All posts by jennyscott1

The Monarchy Are Fans Of Facebook

The Queen Now Has A Facebook Page

This week the Queen finally did what 500 million others have done before her, and gave the royal wave to any free time she may have previously had and joined Facebook, the most popular social network in the world.  

  “It’s basically the Royal Household’s way of broadening its appeal and communicating to members of the public,” an aide said. Unfortunately the general public won’t be able to interact with Her Royal Highness in the traditional ways, namely poking and chatting, as the Queen is represented by a page not a profile due to her status as a public figure.  

“The Queen has approved the decision, she knows all about Facebook. [She] knows all her grandchildren use Facebook and it would be remiss of the household not to be keeping up-to-date with the web. Both William and Harry have Facebook accounts under secret names but thanks to extremely strict privacy settings users are unable to “add” either of the Princes, even if they know their respective code names.

The monarchy already has an official Twitter account, YouTube channel and Flickr account, but it has taken until now for the palace to finally join the Facebook generation. A spokesman said: “The important thing about Facebook is its international reach as the Queen is head of state in 16 countries.”

After less than a week in action the page has already received over 200,000 “likes”, although it would seem very few of these are directed towards the Duchess of Cornwall, Camilla Parker-Bowles, who has been the main target of abusive comments received.

“Facebook is the final frontier of the Royal Family’s foray into digital technology.”

 Other influential facebook profiles:

 President of the United States

 Prime Minister of Canada!/pmharper

 President of Mexico!/presidentefelipecalderonhinojosa

 Prime Minister of India!/pages/Dr-Manmohan-Singh/17780227654

 Chancellor of Germany

 Prime Minister of the UK

 Prime Minister of Australia!/juliagillard

Scottish youngsters are the most active in the UK

Children walking to school


Scottish seven-year-olds are more active and less likely to be considered obese than other children in the UK of the same age.

 Researchers at London University’s Institute of Education tracked the development of 15,000 youngsters born in the UK between 2000 and 2002 found that Scottish children were the most likely to take part in physical activities.

 More than half of Scottish children walk to school every day compared with only one in four Northern Irish children of the same age and nearly half of the Scottish children surveyed were involved in after-school or weekend activities at least twice a week.

 Only 27% took part in sport less than once a week or never, however the figure was lower than in the other countries of the UK.

Researchers also discovered there were fewer overweight and obese children in Scotland and England than in Northern Ireland and Wales.

Just 5% of Scottish seven-year-olds and 6% of English youngsters were said to be obese, compared with 7.5% of Welsh children and 8% of Northern Irish children.

Experts said the results did not necessarily mean that children in Northern Ireland and Wales were heavier simply because they were less active than Scots.


100 new HIV cases in Edinburgh

NHS Lothian is currently treating 1100 patients with HIV

By Jenny Scott

Edinburgh could be facing a major HIV outbreak as more than 100 new cases a year are anticipated over the coming decade.

Experts predict the number of new infections will increase by at least 10% every year returning the city to the same high numbers seen during the 1980s, when Edinburgh was briefly branded the Aids capital of Europe.

There are already more cases now than during the height of the epidemic 25 years ago thanks mostly to medical advances allowing people living with HIV to lead relatively healthy, happy and ultimately longer, lives.   

The NHS Lothian area is currently treating 1100 patients at a cost of £10,000 each, with a tenth of these cases arising in 2010 alone. Health bosses are now looking to source more than £1 million each year to help cover the costs of coping with the rising number of infections.

Health chiefs believe today’s safe sex messages are no longer getting through to people the way they once did as the disease does not carry the same fear, thanks in part to treatments designed to keep HIV under control.

Martha Bailie, senior manager for Edinburgh-based HIV charity Waverley Care, claimed lax attitudes towards sexual health are the leading factor in the rising number of cases, she said: “There is complacency around sexual health full stop, and this can be seen from statistics which also show syphilis is increasing.”

Although health boards across Scotland have noted a considerable rise in new HIV cases in recent years NHS Lothian has seen the biggest increase. Despite the fact that Lothian contains less than a fifth of Scotland’s population it is continually considered the hardest hit area, with around half of known HIV patients living there.

Glenn Codere, the information manager for Health Protection Scotland on blood-borne viruses and sexually transmitted infections, said: “The bigger picture is the pool is increasing because fewer people are dying from the disease.

“It used to be that for every new diagnosis there was a death, but medication has improved to the point where last year in Scotland there were only 40 deaths.

“There is a generation now who weren’t exposed to the hard-hitting messages of the 1980s, and perhaps that has had an impact.”

Destination: Bo’ness?

Queen's Retinue
Queen's Retinue

Get your flags out, your fair frock on and your arches up because it’s almost time for the best day of the year.

