Scottish Councils Set to Lose £46million in EU Funding

by Andy Grozier

 

Local councils are under threat as Brexit looms

Local councils are under threat as Brexit looms

 

Scottish councils are set to lose out on 46 million pounds in funding for local projects when the UK leaves the European Union.

The news comes following figures released through a freedom of information request made by the Liberal Democrats.

The party’s Europe spokesman, Tavish Scott said that the figures demonstrate the importance of EU funding for Scottish councils;

“These figures reveal just how beneficial EU funding has been for council projects and the material threat posed by the UK’s departure from the EU. The UK and Scottish governments must now explain how disruption to these projects will be minimised and the loss of funding mitigated.”

The European funds have this year supported a variety of projects; everything from youth employment in Aberdeenshire, infrastructure projects in the Highlands and Islands to support for anti-poverty programs in Fife.

“League games more important than Cup Final” – Pat Fenlon before Dons clash

Hibernian manager Pat Fenlon spoke to our sports reporter Joe Birchenall ahead of his sides fixture tonight at Easter Road. Fenlon’s charges face Aberdeen, a side who they have not beaten in the league since May last year. However, Hibs face the Dons on the back of a thrilling Scottish Cup semi-final win against Falkirk, which saw them claim a 4 – 3 victory despite finishing the first half three goals down. Fenlon, however, is keen to push on and to focus on remaining league games, saying he is disappointed to have finished outside of the top six.

Fenlon also discusses the breakthrough of youngsters Alex Harris and Danny Handling, his reaction to Neil Lennon’s SFA woes and the imminent departure of Hibs top scorer Leigh Griffiths.

Gas leak in North Sea

A typical oil rig (not Elgin Platform) picture provided by Manchot sanguinaire

A gas leak at the Elgin platform, 150 miles off the coast of Aberdeen has been ongoing since Sunday.

238 workers have been evacuated from the platform and the nearby Rowan Viking drilling rig as well as Shell have moved personnel.  A three mile safety zone had been put in place but it has been increased to a five mile radius by the Unite union.

Greenpeace are concerned with possible wider implications of the gas leak in the North Sea.

Total Oil Company owns the platform and claim the leak has not been caused by human error. The company believe the leak is coming from a rock formation above the main reservoir, at a depth of 4,000m.

It has been regarded too dangerous for anyone to return to extinush the blaze but the company claim there is no danger of the flare igniting the gas cloud beneath the rig.

Total has been evaluating the sitution by fly-overs in the area and are currently considering drilling a relief well which could take months.

Aberdeen gas leak “no problem”

An oil rig in the North Sea has been evacuated after the discovery of a gas  leak on Sunday 150 miles (240km) off the coast of Aberdeen.

Total E&P UK (TEP UK), operators of the platform, has stated that 238 people have been evacuated from the rig, and no injuries have been reported. The platform is currently unmanned and powered down. The reason for the leak is still unknown.

The Aberdeen Coastguard has confirmed that the situation is still ongoing, and that there have been reports of a sheen from a possible leaking of gas into the water around the rig. They also stated that Total is attempting to ascertain  what to do next.

“Investigations are continuing to determine the cause of the ongoing gas leak and TEP UK is monitoring the situation closely,” said a spokesman for Total.

The spokesman also said that they are “cooperating fully with all relevant authorities including the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA).”

The city of Aberdeen has released no warning to the public. They have said that “It is miles and miles off shore, so there is no problem. In fact it is a beautiful day for a paddle.”

Levein will give youth a chance against Faroes

By Christopher Hall

Scotland Manager Craig Levein has elected to hand three new players their first call-up in an international friendly against the Faroe Islands next Tuesday.

With an average squad age of 25, youth appears to have taken precedence and no players over 30 year old will appear in the tie at Aberdeen’s Pittodrie stadium.

Dundee United’s David Goodwillie (21), Liverpool’s Danny Wilson (18) and Aston Villa’s Barry Bannan (20) will all be hoping to receive their first full Scotland caps at the friendly match in Aberdeen.

In-form Kilmarnock Goalkeeper Cammy Bell and Blackpool’s Matthew Gilks also return to the squad, the latter helping the Bloomfield road side to a respectable 14th place in the English Premiership.

The National team bosses new caps will be supported by several other established members of squad, such as Gary Caldwell, Steven Naismith and Darren Fletcher who all retain their places, off the back of the recent Euro 2012 qualifying loss to Spain at Hampden Park.

