The latest news from Falkirk’s petrochemical plant.
Public protests experienced on Wall Street in New York City are planned to go worldwide on October the 15th through organization on webpages and social networks.
Many websites have arisen including OccupyBritain.co.uk, wearethe99percentuk.tumblr.com and Occupytogether.org. 15october.net lists events in 670 cities in 67 countries including 4 in Scotland. Facebook communities have formed entitled Occupy Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee and Aberdeen respectively. Scotland’s capital has received the most activity with around 250 people confirming attendance to the event “Occupy Edinburgh” occurring this Saturday at 1PM in St Andrews Square; the square, surrounded by numerous banks and insurance companies is thought to be one of the major financial districts in Scotland.
Wall Street protesting began on September 17th on New York City’s Wall Street; the events are believed to be the result of an email distributed by activist magazine Adbusters in mid-July of this year. The Guardian confirmed that by October 8th, protests had reached 70 cities around the world.
A description of Occupy Edinburgh on the 15 October website says:
”A peaceful, NON-VIOLENT protest beginning on Saturday the 15th of October with the initial intent of occupying St Andrews Square and voicing our concerns about the way in which our banks and governments are structured and operated.”
The most prominent ‘occupy’ event in the UK in preparation is “Occupy The London Stock Exchange”. Facebook has over 4000 confirmed attendees, though how many will attend on the day remains to be seen.
Reuters confirmed that over 700 were arrested last Sunday while marching over Brooklyn Bridge and blocking traffic lanes in the process. Another 100 were arrested in Boston early on Tuesday morning as the campaigners had been camping in the city’s Dewey Square since October 1st.
Numerous viral videos from the hacker/activist group Anonymous have been released on YouTube addressing several different countries and sovereign states around the world. In a video posted on Youtube this message is delivered:
“All across the world on October 15th 2011 there will be simultaneous peaceful protests these will be in cities all around the world. These protests will be the peoples chance to voice their dissatisfaction with the system that has failed them. Anonymous UK in conjunction with Anonymous London Anoymous will be leading operation unity.”
The group have planned a march from speaker’s corner in London’s Hyde Park at 2pm heading to Parliament Square.. Anonymous are frequently described as only activists and hackers or ‘hacktivists’. Many members wear Guy Fawkes masks during protests which were popularized by the V for Vendetta motion picture and comic book . The group are also large supporters of Wikileaks and many were arrested in connection with ‘Operation Avenge Assange’ which involved an online attack on PayPal after they froze Wikileaks accounts. Over 20 were arrested in the US, the Netherlands and the UK according to the BBC. This included a sixteen-year-old boy from south London.
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.
Kay de Mabior
There is little, if any, doubt that devout blackberry users will be suffering from the early stages of withdrawal, as we reach day three of the Blackberry blackout. Since the beginning of the week users of the popular device found that their email, instant messenger (BBM) and internet services have slowed, halted or became completely unavailable.
RIM, the company responsible for Blackberry, has been dealing with the outage and is now blaming it on a “core switch failure within RIM’s infrastructure.” Users in Europe were the first to feel the effects of this crash, which eventually spread around the world. RIM went on to state that the malfunction was a result of a large backlog of data and claim that they “are now working to clear that backlog and restore normal service.”
These ongoing service disruptions are the worst of their kind, even surpassing a similar outage that swept North America in 2009, and comes on the week Apple prepares to release its iPhone 4S. After a plummet in share prices and a string of unfortunate quarterly results some investors are calling for a change in management, suspension and even a sale of the whole company. Some companies, who have subscriptions to RIM’s Secure Propriety Services, are opting out to explore alternative devices.
Frustrated users have been tweeting their anger, as RIM services continue their erratic substructure repairs. Entrepreneur and host of BBC TV series The Apprentice, Alan Sugar, tweeted his dismay at the fiasco, saying: “in all my years in the IT biz, I have never seen such an outage as experienced by Blackberry. I can’t understand why it is taking so long to fix.”
With over 70 million blackberry subscribers around the world, the way in which RIM deals with the ongoing outage will no doubt fault or further the company’s flagging reputation. The deluge of reactions on social networking sites suggest many users are considering a smartphone switch-up, creating new business opportunities for other smartphones such as Android’s Sony Ericson and Apple’s iPhone. RIM has not provided any recent information concerning the outage, but has apologized “for any inconvenience” and is promising to “continue to keep [users] informed.”
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”.
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.
Girls Aloud star Sarah Harding has checked herself into rehab for depression and alcohol addiction.
Sarah Harding is now seeking help in a rehab clinic outside of the UK, following her split from fiance Tom Crane last month.
After dating for four years, the couple were set to marry next Summer, but have now decided to separate after a number of arguments.
Sarah has been described by a friend as hitting ‘rock bottom’ and thinks that this break will give her time to clear her head before Girls Aloud are set to reunite next year celebrating the groups 10 year anniversary.
