Edinburgh Airport Praises New Tourism Campaign

Rebecca Sawyers

A new design exhibition is being planned at Edinburgh Airport as part of a new tourism campaign to celebrate 2016 as the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design.

The Scottish Design Expo will include a  shop, events exhibiting the country’s most important designers and makers, and a pop-up exhibition.

The campaign will include a sound and light installation at St Andrew Square and a celebration of style at the National Museum of Scotland. The Edinburgh International Film Festival, the Royal Botanic Garden and the Filmhouse will also be taking part.

The Filmhouse will be showing a selection of specially chosen films inspired by the tourism campaign. The series of chosen films will be showing for a month during the campaign.

There will be a special weekend of special activities  hosted by The Botanic Garden, celebrating of the official launch of an 18th century cottage.

There are set to be more than 420 events taking place for the Scottish Government-backed Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, which will highlight celebrations of the country’s food and drink, wild landscapes and culture.

The £800,000 initiative will include a dedicated Festival of Architecture running from spring until autumn, and aims to “shine the spotlight on some of Scotland’s greatest assets, icons and hidden gems”.

The Science Festival will be organising the installation of a series of “tiny homes”, which will be an example of portable living spaces, giving people insight in to what downsized living accommodation looks like across the city.

Mike Cantlay, chairman of VisitScotland said: “With this new themed year we have the opportunity to put Scotland on the map in a new and exciting way, catching the attention of visitors old and new, positioning Scotland as a mix of traditional and cutting-edge at the same time.

“Scotland is a nation of pioneers, home to ground-breaking scientists, philosophers, engineers and architects for hundreds of years. From the Forth Rail Bridge to Dolly the Sheep, the telephone to the television, Charles Rennie Mackintosh to Andy Scott, and Harris Tweed to the iconic Mackintosh raincoat, Scotland’s innovative past, present and future continue to inspire and influence audiences across the globe, shaping the modern world we live in today.

“The events planned for the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016 are diverse, interesting and inspiring and we look forward to what we hope will be a ground-breaking year for tourism.”

The campaign will round off with a grand two-day finale, featuring a late night party, in the capital.




Islamic extremists hold 170 hostages in Malaise capital

Ari Brynjólfsson

Gunmen have taken 170 hostages in a hotel in Mali.

According to AFP sources, the gunmen are Islamic militants.

Some 140 guests and 30 staff at the Radisson hotel in the centre of Mali’s capital city, Bamako, were taken hostage at 8am this morning by gunmen.

According to the Malaise security ministry, three hostages have been killed.

Local media say there were 10 attackers but a statement from the hotel said there are two. One witness said the attackers shouted “Allahu Akbar”, or “God is great” in Arabic as they stormed the hotel. A BFMTV source claimed the attackers arrived in a car with diplomatic plates.

Malaise troops have surrounded the area and a Reuters security source said two hostages have been released after reciting verses from the Koran.

The Foreign Office said in a statement that they are urgently seeking information regarding the attack and added: “The Foreign Office has advised against all travel to Mali for some time.”

Mali is situated in western Africa. Rebels supported by Islamic extremists seized the north eastern part in 2012. The capital Bomoko where the attack is taking place is in the south western corner of the country. Map courtesy of Wikimedia commons.

Mali is situated in western Africa. Rebels supported by Islamic extremists seized the north eastern part in 2012. The capital Bomoko where the attack is taking place is in the south western corner of the country. Map courtesy of Wikimedia commons.

The President of Mali, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita tweeted: “Bamako’s Radisson Blu hotel has been attacked this morning by armed assailants who are holding 170 people hostage.”

China’s news agency Xinhua reported that a number of guests being held are Chinese, the US embassy in Mali has advised their citizens to take shelter.

The hotel has 190 rooms and is owned by US investors, it is advertised online as a an upscale lodging with a swimming pool and a spa.

Mali has been fighting Islamic rebels since 2012. France sent ground troops to Mali in January 2013 at the behest of the Malaise government when rebels with connections to al-Qaida seized territory northern Mali and around 1,000 French troops are currently stationed in Mali.

Islamic extremists lost much of their territory during the fight but continued their activities in Mali, last August an a attack was made on a hotel in Severe in central Mali, five people were killed while four UN workers were saved.

Until now, Bamako, in the south western part of Mali, had been spared from attacks by Islamic extremists.

Mali is a former French colony in western Africa, French authorities have intervened several times in Malaise affairs since the country gained its independence in 1960.

