Napping found to raise diabetes risk

By Vibecke Gudmundsen

Regular napping is dramatically raising the risk to develop diabetes, according to new research.

The study conducted by scientists at the University of Birmingham has found that people who sleep for short periods during the day are up to 26 per cent more likely to evoke type-2 diabetes.Day time nap

“There is an obvious link between sleeping for short periods and type-2 diabetes, even with other factors taken into account”, said Dr Shahrad Taheri from the University of Birmingham.

Other contributing factors are the weight of the subjects and unhealthy life styles. These were also confirmed by the study, in addition to poor night time sleep.

The research examined the sleeping habits of 16,480 older people in China. A large proportion of the group, 68 per cent, took regular naps, and the research found that napping just once a week increased the likelihood of developing the condition.

DiabetesDr Taheri said he is satisfied with the study. He noted: “Our research provides us with an additional insight on the risk factors behind type-2 diabetes”.

“As the number of people with type-2 diabetes keeps increasing, it is crucial that we do everything we can to help prevent people from developing the condition.”

The results of the study is due to be presented at Diabetes UK‘s annual professional conference in Glasgow on Wednesday.

Homeless service closed

By Edwin Mashonganyika

The Edinburgh City Council will provide temporary accommodation to anyone at risk of having to sleep rough, the Housing leader Paul Edie said today.

The Housing leader was reacting after Cowgate Centre, a Homeless service in the City, announced that it would close at night sparking fears that up to 40 would be left without a place to sleep.

Cowgate Centre would downgrade to day provision only, and it was feared that the former users would be forced back on the streets.

“We can provide emergency accommodation to anyone who is at risk of having to sleep rough. The homelessness strategy emphasises the need to provide suitable accommodation.

“The new service will provide temporary accommodation which avoids the need for people to use Cowgate centre at night. This will avoid the current situation where people stay overnight there sleeping on chairs and mats, Paul Edie said.

Executive announces tough anti-crime measures

By Rory Reynolds

Tough new sentencing laws aimed at tackling organised criminals and drug dealers were unveiled today by the Scottish Government.

Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Bill will also target those found distributing or in possession of hardcore pornography and allow police to retain forensic evidence relating to sexual assaults and child abuse for a longer period of time.

The Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said that new legislation would give the police and the courts more power.

He said: “This Bill can significantly strengthen the hand of our law enforcement agencies to tackle serious organised crime linked to drugs, money laundering, human trafficking and sexual exploitation and give police and the courts new powers to deal with predatory sex offenders.

“There can be no hiding place for those who peddle drugs and despair on our streets and no compromise in curbing the activities of predatory adults whose behaviour poses a risk to our children and others.”

The bill will also raise the age at which children can be prosecuted in the adult courts from eight to 12 and end the remand of children in adult prisons.

The Justice Secretary added said: “Our investment in policing has delivered record numbers of officers on our streets, while crime is at its lowest level in a generation.”

Government plans to reduce domestic abuse

By Sally Edgar.

Police may be given the power to warn women against potentially violent partners as the Government reveals a plan to tackle domestic abuse.

Men that have had previous offenses could be placed on a register, identifying them as a potential risk to women. This would be monitored by police who could have the authority to warn these offender’s girlfriend’s of their history. If neccessary, police could also be given powers to ban offenders from the family home for a fortnight.

These plans have been listed in a consultation document due to published by the Home Office. Home Secretary Jacqui Smith hopes that if the ideas are passed they could help to protect women and reduce their exposure to domestic violence.

“At the moment we have orders that quite often individual women take out on their partners, or ex-partners, if they have been abusive to them.
“Perhaps we ought to turn that round and say that the order ought to attach to the perpetrator, to the usually man, who has actually had a series of offences; that might be one way of doing it.

“Or perhaps there may be times when it is appropriate for people to actually be given information by the police that somebody that they have started a relationship with is somebody who has a history of violence.

