Wombs to rent

by Sandra Juncu

Human beings are, like all other living creatures, supposed to procreate. It is mandatory for the survival of the species and some call it the actual purpose of life. But what happens when you can not perform this service for mankind? Easy, you get £ 40,000 together and fly to Ukraine!The Eastern European country has lately become the go to place for surrogacy and the numbers of women offering their womb for hire are constantly increasing.

According to the  Human Research Embryology Authority 1 in 6 couples in the UK is infertile and for some the only viable option is surrogacy. But they face a huge obstacle as commercial surrogacy is banned in the EU. This is why many British couples are looking elsewhere for the solution and “going abroad for treatments and surrogacy is happening more and more often”, a spokesperson for Infertility Network UK commented.

But why Ukraine?

The law is very permissive here compared to all other European countries. Existent legislation stipulates that surrogate mothers may receive financial compensation for their services and it also protects the biological mother’s rights to the child during pregnancy and after birth. Valery Zukin, vice-president of the Ukrainian Association of Reproductive Medicine (UARM), says 150 to 200 paid-for surrogate motherhood cycles take place in the country each year, but up to half of couples renting Ukrainian wombs are foreigners.

“The number of foreign couples who come to Ukraine for surrogate mothers’ service has increased up to 50 percent and now equals the number of Ukrainian clients,” said Oleksandr Feskov, head of the Kharkiv Center of Reproductive Medicine.

31­-year­-old mother of three, Kyivite Natalia helped an English couple have a baby and she received £28,500 for this. “First, I was afraid and for hesitated almost a year, but my doctor told me there is nothing bad if, for some money, I give birth to a child for other people. My first pregnancy did not let me even finish school. When I was pregnant for the third time my husband left me. I did not know what to do and the money that the government gives us is not enough to pay for even the flat.” Ukraine has transformed this into a booming business with new clinics opening up all the time, trying to get a piece of the action. The unfortunate part is that the women who are actually hosting the unborn children do not receive real counceling and most of the money goes to the clinic owners.

The prices are one third of the ones in the US but potential customers do have to be aware of scams. Some women are faking their pregnancies and using babies left behind by their mothers in hospitals, others are just disappearing with the money. Olena spent £25.000 and she got scammed.“The first surrogate mother simulated her pregnancy, took the money and escaped,”, she says, “It was a very hard experience for me. I felt I was unworthy being a mother at all.”

We have a duty to procreate. We have to, even if it sometimes takes us to SurrogacyFinder.com.

Lessons to be learned from education reform

by Patrick McPartlin

The Education Secretary Michael Gove has today outlined his plans for education reform in England, with strong emphasis placed on what the BBC are calling a return to ‘traditional education values.’ A revamp of teacher training and more emphasis placed on language skills in exams, along with the reintroduction of uniforms and the prefect and house system is expected to feature prominently in Gove’s White Paper.

A deputy head teacher at a Scottish secondary school, which recently reintroduced blazers and ties as part of its mandatory uniform, and makes use of the prefect and house system has seen mainly positives from the move. “Contrary to expectation, school uniform, prefects and house systems are not about uniformity as much as they are about a sense of belonging and pride. We explain why uniform needs to be smart and formal – to present the school in a good light to people in the wider community and the employment market, a short cut to people forming a good initial impression of the school.”

Michael Gove wants uniforms reintroduced. (Photo courtesy of The Daily Mail)

Despite the positive experiences of returning to traditional educational values in Scotland, the opposition have questioned the suitability of the reform, warning that it could increase the risk of the education system favouring academic students over others, with Gove’s counterpart Andy Burnham telling him “You will need to work hard to explain how your plan won’t create a new generation of failing schools.” There are worries that struggling schools will suffer, whilst top-performing schools will continue to flourish. Leaders of a number of teachers’ unions have also voiced their concerns about Gove’s proposals, focusing on the potentially negative effects on England’s teaching staff.

Gove’s outlines for education reform come in the wake of Glasgow City Council announcing that around a third of their £90million budget cuts will be in education. In keeping with the fears that some students will suffer as a result of educational reform in England, the projected cuts in Glasgow are expected to affect support staff for pupils with learning difficulties, along with several other services being withdrawn, in a move that has left Glasgow residents reeling. 3500 teaching jobs have already been axed in Scotland, with the possibility of even more.

UK In The Top Twenty Fattest Countries In The World

by Alessandro Brunelli

Unlike airplanes, there’s no limits to the weight one is allowed to carry while treading on the planet.

If any sort of restrictions existed, though, increasingly more people would start worrying, according to The Global Post, which published a list of the world’s ten fattest countries on Tuesday.

The UK ranked eighteenth with an obesity index of 66 percent, which marks a worrying 5 percent increase from 2008.

Surprisingly, none of the First World countries made it to the top five, leaving room for a good number of Pacific Islands, such as Nauru, which came first with an obesity index of 95 percent, followed closely by Micronesia and The Cook Islands, both at 92 percent.

The United States (79 percent) are predictably the first Western country and eighth overall,  while countries such as Argentina (12th with 75 percent), Mexico (13th with 73 percent) and Egypt (15th with 70 percent) came unexpectedly high in the list.

Obesity is calculated by measuring a person’s body mass index (BMI), which corresponds to a weight-to-height ratio.

Although some progress has been made in the UK as far as diet and nutrition are concerned, obesity, whose rate has doubled in Britain since 1980, can’t be underestimated.

According to the National Health And Nutrition Survey (NDNS) the population’s intake of saturated fats, which has fallen by 0.5% over the past 10 years, still corresponds to 12.8% of the total food energy, still above the recommended level of 11%.

Likewise, the sugars intake (12.5%) exceeds the recommended limit of 11%.

The high reliance of nowadays diet on potatoes, meat and butter does little to reduce these levels, while a sedentary lifestyle keeps us from burning enough calories.

Other bad eating habits of UK citizens involve a low consumption of fibres, which amount to 14g per day instead of the recommended 18g, a scarce consumption of oily fish and a low iron intake.

The WHO calculated that worldwide the number of overweight adults will rocket to 2.3 billion people in 2015, marking a sensible increase of 0f 0.7 billion over ten years, while the obese will rise from 400 million to 700 million.

In the United States alone the obesity index has increased by 12 percent over the past 2 years, and is incredibly higher compared to the 1960’s, when it was as low as 24 percent.

This is gaining always more relevance in the national debate, so much that Michelle Obama, the First Lady, has stepped into action and launched her own organization Let’s Move to “change the way a generation of kids thinks about food and nutrition”.

