Scottish government pledges £1 million to Scottish Fringe performers

By Oliver Farrimond

SCOTTISH artists at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival received a massive boost yesterday as the Scottish Government pledged £1 million to showcase their work.

The fund, which is spread over the next two years, will help Scots performers develop and showcase their work at the world-famous festival this August.

The Edinburgh Festival Expo Fund will promote the work of talented Scots performers through the “Made in Scotland” programme to an international Fringe audience.

The fund also provides for artists to tour their performances internationally following a successful run during the Fringe.

Mike Russell, Culture Minister, said: “Expo is about recognising exceptional creative talent that exists in Scotland and giving it an international platform to excel on. Continue reading

Record number of penguin chick birds at Edinburgh Zoo

By Oliver Farrimond

PENGUINS at Edinburgh Zoo have p-p-p-picked up some new arrivals – 30 newly-hatched chicks from a record-setting clutch of 112 eggs.

It is the first time the zoo’s famous colony of gentoo penguins have laid more than 100 eggs, a symbolic figure in the centenary year of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland.

There are more than 80 eggs still to be hatched, and the head keeper of penguins put the springtime clutch of hatchlings down to a rise in loved-up, first-time penguin couples.

It was the arrival of three king penguins from a 1914 expedition that gave the zoo its global reputation, as these were the first penguins ever seen outside their South Atlantic homeland.

Penguins remain one of the most popular attractions at the zoo, with the daily “penguin parade” continuing to attract large numbers of visitors to this day. Continue reading

Teacher struck off for ripping up documentation



A SCOTS teacher has been struck from the register after ripping up official documentation sent from the industry’s governing body.

Anthony Notman, 46, from Stranraer, Wigtownshire, was convicted of a minor assault charge in 2007 and was subsequently contacted by the General Teaching Council Scotland (GTCS) for verification of the conviction.

But Notman refused to accept the delivery of any of the six official GTCS letters, eventually resulting in him tearing up the final communication and throwing it into a rubbish bin.

The act was witnessed by a Sheriff Officer who had been charged with delivering the letter.

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House prices fall while sales rise

By Lauren Crooks

FALLING Scots property prices have sparked a surge in people looking to bag new homes at bargain prices.

While actual prices have fallen 4.3 per cent in recent months sales themselves have risen by around the same at 4.2 per cent.

The drop in house price across February, March and April affected some areas more than others.

Dundee was hit worst, with a drop in prices of 17.5 per cent, while the north of Scotland (excluding Aberdeen) fell by 16 per cent.

The south-east and south-west were best off – but still had a fall of 1.4 and 2.5 per cent respectively.

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Archbishop Tutu to speak at General Assembly

Church of Scotland Emblem


NOBEL Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu has been invited to speak in front of the Church of Scotland’s annual General Assembly meeting.

The veteran African churchman is due to attend the last day of the Edinburgh conference as a guest of former-Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament George Reid.

Mr Reid currently holds the post of Lord High Commissioner, otherwise known as the Queen’s representative to the Assembly.

Archbishop Tutu is expected to fly into Scotland on May 26 before spending the night at the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

He will then address the Kirk’s annual gathering the following day.

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Traffic wardens to learn lifesaving techniques

Andy Butcher (warden) Claire Tervit (Instructor)


TRAFFIC wardens and Blue Meanies are usually the bane of driver’s live.

 But under new plans the loathed enforcers could be the difference between life and death.

Parking attendants are to learn how to treat people in emergency situations with basic first aid techniques such as mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and CPR.

Wardens in Edinburgh, who are the first in the UK to participate in the scheme, have requested the course after two recent incidents where drivers suffered heart attacks at the wheel, then subsequently died.

Around 60 of Edinburgh’s 140 wardens have now volunteered for the new initiative which involves a weekly two hour session run by qualified instructors.

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Mugging victim flees into North Sea

Tayside Police Logo


A MAN was forced to flee into the freezing North Sea after being mugged by two thugs.

The 29-year-old victim was assaulted and robbed before making his escape by jumping into the nearby harbour area, in Broughty Ferry, Dundee.

The robbers then made off in the victim’s red-coloured Vauxhall Astra following the attack at around 10pm on Thursday.

Once the robbers had left the scene, the shaken victim emerged from the freezing waters and sought help from passers-by.

He was then taken to Ninewells Hospital suffering from mild hypothermia and minor injuries.

The two attackers are both described as being in their 30s. The first is six feet tall and has short fair hair, a pale complexion and at the time was wearing a dark blue boiler suit, with the top half tied around his waist, and a white t-shirt.
The second man was about five feet six inches tall, had tanned skin, short dark hair and was skinny. He was wearing a brown jacket and pale jeans.
Police are appealing for witnesses who were in the Broughty Castle and its foreshore area on Thursday night to come forward.

Shackled doctors demand release of imprisoned Indian GP

By Scott Shepherd

A GROUP of campaigners chained themselves together yesterday to campaign for the release of a top doctor jailed for speaking out about poverty.

Doctor Binayak Sen worked with the poorest people in central India for decades but was thrown in jail two years a go for speaking up for his patients.

The shackled campaigners – who included MSP and GP Richard Simpson – dressed in white coats and masks outside the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh.

Amnesty International’s Scottish programme director John Watson said: “Doctor Sen has worked with the poor people in central India for decades. He has won international acclaim and awards.”

The organisation considers his sentencing to be based on ‘trumped up charges’ that are related to his political work. Continue reading

Research into police trauma

ACTR team L to R: Louise Imray, Prof David Alexander, Susan Klein


RESEARCH into how Scots police officers cope with the pressures of the job is to be carried out in a unique project.

Boffins at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen are all set to undertake a two year assignment to find out how cops cope with the exceptional demands of their day-to-day jobs.

The academics from Aberdeen’s Centre for Trauma Research (ACTR) hope to identify factors associated with the ‘wellbeing’ and ‘resilience’ of the officers and their ability to cope under the extreme pressures the job brings.

The £70,000 study will involve serving officers from Grampian Police and Fife Constabulary and follows on from previous research carried out by the university.

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Brave troops caught up in political row

45 Commando Badge


A POLITICAL row has erupted after a Scots councillor demanded his local marine unit be saluted for their bravery.

The Royal Marines of Arbroath’s 45 Commando has just returned from a dangerous six-month tour of Afghanistan.

A motion was laid before Angus Council by the SNP’s Donald Morrison to honour the brave troops’ professionalism and heroism at a meeting on Wednesday.

But the idea has ignited a fierce cross-party battle between the Nats and the ruling Angus Alliance.

Ex-RAF serviceman and councilor Peter Nield has blasted the plan because it “does not recognise those servicemen and women from Angus who are in other theatres of active service”.

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