Mali is one of the poorest countries in the world, more than half its citizens earn 1.25$ per day.

Some 98 per cent of the population identifies as a Muslim, a significant portion of the nation’s legislation derives from Sharia law.

A report made by the US State department characterised the Islam as is traditionally practiced in Mali as moderate, tolerant, and adapted to local conditions.

Malaise women are generally allowed to participate in social economical and political activities and do not wear veils while in public.


Edinburgh University Scientists Combat African Sleeping Sickness by Jasper Farrell

Jasper Farrell

Researchers at Edinburgh University are developing a new programme to combat sleeping sickness in Africa, which could potentially save thousands of lives in the area.

Scientists led by Professor Sue Welburn, the University’s Chair of Medical and Veterinary Molecular Epidemiology,  have claimed that the number of severe cases of the disease in Uganda have fallen by 90 per cent after injecting cattle with a new advanced drug that kills the parasite carrying the infection.

They were thereby able to eliminate the parasite during its incubation period – the time in which the parasite lies dormant in the host – by injecting thousands of cattle with a single innoculation of the drug trypanocide, before using disinfectant to prevent the chances of re-infection.

While the treatment involves complex and drawn out planning and work, the drug itself is cheap and easy to administer.

Professor Welburn’s assistant, Pauline McManus, told us that Professor Welburn and her team were currently out of the country, yet expressed her pride in the work being carried out.

The disease itself is a parasitic infection, similar to Malaria which has also ravaged the continent. The parasite originates in cattle yet spreads to humans via an insect called the Tsetse fly, which are very common in rural areas.

Symptoms include high fever, headaches, itchiness and joint pains. Several weeks later, the patient begins to experience numbness, poor co-ordination and trouble sleeping.

Speaking beforehand to BBC Radio’s Good Morning Scotland, Professor Welburn spoke of the effects that the potentially lethal disease. “It is transmitted by tsetse flies and they inoculate these parasites into your blood where they multiply and then these parasites move from your blood to your central nervous system where they cause profound problems and really quite extraordinary symptoms,” she said.

“It is absolutely fatal if it is not treated.”

As cattle are largely immune to the infection, the parasite can reside inside them for longer periods of time. Professor Welburn described the process by which a human is infected as a “matter of chance”, with the tsetse fly travelling from cattle to human.

Plans have been drawn to extend the project to all areas of Uganda, with the further inoculations of over two million more cattle.





















Adverse Weather Causes Cancellation of Botanic Lights Show

Paloma Ferreira

The Edinburgh Botanic Lights Show was cancelled this week for safety reasons, due to the forecast wind gusts of over 40mph.

Edinburgh’s second Botanic Garden Light show promised an event bigger and brighter than last year.

The award-winning show includes new design features, exhibitions, public interaction using new app technology and 3D projections generating hypnotic spectacles throughout the gardens, highlighting some of the Botanic’s oldest buildings.

The organisers have dubbed this year’s event as “unforgettable”.

The invitation entices visitors reading: “As darkness descends, follow a magical trail of light through the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

“Take a path illuminated by fantastic effects and experience the unfamiliar sights and sounds of the Garden after dark.”

Clair McKenzie, who composed the soundtrack accompanying the light show, said: “It makes complete sense to synchronise sound, light and nature with the cycle of seasonal transformations, to me the four are intimately linked.”

Artist Grant Anderson said: “Seasons of Colour Botanic Lights 2015, for me, was a really important project, I wanted the show to be bigger and brighter.

“I wanted to create something that at the heart of the design really concentrated on the landscape itself.”

The Botanic Lights Show has been open for the duration of this month and attendees have been raving about the show.

Visitor Erika Winblad said: “My brain is in sensory overload, it may be wet and cold but what an amazing event.”

Since this is an outdoor event, this week’s severe wind and rain has caused the show to be cancelled with some late notice.

Visitor Anna Goodwin said: “Turned up tonight to be told it was cancelled with my three kids. Didn’t check my emails. Took an hour to get there and back as live on other side of town and it was rush hour traffic. Was gutted. Not sure if I’ll be able to attend another night. Missed it last year too.”

The Box Office of the Botanic Lights show stated that they will be contacting attendees to offer them the chance to attend on another night.

New dates will be added to the calendar to make up for the cancelled shows.




Edinburgh and Glasgow overtake London in number of new start-ups

Abbey Fleming

Edinburgh and Glasgow have overtaken London in terms of cities with the most new start-up companies.