“We’ve already made real progress with domestic violence incidents more than halving in the past 12 years. But I want to start a national debate on what more we can do to prevent it and challenging attitudes which condone it.”


Even with recent progress there are still a high number of cases of physical or emotional abuse in the home.
And it’s not just women that are suffering from this form of abuse. Jacqui Smith has announced that “Violence against women and girls is unacceptable in any form.” The fact that the report focuses on women victims may leave abused men feeling somewhat unsupported and discriminated against sexually.

In 2007, 142 people died in domestic attacks, including 38 men. Hundreds of thousands of individuals are thought to suffer some kind of abuse behind closed doors every year. Many of these people are too afraid to confront their partners and continue their lives in silence.

Scotland is also hoping to make this issue a high priority. Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon has reinforced the importance of fighting for this cause.
“Sadly, violence is part of too many women’s lives across the world. I want today to call on my fellow political leaders in Scotland – let’s put family back at the top of the agenda, let’s have the debate about how we put family back at the heart of society and how we support the family,” she said.

Can peace prevail in Northern Ireland?

By Rebecca Jamieson

The murder of two soldiers at an Antrim army base leaves Northern Ireland’s politicians and security chiefs with a major challenge.

Northern Ireland's First Minister Peter Robinson
Northern Ireland's First Minister Peter Robinson

The attack is an attempt by the Real IRA to wreck the peace process and bring down the power-sharing Northern Ireland Assembly. Politicians will now have to try and ensure they do not succeed.

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams and Prime Minister Gordon Brown both condemned the murders. Adams called them “an attack on the peace process”, and Brown described the act as “evil”, and said “no murderer” would derail the peace process.

The First Minister of Northern Ireland, Peter Robinson has described the murders as “a terrible reminder of the events of the past”. He said, “We will not allow these people to set our agenda, we will not allow them to drag us back into the bad old days.”

It seems the people of Northern Ireland had got used to living in relative peace, and many are outraged at the senseless violence of the attack.

Chris Murray, a Catholic from Belfast said: “I am outraged about this attack. How dare they try to steal the hard won peace we have? How dare they murder people for no reason?”

William Walker who lives in the Antrim area said: “I am quite saddened by this attack on the security forces – those days were gone, and we thought they had gone for good. How wrong we were. After living in Belfast for 25 years during the Troubles I hope we don’t go down that road again.”

It is now the responsibility of Northern Ireland’s leaders to ensure peace will return to a population who have had it so fleetingly.

Who are the Real IRA?

The dissident Republican group the Real IRA was born out of a split in the mainstream Provisional IRA in October 1997. They were responsible for the Omagh bombing as well of a string of other attacks, including bombings in London and Birmingham.

Edinburgh Napier Principal wins prestigious IOD award

By Rory Reynolds

Scotland’s Higher Education credentials received a major boost on Friday as the Principal of the Edinburgh Napier University was awarded Public Sector Director of the Year for Scotland at the Institute of Directors Scotland Awards.

Professor Joan Stringer was given the prestigious award for her contribution to higher education in both the UK and internationally on March 9.

The award comes after Edinburgh Napier was named number one modern university in Scotland in the Guardian University Guide 2009.

Professor Stringer said she was delighted to receive the Public Sector Director award.

She said: “It is deserved recognition of the continuing importance of higher education, and is a reflection too of the importance that Edinburgh Napier University places in ensuring that education be made available to all those who can benefit from it.”

Crawford Beveridge, an Executive Vice President and Chairman of Sun Microsystems, who nominated Principal Joan Stringer for the IOD Award, added: “Professor Stringer has made a significant contribution to higher education and these awards are well deserved recognition of that. Professor Stringer’s inspiring leadership and strong sense of direction has delivered a vibrant, confident and successful educational institution.”

Professor Stringer was previously a Lecturer in Public Administration after studying history and politics at the University of Keele. She was awarded a PhD in industrial training policy in 1986.

