Future energy options discussed in Madrid today

by Natalia Rodríguez Domínguez

MixGenera International Conference took place today, from 8:15 to 17:45, in Madrid, Spain. It  brought together researchers, engineers and practitioners to analyse the future of electricity supply and other alternative energy  sources.

The Conference was sponsored by IEEE Power & Energy Society (PES), CIGRÉ (International Council on Large Electric Systems), Red Eléctrica de España and Carlos III University. It presented papers with new research results on the new electricity supply equipments and methods which will converge in 2020 and 2030.

Some of the topics discussed today have been the following: Introduction and control of renewable generations; perspectives for the nuclear generation, utilisation of gas turbines, CO2 and Hydro generation capture, distributed generation, smart grids and the future of electricity markets.

More info on their website: http://electrica.uc3m.es/mixgenera/

Arthur’s Seat Brought to Life During Next Festival

by Silvia Montes

As part of the 2012 Festival, Edinburgh’s iconic hill, Arthur’s Seat,
will be spectacularly transformed by NVA’s Scottish arts charity and its “Speed of Light” project.

“Speed of light” is a national programme of physical and cultural activity. Runners will wear specially designed self powered light suits, animating the hillside with trails of patterned light.

The idea came from the NVA’s Creative Director, Angus Farquhar, as he explained “I am a pretty committed runner and I am interested in ‘intentional movement’ as a way of understanding our place in the world, so it was only a matter of time before I put the two together”.

Up to 5,000 on-form runners will have the chance of a lifetime to run a choreographed route around the paths of Arthur’s Seat at night in specially constructed self-powered light-suits. As the NVA’s Creative Director said “our work is completed by the runners and walkers. There is no Speed of Light without that total participation”. He also confirmed that NVA’S will be also involved in the running “I will certainly run on some nights but I can not do the whole thing as I have to direct from the hillside in the build up, there are quite a few runners in NVA and hopefully they will put a training push in to take part next year!”

During the event, “Speed of Light” will also investigate why people run, though an exploration of the power of the mind in overcoming physical exhaustion.

The project will bring communities together from all over Scotland to celebrate sport and culture, connecting them directly to the aspirations of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in London.

Edinburgh Christmas Market is getting ready

by Silvia Montes

From last Wednesday 9th November, East Princes Street Gardens are being prepared for the Christmas time.
Works will last until next Thursday when the Edinburgh Christmas market will open its doors at 10am.

Recognised as one of the best cities in the UK to spend Christmas, Edinburgh comes to life in the winter with six weeks of festive celebration. From the stunning Big Wheel to the traditional German market, Edinburgh streets will come alive with an incredible and bustling atmosphere.

As David Goodwill, the site manager confirmed “this year it will be 15 stalls on the German market and 16 on the Highland one. Moreover, once again it will have the usual attractions: the funfair, including the big-wheel next to the Scott Monument, bubblepoods, bungy snowdome and the ice rink”.

Likewise every year Edinburgh Christmas market will be selling many different things: from food and drinks to woollen clothes and typical Christmas objects.

The site manager also explained “the stalls are not allowed to serve alcohol unless they get a licence from the Edinburgh Council”. We assume that German stalls would have got it once again and we will be able to enjoy their warm and delicious mulled wine. Furthermore, there will also be Scottish whisky around the Highland market.

Every stall has a five-year contract with the Edinburgh Council, which it will finish at the end of this Christmas market. However, David Goodwill predicts “the essence will be the same during the following years. Although some stalls will not extend this contract the organisation will not probably change”.

The Christmas market will last until the 4th of January. Nevertheless, the German market will just be opened until the 24th of December.

People love Edinburgh Christmas market and it is almost here. Next week everyone will be able to enjoy it!

Government Makes Loss in Northern Rock Sale

by Gabriel Neil

The Edinburgh branch of Nothern Rock on Castle Street.

It has been confirmed that the trading half of Northern Rock will be sold to Richard Branson’s Virgin Money
for the sum of £747 million, at a £373 million loss to the taxpayer.

Northern Rock was nationalised in 2008 by the Labour government at the start of the international financial crisis, as it was unable to repay its government loans of £24 billion.

Richard Branson was opposed to nationalisation in 2008 stating that “a commercial solution would have been the best way forward”. It is estimated that £1.4 billion of government money has been invested in the bank, and commentators are expecting an overall loss of between £400-£650 million from the sale.

