More tram works, yet the end is in sight

Yet more traffic disruption: Edinburgh trams. Image: / cc.

The next set of tram works are due to begin this weekend.

The existing tram works at Shandwick Place and Haymarket are now being extended to cover West Maitland Street.

The works are set to take place from 5’oclock tomorrow morning with other traffic divisions being put in place.

Edinburgh Council has thanked the local businesses, people and commuters for their patience with the ongoing works and all their disruptions.

The City of Edinburgh Council warns of traffic disruptions and journey delays as a result of the ongoing tram works.

The works, which many feel are taking over the city centre, are feared to be a danger to businesses in the area. Apart from the general traffic disruptions the works are feared to bring a negative image to commuters and tourists coming from the nearby Haymarket train station.

The council offers an ‘Open for Business’ budget, in which £175,000 will be invested. The programme was created to encourage visitors to Edinburgh and sustain footfall in the city centre.

Yet many criticise the council for their lack of help with diverted walk ways and in particular, pointing pathways though the maze of road works for customers. The tram works stretch from Haymarket to the West End and Princess Street t oWaverley Bridge but they are due to be completed in June this year.

Birds of a feather flock together on Kerrera

Image: Luc Viatour

Scotland’s only parrot rescue centre has been inundated with rescued birds.

The parrot rescue centre, on the island of Kerrera off Oban, has said it cannot cope with the daily requests to take in abandoned and neglected birds.

The sanctuary has had to refuse about four birds a day as it does not have the space to keep them. Vonnie MacMillan who runs the parrot sanctuary has said: “We are overloaded all of the time.”

The island sanctuary currently houses 70 birds, which are receiving treatment and rehabilitation.

Petrol prices reach record high

Soaring oil prices have led to petrol prices hitting record highs in the UK.

Motorists must now shell out 140.20p for a litre of petrol.

This is on the back of a slew of increases in fuel prices. Diesel was priced at 143.05p just last month.

No respite awaits car owners across the country experts suggest the average petrol price to rise to 150p very soon.

Chancellor George Osborne has promised that petrol prices would not suffer undue hikes so long as oil prices are kept under 45 pounds per barrel. With Iran’s monopoly over oil threatening to expand throughout the EU, patrons are very cautious about their time on the road.


Listen here:

A very Polish welcome

To Let sign in English and Polish on Cornwall Street, Edinburgh

A letting agency in Scotland is making the Polish community feel at home by providing information, linguistic support and adverts in the Polish language. 

Edinburgh has an estimated Polish population of 8,000 and there is a growing number of restaurants, supermarkets and delicatessens in the city.

Edinburgh Napier News spoke to Letting Solutions Manager Brian Callaghan about his companies efforts to get more customers and create a more comfortable experience for new residents in Scotland.

Listen to the report here:

Scottish Tory Conference – Top 10 pick of the tweets

Image source: @ScotTories

@James_Reekie1 Great to see what Conservative councillors are doing in the Borders and South Ayrshire #scup12

@evagroeneveld Great to hear SAyrshire Councillor ’embracing the green agenda’ at #scup12. Let’s now go beyond just recycling.

@holyroodkate Lamont: Conservatives want to give power to the people to run their communities #scup12

@labourpress Cameron praising Budget which gives £40,000 tax cut to millionaires by hitting pensioners #scup12

@andywightman Why is #scup12 slogan “A Strong Scotland in a Strong Britain”? I thought we were part of the UK?