Obesity is on the rise in the UK (photo The Daily Telegraph)

A facelift for an old favourite

By Emily Glass

The dilapidated old Odeon cinema on Clerk Street, Edinburgh is set for renovation to restore it to its former art deco glory. The New Victoria Project has revealed its detailed plans today for the site if its planned purchase is successful.

The decrepit old Odeon site

The New Victoria Project is made up of Edinburgh University Architecture Graduates to whom this extensive restoration project is a welcome job opportunity after spending the months since completing their degrees working in bar management positions.  The project are looking for investors to aid them  to buy the property from current owners Duddingston House Properties.

Their scheme aims restore and update the Grade-B listed building to produce a modern events venue with cinema, theatre, exhibition and private party capabilities.  With a first-floor bar opening-up onto the balcony, a large open area in the roof for bigger events and three smaller venues downstairs there are many exciting  possibilities for The New Victoria. The designers are also planning to return the main auditorium to its original 1930s decor. Many of the original features have been repeatedly repainted and covered-up over the years in the main auditorium so it looks set to be a length job. Operations Director Sarah Colquhoun explained: “A lot of them have been very heavily painted over so they need a lot of TLC. The French windows on the balcony are original so we’re looking at getting them restored and the skylight, which is an original feature, has been covered over as well.”

The original Victoria theatre. Credit The Guardian
The original auditorium

Lead designer Vicki Simpson was behind the renovation of The Ale House pub which stands over the road from the old Odeon earlier this year. After breathing new life into the Southside pub and attracting new, younger punters to the traditional ‘old man’s’ local the New Victoria looks set to be a success under her design. The heavy restoration that is planned is exciting for any Architect to get stuck into as Vicki said: “The highlight for us is restoring the main auditorium back to the original proscenium arch and exposing the statue recesses that are still there, and enhancing that with some new features.” Pulling the decor back to the original prosenium arch will mean that a large stage area will be placed in front of the cinema screen allowing for theatre productions as well as big screen productions to be shown.

The closing date for the sale of the site is 5th January 2011 so The New Victoria Project hope to secure financial backing over the next month to ensure the restoration can go ahead.

Hellmouth reopens

By Susannah Radford

It’s like fish without chips but Warner Bros. Pictures and Atlas Entertainment have done the unthinkable.  The announcement that Buffy the Vampire Slayer would be relaunched as a film without the involvement of creator Joss Whedon has been met with shock by fans throughout the world.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer first burst onto the silver screen in 1992.  Starring Kirsty Swanson and Luke Perry, the film bombed.  It was the TV series which began screening in 1997 and starred Sarah Michelle Gellar and David Boreanaz that achieved global success and spawned the spin off series Angel.  The series ran for 145 episodes and lasted until 2003.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series. Source: Scorpions and Centaurs

Joss Whedon creator of the film and the TV series talked with his usual wit and humour to Kristin Dos Santos of E Online about his response to the film release.  “This is a sad, sad reflection on our times, when people must feed off the carcasses of beloved stories from their youths—just because they can’t think of an original idea of their own, like I did with my Avengers idea that I made up myself.”

I always hoped that Buffy would live on even after my death.  But, you know, AFTER.  I don’t love the idea of my creation in other hands, but I’m also well aware that many more hands than mine went into making that show what it was. And there is no legal grounds for doing anything other than sighing audibly. I can’t wish people who are passionate about my little myth ill. I can, however, take this time to announce that I’m making a Batman movie.  Because there’s a franchise that truly needs updating. So look for The Dark Knight Rises Way Earlier Than That Other One And Also More Cheaply And In Toronto, rebooting into a theater near you. 

Kristy Swanson, the original Buffy tells EW she is open to involvement.  “Let Buffy live.  Why not? If they wanted me to be a part of it, I think that would be fantastic and that it would be a blast.”

Closer to home, British fans express their feelings toward the news.  Ewa Hibbert from Edinburgh says “Gerrr Aaaargh!  I need a hug” [a reference to the closing screen credits of the TV show].  “No, no, not without Joss’ blessing and preferably with him writing and directing it.  I think the original cast memebers are probably a bit too old to play their original roles, but it would be nice in a nostalgic way for some of them to be involved.  In priniciple I’m not against a remake of the Buffy movie as it could be done better than the first time around, but I don’t think it’s a good idea to do this without Joss, our greatest living screen writer.”

Hibbert heaps further praise upon Whedon saying “he brings together wit, charm, warmth, honesty, acute observation, emotional depth, dramatic tension, and more wit.  It’s not often that I laugh out loud, clap my hands in delight and sob my eyes out at a TV show.  His dialogue and character development is dazzling in Buffy, and possibly even better in Firefly.”

She refers to Whedon’s ill fated show Firefly which was cancelled by Fox after only 14 episodes.  The fanbase complained leading to a movie version of the series called Firefly being produced.  The Buffy fan base is similar in its veneration of the series, so if the film is a hit, it is guaranteed success.

Women get their mojo back

By Orla Ni Sheaghdha

Key research in the link between sex hormones and brain functions is currently underway at Durham University. Scientists have discovered that there is a positive correlation between elevated levels of  hormones and performing mental tasks. These findings have come out of tests conducted on women currently involved in hormone therapy (HT). The study is being lead by Dr. Markus Hausmann who is a lecturer in the Department of Psychology at the university. This has been ongoing for the last eight years and the most recent results have been discovered in the past week.

Dr. Ulrike Bayer is a research fellow with the project and states that the most recent findings have come from their tests of fine motor skills in post-menopausal women. “There are two conditions with the motor tasks. One simple and one difficult. We compare the performance of the left hand with the right using the finger-tapping tests.” The subjects involved in the study are divided into three comparison groups. There is a control group of women without the hormone drug, a group who only take oestrogen and a third group who take both oestrogen and progestin. The findings indicate improved motor functions in the third group of women.


Sex hormones improve brain functioning. Image taken from 123rf.com

The elevated levels of hormones apparently boosts the cognitive skills of women using the therapy. Their brain functioning works on an equal level with that of younger women who would have the same amount of sex hormones in their bodies. Dr. Hausmann says that this is due to better co-ordination between the right and left sides of the brain. “The tests with post-menopausal women show that HT can help both sides of the brain pull their weight, much in the same way the brain organises itself in younger women.” Visual tasks are also set to women to measure their level of cognitive functioning. The subjects are presented with images and they have to press a button to compare how similar they are to each other.

It has also been suggested that hormone therapy such as this may have a role in protecting against strokes. Higher brain functioning due to increased hormone levels help to combat conditions which impair motor skills. This good news is limited to women for the moment as the study is being conducted with female hormones. Fortunately, Dr. Bayer is confident that future research with men of a similar age will yield similar results to the current project.