Dundee United's David Goodwillie will be hoping to strike down the Faroes on Tuesday

Levein is certain, however, that the players chosen are not simply for experimental purposes, but can also bring something positive to the squad.

He said: “I think anybody who’s on this list here is somebody who I feel can add something to the Scotland National Team. With some of the guys the might not be that eminent, other than for this match. I want to have a look at and probably get to know some of the guys as well”

He also hoped the younger players would be able to make an impact on and off the field, adding: “We’ve got some younger ones in who have been doing particularly well and I’d be interested in seeing how they do not just in the match but in training as well”

Dave Macdonald of Scottish football forum Pie and Bovril also feels that the new call ups will bring positives to the team and also give the Aberdonian public a good result on Tuesday evening.

“I think it’s a sensible move by Levein to give some of the promising youngsters a chance on the international stage. David Goodwillie has been in brilliant form lately and is full deserving of the call up whilst it will do no harm at all for the likes of Danny Wilson and Matt Gilks to get a taste of international football. I’m looking forward to seeing what the youngsters can do and hope we can win by a few goals to give the Aberdeen public some long overdue cheer”

The Faroe Islands include three British based players in their squad for the friendly. Joan Simun Edmundsson of Newcastle United and Goalkeeper Gunnar Nielsen of Manchester City are incuded, whilst Ross County fans will be familiar with defender Atli Gregersen. The defender has made one appearance for the Dingwall side since joining in the summer from Vikingur Gota.

Scotland:

Goalkeepers: Bell (Kilmarnock), Gilks (Blackpool), Gordon (Sunderland).

Defenders: Bardsley (Sunderland), Berra (Wolves), Caldwell (Wigan), Hutton (Tottenham), Whittaker (Rangers), Wilson (Liverpool)

Midfielders: Adam (Blackpool), Bannan (Aston Villa), Burke (Cardiff), Commons (Derby), Dorrans (West Brom), Fletcher (Manchester United), Morrison (West Brom)

Forwards: Goodwillie (Dundee United), Kyle (Hearts), Mackie (Queens Park Rangers), Naismith (Rangers).

Faroe Islands:

Goalkeepers: Nielson (Tranmere), Thomsen (HB)

Defenders: Baldvinsson (Algard), Davidsen (NSI), Frederiksberg (NSI), Gregersen (Ross County), Jacobsen (Vikingur), Naes (B36), Rubeksen (HB)

Midfielders: Elttor (B36), Hansen (HB), Lokin (NSI), Petersen (NSI), Poulsen (HB), Udsen (EB/ST)

Forwards: Edmundsson (Manchester City), Holst (Silkeborg), Mouritsen (B36).


McGhee on brink as Aberdeen lose in Highlands

Under pressure McGhee

By Leighton Craig and Craig Alexander

Mark McGhee is refusing to resign following a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Inverness Caledonian Thistle in the highland derby.

This comes just three days after a record 9-0 defeat by Celtic at Celtic Park.

Support is dwindling for Mark McGhee with an attendance of just 5,197 at Pittodrie, however McGhee believes he still has a future at the club.

He said: “The feeling I got from the fans tonight is that they want me here, so I’m quite happy about that.”

Aberdeen have struggled under Mcghee gaining a mere 4 points out of a possible 30.

However, it is unclear whether the board will continue to back the former Aberdeen and Celtic striker after issuing an ultimatum following the weekends humiliating result.

When asked if he thought he had the boards backing McGhee said: “So far they have, and that’s brilliant.”

Pressure is mounting with the forthcoming fixture against top of the league Rangers at Ibrox which is sure to be yet another tough test for Aberdeen and McGhee.

McGhee is currently at his 7th club following a successful spell at Motherwell and rejected a potential move to Edinburgh side Heart Of Midlothian two years ago prior to joining Aberdeen.

Students against Donald Trump’s Honorary Degree.

By Rebeca Calvo-Gaspar.

“Donald Trump does not deserve this honorary degree in my opinion.” said Ben Catriall, a member of the Students Union.

Students at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen are in uproar after Donald Trump was awarded the Doctorate of Business Administration. He was presented this for his contribution towards the golf course development in Aberdeenshire .

The event, as usually happens with anything involving Trump, has not left anyone indifferent. University authorities are in favour of this honour but students offer an opposite reaction. This view is supported by the ex-principal of the university. Last week Dr. David Kennedy, who was principal of the Robert Gordon University from 1987 to 1997, handed back his honorary degree title as a protest against the event that has taken place this morning.

