Doctors Support Margo MacDonald Assisted Suicide Bill

By Jordan Hooks

A surgeon and a professor of neurology are among a group of doctors who have spoken out in support of legalising assisted suicide.

Eleven medical experts back the bill proposed by independent MSP Margo MacDonald. The bill would compliment the palliative care that is currently offered in Scotland.

One ear, nose and throat surgeon, Gillian MacDougall, said there are more GPs that support the bill, but are afraid to sign it in fear of being labeled as ‘Dr. Death.’

The bill is the second attempt Margo has made to change the law. Her previous attempt was voted down by MSPs in 2010.

Under the new proposed bill, only those who are terminally ill or who are suffering from deteriorating progressive conditions, which make life intolerable will be able to seek assisted suicide. A second professional opinion would be needed, followed by a 14-day ‘cooling-off’ period.

This process is then repeated again, after one of the doctors concerned would supply a license facilitator with a prescription to enable assisted suicide to take place.

If the prescription is not used within 14 days, it is required to be returned.

When she launched the Bill in November, the Lothian MSP said she believed it could be successful this time, stating: “I have sensed from the beginning that there was a change because of the volume of support that we can demonstrate.”

Teen Drugs Charity Links Increased Demand to Methadone Treatment

(c) Steve Nagy/ Design Pics/ Corbis

Drug charities in Scotland have seen an increase in demand for their services this year(c) Steve Nagy/ Design Pics/ Corbis

by Stephen Mahon

A charity that helps teens across Scotland deal with substance abuse has seen a major increase in the need for its services this year.

Demand is up by 30 percent compared to the same period 12 months ago, and Roy Lees, coordinator of the Kids in Crisis charity, expects the problem to increase.  Lees said: “I put the problem down to methadone. It is an increasingly popular method to treat heroin addiction, but since it was first introduced in a big way in the ’80s, it just hasn’t worked.   We deal with the fallout from that, and during times of high unemployment the situation is worse.  The government needs to take a far deeper look at the issue.”

Kids in Crisis is an offshoot of Teen Challenge, a charity that first came to the UK from America in the 1980s.  Currently they have 12 local teams nationwide, with nearly 500 workers made up from staff and volunteers who work in multiple locations across the UK.

The aim of the charity is to actively reach people in need, and -in a novel approach- this can take the form of special buses that have been converted to coffee shops going to the worst affected areas.

A Trustee of Teen Challenge Strathclyde, Bill Kerr said: “We have a location that we visit in Paisley, and some nights nobody will come onto the bus and on other occasions up to ten to fifteen people might come on. There isn’t always a pattern that you can predict. Alcohol addiction is of course a problem, but our focus tends to be on younger people with drug addiction.”

Kerr further explained the challenges facing the charity. He said: “We truly do not know the size of the problem, we only touch a few people’s lives. If we can meet people, we’ll meet them, if we can help people we will help them.  If they are willing to go to rehab we will send them. If they are not willing to go we do not refuse them a cup of coffee.”

Teams of workers also walk the streets looking for the opportunity to serve and organise food for those who require it.

Although the original work carried out by Teen Challenge was with teenagers, they now often help people in the 18 to 40 age group.

Kerr said: “We are low key in what we try to do. We try to help those who want help.  We do not turn people away.”

Rascals Bar Becomes An Edin-Burger

A Rascals Burger Credit: Jamie Anderson

A Rascals Burger Credit: Jamie Anderson

By Melissa Steel

A popular St. Andrews burger bar is due to make the move to Edinburgh next Thursday.

Rascals Bar will open a new branch on the premises of the former Aspen Bar on the city’s South Bridge. Its two year tenure in St. Andrews has seen it put sky-high burgers on the menu and host an undefeated eating challenge that has attracted The Daily Record and American champion eater Randy Santel.

Owner Jamie Anderson is enthusiastic about expanding his business. Anderson said: “Rascals Edinburgh will open almost two years to the day after we opened in St. Andrews. It has been a big success for us and the plan was always to expand. We were looking for somewhere else for a long time and we have finally found a good location.”