If a proposed £280 million extra is paid in full to the government, then the taxpayer will make a minimum loss of £373 million.

Virgin Money’s takeover of Northern Rock Plc. may mean there will be changes in interest rates for savers, as the bank was originally offering an tax-free ISA for 2.65%, whereas Virgin Money has been offering a very similar product for only 0.1%.

The side of the bank which owns 90% of its mortgages, Northern Rock Asset Management, remains under state control.

This loss will eradicate the savings that cuts to the BBC, announced in the Delivering Quality First report in October, were due to provide. In last year’s spending review George Osborne said that the BBC would make yearly savings of £340 million a year.

However, if the sale of Northern Rock makes the maximum expected losses , then nearly 2 years of BBC savings will have been cancelled out.

These cuts, amounting to 20% of BBC funding have meant that the broadcaster has had to lose 2000 jobs over 5 years, sell buildings and impose cuts to funding for BBC 1 and 2 of over £62 million.  The BBC website has warned that these will result “in more repeats, a reduction in entertainment programming and less money spent on original British drama programs.’

The National Union of Journalists have been quoted as saying that these losses mean that “strike action is inevitable”.

Edinburgh High Court: Scot’s Corroboration Laws Contested

by Kate Thomson

Changes in Scots Law were proposed this morning by Lord Carloway in a review of the country’s criminal justice system.

He said the proposals “re-cast” the legal system for the 21st century.

Scot’s law has long been criticised for being dogmatic in treatment of suspects’ rights. As it stands, suspects do not have the right to a lawyer immediately when they are arrested and police can question them without a lawyer present.

The Calloway Proposals would change this. For defence lawyers, this is a long awaited prospect.

A defence solicitor at the High Court said: “People in custody are in an uncomfortable and frightening situation and should be give access to legal advice.”

Yet some proposals were more controversial. Lord Carloway advised dropping the current law which requires two corroboratory pieces of evidence as proof in a trial. This would potentially make cases easier to prove.

A defence advocate at Edinburgh High court, who wished to remain unnamed, said: “It is an outrage that this is being introduced at a time when advances in forensic science should make it easier for corroboration to be provided.” He also warned that the proposals would allow people with grudges and vendettas to bring charges against people. “It would allow people to be convicted on one piece of evidence which is a charter for accusations to be made through the courts through malice and ill will,” he said.

There is also a worry that control is being taken away from the Scottish government’s long-standing legal independence. “I think it’s an attack on one of the foundations of Scots criminal law,” said the advocate.

He added that discussion was too fixated on the proposals themselves and ignored the importance of the defendant’s human rights.

The fiscals office for prosecution also commented on the proposals. “It will be deeply interesting for developments in the future.  It’s difficult to say until we’ve had a good look at it,” said a spokesperson.

The review also advocates speeding up the trial process, requiring suspects to be brought before the courts within 36 hours. At the moment, suspects arrested on Friday evening can be held over the weekend for more than 48 hours.

The Quest for Robert Louis Stevenson

A celebration of the life and work of Robert Louis Stevenson kicked off in Edinburgh today.

A literary trail of quotes were written on the ground in various locations connected to the Edinburgh born novelist for admirers of his work to follow. Copies of two of his most iconic books, ‘Kidnapped’ and ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ were also laid out for any lucky passer by to take home. The festival continues tonight at the City Arts Centre where actor Nigel Planner and writer Ian Rankin will pay tribute to one of Edinburgh’s treasured writers.

My quest for Robert Louis Stevenson began on a driech day at the top of Edinburgh's Royal Mile.
Down the Royal Mile to the Heart of Midlothian and I came upon my first Stevenson quotes. No books yet, my journey continues.
Jackpot! Outside the Story Telling Centre was my second quote and my first free (but rather soggy) copy of Kidnapped..
Winding my way down to Edinburgh's Historic Grass Market my quest ended when I came upon some more wise words from Stevenson and more books!

Merchiston students set up shop

Students gather around stalls in Merchiston foyer trying to sell their products to others.

Merchiston campus has been transformed into a retail haven by 3rd year graphic design students this week.

The class project called for students to create a group of original market stalls that were cost effective to run and turned over a profit.

The overarching theme of the project is ‘a market environment’ where students aim to develop a better understanding of what products consumers are most interested in. The individual stalls reflect rooms in student residences, with designs including a sweets room, a ‘lads pad’ and a printed media stall.

The budding entrepreneurs received no money from the university to fund their project and instead relied on the generosity of their fellow students to provide their wares for sale.

