Crackdown on level crossing deaths

By Andrea McCallum

A MAJOR crack down aimed at preventing deaths on Scotland’s level crossing network was launched yesterday.

It comes just months after an elderly couple died in a horrific smash at an unmanned site last September.

Angus MacKay and his wife Margaret, both 81, and Mr MacKay’s brother Donald, 66, were killed at the crossing – which has warning lights but no barriers.

And earlier this month a van crashed into the side of a train near Halkirk in Caithness, on the line between Georgemas and Thurso.

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Biker Danny saddles up for 2010 after injury nightmare

By Michael MacLeod

SCOTS YouTube biker Danny MacAskill is back on his bike after an agonising three months out with a broken collar-bone.

The 24 year-old took the internet by storm last year with a video of his dazzling bike skills clocking over 14 million views online.

He landed high-profile sponsorship deals and even film offers from the US.

But his blossoming career hit the breaks in October when he fell in his hometown of Edinburgh and smashed his neck.
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Builder blames architect for tragic Ben’s balcony fall

By Michael MacLeod

A SHERIFF heading a Fatal Accident Inquiry into the death of a tragic 21-month old boy who plunged from an office block today (Monday) branded designs for the balcony he fell from “imprecise”.

Little Ben McCreath fell to his death on Valentine’s Day in 2006 after he and his mum Louise stopped off at her work in Edinburgh.

Sheriff Mhairi Stephen said the design plans had been left “lying in the ether” as the inquiry focussed on the 15cm space he somehow slipped through.

The firm which built Edinburgh’s Princes Exchange office block, Kvaerner, effectively blamed the designs given to them by architects.
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Scots boost Haiti earthquake aid

By Andrea McCallum

CARING Scots have raised almost £100,000 for earthquake stricken Haiti in just three days, it was revealed yesterday.

Mercy Corps, which is co-ordinating fundraising efforts from its European HQ in Edinburgh, said they had been inundated with offers of help since the quake struck last week.

And they said time was of the essence if they were to help as many survivors as possible.

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Health quango back-tracks on external PR contract

By Cara Sulieman

A SCOTTISH health quango has back-tracked on plans to hire an external public relations company after coming under fire from politicians.

NHS Health Scotland put out a tender worth £120,000 for a “public affairs agency” to help them get their message across at parliament.

But last week Labour MSP Richard Baker called for Audit Scotland to investigate the contract as he thought it was a waste of public money.

He said that ministers needed to “make sure they are getting their priorities right” and questioned the value for money of the contract.

And now the quango – responsible for organising national health campaigns – has cancelled the contract, saying very little about their decision only that they had decided to do it themselves.

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Scottish hospitals throwing away millions of pounds of food

By Cara Sulieman

HOSPITALS in Scotland have thrown away a £6 million mountain of food in the last two years.

Averaging £3 million a year; NHS Boards in Scotland are literally throwing money down the drain as they waste hundreds of thousands of meals a year.

The 14 health boards throw out over 400,000 meals between them annually.

But the figure could be much more – with only five boards able to provide accurate numbers to FOI investigators.

The Taxpayer’s Alliance have branded the amounts “disturbing” and said that whilst some waste is expected, hospitals should do everything they can to reduce the amounts or recycle food that isn’t used.

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