Although punters can expect the same American-style fare offered in St. Andrews, the Edinburgh bar will not serve Poppa’s Revenge, the mammoth meal that no one has been able to conquer yet. The 7,000 calorie feast includes five burgers, pulled pork, regular and sweet potato fries, spicy chicken wings and a milkshake.

Other bars in Edinburgh offer burger challenges, but Anderson said: “We will serve the same comfort food that we do in St. Andrews and have a good value drinks offer. There will be no Poppa’s Revenge in Edinburgh, though.” The decision came after Santel was defeated by Poppa’s Revenge last week. Anderson said: “I was really excited when Randy Santel took it on, but he failed. I really wanted him to do it. I think it dented people’s confidence.”

Peckish Edinburgh residents looking for a challenge should not be too disappointed. Anderson said: “We are going to make up something specific for Edinburgh and will probably pay homage to Poppa’s Revenge with a display in the bar.”

Rascals Edinburgh will also employ 15-18 people and is currently recruiting bar, waiting and kitchen staff as well as cleaners. Anderson is hopeful that they will be able to open on 5th December. Anderson said: “Everything is going okay just now, touch wood. We’ve had a really good response on Facebook and Twitter – Rascals Edinburgh already has over 1,000 likes and we have not even opened yet. It is a lot more than some of our competitors close by who have been around for years.”

In fact, Rascals Edinburgh has 1,155 likes and Biblos, a bar nearby, only has 397.

The reputation Rascals established in St. Andrews has carried over to Edinburgh. Oliver Corbishley is a former St. Andrews student now living in Edinburgh and he is looking forward to the opening. Corbishley said: “Rascals in St. Andrews was a great place for a night out, watching the football or an afternoon lunch with friends. If they bring the same experience to Edinburgh, I am sure it will be a great spot to check out.”

 

 

Scottish Campaign on Welfare Reform Launch Manifesto

Image Source: Bonnet

Lord Kirkwood. Credit: Bonnet

 

By Andy Little.

Politicians from all sides of the political spectrum came together in Edinburgh on Thursday  13th November to support the launch of the Scottish Campaign on Welfare Reform. The group is a coalition of key third sector organisations from across Scotland.

The Campaign put forward five key reforms which amounts to a new approach to social security.they seek to increase benefit levels to ensure that no one is left in poverty. Make respect for human rights and dignity a cornerstone for a new approach to welfare. Radically simplify the welfare system. Invest in the support needed to ensure that everyone is able to participate fully in society and make welfare benefits work for Scotland.

Chairman, John Dickie said:

“The current approach to social security is not working. We have seen the rise of foodbanks, rising rent arrears and we need to rethink the overall approach to social security.”

Maggie Kelly the co-author of the manifesto said:

“Simple things can reduce poverty such as paying people benefit that raises them out of poverty”

Keynote speaker Lord Archie Kirkwood (Liberal Democrat) praised the role of the  third sector as an important pressure group for change. Lord Kirkwood said:

“There is massive value in working together, policy makers need to hear from the voluntary sector”

He was also critical of the Department of Work and Pensions. Kirkwood said:

“The Department of Work and Pensions is in a state of turmoil, the information technology for universal credit will never work for low income families and the sanctions regime potentially labels everyone a scrounger. That cannot be allowed to continue”

Shiela Gilmour, Labour MP and member of the House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee sounded a note of caution when she referred to the cost of reform. Gilmour said:

“The cost has to be discussed it’s not just a  safety net but we must have that debate not just a wish list.”

Jamie Hepburn the SNP MSP and deputy convener of the Scottish Parliament Welfare Reform Committee said:

“I welcome this manifesto for an important contribution to the debate and an important opportunity to imagine a different type of Scotland”

Nobody from the Conservative Party attended the event.

The Department of Work and Pensions was not able to respond to a request to comment.

Deportation threatened headteacher handed lifeline by Home Office

by Alasdair Crews

Ae Primary School

Ae Primary School; Credit: Dumfries and Galloway Council

The Home Office has lifted a deportation threat on an American-born headteacher working in Dunfriesshire who had his request for permanent residency turned down.