@tomwfreeman Chicken Run is a remake of the Great Escape. The Chickens are fleeing persecution. Did you think that one through, Dave? #scup12 #Cameron

@ToryHoose @John2Win “power should rest in the hands of the people that matter most, the people” #scup12

@scottishpol #scup12 McLetchie: the Scotland Bill does not hv to be a line in the sand. Another knock for Ruth Davidson’s position

@ericthefishking Oh come on, you took away their chairs! RT @ScotTories: A standing ovation for the PM in Troon. #scup12

@holyroodkate Lamont: every voter should know that a vote for the SNP is a vote for independence #scup12


David Cameron’s speech

Carlaw to slam SNP cancer policy

Tory Health Spokesman slams SNP cancer drug policies

Demand for a cancer drugs fund: MSP Jackson Carlaw. Image:

Conservative Health Spokesman Jackson Carlaw will today criticise the SNP for refusing to set up a cancer drugs fund, and instead prioritising free prescriptions for all.

He will use his annual speech at the Scottish Conservative Party Conference in Troon to argue that English cancer sufferers have a better chance of survival because of access to a cancer fund.

Prostate cancer sufferers in England have gained access to the new cancer drug Abiraterone through the fund. The same drug was recently refused approval by the Scottish Medicines Consortium.

“It is now clear where cancer sufferers rank on the SNP’s priority list,” Carlaw says.

Glasgow Soldier receives Military Cross

Corporal Keith Mitchell risked his life in Afghanistan by firing at Taliban fighters in order to save his wounded comrades. He has been awarded the Military Cross for his heroic actions.

Medal of Bravery: The Military Cross

The corporal from the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, was on patrol in Pupalzay in the Helmand province in March last year with the other soldiers when they were ambushed.

In the following fire fight, which included rocket propelled grenades, four soldiers were injured.

This forced Corporal Mitchell to hide behind a wall and draw the Taliban’s fire away from his fellow soldiers. He managed to kill the Taliban fighters and the wounded soldiers could be evacuated.

He said, “I didn’t see it as putting myself in danger. I just thought that if I could push forward about five metres I could fire my weapon so we could do something about the attack.

“It may be hard to believe but I wasn’t even thinking about the incoming fire, I was just concentrating on firing my weapon and then watching the shot to make sure it was accurate, rather than noticing the rounds coming at me. You are concentrating so hard on firing your weapon that it’s like being back on the ranges, which took my mind off what was going on around me.”

The 29-year-old soldier is from Glasgow, but is currently based in Germany. He has completed two tours of Iraq, as well as his recently completed tour of Afghanistan.

Pistol pensioner spared jail

The Edinburgh High Court: Woodward was admonished for possession of the gun
A 64 -year- old grandmother has been spared jail from the High Court of Edinburgh today after standing trial for illegal possession of a revolver.

Kathleen Woodward was arrested after admitting that she kept a Harrington and Richardson pistol in her house without a license.

The gun, which had owned by the by her late husband, was stolen from her Moray house by Guy Whitlaw last March. Whitlaw was sentenced to a five year jail term last year.

The law states that illegal firearm possession should automatically lead to a five year jail sentence. However, Judge Lady Stacey said there were extenuating circumstances, including Mrs Woodward’s work in her local community and for charity.

Mrs Woodward was admonished for possession of the gun but allowed to walk free.

Time to slow down and save lives

Gillespie's and Sciennes primary school pupils release balloons as part of an advert campaign for "Just give me a minute".

A new campaign has been launched today by school pupils in south Edinburgh.

“Just give me a minute” highlights the small amount of time lost to a driver if they travel at 20mph rather than 30mph.  The speed difference will save lives according to experts.

A 20mph speed limit along residential streets from Arthurs Seat to Blackford Hill has had the support of 70% of local people and will cost £100,000. Casualties have been reduced by 30-50% when the scheme has been introduced in other parts of the city road.

The change has also been an attempt to improve cycling safety where three fatalities have taken place over the last few months.

The campaign will continue to be promoted through adverts on radio, buses and bus shelters.


Trystan Davies reports:

Decision on Rangers’ season ticket declined by judge.

A judge at the Court of Session in Edinburgh has declined to reach a decision this afternoon on whether a deal should be broken between Rangers and the firm Ticketus.

Image: Christopher Harress

Rangers owner Craig Whyte made the deal to sell £24.4m worth of season tickets to the ticket firm after he bought the debt-ridden club last May.