Ben Catriall supported Dr Kennedy’s action, saying: “I totally understand why Dr. Kennedy handed back his own title. This is very unfair for any actual student.”

Donald Trump, who plans to run for president of the United States, is well known in Aberdeenshire for his plans to build the world’s greatest golf course in the Meine Dunes. The plans for the development have caused thousands of protest from the zone neighbours, who might face eviction of their homes if the proposal go ahead.

A March against these plans is taking place tomorrow at the Meine Estate and is expected to begin at noon.

Fan dressed as Sheep catches fire

By Benjamin Zand

Sheep Man

A 24 year-old football fan suffered severe burns in his sheep fancy dress due to a suspected firework incident on an Arriva train (Courtesy of the BBC)

A 24 year-old football fan on a train in Fife suffered severe burns to his arms and legs as a practical joke turned into a nightmare.

Fans of Scotland’s SPL side, Aberdeen, claimed the man ran ablaze through the carriages whilst people sprayed beer on him to try and tame the flames. Another man was reported to be injured, but only slight injuries occurred.

The train, which was headed to Aberdeen from Edinburgh, was forced to stop at Kirkcaldy at around 1900 GMT on Saturday to allow the victim to be treated.

A spokesman from the British Transport Police said, “The British Transport Police can confirm that a male has been arrested and another is assisting with inquiries following a serious incident on board a train in the Kirkcaldy area of Fife. The British Transport Police are treating the incident very seriously and investigations are currently ongoing.”

It is thought the incident was a result of a prank involving a firework.

The train was holding a large number of Aberdeen fans, who were traveling home after their defeat to Edinburgh situated side Hibernian. Aberdeen, who are notoriously taunted for their relations with sheep, were reported to have had a lot of fans dressed in this apparel for comedic affect.

The train involved was the 1808 GMT,  Arriva cross-country train,  service from Edinburgh to Aberdeen.

The 24 year-old who suffered the burns is said to be in a serious yet stable state in a Kirkcaldy hospital.

The suspected man is expected to appear in Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court on Monday in relation to the case.

Where now for Celtic?

By Stewart Primrose

Tuesday’s defeat to Arsenal raises many questions for Celtic manager Tony Mowbray, whose honeymoon period looks over.

The media can dress it up as much as they like. Celtic were not unlucky, but while avoided a mauling, were comprehensively beaten by a side better in every department.

Saturday’s win at Aberdeen was impressive. Make no doubts about it, but they were playing a side that are disjointed and have conceded 11 goals in 3 games under new manager Mark McGhee.

Yet, predictably, we heard cries of ‘scintillating football’ and of being the ‘Arsenal of Scotland’. Mowbray does not get to control what the media say, but he would be better to avoid making ridiculous comments, like comparing his style of football to Barcelona’s.

Celtic, like Rangers, do not have the players, money or resources to compete at the highest level. Their ‘star’ names included Scott Brown and Aiden McGeady. Neither is good enough to get on Arsenal’s bench, let alone making the starting 11.

On the build up to this latest ‘Battle of Britain’ encounter, we were subjected to the absurd stories linking Brown away from Parkhead to Spurs for £12 million. For somebody who cannot pass, shoot, tackle cleanly or has a decent first touch, you have to wonder why some media hacks continue to write such nonsensical material. He is a decent player, but his true value would not even go anywhere near half of the quoted price.

McGeady is probably the most talented player for the Hoops. He is skillful and does posses some natural ability, but has not really made great inroads to progress as a footballer. He does not score enough goals, something that he even admits. His crossing is mediocre at best and his attitude to learn is limited. The best thing he could do is to start looking up whilst running with the ball instead of tilting his head downwards.

Despite their flaws, both McGeady and Brown will remain pivotal to domestic success. Mowbray will rely on them heavily throughout the season, more so than his new signings, who look to be a mixed bag.

Has been 'unfortunate' so far for Celtic.

Has been 'unfortunate' so far for Celtic.

Marc-Antoine Fortune looks way of the pace and he is best summed up by a Journalist, who claimed he is someone ‘who doesn’t look like he wants to score goals’. That is a damming statement for a striker, who cost just shy of £4 million. Landry N’Guemo looks to be the best capture so far despite only being on loan. He is neat and tidy on the ball and seems able to read the game, but the true test for the African will come when the weather turns sour and games become a real battle. Danny Fox disproves Gordon Strachan’s theory that you cannot buy a player for a modest sum (£2 million) who is better than Lee Naylor. He looks good going forward and has a fine delivery. His defensive qualities do look suspect though, and this is something that could be exploited when playing against quality wide men.

