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.
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.
With the last remaining Scottish institution, University of Highlands and Islands (UHI), announcing their degree cost for British students, Scotland becomes the most expensive place to study in the UK, claims the National Union of Students (NUS).
A degree at UHI for non-Scottish UK students will cost £22,500 from 2012/13. This brings the average degree cost in Scottish institutions to £27,083, compared to £25,179 in England. . This means the average Scottish degree will cost more than the most expensive English degrees (£27,000).
The legislation allowing Scottish universities to charge English, Welsh and Northern Ireland students for their studies was introduced in order to safeguard places for Scottish students, after the Coalition Government introduced the same law for universities in England last year. The Scottish Education Secretary, Michael Russel, said in June, when proposing the legislation, that it would prevent from Scottish institutions being seen as the ‘cheap option’ by the rest of the UK.
He also claimed that hardly any Scottish university would set the maximum fee of £9,000 per year.
With all Scottish institutions having published, what they will charge from next academic year, the average degree comes up to over £27,000. However, as the majority of non-Scottish UK students study at the institutions that set the highest degree cost of £36,000: University of Edinburgh (31% of non-Scottish students) and St Andrews University (11%), the average degree cost in Scotland will exceed £30,000.
Nathan Sheilds, President of UHI Student Association, said in a statement for NUS:
“We are fully against all fees, and support free education. I fully understand that the University of the Highlands and Islands was put in a difficult position, but this is a huge missed opportunity to set an example to other universities and throughout the UK, that we are interested in students’ ability, not the money they can bring.”
Robin Parker, President of NUS Scotland, said in a statement:
“Principals were given a huge responsibility to set fees, but they’ve shown that they can’t be trusted. Now that every university has set its fee level, we can see that Scotland’s fees system has gone beyond even what we’ve seen in England. This will no doubt cause untold damage to Scotland’s reputation in the rest of the UK.
“The Scottish Government should now step in to reduce these fee levels and to introduce minimum standards on bursaries to protect access for the poorest students, and save university principals from themselves.”
The Scottish Education Secretary commented for the Office of Fair Access:
“I am pleased that the majority of our universities have shown restraint and we estimate that the proposed average fee of £6,841 will be further decreased by packages of bursaries and fee waivers to around £6,375, one of the scenarios which the Joint Technical Working Group envisaged earlier this year.
“Of course, the Scottish Government has provided a generous settlement for our universities – which has been universally welcomed. I am confident that our universities are now on the best possible footing to continue to compete with the best in the world.”
The Secretary refers to the £217 million of Government funding by 2015 for Scottish universities, promised in The Scottish Spending Review 2011, published last Thursday.
Catriona Howson, Local Correspondent
Lothian Health Board has decided to close their Intensive Care Unit Follow-up service based in Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh as their latest cutback. The service, which is praised by those who use it, offers support, information, mediation, advice and practical support to patients and relatives.
Founded in 1998 the service came out of research which suggested that patients feel abandoned in Intensive Care, the service has been run solely by Pat Harper, Clinical Nurse Specialist. Pat, who won Scottish Nurse of the Year (1999) for the innovation behind the service, see’s on average 30 people a month and runs a hotline for anyone on the service to phone all day, every day has even spoken to patients on Christmas Day.
“It’s a service to suit the needs of the service users” Pat explains. The service is available to patients who have spent three or more days in ICU and their relatives, who are given appointments immediately. The service is also available to bereaved relatives who receive a card from the service throughout their first year of grief – that way “they can phone when they are ready”. The ICU follow-up service also often receives referrals from GPs, Social Work, other Hospitals and other hospital clinics. It is not just an Edinburgh based service, as Pat has had referrals from Ayr, Glasgow and Fife, which is understandable as it was the only service of its kind in Scotland.
Ross Winton, Sports Correspondent
Edinburgh will play host to a charity fun run next month, in a bid to raise money for a number of charities.
The picturesque Holyrood Park will be the location for the 5km run, set to take place on Sunday 23rd Octorber.
‘Big Fun Run’ is a nationwide event, hosted by 13 different towns and cities across the
UK, including four in Scotland.
The event is supported by 76 different charities, however participants are welcome to run in honour of any charity they wish to.
Amongst this year’s participants are a group of young men running in honour of a late friend.