New analysis of Companies House data by Instant Offices shows that start-ups in Edinburgh have grown by 33 per cent and by 30 per cent in Glasgow over the last year.

This is a greater increase than London, that showed some of the smallest proportional growth at 21 per cent and marks a change in the cities driving start-up growth.

The UK as a whole has seen increased growth in start-ups and has increased by 22 per cent over the past 12 months.

According to Scottish Business News website, Instant Offices CEO Tim Rodber said the growth in start-ups across the UK shows a shift in the balance of the workforce.

He accredited part of the high levels of start-up growth to the UK’s contingent workforce, citing freelancers, consultants and one-man companies as sources of growth and innovation across the country.

While Edinburgh and Glasgow have both seen heightened levels of start-up growth, it was Nottingham that saw the largest increase with a 68 per cent boost.



Transgender Day of Remembrance

Yaz Duncan

A Transgender Day of Remembrance event will take place in Glasgow tomorrow to commemorate those who have lost their lives due to hate motivated violence.

The event will be held at the University of Strathclyde Student Association and is being organised by the LGBTQI+ societies of Strathclyde University, Glasgow Caledonian University and the University of Glasgow.

One of the organisers of the event, Leonie Siebert, said: “There is still a huge amount of transphobia and hate trans people face every day.

“This is often overlooked and ignored in the media, and paying our respects to the trans people who lost their lives during the past year also gives them the recognition they deserve.

“Their deaths, most of which are a product a culture that did not recognise them as the gender they were, need to be remembered – but also, they show that there is still a long way to go for society in the recognition and acceptance of trans people.”

According to Transgender Europe, in 2015 alone there have been 80 reported murders of trans and gender diverse people globally.

The event is inviting people who identify as transgender or who are questioning their gender identity to speak at the event.

Camryn Mowatt, who will be speaking at the event, said: “I think it is very important to remember and reflect on the people who have lost their lives because of their gender status, either through being attacked or feeling that there is no option but to take their own lives.

“It is a day of remembrance but also a celebration of people’s lives and what we can achieve by working together.”

Kay Logan, who is trans, has also volunteered to speak. She said: “I think event like this are important because people need to be made aware that trans people still suffer at the hands of their families and communities.”

A study by Transgender Alliance found that over 37 per cent of transgender people have experienced physical threat while 19 per cent have been assaulted for being transgender.

Although everyone is welcome, the organisers have asked that only people who identify as transgender speak at the event.

Organiser Leonie Siebert said: “People at this event are encouraged to listen and reflect on these experiences, with the final aim to get a better understanding of what it is like to identify as trans and to live within a very transphobic society.”

The Transgender Day of Remembrance movement started after transgender advocate, Gwendolyn Ann Smith held a vigil to honour murdered trans woman Rita Hester in 1998.

Cat Smith MP, Labour’s shadow Women’s and Equality Minister said: “Transgender day of Remembrance reminds us all of the huge challenges and discrimination that trans people face in their day to day lives.

“Recent cases in the criminal justice system show how far we still need to go.”







Tram line to be extended to Newhaven

Marianthi Parisi

Edinburgh’s tram line will extend down Leith Walk to Newhaven, councillors agreed yesterday.

The new three-mile line is estimated to cost £144.7m.

The Scottish National Party (SNP) and Labour backed the plan by 44 to 11 Conservative opposition votes.

While they agreed yesterday to extend the line, they will delay any further move until 10 December when the next council meeting will be held.

Lothian Buses will finance the project with approximately £20m. There are fears that investments will be reduced, and that there will be job cuts and fare rises.

The original project was the subject of many disputes mainly because it raised its price tag by £1m.

Labour council leader Andrew Burns told yesterday’s meeting he was “acutely aware” of the damage done to the city’s reputation by the previous problems with the tram project.

He said: “I am pleased we have been able to find a way forward for the project, which would deliver a range of key benefits in terms of economic growth, greater accessibility and the environment for Leith and the city as a whole.”

A team of four Labour and four SNP councillors has been appointed to handle the issue over the next three weeks.

They will meet at least twice a week between now and the council meeting in December.

An insider said: “They will make all the different inquiries and get all the information required so an informed decision can be made. Councillors with any misgivings can feed into that.”

Green and Liberal Democrat councillors voted with the coalition, but only on the understanding a decision on starting work on the extension would be made on 10 December.

However, the Conservatives argued the three-week delay would make no difference to the fundamentals of the issue.

Councillor Iain Whyte said: “The people of Edinburgh are angry – they feel they were ripped off during the last phase and they want to see us look after things for the city.

