The latest news from Falkirk’s petrochemical plant.
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:
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.
With the number of knife-related attacks and robberies increasing, residents near the Telpher Underpass in Dalry have called for greater security measures.
Rashpal Sandher was the latest victim, being held up at knife point shortly after opening her store at around 07.30 yesterday morning. There have been a series of attacks in and around the tunnel, including the brutal rape of an Australian beautician just two years ago. MSP Sarah Boyack has joined citizens in demanding better surveillance of the area and greater police response when a crime is committed.
Police are investigating an attack on a 37 year old cyclist in Northern Edinburgh. The man was cycling past a group of around 20-25 youths when he was accosted and struck in the face. Police say his injuries are not threatening however they are seeking information that may help trace the suspect, who is said to be a white male, around 15, with a slim build. Further identification of the suspect is not yet possible because he wore a scarf around his face during the assault.
Edinburgh Council have published their Winter Maintenance plan and have advised residents to be familiar with what provisions are available. This is to avoid a repeat of last year’s Christmas chaos where traffic was left at a standstill.
Roads have been categorized and prioritized to allow maximum flow of services and provisions to continue. Therefore main roads such as the A1, Liberton Brae, Queensferry road are the highest priority. Surprisingly many roads have got dual classification yet no clarity has been given as to why.
Curious to know if you will be knee deep in snow, or on the fast track? The council’s list of roads can be found here.
Environmental Leader Councilor Robert Aldridge gives us his take on snow precautions, with commentary from Lauren Witherspoon
“The requirement to declare a relevant interest at the appropriate time covers almost
every aspect of a Member’s parliamentary duties extending to correspondence and
meetings with Ministers and public officials”
– House of Commons Code of Conduct, Chapter 2, paragraph 85
So as Dr Fox faces intensifying questions relating to his relationship with he is left defending a trepiditious position. As more comes out about Adam Werritty the worse things look for Fox. Today Fox denies claims that it was Werritty that was his guest during the robbery at his London home. This has given rise to the usual sexual speculation that the boys in Westminster love so much. Fox has defended his sexuality rather passionately in the past, denying he was gay in an interview in 2005 with the London’s Evening Standard.
But who is this Werritty character? Fox’s flat mate and best man at his wedding, Werritty ran six businesses which made a combined total of just £20,000 profit, two of which have seemingly no purpose and one of which made just £6000 profit but managed to make a £10,000 donation to the Atlantic Bridge Research and Education scheme which group Fox had established. A group Warritty would go on to be director of and would pay him £90,000.
This coupled with the high profile meetings Warritty attended with Fox as his adviser (a title he would put on business cards) yet holding no official position has led to questions being raised about the nature of their relationship and whether it has constituted a conflict of interest. One of the more pertinent questions being the funding of Werritty’s travel expenses, which, if paid for with tax payers money, would constitute an abuse of his position.
The number of unemployed young people in Britain has reached an all-time high of 21.3%, according to official figures released today.
The statistics, which were released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS), also reveal that overall unemployment in Britain has reached a 17-year high at 8.1%. Many analysts have criticised the UK government’s deficit reduction plan, and Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Liam Byrne is unconvinced by the coalition’s strategies. “[This is] a day of judgment for the government”, he claims. “Today’s figures are the clearest proof yet that the government’s decision to cut too far and too fast is hurting and just not working. Unemployment is soaring, and more young people are out of work than ever before.”
The Employment Secretary Chris Grayling denied that the statistics indict the government, claiming that Britain was now seeing “the impact of the international financial crisis”. He also said that, despite the UK not using the Euro currency, it is “not immune” to the problems currently being experienced in Greece and other Eurozone countries. Scottish unemployment figures, despite an increase of 7000 in the last quarter, are now at 7.9% which is just below the UK average of 8.1%. The Scots employment rate now sits at 71.2% , while the UK average is 70.4%
First Minister Alex Salmond has said that the figures reinforce the validity of the Scottish government’s demand that Westminster adopts a “Plan MacB” approach, lest Scotland be “Derailed by Westminster’s wrong-headed economic policy”.