A design for life after cancer?

By Tony Garner

Construction is under way on the latest architecturally unique Maggie’s Cancer Centre  next to Gartnavel hospital in Glasgow.  The charity, which places built environment at the heart of its cancer support philosophy, commissioned an internationally renowned Dutch architect for the Gartnavel design.

The plans for the centre (credit: OMA)

The plans drawn up by Rem Koolhaus feature a ring of interlocking L-shaped rooms looking in on a floral garden and surrounded on the outside by an expansive courtyard.  Tricia Crosbie, Maggie’s Media Co-ordinator, said “Architecture plays the important role at Maggie’s of evoking curiosity, drawing visitors inside, and then helping them feel relaxed and at home.”

Gartnavel, due for completion next April, will become the sixth Maggie’s Centre in Scotland.  The charity was founded by pioneering architect Charles Jencks and his wife Maggie Keswick, who died from breast cancer in 1995.  Jencks has since said that the airless, artificially lit environment where his wife was treated in Edinburgh’s Western General hospital spurred them to start the project, which has become one of the UK’s best-known charities only fifteen years after its establishment.  The Gartnavel centre was funded mainly from money raised in the popular Moonwalk events, which see tens of thousands of women donning underwear for mass walks between dusk and dawn.

SNP Deputy-First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who was at the ceremony to mark the cutting of the first piece of turf, said “Cancer is a top priority for the Scottish Government and Maggie’s is an important partner for us.”

But Scottish Labour Shadow Health Secretary Jackie Baillie raised concern that the SNP are not doing enough to protect cancer-sufferers, with £33.9 million to be cut from next year’s health budget.  “I believe that the Scottish Government should have moved much more quickly to phase out charges for patients suffering from this debilitating illness,” Bailey said.

The Maggie’s philosophy that built environment can play a crucial role in overcoming cancer has been questioned in the past.  There is no actual treatment available in the centres, which are usually located next to large hospitals such as the one at Gartnavel.

However expert medical opinion recently came out in favour of the projects.  Plans for yet another Maggie’s in Aberdeen were backed by the Medical Director of NHS Grampian, Roelf Dijkhuizen, who said they provided essential psychological support that the NHS was unable to give due to budget constraints.



Touchdown in the UK

by Blythe Harkins

Touchdown!  America football is here to stay in the UK.  The United Kingdom just celebrated the 100th anniversary of when the first game was played in London on November 23, 1910.  There are 45 teams that comprise the Division 1 and Division 2 teams as well as the 64 teams on the collegiate level including our home team, the Edinburgh Napier Knights.  The British American Football Association also known as BAFA is the governing body for this great sport here in the UK.  BAFA recognises both contact and non contact versions of the sport.  There are also flag teams for the youth level.

The pigskin that is used in the game. Credit: stock.xchng

Football is a beloved sport in America, and the NFL crosses the pond to play a professional game in the UK once a year.  The first game was played in Wembley Stadium on August 3rd, 1986 between the Chicago Bears and the Dallas Cowboys with the final score being Bears 17, Cowboys 6. This game was part of the American Bowl Series.  After a nine games the Series was dissolved.  The in 2005 the NFL International Series was introduced, as a way of expanding the NFL abroad.  And American Football still has a driving force in the UK with Sky Sports covering and broadcasting live games.  There is a minimum of six games that are shown each week during the regular football season.  Accompanying the live games, Sky also broadcasts several sports news shows and highlight shows.  This year, on October 31, 2010 the San Francisco 49ers acting as the home team and the Denver Broncos acting as the away team.   The game took place at Wembley Stadium with the San Francisco 49ers defeating the Broncos 24 to 16.


Full contact hold no bars. Credit: stock.xchng

The future of American football in the UK is very promising with now over 70 amateur teams in the British American Football Association Community Leagues.  Scotland is also gaining yardage with the American National Football League.  Alistair Kirkwood, the NFL UK boss, has revealed that Scotland is in talks to host two professional football games in the year 2012.  With the huge following that American Football has here in the United Kingdom, this game is here to stay.

Gaga for Gifford!

By Georgi Lindsey

The pop sensation, Lady Gaga has just bought herself Scotland’s most expensive stately home in near Edinburgh worth £8 million. The cost of the 17th Century Yester House will be deducted from Gaga’s earnings which totalled around £38.5 million in 2009. It is expected she is seeking more privacy for herself and partner, Luc Carl which she is sure to get from the property which includes 16 bedrooms, two drawing rooms, a music hall and billiard room.


Yester House


The 24-year-old star, born as Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta joins other celebrities such as Bob Dylan and comedian Dylan Moran who have moved to Scotland over the years, seeking the peaceful life, away from the flashing lights of the paparazzi. But not everyone is excited about the removal vans rolling up the driveway. Inna Sklarska, Supervisor of the Goblin Ha’ Hotel from nearby village Gifford commented, “The locals are concerned it will attract fans and are actually quite scared, this is a quiet village and everyone knows each other so they are worried there will be lots of fans here.”

Lady Gaga‘s debut album, The Fame, soared her to stardom in 2008 and she has carried a lot of controversy during that time. A lover of fashion and a fan of the late Alexander McQueen, she sparked recent outrage at the MTV VMA awards when she turned up to the event in an outfit and headpiece made entirely of raw meat. Addressing all her fans as “little monsters” her outlandish behaviour and pop duets with icons like Beyonce saw The Fame go platinum, and the follow-up remix album quite simply called, The Remix is alleged to have sold over 500,000 copies worldwide. Lady Gaga is currently finishing off her second album, Born This Way which is expected to be released in early 2011.

Lady Gaga

So what would the Goblin Ha’ Hotel serve Lady Gaga and Luc if they popped into their local for a relaxing Sunday dinner, “I think maybe Haggis as it is a tradition in Scotland and maybe a locals beer like Bel Haven Best.” Maybe the pubs in the surrounding area should look into creating a new drink in honour of her arrival. Little Monsters, consisting of Jagermeister and an energy drink, topped with a shot of Goldschlager to symbolise her fans.


“Eureka! Wee’ve got it!” Street urinals are the answer

Outdoor City Urinals. Picture courtesy of "This Amsterdam" website

By Claudie Qumsieh

In London at weekends dark figures connected to the sewers rise out of the pavements: urinals. Edinburgh has unveiled plans for similar, if not as cinematic, urinals to address the problem of drunkards using the streets as make-shift toilets.

The proposal was outlined in a report into how the night-time economy of Edinburgh affects local residents’ quality of life. Public urination most affects the Grassmarket and Cowgate  areas according to Edinburgh City Council. “Urinating in the street accounts for a third of all fixed penalty notices for antisocial behaviour and a large amount of residents’ complaints.” a spokeswoman for the Council said.