“We are being failed. The administration are not pressing officers hard enough to get value for money.”

The trams began running 18 months ago and currently terminate at York Place in the city centre.


Nicola Sturgeon is Scotland’s Politician of the Year

Jasmin Seidl

Nicola Sturgeon has been named Scotland’s Politician of the Year, winning the honour for a record fourth time.

The First Minister was awarded the title by The Herald newspaper exactly a year on from taking the job.

It comes after the SNP virtually swept the board in the Westminster elections earlier this year, taking all but three of the seats north of the border.

Ms Sturgeon was also widely praised for her performance in the television debates.

She collected the award at a ceremony at Edinburgh’s Prestonfield House Hotel and said it was a “huge honour”.

The First Minister said: “This has been without a shadow of a doubt the most exciting, exhilarating, challenging privileged and downright exhausting year of my life.”

Ms Sturgeon, who won the same award last year, is now the only person to have lifted the annual prize four times. Alex Salmond, her predecessor as both First Minister and SNP leader, won it on three occasions.

This year she saw off competition from the leaders of two of Scotland’s other political parties – Ruth Davidson from the Conservatives and Willie Rennie of the Liberal Democrats.

But Ms Davidson was awarded the E-Politician of the Year, after she used Twitter to criticise Downing Street for lowering flags to half-mast following

Edinburgh Christmas Market Opens Today

Laurenci Dow

The annual Edinburgh Christmas Market launches today at 5pm and visitors can expect brand new attractions including a celebrity visit to switch on the festive lights.

Britain’s Got Talent finalist Susan Boyle will be in Edinburgh this Saturday night to flick the switch tomorrow on Light Night.

The Christmas Market has been a staple in the Edinburgh calendar for the past 20 years. However, this is only the second year that the festival will span from the Mound, through Prince’s Street and around the Scots Monument.

Event coordinator Underbelly said in a press release that due to last year’s enormous success the market will see an expansion to other parts of the city centre and more free events for the public.

Charlie Wood and Ed Bartlam of Underbelly said: “This Christmas is all about lighting up Edinburgh, we’re very excited to be bringing the Street to Light and extending the success of Edinburgh’s Christmas Market into the Old Town.

“It’s a free event for up to 5,000 people a show, 250,000 in all.

“We hope it will show one of Scotland’s most famous streets in a whole new light and bring the whole community together to celebrate Christmas.

“A newly anticipated event this year is the Virgin Money Street of Light that will launch on the 29th of this month to coincide with St Andrew’s Day.”

The Virgin Money Street of Light is an architectural installation of over 60,000 lights stretching from the Royal Mile, to City Chambers ending at Tron Kirk.

Andrew Nicholson, Head of Sponsorship Marketing at Virgin Money, said: “The Virgin Money Street of Light is set to wow both residents and visitors to the city of Edinburgh.

“It will be free of charge following on in the tradition of the Fringe Street Events and we expect over a quarter of a million people to enjoy the show, which opens on St Andrew’s Day and runs until Christmas Eve.”

This free public event will include 1,300 local performers and is expecting a crowd of over 20,000 people.

The show will run for 25 days with two shows per day, one at 6.30pm and 8.15 pm, which each show running about 20 minutes.


A Man, 28, Has Been Charged With The Murder Of Kayleigh Haywood

Rebecca Sawyers.

A man has been charged with the rape and murder of 15-year-old Kayleigh Haywood.

The teenager, from Leicestershire, was last seen when she was dropped off at Ibstock Community College last Friday.

Stephen Beadman, 28, of George Avenue, Ibstock, is due to appear before Leicester Magistrates’ Court today.

A second man, Luke Harlow, also of George Avenue, has been charged with the grooming of, and two counts of sexual activity with a child.

He is due to appear before the same court.


Glasgow named one of the 20 must-see places for 2016

By Giulia Maccagli

Glasgow has been named one of the 20 must-see places to visit for the year 2016, by the travel magazine National Geographic Traveler.

The key factor for Glasgow being selected was its art, architecture and music scene, according to the travel magazine.

The Scottish city has been chosen alongside other worldwide destinations in countries including Japan, Brazil, Botswana and Uruguay.

Scotland’s national tourism organisation, VisitScotland, welcomed Glasgow’s insertion in the list hoping that it will bring new tourists in the city. 

The Scottish city has “increased consistently” its tourist numbers in the last years, according to Glasgow City Council.