Mowbray has just started his Celtic career and while defeat to Arsenal is certainly no disgrace, it does give him, the supporters, and some quarters of the media a reality check that was needed. It will be a long, tough season for them, as they look to wrestle the title back from Ibrox and secure automatic Champions League qualification.

Weekend Sports Preview

With a busy weekend of sport ahead, Ross Hart takes a look at the upcoming action.

Football:

Weather permitting, there is a full card of league fixtures this weekend and a Scottish Cup tie this evening.

Tonight, Inverurie Locos and Vale of Leithen will attempt for the fouth time to play their third round Scottish Cup tie after adverse weather conditions resulted in three postponements. The winners will be rewarded with a home tie against SPL side Motherwell in the fourth round.

In the Scottish Premier League this weekend, Rangers travel to in form Dundee United in the early kick off on Saturday. United have only lost once in their last 14 league and cup games and sit third in the table, while Rangers will look to put more pressure on leaders Celtic after defeating Hamilton 7-1 last weekend.

Celtic meanwhile are looking to recover from last weekend’s loss to Hibernian by defeating the other half of Edinburgh at Celtic Park. Last night’s Champions League victory over Villarreal provided a confidence boost but Hearts have won five successive matches to maintain their push for European football next season.

Hibernian will look to build on their victory over the leaders last week by defeating struggling Hamilton at Easter Road. The visitors sit bottom of the table after recording only one win in their last 12 league matches but are boosted by striker Richard Offiong signing a contract extension.

In the other SPL games, Aberdeen will look to maintain their position within the top six at home to Falkirk, while St Mirren will climb above Inverness with victory at Love Street. Motherwell host Kilmarnock on Monday evening in a game to be broadcast live on Setanta Sports.

In the First Division, Dunfermline Athletic, who sit second in the table, look to keep up their push for promotion as they travel to play Queen of the South in Dumfries while Livingston will be looking to earn a first victory for new boss Paul Hegarty as they travel north to take on Ross County.

Rugby:

The Edinburgh Gunners are again in action this weekend as they travel south to play London Wasps in a Heineken Cup pool two clash. The sides met at Murrayfield last weekend with the Gunners falling to a 25-16 defeat so Andy Robinson will be hoping his team can gain revenge on former Scotland coach Ian McGeechan’s team on Sunday afternoon.

Scotland’s other European representatives Glasgow Warriors take on Bath at Firhill on Sunday and will also be looking to avenge defeat by their English counterparts. Sean Lineen’s team narrowly lost out last weekend by 35 points to 31 at the Recreation Ground.

Snooker:

Ronnie O’Sullivan is looking to defend his Maplin UK Championship title as this year’s tournament gets underway on Saturday in Telford. Current World Champion O’Sullivan kicks off the defence of the UK Championship against Rory McLeod on the opening day of the tournament.

There is plenty of Scottish representation, with five players flying the saltire. Five time UK Champion Stephen Hendry takes on England’s Stephen Lee while the ‘Wishaw Wizard’ and current Grand Prix champion John Higgins faces world number 20 Joe Swail.

Former World Champion Graeme Dott faces Ireland’s Ken Doherty while the clash between world number two Stephen MaGuire and Jamie Burnett, ranked 43 places below, guarantees a Scottish name in the second round.

News in Brief

by Margaret Kearns, Magnus Huntly-Grant, Maxim Lewerenz

Ex RBS boss named “Worst banker in the World”

Disgraced ex-RBS boss Fred Goodwin was this week named by American mag Newsweek as “The Worst Banker in the World”. Goodwin was knighted for ‘his services to banking” in 2004 but resigned in 2008 after the bottom fell out of the global market. He beat out Citibank CEO’s Sandy Weill, Chuck Prince, and Vikram Pandit for the ‘title’.

Aberdeen teacher placed on the sex offenders register

Alison Smith, 29, handed herself into police, after having admitted to sex with a 15 year old boy.  Smith, a special needs teacher, confessed to sleeping with the teen in June at her flat in Aberdeen. Sentencing has been deferred in the case although Smith has been paced on the sex offenders register and is expected to be struck off as a teacher.