His plan was to use the revenue from advance ticket sales to pay off an estimated £18m of the club’s debt.

However, administrators Duff and Phelps tried to breach the deal in a five-day hearing this week, arguing that it puts in jeopardy other potential bids for the club.

QC David Sellar, acting for the administrators, has claimed that two of the four potential buyers have said that they will not make a bid while the deal remains in place. Lord Hodge said today at the Court of Session that he did not have sufficient information about the bids to make this ruling.

The claims were been dismissed as speculative by Ticketus’ legal representatives.

Energy investment creates 800 jobs in Leith

Renewable Energy creates 800 new jobs in Leith.

By: Anna Redman

Spanish wind turbine manufacturer, Gamesa, has announced their plan to create around 800 jobs at a new Edinburgh plant, which will be located in Leith.

The investment in this project will be about £125m.

Continue reading Energy investment creates 800 jobs in Leith

Lloyds creates 500 new jobs as it sells 632 branches

Lloyds Banking Group

By: Anna Redman

 Lloyds TSB is set to create 500 new jobs across the UK.

The banking company will create the new jobs as part of its plans to sell several of its branches to the Co-op.

Project Verde will see the sale of 632 Lloyds bank branches. The new jobs will be created in support centres in Sunderland, Gloucester, Livingston, Birmingham and Swansea.

The sale is a result of an order from the European Union, following the UK government’s bailout of Lloyds during 2008’s financial crisis and will likely make the Co-operative Group responsible for 19% of mortgages.

Gordon Edwards, telephone banking director at Lloyd’s Sunderland site,  said these new jobs are “great news.”

Project Verde is proving to be a “highly complex” deal and is now facing delay as the Financial Services Authority seek assurances regarding the capacity of the Co-operative Group to take on this major acquisition.

Round up of weekend sports fixtures

After the drama of last weekend’s Six Nations’ climax, the next two days promise a much quieter weekend of sport.

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In the SPL, Hibernian take on Dundee United on Saturday, while Perth side St. Johnstone face Hearts. Other matches include Aberdeen v Inverness Caledonian Thistle, Dunfermline v St Mirren and Kilmarnock v Motherwell. The kick off for all matches is 3pm.

On Sunday, there is an Old Firm clash as Rangers play Celtic at Ibrox. Kick off is at 1pm.


In the RaboDirectPro12 rugby league, Edinburgh take on Welsh side Newport Gwent Dragons tonight at 7.30pm at Murrayfield Stadium. The Scottish team will be hoping to get over their recent run of losses.

Glasgow Warriors also take on Aironi at Firhill at 7.35pm tonight.

Motor sport

On Sunday, the Formula 1 Malaysian Grand Prix takes place in Kuala Lumpur. Scot Paul di Resta will be aiming for another top ten finish after his tenth place at last weekend’s Australian Grand Prix.


Andy Murray will face Colombian Alejandro Falla later on today in the Miami Masters. For more on this, click here.

Festival tickets on sale this weekend

Tickets for the Edinburgh International Festival will go on sale tomorrow, 24 March 2012.

The famous finale: Tickets are expected to sell out quickly. Image: Tim Rawle / CC license

The festival, which will run from the 9th of August to the 2nd of September, will showcase talents from 47 nations in performances of theatre, opera, dance and music.

4 million people will flock to Scotland’s capital city to watch 40, 000 performances by more than 25, 000 artists. This year will be the 65th anniversary of the Edinburgh festival and the programme will enshrine the values of the Olympic games and global identity.

Prices for the festival start at £6 and discounts will be made available closer to start of the festival. Students and children under 18 will be able to buy half price tickets on selected performances from the 24th of March.

The popular finale, the Festival Fireworks Concert, is expected to sell out quickly, as well as tickets for the opening concert Delius’s A Mass of Life.

Tickets can be bought from Hub Tickets from Saturday as well as from the Edinburgh Playhouse, Festival Theatre, The Queen’s Hall, Royal Lyceum Theatre, and the Usher Hall, from Monday the 26th of March.

Scottish Law Commission proposes online change

The bill will be discussed at the Scottish parliament Image: Mathhew Ross

The Scottish Law Commission has published a discussion document proposing changes to the law surrounding online contracts.

It suggests that laws governing signing international contracts in Scotland are lagging behind England.

According to Charles Garland, project manager at the Scottish Law Commission, businesses do not trust electronic signatures and often have to fly to Heathrow to meet in person to sign contracts.

Under new law, the protection around electronically agreeing contracts would be legally more solid, providing protection for contracts to be signed over the internet without the inconvenience of meeting in person, cutting away the red tape surrounding deals.

The bill would also propose safer contracts for individuals who do their shopping online and effectively sign contracts every time they buy something.

The Commission is looking for input and suggestions from businesses and law firms before it the bill is discussed in parliament.

Read the publication here:

PM appears at Party Conference in Troon

Prime Minister David Cameron has spoken in Troon at the Conservative Party Conference where he discussed the independence referendum and Scotland’s role in the United Kingdom.

David Cameron, image from United Kingdom Home Office

During his speech this morning he has stated that First Minister Alex Salmond is “dithering” over the independence referendum. He said, “So my message to the First Minister is this: we’ve delivered on devolution, stop dithering about an independence referendum, start delivering your manifesto commitment, and fulfil the promise you gave to the Scottish people.”

Mr Cameron was keen to stress the importance of Scotland remaining part of the United Kingdom, and that it is “better off in Britain.” He also stressed that the United Kingdom is a successful union and that his government has pledged a referendum with a clear choice for Scottish voters.

The Scottish Conservatives plan to launch a new group called Friends of the Union, whose aim is to keep Scotland in the United Kingdom. The group will be open to anyone, not just party members.

The Prime Minister has also spoken about the impact of the recession, stating that “there are no shortcuts” in fixing the recession. He also said that “we are the only party that understands enterprise” and “the only ones who can fix society.”

He pledged that his party would continue to support the poorest in the country, despite changes to the welfare culture.

Listen to what David Cameron had to say here:

St Andrews’ men’s club decides to admit women

St Salvator's Quad

By: Gavrielle Kirk-Cohen

The St Andrews University’s  Kate Kennedy club has finally voted to allow women to join.

The society which was founded in 1926, held a meeting earlier this week in which they agreed to change the policy. A formal motion was passed allowing all first year students to apply to the Kate Kennedy Club, regardless of gender.

The change has come about after two members left the club and formed their own group, the Kate Kennedy Fellowship, which admits women. In 2009 St Andrews University withdrew all support for the club after the first female Principal, Professor Louise Richardson said: “The official endorsement of any club or society which excludes people because of their gender or race would be completely at odds with the values of this University.” 

The club is well known for it’s annual spring procession through the town, and in a statement released by the Principal and club committee, they say that the Kate Kennedy Procession “will remain at the heart of the club.”  This year’s procession will take place on the 14th April. Principal Louise Richardson says: “The annual Kate Kennedy Procession is an important event for the local community and we look forward to seeing the involvement of our entire community in this year’s event.”

The society which has been a men’s only club for 86 years will start accepting applications from first year students, both male and female, in the upcoming academic year.

Murray to take on Falla in Miami

By: Pamela Paterson

British Number One Andy Murray will be hoping to forget his early exit from the Indian Wells Masters when he takes on world number 71 Alejandro Falla in the second round of the Miami Masters later on today.

Murray lost to Guillermo Garcia Lopez in the first round of the championship in California earlier this month and will be aiming to avoid making the same mistakes when he takes on Falla.

Murray has won 14 of his 17 matches this year. He has beaten the 28-year-old Colombian during both of their previous matches.

