the chance to earn good money as footballers, it is important to know when to give back, especially for the African continent that suffers from many problems. It is our duty and it is what we try to teach to our young players.”

Diambars, which means “champions” in Wolof – the language of Senegal – initially operated with a presence in France and a camp in Senegal, but recent success has enabled a centre in South Africa. Jimmy even hopes to expand to Scotland.

The charity recruits around fifty 13-year-old boys each season and, while no guarantees can be made about a successful football career, many of the graduates have the opportunity to go on to university or employment afterwards.

However, with between 4000 and 5000 applications received every year, only the very best players can be recruited.

This year’s crop of players at the Senegal centre look to have a promising future, with over 75 per cent pass marks in their final year exams, compared to the national average of 45 per cent in the country.

By educating the players, the charity aims to avoid the situation from the past where young promising African footballers were taken to Europe and often abandoned when they failed to make the grade, leaving them with nothing to fall back on.

Jean-Claude Mbouvin, of the charity Culture Foot Solidaire, knows of 800 African boys who have been effectively ‘lost’ in Europe, while others put the figure as high as 5000 children.

Students live an almost military regime of football training and education at Jimmy’s academy, where they enjoy free food and accommodation for the duration of their five-year stay – a luxury which millions of African boys their age can only dream of.

Given that 50 per cent of men in Senegal cannot read or write, Diambars is succeeding where governments and billions of dollars of investment have failed – a true testament to the work of Boco, who believes that football and education is the way forward.

While only 20 per cent of Diambars boys will go on to play some kind of professional football – often at low-paying African teams – a few will make it through to the elite European leagues each year.

In terms of success, the charity is doing very well with graduates being sold to clubs around Europe, or going on to study at university.

The message of “giving back” is one that the graduates take on their travels, knowing that their success is a matter of life and death for the charity.

Lennon’s Killer Denied Bail for Sixth Time…

Mark David Chapman

Mark David Chapman, killer of John Lennon, has told the parole board in New York that by killing the Beatle he would become a ‘somebody’.

Now, coming up to the 30th anniversary of the legend’s death, his murderer is once again appealing for freedom. He claims to have found Jesus during his incarceration and told the parole board, “I know him, he is with me, he is with me now, he is helping me speak to you now.”

Chapman, now 55, murdered Lennon outside of his New York apartment in December of 1980 and in June 1981 was sentenced for life with parole eligibility after 20 years. Being denied parole for the sixth time – the board commenting that they were still concerned about his disregard for the norms of society – Chapman also told the committee that: “I felt that by killing John Lennon I would become somebody and instead of that I became a murderer and murderers are not somebodies.”

A former security guard, Chapman also told of a list of people he wanted to kill. John Lennon topped the list, including talk show host Johnny Carson and actress Elizabeth Taylor.

Chapman is currently being held at the Attica Correctional Facility in New York State.

Prince William starts RAF rescue training

By Grace Boyle

Royal rescue – Prince William will start as a co-pilot for RAF missions from the Valley airbase on Anglesey

Prince William admits his training to qualify as an RAF search and rescue pilot has been “challenging”.
The prince, known as Flt Lt William Wales, graduates after a 19-month programme at RAF Valley on Anglesey.

“The course has been challenging, but I have enjoyed it immensely,” The Prince said.

He will spend the next three years at the base flying rescue missions, potentially all over the UK.

At Friday’s ceremony Prince William and fellow trainees will receive certificates and squadron badges.

During his training the prince has taken part in a number of simulated rescue missions over the Irish Sea, the Atlantic and in the mountains of Snowdonia.

The RAF has insisted that no concessions have been made to him because of his royal status and that he has passed the training course on merit.

The prince said ahead of the informal ceremony with six fellow trainees at the base: “I am really delighted to have completed the training course with my fellow students.

I absolutely love flying, so it will be an honour to serve operationally with the search and rescue force, helping to provide such a vital emergency service.”

Prince William has completed 70 hours of live flying plus 50 hours of simulator training to learn how to manoeuvre the Seaking helicopter to the exacting standards demanded by his role – and the RAF.

He will now take up his place as a member of a four-man rescue crew, initially as a co-pilot.

While on duty he will live on the base, in preparation to deal with emergency calls.

“You are exposed to your weaknesses and therefore have to adapt.

The crews have to work with you as a team – there is nowhere to hide in the crew of a helicopter.”

The 1000 BST graduation is not classed as a passing out parade and so will be more informal than previous ‘wings ceremonies.’