“A Westminster ‘Plan MacB’ must deliver real action in the areas where Scottish government policy is making a difference – increased capital expenditure, improved access to finance for medium and small-sized businesses, as well as the introduction of measures to boost consumer confidence and economic security.”
However, Labour’s Finance Spokesman, is unconvinced by the reliability of the Scottish economic plan. “While Alex Salmond talks on the TV about ‘Plan MacB’, he is cutting capital investment more than even George Osborne, cutting key drivers of growth like colleges, and presiding over continuing stagnation in the Scottish economy”, he said. “Scotland is stuck between a Tory government cutting too fast and an SNP government whose economic policy simply isn’t working.”
Liz Cameron, the Chief of the Scottish chambers of Commerce, stated: “The second half of this year was always going to be a difficult one for employment in Scotland with public sector cuts beginning to take hold, cost pressures on the increase and growing concerns about the state of the US and Eurozone economies.
Prime Minister, David Cameron, argued that he did have a plan for cutting the deficit ; “if you don’t have a credible economic plan, you’re not at the races”, he sympathised with the unemployed saying “Every job lost is a tragedy”.
Opposition leader Ed Milliband struck back by casting doubt on Cameron’s plan; “to have a credible plan for the deficit, you need a plan for growth”.
Kay De Mabior
As the sun sets on our last few unexpected days of warmth a new dawn is fast approaching here in Edinburgh, moustache season, the time of year where “Mo-Bros” and “Mo-Sistas” will be uniting in order to raise funds and awareness for prostate cancer. Under any other circumstances this dishevelled and unkempt demeanour would rouse suspicions of some sort of mid-life crisis from wives, girlfriends and mums. But throughout the month of November men the world over will be discarding all shaving clippers, trimmers and blades, to let ‘The month of the moustache’ rein.
This annual, month-long event was conceived by a group of Aussie gents in 1999, and christened ‘Movember’. In 2004 the Movember Foundation charity started running events for Men’s health magazine in Australia and New Zealand, and last year, in 2010, the Movember movement was taken to the world in countries such as Ireland, South Africa, Canada, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
The rules for the month-long moustache marathon have been carefully crafted and moulded by ‘The Movember Committee for the People of Movember’ in the Movember Manifesto. They are as follows;
• On Shadowe’en (October 31st), the complete moustache region, including the entire upper lip and the handlebar zones, must be completely shaved.
• For the entire duration of Movember (Movember 1st – 35th inclusive), no hair shall be allowed to grow in the goatee zone – being any facial area below the bottom lip.
• There is to be no joining of the moustache to sideburns.
• Failure to conform to all of these rules may, at the discretion of the official Movember Committee, result in instant blacklisting and may void invitation to the end of MOnth festivities (this year lip-marked for Movember 35th!)
• Movember Committee accepts no responsibility for lost jobs, rashes, food/beer encrustments or any other such mishaps caused to the wearer (or his partner) of a Movember Moustache. You grew it yourself.
Last year a record 112,000 Mo Bros and Mo Sistas took on the stash challenge in the UK, raising £10.3 million for the Prostate Cancer Charity, the Institute for Cancer Research and the Movember foundation. This year there are more ways to get involved including registering yourself, your organization or your school to participate via the website or you can make a direct donation. They say, there is no ‘vember’ like mo vember, and this year there will be event all over the city including, movember marathons, fundraisers and launch parties.
A Thai man is facing jail time after running a brothel in his Edinbugh city apartment. Police working on the raid of the upmarket city centre flat found almost 700 condoms, sex toys as well as various mobile phones and cash.
Tanasak Sopatai pleaded guilty to allowing his flat to be used for the purposes of habitual prostitution, after admitting he was aware that females within the premises were using it for the provision of sexual services.
Sentencing has been deferred to later this month.
Entertainer Bruce Forsyth has today received a knighthood at Buckingham Palace.
The 83-year-old collected the accolade for services to entertainment after being in the show business for 70 years.
Best-known for hosting TV show ‘Play Your Cards Right’, Bruce now presents ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ every weekend.
Bruce Forsyth was made an OBE in 1998 and a CBE in 2005, as well as leading the Queens Birthday Honours List this June.
Forsyth has vowed that he will continue to work in the entertainment business after receiving the knighthood.
