Across The Capital
The latest news from Falkirk’s petrochemical plant.
Live report from Grangemouth Chemical Plant, where talks between Union bosses and the owners of the plant have become more positive over the course of today.
(Be nice in the comments please……)
Yesterday, it looked as if there was set to be no happy ending for employees at Grangemouth Petrochemical Plant. But a surprising u-turn by Unite today has brought new hope for the 800 jobs under threat.
Alicia Simpson reports:
by Nadia Younes, Heather Thomson and Morag Robertson.
Following weeks of controversy surrounding claims that the former head of the Catholic Church in Scotland has behaved inappropriately towards priests, Cardinal Keith O’Brien has resigned and issued a statement apologising for his behaviour.
In this statement, issued through the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, O’Brien apologised to those he had “offended” and asked for forgiveness.
Nadia Younes, Heather Thomson and Morag Robertson discuss the repercussions this will have on the Catholic Church.
The maximum jail time for carrying a knife in Scotland will increase from four to five years, justice secretary Kenny MacAskill announced today.
He says the move sends out a strong message that “knives cost lives”
Mr MacAskill also announced a crackdown on people released from prison who commit more crime before their original sentence is up.
The announcement comes at a time when police are carrying out a record number of stop and searches. This move will aim to get out the message that carrying a knife is just not worth the risk.
So do the public think that increasing jail time will reduce knife violence?
The justice secretary said that violent crime was at a 30-year low, with 44% fewer weapons on the streets since 2006-07. But how much of this reduction is down to better clampdown measures and higher jail terms? Should there be a call for using education to tackle violence at an early-age, with more emphasis on violence prevention?
Deputy Chief Superintendent John Carnochan, of Strathclyde police’s Violence Reduction Unit, said after the announcement that “prevention is undoubtedly better than cure when it comes to violence – we need to try and stop the drama before it comes to violence, help people understand that carrying weapons and using violence to resolve conflict is wrong long before the police, the courts, the justice system have to get involved.”
Perhaps the message is that a two-pronged approach will work best – combining tougher enforcement and higher jail time measures with more all-rounded educational methods which aim to tackle and prevent violence at its core.
Jobseekers may have to reconsider their presence on Facebook after a survey released today reveals over 50% of employers use the site to assess potential employees.
A survey from Edinburgh Business School released on Monday showed Facebook users are anxious that photos of bad behaviour may haunt their future job prospects with more than half of employers claiming to have used Facebook to weed out job candidates.
Facebook has settings to control the information seen by different types of friends, but only one third use them, the report said.
I asked some student jobseekers whether or not they were nervous about today’s findings.
By Tom McCallum
2014 is already set to be a busy year in Scotland and the announcement that the controversial Edinburgh tram project will also be completed in this year has added to this.
Testing has commenced on the section of track between the recently opened Edinburgh airport station and the depot at Gogarburn 3 km away. Overhead power lines are being turned on today enabling full scale testing to start.
If it the tests go to plan this section will be ready for use in March next year indicating that the project could be due for completion in the summer of 2014.
2014 is already a busy year in Scotland with the Commonwealth games in Glasgow, also happening in the summer, and the independence referendum set for the autumn.
The project is already massively behind schedule and hugely over budget. It has not been popular with the Edinburgh public so far. The testing would indicate the first sign that the project will be completed by the new deadline.
I’ve been out asking the Edinburgh public if now is the time to put the controversy in the past and start looking forward to the projects completion.
Listen now to the day’s top stories in our full radio broadcast, with presenters Sarah Garden and Aly Fraser.
The jury in the trial of Vincent Tabak have today been taken to visit the flat where it is alleged he killed Jo Yeates.
The 12-person jury was escorted from Bristol Crown Court to key locations that feature in the case to retrace the last steps believed to have been made by Yeates the night she died. In addition to the flat she lived in, the jury also visited the Waitrose store she was last seen shopping and past the Bristol Ram Pub.
Whilst Tabak has pleaded guilty to manslaughter, he denies murdering the 25 year-old in December last year. The trial is expected to go on for another four weeks.
Coal Action Scotland will host a talk from the president of the Federation of Communities Displaced by Mining in La Guajira at the Autonomous Centre of Edinburgh this Sunday.
President Julio Cesar Gomez will be in the UK to speak out against the expansion of Cerrejón, located in the La Guajira Department in North Columbia. The mine – Cerrejón is one of the largest open cast coalmines in the world and is owned by three UK registered multinational firms including BHP Bilton, which is listed on the Financial Times Stock Exchange (FTSE) and the London Stock Exchange.
Scotland has had its own debates with coal recently as protesters challenged Scottish Coal’s decision to extend a site in Douglas Valley, South Lanarkshire. Scottish Coal plans to extract up to one million tonnes from Broken Cross North Extension Surface Mine.
David Grey of Coal Action Scotland said that the application “goes against the results of the Public Inquiry, and contradicts planning policy that states that no community must suffer more than ten years of mining operations. This application will mean that extensions alone at Broken Cross will go on for at least 16 years, and even that won’t be the end of it.”
Last week environmental groups lost a legal battle with Ayrshire Power opposing the construction of a £3 billion coal-fuelled power station in Hunterston, Ayrshire while in Newcastle the building site of a 21st century science park may be subject to digging. 60,000 tonnes of coal are believed to be beneath the area; this would be the first coal mined in Newcastle in over 50 years.
Scottish Resources Group, the parent company of Scottish Coal announced a 90% drop in profits (£28.6m– £2.4m) in the year ending 26th March.
The Guardian reported that Scotland holds one tenth of Europe’s coal as of February 2009. The newspaper also stated that Edinburgh ministers perceive coal as a green energy and along with Alex Salmond, published a climate change bill vowing to “reduce Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050.” NASA climate scientist Jim Hansen has openly called the policy introduced by Salmond, a “sham”.
The most recent development has been the Scottish Government’s announcement to demolish the coal-fuelled power station at Cockenzie, East Lothian. The station will be re-built, utilizing a gas turbine which will greatly reduce emissions. Dr Dan Barlow of WWF Scotland opposed the construction telling the BBC that “A new fossil-fuelled power plant operating at just over 50% efficiency has absolutely no place in Scotland’s power sector.”
Renewable energy is slowly developing in the country despite Scottish hydro production dropping by a third due to low rainfall. The crown estate have approved the development of a wave farm off the island of Benrena from Pelamis Wave Power while Clyde wind farm in South Lanarkshire, already one of the largest in Europe, is to be extended to include over 200 wind turbines.
The World Coal Association estimates that there is enough coal “to last us around 118 years at the current rate of production.” Oil and gas reserves are estimated to last around 46 and 59 years respectively.