Delays expected on the Forth Road Bridge this Weekend

Forth Road Bridge

According to forthroadbridge.org, work will be carried out between 3am and 12 noon on both Saturday, 31 March and Sunday, 1 April, with traffic being restricted. A spokesperson of the Forth Road Bridge advices “to take public transport if you can. Delays could be up to two hours around 11am”

Following the successful completion of work on the Forth Road Bridge two weeks ago, additional traffic restrictions have to be taken for this weekend in order to remove the access cradle and materials from the east cable. The work on the bridge has to be carried out in daylight for health and safety reasons.

Barry Colford, Chief Engineer & Bridgemaster, said: “Work has been ongoing to tension the bolts on the cable and this has now been fully completed. If the weather is fair, we will be aiming to finish the work and lift the restrictions as soon as possible, but we will only do so when there is no risk of danger to our personnel and bridge users.

Car emblems stolen from Audis and BMWs

Audi A6

Five cars in total have been vandalized while they were parked on Bellevue Road and in the McDonald’s car park located on the same street. Both are in the Broughton Area.

Hood ornaments are popular prey for vandals all over the world. Edinburgh BMWs and Audis have recently been stripped of their firmly placed logos. Mercedes emblems are loose by comparison and are also popular among thieves.

A police spokesman said:

“We are appealing to anyone who witnessed any of these vandalisms to contact police, and we would also urge anyone else with information that can help us trace whoever is responsible for these vandalisms to get in touch.”

Anyone with information regarding this crime should contact Lothian Borders Police on 0131 311 3131 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Rangers receive £25m bid from US Company

Copyright Christopher Harress

Glasgow Rangers have more than 140 years of history, but the past few months may have been the most tumultuous, with the SPL title-defenders staring into the abyss of administration and the imminent uncertainty over possible takeovers.

A £25m bid from a Chicago-based company, if accepted, could see Rangers go into liquidation – an option fans do not support.

Club 9 Sports would want to form a new club, to avoid paying the club’s debts. Such action would lead Rangers to have at three-year ban from all European competitions. In the even more drastic scenario, liquidation could force Rangers back to the start, requiring them to apply to join the Division Three.

The only offer seeing Rangers go into administration came from former Ibrox director Paul Murray. Letting Rangers pay off their debts through the Company Voluntarily Arrangements (CVA).

The American bid is more than double Brian Kennedy’s offer, which was rejected yesterday. The American firm is now the frontrunner for taking over the club.

 

The Weekend in Sports

By: Maxim Lewerenz

Photo taken by George Groutas

Football:

Celtic are still on track on winning their first SPL title in four years and doing so possibly by a record margin. The ten point deduction of archrivals Rangers means Celtic can reclaim the points lost at last weekend’s Old Firm match by beating St. Johnstone on Sunday, with second and third placed Rangers and Motherwell taking each others points.

In the Barclay’s Premier League Manchester City will face Sunderland at home without star striker Sergio Aguero. A win would mean the Citizens would overtake Manchester United by their superior goal difference. At least until Monday, when United will travel to Blackburn.

QPR will host the rejuvenated Arsenal at a London derby on Saturday.

On Sunday traditional sides Newcastle and Liverpool will battle for a place in Europe.

Tennis:

Today at 3pm Andy Murray will face Rafael Nadal at the Semi-Finals of the Miami Open. World number one Novak Djokovic will meet 21th ranked Juan Monaco later on at 7pm for a place in the final on Sunday.

Golf:

At the Shell Houston Open the World’s Number 10 Carl Petersson and  Argentinian Angel Cabrera are  currently tying at the top of the field. Ernie Else, who needs to win the Open to gain a place in the Masters, is one under after two.

Rugby:

Edinburgh Rugby take on Scarlets tonight in the RaboPro Direct league at Murrayfield. They will be hoping to end their losing streak when the match kicks off at 7.35pm. Glasgow Warriors meanwhile have had a fairly successful season and will be aiming to continue their good run of results when they play Cardiff Blues tonight. Kick off is 7.35pm at Firhill.

 

For more on Edinburgh Rugby’s misfortunes and the return of their international players, click here.