Scott Rennie, 20, and a group of 12 former St Augustine’s RC High School students, will be taking part to honour the passing of their friend Rachel Appolinari, who passed away in August following a short illness.
“We thought it would be a great way to honour our old school friend and her family after their sad loss” said Rennie, a Product Design Student at Strathclyde University.
“Me and the boys will be running to raise money for the Edinburgh Centre for Neuro-oncology at the Western General, where Rachel had her treatment. The aim is to raise at least £1,200 and we are well on target to do so. The support from all our friends and family has been brilliant and we hope to do Rachel proud.”
Hibernian FC star David Wotherspoon is amongst those who made a donation, with a £25 contribution towards the fund.
The run will commence at 11am on Sunday 23rd October and there is still time to enter online by visiting http://www.bigfunrun.com. Those wishing to contribute to Scott’s cause can do so by contacting http://www.justgiving.com/running-for-rachel.
As Scotland has taken stage in Hollywood films, we took a look back at seven of the most famous productions to have been shot here…
1. Voted the best Scottish film of all time, Trainspotting just has to take the number one spot here! Who could forget the iconic opening scene featuring Ewan McGregor and Ewen Bremner being chased by security guards along Princes Street?
2. Several scenes for Hollywood blockbuster The Da Vinci Code were filmed on-location at Roslyn Chapel in Midlothian. During the shoot, extra security was constantly added to ensure the increased interest in the chapel would not cause the medieval building any damage.
3. Many of the Harry Potter films featured scenes shot in scenic Glencoe. Potter fans from all over the world now flock to the once-quiet area to take part in organized tours.
4. Back in 1972, filming for the cult horror production The Wicker Man took place in Dumfries and Galloway. Controversially, the 2006 remake starring Nicholas Cage was shot entirely in Canada and the USA.
5. The iconic boat chase scene in From Russia With Love was filmed in Argyll and featured homegrown Scottish talent Sean Connery as the original James Bond.
6. 2007’s The Last King of Scotland won two Oscars for Best Actress and Best Actor. The drama not only featured scenes filmed in Scotland, but also ones from on-location in Uganda. Critics applauded the filmmakers for this and many commented that it added a sense of reality to the final production.
7. Sweet Sixteen, the controversial 2002 drama, was filmed entirely in Greenock. Due to the high level of interest in the film, the local council decided to drop the films certificate from an 18 to a 15 though it stayed the same in England due to the repetitive use of foul language.
Amy Anderson, Entertainment Correspondent
Oscar winners Tom Hanks and Halle Berry are the latest Hollywood stars to film scenes for their new movie in Scotland. Hot on the heels of Brad Pitt’s departure from Glasgow, the A-list pair arrived in town earlier this week to shoot scenes for the upcoming feature-film Cloud Atlas. Hugh Grant, Susan Sarandon and Ben Wishaw are amongst the star studded cast.
Passers-by have been left fascinated and confused as Douglas Street in Glasgow became 1970’s San Fransisco and The City Chambers in Edinburgh a 1930’s Cambridge hotel. Crowds of fans yesterday gathered to catch a glimpse of Monster Ball star Berry film a car crash scene in Glasgow’s city center.
The film is based on David Mitchell’s award-winning 2004 novel and is set to be released in cinemas next year. It is just one of a number of Hollywood productions that have had scenes shot in Scotland in the past two years, with Burke and Hare and One Day starring Anne Hathaway also shot in Scottish cities.
Take a look through our exclusive picture gallery to view images directly from the set!
One of Scotland’s oldest pubs is set to undergo restoration in the year of her 651st birthday.
The Sheep Heid in Duddingston village will close for around a month this winter while the works take place.
While the restoration will upgrade and add prominence to the Sheep Heid, regulars need not worry about a major change to their favorite local.
The pub, which has in the past been a drinking haunt of Bonnie Prince Charlie and Sir Walter Scott, will still retain its original features and character.
Landord David Jardine said: “The Sheep Heid is such an important part of both everyday and historical life, we have to be really careful about anything we do.”
Shopping in town can be a bit of an adventure at the best of times, but as of the fifth of this month, it’s been less Gok Wan and a bit more David Attenborough. Edinburgh city centre has been transformed from metropolitan shopping district to the exotic climes of the Amazon … Borneo… and the African Savannah and there’s not a highland coo in sight.