It will be a number of weeks before he starts his first 24-hour shift as he will have to undergo “acceptance” – learning the terrain and landing sites.

But the RAF has also warned that any time-wasters making bogus calls in the hope of catching a glimpse of the pilot prince could find themselves landed with a hefty bill to cover the enormous cost of every single search and rescue operation.

Gold standard food at Rudolf Steiner

By Màiri Thomson

The Edinburgh Rudolf Steiner School

The Edinburgh Rudolf Steiner School has become the first independent school in Scotland to receive a Gold Food for Life Catering Mark from the Soil Association.

This award requires the school to make use of local and seasonal produce as well as showing it and sets an example of good food culture in the community, which the school has done by involving parents and local groups in the growing and cooking of meals.

The Food for life Partnership involves the Soil Association, Focus on Food, the Health Education Trust and Garden Organic and is also a national programme funded through a £16.9million grant from the Big Lottery Fund.

Alistair Pugh from the Rudolf Steiner School said: “When we started working towards this prestigious award, we adopted a whole school approach. We involved our parents, our local suppliers and our pupils to determine how the menu would evolve. By simplifying what we prepared each day, we have been able to ensure that everything, where possible, is locally sourced, organic and fresh.

“As a result, we have reduced cost, wastage and food miles while providing an innovative educational experience for our pupils.”

The school canteen is run by final year pupils who treat it as a business and put any profits at the end of the year towards a cultural trip to Europe: this year pupils toured Russia and Ukraine. Younger pupils also use locally sourced ingredients to create healthy pizzas which are sold once a week as a fundraiser.


The Food for Life programme has been undertaken in school across the UK

The Soil Association state that the Food for Life Partnership evolved “out of a growing concern that individuals and communities are getting more and more detached from how food is produced, and losing the skills and knowledge needed to take active control over what we eat.”

Steiner teacher Pugh adds: “We would encourage other schools to pursue a Food for Life award as it supports not only the benefits of healthy eating but also food education for the whole school. For example, gardening is part of our curriculum and our pupils grow their own organic vegetables in the school grounds, which are used where appropriate as part of the seasonal menu. In addition, they volunteer at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital’s Community Garden and enjoy a varied programme of farm-based activities, food preparation and cooking classes throughout the year.”

US team meet Scottish Government

Lockerbie Bomber

By Michael Heggie

Talks between the Scottish government and representatives of a US Senate committee investigating the release of the Lockerbie bomber have been described as “amicable”.

 The Senate Foreign Relations committee held a hearing on the bomber’s release, chaired by Democratic Senator Robert Menendez, and US officials met justice representatives from the Scottish Government.

Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi was freed on compassionate grounds in August 2009 as he was thought to have only three months to live due to terminal prostate cancer, outraging the US government and many relatives of Lockerbie victims.

The team representing Senator Robert Menendez is carrying out an inquiry into whether the decision to release Megrahi was linked to an oil deal. However, the committee did not meet Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, who made the decision to free Megrahi.

Scottish Labour’s justice spokesman, Richard Baker, held his own meeting with the US delegation.

Baker told the delegation that the senators’ investigation should focus on the medical advice given to the minister and called for it to be made public.

He said: “I told the delegation that I felt that any conjecture about oil or trade with this case did not hold up to detailed scrutiny.

“Their focus needs to be on the man who made the decision to release Scotland’s worst mass murderer and the evidence that the man who released him now relies on.”

International News in Brief

EUROPE

- German Chancellor Angela Merkel denies she had discussed Romanian camps with French President Nicolas Sarkozy during EU summit in Brussels.

- Chechen separatist leader Akhmed Zakayev was arrested in Poland where he was attending a Chechen congress. He had been informed by Polish authorities he faced arrest because of a Russian warrant issued through Interpol.

NORTH AMERICA

- One in seven Americans are now living in poverty and the highest level of working-age poor since the 60s has put Obama under pressure.

- Lennon killer Mark David Chapman, who was denied parole for the sixth time last week, explains he did it to become a ‘someone’.

SOUTH AMERICA

- Mexican security forces killed 19 people in gun-battle against drug gangs near Monterrey.

- Ecuador’s government asks rich countries $3.6 billions in exchange of not drilling the oil reserve in Yasuni National Park.

AFRICA

- Malawi will not back male circumcision plans as a strategy of HIV prevention since the national Aids Commission cannot prove evidence of its effectiveness.