A Little April Foolery

A “little April foolery” is a protest staged all over Edinburgh by local artists on the first of April. The protest is aimed at the controversial legislation, which will come into action on the first of the month. Many hundreds of artists are set to make the city centre their big stage as they fight against the country-wide legislation which will establish rules requiring that every artist has a license before they can stage free events.

Nearly 1500 people are expected to attend this event, either as performers or spectators.

Edinburgh Napier News interviewed Jen McGregor, the founder of the “A Little April Foolery” campaign.

“A little April Foolery” is a very different take on this popular day of pranks. Here are some interesting theories and facts suggesting how April Fool’s day may have originated and how it can be celebrated:

One theory shows April Fool’s Day dates back to the 12th Century Arabia.

A different theory says April Fool’s started with the introduction of the Gregorian calendar. Before, people celebrated the new year on the first of April. Hence, people still celebrating on that day were “April Fools”

Here in Scotland we originally call this day “hunting the gowk” (the cuckoo), and if you are tricked, you are an “April gowk”. We love this basic celebration of Schadenfreude that much that we gave it a second day, called “Taily Day”. This day is solely devoted to pranks involving the backside of the body. The “butt” of these jokes may often have a “kick me” sign placed on their back.

In France it is immensely popular to prank someone using a dead fish. Throwing at or even slapping someone with it, putting it in someone’s bag, there are no limits. Just remember to shout “Poisson d’Avril!” (April Fish!) and hilarity ensues.

In Poland the day has a similar theme to France. The Polish love to prank people by pouring water on them.

Depending on where you live in England, you may also be called a “gobby” or a “noodle” if you find yourself on the receiving end of the prank.

Syndol shortage: The popular painkiller disappears from local pharmacies

Customers have discovered that the painkiller SYNDOL can no longer be purchased from Edinburgh pharmacies.

The company has stopped shipment of the popular drug. It is unknown when it will go back on the market, however reasons for its disappearance are believed to be linked to licensing issues.

Giant snake found beheaded in Edinburgh

Photo from Scottish RSPCA

The SPCA is appealing to the public to find the killer of a snake that was found decapitated earlier this week.

The body of the boa constrictor was found in a field in Mayfield, Edinburgh, on Monday.

The reptile was in a large plastic storage box including its severed head and it is believed the box was thrown out of a moving car.

The necropsy (animal autopsy) shows the heavy-bodied snake was decapitated alive. The operating vet excludes the possibility of the snake having to suffer, saying that it was one clean cut and other wounds found on the body were sustained post-mortem.

Due to its otherwise healthy bodily condition it is believed the animal was someone’s pet.

A boa constrictor can reach up to 13 feet in length, with a maximum weight of 60 pounds. They are the breed most commonly killed for snake skin fashion products, such as bags or shoes.

Anyone with information should contact the Scottish SPCA Animal Helpline on 03000 999 999.

Extra: Snake superstitions

How to avoid cold weather football injuries

Snoods: Warm clothes like these help prevent injuries.


Frost is harsh to football grounds and players in Scotland alike,
with an increase in the amount of sports-related injuries.

When the pitches in Scotland start to freeze you are more likely than ever to pull a muscle or two.

According to Kirsty Smith, owner of Leith Sports Clinic, hobby footballers can take simple steps to prevent injuries during the cold period.

“Do a proper warm up beforehand, a couple laps of pitch, then dynamic stretches, and a cool down followed by static stretches. Muscles that are not warmed up properly are not ready to be stretched, especially in the dynamic, ballistic way muscles are used in football.”

Smith added that when your body is cold, “extra time for a warm up may be needed. Also, frozen pitches can be hazardous for studs sticking, so more ankle injuries are possible.”

What should you do if you have injured yourself?

“Come off pitch. Ice the area. Apply compression bandage if available. Elevate if possible,” said Smith.

These three first aid steps are applicable for any leg or foot injury of any degree.  If the injury is serious, go to the hospital, if not go home.

Police throwing stones at protesters during the riots in Greece

Maxim Lewerenz

Greece - riots on the streets

The riots in Greece are creating chaos in the country for the second night in a row after a policeman’s bullet killed a young teenager on Sunday.

After shooting the only 15 year old boy the anger of the whole country was focused upon the officers, screaming “murderers” and destroying many hundreds of shops and vehicles.