David MacIsaac, who has lived and worked in Scotland for almost 10 years, was told his application had been turned down in a letter from the Home Office, which said that they considered his four-year marriage to a Scottish woman “a sham”.

Mr MacIsaac will now start the application process again after his lawyer and the Home Office agreed a new framework for re-applying.

Mr MacIsaac has been working as headteacher for Ae Primary School for five years, having discovered a shortage of headteachers in rural communities in Scotland during a holiday to the country.

When the decision by the immigration authorities was brought down, Mr MacIsaac and his wife Susan were devastated. Their misery was compounded by the fact that Susan was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and is due to begin a course of treatment in Edinburgh.

The Home Office decision caused widespread condemnation from all corners of the Scottish political spectrum and various Parliamentary figures have welcomed the Home Office decision.

In a statement, MSP for South Scotland, Joan McAlpine said:

“This is a victory for common sense and I’m extremely pleased the Home Office has dropped its threat to deport Mr MacIsaac.

“The meeting with Scotland’s education secretary clearly sent a strong signal to the Home Office that its harassment of Mr MacIsaac was wrong.

“The Home Office should be ashamed that its archaic system brought about this highly stressful and unsettling situation.

“I hope Home Office officials learn from this situation and address the serious concerns it has raised about this barbaric Westminster system.”

Mr MacIsaac said: “Sue and I are both delighted and we have been overwhelmed by the cross-party support and the numerous letters and e-mails we have received”.

Drug Discovery Institute announced by Alzheimer’s Research UK

By Alicia Simpson

image source: reuters

The Drug Discovery Institute will develop new treatments for dementia (image source: reuters)

 

Alzheimer’s Research UK  announced a first of its kind in Europe this week with the launch of a Drug Discovery Institute to develop new treatments for dementia.

With the G8 Dementia Summit one month away, the UK’s leading dementia research charity will fund the new institute to address a gap it says the pharmaceutical industry has failed to fill. It will unite the divide between academic research, which provides much of the fundamental insight into neurodegenerative disease, and the development of new treatments.

The charity has today called  for the UK’s foremost universities to apply to host the Institute. Its work will be guided by Alzheimer’s Research UK and leading drug discovery experts from the dementia field, and is set to have its lead scientists in place by next year.

The Director of Research for Alzheimer’s Research UK, Dr Eric Karran, is launching the Drug Discovery Institute. Dr Karran said: “We currently have no treatments that act against the disease processes that cause dementia; this Institute will change that. The Institute will be the first of its kind in Europe, and will follow successful models established in other disease areas like cancer. As the population ages, numbers of people living with dementia will grow; the need for treatments that can improve quality of life or slow or stop diseases like Alzheimer’s cannot be overstated.”

Finding medicines for complex diseases such as this solicits an amalgamation of clinical expertise, pioneering basic science and patient involvement. The new Drug Discovery Institute will aim to combine all three by setting up its home with a leading academic group that has close access to clinical research units and hospitals.

Dr Karran said: “The Drug Discovery Institute is the missing link between the UK’s considerable expertise in fundamental science, and industry who can turn discoveries into benefits for people with dementia. Alzheimer’s Research UK is in a unique position to bring the academic and industrial sectors together in the interests of tackling our greatest medical challenge and it is the right time to launch this drive.”

Dementia currently affects at least 35.6 million people worldwide, and the numbers are projected to almost double every 20 years, according to the World Health Organization. 60,000 deaths a year are also directly attributable to dementia.

Professor Bart de Strooper was awarded the MetLife Foundation Award for Medical Research in 2007 for his contribution to dementia research. De Strooper said: “The Drug Discovery Institute is exactly the kind of long-term thinking that we need to develop effective new treatments for people with dementia. Dementia researchers from across Europe and beyond will be watching its progress with anticipation.”

Dementia costs the UK economy £23 billion a year, which is more than both cancer and heart disease combined. It is hoped that the launch of the Drug Discovery Institute will enable reductions to the economic cost, as well as the huge personal cost, of dementia.