- Seven foreigners have been kidnapped in uranium mining zone in northern Niger. French foreign minister Kouchner says a group linked to Al Qaeda is suspicious.

ASIA /MIDDLE EAST 

- Two Afghan candidates and 18 poll officials kidnapped while Pakistani printers in the Afghan border claim to have printed thousands of fake voter registration cards requested by Afghan politicians.

- Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan announces new cabinet after his re-election as head of the governing Democratic Party last Saturday.

AUSTRALIA

- Wildlife officers are investigating a sighting of a 3m crocodile near a northern Brisbane beach.

- Prime Minister Julia Gillard has spoken for the first time since becoming prime minister in June with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao who has invited her to visit China.

Pope’s visit a success

The Pope in Morningside. Image: Maxim Lewerenz

The Pope’s visit to Edinburgh has largely been seen as successful by those involved in the event, with crowds throughout the town and few major incidents. Reactions to the tour by members of the public were diverse, but also mainly positive.

Among those in the front row as Pope Benedict passed Princes Street was Rose Langan, 69, who travelled to Edinburgh to see the Pope with her son Nicholas, who lives here.

She said: “It is nowhere near as busy as I thought it would be. I came at 9am expecting to struggle to see. But I managed to pitch my camping chair right at the front so I am delighted. What a privilege it is to be here in this lovely city to see the Pope. He is such a powerful man and isn’t it wonderful the Queen invited him here.

“I saw Pope John Paul when he was here last time in 1982. It was a brilliant speech he made to Scotland that day, encouraging the youth to unite. I have brought the welcome flag I bought that day along with me today. I was hoping to go to Glasgow for the Mass but since the busses got cancelled and I have bad knees there is no way I can walk from the station. So Edinburgh is my place for today and I will watch the rest on television.

“It makes me sad that so few young people go to church today but perhaps he will bless some of them today and they will come. As a faith we may be getting smaller but we must unite and then we will see the positives once more.”

About a dozen Spanish tourists shouted abuse at the Pope as he drove past them at the east end of Princes Street. He smiled at them, either unaware or unwilling to hear their cries.

Another visitor to Edinburgh was Andrew Snape, 34, who came up from Blackpool. He said he “would die for the Pope”.

He said: “I welcome his holiness to my country. I was four years old when the last Pope visit happened and although I was young I do remember being aware of what a momentous thing it was. The crowd is not gigantic, I will admit that, but the people I have spoken to know what a blessing it is that we have the Pope here in our country. Long live the Pope. I hope he makes people think about the history of the country and makes more of us proud of what we have.

“He is incredibly powerful and no matter what the media says about him he is too strong. He will overcome all this rubbish. I would die for the Pope and his devotion. He will tell us that we all work too much and concentrate on the wrong things in life. Life is for living and Edinburgh today is very much alive with people who feel that way.”

Amy Putman, 27, is doing a PHD in film studies at the University of Edinburgh. She said she hoped the city would “look good on TV”.

She said: “I am here to pay my respect to a man who represents millions of people around the world. It is incredible that he is in Edinburgh and I still can’t quite believe this is it already.

“He has had a bad press lately but I believe he has all the best intentions to spread a good message of love. To know so many people are watching around the world is exciting too and I hope Edinburgh looks good on TV and comes across well. I am sure it will.”

James Finally Breaks a Record

By Colleen Reid

James celebrates his new title (photograph from http://www.thecourier.co.uk)

Dunfermline oddball James Boyd has made his way into the Guinness Book of World Records after equalling the record for the most After Eight mints eaten in one minute.

The record breaking effort comes after an embarrassing attempt on Britain’s Got Talent in 2010 where Boyd failed to equal or beat the record of eight After Eights without the use of hands.

His record-breaking attempts don’t stop there as Boyd was humiliated after downing just four Ferrero Rocher in 60 seconds a year previously on BGT despite host Ant McPartlin wolfing down five.

James said: “I’m very happy that now I’m in the Guinness Book of Records. It was a big ambition for me as I used to watch programmes such as Record Breakers and You Bet on TV when I was younger. I would like to try and beat the record one day but I’m just enjoying getting my name in the book at the moment.”

The contestant has used his new found fame in the hope to raise the profile of his fund-raising for children’s charities, CHAS and Children’s Hospices UK.

Despite being a new record breaker, Boyd warns he will return to the talent show to prove that his previously condemned ‘talent’ is not too disgusting for a spot on the Royal Variety Performance.