The range of gifts available include bags, coasters, sweets and ceramics as well as work and illustrations from students of Glasgow and Edinburgh schools of art.

The stalls will be up and running until closing time today to provide inspiration and temptation for any early Christmas shoppers in the Morningside area.

The sporting week ahead

Scottish Premier League

Hibernian FC vs Kilmarnock- 19/11/11 at 3pm.

Manager-less Hibs take on Kilmarnock at Easter Road in a bottom of the table clash on Saturday. Caretaker boss Billy Brown will be hoping for three points to help his campaign to become full time boss.

Dundee United vs Heart of Midlothian- 19/11/11 at 3pm.

Hearts are looking to halt their recent slump in form with a win at Tannadice. Manager Paolo Sergio begins his five match touchlink ban with former Hearts player Robbie Nielson making his debut for United.

 English Premier League

Manchester City vs Newcastle United- 19/11/11 at 5.30pm.

The two remaining unbeaten teams in the league meet this Saturday afternoon as both attempt to maintain their excellent start to this season.

Swansea City vs Manchester United- 19/11/11 at 3pm.

Alex Ferguson’s boys will be hoping to keep pressure on City when they clash with Swansea at Liberty stadium on Saturday evening.


Edinburgh Rugby vs Racing Metro 92- 18/11/11 at 8pm.

Edinburgh hopes to build on their impressive away victory against London Irish last weekend in front of their home fans at Murrayfield.

Woman sexually assaulted in Meadows

by Kirsten Hayley Waller

Police are still making inquiries after a woman was sexually assaulted
in the Meadows on Tuesday morning.

The attack took place at roughly 3:30am, somewhere between Melville Drive and Warrender Park Crescent. The woman, aged 19, was attacked by two men, believed to be in their early 20s.

After attacking the victim, the men are believed to have run away towards Bruntsfield.

The suspects are described as being of average build, white, and wearing dark coloured hoodies.

Lothian and Borders police issued a statement yesterday, stating that they were “still working to establish exactly where it happened”.

“Anyone who was in the area of the Meadows or Bruntsfield in the early hours of [Tuesday] morning, who saw or heard anything suspicious, should contact the police immediately.”

“Similarly, anyone who saw two men matching the descriptions of the suspects in either the Meadows or Bruntsfield Links areas should get in touch.”

Napier News contacted the police and were told that there was no new information, but inquiries are ongoing.

There was confirmation that officers would continue to patrol the Meadows this evening. They will be dressed in high-visibility jackets while investigations continue. They hope that these actions will reassure the public.

Potentially promising new cancer treatment and biomarker

There have been great breakthroughs in cancer research.

by Sonja Klein

A potential new additional treatment for patients with advanced lung cancer
has been found in a collaboration study in Europe.

Patients diagnosed with stage III or stage IV lung cancer who have little hope of survival may have renewed hope with a new treatment that is currently being tested at various clinics throughout Europe. Non-small-cell lung cancer, a common type that often does not respond well to chemotherapy, has been treated with a combination of chemotherapy and a virus strain called TG4010. Patients that have not yet received chemotherapy, but were treated with the TG4010, on average had a higher survival rate than patients treated with standard chemotherapy.

However, treatment was not effective for all patients. Patients expressing a high percentage of a specific type of receptor on their “natural killer cells”, a sub-type of white blood cells, generally had a reduced survival rate. This knowledge can potentially be used as a biomarker which is an indicator substance in the human body that can be used to find out if a patient will respond positively to a treatment or not. At the current stage of cancer research many patients have to be treated with different types of chemotherapy until the right treatment is found. Testing patients for this specific type of receptor on the “natural killer cells” can reduce the number of tests people have to go through before they find the right treatment. This not only increases their chances of survival but also improves their quality of life.

Sepp Blatter’s 5 Biggest Gaffes

Sepp Blatter, the man who runs FIFA as a part dictatorship – part clown college,
is no stranger to controversy.


Whilst his comments about dealing with on-field racism with a handshake are entirely unacceptable, they should not be entirely unexpected.  The man makes Boris Johnson look like a safe pair of hands. Here are 5 of his ‘finest’ moments as head of world football.

1)   Keeping it in the family

 Comparably small scale for Blatter, the nepotism he has shown his nephew in the awarding of lucrative TV contracts has been a constant feature of his reign. Tens of millions of pounds have been handed to Philippe Blatter, often dwarfing the budgets of many of FIFA’s own member’s budgets. Despite claiming that the president himself has no role in the process, investigations have found a total lack of accountability and transparency under his stewardship.