The city has become renowned for its wide offer of art attractions. Amongst the well-known destinations are the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, the Riverside Museum – voted European Museum of the Year 2013 – the Burrell Collection, the Hunterian Museum and Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art.

With its vibrant music scene – stretching from contemporary, classical, to Celtic and Country music – and the hosting of an average of 130 music events each week, in August 2008 Glasgow was also named a UNESCO City of Music.

The must-see-places-to-visit list – to appear both in the December 2015/January 2016 issue of National Geographic Traveler and on a special “Best of the World 2016” on the magazine’s award-winning website – was compiled following a competitive selection process comprising nominations from National Geographic Traveler’s global network of editors, writers and travellers.


Anti-radicalisation conference takes place in Aarhus a week after Paris-attacks

By Frederik Gammelby

An international conference on de-radicalization takes place in the city of Aarhus, Denmark, today a week after the terrorist attacks in Paris.

The radicalisation prevention programme popularly labeled the ‘Aarhus-model’ has gained international attention for its focus on creating dialogue with radicalised elements as a means of preventing radicalised youths to travel to conflict zones like Syria.

Mayor of Aarhus Jacob Bundsgaard has been speaking in the US, Lebanon, and Sweden about the programme, why the conference has garned huge interest.

While French police have increased police presence after the attacks in the French capital, the de-radicalisation conference in Denmark looks for softer ways of preventing radicalisation of especially young people estranged from society.

The conference in Aarhus comes as next week’s government spending review is expected to present significant financial cutbacks for policing in the UK and Wales.

Home Secretary Theresa May has been warned by police that cutbacks might have an effect on their response to a Paris-style terror attack.

In Aarhus, police are already playing an active part preventing radicalization of youths in cooperation with social workers, parents, and mentors.



Peers call for halt to Scotland Bill

A House of Lords committee has called for the Scotland Bill to be delayed, citing uncertainty over how Holyrood will be funded.

In a report published today, peers claim a lack of scrutiny of financial arrangements in the bill by MPs, could lead to problems in future devolution settlements.

The report by the economic affairs committee states that despite the “unprecedented” nature of devolving income tax revenue as well as giving almost full power to set the rates of tax, the bill has proceeded with “undue haste”.

Scottish and UK ministers are still negotiating terms in relation to funding.

The committee raised concerns in relation to Scotland’s block grant, claiming that given a lack of clarity over the economic risk the Scottish Government should take on, as well as its devolved income tax revenues, reaching a preferred option is currently “impossible”.

They also concluded a need to reform the Barnett Formula, used to calculate Scotland’s share of funding, and to increase transparency and scrutiny of how funding is allocated to the devolved nations.

The report recommends that the UK and Scottish Governments agree “simple and clear borrowing rules and a maximum ceiling on Scottish Government debt”,  doubting that the current “no bail out” proposal between the UK and devolved governments would be believed by the markets.

Lord Hollick, Chairman of the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee, said: “The Scotland Bill has the potential to fundamentally change the UK and impact on us all both politically and economically. It is crucial that what is proposed is stable and sustainable. Parliament is being asked to pass the Bill before we are told full details about the fiscal arrangements that will underpin this new era of devolution. That cannot be right.”

The Scottish Government have previously claimed that Holyrood would reject any fiscal settlement perceived as not benefiting Scotland.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme: “I would be against there being a delay in the House of Lords because I think fundamentally we need to make progress on the Scotland Bill so that the Scottish Parliament can take its final decision on whether the bill is to be adopted before we get to the Scottish Parliament elections next May.”





Danish Scientists Converts CO2 into Protein

Danish scientists have succeeded in converting carbon dioxide into protein and Omega 3.

Scientists at the National Institute of Acquatic Resources studied the conversation process at the Algea Reactor, situated at Symbiosis Centre Denmark in Kalundborg.

Here scientists are currently working on a project concentrating on exploring the industrial potential of the algae and the conversation process.

The process involves algae using up CO2 in combination with exposure to light, creating biomass which under the right conditions can be used in high value products.

Some of the algae, for instance, has a high content of Omega 3 fatty assets which can be used for fish fodder, giving fish a better taste when cooked.

Calculations have so far shown that the process can be profitable with production costs being roughly £40 per kilo.

The project uses water purification methods to extract the nutritients, the water being delivered by the nearby company Novozymes, which produces enzymes used in the food and textile industries.

Mette Skouborg Manager at Danish Symbiosis Center said that although the future looked promising for the project it was still in its beginning phases.

