All posts by hamishwilson

Hunt continues for attacker in Edinburgh

By Adam Wilson

Police are continuing to hunt for an attacker who sexually assaulted a young woman on Saturday morning.

Between 6.45 and 7.10 am on Saturday a 19-year-old woman was walking home from a night out with friends in the Cowgate area when she was approached by a man who knocked her to the ground and sexually assaulted her.

The attack happened where Middle Meadow walk meets Jawbone Walk, which cuts accross the centre of the Meadows.

The attacker fled when a member of the public saw the scene and came to the woman’s aid.

The attacker has been described by police as a white male wearing dark clothing and a dark hat.

Detective Chief Inspector Alwyn Bell said: “This has been a horrific attack on a young woman and she is understandably extremely distressed at this time.

“Specially trained officers are currently working alongisde our relevant partner agenceis to offer the victim all the necessary support and assistance she requires.

“This incident took place in an area that is often busy with joggers, dog walkers and other members of the public, regardless of the time of night, and I would urge anyone who was in the Meadows on Saturday morning and remembers anything suspicious to contact police immediately.”

Students Alex and Susan, 20 and 21, who live in the area, said: “We run in this area quite a lot and we haven’t seen anything suspicious.

“But there’s three of us in our flat so we try to run or walk to uni together.”

Inspector Bell added: “If you believe you can be of assistance to our investigations please call us on 101. Alternatively, you can make an anonymous report via the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”


Scottish Citizens Advice Service Celebrates 75 Years with twitter Campaign

By Adam Wilson

Scottish politicians met with leaders of the Scottish Citizens Advice Service today to announce a campaign to show support for the charity.

Senior Scottish ministers Ruth Davidson, Kenny MacAskill, and Tavish Scott and Citizens Advice Scotland chief executive Margaret Lynch celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Scottish Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) by launching the #iamcitizen campaign on twitter.

The aim of the campaign is for the public to give thanks and recognise the service provided by the Scottish CAB over the last three quarters of a century.

The organisation produced figures showing that it has helped more than 330,000 people over the last year, or almost one in 13 adults in Scotland, and that is has helped clients gain a total of £175 million as a result of advice given.

Ms Lynch said: “Our work benefits everybody in Scotland, and for that reason I’m heartened to see leading figures from across the political spectrum recognising that and coming together to say thank you.

“I’d encourage anyone who wants to congratulate the fantastic work going on daily at their local Citizens Advice Bureau to take two minutes out of their day to say thank you, and maybe tweet a message with the hashtag #iamcitizen.”

The first bureaux were set up in 1939 as a response to the chaos of the second world war, as a service to help the public with any questions they might have with the changing lifestyle of wartime Britain.

Edinburgh , Glasgow and Aberdeen were some of the first cities in the UK to have CABs.


King Walking in Father’s Steps

by Adam Wilson

Bernice King during a speech at the Lorraine Hotel. Photograph: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Bernice King, the daughter of assassinated civil rights figure Martin Luther King has taken up the mantle from her father, and is now committed to revitalizing the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, a group co-founded by her father.

Her call for a rejuvenation of the group has come after it was damaged by infighting, particularly Bernice and her brother, Martin Luther King III, who started a legal battle against a third sibling over the management of their father’s estate.

King spoke at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where her father celebrated his last birthday before he was killed. She stated that she would use her family’s legacy to encourage social justice.

She said one of her aims was to build a connection between social activists of the 1960’s and the current generation, ‘I stand before you as a daughter of the civil rights movement calling forth the daughters and sons of the next generation of social change’.

However, King’s priorities have been questioned over the years. In 2004 she participated in a march against gay marriage in Atlanta. This act created tension among the King family as Coretta Scott King, her mother, and Yolanda Denise King, her sister who are both advocates of gay rights. In defense her views she has stated ‘I know deep down in my sanctified soul that he did not take a bullet for same-sex unions’.

Her views on same-sex marriage will be a significant issue that will be touched upon during her new Presidency of the SCLC.

Abdullah Pulls out of Afghan Election

Dr. Abdullah at the Pentagon in 2004

by Adam Wilson

President Hamid Karzai’s opposition Dr. Abdullah Abdullah has pulled out of the current Afghan presidential election.

Abdullah claims the decision was made for the betterment of the Afghan people. Abdullah said that ‘a transparent election was not possible’ in a press conference on November 1st. Abdullah was referring to a recent investigation by the UN-backed Electoral Complaints Commission, which was looking into claims that hundreds of votes had been ignored in the first round of voting in August. The ECC received 2,000 complaints of ‘fraud and intimidation’

Abdullah claimed he wanted to unite a nation which has been torn apart by political corruption is recent history.

Even with Abdullah out of the election, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs has stated in a press briefing ‘I don’t think there is any doubt that Dr. Abdullah will play a role, it’s quite clear, going forward in Afghanistan.’ The US is clearly confident that Abdullah will still contribute to the democratic development of Afghanistan.

To back up Washington’s view, many believe that a power-deal between Karzai and Abdullah may be considered in the future. Due to diplomatic pressure on Karzai to state his stance on a power-sharing deal he has said ‘there is no place for a coalition government in the law’. However, in his first speech after being declared President, Karzai has seemed to review his stance on the subject. He stated that he was open to anyone who wanted to work with him.

Number of international students on the rise

by Adam Wilson

The number of university students in the United Kingdom from outside the European Union has increased significantly over the last 10 years, according to the Patterns of Higher Education Institutions report from Universities UK.

According to the report, from 1996 to 2006 the international student enrolments have more than double. Students coming from China remain the highest percentage of international students coming to the UK. Other prominent nationalities are Indian and American.

The report states that from 1998-99, the number of international students in UK universities was 117,290. This number increased in 2007-2008 to 229,640, making nearly 10% of all enrolments being international. In this 10 years, the number has increased by 96%.

Beyond the 1996 to 2006 timeline, numbers are still on the rise. A contributing factor to this increase is the announcement that Tony Blair made in 2006. He announced that in the second phase of his Initiative for International Education would be to attract a total number of 100,000 more students in the next 5 years.

The statistics reflect a successful policy so far. In 2006, when Blair made the announcement, the total number of international students in universities in the UK was 218,395 with the number of students taking first degrees being 79,000. In 2009 the numbers have increased significantly, with the total increasing to 229,640, making a 20% rise, and the first degree number rising to 86,000, making nearly a 10% rise.

However, these numbers may fall by 20%, according to agents who recruit international students for UK schools. This is because of a recent change to the immigration and visa system. In April of this year, the government introduced a points based system for applications for visas. It has been seen as a missed opportunity to Diana Warwick, chief executive of Universities UK.