Edinburgh’s Got Talent is set to take place at the Edinburgh Playhouse on Friday 28th October.
This years competition has been fiercer than ever and with an increased venue capacity of 3,000, so the pressure is on for this years finalists!
Judging this year shall come from Deborah Welsh – promotions manager of Evening News as well as producer of the event, Liam Rudden Arts & Entertainment Editor of Evening News, Forth One presenter Boogie and Forth One Events manager Richie Jeffrey.
Guest performances on the night will come from X Factor star Gamu Nhengu who will perform material from her début album for the first time, and last year’s Edinburgh‘s Got Talent winner Gavin Blackie. The singer from Granton has gone on to secure a record deal since winning the competition and will release his second single on the 24th October. When we caught up with him, he advised this years contestants to “enjoy themselves and remember the judges don’t bite, they want everyone to do well!”.
As there was a tie for 10th place, the judges have now decided to allow 11 acts to perform.
The public and judges votes have been counted and the top ten acts will take to the stage at the Edinburgh Playhouse on Friday 28th October.
The finalists are as follows:
Nicole Syme – Songwriter
Erin Henderson – Singer
Hustle – Dance Group
Darren Gilbertson – Singer
Rebecca Traynor – Songwriter
Morningside Dance Academy – Dance
Stephanie Ternent – Songwriter
Edinburgh Dance Academy – Dance
Ashley Anderson – Singer
Caitlin Vanbeck – Singer
Ross Arthur – Solo Guitar & Vocals
We’ve also managed to get an interview with one of the judges, Deborah Welsh, watch the video below!
You can watch a selection of the acts auditions for Edinburghs Got Talent by clicking their names above!
The winner will receive £1,000 plus the chance to perform at the Radio Forth Awards in November.
The final, with an increased venue capacity of 3,000, is open to the public and tickets are on sale now!
You can buy tickets for the Edinburgh’s Got Talent final now by clicking here!
Take a look at our list of top Scottish talent show contestants here.
Trams will finally hit the tracks later on this year. Tests are scheduled for December 2 on a 470 meter track running parallel to the A8. The trams will be coming from Spain and West Lothian to the Gogar depot. The depot was set up with electricity yesterday and the lines will receive electricity on November 29.
Whilst Edinburgh’s transport leader, Gordon Mackenzie, says that the tram works that have starting again on Princes street and the West End relays confidence. The public just seem to groan once again at the continuous hassle it brings.
The trams will be running strictly for test purposes and will not open to the general public. Mackenzie, claims that having trams on the track is a fundamental step in seeing the plan come to fruition. Finance Secretary John Swinney however, said that it has already taken to long to get to this stage.
Discussions have been set in motion to replace the Gorgie Dalry Gazette, which has been out of print since council subsidies were withdrawn in 2008. The proposals to revive the publication were made at a Gorgie Dalry Community Council meeting on Monday October 3rd, with MSP Marco Biagi pledging his support to the idea.
‘The newspaper didn’t go out of print due to declining readership’, said Edinburgh Councillor Conor Snowden, a former adminstrator of the Edinburgh Community Newspaper Trust which was the council body that subsidised the Gazette until 2008. ‘The paper perished because it wasn’t operating on a sustainable business model. They relied, perhaps, too heavily on subsidies to sustain what was quite an expensive operation’, he added.
Confronted with funding cuts from the council, the Edinburgh Chinese School is endeavoring to survive by any means possible.
Kim Wong, the headteacher of the school, said that the council has tightened the budget on most of the mainstream schools in Edinburgh, including Drummond Community High School , where The Edinburgh Chinese School rents its classrooms every Saturday morning.
In order to cut down the extra cost (£4000), the class time was modified passively from 1p.m-3p.m to 10: 45a.m-12: 45p.m, which marked as the biggest change since the established year 1971. Parents were also forced to pay double tuition fees to make up for the additional rental. “This is harsh for some parents with low incomes. We need to consider this point as well,” said Kim Wong.
To maintain normal running order, the school adopted three main methods. First is to shrink the expense on the first-aid courses, a training program which focuses on taking care of children during their school time. Applying for grants is another feasible way. Last year the schools succeed in receiving the grants form the Scottish Community Foundation.