 2) Plan for women to wear “tighter shorts” to improve popularity of the game.

With a brainwave coming straight out of the 17th century, Blatter thought it would be a good idea for female footballers to wear “more feminine” clothing to attract additional, presumably male, fans. The Swiss lothario, an unsurprising divorcee, urged women to adopt the ‘Kylie approach’ to success. Female players were, naturally, outraged.

3) Homosexuals should abstain in Qatar

 Obviously unhappy about only infuriating females, Blatter then set about ostracising the gay community.  Already under pressure for awarding the 2022 World Cup to Qatar (a country hardly on the right side of liberal), he decided to stoke tensions further by claiming homosexuals, “should refrain from any sexual activities”, to avoid cultural tensions.

How about just not awarding football’s premier event to a county that still has capital punishment, forced labour and a ban on homosexuality Mr Blatter?

4) World Cup voting corruption

It’s hard to know where to even begin with this one. FIFA’s never exactly been known for it’s transparent voting system but Blatter’s reign has heralded new levels of dishonesty. His 4 election victories have all been dogged by allegations of vote rigging and ‘cash-for-votes’ schemes but it was his most recent success that sparked the perfect storm of controversy. Standing unopposed after his only opponent was hobbled by Ethic committee enquiries and inquests, Blatter maintained his throne claiming that he would “clean up football”.  And pigs might indeed fly.

5) Football does not have a racism problem

 In a proper head-in-sand moment, Blatter declared yesterday that there was no problem of on field racism in FIFA’s game and that any problems that do arise should be dealt with a handshake. Guess there’s no point letting the facts get in the way of a good story. The spectre of racism has been creeping back into public attention over the last few months, with high-profile incidents involving John Terry, Luis Suarez and Cesc Fabregas all attracting international media attention. And the truth is that sadly the problem has never really left the sport. Whilst such assertions may not suit Blatter’s slick packaging of world football, if FIFA and national governing bodies ever want to get serious on the issue it is one they must accept.

The Language of Faces

By Sam Khan-Mcintyre

What appears to be a single face, however it is a mix of multiple different people.

Psychologists at the University of Edinburgh have found that levels of facial symmetry
can show mental decline in men between the ages of 79 and 83.

Researchers have discovered that those with less symmetry in their faces are more likely to have an increased slowdown of brainpower.

Subjects’ results in reasoning and reaction time tests at the university were used alongside the Scottish Mental Health Survey from 1932.

Dr Lars Penke, who led the work, said: “This kind of research is not meant to lead to new treatments, though facial symmetry could become a diagnostic indicator in the long run.”

He added: “Facial symmetry is only an indirect indicator of insults to developmental stability that accumulated over the lifespan, so there’s no expectation that treating symmetry could ever help against mental decline.”

Developmental stability is the ability of an organism to undergo stable development of the observable characteristics (or phenotype) under given environmental conditions.

Disease (such as diabetes or high blood pressure); toxins; alcohol and illicit drugs; lack of activity (mental or physical); stress; malnutrition; or genetic mutations during development, all contribute to developmental stability and therefore mental decline.

Robin Morton, a scientist at Edinburgh University added that stresses on a mother could affect the baby while in the womb and affect symmetry. He also explained that fingerprints can also become asymmetrical in this way.

He said: “Those with higher mental ability tend to age better due to higher thinking ability. Therefore they will have less of a decline. This could help inform a patient’s clinician.”

Comparable results have not yet been found in females, but research is on-going. Dr Penke said: “We still do some work on this topic, but there are no new results worth reporting yet.”

Renowned cricket journalist commits suicide

by Al Muthu

Peter Roebuck

Peter Roebuck, noted cricket journalist leaped six storeys to his death
from his room at the Southern Sun hotel in Cape Town, South Africa on Saturday.

Police visited the 55-year-old former Somerset captain to investigate an allegation of indecent assault against him when he moved towards the window and jumped. A spokesperson announced that investigations are on-going and the matter will be subject to an inquest.

It is alleged that Roebuck invited Itai Gondo, 26, on pretence of a university scholarship and proceeded to seduce him against his will. Gondo met the English born cricketer-turned-journalist through a friend who knew one of his adopted sons. During a chat via Facebook, Roebuck wished the young Zimbabwean to call him ‘Dad,’ asking him to bring a stick in case he needed to beat him.