Rosemary Goddard is the Alzheimer’s Research UK champion. Her husband was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s seven years ago. Goddard said: “I’m delighted to see Alzheimer’s Research UK taking the lead in this search for more effective drugs. With the population living longer, dementia is hanging over us all like the sword of Damocles, and I have to hope that research will defeat this dreadful condition.”

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.

Nation celebrates National Cleavage Day

Celebrate National Cleavage Day!

By: Pamela Paterson

Today women are celebrating their decolletage as they take part in National Cleavage Day.

The unusual event takes place in March or April each year and has been running since 2002. It is sponsored by well known bra maker Wonderbra, and according to them, “is a day for women to acknowledge that their cleavage is something unique and encourage you all to be proud of it.”

In a recent poll of 1000 women carried out by Wonderbra, 50% of women admitted to flashing some flesh in order to get served quicker in bars. 28% revealed that they wear a bust enhancing bra on a first date to impress a potential suitor, while one in seven admitted to wearing revealing necklines at work to get a career boost. A further 8% found that showing some cleavage helped them escape a parking fine.

Wonderbra also compiled a list of the top ten most boobilicious celebrities in their celebrity cleavage hall of fame. Television presenter Holly Willoughby came top of the list.

Wonderbra’s celebrity cleavage hall of fame:

1.    Holly Willoughby
2.    Scarlett Johansson
3.    Beyonce
4.    Rihanna
5.    Marilyn Monroe
6.    Dita Von Teese
7.    Katy Perry
8.    Brigitte Bardot
9.    Kim Kardashian
10.  Lara Stone

National Cleavage Day has remained one of the top trending topics on Twitter. Here’s what some Tweeters have been saying:

@wonderbra_uk Happy National Cleavage Day to everyone!!!
@NotBillWalton Today is National Cleavage Day! Ladies, be proud of your twins, be bold, show them off, throw them down, and set the world on fire!
@moonsez What’s different on National Cleavage day? Do the men look at your face while talking to you?
@ollyofficial Just heard NATIONAL CLEAVAGE DAY!!! Excited about getting out of this studio…. #schwing
@AnnSummersPR Happy National Cleavage Day…we are all rocking our best bras today ;)
@stuheritage Is it National Cleavage Day? Finally, a national day that I have a chance of winning.

@Charles_HRH Camilla, one doesn’t care if it’s ‘National Cleavage Day‘. You’re not having your “crown jewels” on display. #nationalcleavageday

Updated Penrose Inquiry ends today

Blood donation. Picture provided by Waldszenen

The legal representatives of the ongoing inquiry are due to make their closing statement today.

The inquiry is looking into how hundreds of people in Scotland received contaminated blood in the 1970s and 1980s.

In the first evidence session earlier this month Lord Penrose heard from patients and relatives in a closed session so they could give evidence anonymously.

Many in Scotland are thought to have received the blood contaminated by Hepatitis C.

At the end of the session no conclusions had been drawn and while Laura Dunlop, one of the four advocates thanked many involved, there is still a long way to go.

The evidence has now been collected and now time must be taken so there is time to reflect on the value of the material.

The victims will be given an explanation after a conclusion is drawn but it is a controversial issue and the number of people who have been affected need to be established.

There is a serious tone underlining the session with the closing statement claiming “they will not be happy to reach a final conclusion without all the stones unturned.”

Edinburgh Castle will ‘go dark’ for Earth Hour

Last year, Edinburgh Castle went dark for Earth Hour 2011. This year, the Castle we be dark again for another hour, to combat global warming.

This Saturday, Edinburgh will go dark.

In conjunction with the World Wildlife Fund’s Earth Hour 2012, Edinburgh will join hundreds of cities from all over the world by switching off lights and electricity, and going dark, for an hour.

Earth Hour is scheduled on the last Saturday of every March, closely coinciding with the equinox,  and will happen this Saturday, March 31st at 8:30 pm.