“The project primarily concentrates on converting waste water to pigments, protein, and bio fuels in the long run […] The new aspect of our research is that we on top of cleaning waste water can now also extract certain nutrients from the process.”

Camilla Udsen, a food product specialist with the Danish consumers magazine Taenk, said there could be a potential for rethinking where to get nutrients from as the world population will be growing in coming years.

”One of our main concerns is if such products are safe for the consumers,” she said.

Ms Skouborg agreed, stressing that this problem was also on Danish Symbiosis Center’s agenda.

Halloween Events At The Scottish International Storytelling Festival

The director of Scotland’s Storytelling Festival last night hailed the event as “the greatest celebration of traditional storytelling in the world”.

The Scottish International Storytelling Festival is a 10-day celebration of live storytelling from a multitude of oral traditions.

Donald Smith, Festival Director said: “We are all able to connect through stories, it’s a fundamental part of being human they have the power to cross boundaries, transform perceptions and bridge division.”

In celebration of upcoming Halloween weekend the event Tree Trails will be taking place today and tomorrow at 13:30pm.

Visitors can enjoy the legends of Scotland’s indigenous trees – the oak, birch, pine and rowan – as the seasons change in the Royal Botanic Gardens.

Guests are welcomed to join storytellers Janis Mackay and David Campbell as they explore the myths of the landscape and ask the question, “What happens when the trees gather on Halloween?”

Ms Mackay said: “[Storytellers] truly make their stories come alive, the audience get to create a reality for themselves which is very different to a novel or a film.”

This year’s theme, Stories Without Borders, will explore global issues through the power of storytelling and brings together Scottish, European, Middle Eastern and North African storytellers celebrating the cultural diversity of oral customs.

The Festival takes place in and around Edinburgh, partner venues include the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Dovecot Studios, the National Library of Scotland and other cultural organisations.






China abolishes one-child policy

EXPERTS yesterday welcomed China’s decision to abolished its one-child policy after 36 years, allowing couples to have two children and rejuvenating the greying population.

Stuart Gietel-Basten, an University of Oxford demographer, said: “I’m shaking to be honest. It’s one of those things you have been working on and saying for years and recommending they should do something and it finally happened. It’s just a bit of a shock.”

Yet this new policy will not lead to a huge baby boom as fertility rates are believed to be declining and many young people in China favour smaller family sizes.

The restrictions had caused an imbalanced sex ratio as boys were preferred and it led to forced abortions of female foetuses. The imbalance made it difficult for some men to find wives and it is believed to fuel the trading of women as brides.

Couples who broke the rules were forced to pay a fee in proportion to their income. In some cases, rural families had to give their livelihood in the form of their pigs and chickens away.

The drop in the birthrate has pushed up the average age of the population and demographers foresee a crisis because the policy reduced the young workforce that must support the large generation of retirees.

Cai Yong, a sociology professor at the University of North Carolina said: “The good news is, it is here. The bad news is, it is too little too late.”

China has the world’s largest population at 1.4 billion people and announced the one-child policy in 1979 as a temporary measure to limit the population and demands for water and other resources.

The government believes the one-child policy prevented 400 million births and helped to lift countless families out of poverty by relieving the strain on the country’s limited resources.

But demographers argue the birthrate would have decreased anyway as China’s economy developed and education levels rose.


NHS 24 yield to using pen and paper after new system crashes

NHS 24 help line staff had to resort to pen and paper after the new multi-million pound computer system crashed within an hour of its launch.

The new system Future Programme was officially launched on 28 October 2015 at 6pm. Patients who rang the help line number faced delays before their calls were answered. NHS 24 had estimated around 200 callers were affected by the disruption.

NHS said it will reinstate the new technology when “it is safe to do so”. This computer system is meant to make their job more efficient but the total cost rose to 50 per cent higher at £117.4 million, from the original estimation of £75.8 million.

Scottish patient Dave Attwood  said: “How is this IT program allowed to go off track?

“People need beds and treatments but what we seem to have is an under spending of bed shortages, low treatment targets and major over spending on unnecessary.”

It is understood that there were occasions in which callers seemed to vanish from the line and information about their health problems failed to appear on the screen. Staff contacted the Scottish Government via email with concerns about how Future Programme operates.

A spokeswoman for NHS 24 said: “NHS 24 can confirm that following implementation of a new technology system yesterday, we experienced some technical difficulties and have gone back to the old system.

“Even though the system had worked well during the day time and several calls were managed easily, during early evening, some patients had a slightly longer waiting time to access the service.”

The NHS IT team has worked throughout the night and have finally identified the cause of the problem. They are aiming to have a solution in place and to have the new system fully functioning as soon as possible, but will not implement it until it is completely safe to do so.


Icelandic priests defrocked if they refuse to marry gay couples

PRIESTS in Iceland face being defrocked if they refuse to marry gay couples.

The new rule was passed this week in an annual church conference where priests vote democratically on spiritual and administrative issues.

Many priests and former bishops have said the rule violates their “freedom of conscience”.

The current bishop, Agnes Sigurdardottir, declined to comment but has expressed her belief in the past that “freedom of conscience” must be respected.

Secretary to the bishop, Thorvaldur Vidisson, said: “The marriage laws in Iceland are clear on who can get married. Priests are not allowed to discriminate on the bases of sexual preferences.”

Same-sex marriage was legalised in Iceland nine years ago and homosexuality was decriminalised 76 years ago.

Priests in the country are government employees and the constitution bans both state and private enterprises to discriminate on the basis of sexuality.

A recent poll amid Icelandic priests conducted by the state radio RUV, revealed that only three out of a total 150 priests were opposed to marry a gay couple. None of the three priests were available for comment but their conscience has been a subject of controversy among their colleagues, some of whom have defended their position while others call for them to be defrocked.

Hildur Bolladottir, a priest in the town of Akureyri, said: “We are all born different, some with different sexualities. Not allowing someone to get married because of how they were born is crazy. People who discriminate have no business being a priest and should find themselves another job.”

Kristinn Sigurthorsson, a priest in the town of Borgarnes disagrees with Hildur and said: “The freedom of conscience is one of the pinnacles of our religion, to force someone to act against their beliefs is serious.”

Reverend Sigurthorsson said, however, that he was not at risk of losing his job as he had no objection to marry gay couples.

The gay marriage issue was part of a wider problem discussed in the same church conference.

The number of congregation members is at an all time low and more than 10 per cent of the 330 thousand person nation have left the church in the last ten years.

The total percentage going from 92.2 per cent in 1991 to 73.6 per cent in 2015.

Discrimination against homosexuals is one of the top reason people leave the church, according to Icelandic polls.

Edinburgh welcomes Men’s 10K

A 10k running event aimed at raising awareness of men’s health issues takes place in Edinburgh this Sunday as it celebrates its 10th year.

The Men’s 10K began in Glasgow on the initiative of Men’s Health Forum Scotland and now has events in Edinburgh and London, with this year’s Edinburgh run being organised by GSi Events Ltd.

Since the first run in 2006, more than 4,000 men have taken part and the event has positively impacted the lives of more than 30,000 men.

Annette Drummond, sales and marketing manager of GSi Events Ltd, said: “The life expectancy of men in Scotland is the lowest in Europe, and worryingly is three years less than in England and Wales.

“Mental health problems are also a significant issue amongst men, with almost three out of four suicides in the age category of 18 to 34 in Scotland being men. This has to change.

“The Men’s 10K plays such an important role in Scotland, inspiring thousands of men of all ages and abilities to get that little bit fitter.

“Running a 10K is a great challenge for anyone, whether they are just starting out or already take part in regular sport.

“The benefits of exercise are universally accepted, but in the UK, we quite simply don’t do enough of it. So we say to Scotland’s men stop saying ‘I could’, ‘maybe’ and ‘I might’ – take control of your life and create some positive change.”

The Men’s 10K organisers say that consistently 40 per cent of the men taking part in their events have never entered a running event before, and that they intentionally promote the event to men who are new to physical activity or have been inactive for a while.

This Sunday’s run begins on the Royal Mile at 10am and finishes at BT Murrayfield Stadium.

Runners and spectators are advised that the Forth Road Bridge will be closed on Sunday 1st November and open for local access only due to the part closure of the A90 and M90 (M9 Spur) in places.

Late night Victorian Sensation in the National Museum of Scotland

SCOTTISH band Honeyblood and electro duo Bdy Prts have been chosen to perform at Museum Lates at The National Museum of Scotland next month.

This year’s theme is Victorian Sensation, complementing the Museum’s current exhibition, Photography: A Victorian Sensation, which runs until 22 November 2015.

Honeyblood supported the FooFighters at Murrayfield and are on the sold-out bill for Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Concert in the Gardens.