During the actual meeting however, Roebuck launched himself on the unsuspecting youth.  Gondo’s phone rang at the time, which ceased Roebuck’s assault and the shocked student fled the suite.

Southern Hotel

Peter Roebuck was as much a pot of controversy as he was a brilliant journalist.

During his stint as Somerset captain he refused to renew the contracts of Sir Vivian Richards and Joel Garner stating them to be too old. The two West Indian stalwarts left the club after scribbling ‘Judas’ on his door.

In 2001, he was handed a suspended jail sentence for caning three of his students.Henk Lindeque from South Africa recalls his stint at the Taunton Cricket Club where Roebuck would cane him and three of his friends and then wish to see the markings. He would then coax those who were unwilling.

Tatenda Dennis Chadya, one of Roebuck’s adopted sons tells a different story.  A lawyer in training, he has been under Roebuck’s care since 2005. Registering genuine shock over the incidents surrounding his “Dad’s” death, Chadya  admitted his house had stringent rules, but claimed the worst that happened was docking of allowances.

During his days as a player, Roebuck was prolific in domestic matches, amassing 25000 runs including 38 centuries. He pursued coaching after his life as a professional cricketer and eventually delved into the world of books and journalism. He wrote for the Sydney Morning Herald and ESPNCricinfo at the time of his death.

His form of commentary was  rare in that it was brutally frank. His article that questioned the domination of the Indian Premier League and how its popularity is dumbing down the audience from enjoying good and hard Test cricket is a typical example of his unique style of cricket journalism.

Perhaps Roebuck’s personality contributed to the disgraceful events surrounding his death. The man was often eccentric, introverted and political. An ardent follower of the old school values of cricket, his articles often probed those issues other journalists stayed away from.

Whatever has been said about the man, in the tragic passing of Peter Michael Roebuck, cricket has suffered a huge loss.

Salmond Slams Tories’ Misplaced Interests

By Alexandra Wingate

First Minister Alex Salmond has attacked Scottish Conservatives
for acting to aid the interests of the UK Tory party, rather than that of the Scottish people.

The comments came during today’s First Minister’s Questions after Mr Salmond was asked, no less than three times, about the number of international companies investing in Scotland. This follows Tuesday’s opening of Amazon’s distribution and customer service centres in Fife and Edinburgh respectively. These openings are expected to create more than 3,000 permanent and temporary jobs in Scotland.

Mr Salmond said: “While the success in this investment is not recognised by the opposite benches in this government, it is recognised by the Tory party in the North East of England.”

He went on to explain that Linda Arkley, Conservative mayor of North Tyneside, has been well-documented in her interest in what Mr Salmond described as “the success and firepower of Scotland in attracting thousands of jobs.” He claims that Mrs Arkley has been lobbying George Osborne in an attempt to force these investments to be moved  away from Scotland and into the North East of England.

Mr Salmon continued:  “The dangerous thing is that this lady, after lobbying, said, quote, ‘Ministers have agreed to look at this’, unquote. So what action have Westminster ministers got in mind to dissuade international companies?”

“I hope that at least this parliament can be united by welcoming the investment by Amazon and other companies who are expressing more confidence in Scotland than is held by the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer.”

The issue of money and investment in Scotland featured highly in Mr Salmond’s answers. When Scottish Conservative David McLetchie MSP congratulated Mr Salmond’s recent success in solving the recent fossil fuel levy row with Westminster – which resulted in a windfall of £100m from the UK Treasury – Mr Salmond retorted: “They think it a tremendous triumph to get 50% of Scotland’s money. Wouldn’t it be better to get 100% of Scotland’s money?”

“The other 50% of Scotland’s money is going to help capitalise the Green Investment Bank. Is that not yet another reason for the Green Investment Bank being headquartered in Scotland?”

Will the Olympics ring true in Edinburgh?

by Kirsten Hayley Waller

That outside of Edinburgh Castle could have the Olympic Rings displayed. Photo: S.Johnson

The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) is applying to Historic Scotland
to place the symbol of the Olympic rings on Edinburgh Castle during August 2012.

The rings will measure 8.5m in height and 18m in width, and will be displayed on the north-west rampart of the castle.

LOCOG have also submitted planning applications for other heritage sites, all over the UK, in a bid to make the 2012 games feel less London-centric.

A spokesman said they would not comment on ongoing applications and “would wait to hear the results.”