Earth Hour began in 2007 in Sydney, Australia, and since then has spread massively across the globe. In 2011, more than 5,200 cities and towns in 135 countries worldwide switched off their lights for Earth Hour, according to the WWF website.

Their website also stated “We’re delighted that all 32 local authorities in Scotland are participating again this year – promoting the event, arranging switch offs and organizing events.”

There will be a great number of monuments in Scotland that will join in going dark, including the Edinburgh Castle, the Scottish Parliament, Urqhuart Castle, and Scott Monument are just a few that will celebrate Earth Hour.

According to Mandy Carter of WWF Scotland, local authorities are working to promote Earth Hour to local communities, some by having switch off events and fundraisers. But they are using the trickle down affect to help spread the word.

Here in Edinburgh, the City Council has launched an Earth Hour photography competition that is running from 5th March to 13th April with the theme, ‘ What we’re doing about climate change’ to help promote Earth Hour.

To find out more about Earth Hour, or how you can get involved at the WWF Scotland website or at the WWF Website.

Irn Bru parent company’s profits rise

The company that makes Irn Bru have reported a steady increase in profits.

AG Barr’s profits have increased by 16.4% to £35.4 million for the year ending January 2012. Turnover for the same period was £237 million.

Sales of Irn Bru itself rose by 2.7% with the company planning to open a new site in Milton Keynes.

Barr’s chief executive Roger White has praised the results, saying they coped with, “substantial raw material cost headwinds while achieving revenue growth based on brand development, innovation and improved focus on execution.

“Our operational performance improved substantially in the final quarter of last year and we are now beginning to see the benefits of our investment in our production assets.”

Famous for having an ‘other’ national drink, Scotland is one of the few countries where Coca Cola is not the top-selling soft drink.

Anger after Archbishop’s comments on gay rights

Scottish gay rights charity, Equality Network has responded to a sermon given yesterday by the Catholic Archbishop of Glasgow, Mario Conti.

In the sermon he claimed that “tolerance” is turning into “tyranny” on the subject of gay marriage, accusing the political mainstream of “marginalizing” religious opinion.

The Archbishop claimed yesterday that the proposed introduction of gay marriage in Scotland is an attempt to “redefine marriage” according to “mores of the day” and is “putting the claim of ‘equality and diversity’ on a higher level than faith and reason”.

Archbishop Conti stated that creating equality between homosexual and heterosexual marriages is “contrary to the virtue of chastity” and as going against “natural law”.

The Catholic cleric went on to claim that society will “descend further into ethical confusion and moral disintegration” if the government continues to legislate on such issues.

Tim Hopkins, Director of the Equality Network, argued that legal equality should not be denied to gay people. “Archbishop Conti says the law is there to defend the rights of citizens, but he wants to deny those rights to people because they are gay. He says the law cannot redefine people and their rights, and yet the law has done that over and over.”

Referring to previous attempts by the law to discriminate against groups in society, Tim Hopkins stated, “In the past century the legal position of women has undergone a revolution, from non-persons without a vote, to legal equality. In the past 200 years, the legal position of Catholics in this country has similarly been redefined. It’s time that legal equality extended to LGBT people too.”

The gay rights campaigning group Stonewall has also weighed in on the controversy, stating that the Archbishop’s comments were disrespectful and intolerant. In a statement issued to ENN today, Colin Macfarlane, Director of Stonewall Scotland said that Archbishop Conti’s use of terms like “ethical confusion” were “disappointing and wholly untrue” and that “the majority of Scots support the right of same sex couples to express their committed relationships through marriage. When there 1.2 billion people in the world living on less than a dollar a day, it’s a shame that the churches’ priorities are focused on preventing a few thousand people doing just that.”

These comments come after Cardinal Keith O’Brian, Scotland’s most senior Catholic wrote in The Telegraph earlier in the month comparing legalizing gay marriage to slavery.

Previously Archbishop Conti has gone on record as supporting the controversial Section 28 of the Local Government Act that banned the “promotion of homosexuality” by local authorities. He has also voiced opposition against Civil Partnerships and IVF treatment and is a member of the Catholic Bishops’ Joint Committee for Bio-Ethics.

