News In Brief, Scotland and The Lothians.

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South Lanarkshire faces travel problems this weekend due to gale force winds of up to 65mph and heavy rainfall. These weather conditions have caused widespread disruption, with ferries to Arran cancelled because of high wind risks. The Forth Road Bridge was also closed to all vehicles except cars.

Scottish Actor Gerard Kelly was laid to rest today at St Aloysius’ Church in Garnethill. The star suffered a brain aneurism in late November, he was 51.

A report by the Scottish Centre for Crime suggests that short sentences are an obstacle towards the rehabilitation of prisoners with alcohol and drug related problems. It was reported that inmates are using short term stays as a form of “detox” which contribute very little to long term recovery.

A divorced father of –two has been jailed after police recovered more than 13, 000 indecent images of children from his home computer. 42- year- old Graham Downie from Linlithgow has been sentenced to 8 months in prison, a further 16 months on license and will have his name added to the sex offenders register. He is described as a very lonely and troubled man, as his lawyer suggested he needs psychiatric help.

Edinburgh free sheet newspaper, The Outlook, said to cost the taxpayer up to £200, 000 a year, has been compared to Pravda, a communist pamphlet during the Cold War. Calls to do away with the tri- monthly publication have been supported by Edinburgh City Council, with representatives saying “at such a cost, it is no longer justified”. The SNP have promised review of the situation if they remain in power post 2012.

Edinburgh’s poet laureate Ron Butlin, has offered his literary talents to the Capital’s residents, aiming to paint the ongoing tram conundrum in a rosier light. In an attempt to vent his frustrations regarding the project, Butlin states “”While the lack of work is obviously frustratin’, when the trams arrive they’ll be worth the waitin’!”

Excitement rises as this weekend’s Rugby Tour approaches, seeing Scotland play the All Blacks on Saturday afternoon. Reports state that the All Blacks are finding Scotland’s wintery conditions difficult, and the unfamiliar temperatures meant they complained of being frozen out on the pitch.

St Columbia’s Hospice have unveiled that this years “Light a Light” appeal will be their more vibrant yet. A tree will be erected in Charlotte Square, and the annual fundraiser gives everyone an opportunity to light a candle of remembrance for a loved one. Last year the hospice raised £100, 000, and this year they hope to top that total.

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