3pm Today’s Edinburgh Napier News Bulletin

For a round-up of today’s news, watch the Edinburgh Napier News bulletin.

Today’s headlines:

– The SNP is under fire over a freedom of information request that took 9 months to respond to.

– A 20-year-old man is in court today charged with the murder of a retired Edinburgh lecturer.

– Morningside Library will close for eight months for refurbishment.

– How will yesterday’s budget affect Scotland’s video-gaming industry?

– Exclusive at Leith Docks – Michael McKeand looks at the latest addition to the port.

Balotelli strikes again

By Edoardo Zandona’

Mario Balotelli when playing for Inter Milan. Credit: Steindy.

Since his arrival at Manchester City for £24 million pounds last summer, Italian striker Mario Balotelli has gained more attention for his off the field antics than for his performances on the pitch.

The Sun reports today about his latest exploit. Apparently, the footballer tried to start a fight with Jenny Thompson, an escort already involved in Wayne Rooney’s scandal, in a restaurant in Manchester after the Man City – Aston Villa game on March 2. According to the tabloid’s reconstruction, Balotelli approached the woman with a “Rooney, Rooney” chant, and taunted her with laughing and vulgar gestures. He then blew a raspberry in the face of one of the commensals, Sam Birch, and invited him to “come outside”.

Birch told the Sun: “He was acting crazy. I think he is unhinged”. Balotelli’s record in Manchester City so far is disappointing. While only scoring 6 goals in 12 appearances with the Sky Blues, he has collected 9 yellow cards and 2 red cards, earning him a ‘bad boy’ reputation.

Northern Ireland play Serbia in World Cup Qualifier

By Fearghus Roulston

Northern Ireland will take on Serbia behind closed doors after violent troubles following the Serb’s October game against Italy.

This hasn’t deterred fans from travelling however, with hundreds expected to make the trip. 200 Northern Irish supporters have been given special dispensation from UEFA to attend the game.

The British minnows have enjoyed mixed fortunes in their qualifying campaign so far, beating Slovenia but drawing with Italy and the Faroe Islands.

Manager Nigel Worthington has made changes in the squad following a dismal performance in a 3-0 loss to Scotland.

Chris Baird will captain the side from an unfamiliar central midfield role, with Chris Brunt in an advanced midfield role behind lone striker Kyle Lafferty.

The manager admired Serbia’s technique, saying: ” “We have got to look to get a good start right from kick-off, go and get stuck into them like we have done to teams in the past when we have got results against quality teams”.

The game kicks off at 19.30.

Gurkha awarded medal of bravery after repelling Taliban attack

By Michael Mckeand

The Conspicuous Gallantry Cross is only one level below the Victoria Cross

A Gurkha soldier has been awarded the second highest medal for bravery after fighting off over a dozen Taliban soldiers single-handed. Acting Sergeant Dipprasad Pun was on sentry duty at a checkpoint near Babaji in Afghanistan’s Helmand province in September last year when insurgents opened fire on the compound from all sides.

Sergent Pun, 31 from Ashford in Kent, found himself trapped by an onslaught of firepower from rocket-propelled grenades and AK-47s. In retaliation, he fired off more than 400 rounds of ammunition, launched 17 grenades and detonated a mine. At one point, when his rifle failed, he resorted to throwing the tripod of his machine gun at an insurgent who tried to climb a ladder to where he took cover.

Acting Sergeant Pun said he was “a lucky guy” and was very proud to receive the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross.

Recalling the incident, he said: “As soon as it was confirmed they were Taliban, I was really scared, But as soon as I opened fire that was gone. I just thought ‘Before they kill me I have to kill some.’ I thought they were going to kill me after a couple of minutes, definitely.”

Acting Sergeant Pun, originally from the village of Bima in Nepal, whose father and grandfather were both also Gurkhas, believed at the time there were about 30 attackers. He was told later by villagers it was more like 12 or 15.

The citation on the medal states that he saved the lives of three comrades who were in the checkpoint at the time.  “I think I am a very lucky guy, a survivor,” he said. “Now I am getting this award, it is very great and I am very happy.”

Breaking News: man charged with Gray murder

Merchiston Crescent Credit: Adam Smyth

By Celeste Carrigan

Pawel Rodak  a 20-year-old man has been charged with the murder of Roger Gray, retired lecturer. He has appeared in private at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

The charges made were culpable and reckless conduct, and endangering the lives of people in the building and surrounding area.

No declaration or plea was made on his behalf and the case continues for further enquiry. Rodak was remanded in custody.