At present, most of the school’s money comes through its own fund raising efforts. Every Chinese New Year, the school holds a children’s talent charity show, inviting parents, local community members, restaurants and other organizations.
Although the school is tight on budget, there were not any dramatic increase in tuition fees compared with previous years. Students without exams (i.e. GCSE, AS & A Level) were required to pay £65 per year when applying for 2011-2012 school year. The price was £5 higher than that of two years ago. The tuition fee covers the cost of textbooks, teaching materials and the running of the school.
Cui Geqian, a mother of a child attending the school, appreciated the price fixing: “considering the whole year, 2-hours class every Saturday. I think it’s of great value for my child.”
‘Future Hits Live’ will make an appearance in Edinburgh on Friday 11th November at the Liquid Rooms.
The above are just the first artists revealed and more are set to be announced in the following weeks.
The event will be the radio’s second ‘Future Hits Live’ show, as this summer Leamington Spa was treated to a show with the likes of Wretch 32, Oh My! and Six D. Check out this video to see back stage interviews with this year’s acts.
Tickets are priced at just £13.50 and are available now by clicking here.
Friday 11th November
Liquid Rooms, Edinburgh
14 + – Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult.
A canoeist who died after getting into difficulties on the Firth of Forth has been named by Lothian and Borders police.
29-year-old Michael Tattersall from Edinburgh was on the water with a group of swimmers and kayakers near Granton on Sunday night when a small number of people got into trouble.
A rescue operation was launched after a member of the group swam to shore and raised the alarm. A RAF rescue helicopter lifted Tattersall from the water at around 1am on Monday morning but he later died in hospital.
A second canoeist was also picked up by the helicopter and a swimmer reported to be having difficulties managed to swim to the shore.
Rescue teams including lifeboat crews and the coastguard remain unsure how the situation came about.
Claire White, Entertainment Correspondent
Emmy, BAFTA and Golden Globe award winning Stephen Merchant is set to perform at the Edinburgh Playhouse this Thursday.
This will be the comedian’s first ever stand-up tour, titled ‘Hello Ladies…’. Merchant will perform dates not only across the UK, but also overseas as he closes the tour in New York.
Despite being most-known for co-creating The Office and Extras, Stephen Merchant started his career as a stand-up comedian and radio presenter at XFM.
In 2001, Merchant shared a stand-up bill in a four-hander show with Ricky Gervais, Jimmy Carr and Robin Ince at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
As well as all the above achievements, Merchant also features in the Guiness Book Of World Records alongside Ricky Gervais and Karl Pilkington for the most downloaded internet show of all time.
It seems for Stephen Merchant that this tour isn’t just a chance to showcase his material:
‘Life can be lonely as a TV writer so this tour is a great opportunity for me to get out there and meet my fans. And make at least one of them my wife.’
If you fancy a peak at what’s on offer you can check out this review here.
The show will be filmed at a later date and released on DVD & Blu Ray by Universal Pictures on November 14th 2011.
Lauren Witherspoon, Reporter
Edinburgh zoo has released pictures of their newest drill monkey, born six weeks ago.
This baby drill is the first to be born at Edinburgh Zoo, making the new arrival even more special.
Donald Gow, Senior Primate, Hoofstock and Koala keeper said: “Drills are the rarest and most endangered primate in Africa. Relatively few zoos have drills, including only three zoos in the UK, making this birth particularly significant for the conservation of these rare animals.
“We had high hopes that our drill group would breed and are delighted to have a new baby.”
“Mum Nora, one of two female drills who arrived at Edinburgh Zoo in 2009, is an excellent mum. She’s being very protective of her baby, but the youngster can be a bit of handful. Our baby drill is pretty adventurous and likes to explore, but mum is staying close and keeping a watchful eye on everything.”
“Dad, Illembo, arrived at Edinburgh Zoo in 2006. Our drills are the largest monkeys we have at Edinburgh Zoo, but even by drill standards Illembo is very big, weighing around 45 kgs. “Like most male drills he is a fairly ‘hands-off’ dad, occasionally coming over to check on the baby, but for the most part allowing Nora to get on with the childcare.”
The wild drill population has decreased by 50 percent over the last 30 years making them a listed endangered species.