He explained the thinking behind this application was to ensure that there was “benefit across the UK for these games.” The plan is to “use the rings to draw attention to UK landmarks.”

The committee hope this will encourage foreign visitors to visit other parts of Britain, in addition to visiting London, for the Olympic Games.

LOCOG has worked with the Scottish Government, Historic Scotland and Edinburgh Council to establish the best location for the rings to be displayed.

The logistics of installing, maintaining and dismantling the rings will be undertaken by the Organising Committee, using funds from the central government in Westminster, and not from the Scottish Executive.

Historic Scotland released a brief statement to Napier News,  saying “We have received a Scheduled Monument Consent for a temporary application for the Olympic Rings installation at Edinburgh Castle which is going through the due process.”

The Cockburn Association, who promote the conservation of Edinburgh’s landscape and architecture, have previously expressed their disgust at this plan. The Director, Marion Williams, said “I think it’s daft, insulting and ridiculous. They should leave the castle alone and get on with having the Olympics in London. Edinburgh has other things to worry about at the moment. “I’m not grumpy about the Olympics, but I am grumpy about London stamping its mark on Edinburgh.”

What do you think about the Olympic Rings coming to Edinburgh Castle? Contact Napier News and let us know.

Thousands of students protest against Spanish education cuts

by Natalia Rodríguez Domínguez

Just three days before the Spanish General Elections, thousands of students and teaching staff from  Spanish Universities have taken to the streets
in order to protest against education cuts, difficult working conditions and educational reform which is to be implemented by the government in 2015.

Spanish students have chosen the International Student’s Day,  which is 17th November, as the perfect date to call for a day of protests and teaching strikes across Spain. In Madrid, hundreds of students have been occupying teaching rooms at the five main public Universities since the 14th November.

This movement has been organised by several student groups which have encouraged action against the increasing state cuts in public education and the expected increase of fees which will take effect in 2015. All across the main Spanish cities, students have skipped classes today to show their indignation.

In Barcelona, a number of teaching stuff have joined the students’ demonstrations across the city.  Some faculties also started the day under occupation by students. A group of radical protesters has demonstrated in the middle of some main roads and the city bypass. This has forced the traffic to stop for a few hours, until the demonstrators were removed.

This evening more demonstrations are expected as students and teaching staff plan to take part in localalised protests. They are demanding better quality higher education and an improvement in access to higher education regardless of family income.

How a boy I didn’t know helped me choose to become an organ donor

The sticker on the back of Sarah's license lets people know her status as an organ donor.

Sarah Turnbull reflects on her decision to become an organ donor:

“I joined the organ donor register a few years ago but I understand how people can have doubts.

At first I didn’t like the idea. I feared the doctors wouldn’t try as hard if they knew I was part of the organ register; a fear I no longer have after assurances that the doctors wouldn’t ever give up on a patient if they were struggling for their life.

My next concern was my heart. I didn’t like the idea of somebody else having it. They could have anything else, just not my heart.

I know I won’t need it after I’m dead but there was something about the idea of being buried in the ground without a heart that I didn’t like.

But then I read a news story about a seriously ill ten-year-old boy signing up for the donor register. He had a fatal illness and there was no cure. A couple of days later he died and his organs and skin were donated. That one little boy saved 30 people.

That story changed my views. I no longer have any problems with signing the organ donor register. Now I know after I die someone else could be given a new life.”

New Call for Opt-Out Organ Donation

by Sarah Turnbull

“Three people will die unnecessarily every day in Scotland” said Professor John Forsythe,
lead clinician for NHS Lothian. This is because more than 700 people in Scotland are waiting for an organ transplant.

While 90% of the population in Scotland are in favour of the idea of organ donation, only 37% of people have actually joined the register to become a potential donor.

The Scottish Government has decided to invest money into a television advertising campaign to promote registering as an organ donor.  Some people, though, are calling for a more extreme system to increase organ donation.  Termed an ‘opt-out’ system, this scheme would mean that everyone is automatically added to the Organ Donor Register. In order to remove oneself from this list, a person would be required to notify NHS.

Dundee MSP Joe Fitzpatrick supports this system. He  recently signed a petition to persuade the Scottish Government to change the current system of organ donation to the ‘opt-out’ system. Mr. Fitzpatrick claims “this system is supported by the British Medical Association and major charities including the British Heart Foundation and Kidney Research UK.”

This system has been suggested before and has been met with some controversy.

Scotland has the highest percentage of people donating organs in the UK, with 37% of its population on the register. Forsythe, however, said that this is not enough. “We urgently need more people from across Scotland to join the Organ Donor Register” he said.

It seems the top factor preventing people from joining the register is fear.  According to the NHS, one of most frequently asked questions about organ donation is “how do they know when you are really dead?” The organisation assures people that a doctors confirm the organ donors are dead in exactly the same way as those who are not on the register.

Leith Festival to Lose Funding

The Leith festival looks set to face a dramatic downsize due to public funding cuts.
One of Edinburgh’s largest and most renowned festivals, it is likely to lose many of its benefactors,
includingEdinburghCity Council.

Leith Gala Day

The event relies heavily on public and charitable funds, which are diminishing at an alarming rate. Edinburgh City Council is just one of the contributors which has decided not to renew their contract with the festival.

The festival has entertained thousands of people over the past 8 years and has earned a reputation as one of the cities most popular attractions. It produces a variety of events including comedy, theatre, music and dance. Festival organizers predict that in 2012, it will be stripped  back, returning to its historical roots as a Gala Day and Pageant.

Speaking about the potential cuts, Leith Councillor Gordon Munro said: “We have had to reduce the festival because we don’t have finances. There has never been much money available from the Council and other sources have dried up and for the foreseeable future, I don’t see that changing.”

The residents of Leith have relied heavily on the festival in recent years to bring trade to the area and boost community spirit. Rowan Campbell, on of the festival’s board members, said: “People need to know how vulnerable we are and that it cannot go on without them. We need their help. The festival does great things for the community but there doesn’t seem to be funding available for this sort of community event, if there is we certainly haven’t found it.”

A public meeting is scheduled to be held alongside the Leith festival.  The AGM is due to take place on Wednesday 7 December in the Leith Community Centre at 7.30pm. It is open to the public, and any offers to join the board of volunteers who run the festival, will be warmly welcomed.

Activists condemn ‘Another Pine Gap’

by Tom Freeman and Marie Montodo

Australian peace activists have criticised a new agreement between Australia and the US
which will lead to an increased American military presence in the area.

President Barack Obama assured the Asia-Pacific region that the U.S. was “here to stay,” after announcing 2,500 U.S. troops and aircraft will operate out of the city of Darwin, close to the Indonesian border.

Missile guidance base Pine Gap is an example of how the US and Australian militaries have worked together since the 1970s .

Cameron Hall, 35, from Tasmania, said “A lot of Australians will be upset about this.  In the cold war many people were worried because Pine Gap made us a target for Russia and China.  This announcement is bad timing because China is our main trade partner, and there is also a growing feeling of dissent about what is seen as a cavalier attitude by our government to giving away Australian territory.”

Pine Gap, near Alice Springs employs over 800 staff and is a Joint Defence Facility, like Menwith Hill in the UK.

“I have directed my national security team to make our presence and missions in the Asia Pacific a top priority,” Obama told an audience of American and Australian troops at the Royal Australian Air Force base in Darwin yesterday.

China has already expressed concerns about the move.  Xinhua, China’s state news agency, said “it wouldn’t come as a surprise if the United States is trying to seek hegemony in the region, which would be in line with its aspirations as a global superpower.”

Obama responded to these objections by saying the U.S. wants to work with China: “We’ll seek more opportunities for cooperation with Beijing.” He also added, however, that the U.S. would not ignore issues such as human rights in the region.

“Asia will largely define whether the century ahead will be marked by conflict, or cooperation; needless suffering or human progress,” he said.

SOUND FILE: obama addresses troops.

Top 5 – Arts


The Rum Diary, The Cameo Picture House – Week beginning 15 November 2011

Johnny Depp stars as American journalist, Paul Kemp, who takes a debauched journey to 1950’s Puerto Rico after his life hits a road block. Working for a rundown Caribbean newspaper he continues down a drug and drink-addled path of self-destruction. Lusting after the fiancée of a wealthy businessman is just one of his many misguided ideas, documented throughout in his journal.

An adaption of the novel The Rum Diary by Hunter S. Thompson, this film paints an interesting picture of journalism, and follows the haphazard life of a chaotic guy.



NSPCC Scotland Cupcake Couture – The Merchants’ Hall 19 November 2011

This Saturday, enjoy a stylish cupcake while lending fashion a helping hand. A chic afternoon tea, of cupcakes and cocktails, will be provided at the fabulous Merchants’ Hall. Amidst the alcohol and confectionary a fashion show will be held, featuring collections from some of Edinburgh’s top boutiques and fashion stalls. These delights will be followed by an auction, giving you the chance to donate to a wonderful cause and come home with some goodies for yourself. The NSPCC in Scotland carries offers strong support for vulnerable children.