By Jenny Scott

Thousands of excited children are anxiously waiting for 9’oclock, probably the only time of the year they are actually impatient for school to begin. Wherever you look people are dressed up, be it in regal costumes, fancy dress or their very finest. There’s not a car or bus to be seen, the only noise heard on the streets is the resounding chorus of pipe bands dotted all over the town. Girls in matching white dresses carrying huge baskets of freshly cut flowers are surrounded by dancing boys kitted out in sparkling spandex whilst fairies are vigorously tugging on their wings and giving their wands a final once over, anxious to get on their way and use the ‘special fairy walk’ they have been learning for the last two months. Just what exactly is going on in the sleepy little mining town of Bo’ness?

It’s the Fair Day. Or to use it’s full title ‘The Borrowstounness Children’s Fair Day Festival.’ The biggest of it’s kind in Europe and easily the most important day of the year for any true Bo’nessian, effortlessly eclipsing Christmas or Easter. It’s difficult to show how passionate Bo’ness is about it’s Fair Day without experiencing it firsthand for yourself, however Douglas Snedden, the famous ‘voice of the Fair’ sums up how the locals feel perfectly: “Over the years, we may have lost our docks, our pits, our hosiery’s and our potteries but the one thing we haven’t lost is our fantastic community spirit – this sense of camaraderie – that has seen our fair grow from strength to strength as the years go on and long may it continue to do so. For wouldn’t Bo’ness be a poorer place without it”.

Since it’s beginnings in 1779 the Fair Day has changed significantly. What originally started as a celebration to the end of the thirling of miners – one eyewitness described the first fair day as “a drunken orgy” among the coalminers of the district – gradually evolved in to the lavish festivities that are even more popular today than ever before. Nowadays the Fair is all about creating a huge send off for the children before the summer holidays begin and the town does a brilliant job at kick starting the summer with a bang.

Continue reading Destination: Bo’ness?

Polanski Case To Be Dismissed?

Roman Polanski

By Jenny Scott

One of Hollywood’s most notorious

sex cases could finally be brought to an end if Roman Polanski gets his way. The Oscar-winning director is currently seeking the dismissal of a charge that saw him escape the US in 1978 after being convicted for the statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl.

A request was filed by Polanski’s lawyers in Los Angeles yesterday as a result of new evidence revealed in the recent documentary Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired. They have alleged that the documentary brought to light “a pattern of misconduct and improper communications” between the district attorney’s office and the judge who handled Polanski’s case.

“This case serves as a classic example of how our justice system can be abused, and defendants’ rights trampled, by an unholy alliance between courts and criminal prosecutors,” said a statement from Polanski’s lawyers.

Polanski, 75, is still a US fugitive and has been living in Paris to avoid an extremely likely custodial sentence. Originally Polanski was indicted on six felony counts, however all but the most serious – unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor – were dropped. As the warrant issued at the time of his arrest remains in force he would undeniably be seized by the authorities and sent to prison – where he could face anything from a 16 month to a three year sentence- if he were ever to set foot back in America.

The celebrated director of “Rosemary’s Baby” and “Chinatown” suffered major career setbacks during the 1980’s and ‘90’s even though at the time of his conviction he was one of the industries most in-demand directors. In spite of his flawed reputation Polanski went on to win the best director Oscar in 2003 for the Holocaust epic “The Pianist.”

Spokeswoman for Los Angeles district attorney Steve Cooley, Sandi Gibbons, said her office had not yet received the papers for Polanski’s case and would not take a position until it had done so. “We’re looking forward to seeing Mr Polanski in Los Angeles to litigate it,” she added

The case is due before the Los Angeles county superior court on January 21.

Guillemots Flock To Edinburgh

By Jenny Scott

guillemotsWith a hectic summer of festivals and gigs behind them the Guillemots have been taking a well-deserved breather lately. It wasn’t to last long though as last Friday saw the band set off on their nationwide tour, and frontman Fyfe Dangerfield couldn’t be more excited.

The “Fishbone for a Drink Tour” kicked off in Birmingham and sees the band hit sixteen different cities across Scotland and England. Fyfe explains the simple reasoning behind the tour’s slightly bizarre name: “It’s a B side of ours, so that’s how the name came about really. We just recorded the track recently and it seemed as good a name as any for the tour. There’s no great hidden message there.”

And although Dangerfield doesn’t have a specific venue he’s most excited about playing this time round: “ We’ve got all sorts really, I think they’re all going to be good. I’m just really looking forward to the whole thing,” he does mention the bands performance at the Somerset House Summer Series as one of their standout gigs to date. “We played one at Somerset House in London that was really nice… but there’s been loads.” Guillemots were one of ten acts, including the likes of Kasabian, Hot Chip and Amy Winehouse, to play the London Landmark’s Summer Series in 2007.

