All posts by Jordan

Oklahoma State grad Currently in Scotland getting my masters Enjoying my journey and finding my path through life

Doctors Support Margo MacDonald Assisted Suicide Bill

By Jordan Hooks

A surgeon and a professor of neurology are among a group of doctors who have spoken out in support of legalising assisted suicide.

Eleven medical experts back the bill proposed by independent MSP Margo MacDonald. The bill would compliment the palliative care that is currently offered in Scotland.

One ear, nose and throat surgeon, Gillian MacDougall, said there are more GPs that support the bill, but are afraid to sign it in fear of being labeled as ‘Dr. Death.’

The bill is the second attempt Margo has made to change the law. Her previous attempt was voted down by MSPs in 2010.

Under the new proposed bill, only those who are terminally ill or who are suffering from deteriorating progressive conditions, which make life intolerable will be able to seek assisted suicide. A second professional opinion would be needed, followed by a 14-day ‘cooling-off’ period.

This process is then repeated again, after one of the doctors concerned would supply a license facilitator with a prescription to enable assisted suicide to take place.

If the prescription is not used within 14 days, it is required to be returned.

When she launched the Bill in November, the Lothian MSP said she believed it could be successful this time, stating: “I have sensed from the beginning that there was a change because of the volume of support that we can demonstrate.”

Historic Church to host Victorian Market

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View of Tron Kirk from the Royal Mile   Photo: Kim Traynor

By Jordan Hooks

Tron Kirk, a historic church located on the Royal Mile, has become the new location for a Victorian-style market.

Proposals to convert the A-listed church into a market say the church would become the new home to a dozen stalls selling pottery, jewelry, tweed and whisky. It will also include tourist information points.

Continue reading Historic Church to host Victorian Market

13-year-old Girl Missing from East Lothian Home

Nicole Saxby who has been reported missing from her home in Wallyford, East Lothian. Police Scotland collect.

Photo of 13-year-old Nicole Saxby

By Jordan Hooks

Nicole Saxby, 13, has been reported missing from her East Lothian home.

Nicole was last seen Sunday evening around 6:40 near the railway line at Wallyford station.

No friend or family member has had contact with her since.

Nicole is described as white, 5 ft. 4in. tall, slim, with dark brown shoulder-length hair. She was last seen wearing a black leather jacket, grey top and blue Nike trainers.

Inspector Dougie Kirkham said: “Nicole is a confident young woman who knows the Wallyford and Edinburgh areas well and we are carrying out enquiries in both these areas to trace her.”

Anyone with any information with her whereabouts or anything that can help bring Nicole home safe are asked to contact Police Scotland 101 immediately.

Holiday Cuts at Christmas Holiday Planned for Schools

By Jordan Hooks

Plans have been proposed to cut Christmas holidays to one-and-a-half weeks while giving students an extra week off in the summer. This would extend the summer break to last seven weeks.

An exact reason for the holiday calendar changes is unclear and has only been cited from an education source as “calendar reasons.”

The proposed changes have created quite a stir, especially for working parents.

For working parents, extra-long summers creates problems finding additional support because they have already arranged childcare for a set amount of time over the summer breaks.

Tory education chief Cllr Jason Rust said: “I’m surprised they would be looking to shorten the Christmas holiday as an additional week to the summer break could create further issues for working parents and employers.”

The consultation period will run until March 28.

Woman Mugged for Handbag by two Women

File:Police in Glasgow.jpg

Photo: Postdif

By Jordan Hooks

A 63-year-old woman walking on Jubilee Road around 7 pm Sunday night was grabbed by the arm and was mugged by two women.

Aged between 25 to 30 and both wearing dark quilted jackets with fur, dark trousers and dark trainers, the two women struggled with the victim until she fell to the ground.

Officers are conducting door-to-door inquiries and are working to see if any CCTV footage is available.

Detective Constable Richard Thompson of Police Scotland said: “We are keen to speak to anyone who may have been in the area or who may have seen the suspects. As a result of the attack the woman sustained an injury to her hand and has been left badly shaken by the incident.”

Anyone with any information regarding the mugging should contact Police Scotland on 101.

Police Looking for two Men Over Cash Machine Robbery

By Jordan Hooks

A 36-year-old man was withdrawing a two-figure sum of cash from an ATM outside CC Express store in Broomhall Drive when he was approached and threatened by a man who robbed him.

The man demanded the victim hand over the money and when he did, he then was forced to return to the cash machine to withdraw additional money for a second man.

The second robber had been watching the events from the first suspect play out before he chose to attack.