If you are interested in attending, contact the Scottish fundraising team at 0844 892 0212 or email scotlandevents@nspcc.org.uk.


Edinburgh Cancer Research Art Exhibition – starts 15 November – 20 November 2011

Scottish artists, or artists with Scottish roots, such as Lynn Rodgie, Ian Mastin, and Margaret Shaw will be showcasing their amazing work at the Edinburgh Cancer Research Art Exhibition in Adam house.

The majority of the paintings that will be exhibited are from Edinburgh, however, some of the pieces are from further afield. This exhibition is  enticing and has something for everyone, regardless of artistic familiarity and knowledge. There will also be displays of handcrafted jewellery, wool crafts and pottery.

Opening times are from 10.30am to 6.00pm Tuesday to Friday and 10.30am to 4.00pm Saturday. Refreshments are available.



The Drifters, The Tom Fleming Centre, Edinburgh – 19 November 2011

Edinburgh warmly welcomes the Drifters, one of the biggest soul groups. They will be bringing their catalogue of over 50 hits to entertain Edinburgh. The line up of the Drifters may have changed over the years but the amazing tracks stay the same. Don’t miss an amazing night!

Tickets are on sale from http://www.eventelephant.com/thedrifters and are £22 each.


Top Hat, Edinburgh Playhouse – starts 22 November 2011

Get your dancing hat on for one of the greatest musicals of all time. Fred Astaire and Ginger Roger’s renowned Hollywood hit of the 1930s, comes to Edinburgh’s Playhouse Theatre for the ultimate of entertainment thrills.

Stars Tom Chambers (Strictly Come Dancing) and Summer Strallen (Hollyoaks) play Jerry Travers and Dale Tremont. Jerry is a famous American tap dancer and has travelled to London to appear in his first ever West End show. Here he meets Dale, the girl of his dreams, and pursues her across Europe in a bid to capture her heart.

With hours of amazing music and dancing you will not be disappointed. You’ll find yourself singing along to classics such as ‘Cheek to Cheek’ and ‘Isn’t it a lovely day to be caught in the rain’. A feel good musical comedy is just what you need to make you forget all.


Scots Fiddle Festival 2011

This weekend sees the launch of ‘Fiddle 2011’
in Edinburgh city centre.

Boasting traditional music, lively ceilidhs and world class performers the Scots fiddle festival promises to be an action packed, fun filled event for all the family.

Listen here:

Tickets for ‘Fiddle 2011’ are available from the Queen’s Hall Box Office on 0131 668 2019, www.thequeenshall.net or in person at The Queen’s Hall, 85 – 89 Clerk Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9JG. Open Mon – Sat 10am – 5.30pm.

Salmond:Teacher strike is “premature”

Today in parliament Alex Salmond praised Scottish teachers,
but refused to bow to impending strike action.

Teachers have responded by accusing the First Minister of ‘serving platitudes’.

Last week members of Scotland’s largest teaching union voted “overwhelmingly” to join other public sector workers in a national day of strike action on the 30th November. Salmond used first ministers questions today to praise the work of teachers.  “I bow down to no-one who doesn’t recognise the contribution of Scottish teachers to Scottish Education” he said.  But he also claimed that  any move toward strike action was ‘premature’

“I’m a  supply teacher.  Our pay has been slashed already” said Scottish teacher Donna McGlynn, “but this strike is even bigger.  It’s about pensions, it’s about the loss of McCrone time, meaning teachers will work more hours for less pay.   Alex Salmond should see that we don’t do things like this lightly.  It’s just platitudes.  He has to see the severity of what’s going on in our profession.  All these proposed changes will have a severe impact on our children’s futures, the education of generations.  It’s a pebble dropped in a pond, but I fear the ripple effect.”

EIS general secretary Ronnie Smith said that the 82% vote in favour of industrial action showed  “The patience of teachers and lecturers has been exhausted.  Faced with a wide ranging attack on their pensions,  on top of a two-year pay freeze, rampant inflation and education budget cuts, our members are signalling that ‘enough is enough’.”

Salmond also accused the Westminster Government of “Poisoning the atmosphere with regard to public sector workers” but vowed that they would get fairer conditions in an independent Scotland.