Grieving relatives forced to pay to view the bodies of loved ones

Hospital chiefs have been slammed after it emerged that families requesting to view the bodies of their deceased relatives are being charged £30 for access. The fee, currently in place in Kirkwall is being charged in circumstances where the deceased dies anywhere other than hospital.

Gangster ‘Blink’ MacDonald arrested over prison bust up

Notorious bank robber Ian ‘Blink’ Macdonald was arrested at the weekend for breach of the peace after he got involved in an altercation between a prison guard and an inmate he was visiting at Glenochil prison. MacDonald spent the weekend in police custody and is expected to be charged on the 17th of December at Alloa Sheriff Court.

Abnormal sleep linked to diabetes

The Establishment of a direct link between the way the body responds to night and day and the way it metabolises sugar means that abnormal sleep patters could mean an increased risk of diabetes type 2, according to scientists from Oxford and Sweden.

One of the would-be wirepullers behind the Bombay attacks has been captured during a raid of the Pakistanian army this Sunday

Weekend Sport Preview

Graeme Macleod previews this weekend’s sports action.

Rugby:

Heineken Cup Pool Two

Edinburgh Gunners vs. London Wasps

The Gunners welcome Guiness Premiership champions Wasps to Murrayfield for this Heineken Cup clash on Friday. Edinburgh coach Andy Robinson is set to make one change to the team that defeated Ospreys last week. That means full-back Chris Paterson is set to make his 50th european appearance for the hosts as they look to repeat their 2005 win over Wasps.

The visitors are two-time winners of the competition with their last success coming as recently as 2007. This will be Wasps first match since a boardroom reshuffle – which saw World Cup winner Lawrence Dallaglio appointed a director of the club – earlier this week.

Football:

Scottish Premier League

Falkirk are looking to bounce back from conceding a late equaliser against Hibernian last week when they host St Mirren.

Inverness CT welcome Dundee United to the Caledonian Stadium while Kilmarnock host Aberdeen at Rugby Park.

Motherwell were dumped 2-0 at Pittodrie last week and will be looking to get back to winning ways when they host in-form Hearts at Fir Park. The Jambos picked up a superb three points last week thanks to a 2-1 win over Rangers at Tynecastle. That means Csaba Laszlo’s side have won five games in a row, lifting them up to third spot in the SPL table.

Rangers take on Hamilton to Ibrox looking to bounce back from that defeat. Walter Smith is likely to have Kenny Miller, Sasa Papac and Steven Davis back in the squad.

In Sunday’s match, Hibernian entertain Celtic at Easter Road. Mixu Paatelainen’s men salvaged a draw at Falkirk last week thanks to sub Colin Nish’s late strike and the towering forward is likely to be vying for a start when the champions visit. Celtic on the other hand are looking to rack up their 13th consecutive league win before Wednesday’s Champions League match agains Villarreal.

Scottish Cup

In the re-arranged third round fixtures, Edinburgh City host Brechin City at Meadowbank Stadium while Spartans travel north to play Elgin City. Forfar Athletic take on Stranraer and the all non-league matches see Forres Mechanics face Dalbeattie Star and Inverurie Locos host Vale of Leithen, with the winners in that match set to be take on Premier League Motherwell at home in the next round. Junior outfit Lochee United host Second Division Ayr United with the winners meeting Kilmarnock in Round Four.

Boxing:

Amir Khan vs. Oisin Fagan

Bolton fighter Khan returns to the ring for the first time since his 54-second knockout at the hands of Breidis Prescott. The Olympic silver medalist is looking to rebuild his career following that defeat, the first of his professional career. The 21-year-old boast a record of 18-0-1 and will have to win this one to keep his hopes of a world title fight alive.

Opponent Fagan turned professional in 2003. The Irishman goes into this fight in London with a record that reads 22-0-5. The ‘Gael Force’ last fought in March against Paul Spadafora when he lost in a split decision after 10 rounds.

Oscar De La Hoya vs. Manny Pacquiao

After Khan vs. Fagan, attention turns to Las Vegas where Oscar De La Hoya takes on Manny Pacquiao. This fight sees two of the best pound-for-pound fighters going head-to-head with the winner likely to be rewarded with a multi-million pound match with Ricky Hatton next year.

De La Hoya’s record reads 40-0-4 and his last appearance in the ring was a win over Steve Forbes in May. Pacquiao comes into the fight with a record of 47 wins, two draws and three losses. This clash with the ‘Golden Boy’ presents probably the biggest challenge of the Filipino’s career.

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