The Equality Network is a registered charity promoting LGBT rights and has been operating in Scotland since 1997.

Fire fighters rescue boy climber

A four year old boy was rescued by fire fighters after becoming trapped in a climbing frame in Lauderdale park in Dunbar, East Lothian yesterday evening (25 March 2012).

The boy had to be cut free when his arm became trapped in a metal part of the climbing frame by fire fighters using a grinder and reciprocating saw. They were able to remove the child’s arm which was still trapped by the metal pole before safely releasing his arm.

The child was checked over by an ambulance crew and did not require hospital attention.

 

 

Hard times for housing benefit claimants

£150m will be removed every year from the Scottish economy as a result of the UK Government’s new Housing Benefit law.  More than 95,000 households in the social rented sector will be affected by the reform and this will mean an average monthly loss of up to £65 for claimant tenants.

Great concern has been raised among Scottish citizens and the Scottish Housing Minister Keith Brown expressed his discontent about this measure. Speaking ahead of a debate on the UK government’s Welfare Reform Act on 21 March 2012, Mr. Brown stated:

“It is the responsibility of the UK Government’s Department for Work and Pensions to ensure that the welfare reforms are successfully rolled out and – even though we disagree with the changes – the public sector in Scotland must work with them to ensure no one suffers undue hardship’.

He believes  changes to Housing Benefit will have a “huge impact on local communities and individuals, some of the most vulnerable ones in Scotland”. In order to tackle the impacts, the Scottish Government and COSLA have established a Housing Benefit Stakeholder Advisory Group to help those affected ones properly understand what the impact of the UK Government’s changes to housing benefit will exactly involve.

Edinburgh basks in an early summer

Edinburgh enjoys the unseasonal sunshine

Much of Scotland has been basking in the glorious sunshine and soaring temperatures this weekend.

Feeling more like summer than spring, UK temperatures surpassed Mediterranean temperatures, out-scorching Barcelona and Mallorca.

After a foggy Saturday in Edinburgh, Sunday had sun worshippers out in force around the capital’s parks basking in the unseasonal heat wave. The warm spell is set to see temperatures peak today before slowly dropping toward the end of the week.

The Met Office recorded the highest temperature, 22.8ºC, at Fyvie castle in Aberdeenshire, a new record temperature for Scotland in March. They have, however, forecast that this sunny spell will be short-lived with figures back down to the seasonal average by next week.

A research paper published by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany warns that these weather extremes could be down to human-caused global warming.  Lead author of the research paper Dim Coumou says, “The question is whether these weather extremes are coincidental or a result of climate change. Global warming can generally not be proven to cause individual extreme events – but in the sum of events the link to climate change becomes clear.”

The threat of global warming will do little to dampen spirits as the early spate of summer sun is expected to have people out in their droves in Edinburgh and around the UK today.

Daylight-saving time on the proof

Every year we turn our clocks forward by an hour at the last weekend in March. This year the change to daylight-saving time, or summer time as many people call it, took place yesterday, on March the 25th.

Summer time will reduce energy costs by aligning the time we spend awake and working with daylight. Since it’s introduction in 1916 the clock change has caused many debates and has resulted in many research studies. Research teams have proposed health risks due to the change in clock time twice a year, saying it has similar repercussions to jetlag, shift work and sleep deprivation.

Imre Janszky from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm in Sweden has found in a second study that the hour of clock change in the end of March has a short-term influence on the risk of suffering from an acute heart attack (also known as acute myocardial infarction). With an international team of scientists, he found that the sleep deprivation caused by the one hour of time difference resulted in a 4% increase in people admitted to the coronary care units in Sweden over a period of approximately one week. “The sleep-wake cycle appears to require several days to adjust to the official time after the shift,” he states.

The daylight-saving adjustment has also been criticized for not having a significant impact on energy consumption. Dr Simon I Hill and his team from the University of Cambridge   found that “having BST year-round would lead to energy savings on the order of at least 0.3% in the months in which the UK currently has GMT” (winter time).

This is one of the reasons for the proposed Daylight Saving Bill in the UK which received ministerial backing last autumn for a trial period of three years. The switch to the GMT+1 timezone would help aligning waking hours with daylight hours in Britain.The daylight-saving time has reportedly been found to reduce the risk of accidents. In January, however, the bill was brought to a halt due to a lack of time in the parliament and the Scottish Government has been reported to object  because of the longer duration of darkness in the morning.

The recent change of the clock is expected to raise the discussion again.

Radio: NSPCC say that Scots wait a month to report child abuse

Listen Here:


The NSPCC has launched a new campaign urging the public to act on doubts about child safety, as new figures show most people wait at least a month before picking up the phone.

In the last six months, 374 people from Scotland contacted the NSPCC with concerns about a child that were considered so serious they warranted immediate action. Of those, over one third had waited at least a month with an additional 26 per cent waiting more than six.

The figures come as a new viral campaign, made by Skins and Billy Elliot director Amanda Boyle, is launched in partnership with parents’ website Netmums.

The campaign, entitled ‘Don’t wait until you’re certain’ mimics a well-known online series but carries a serious message and has already received over 25,000 YouTube hits in its first 72hours online.

The campaign film was inspired by the popular ‘Sh*t Girls Say’ series, which parodies the things girls stereotypically say. The NSPCC clip uses the idea to dramatic effect drawing attention to ‘The $#*! Kids Say’, slang for the familiar ‘kids say the funniest things’.

[Read more...]

Pistol pensioner spared jail

The Edinburgh High Court: Woodward was admonished for possession of the gun

A 64 -year- old grandmother has been spared jail from the High Court of Edinburgh today after standing trial for illegal possession of a revolver.

Kathleen Woodward was arrested after admitting that she kept a Harrington and Richardson pistol in her house without a license.

The gun, which had owned by the by her late husband, was stolen from her Moray house by Guy Whitlaw last March. Whitlaw was sentenced to a five year jail term last year.

The law states that illegal firearm possession should automatically lead to a five year jail sentence. However, Judge Lady Stacey said there were extenuating circumstances, including Mrs Woodward’s work in her local community and for charity.

Mrs Woodward was admonished for possession of the gun but allowed to walk free.

Festival tickets on sale this weekend

Tickets for the Edinburgh International Festival will go on sale tomorrow, 24 March 2012.

The famous finale: Tickets are expected to sell out quickly. Image: Tim Rawle / CC license

The festival, which will run from the 9th of August to the 2nd of September, will showcase talents from 47 nations in performances of theatre, opera, dance and music.

4 million people will flock to Scotland’s capital city to watch 40, 000 performances by more than 25, 000 artists. This year will be the 65th anniversary of the Edinburgh festival and the programme will enshrine the values of the Olympic games and global identity.

Prices for the festival start at £6 and discounts will be made available closer to start of the festival. Students and children under 18 will be able to buy half price tickets on selected performances from the 24th of March.

The popular finale, the Festival Fireworks Concert, is expected to sell out quickly, as well as tickets for the opening concert Delius’s A Mass of Life.

Tickets can be bought from Hub Tickets http://www.hubtickets.co.uk/ from Saturday as well as from the Edinburgh Playhouse, Festival Theatre, The Queen’s Hall, Royal Lyceum Theatre, and the Usher Hall, from Monday the 26th of March.

St Andrews’ men’s club decides to admit women

St Salvator's Quad

By: Gavrielle Kirk-Cohen

The St Andrews University’s  Kate Kennedy club has finally voted to allow women to join.

The society which was founded in 1926, held a meeting earlier this week in which they agreed to change the policy. A formal motion was passed allowing all first year students to apply to the Kate Kennedy Club, regardless of gender.

The change has come about after two members left the club and formed their own group, the Kate Kennedy Fellowship, which admits women. In 2009 St Andrews University withdrew all support for the club after the first female Principal, Professor Louise Richardson said: “The official endorsement of any club or society which excludes people because of their gender or race would be completely at odds with the values of this University.” 