Memerable bizarre scenes occurred during fights between police and protesters. Running out of teargas the police hecticly improvised by using the protester’s weapon of choice; meaning that the officers were temporarily throwing stones at the attackers.

Starting in Athens where the situation is specially severe, the riot spread over all the major cities by now. It is still unclear if the bullet that killed the teenager was a ricochet as the police claims or if it was a targeted shot by the 37 year old policeman as eyewitnesses stated. The autopsy happening on this day will probably show the results by tomorrow. The prosecution accuses the officer of manslaughter.

The Greek interior Minister Prokopis Pavloupolus handed in his signed letter of resignation yesterday morning but it was refused by the prime minister. “It is inconceivable for there not to be punishment when a person loses their life, particularly when it is a child,” Pavloupolus explains. “The taking of life is something that is not excusable in a democracy.”

The Greek television reported that the situation is calming down with left-extremists leaving the occupied university campuses of Athen’s city centre.

The story of major riots in Greece, the cradle of democracy, is nothing new, but with a killed teenager they are understandibly far more thoroughgoing than they were in recent years.

To be able to relate to the pictures which show the mayhem on the streets it is lethal to know that the left autonomous movement is more powerful, more present and larger in Greece than in any other European country, and the created chaos will underpin their position in Greece even more.

Religious Leaders Hail Inter-faith Conference Success.

This mornings conference breaks up in the Dunedin Room of the City Chambers on high note, all involved welcomed the progress made.

This mornings conference breaks up in the Dunedin Room of the City Chambers on high note, all involved welcomed the progress made.

By Maxim Lewerenz & Lindsay Muir.

Representatives from across Edinburgh’s religious communities have today gathered for a meeting at the City Chambers as part of the Scottish Inter-Faith Week taking place from November 23rd to the 30th culminating in a religious concert being held in Glasgow. The dominant theme in this years conference is, understandably, the 60th anniversary of the UN Declaration of Human Rights, but the conference also tackled a plethora of other issues concerning the capital, it’s council and it’s religious leaders.

The list of attendees reads like a veritable who’s who of councillors and community leaders with representatives of all major faiths and Lothian and Borders Police, including Cardinal Keith O’Brien, Archbishop of Edinburgh and St. Andrews, who has courted controversy in his statements on embryo and stem cell research. Recently the Cardinal criticised abortion stating, “[it] is neither political nor medical, though clearly it has implications in these spheres. It is about morality and the destruction of human life.” The meeting was chaired by the Leader of Edinburgh City Council, Jenny Dawe.

Up for discussion were a variety of issues such as street begging, prevention startegies on religious extremism as well as the issues of anti-religious marketing, which notably made the news recently with the Humanist Society’s advertising “There’s Probably No God” which was displayed on the side of buses in London, closer to home this involved the advertising of the Edinburgh Dungeons tourism attraction.

Tom Lea, of the Edinburgh InterFaith Association described the meeting as “an opportunity to make the council accessible to the religious leaders of the city and open a dialogue between the two”. Edinburgh City Council Equality Manager, Lee Croft, hailed the conference as a success expressing that the meeting had encapsulated “a good dialogue on some very difficult issues.”

Inspector Tom Glabraith of Lothian and Borders Police Force Diversity Unit encapsulated the overall spirit of the conference emphasising today’s meeting was about “the creation of a multi-faith community.” He also emphasised the need for education especially at secondary school level to create “an atmosphere of understanding” towards the needs of different faiths.

Ex-Bodybuilder and Hollywood-Action-Star gets into politics

Having a De-ja-vu? Ralf Moeller, performing in big action flicks like “Gladiator” and “The Scorpion King” wants to give up his acting career in order to get politically involved and become the future governor of Nordrhein-Westfalen.

Just like Schwarzenegger who is the active governor of California, Moeller could be the German equivalent to governor (Ministerpraesident), also in the highest populated state of the nation. “I want to give something back to my country” Moeller defines his intentions, but being accountable for an 18 million people strong German federal land won’t still the hunger of the 300 pounds and 2 metres colossus. He has got bigger plans.

The ex-bodybuilder could never get out of the big Austrian shadow of his rolemodel. By getting involved in politics though he finally got the one thing that Schwarzenegger lacks, and that is the right nationality to get to the very top of the country. “He can’t become president because he wasn’t born in America, I rather be “Ministerpraesident” of Nordrhein-Westfalhen, so possibly i can be chancelor later on”.

Being in power you could very much expect similar kind of political decisions From Moeller as from the governor of the Sunshine State. A strong man has to make strong politics. Moeller already received good press by charity-events and visiting the German troops in Afghanistan.

Ralf Moeller - Arm-Wrestling in Afghanistan

First World War Memorial Day

Maxim Lewerenz

90 years back from now the First World War ended and left Europe shattered in pieces. With the execution of the peace treaty the German army started the withdrawal of the left troops from France. 15 million people lost their lives and 20 million lost their health irreversibly during the over four years raging war. The static warfare let soldiers die for literally one square of land, absurd and senseless battles like people have never seen before. The entry of the American Army in 1917 led the Allies ultimately to victory.

The German government, led by Kaiser Wilhelm II., blamed the allegedly not supporting enough people for the defeat and started the stab-in-the-back legend which took all the blame from him and his generals. Still he couldn’t talk away the debts of war and the loss of former German property, that got lost to the French empire.

Royal Army soldiers, July 1916

The rapidly advancing technologies set in motion by the Industrial Revolution caused the intervention by new and scaring military weapons like tanks, toxic gas, Bombing squadrons that left a scene of destruction on cities, harbors and airports and submarines which attacked defenceless ships. It was a terrifying modern apocalypse where men died by artillery like toy soldiers getting blown away by the wind. Approximately half of the soldiers in battle died by this new savage weapon of destruction.

With the aftermath of the war, no one could believe on this day that only 20 years later history would be repeated, in a more deadly and inhuman way one could ever imagine.

Dead Dolphins

Dolphins, assumingly the friendliest and most intelligent inhabitants of the sea are being hunted and let to bleed out in agony by Japanese fishermen every day. Disturbing photos of the ongoing Dolphin-slaughter have reached the Western borders yet again. Sparing only the prettiest of their kind to sell them to zoos worldwide. It is to hope that the also ongoing shocking reports about the killings will put pressure on the government which has not reacted positively to enquiries from either the Journalists nor the protesters side.

Thinking of Dolphins, the first thing to come to your mind could be the happy and philanthropic “Flipper”, helping humans in danger in the TV-show entitled after him. Or you maybe think of the reports about children who had to spent most of their lives in hospitals, now playing around with dolphins and feeling like normal kids, with their proud parents watching.

A scene from the tv-show "Flipper", 1963

A scene from the TV show "Flipper", 1963

In our eyes we see the brutal killings of beautiful and lovable creatures just for the blatant greed of gain. But are we any better?

Since on the other side us living in the West eat cattle, killed and filleted by mass production. Apparently a cow is a holy animal for the Hindu in India, where over one sixth of the earth’s population lives. Furthermore pigs, highly intelligent animals just like dolphins or whales, which are seen as domestic animals in many African nations, end on the plates of ordinary Western civilians.

A seemingly quite racist campaign against the dolphin and the very similar tragical whale huntings has started already a year ago, which lead to fractional boycotting of Japanese products in Australia, the country in which kangaroos get killed on a daily basis for already many years.

Attacked by Western nations, the leading Japanese politicians often point at Norway and Iceland, much smaller countries but with nearly the same kill-counts of whales a year. Therefore they feel treated in an unfair way and suspect a racist campaign behind the journalistic coverages and the embargo in parts.

A clash of the cultures as it couldn’t be more extreme. One might think Japan is a fully westernized country, but the truth is far from that. It is a very conservative nation in which traditions play an important role. The “Whaling” and “Dolphin-fishing” are two of them, they are traditions which roots go back to the 17th century. There is even a Japanese proverb about the Whaling which sums up their point of view: “There’s nothing to throw away from a whale except its voice”.

Every nation has its own ways of behaving, repulsive for some and socially accepted for others. In Japan, a dolphin is a useful animal. In their eyes it is a big “fish” with tasty meat that needs to be caught. For us the hunting is a brute mass murder that has to be stopped. Most of the protests are honorable but in the end for the common Japanese, all they do is interfere in the hard and bloody work of a fisherman.

Pacific White-Sided Dolphin

Pacific White-Sided Dolphin

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