One of the men was white, around 30-years-old, 5 ft. 10 in. tall, of slim build with a thin face.

The second man was wearing dark clothing and a chunky black wool hat.

Det Sgt Alan O’Brien said: “The victim was not assaulted or harmed during this incident but was left understandably shaken following the theft of his money.”

For more information, visit the Scotland Police or call Scotland Police 101.

Guantanamo Bay’s Secret Facility: Penny Lane

 

Satellite Image of Guantanamo Bay and Penny Lane Credit: AP
Satellite Image of Guantanamo Bay and Penny Lane
Credit: AP

By Jordan Hooks

CIA agents hid in tiny cottages beneath Guantanamo Bay prison and used prisoners to help achieve one of America’s top goals: infiltrating al-Qaida.

In the years following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the CIA bartered with prisoners regarding any information they had that would lead the U.S. to the terrorist group. In return for promised freedoms, safety for their families and monetary awards, the prisoners were sent back home to kill terrorists within their country who were planning attacks on the United States.

Although it was kept a secret from the public for years, the CIA knew this was a dangerous risk but felt that the payoff was more beneficial in the long run. The program, dubbed Penny Lane, was facilitated in eight small cottages that stood a few hundred yards from the administrative offices of the Guantanamo Bay prison. They were hidden deep within a ridge covered in thick shrubs and cactus. The cottages were designed with a ‘hotel-like’ feel and included a real mattress, kitchen, shower and television.

Lee Caldwell, current infantryman in the U.S. Army, said: “The efforts made by the CIA were risky, but had greater benefits than the U.S. public realizes. Being in the military, I know the government only acts with the country’s best interests in mind. Penny Lane helped save American lives and was a strong attempt to keep our lands safe.”

Several current and formal U.S. officials said that many of the men who passed through Penny Lane helped the CIA find and kill many top al-Qaida operatives. Others stopped providing useful information and eventually lost touch with the CIA.

Penny Lane is still standing and can be seen on satellite images, but has long been abandoned. Operations  have ceased to exist since the program was shut down in 2006.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. Reach $13 Billion Settlement

By Jordan Hooks

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The JPMorgan Chase & Co. headquarters located in New York
Credit: J.B. Reed/Bloomberg News

 

JPMorgan & Co. has reached a $13 billion settlement with the United States Department of Justice settling claims over the banks involvement with mortgage-backed securities during the U.S. housing crisis.

This has become the largest settlement reached between the U.S.  government and a corporation. The record was previously held by massive oil tycoon BP when they were slapped with a $4 billion penalty for the massive offshore oil spill that shook that nation in 2010.

On Tuesday, the settlement announced requires JPMorgan to pay $9 billion up front in cash and the other $4 billion must be provided in the form of consumer reliefs. These reliefs include principal reductions and mortgage modifications for thousands of homeowners who are facing foreclosures because of the bank’s actions. The rest of the $4 billion will also go towards helping reduce mortgage interest rates, originating new loans and helping properties in cities like Detroit that were hit the hardest during the crisis.

JPMorgan has not admitted to any violation of law, but has acknowledged the statement of facts that have been produced throughout the case.  JPMorgan has promised that by the year 2017 they will have delivered complete relief that has been promised to the borrowers involved.

This deal comes after JPMorgan has been under fire since the 2006-2007 mortgage crisis first hit. The bank has been under investigation for claiming to sell low mortgage-backed securities to investors who had no idea that these securities often came with faulty mortgage products.

In a statement released by the Department of Justice, they said: “JPMorgan employees knew that the loans in question did not comply with those guidelines and were not otherwise appropriate for securitization, but they allowed the loans to be securitized – and those securities to be sold – without disclosing this information to investors.”

A good majority of these loans in questions were purchased after JPMorgan acquired two banks, Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual, at the height of the housing crisis in 2008-2009. JPMorgan chairman and CEO, Jamie Dimon, released a statement commenting: “We are pleased to have concluded this extensive agreement with the President’s RMBS Working Group and to have resolved the civil claims of the Department of Justice and others. Today’s settlement covers a very significant portion of legacy mortgage-backed securities-related issues for JP Morgan Chase, as well as Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual.”

When a call was placed to JPMorgan Chief Financial Officer, Marianne Lake, she said that around 80 percent of the bad loans, which have become the center for the fines, were credited to Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual.

With this settlement, it settles and concludes all claims and civil enforcement investigations with JPMorgan and the Department of Justice and the state attorney generals from California, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts and New York. It will also resolve all civil litigation claims made by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., Federal Housing Finance Agency and National Credit Union Association in relation to the security of mortgage loans by JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual.