Edinburgh facelift project pitches to world business in Cannes

By Rory Reynolds

PLANS for one of Scotland’s biggest urban modernisation projects have been pitched to worldwide business leaders at a glitzy Cannes exhibition.

The massive £850million redevelopment of Edinburgh’s St James Centre will transform the east end of Princes Street and the top of Leith Walk.

As one of the entries in the ‘Spotlight On The Cities’ forum, Henderson Global Investors is hoping to attract big business to back the ambitious project.

Staff from Edinburgh City Council also assisted in pitching the new development to delegates at the MAPIC trade fair.

Myles White, development director at HGI, said: “We were delighted by the level of interest on the part of high quality international retail brands in establishing a presence in Edinburgh. Continue reading

Stressed Scots police took more than 300 years’ worth of time off

By Oliver Farrimond

SCOTLAND’S police officers have taken more than 300 years’ worth of days off since the beginning of 2008 in Scotland – blaming STRESS for the sickies.

The thin blue line shrank even further as colleagues missed some 120,000 days on their beat with stress, anxiety, and other psychological factors being fingered as responsible.

And it has led to calls for the Scottish Government to offer “proper” support to the men and women trying to keep the nation’s streets safe.

According to data obtained through a Freedom of Information request, Strathclyde Police alone took more than 85,000 days off – more than 230 years worth of policing time in one of the UK’s most crime-ridden cities.

Some 36 staff even left their jobs permanently because of stress and anxiety.

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Footballer squaddie injured in roadside blast

By Rory Reynolds

A FORMER professional footballer turned soldier was due to return from Afghanistan last night after being injured in a roadside bomb.

Rifleman David Etale, from Edinburgh-based 3 Rifles, was left unconscious after his back bore the brunt of the blast.

The Kenyan – who now plays for Edinburgh Spartans – told his friends and family he was “recovering well” but could not walk easily, and still has shrapnel lodged in his back.

David is to be taken to a specialist army hospital in the south of England to recover.

On Saturday his side heard that their team mate had been injured the a blast just before their Scottish cup tie match against Forfar, which they went on to lose 1-0. Continue reading

Blind youngster’s festive card to sit on Obama’s mantelpiece

By Rory Reynolds

A BLIND youngster whose life was turned around with help from a specialist school in Scotland is to have his special handmade Christmas cards send to famous folk including Barack Obama and Nelson Mandela.

Nine-year-old Ben Wilson lost his sight and was left brain-damaged after a 16-hour fit when he was just six-months old.

But his proud mum and dad say his life has been turned around after just three months at Edinburgh’s famous Royal Blind School.

Ben won a Christmas card competition to have his design presented to famous political figures, including former US president Bill Clinton.

Staff at the school helped Ben to draw a picture of three snowmen wearing top hats – which will soon also be sitting in the White House. Continue reading

Ceremonial jacket to fetch £60,000

By John Hislop

A ceremonial jacket velvet jacket belonging to Duleep Singh, the youngest son of the legendary last Maharajah of the Punjab Ranjit Singh is to be sold at auction.

The ‘Lion of the Punjab’s coat and will be sold at auction by Lyon & Turnbull on 9 December 2009 along with other Indian artefacts and expected to raise some £60,000.

The jacket is accompanied by a pair of shoes belonging to the Maharajah which are estimated to go for a further £15,000.

Both are examples of the richly embroidered velvets worn by the Maharaja for his formal court events, showing high quality workmanship fit for an Indian Prince

The shoes and jacket were purchased from the Maharajah’s English estate, Elvenden Hall in the 1950’s. Continue reading

Police quiz 61-year-old after woman found dead

By John Hislop

A 61 year-old-man was being quizzed by police last night in connection with the death of a 57-year-old woman.

Detectives said he had been held over the grisly discovery of a body in Stoneybank Drive, Musselburgh.

The scene of the death had been sealed off by police tape with an officer posted on guard outside number 24.

Locals yesterday named the dead woman as Janette Richardson.

Police and ambulance services were called to the house at around 9am on Friday. Continue reading

It’s a blubby birthday as telly fave Lorraine Kelly turns fifty

By Michael MacLeod

BLUBBING Scots telly babe Lorraine Kelly was in floods of tears yesterday as celebrities from across the globe wished her a happy 50th birthday.

Stars including film hunk Gerry Butler, The Bee Gees, Peter Andre and Ricky Gervais sent surprise messages while she presented yesterday morning’s GMTV.

Looking wholesome as ever in revealing tartan dress, the big-hearted Dundee mum couldn’t hold back the tears as youngsters from the Black Watch Army Cadets also passed on their best wishes.

In a morning packed full of surprises, Lorraine was relieved from her usual presenting duties by another TV queen, Paul O’Grady, with the set adorned with balloons.

The camp star leapt onto the GMTV set and whipped off his bowtie, treating Lorraine to an impromptu birthday strip-show.
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Scots star presenter Kelly celebrates 50th with charity gig

By Rory Reynolds

SCOTS sofa queen Lorraine Kelly joins the big 50 club today.

The chirpy TV favourite is still looking good as she enters her 6th decade, as her legions of polling internet fans could attest to.

The Dundee-based veteran presenter has been on the box for as long as anyone can remember, rising quickly from a cub reporter on a local paper to a TV-am telly journalist.

And it wasn’t long before she’d worked her way onto ITV, and even had a hand in helping to launch GMTV despite being in her early 30s.

Now Lorraine is one of Britain’s best-loved presenters, still fronting the early morning news and chat show, while finding time to write two newspaper columns every week and commute home to Dundee. Continue reading

Boyle could lose £5million to online merchandise black market

By Rory Reynolds

SINGING sensation Susan Boyle could lose millions of pounds in revenue to an online black-market for unofficial memorabilia.

The singer’s management are failing to capitalise on an estimated £5million-a-year worth of merchandise – including dog T-shirts, quirky aprons and £1,000 car number plates – as the market for unlicensed souvenirs booms on sites like eBay.

The 48-year-old is expected to sell 400,000 copies of her album, I Dreamed a Dream, in the first week alone.

But fans online were astonished that there is no official Susan Boyle merchandise available, instead only finding unofficial knock-offs.

One wrote: “Has there been any thought as to having some kind of official merchandise that would benefit Susan, like official T-shirts, bumper stickers, etc?” Continue reading

Scots comic’s family blast STV for “dreadful” tribute DVD

By Rory Reynolds

THE FAMILY of Scots comedy legend Chic Murray have blasted STV for attempting to flog an unofficial tribute DVD online – just weeks before their own star-studded version is to be released.

The late comic’s daughter Annabelle – who included tributes from Billy Connolly and Elaine C Smith on the DVD – said she was “horrified” when she found out STV has released a version dubbed “dreadful” by fans.

Annabelle, her brother Douglas and mum Maidie, had been working with Scots publishers Birlinn on a special DVD to celebrate what would have been Chic’s 90th birthday.

She said: “We did a documentary called A World Of His Own in 1998, with a man called Andy Bates, who works with a company called Indigo Television.

“Last year he received an emailed from Ken Maliphant of Alba Home Vision, who told Andy he was planning on releasing a DVD about my dad. Continue reading