Pakistani politician Imran Farooq murdered in London

By Steven Allison

An exiled Pakistani politician has been murdered outside his home in North London, leaders of his party have said.

Imran Farooq, a senior member of the MQM party who has been in London since 1999, was attacked in Green Lane, Edgware, on Thursday evening.

The Metropolitan Police said a 50-year-old man had died after suffering multiple stab wounds and head injuries.

The investigation into his death has now been taken over by SO15, Scotland Yard’s counter-terrorism command.

Officers are working on the assumption that Mr Farooq’s murder was politically motivated.

The “prominent and popular leader” was living with his wife and two sons in Green Lane.

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) has declared a 10-day mourning period and violence has been reported in Karachi, with cars being set alight and guns fired across the city. It is understood nobody has been killed or injured.

Hundreds of party activists have converged on Mr Farooq’s family home in the centre of Karachi, the largest city in Pakistan and the main base of support for the MQM.

Police in London were called to reports of a serious assault at 1730 BST on Thursday. Mr Farooq was treated by paramedics but declared dead at the scene about an hour later. No arrests have been made.

A Met spokesman said: “When officers arrived they found an Asian male, aged 50, suffering from multiple stab wounds and head injuries.

Mr Farooq disappeared from Pakistan in 1992 and is known to have been living in exile in London since 1999, when he claimed asylum in the UK.

He is understood to have been wanted by Pakistani security forces and said in 1999 he had spent the previous seven years in hiding in Karachi.

The former Pakistani parliamentarian was one of the founding members of the MQM, a former opposition party which is now part of the ruling PPP-led alliance.

He is also said to have had a very violent past.

Weeding Out Cannabis in Scotland

Courtesy Daily Mail.

The Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency (SCDEA) is asking the public to provide anonymous information on houses and flats that they suspect are being used to grow the class B drug.

Over the past four years Scotland’s police forces have seized almost £40 million worth of cannabis plants, enough to cover the football pitches at Hampden, Ibrox and Parkhead. Earlier this year police in Edinburgh discovered cannabis cultivation with a potential estimated street value of £56,000 during a raid on a flat in the Newington area of the city.

 Cabinet Secretary for Justice Kenny MacAskill said:

“Serious organised crime affects us all. It brings human misery to thousands of families through the harmful drugs they peddle – with cannabis most often the drug that starts people on that dark journey.

“We need the public’s help to expand our knowledge, and disrupt these criminals’ operations. Even the smallest piece of information about an individual or group’s activity can be the key that unlocks the door to disrupting an entire criminal empire.”

Growing cannabis is not just illegal, it is potentially dangerous. Properties are often destroyed internally to maximise space for plants, with walls damaged and often knocked down. This represents a serious fire and electrocution risk because the electricity supply is interfered with and powerful lighting is left on for long periods of time.

Blacked out windows, a low hum or loud buzzing noise caused by fans or extraction systems are all indicators that a property may be being used to grow the illegal drug. There may also be a strong, sweet distinctive smell and an unusual level of heat coming through walls and floors. The SCDEA is calling on the public to anonymously share any suspicions they have through the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or give information anonymously online at http://www.crimestoppers-uk.org/.

Man Mountain

A JUDGE in Ireland has issued an unusually ‘high’ punishment to a man who abused a policeman in County Donegal.

Joseph McElwee, 38, of Aughavennan, Rathmullan was ordered to climb Ireland’s holiest mountain at Milford District Court recently.

The court heard that McElwee had hurled a tirade of foul language at two officers outside a pub and told one member of the Garda to “go back to Mayo”.

Judge Seamus Hughes asked him if he had ever climbed Croagh Patrick in the officer’s native County Mayo.

He said: “I want you to come back in a month’s time with evidence that you did the four stations of Croagh Patrick, and say a few prayers.

“You then might have a different impression of County Mayo and its people, and it will be in recognition to your fellow Irish people especially those in the line of duty.”

McElwee’s solicitor told the court that drink was to blame for his client’s actions and that he had personally apologised to the officer in question.

He added that although the public gallery was finding the pilgrimage remarks funny he wanted to assure the judge his client was taking it seriously and wanted to know how McElwee would be able to prove he had climbed Croagh Patrick.

McElwee is due to appear in court again next month, and the judge warned he would have questions prepared: “You better have the answers, and I will know whether you are telling the truth or not,” he said.

Thousands of pilgrims visit Croagh Patrick every year. Credit: BBC

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