She was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2001, and is Scotland’s only female university principal.

Coffee lover’s talented tastebuds insured for £10 million

An expert coffee taster’s tongue has been insured for a whopping £10 million.

Gennaro Pelliccia has been tasting coffee for a living for 18 years and can distinguish between thousands of different flavours.

Pelliccia has sole responsiblity for tasting  a sample of each batch of Costa Coffee’s raw coffee beans before they are roasted and transported to different stores.

The coffee aficionado’s talent has been priced at £10 million with an insurance policy taken out with Lloyds of London.

It is one of the biggest single insurance policies taken out for one person.

Pelliccia claims,

“In my profession my taste buds and sensory skills are crucial… and allow me to distinguish any defects.”

Professional Coffee Tasting

CCTV Footage helps with Real IRA murders

By Stewart Primrose

CCTV footage may have captured crucial  information on the identity’s of those who killed the two British soldiers in Northern Ireland.

Sappers Mark Quinsey and Patrick Azimka
Sappers Mark Quinsey and Patrick Azimka

Sappers Mark Quinsey, 23, and Patrick Azimka, 21, were killed at their army base in County Antrim by members of the Real IRA.

When Detective Chief Inspector Derek Williamson was questioned on whether the police had any clues he confirmed that “some of the events” of the murders had been caught on camera.

He also Stated a green Vauxhall Cavelier TDZ 7309, found about 5 miles from Massereene Army base, was the getaway vehicle in which the killers used to escape from the scene.

Colleagues of the two soldiers have expressed their admiration of the work they carried out and were tipped for great things within the British army.

Lieutenant Colonel Roger Lewis, commanding officer of 38 Engineer Regiment, said of Azimka:

“During training for our deployment to Afghanistan, Sapper Azimkar showed his true grit and determination, making absolutely certain that he was fully prepared for the exacting and demanding conditions to come.

It was his performance during this training, and in particular his commitment to supporting his mates, that showed his full potential for training as a non-commissioned officer.

The regiment and I have been shocked and stunned by the death of this very promising young soldier.”

Sapper Quinsey, from Birmingham, was said to have had a great sense of humour and had huge potential as a soldier. Lt Col Lewis said:

“Sapper Quinsey was an outwardly calm, resolute and motivated young soldier.

A social livewire and hugely popular across the regiment, he was rarely away from the centre of the action.

Professionally his approach reflected his infectious enthusiasm for life.”

Prime Minister Gordon Brown is currently in Northern Ireland and has had talks with the political leaders in the country. After these talks he does not believe teat the recent events will have any impact on the current peace process and described it as “unshakeable”

“What I’ve seen this morning is the unity of the people of Northern Ireland, and the unity of the political parties,” he said.

“That they are going to continue to work together and they want to send out a message to the world – as I do – that the political process will not and never be shaken.

“In fact, the political process is now unshakeable”

Sein Fein leader Gerry Adams echoed the Prime Minsiters words and his “thoughts are with the families of the two men”  

“It was wrong. It was counter-productive.

“My thoughts are with the families of the two men who were killed and who were injured,” he said.

“And you might take some succour from the fact that whoever was involved, they have no support and no strategy and no popular will to back up their actions.”

The Real IRA have existed since 1997 after a the split of the Provisional IRA.  They were responsible for the Omagh bombings in  August 1998.

Enzyme could provide key to understanding spread of cancer

by Andrew Moir

Cancer is Scotland’s biggest cause of preature death with over 25,000 people contracting the disease every year.  Now scientists at London’s Instsitute of Cancer Reseach may have made a breakthrough that could prevent 9 out of 10 cancer deaths.

The Enzyme lysyl oxidase – or LOX for short-  helps proteins stick together which can help make areas of the body more hospitable for cancer cells.  Metastasis, the process by which cancer spreads is the biggest cause of cancer deaths.  Once cancer cells get into the bloodstream secondary tumours can be caused.  This makes cancer more difficult to treat.  Without this spread it is thought that cancer could be treated more effectively with surgery.