The club is well known for it’s annual spring procession through the town, and in a statement released by the Principal and club committee, they say that the Kate Kennedy Procession “will remain at the heart of the club.”  This year’s procession will take place on the 14th April. Principal Louise Richardson says: “The annual Kate Kennedy Procession is an important event for the local community and we look forward to seeing the involvement of our entire community in this year’s event.”

The society which has been a men’s only club for 86 years will start accepting applications from first year students, both male and female, in the upcoming academic year.

Mother’s Day

By Silvia Montes and Sam Khan-McIntyre

Mother’s Day

Origins

Mother’s day has it its origins deep in history, falling on the middle Sunday of Lent, the Christian time of fasting.it has been celebrated on this day since the 16th century.This day was chosen because the fasting rules were relaxed, due to the biblical story of feeding the five thousand.

It is believed the celebration is influenced by the Roman Spring Festival of Cybele, the Mother Goddess.The date for this was chosen by Christians as the religion spread.

400 years ago, this was the day when people visited their mother church, it was said they had gone ‘a mothering’.This was the largest church in the area, and where they had been baptised.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/simnelcake_792

Click on this link for Simnel cake, a traditional British cake with young servants baked and took home to their mothers on this day, the only day of the year they were allowed to visit their families.

This may be a special present to bake this year to show your mother how much you love her and make her feel special with something personal

Edinburgh University may see a 24-hour library

A campaign will be launched during the Students Association elections at the end of March for the main library building on George Square to be open 24 hours a day.

The Student Council has already managed to extend the opening hours to 2:30am, and have previously argued for a 24-hour policy. Members of EUSA will now add their voice to the campaign, which is also keen to see other areas of the University, such as the Chrystal Macmillan building, extend their opening hours. [Read more...]

Binge Drinking: A Scottish Problem?

A survey out today found a third of children in Scotland are binge drinking by the age of 13.

The Scottish government believes that the link between consumption of alcohol and affordability is a major factor in aggrevating problems of alcohol abuse and aims to tackle this by introducing a minimum alcohol price to discourage binge drinking.

According to Scottish government research into differing price policy, minimum price is the most effect deterrent when it comes to discouraging drinking too much. Minimum pricing would set a floor price, below which alcohol could not be sold. This would be defined by the units of alcohol in a drink. The stronger the alcohol percentage the more expensive it will be. The purpose is to ensure that strong drink is sold at a sensible price.

There is no internationally agreed definition of binge drinking but in the UK drinking surveys normally define binge drinkers as men consuming at least eight and women at least six standard units of alcohol in a single day. This is double the maximum recommended safe limit for men and women respectively.

How much do you think is too much?

Do you find thinking about how much you are drinking in terms of units is a useful way of monitoring you’re alcohol intake? Or is binge drinking something that should be subject to individual assessment?

Please get in touch, we would love to hear your views.

Telford college launch LGBT video

Edinburgh’s Telford College is shining a light on homophobia and bullying today through the launch of a film from the LGBT society.

Featuring students and members of staff, the video focuses on personal experience, tackling hard-hitting issues such as suicide and self harm, while promoting acceptance and tolerance. [Read more...]

Edinburgh Council is urgently looking for more foster carers

By Silvia Montes

Listen Here:


The City Of Edinburgh Council is launching a campaign to recruit more fosters as the number of children in care across Scotland is the highest since 1981.

Edinburgh Council is aiming to recruit around 30 new foster carers this year and it has organised five events across the city in order to achieve this goal. The events will be running from the 16th March to the 26th April and they will  offer an opportunity to interested people to get informed about it. Throughout an informal chat they will meet fosters and social workers and they will receive all the information related with fostering.

As the Council claims everyone can be a good foster, the only requirement is provide children with safe and caring homes. A stable environment will help children to increase their confidence and it will help them towards their future.

There are many kind of fosters needed as the children needs vary from ones to others. The age of the children goes from birth to 18 and the fostering can be held for different periods: from days to months or even for the whole childhood of the child.

For more information visit http://egfl.net/fostering/index.html

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