The Burmese authorities have released dozens of prisoners today as their promise to discharge 6,000 from Burmese jails, including many political prisoners.
According to a spokesperson for Aung San Suu Kyii’s National League for Democracy (NLD), over 120 prisoners have been released so far, including the comedian Zargannar who was jailed in 2008 for criticising the government’s handling of cyclone Nargis.
Journalists, pro-democracy activists and monks involved in anti-government protests are among those arrested in the past 10 years. There are also a high proportion of prisoners from ethnic groups fighting for greater autonomy in Burma.
Burma has already released around 7,000 political prisoners already since declaring amnesty for 15,000 in May of this year, however many have speculated on the true number released.
There has also been wide condemnation of the release, seen by many activists as an attempt to appease the general public and focus attention away from more prominent issues such as media censorship and public-order laws.
Burma has been a nation of great transition since the first elections in two decades were held last year, where the military led government was replaced with a civilian backed military government.
Burma’s president Thein Sein had been relaxing measures on exiles and prisoners steadily since March of 2011; however the developments of the past few months have been seen as unprecedented by many.
Aung San Suu Kyii has held talks with the newly instated government since her release last year. Supporters of Auu Kyii have pointed to the lack of political prisoners released since the amnesty, and western media is expected to scrutinise the list of those already released to gain a better understanding of how dramatic a change the Burmese government’s actions have had on a country in the grip of social unrest for the last half a century.
The Scottish documentary that’s trumping Trump!
Kay Demabior, Environmental Correspondent
Donald Trump sports a personality as vast as his empire, a bank account as hefty as his private, personalised jets and a comb-over as infamous as his business ventures, making him no stranger to the limelight. Earlier this year Trump had been featuring as a standing joke on the late night comedy scene as he doggedly obsessed over obtaining US President Barack Obama’s birth certificate. But recently ‘the Donald’ has been attracting attention as a result of some increasingly sinister business here in the UK.
Scottish film maker, Anthony Baxter, eloquently chronicles Trump’s ruthless destruction of the untouched and environmentally treasured North Aberdeenshire coastline, with the intention of constructing his newest business venture, The Trump International Golf Links (TIGL). The film follows the struggles of the local residents, who have been contesting the billionaire’s scheme since he purchased the land on the Balmenie Estate. The 208 kilometres of unspoilt coastline varies from long stretches of clean golden sand dunes to dramatic rock-shingle beaches, creating a wildlife haven. University of Glasgow’s, Dr. Jim Hansom (featured in the film) refers to this area as Scotland’s “equivalent of the Amazon Rainforest”. Yet in spite of all this, in 2008 Scottish ministers gave Trump the go-ahead to destroy the dunes and erect two 18-hole golf courses, a luxury hotel, 1,000 holiday homes and 500 private houses to establish what Trump is calling “The greatest golf course in the world”.
Although the British and Scottish government have given the business tycoon carte blanche to bulldoze the north Aberdeenshire coastline, he sorely underestimated the resilience and determination of home owners in the area. The film paints Trump as a money hungry industrialist, hell-bent on making a quick buck at the expense of the environment, and his own actions on camera only work to reaffirm his reputation. In one particularly memorable scene Trump scornfully slates a Balmenie land owner, calling his abode a “pig sty”, whilst, in truth, the continued construction of the Trump’s courses has been depriving local residents of basic necessities such as running water.
Trump, who briefly flirted with the idea of running for US presidency, sold his concept to the Scottish parliament under the supposition that the links would generate upwards of 6,000 jobs for the local community. However, it has recently been discovered that the contract has been given to an Irish company which is said to be predominately using its own labour force.
Baxters engaging documentary has been gathering a lot of steam since its release at the Edinburgh International Film Festival and is now expected to make a splash at its New York premier later this month. The Documentary has already earned itself a plethora of awards including The Green Prize, the UK’s top environmental award, The Edindoc Festival Award and the Sheffield International Festival Award. As expected, Trump himself met the documentary with a cavalier disdain, calling the film “boring” and accusing the filmmaker of being a “fraud”. The documentary candidly addresses the serious subject alongside some humorously crafted undertones, leaving the audience to decide whether the short term economic gain is worth the long term environmental loss.
“I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.”
The pivotal point in Jobs’ ascent as a figurehead of modern technology came in 1997, when, after almost a decade in the wilderness he returned to the then ailing computer company, bringing with him a the inventive spirit that characterised Apple’s initial success – it proved to be their saving grace.
Having been forced out in 1985, Jobs returned to apple in 1997, proving to be the then ailing computer company’s saving grace. By encouraging the development of devices that were not only functional but also aesthetically attractive Apple quickly dominating the mp3 market with the iPod and a new desktop computer that was to become synonymous with creativity and reliability. Apple would soon grow and branch out into the mobile phone market, becoming one of the most globally recognized status symbols.
