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University students are not teaching maths at Trinity, Council says

Photo Above: Trinity Academy © Trinity Academy on Wikipedia

By Ian McNally

University students are not solely teaching classes at an Edinburgh high school, the Council has said today.

This is in response to reports that third-year Maths undergraduates from the University of Edinburgh are teaching the subject at Trinity Academy, after two teaching posts were not filled. Continue reading University students are not teaching maths at Trinity, Council says

Three Teenagers Killed In East Lothian Car Crash

The three victims credit; Facebook
The three teenagers who were killed in the crash
Credit: Facebook

By Hamza Jabir

Dunbar school in mourning after fatal collision.

Three teenagers have been killed and another seriously injured after a vehicle crashed into a brick buttress in Tyninghame near Dunbar, East Lothian.

David Armstrong, 16, Josh James-Stewart, 15, and Jenna Barbour, 18, have been named as the three fatalities, with survivor Robbie Gemmell, 16, taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary where he was receiving treatment yesterday.

They had been travelling along a stretch of road on the outskirts of Dunbar leading to the beach, with the collision happening at approximately 8:25 pm. Yesterday, small pieces of wreckage were visible at the scene and for 20 yards along the road. All four passengers had attended Dunbar Grammar School, with Jenna Barbour having just completed her sixth year and the other three in their fifth year.

Education spokesman for East Lothian Council, Shamin Akhtar, said: “Dunbar is a very close and strong community and very few young people at school will not have known at least one of the young people involved. A special assembly was held this morning with S5 and S6 to reflect on what had happened and to offer comfort and support. Teachers across the school are supporting young people and counselling services are also on hand. Students have been offered the opportunity to go home as long as there’s someone there to support them. However, many have opted to stay to seek support from their friends and staff.”

Akhtar said: “The grief will be felt for a long time and at the moment the school is focusing on supporting its young people and the families of those who died, and on sending our best wishes and thoughts for the recovery of the young person who survived this accident.”

Inspector Richard Latto of Police Scotland has appealed for any witness with information to come forward.

Inspector Latto said: “Our inquiries are ongoing as we try to piece together the circumstances which led to this tragedy. We are also focusing on working closely, supporting the families involved. A full collision investigation will be carried out looking at all factors such as looking for witnesses and the condition of the road and the vehicle. We are looking for any witnesses who saw the vehicle prior to the collision.”


Reflecting on Iraq

To mark the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, Shiv Das and Jamie Mckenzie spoke to Jabaal Hassan from the Iraq Association on the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War.

The Iraqi Association is a non-profit organization based in the U.K that exists to enable Iraqis to settle and integrate in this country with rights to express their cultural identities.

We also spoke to Baroness Nicholson, who founded the Iraqi Britain Business Council four years ago. She says “the objective is to bring high quality businesses in to Iraq and connect them with high quality Iraqi businesses. The purpose behind that is that there is very high unemployment of young people and I am very keen to get them into jobs and help their futures.”

New Poll Claims Dangers in Current Drug Legislation

Legal Highs
Legal Highs

According to a new poll the majority of people think that legalising drugs would make them safer.

This goes against David Cameron’s refusal to set up a Royal Commission to review current drug laws earlier this week.

The poll by Edinburgh drugs advisory service Crew2000 shows over 75% of people think that the illegality of drugs makes them more dangerous.

Commenting on the findings, Dr Winstock, founder and director of Global Drug Survey, said that the main dangers are caused by current legislation preventing the government from providing truthful information:

“Because drugs are illegal people are forced to engage with a criminal underworld which in itself can be a bit dangerous.

“The biggest issue about drugs being illegal is it can be difficult for people to know exactly what they’re taking.  If people knew this, in terms of substance, purity and dose, some people would choose to use that drug more carefully.”

Emma Crawshaw, from Crew2000, said that although there has been a decline in the numbers of those using drugs in Edinburgh, “people who do use are doing so in a more problematic way.”   She said that cannabis and alcohol remained the biggest problem but also pointed to the fact that the rise in availability of ‘legal highs’ was creating a further problem for controlling drugs:

“The biggest risk is that as supply and production is unregulated, and as packaging may well state ‘not for human consumption’ people cannot be sure of what they are actually purchasing.  As so many substances are new, it is very difficult to assess what the long term health effects may be.”

Over 40 new psychoactive substances were identified on the market last year and experts predict that a further 60 new substances will be identified by the end of the year.  Ms Crawshaw said the problem with new substances is people don’t know what they’re buying:

“Many people now purchase these substances over the internet or ‘head shops’, thinking that they are indeed ‘legal highs’ however, they may well contain banned substances i.e controlled drugs or substances that are under the new temporary class banning orders brought in to ban/control new substances while tests are conducted on them to investigate health risks.  Potency may be very variable and quality may well be poor.”

A spokesperson for Apothecary, a local business that sells psychoactive substances and drug paraphernalia, said that the government’s recent decision to keep current drug legislation was a mistake:

“I think that the law should be changed. I think that the government should spend some money on developing safer, less neurotoxic versions of drugs such as MDMA and sell them in a controlled way so that people know what they are getting. It shouldn’t really be up to the government what people can take.”

However, Dr Winstock claims that the term ‘legal high’ is meaningless, giving the example of mephedrone, or ‘meaow-meaow’, which started life as a ‘legal high’ but quickly became illegal.  He also said:

“There’s lots of things that are classed as ‘legal highs’ which don’t get you high.”

“I think there is a legal high market for two reasons:  one is the declining purity of traditionally available drugs, predominantly cocaine and MDMA; and the second is globalisation of media and markets.”

He also says that ‘legal highs’ are attractive because they can be delivered in the post.

“Instead of using dealers, you can get drugs delivered by mail and if you’re a drug manufacturer and distributer, that makes life much easier.”

Edinburgh hosts Scotland’s largest school MUN Conference

One of Britain’s largest Model United Nations Conferences took place in Edinburgh this weekend.

Over 600 teenagers took part in the three-day conference at George Watson’s College. Now in its sixth year, it is the biggest school-based MUN in Scotland and attracts participants from as far afield as Egypt and Turkey.

Alexandra Wingate reports exclusively from the conference.

What is an MUN?

An MUN is a replica of the United Nations. As well as having a secretary general and a number of chairs, the conference consists of a variety of committees, a security council, a general assembly and an emergency debate.

Participants are assigned a member state which they then represent in various discussions. The challenge is for delegates to accurately portray the political policies and moral values of their assigned country, which usually differs in varying degrees to that of their own nation.

How does an MUN work?

As in the real United Nations, an MUN is primarily split into different committees which are attended by one delegate from each state. In George Watson’s case, these consist of economic, environment, health, human rights, media, and political, with as many as 48 countries represented in each committee.

After lobbying for support, delegates can put forward a formal resolution for discussion. The proposal is then debated with opportunities to add amendments before the final resolution is voted on by all members. This format is replicated throughout the conference, in both the smaller security council and the large general assembly attended by all delegates from all countries.

The debates are formal and procedures are carefully overseen by a number of chairs. Discussions are detailed and rigorous with a typical session lasting around one to two hours.

King's School in Chester won the award for Best Delegation
Image: Alexandra Wingate

Comment: George Watson’s College’s MUN Conference