The experiments have been carried out on mice who were transplanted with breast cancer cells.  One group was given normal cancer cells while the others were given cells without LOX.  The results were promising with a significant reduction in secondary tumours in those mice with treated cells.  While it is still in the early process it is hoped that this technique could eventually be used on other types of cancer cells and provide a practical treatment for the disease.

The research was carried out by Dr Janine Erler and was published in the journal Cancer Cell.  Dr Erler has said:

This research has identified how to prevent a cancer from establishing itself in a new area of the body. This is the crucial missing piece in the jigsaw that scientists have been searching for and is the first time one key enzyme has been identified as being responsible for effectively allowing the cancer to spread.


LOX works by sending out signals to prepare a new area of the body for the cancer to set up camp. Without this preparation process the new environment would be too hostile for the cancer to grow. If we can interrupt the body’s ability to prepare new locations for the cancer to spread to, we can effectively prevent cancer metastasis

More than 15,000 scots are killed by cancer every year.  The benefits of this research have the potential to affect many lives beyond.

Have we had enough of Jade Goody?

By Vikki Graves

Jayne GoodyToday’s Jade Goody news tells us that a woman with a hammer and large bag visited Jade in hospital yesterday afternoon. She awoke to find the uninvited guest leaning over her bed. It is not clear whether the hammer was in or out of the bag, or whether its presence was relevant to the visit.

Police have confirmed that a 41 year old woman was arrested for possession of an offensive weapon at the Royal Marsden hospital yesterday, but was later released without charge.

So is this story even a story? Do we now know so much about Jade and her sad condition that the only new information we can find is that she has fans with a penchant for DIY?

A week ago it was reported that Jade was convinced she had only days to live. A few days later Max Clifford told the radio station TalkSport he believed enough was enough and Jade should withdraw from the public eye.

Cut to the end of last week and Clifford had clearly changed his mind, speculating over whether her story could become a Hollywood movie. And Michael Jackson had been on the phone sending her his best.

But it seems we might be reaching saturation point. At the weekend Noel Gallagher expressed his bewilderment at our obsession with her story to The Sunday Times.

“…what an embarrassing place Britain is right now. You might as well shut No 10 Downing Street down and get Max Clifford to run the country.”

Online comments attached to Jade Goody related articles range from strong support for her recent earnings of an estimated £1.4 million, to outright disgust. Some justify the sense of unease that comes from someone living out their death in the public domain by saying that she is doing it for her kids. But will her children really want such a scrupulously kept record of every detail of their mother’s deterioration in years to come?

Perhaps today is just a slow Jade news day. No matter what your opinion on her self-made media circus, we all know there is, of course, a rather unpleasant end point in sight.

Literature and Laughs come to Glasgow

If you think you could use a good laugh or some relaxation after the miserable start to this year, then Glasgow is the place to be for festival fun this March, boasting both comedy and literature events in the coming weeks.

The Bank of Scotland Aye Write book festival launched this weekend and will continue until the 14th, while  Magners Glasgow International Comedy Festival will be tickling the nation’s funny-bone from the 12th – 29th. 

Attracting well-known names from each field, the festivals are promising to be bigger and better than previous years.  Now in its third year, the comedy festival has snared top acts such as Jimmy Carr, Rob Brydon and Ross Noble.  As for the literary side of things, the fourth year of Aye Write boasts Alan Bennett, Alexander McCall Smith and James Frey to be among the numerous authors regaling the crowds.

As the comedy festival is working alongside Homecoming Scotland 2009, which aims to highlight Scotland’s culture and to bring the country into a prolific level on the global scale. 

Paul Bush OBE, Chief Operating Officer at EventScotland, the national events agency responsible for Homecoming Scotland is proud that the two events are working together:

“Glasgow’s International Comedy Festival has grown phenomenally over the past seven years to become one of the most well attended and highly acclaimed comedy festivals in the UK. This year the event forms an exciting part of our Homecoming programme and as such will be welcoming performers and audiences from around the world with an affinity for Scotland. I have no doubt that the event will be bigger and better than ever.”

As well as showcasing prolific authors from around the world, joining Aye Write, among many others, are Jackie Kay, Janice Galloway and  to fly the flag for Scotland’saye_write_114x114 homegrown literary talent.

The event also advertises school and family-related talks and activities.



Scottish Volunteer Convoy Delivers Aid to Gaza

by Stevie Kearney

Despite initial concerns regarding passage into Gaza, a group of volunteers from Scotland have managed to deliver a convoy of medical aid.  The group crossed over on Monday with no problems, having arrived at the border crossing at Rafah in Egypt soon after the much publicised Viva Palestina convoy.

Campaign groups across the world have been calling for more medical supplies to be allowed in to the stricken region of Gaza, where the recent conflict with Israel has caused a humanitarian crisis and damage to many key buildings, including hospitals.  It is estimated that around 1,330 Palestinians have lost their lives in the conflict, with a further 5,450 injured.  The supplies have been delivered directly to the Al-Shifa hospital, the largest medical facility in Gaza.

Journalist and volunteer driver Bruce Whitehead spoke of the the moment the group arrived, “The welcome we received from the Hamas government could not have been better.  It is good to have finally hand-delivered these much needed medical supplies to the besieged people of Gaza”.

The Scottish convoy passed through France, Spain and North Africa on its way to Gaza, where 1.5 million people live in one of the world’s most densely populated areas.  The journey began on the 14th of Febrauary.

Abdul Aziz, a driver and spokesperson on the convoy, said “I hope that the lasting memory for the people of Gaza will be the knowledge that these people drove thousands of miles across two continents to bring aid to the besieged people of Gaza, and the knowledge that people on the other side of the world cared about them”.

Earlier on Sunday the huge Viva Palestina convoy, led by George Galloway MP and journalist Yvonne Ridley, was stopped at the Rafah Crossing in Egypt and denied entry to Gaza by Egyptian authorities. It is unclear as to why access has been denied, but Ridley reported that the group could be, “mere political pawns in a much wider game being played out in Egypt at the moment with Libya, Egypt and Israel”.

The Scottish convoy of four trucks, four transit vans, an ambulance and a jeep also reported Israeli shells landing within a few hundred metres during the crossing into Gaza.  However, there are no reports of any injuries.

Economical with the Environment

by Phyllis Stephen

When asked what was important to them, most Scots questioned said that the environment ranked in importance with the economy – when considered in global terms. But, when asked about what matters particularly to Scotland, they thought the economy essential.

It seems many Scots still have to be persuaded to think about the environment in a local sense rather than as a global issue. The results of the Scottish Environmental Attitudes and Behaviours Survey (SEABS) 2008 are published today. This survey was conducted by face-to-face interviews of over 3,000 Scots over 16 between August and November 2008.

Consequences of climate change such as flooding and milder winters affect all of us in Scotland. But do people see the connection? Apparently, a third of people interviewed did not believe that their behaviour contributes to the problem. And just under half thought that the cost of dealing with climate change should not be a Scottish Government expense.

Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham said:

“We need to do more to get people to see the environment as a local issue. Many people see climate change as a global problem but not as an issue affecting Scotland or their communities. But milder winters and more floods mean the evidence is now on our doorstep and can no longer be ignored.
“People have to realise that they are a fundamental part of the environment. Just as we impact on it, it has an impact on us. Our own behaviour makes a real difference and the good news is that greener behaviour not only helps save the planet it helps save us money too.”

We all know that we should take our reusable bags to the supermarket now. We all know about the recycling of newspapers, but hardly anyone knows the energy rating of an electrical appliance bought in the last year. Driving is still the most common form of transport for commuting and grocery shopping. So, would it be a good idea if the Scottish Government takes the lead and heeds the advice from the Scottish Labour Party at the weekend to invest in electric cars?

Allied Vehicles of Glasgow have asked the Scottish Government to buy 1,000 vehicles at a cost of £15million. This would not only create around 100 jobs according to the Labour Party’s economy spokesman but he says it would allow the company to become a European leader.

As well as encouraging the Government to buy the cars themselves there are also calls to local authorities to invest in the infrastructure which would be necessary to allow their use.

John Park went on to say:-

“These clean, green vehicles are the outcome of three years of research and development by Allied Vehicles.

“To make them a common sight on the High Street, the company need local authorities to invest in recharging stations and help from the Scottish Government.”

Sarah Boyack, Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Environment, said:

“If this industry is supported properly then electric cars could be regarded as commonplace over the next few years and the potential for job creation is substantial.

“The government needs to step up a gear and help develop a mass market for these low emission vehicles.”

Gerry Facenna, Chairman of Allied Vehicles said in an interview with The Herald last year

“With the right investment Scotland will become Europe’s leader in the production of electric vehicles.

“Electric power offers an ideal solution, especially for congested urban areas where traffic is stop-start for much of the day with zero emissions of any type.

“This is an opportunity to create hundreds of highly skilled and well paid jobs that could sustain the Scottish economy for years to come and contribute to improving the environment for all of us.”

Allied has a total workforce of about 360, with sales staff based around the UK in addition to its employees at its Possil factory.

So we hope the Government will have a spark of inspiration and give them the financial boost they need.

Public to report NHS hygiene failures to Scottish Government

handwashingBy Domenica Goduto

Patients and visitors to hospitals are being encouraged to report hygiene failures on the part of the NHS directly to the Scottish Government.

This measure is among several announced by the Government today as part of a new campaign to improve cleanliness standards in order to combat hospital superbugs. 

Other measures include random hygiene inspections and the creation of a government organization, the Care Environment Inspectorate, specifically dedicated to wiping out infections such as MRSA and C. diff.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon announced that the £1 million that will be spent on the scheme each year is an indication of the Government’s determination to tackle the problem.

She stated: “We have put in place a comprehensive package of measures, including boosting spending by 260 per cent, but it’s crucial that we – and more importantly the public – are assured that this work is delivering the high standards everyone expects.

“The Care Environment Inspectorate’s stringent inspection regime will do just that.

The initiative is the result of a consultation held last year in reponse to the C.diff outbreak that killed 18 people at the Vale of Leven hospital in 2007.

More stringent hygiene standards have already lowered the number of MRSA and C. diff cases since 2006, when 40 people across the Lothians died as a result of the latter infection.

Handwashing regulations are being more strictly adhered to, and the appointment of nurse wardens to each ward has helped with the enforcement of cleanliness standards.

Junior doctors have also been warned not to list C. diff as a contributing factor on death certificates unless they are absolutely positive that this is the case.

Sturgeon also notes that the appointment of a chief inspector to oversee the Government’s efforts in this area will be a key factor in its success.  She says:  “With the right person at the helm, offering strong leadership, I’m confident that the inspectorate will ensure all boards meet the highest possible standards.

The move follows claims by Theresa Fyffe, director of the Royal College of Nursing in Scotland, last week that the Government needed a more coordinated approach to battling superbugs, including more staff, an overall supervisor and clearer guidelines on initiatives.

She said that many frontline hospital staff were confused by the Government’s sporadic tactics and that the issue was becoming politicized, thereby creating confusion and anxiety on the wards.

Hard up Scottish students set to lose cash lifeline

by Annabel Cooper

Scottish universities are close to running out of special funds that help bail out students in financial difficulty.

The ‘Hardship Loan’ or ‘Discretionary Fund’ is a life-line for hard up students but with borrowing on the downturn and part time work harder to come by, demand from students is up and funds are beginning to run dry.