The report was a response to give balance to a previous report on the benefits Edinburgh’s night-life brings to the economy. City leader Jenny Dawe said: “Obviously there are some people, particularly in the Grassmarket for example, where they see a different side to it, so this is addressing the impact that it has on residents and their quality of life. It shows that quite a lot is already being done to try to minimize the impact and that will continue being the case, because clearly we don’t want to have disgruntled residents just because something’s helping Edinburgh’s economy.”

According to suppliers Loo-hire UK “From delivery, to waste management, to collection – Loo-Hire U.K. take care of everything. This saves the local authority time and money in street cleaning services. The Four Bay Male Urinal portable toilet provides a public convenience and creates a more pleasant environment for everyone”.  Each unit holds 450 litres and is 200cm tall. They need no mains connection or set-up, and Loo-Hire U.K remove the waste.

Similar initiatives elsewhere in the UK have proved to be a success. Since Bath & North Somerset Council installed 2 portable toilets at a taxi rank in October 2009, the device has collected on average 30 litres of urine a night and 14000 people have used them. Bath Councillor Vic Pritchard said: “It is noticeable that fewer people are using street corners and shop doorways to urinate, meaning the police can deal with other anti-social behaviour incidents and council street cleaners can concentrate on grime hot-spots elsewhere”

Police street patrols will also be increased in Edinburgh to reduce public disorder between 2.30 and 3.30am.

Ireland loses living wage

by Fearghus Roulston

The minimum wage in Ireland will be cut by a euro, falling to €7.65, as part of a planned series of austerity measures introduced by Taioseach Brian Cowen today. The plans, outlined in a 170-page document, involve cuts to the social welfare budget and a hike in income tax. The Irish government hopes that they will make savings of €15 billion by 2014. The Taioseach said Ireland would have to “take some steps back to go forward again.”

“Postponing these measures will lead to greater burdens in the future for those who can least bear them, and will jeopardise our prospects of returning to sustainable growth and full employment. It’s a time for us to pull together as a people,” he said. The measures also entail tapping into the pension reserve fund to provide for infrastructure plans, and the loss of 24’000 jobs in the public sector over the four-year period.

These announcements come in the wake of negotiations with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund over a proposed financial aid package of around €90 billion euros. The austerity measures are considered key to ensuring the bailout goes through. They also mark an attempt by the beleaguered Brian Cowen to enforce his authority over an increasingly fractious government, as Ireland continues to suffer from social unrest. The decision to cut the minimum wage seems likely to lead to more protests, with the Mandate trade union leader claiming it will “will place those with the lowest incomes, including migrant workers, in an impossible situation”.

Ireland has seen a rash of protests over the last two years of financial recession. Measures in February 2009 aimed at stabilizing the economy brought 120’000 protesters onto the streets of Dublin. The plans to introduce fees for higher education have been constantly opposed and demonstrated against by the Union of Students in Ireland. Some protests have led to violence. A few days ago the office of the Transport Minister, Noel Dempsey, was attacked and sprayed with graffiti, and the arrival of IMF officials led to massive demonstrations outside government buildings.

Other countries across Europe have also seen explosions of anger and violence as the recession begins to affect daily lives. Portugal’s general strike against proposed austerity measures began at midnight, with worker participation of more than 75 percent. Union chief Joao Proenca said he considered it the biggest strike ever in Portugal.

It seems likely Irish workers will follow a similar route, with a major protest planned for Saturday the 27th in Dublin. Tens of thousands are expected to take to the street in protest over the cuts, but trade union secretary David Begg claimed the protests would be peaceful. “They just simply want to bring to the attention of the government that look, you have to be concerned with the citizens of the country, as well as the bond markets,” Begg said.

Protesters on the European Day of Action- from Informatique, http://www.flickr.com


Is living in Glasgow bad for your health?

The city's residents are more likely to suffer a heart attack than the rest of Scotland. Credit. Flickr.

By Jen McClure

Findings of a recent health survey of Scotland’s largest city found that Glaswegians are 1 and a half times more likely to have a heart-attack and suffer from anxiety, regardless of their lifestyle or social circumstances.

The so-called “Glasgow Effect”, stood out above all the other factors taken into consideration.  The latest survey, said: “There remained an unexplained Glasgow Effect in relation to prevalence of anxiety and doctor-diagnosed heart attack.”

Researchers say that further study into the issue is needed to fully investigate their recent discoveries.

The report analysed; socio-economic, behavioural, biological, relationship and social mobility before compiling their findings.  The report concluded: “People living in Greater Glasgow and Clyde still had a 92 per cent higher risk of anxiety compared to those living elsewhere.” It continued, ” For two important outcomes relating to both physical and mental health, no explanation can be derived for the excess risk of doctor-diagnosed heart attack or anxiety.”

Politicians and health bodies claim that there is no mystery to Glasgow’s health misery.  The city’s poverty and deprivation are at the root of the “effect” and that more has to done to help the most vulnerable members of society.

Consultant Cardiologist, Dr. Adrian Brady at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, commented: “Lifestyle is an important part of the issue, for example, smoking, lack of exercise and poor diet, but they are all being addressed.”  He added: ” Even allowing for cholesterol, higher blood pressure and smoking you can still see, for some reason, individuals in the West of Scotland are more prone to heart attacks than patients in the south of England with the same blood pressure and cholesterol level. Why that is the case, we are not sure.” He further commented about the city’s deprivation as a factor. ” If you measured deprivation, as a measure of a lack of social advantage, that in fact, goes some way to explain the differences in heart attack risk with Glasgow and the rest of the UK.  Why deprivation would do this, we don’t know, but deprivation is a very robust measure of cardiovascular risk.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said that health inequalities remained a “significant challenge in Scotland, with the poorest in our society dying earlier and experiencing higher rates of ill health.”  She added, ” This remains the case whether there is or is not a Glasgow Effect.” In response to health issues that need to be addressed she continued: ” Reducing health inequalities is not going to be done overnight.  It will take generations to tackle problems which have affected Scotland but poor health is not inevitable and we should not accept it.”

New lit mag to hit streets

The University of Edinburgh will release a new publication tomorrow, which gives budding authors, poets and playwrights an platform to publish their work.

As part of the society of the same name, PublishED will be produced semesterly and distributed free around the Edinburgh University George Square campus. Containing prose, poetry, drama and interviews with authors, the magazine aims to provide a way in to the publishing industry for fledgling writers. The first issue, containing interviews with, Australian poet Les Murray and Edinburgh writers Iain Banks and Alexander McCall Smith, will be unveiled tomorrow.

