BBC Alba costs £150 per viewer

By Cara Sulieman

BBC SCOTLAND has spent a whopping £30 million pounds on their Gaelic language channel, without knowing exactly how many people are watching.

BBC Alba received the cash while bosses ordered independent auditors NOT to count the number of viewers.

The only figures available for the specialist channel come from the corporation themselves, who admit only 200,000 a week tune in.

This means spending on the channel equates to £150 per viewer.

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Sir Robin blasts SFA for no Team GB

By Cara Sulieman

THE SCOTS-BORN mayor of the London borough hosting the 2012 Olympics has blasted the SFA for blocking a British football team.

Sir Robin Wales is furious that there won’t be a UK team taking part in the football tournament saying it would be the only way for Scotland to “be in with a chance of qualifying for something”.

The Kilmarnock supporter is the civic head of Newham, where most of the Olympics main venues are based, including the athletes’ village.

Speaking about the decision to only have English players in the British team, the 55-year-old said: “It may not be popular with everyone but why not have a British football team?

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Call to pray for police

By Cara Sulieman

A GROUP of policeman think that they can cut crime by getting community groups to “adopt a cop” and pray for them.

The Christian Police Association are urging churches of all denominations to pray for cops all over the country – saying it will reduce crime, ease community tension and protect the boys in blue from temptation.

Harry Pearson, branch leader of Strathclyde Christian Police Alliance, said that it “may well bring tangible results”.

The initiative is part of Coact, a national scheme which aims to build bridges between Christian communities and police across Britian.

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Postcode lottery for heart surgery in Scotland

By Cara Sulieman

MODERN heart surgery in Scotland is only available to a handful of patients outside of Edinburgh because so few surgeons are able to carry out the new process.

By-pass surgery on beating hearts is safer and allows patients to recover in days, but it is rare for patients outside of Edinburgh Royal Infirmary to be given it.

Heart patients in Aberdeen and Clydebank are almost always given older surgery which involves stopping the heart and putting them on a by-pass machine.

Leading experts argue that the newer technique carried a much lower risk of complications such as strokes and memory problems.

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Infamous fraudster Lady Bruce vows to return to Scotland

By Rory Reynolds

THE fraudster ex-wife of a Scottish aristocrat has pledged to return to Scotland on her release from a Texan prison.

Amanda Grimes – who conned victims into thinking she was a Hollywood screenwriter – has vowed to return to Scotland to be with her three children.

The 41-year-old was previously Lady Bruce, after marrying a descendent of Robert the Bruce, in the early 1990s.

Alaskan-born Grimes became one of the most widely sought after con artists after leaving a trail of scams around Europe and the US after she divorced husband Lord Charles Bruce in 1996.

In a behind bars interview with the Austin American Statesman newspaper she revealed that she has been “spending several hours a day writing”, and claims to have even sold the script for a romantic comedy. Continue reading

Cows to face DNA testing to find tastiest beef

By Rory Reynolds

THE producers of Scotland’s most famous beef are to carry out genetic tests in an attempt to rear a ‘superstud’ bull.

The Aberdeen Angus Society has turned to science in an attempt to speed up the length of time it takes to produce top-quality beef.

The society has commissioned the help of two pharmaceutical giants to test a method that could help farmers identify the bulls that produce the leanest calves using DNA.

Experts at Pfizer and Merial are to examine livestock samples, which could also lead to bulls with any physical defects being filtered out.

Ron McHattie, spokesman for the Aberdeen Angus Society, said that DNA testing would mean that the time is takes to produce lean, top quality beef could be rapidly speeded up. Continue reading

Michelle Mone to ‘bulk-up’ for gruelling Arctic adventure after losing six stone

By Rory Reynolds

SCOTS lingerie tycoon Michelle Mone has revealed she’s been ordered to pile on the pounds for a new Arctic TV expedition – just a few years after losing SIX stone.

The Ultimo boss was told that she needed to ‘bulk up’ to prepare herself for the staggering -52C that she’ll encounter on 71 Degrees North.

The 38-year-old will brave 2000 miles of Norwegian tundra with other celebs on the new ITV1 show – tipped to be the next I’m A Celebrity.

But medics have told Michelle that she will lose at least a stone while on the show, and urged her to stop taking the herbal diet pills TrimSecrets, which she devised herself.

The Glasgow-based entrepreneur, who will travel to North Cape, the most northern point in Europe, admits she has struggled to over-eat after dropping from 17st to 11st in recent years. Continue reading

Politicians criticise National Galleries’ Vettriano snub

By Rory Reynolds

THE National Galleries of Scotland is under pressure to display controversial artist Jack Vettriano’s work after he was honoured as this year’s Great Scot.

As one of Scotland’s most successful artists, his work is owned by Jack Nicholson, Robbie Coltrane and Sir Alex Ferguson, as well as holding the record for a painting sold at auction.

However NGS has said it has no plans to buy or stage a display for any of the 58-year-old’s works, leading to critics accusing the galleries of being snobbish.

Now politicians have urged the public body showcase the Scots-Italian’s work, with one saying he is “the most popular Scottish artist who has ever lived”.

Last week the self-taught artist fought off competition from author Ian Rankin, rock star Sharleen Spiteri and TV presenter Kirsty Young to win the award for an “outstanding contribution” to Scots culture. Continue reading

Pensioner left out in cold by ambulance

Betty Henry with her husband John at a wedding last year.

By Cara Sulieman

A PENSIONER was left in the freezing cold waiting for an ambulance after tripping and breaking her ankle, despite passer bys making SIX 999 calls.

It was over an hour before help finally arrived for 75-year-old Betty Henry, who had just got off the bus before tripping on a pothole on Clermiston Road in Edinburgh.

Members of the public who rushed to her aid were repeatedly told by the ambulance that it was not “an emergency”, despite the fact that the usually active pensioner could not move and started to shake in the cold.

Meanwhile, Mrs Henry’s daughter Barbara Balfour, was waiting to hear which hospital her mum would be taken to before setting off from her Haddington home.

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Fans queue in the rain for coveted T in the Park tickets

Left to right Mari Bell, 16, Blair Thomson, 17,David Collins, 17, Sophine Myles, 17, Alex Heriot, 17.

By Cara Sulieman

THESE desperate music fans queued for hours in hail and pouring rain today (Fri) to get their lucky hands on the first T in the Park tickets – shortly before Scotland’s biggest music event announced it had SOLD OUT.

All briefs were gone within an hour and a half, making the Thursday night wrapped in blankets and huddled under umbrellas during freezing weather worthwhile for those lucky enough to get them.

But their spirits were raised when Ripping Records on South Bridge – which could easily have been named ‘Dripping’ Records because of the rain – opened half an hour early to start selling the coveted tickets to drenched fans.

With a line up boasting US rapper Eminem alongside British band Muse, around 200 fans didn’t want to risk missing out on the music festival at Balado this year.

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