Locals and tourists have been discovering the city has been invaded by herds of brightly coloured elephants, troupes of branded chimps, a buffoonery (that is the real collective noun) of protesting Orang-utans, and a tiger being ridden by a businessman scattered around the city in statue form. All 130 of the near life-sized animals are part of a campaign by Jungle City, a conservation group, which aims to raise money to save the statues’ mobile counterparts.
Various businesses such as Harvey Nichols have sponsored the statues, which were made to raise awareness of the plight of endangered species from around the globe for conservation groups such as the Elephant Family. Messages such as “Don’t climb on me, I’m endangered enough” and “Take a photo now, you may not get another chance” help to get the message across.
Each of the large statues can be sponsored, or bought outright if you have the space for a tiger and rider. Or you could just buy a miniature pet if you don’t happen to have a few acres of rain-forest in your back garden.
After a month in the cold climate of Edinburgh the animals are about to disappear from our streets, but not without one last fundraising party. The Jungle Jam at the dovecot studios this Saturday will feature a 7 piece Latino band Colomboloco who will be playing from their new album ‘Living in the Jungle’ which has been dedicated to the campaign. The show will be free, but donations are more than welcome.
All the animals have been gathered together in the dovecot studios for the final few days of the event, so if you missed seeing any of the 130 statues in the wild, you can at least wish them bon voyage in the ark-like final display.
Video by Aleks Jurczak
Depression rates have reached a record level in Scotland. More than one in ten people as young as fifteen, are taking prescribed medicine. Prozac or Cipramil are some the most common pills taken on a daily dose, to tackle depression.
The NHS Prescription Services prove that medical professionals in Scotland are prescribing more antidepressant medicine than in England and Whales.
Can caffeine make the difference? Harvard Medical School has released research that caffeine can decrease the risk of depression by twenty percent. The research shows that women who drink four cups of coffee a day are less likely to suffer from depression and less likely to commit suicide.
It is a well-known fact that caffeine boosts energy levels and enhances general well being. This is because it has the ability to change certain chemical receptors in the brain. The Archives of International Medicine have published research on the effects of caffeine on the brain, and are pushing for further researching on how caffeine can aid as an antidepressant.
It is to early to recommend caffeinated coffee as an antidepressant. Caffeine can also have negative effects on the body. Too much caffeine can cause anxiety and can lead to sleep deprivation. Ongoing research aims to tackle these symptoms to find a balance for caffeine to become an aid as an antidepressant.
Nearly 300 runners participated in Edinburgh’s third Urbanathlon last Sunday, on a breezy but glorious day in the shadow of picturesque Arthur’s seat.
In this 10k run with a twist, runners scrambled, crawled, jumped, and waded their way through 11 obstacles along the track. Many embraced the fancy dress theme with penguins, where’s wally, superheroes, ninjas, pink ladies and the Tasmanian devil all turning up in great spirits to raise funds for the Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland charity.
Speaking before the event started, Melanie Queen, whose family traveled from East Kilbride clad in fancy dress, said ‘Urbanathlon is fun, a great way to raise funds, and should be good for the kids’.
Aside from being a great way for adults and children alike to let their hair down, the event was also a great training exercise for the many athletes who attended. 25 year old Chloe Cox, a Scottish half-marathon runner, recorded the fastest time of he day, crossing the finish line after an impressive 41 minutes. Ian McEwan, a sprinter from Glasgow attending the event for the second time, said, ‘I really enjoyed it, especially the bouncy castle obstacle. It was good training for me’.
The run was truly international with two runners from Chicago, one from Canada and another from Northern Ireland all joining in. ‘Rob’ Roy Davidson, the winner of this year’s Total Wipeout also completed the challenge in his trademark kilt.
Organisers are pleased that the day went well, and it is expected that they will exceed their target of raising Twenty thousand pounds.
Organiser Alison Bertram said ‘We hugely appreciate all the efforts our runners and their supporters went to for what is now the fifth outing for Urbanathlon in Scotland. It was a bit windy in places but the runners all did themselves proud and brought a great atmosphere to Holyrood Park. Many thanks to everyone who took part, came and cheered and helped us marshal the 10km route’.
All funds raised will help support those affected by chest, heart and stroke illness in Scotland via research, advice, support services and community groups.
And here are some photos from the event, provided by CHSS Fundraising.