The project started in May this year and Editor-in-Chief Matt Oldfield believes the magazine will be an important tool for young writers: “We started up because we got tired of waiting for other people to start a literary magazine. Since May we have been slowly building up the project, but it took awhile for things to really start moving. Its a publication with the aim of showcasing the best literary work. We also aim to provide a valuable insight and pathway into the publishing industry.”

Interviewed in the first issue: Alexander McCall Smith (Photo by Lärarnas Nyheter)

PublishED also intend to hold events throughout the year to raise both awareness and funds for the magazine, which is entirely self funded. Ahead of its official launch party, at Edinburgh’s Blackwell bookstore tonight, Oldfield said they “have so far raised over £700 through various fundraising events including book sales, bake sales, quiz nights, variety nights and ghost story nights.”

Edinburgh is well known for its rich cultural and literary heritage, and is home to some of the world’s best known writers. Some of its most celebrated poets, including Don PatersonJohn Burnside and Kathleen Jamie, will perform at this year’s Hogmanay celebrations and PublishED hopes to offer luminaries a chance to achieve the same level of success.

The website already contains a collection of local writers’ work, and Edinburgh based poet Rebecca Ross is excited by the prospect of a magazine aimed at young, rather than established, writers: “Poetry and the arts in general is a notoriously difficult industry to get into, so the launch of a magazine which provides a potential pathway is very much welcomed.”

Ross added: “The real challenge for many poets is gaining a reputation. Once you have that, publications will approach you for work. It’s extremely important for publications like this to exist to help get over that first hurdle.”

SNP in trouble over tax

Credit - twodoctors.org

Finance Minister John Swinney will face angry MSPs today as a  storm surrounding  Scottish taxes has erupted at Holyrood. 

The controversy surrounds what is known as the “tartan tax”, powers to change income tax in Scotland 3 pence to the pound, and has been a part of devolution since the Scottish Parliament was voted for in 1997.   MSPs have recently discovered that no structure has been put in place to use the power, which could raise £1 billion per year.  Alex Salmon, First Minister, has defended the delay;

“No Scottish administration has used the 3p tax power, none of the main parties in Scotland advocate using it now”

Despite the tax not being used the power has been maintained at a price.  The start-up cost was £12million and was held up until 2007 at £50,000 per year.  The SNP stopped paying in 2007 when HM Revenues and Customs wanted to upgrade computer systems at the cost of £7 million. 

Tavish Scott, the Liberal Democrat leader at Holyrood, has accused the government of a “cover up”, and Malcolm Chisholm, Labour MSP, has questioned the transparency of the Parliament when the finance minister continuously failed to reveal the situation early enough.  Mr Swinney has said he will reflect on these issues before addressing MSPs this afternoon. 

First Minister Alex Salmond has reacted to the controversy by writing to Michael Moore, the Scottish Secretary who highlighted the discrepancies, by claiming that the Scottish Government had made a request in 2007 for details on the computer changes but had only received the £7 million bill in 2010.  The letter also claims that any IT changes were the responsibility of the ministry in charge and not the Scottish Government. 

John Swinney will not welcome further criticism, with Professor David Bell of Stirling University having written a report  stating that a freeze in council tax will not help the Scottish economy.  The continued freeze, now in its fourth year, will save according to Professor Bell just 0.3% per household.  Councils have also complained that the savings of £900 million will not lead to efficiencies but cuts in services. 

Traditionalists voice opposition in debate over women bishops in the Church of England

The Queen presiding over ninth general synod in London, courtesy of the cofe.anglican.org

By Catherine Mumford

The Church of England’s general synod drafted legislation yesterday permitting the ordination of women bishops. 

The topic has evoked major debate between traditionalists and progressives.  The concerns over the “feminisation” of the church have spurred 50 traditionalist clergy and 5 bishops to convert to the Roman Catholic Church.

The Queen, the Church’s supreme governor, made mention of the clear tension in her address, saying synod had “many issues to resolve” in order to remain “equipped for the effective pursuit of its mission and ministry.” 

The broad traditionalist view is most strongly supported by the Biblical model of males in the leadership position, both in the household and the church.  Indeed Keith Newton, the Bishop of Richborough, and a recent convert to Catholocism, points to research that says if one wants children to go to church it needs to with both mom and dad.  He worries that men will not feel comfortable worshipping under female leadership, saying “So church becoming more feminine could be a problem.”  

Progressives, on the whole, see the ordination of women in the Church of England as a natural progression from the first female priest being ordained sixteen years ago.  Women now make up a third of the clergy.  That day marked a significant shift in the Church and was puncuated with similarly volatile dialogue as can be seen today. 

The legislation is connected to a broad range of concerns and hopes alike.  Traditionalist Dr. Reverend Peter Sandlon voiced that he would be reluctant to serve under a woman bishop, but his chief concern is that the growing influence of women clergy will lead to the ordination of openly gay bishops

The vicar of St Mary’s in Primrose Hill, Marjorie Brown says women have helped make the Church less starchy and remote for both men and women, and brought it closer to the society it serves.  She noted further that  “female clergy are trying to find more inclusive language and imagery. We’re not trying to change the Church, just to be more inclusive.” 

Those on both sides of the issue will continue to fight for what they see as the righteous decision.  The Queen reassured the 480 laity, clergy, and bishops in London that “Christian history suggests that times of growth and spiritual vigour have often coincided with periods of challenge and testing.”

Korea on brink of war

by Adam Smyth

Two more deaths have been confirmed today as a result of North Korea’s shelling of South korean territory yesterday.

CCTV footage showing a North Korean shell exploding in Yeonpyeong. Credit: Reuters

Adding to yesterday’s revelations that two South Korean marines were killed as a result of the North Korean artillery attack on South Korea’s Yeonpyeong island, which lies in the disputed Korean Yellow sea border, the burnt bodies of two South Korean civilians bodies were found today. The civilians were believed to be construction workers and in their 60s. The rising death toll comes amidst reports of at least 18 people injured in the bombardment in which dozens of shells exploded on the island. As well as a South Korean military base bearing the brunt of the damage in the attack,  TV pictures show civilian shops and homes burnt and destroyed also.

South Korea returned fire and scrambled fighter jets into the air as a warning to the North. It has also suspended flood aid to the North and threatened missile strikes if there were “further provocations”.

  In response to South Korea’s retaliatory fire against it, North Korea has repeated claims that Seoul provoked the artillery attack by firing into the North’s territory. It has also accused Seoul of driving the Korean peninsula to “the brink of war” with “reckless military provocation” and by postponing humanitarian aid according to the North’s official KCNA news agency.

  UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon called the developing events the “gravest incidents” since the end of the Korean War which ended on 27th July 1953 with a ceasefire, leaving the two countries technically still at war.

Amongst widespread international condemnation of North Korea’s actions, The US President has pledged to stand shoulder to shoulder with South Korea. As well as having 28,000 US troops stationed in South Korea, the USS George Washington left from south of Tokyo on Wednesday now bound for Korean waters.

The BBC’S John Sudworth in Seoul said a deterrent effect may be limited as the same aircraft carrier was in Korean waters just a few months ago as part of a show strength that appears to have done nothing to temper North Korea’s actions.

The KCNA which is North Korea’s official news agency said “the US is the arch criminal threatening the peace and stability of the region”.

Pope clarifies position on condom usage

by Kirsty Tobin

Pope pictured during March papal visit to Africa

The Vatican has clarified comments regarding condom usage in the fight against AIDS.

Controversy and confusion arose after the pope made comments which were subject to varying translations from the original German. The English translation referred to condoms being a responsible choice for male prostitutes, while the Italian translation used language which implied that their usage was also permitted for female prostitutes.

The pope’s spokesperson, Fr Federico Lombardi, has clarified the issue, stating: “if it is a man, a woman or a transsexual who does it, we are always at the same point, which is the first step in responsibly avoiding passing on a grave risk to the other.”

On Sunday, Fr Federico Lombardi released a statement explaining that the comment neither indicates a reform in the teachings of the Catholic Church nor does it indicate that condom usage is now permissible without restrictions. It explains that condoms should only be used in extreme circumstances: “abstinence and fidelity are much more decisive and fundamental in the struggle against AIDS, while the condom appears as a last resort when the other two are lacking.”

“The pope takes into consideration an exceptional situation in which the exercise of sexuality may represent a real risk to the life of another person,” he continues.

The initial quote came under fire after an extract from ‘Light of the World: The Pope, The Church and the Signs of the Times’ was leaked this weekend. The book, set to be released this coming week, contains a series of interviews with the pope carried out by Peter Seewald.

In the interview in question, the pope reacts to remarks he made during a papal visit to Africa in March of this year. These remarks alluded to a continuation of the church’s staunch opposition to birth control, intimating that use of condoms was wrong in every circumstance.

When the subject is broached by Seewald, the pope further clarifies his position. His response generated the quote which caused so much controversy: ‘there may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be a first step on the way in the direction of a moralisation, a first assumption of responsibility.”

The announcement has garnered approval from AIDS/HIV organisations. UNAIDS called the comments a “significant and positive step forward.”

Knox appeal adjourned

by Katy Docherty

Amanda Knox is starting an appeal against her conviction of the murder of British student Meredith Kercher. Knox’s lawyers argue that there are various gaps in the prosecution’s argument and are seeking a full review of the original DNA evidence.

Knox was convicted of murder and sexual assault in 2007. Source: Getty Images

Last year an Italian court found Knox guilty for the murder and sexual assault of her flatmate and sentenced to 26 years in prison. Knox’s lawyers claim that the DNA gathered for the original trial was questionable and that the murder weapon remains missing. Their main argument is that there was no motive for Knox to kill her friend. 

Her legal team stated: “The motive, the fundamental aspect of the factual existence of the serious criminal acts, is largely absent in the assessment of evidence and more erroneously absent in the written ruling.”

Her lawyers also blame an “obscene media campaign”  for skewing the opinion of the jury and the general public before the trial had begun. Knox was famously dubbed by the media as “Foxy Knoxy”.

The prosecution accused Knox of killing Kercher in a drug-fueled sex game that went wrong. Knox’s former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito and Rudy Guede, an immigrant from the Ivory Coast had allegedly held Kercher down whilst Knox slit her throat. Knox’s prosecutors told the court that she had tried to a fake a break in so that the murder would look like a random sexual assault.

Arriving at the hearing, her stepfather Chris Mellas told reporters: “She’s hopeful for a good appeal, I think she feels and certainly the lawyers feel that we have a very strong case for her being innocent, which, you know, is the case.”

Today’s  administrative hearing lasted only a few minutes and took place in the Perugia courtroom were the first trial took place. 

The court has been adjourned until 11th December.

April 29th – Save the date

by Simon Black
The Royal Wedding Event - April 29th 2011 Photograph: Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters
April 29th 2011: Not only is it Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding or the 66th wedding anniversary for Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun, and the anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising ending in Ireland.  It is also the crucial week before the Scottish 2011 Poll, and many feel it could pave the way for anti-monarchist politicians to hijack the wedding celebrations.


With the announcement that the Royal Wedding has been scheduled for April 29th 2011, it has been received with various issues and questions raised about the date which may cause further controversy for the young couple.

“It is rather unfortunate timing,” said John Curtice, Professor of Politics at Strathclyde University. “You are likely to see the Royal Family getting caught up in political debate.”

A wedding day is a daunting moment in any young couples relationship. Throw in the cynical British public and the verbosity of the British press and you have a party which could get out of hand. The date has been announced as a public holiday in both England and Scotland but the main problem with this inappropriate date is the suspicious political timing.

“The timing of the wedding is entirely a matter for the Royal Family. It’s their day, they should choose the date.” says Alex Salmond and Nick Clegg admits he is happy with the date and that it  “It will remind people it is good to say yes.” This further fuels the fire that the wedding date was a political move, rather than convenience.
Political issues disrupt wedding. Photograph: Reuters

A lavish wedding of this magnitude leaves the couple vulnerable to scrutiny as politicians have a ready-made soap box next April which will coincide with the May 5th Poll and media coverage. Crucial elections scheduled for the 5th May are also being affected in Northern Ireland and Wales and campaigns are beginning to postpone these elections.

Many politicians feel the Polls will go unaffected and David Cameron has ignored the postponement requests. With the fence split there is no obvious indication of what we are to expect come April but many feel the event should be regarded as history in the making.

The British are fascinated with the history of the country. From tales of Henry VIII to the legacy of Queen Victoria we love our background. Although there is a fatigue with the Royal Family in the modern world, tradition and history should still be considered a constant.

The tax payer will be accountable for the security bill, which is projected at £5m, but if the British public are happy to pay for a foreign religious head to grace our country, a historic Royal Wedding which will depict an iconic moment in the history of the country should be celebrated.

EU to send inspectors to resolve rubbish crisis in Naples

by Tina Charon

On Monday 22nd of November, the EU has sent a team of inspectors in Italy, to help Naples’s authorities with the montains of rubbish in the streets. They declared that the total amount of uncollected waste in the city was about to reach 3,600 tonnes. Naples streets are literally drowing under the mass of refuse that redecorate the city.