Murray is aiming for his 23rd career title, and with his new coach Ivan Lendl, hopes to achieve his first grand slam win this year. He is currently ranked fourth in the world, behind Djokovic, Nadal and Federer.

Earlier this week Murray called for tennis players and other athletes to be given regular heart tests, after footballer Fabrice Muamba’s suffered a cardiac arrest on Saturday. The Bolton player collapsed during his team’s match against Tottenham in the FA Cup quarter-final, but is now showing signs of recovery.Murray believes that players in every sport should have screenings in order to be able to compete.

He told MSN Sport, “This has happened too many times. Here in the States it’s happened in high school and college basketball games and, of course, it’s happened a few times in football. With all the pressure and stress of modern sport you have no idea how much you are pushing yourself on the pitch or court, I think it’s something that’s just got to be done.”

The Scot added that he has been having regular heart checks for years. “I’ve been doing my tests for three years now so I have heart scans, heart monitors and other tests,’ Murray said. “I started when these things seemed to be happening more often. It’s clear to me that all the teams should be checked. I’m not sure if they do, but I know in tennis we don’t.”

Murray also showed another side to his character while taking part in the latest advert for tennis racket company, Head. In it, he demonstrates his skills at several other jobs, when asked at a press conference what his profession would be if he wasn’t a tennis player.



Valiant Scotland bows out

By: Al Muthu

The Netherlands survived a minor scare to kill Scotland’s hopes of appearing in the 2012 Cricket World Twenty-20 championships.

Tom Cooper carried the Dutch to a vital three-wicket victory over Scotland at yesterday’s Twenty-20 qualifiers match. Abused by a smattering of injuries within the team, the Scots leaked 50 runs in the last 5 overs allowing a competitive target of 167 to be overhauled with relative ease.
Once again, Majid Haq made Scotland proud. In addition to being extremely miserly, the crafty off spinner accounted for three of the opposition’s top batsman, one of which almost swung the game Scotland’s way. He is currently the highest wicket taker for the entire tournament.
But Haq was forced to lead a lone battle as Australia-born Tom Cooper exploited Captain Kyle Coetzer’s lack of bowling resources. His belligerent 60 off a mere 32 balls included a hat-trick of sixes against second spinner Moneeb Iqbal.
Gordon Drummond, returning for this game after a side strain, teamed up with Majid Haq to cause a small stir. The duo removed three Dutch batsmen including Tom Cooper, in the space of three overs.
In a brave move, the skipper took the responsibility to capitalize on his men’s efforts, but 20 year-old Tim Gruijters smashed him for a massive six over midwicket to throw momentum back in favor of the Dutch.
In a final display of game-losing misfortune, Tom de Grooth miscued a slow bouncer, which flew over the keeper, Craigh Wallace’s head, and became the winning runs. This signalled the end of the Scottish campaign to qualify for the Cricket World T20 Championships later this year.
Scotland’s batsmen have had an impressive tournament. Openers Calum MacLeod and Richard Berrington consolidated with a blistering partnership amassing 59 runs in just 6 overs. Berrington contributed 37 off 25 balls whilst MacLeod became the tournament’s second highest run scorer in the process of notching up his second half century (57 off 42 balls, with two sixes and five fours). MacLeod also holds the record for the second highest score in an innings for his undefeated 104 against Oman.
Preston Mommsen compiled a handy 26 off 19 and Jan Stander (17 off 15) guided the tail end of the Scottish innings to reach 166/6 in their allotted 20 overs.
The Scots sorely missed Safyaan Sharif, their 20-year old hero, whose final against the Americans secured Scotland entry into the playoffs. Matthew Parker and Moneeb Iqbal, were forced to fend for themselves on the big stage and were found wanting. The Netherlands, as a team, shamed England at Lords in the 2009 Twenty-20 Championships and Pakistan in the 2007 Cricket World Cup. Scotland faces Canada today to battle for fifth place in the tournament.