Dundee and Glasgow Caledonian Universities have recently announced they will charge British students from outside Scotland £27,000 for a full undergraduate course.
The charges are a result of the new legislation introduced by the Scottish Government to narrow the funding gap between Scottish and English universities. But should EU students be made to pay also?
When launching a consultation on the legislation in June The Scottish Education Secretary, Michael Russel, said that the rise in cap on the tuition fees in England, introduced by the Coalition Government last year, threatens the “quality and competitiveness” of Scottish universities.
He claimed it would prevent Scottish institutions being seen as ‘the cheap option’, and would protect spaces for Scottish students.
In the meantime, the numbers of Scottish undergraduates studying at home has fallen by 1.3 per cent in the past five years.
The legislation is expected to fill some of the funding gap between Scottish and English institutions, predicted earlier this year. When English universities were allowed to raise the fee cap to £9,000, it was estimated that by 2015 they would earn £268 million in funding more than Scottish institutions.
The Scottish Spending Review 2011, published last Thursday, promises universities £217 million Government funding by 2015.
It suggests that the gap will be narrowed down by additional £56 million from charging students from rest of the UK for studying at Scottish universities.
Currently an estimated 20,000 students from the rest of the UK study full-time at undergraduate level in Scottish universities and so would be eligible to pay higher fees under the new arrangements.
The opponents of the legislation point out that the prospect of paying £36,000 for a four-year undergraduate degree in Scotland – which is one year longer than in England – can stop UK students from studying in Scotland altogether.
Mr Russel suggested that fewer than half of Scottish universities will charge the maximum fee. However, both St Andrews and Edinburgh Universities already set the £9,000 fee for their 2012-2013 courses – the same as Oxford and Cambridge.
In the light of student protests against the rising costs of education, it was suggested the Scottish Government should push to introduce a fee for undergraduate students from the EU who are currently exempt from paying fees, on the basis of international regulation.
Mr Russell has previously talked about introducing an annual “service charge” for EU students studying in Scotland, but there is no mention of any such measures in the new Spending Review.
In the past five years Scottish universities noted a near 60 per cent rise in students from the EU.
However, there was also noted a near 30 per cent rise in overseas students from other regions, who pay a considerably higher level of fees (for example, £13,500 for 2011/12 at St Andrews University). The number of postgraduate students from outside the UK has also risen by nearly 40 per cent (average £11,100 for 2011/12)
The trend is not exceptional for Scotland; the number of both: undergraduate and postgraduate overseas students for the whole of UK shot up by nearly 65 per cent in the five year period.
As a response to the Coalition Government proposals for changes to student visas, the University and College Union warned this could make the UK a less popular destination for foreign students, which, based on today’s figures, would be bad news for UK universities as they struggled to adjust to huge government funding cuts.
Robin Parker, President of the National Union of Students Scotland, told us that no students, British or foreign, should be made to pay.
But what do you think?
As the battle over the effects of climate change rages on, the ultimate question on people’s mind is how the SNP government are going to ensure that last year’s winter chaos doesn’t ensue again this year.
It’s widely accepted that weather in Scotland is unpredictable, and that carrying an umbrella and sunglasses isn’t uncommon during the summer months, or the autumn months for that matter.
For instance, today – as predicted – the sun is splitting the sky the air is once again filled with a soothing heat and people are turned out in their summer finery. Our advice to them: keep that umbrella close by – and a set of wellies for that matter; for it is predicted, by weather experts, that October is to bring with it snow.
As previously reported, James Madden, of Exacta Weather, told the press that an early winter looks likely. He said:
“I expect to see the first signs of some moderate to heavy snowfalls as early as October or November in certain parts of the UK.”
Now is the time for MPs and MSPs to take heid. With the fuel poverty budget having being cut by 1/3 over the past 12 months, and the energy price hike of 20 per cent initiated by Scottish Power, what communities really want to know is how the SNP plan to protect the vulnerable.
Last year, over 3,000 people died of cold related illnesses, in Scotland. Not that it is comparable in terms of world atrocities, but the figure even outnumbers the amount of people who tragically died in the Twin Towers attacks.
Madden also commented, ‘I expect December, January and February to experience below-average temperatures, with the heaviest snowfall occurring within the time frame of November to January across many parts of the UK.’
As the Low Carbon Investment Conference rolls through town, prominent figures and researchers of climate change, including Al Gore, will be addressing the people of Scotland on the matter. First Alex Sammond has even said of the development of renewable energy in Scotland, that it is ‘a turning point like the discovery of a new world or the change from hunter-gathering to agriculture’.
Undeniably Scotland’s contribution to in adopting renewable energy is of critical importance for the future, however, perhaps instead of setting sights on developments of so far in future, efforts should be focused on the here and now.
There appears to be a lot of questions and a distinct lack of answers. In the meantime, the advice given by the Scottish government is to check on your neighbours during extreme bouts of cold. Today though, that won’t be necessary.