This crisis has begun two years ago, in 2009. The Italian Government had to close some of the regional dumps after important protests from the citizens, who feared that the site could expose the community to pollution risks. In two years, Berlusconi’s government hasen’t been capable to solve the problem. Pia Bucella, who is in charge of the EU delegation in Naples, is pessimistic. ” After two years, the situation is not very different “, she says. ” The refuse is there in the streets, and there is still no plan for treating or recycling it “. Even the Naples Mayor doesn’t believe in changes anymore; ” The city’s not dirty, it’s filthy. I wish I could invent new powers for myself so I could actually do something “.

Pia Bucella has asked the local and national authorities to set up a plan by December, otherwise, the EU wouldn’t be in a position to help Naples financially. ” The European funds will stay blocked until the Commission hasn’t adopted the regional rubbish plan”, she says, ” Naples will have to do huge efforts to make the difference “. The regional President of the Council Paolo Romano announced that they would propose a plan that would be adopted by the European Comission by the end of the first semester 2011.

The consequences of this crisis aren’t only financial. Health experts are warning the population and the authorities about the health problems causes by the rubbish piled into the streets. ” There is a health and hygene danger that may turn into a serious risk for public health”, says Dr Maria Triassi, supported by the Italian Institue of Public Hygene. Another serious issue it the presence of rats, cockroaches, insects and stray dogs which are quite dangerous for the population.

When Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi took the office in 2008, he promised that cleaning up Naples’s streets would be one of his top priorities. Today, it seems that Berslusconi’s government is about to end. Mara Carfagna  has already resignated from her post of Minister of the Equal Opportunities. She didn’t agree with how Italian government was dealing with the crisis in Naples, her hometown.

According to the expert, it will take at least three months to stabilize the situation in Naples.

Walking on fire


Are you hot footed enough to fundraise? Credit: http://blog.newsok.com

By Anne Mackie

2009 saw the UK’s first ever Firewalk in support of the OneKind charity. More than      £3, 000 was raised by 18 fearless supporters who walked bare foot across hot coal  burning at a core temperature of over 600°F.

The success of the event has sparked other hot-footed charity walkers across the UK with events in 2010 running throughout Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales. The heat is definitely on as Onekind have promised to stage two further firewalking events on Saturday 26 March 2011 in Edinburgh, and Sunday 27 March 2011 in Glasgow.

Safe danger experts at Survivorbility are looking into promoting other fundraising phenomenons including glass walking, board breaking, re-bar bending and arrow breaking.

Steve McGardle,  member of the firewalking institute of research and education said: “Charity fundraising can’t afford to stop, no matter what the economic climate, so you need to find a creative way to inspire the amazing people who want to raise money for your charity. Hosting a charity fire walking event is not only more exciting than asking people to run a few kilometres, fire walking has also proven to be an excellent way to raise money”.

With tuition and training for the hot footed fundraisers provided on the night, there is no better way to face your fear, surrounded by family and friends, walking across burning hot embers miraculously unharmed. It’s the challenge of a lifetime.

OneKind will announce venues in early 2011 for Firewalks via their website.  Early registration is recommended and costs £20 entitiling you to a fundraising and information pack, containing everything you need.

OneKind is an animal protection charity.

Students Walkout

By Celeste Carrigan

Student have taking to the streets in protest : Credit; http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-11829102

Students in Glasgow today are gearing up for a mass walkout, in protest  to increased tuition fees, Education cuts and to save the EMA.

Coordinated walkouts  are planned to commence from around 12pm today and there have been a number of confirmed Glasgow Universities, colleges and schools taking part. The walkouts will be led to  the protest and rally at 3pm at Glasgow’s city Royal Concert Hall. The  rally will then commence at 5pm at George Square where speakers will include Dave Moxham (STUC), Pete Murray (NUJ) and Phil Whyte (NUS)

The new wave of protests are expected to take part up and down the country today including London, Birmingham, Manchester and Cambridge. These protests come in response to the speech made by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg yesterday, where he called on students to reconsider their opposition to the government plans.

“I know that more protests are planned by students tomorrow. I make just one request of those planning to protest: examine our proposals before taking to the streets,” he said.

Students are still taking to the streets today to send a powerful message to Government. In Glasgow students are wanting the government to see they wont accept tuition fees being reintroduced into Scotland, although this is still to be confirmed by Scottish Government. They are also wanting the Government to take notice that students wont accept 80% cuts to teaching budget and the EMA being Scrapped.

The new wave of walkouts and protest that are happening today come two weeks after demonstrations in London descended into violence, where 50,00 people marched the streets of London. They marched in protest increased tuition fees in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to £9000 a year. Police up and down the country today are said to be ready for any violence at the protests today.

Fire Extinguisher thrown Millbank Tower : Credit ;http://www.thesun.co.uk/

Police arrested more than 60 people over the violence and disorder which saw windows smashed, objects hurled at officers and a fire extinguisher thrown from the roof of the building. Edward Woollard the 18-year-old student responsible for throwing the fire extinguisher from the top of Millbank Tower, has pleaded guilty today. There has been no word on any sentence yet.

Students in London have already started taking to the streets and have begun staging occupations at some Universities.

Budget could be Cowen’s last action

By Ryan C. Gavan and Edoardo Zandona

Brian Cowan
Tough times for Taoiseach Brian Cowen (Image:Telegraph)

The Irish austerity budget is likely to be Brian Cowen’s last action as Taoiseach , as he is set to call an election early in the New Year.

The budget was set to be announced on December 7th but after mounting political pressure, an announcement will be made this afternoon. The aim will be to set out the plans to reduce the country’s deficit to 3% of GDP by 2014.

This will lead to welfare cuts and tax rises of up to 50%  for low paid workers. The minimum wage is set to be cut by 13% and middle class families will lose tax credits.

The IMF and the EU  have sanctioned an extensive bailout package of  €90Bn to the Irish govenment.

The Irish government states, “providing assistance to Ireland is warranted to safeguard financial stability in the EU and Euro area.” 

Initially, they did not wish to accept the bailout package, feeling confident the problems could be resolved without a handout.  After extensive meetings with EU finance ministers it was accepted on Sunday evening.

In a reversal, Cowen rejected calls from junior coalition partners the Greens to hold a snap election.

After discussions with his own parliamentary party last night, Cowen stated he will, ” seek the dissolution of Dail Eireann and enable the people to determine the responsibilities of government in the challenging period ahead.”

 He has denied accusations that he is  “hanging on” to power.

This could be welcomed by Sinn Feinn, who called for a vote of no confidence in the  Taoiseach yesterday. The party has seen increased support in recent times, prompting Gerry Adams to say that he will stand in  Louth for election to the Dail.