Like band mate MC Lord Magrão, Dangerfield admits he also shares a passion for small venues. “Smaller venues can be a lot more rewarding to play because you can connect with the audience more and obviously its more intimate.” That doesn’t mean however, that the band have been actively seeking out modest spots where they can cosy up to the audience.

“This tours more just about keeping it varied. Every night should be really different… the more varied it is for us obviously the more fresh it’s going to seem for the audience. There is that risk that you just go on autopilot a bit, and just with the places we’re playing as well.” This tour sees the Guillemots playing an abandoned custard factory and caves in Cornwall amongst a few other off-the-beaten track venues.

The content is geared towards being more spontaneous too as the band are being joined by film events company Future Shorts, who they previously collaborated with at the Latitude Festival, when they re-scored David Lynch’s classic Eraserhead. A selection of short films will be played before every show, and each one will feature an improvised soundtrack provided by the band.

With such a unique ensemble like the Guillemots it’s hard to believe they could ever sound less than spontaneous. Especially with the influences Dangerfield lists, among them: ”not even just music, it could be the mood your in, the food you’ve had that day or just someone sitting across from you in a café.”

He also mentions the song he’d most like to cover as Neil Diamond’s Red Red Wine. “The thing is I only heard his original version of the song recently, I mean his original, original one from the 60’s and it’s absolutely beautiful and amazing. I only ever knew the UB40 version, and I’ve got nothing against UB40, but it sounds like Mr Blobby or something like that. Really I prefer his original one, it’s such a special song, I think it’s amazing. The simplest things are the best, the way he delivers the lyrics, its just perfect. I dunno if I should cover it though cause it’d never be any better.”

The Guillemots are playing Inverness Eden Court tonight and the Edinburgh Picture House on Thursday the 13th of November. Some tickets are still available for both dates from Ticketmaster but be quick!

Pakistan Appeal for Aid

By Jenny Scott

The local mayor of Balochistan, Dilawar Khan Kakar, has appealed to the whole world for help after last night’s earthquake killed at least 160 people and left 15,000 homeless.

A 6.4 magnitude quake hit two hours before dawn followed by a similarly powerful tremor just two hours later with 18 aftershocks adding to the destruction.

The mayor of the province in south-western Pakistan, said in an interview with Express News Televison:“We need food. We need medicine. People need warm clothes, blankets. Because it is cold here.”

The death toll is expected to rise with reports still coming in from the more isolated mountain regions of the province.

Rescue workers have already pulled 160 bodies from the rubble in the Ziarat valley area, one of Balochistan’s most popular tourist spots. They are still struggling to reach the sparsely populated mountains above the valley where countless people are believed to be trapped under rubble and debris.

A series of landslides were also triggered due to the quakes resulting in an even greater loss of homes. Survivors were forced to spend the night outdoors with nothing more than the clothes they were sleeping in when the disaster struck.

Authorities are still struggling to deal with the sheer amount of dead bodies, the majority being buried in mass graves as quickly as possible to prevent the spread of disease.

One senior official told Reuters: “Graves are being dug with excavators… we can’t keep dead bodies in the open.”

In residential villages distraught residents are being forced to dig mass graves for their friends and relatives as quickly as possible so they can carry on searching through rubble for survivors.

Officials said the army are airlifting troops and medical teams in to the quake zone to help with the search for survivors as well as providing tents, blankets and most importantly a field hospital.

Everyone’s A Winner

A woman from Bo’ ness, West Lothian, won’t be feeling the pinch this winter after winning £178,000 at Gala Bingo in Falkirk last week.

The woman, who wishes to be known only as Liz, not only won a tidy amount for herself but also spread the wealth amongst the three friends who were with her on the night. The lucky quartet split all their winnings equally, a longstanding agreement in place.

However Liz wasn’t the only winner on the night. As well as winning the jackpot she also called a “High 5.” For those of you unfamiliar with the wonderful world of bingo the “High 5” meant every other player in the hall won £800 each.

Liz said:” I don’t go to bingo very often so it was a huge shock when I won. It’s not a life changing amount but it’s definitely softened the blow of the credit crunch.”

After buying a new kitchen and treating herself to a new car Liz has decided to save the rest of her winnings for a rainy day. A wise idea perhaps, especially in today’s current economic climate.

Gala Bingo has the highest payout per year of any other bingo hall and on-line bingo site with, on average, a winner every ten seconds.

The effects of the credit crunch have yet to be seen in the bingo industry, with numbers actually increasing due to a lot of “Credit Crunch Promotions” currently available.