Each university is allocated funds from a Government pot and then the emergency loans are allocated at the discretion of the institution. About £16 million was distributed in this way in 2008-9 – an 8 per cent increase on 2007-8. But already this year, universities in real difficulty have gone back to the Scottish Government with demands totalling £882,500 to cope with urgent student appeals for help.

Claire Baker, Labour’s higher education spokeswoman, said funds could be reallocated from universities’ underspending, but that, across Scotland, hardship funds were being “stretched beyond breaking point”.

She said:

“The government has responded to university concerns, but demand for hardship funds is still outstripping supply. It is a worrying trend, and none of the universities is expecting it to stop any time soon.

Napier University in Edinburgh is symptomatic of the Scottish trend. Applications from desperate students are up 28 per cent compared with last year, and it predicts it will run out of money before the next discretionary funds are handed out.

Napier staff are advising students to try renegotiating debts, as they cannot help all those going to them for aid. Professor Joan Stringer, the principal, said:

Students“It is becoming increasingly apparent that many of those fortunate enough to have a part-time job are having their hours or shifts significantly cut and many others are struggling to find any part-time work.

“We are also finding many students’ parents are no longer able to provide the level of help previously afforded, due to, for example, loss of their own employment, less work available to the self-employed and loss of income from savings.

“In order to most efficiently manae the remaining discretionary funds, applicants are being advised, where possible, to negotiate suitable repayment plans for any outstanding bills, particularly utility bills, and to rearrange any existing debt or loan repayments.”

“We do not expect we will have sufficient funds to support applicants to the level that many of them will need, and it is very unlikely we will have sufficient funds left to support students during the summer vacation period.”

Just two weeks ago newly elected Rector for neighbouring Edinburgh University, Iain McWhirter, made student finance the heart of his election campaign, insiting upon a £7k basic income for students. Gurjit Singh, the president of NUS Scotland, is also demanding an overhaul of the “unfair” student support system and guaranteed annual income for every student through loans and grants.

“Student financial hardship has reached a critical level,” he said. “Students are not being able to find part-time work as well, or access commercial debt. If our students had the right level of support in the first place, they would not have to apply to hardship funds.”

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said: “We recognise that the current student support system was inadequately funded by previous administrations. That is why we have provided £38 million to introduce grants for 20,000 part-time students and why we are consulting on proposals to improve the student system more generally.”

Edinburgh police hunt for missing memory stick


A USB memory stick containing information on hundreds on police investigations has gone missing in Edinburgh, it was revealed today.

The device was reported missing on February 26 but may have been misplaced up to two months earlier at Lothian and Borders Police’s headquarters in the Fettes area of the city.

A search has been launched to recover the memory stick but police have stated that the loss will not affect any ongoing investigations.

The flash drive was last used by staff in the force’s Road Policing Division and is reported to contain details on more than 750 vehicles “of interest” to the police.

It has emerged that the information on the device was unencrypted and that it was intended for use within a secure compound at police headquarters.

A police spokesman told the press that, “Lothian and Borders Police can confirm that it is unable to locate a USB memory stick.”

“We are taking this loss very seriously and have commissioned a review into how we hold and transport information within the organisation.

“The reality of modern day policing is such that we exploit the latest technology. However, like every other large organisation, we have a responsibility to safeguard the information we hold,” he added.

Lothian and Borders Police’s missing memory stick is the latest in a series of high-profile losses by government and law enforcement organisations.

In April 2008 it was revealed that a laptop belonging to a high ranking member of the Ministry of Defence was stolen while  its owner ate at a McDonalds restaurant near MoD headquarters at Whitehall.

And in August the Home Office admited that contractor PA Consulting had lost a memory stick containing information on all 84,000 prisoners in England and Wales.

The incidents have raised concerns about data security and identity theft, as well as the government’s ability to cope with the transition to the digital age.


Lothian and Borders Police