It has been recently reported that Ireland’s international credit rating has been dropped by Standard and Poor’s from AA- to A. This could have a great impact on the overall economy due to Ireland being highly dependent on oversees investment. The view that they may have difficulty repaying loans could increase interest rates and cause further problems.

Ireland’s debt crisis is the result of the property market crash, starting in 2008. After the huge economic boom, house prices have fallen by up to 60% and the banks have held bad assets ever since.  

Aiding to matters is the part-nationalisation of many of the country’s banks, turning into state-held debt.

Irish Finance Minister Brian Lenihan stated “an increase in corporation tax will not be a condition of the bailout.”

Ireland has the lowest level of corporation tax in the Eurozone at 12.5% which has come under scrutiny by other EU member states, such as Germany and France.

“No Survivors” as second blast hits New Zealand Miners

By Michael Mckeand

27 of the 29 miners tragically killed in an explosion in the Pike River coal mine in New Zealand. Photo: Reuters

A second explosion tore through a New Zealand mine today leaving no survivors, according to New Zealand police. Families of the 29 miners, including two Scottish men, who had been trapped in the Pike River coal mine since Friday, were informed of the disaster in a private meeting.

An initial explosion in the mine,  located near Greymouth, on the north-west coast of New Zealand’s South Island, had occurred on Friday, leaving the miners trapped 2.3 km underground. Robots and cameras were sent into the mine today but had to be halted as a second massive explosion ripped through the mine. It has been confirmed by police that this second explosion has killed all those trapped in the mine. 

“Unfortunately I have to inform the public of New Zealand at 2.37pm today there was another massive explosion underground and based on that explosion no one would have survived,” said police superintendent Gary Knowles, in charge of the rescue operation at the Pike River mine.

Relatives emerged from the meeting crying. Many were angry and criticised the slow pace of the rescue efforts. Lawrie Drew, father of 21-year-old Zen Drew, said rescue teams should have entered the mine in the hours following the first blast, when the dangerous methane and carbon monoxide gases would have been sucked out of the mine. “There was a window of opportunity on Friday, why didn’t they take it?” he said.

Rescuers though have stressed that high levels of toxic and explosive gasses meant that rescue teams couldn’t themselves enter the mine making the rescue an extremely difficult operation.

New Zealand’s Prime minister has described the incident as a “national tragedy”. “New Zealand has been devastated by the news that we have all been dreading,” he told a televised press conference.  

Among the dead are two Scots, 25-year-old Malcolm Campbell, and Peter Rodger, 40. In a statement, the foreign secretary, William Hague, said, “many British citizens have made their home in New Zealand and the loss of Mr Rodger, Mr Campbell and their colleagues will have touched the hearts of many in the UK.” The Queen has also made a statement, saying she is “deeply saddened” by the news.

Peter Whittal, the chief executive of Pike River Coal, who runs the mine, said they would make every effort to retrieve the bodies of the men, whose ages range from 17 to 62. In an emotional statement to reporters he said “We want our boys back and we want to get them out.” 

New Zealand’s last mine disaster was in 1967 when 19 miners were killed in a gas explosion at Strongman mine, not far from Pike River. Their worst disaster was in 1896 at Brunner mine when another gas explosion killed 65 men.

Santa’s coming to Edinburghs nightlife

By Chris Enderby
Edinburghs first party of the holiday seasonOnly in its second year the snow party is hoping to repeat its huge success last year which lead to it being brought back for a second consecutive year.One of the events organizers  Stuart Ramsay was available for comment about the planned party.

The events boasting some really exciting options to bring the crowds in , from real snow to a reindeer rodeo ,who doesn’t love a bit of snow especially when it’s being fired from two large cannons onto the dance floor.

Clearly trading of the christmas vibe starting to fill the air the organizers are setting up for a large kick of to Edinburgh’s holiday Season.
However the reindeer rodeo did cause some  slight confusion and It was speculated if they were getting some real ones in however Stuart said ” Though it would probably be amazing ,mixing live animals with drunk students doesn’t always work well”.

so instead they have brought in a Mechanical bull and given it a bit of a face lift to get in the holiday spirit and now looking like a reindeer he’s waiting to test the students out at Lava Ignite.

He also said that it was  “cavs(another name for Lava Ignite) biggest winter party and only happens once a year”  clearly a good enough reason to head down and check it out ,Coupling  once a year event with student Drinks prices makes it a very enticing night out for the young and the restless.

The “Snow Party” is also being marketed as a pre-exam party, now this may not seem like the greatest way to pull people in , Most don’t want to go out and become legless just before an exam .

That being  said however if your exams not on the 28th of November  and you’ve been cooped up for weeks studying a single night of to blow off the steam you’ve built up from staying in for weeks may be a good idea.

When  asked about this  Stuart  said ” we wanted to give students who’d been spending  6-8 hours a day studying for exams  a chance to unwind and let their hair down for a night”,
This would allow you to go into your exam well prepared and not totally  stressed about how your going to perform and trying to lock down that little fact that keeps slipping your mind.

Now many people have a Facebook account and you may be able to see this event from the link  posted in this article , after doing research for this event though and talking to some older people a realisation has dawned.

The era of Street Promoters for clubs is going the way of the dinosaurs , it’s a rare sight to see large teams of promoters out on the street handing out flyers instead they run one or two people for the whole night,
they do still go and flyer student living accommodations but honestly using Facebook and twitter is the main way for these PR staff  to get in touch with the people who are going to be coming to their club nights

Having  spoken with a few club promoters asking them why they use Facebook rather than the old-fashioned way of street teams and got some good responses , Craig Wilson who Promotes  a Friday night at Bacaro said that “using Facebook allows me to run my event without  being slowed down by the time of day. if I want to put out an event I can do it right then ,the weather doesn’t affect who see’s the event  and it also allows me to keep cost’s down” .

This is sound marketing  and as he said “It’s a business”  there for you to have a good time but also to make a profit.

Speaking with some door supervisors  from some various clubs in Edinburgh about whether or not they though Facebook was taking over from the more well know ways of getting people into clubs.

Craig Gamble who works a variety of establishments all over Edinburgh told me “It varies really , when I work at a bar or pub and they’re doing an event most of the folk come in with a flyer but then the bars only sent one or 2 folk out , at a large club night they sometimes don’t even bother with the token street team just relying on Facebook events and word of mouth”

We are a generation that’s grown up with Social media ,from  MySpace to Facebook .

As we’ve grown we have taken these tools that have grown with us into the real world  and starting putting them into use replacing systems that though sound in principle are now becoming dated as technology advances and allows us to access new media outlets to connect with people.