Among the evening’s other attractions will be Dr Matt Lodder who will tell stories of the birth of professional tattooing in Britain from rakish aristocrats and syphilitic sailors to adventurous debutantes and crowned heads of state who all marked their bodies with remarkable images drawn from the Victorian cultural age.

Magician Luke Eaton will be showing off his unique style of magic.

The Red Door Gallery team in Hawthornden Court will create your very own Victorian-style Thaumatrope.

Fresh Air FM will bring a Silent Disco.

The Museum Lates are sponsored by RBS. Bruce Cook, head of sponsorship at RBS, said: “RBS Museum Lates is well established now as a hot ticket for a night out in the capital, giving people the opportunity to interact with the museum in new ways.

“We’re very pleased to be supporting such an innovative approach to the arts and culture which also helps nurture up-and-coming Scottish talent from a wide variety of creative arts and enterprises.”

Museum Lates takes place on Friday 13th November.

The National Museum of Scotland is the most popular museum in the country outside London according to the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions  with over 7.5 million visits since it reopened in 2011.


Critics and Audiences Rave About Royal New Zealand Ballet “Giselle”

Critics and audiences are raving about The Royal New Zealand Ballet’s (RNZB) rendition of “Giselle” preformed in Edinburgh.

The company made its Edinburgh debut at The Festival Theatre this week and viewers have been buzzing about the bewitching performance given by the dancers.

Lucy Green dances the principal role of Giselle.

Audience member, Wilma McEwan said: “I absolutely loved the casting of Giselle, that young lady really has strong technique. Her dances were perfection.”

The ballet tells the story of  a young peasant girl, who innocently falls for the noble Count Albercht, who is engaged to someone else.

When she finds out, she drops dead of a broken heart. In death, Giselle becomes a woodland Willis, the ghosts of dead brides.

As the Willis’ seek revenge and attempt to kill Albercht, Giselle saves his life.

The RNZB has chosen to stick to the traditional style of the classic ballet.

Audience member, Elizabeth Chetty said: “The ballet was beautiful, I think the principal dancers were cast very well. I have never seen this ballet before but I was completely impressed. I will definitely keep an eye out for future performances by the Royal New Zealand Ballet.”

Giselle will be preformed from the 27th – 31st of October. The shows include 2.30pm matinees and 7.30pm evening performances.



Expect Disruption: Waverley Bridge to be Closed to Southbound Motorists

By Lauren Beehan and Marion Guichaoua

Edinburgh’s Waverley Bridge will be closed to all southbound traffic for four weeks, leading to disruption for motorists and the city’s Bus Tours.

The bridge will close at 6am tomorrow to facilitate improvements to pedestrian access to Waverley Station.

The move will cause temporary detours for Edinburgh Bus Tours, most of whose routes begin on Waverley Bridge.

Councillor Lesley Hinds, Transport Convener, said: “We appreciate that these works will inevitably cause some inconvenience for traffic heading south and we would ask for the public’s patience while we get this much-needed improvement work completed.”

Motorists who wish to access Market Street from Princes Street will have to take a mile-long detour, either via Queen Street and the Mound, or over North Bridge and High Street.

Mark Heritage, assistant operations manager at Edinburgh Bus Tours, said that the building contractors had worked with the company to minimise problems, but a small fall in passenger numbers was to be expected for the next four weeks.

Edinburgh Council loses ownership of Parliament House

By Greg Barrie, Paul Hyland and Carolina Morais

In a strange series of events Edinburgh Council has unwittingly lost the ownership of the Parliament House building.

Innovative Learning Week

by Vanessa Kennedy and Charlotte Barbour

Today marks the start of Innovative Learning Week at The University of Edinburgh.

Edinburgh Landmarks to get Chinese Names

By: Lauren Beehan, Madalina Dichiu and Marion Guichaoua

Some of Edinburgh’s best-loved tourist attractions have been given new Chinese names to benefit Mandarin visitors.

The new names were announced today after ten weeks of voting by Chinese tourists in the “GREAT names for GREAT Britain” campaign, run by VisitBritain.

It follows a trend of giving famous celebrities and places relatable names in Mandarin.

However, the names do not translate literally from English. They are generally short Chinese symbols that are rich in descriptive meaning.

In total, 23 Scottish landmarks and traditions were given Chinese names, including haggis, which will be Mie Mie Bu Ding or “Baa-Baa Pudding”. The suggested name for the Highland Games is Qun Ying Hui, or “Strong-Man Skirt Party”.

Scotland hosts over 30,000 Chinese tourists each year and the number is increasing.

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