Big Yin reveals he “hated” making latest flick

By Rory Reynolds

BILLY Connolly has revealed that he “hated” filming his latest blockbuster flick, Gulliver’s Travels.

The 67-year-old comedian has described his battle with green-screen technology for his role as the King of Lilliput, adding that his experience on-set was “rubbish”.

Connolly, who has also starred in Mrs Brown and the Last Samurai, said that he is reluctant to star in a special effects dominated film again.

The Big Yin was on the promotional drive for the £100million movie, when he revealed how much he disliked the experience.

He said: “Because Gulliver is a giant, you have to act looking up all the time, and the real actor is over there speaking in a microphone, and you’re going, ‘Jack this, Jack that’ – I hated it. Continue reading

Hardcore music linked to nightclub violence

By Andrea McCallum

HARDCORE dance music has been blamed for violence in Scotland’s nightclubs.

A study of city centre nightclubs found that more fights took place where there were pumping dance tunes.

Researchers spent four months secretly monitoring punch-ups at eight late-night venues.

And two venues playing hardcore dance tracks had more violent incidents than all the other clubs combined.

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Scots courts fail to utilise sex tourism travel ban

By Rory Reynolds

SCOTLAND’S police forces and courts have failed to ban a single paedophile from travelling abroad to engage in child sex tourism.

An investigation by Strathclyde University has revealed that no Foreign Travel Orders were issued last year, which prevent predators from visiting countries plagued by the child sex trade.

However police and prosecutors in England and Wales have used FTOs on 13 occasions since 2007, to stop paedophiles visiting countries such as Thailand and Cambodia.

While at least 17 are currently classed as missing, and are believed to be on the run overseas.

The study, carried out by social work lecturer Beth Weaver, analysed the effectiveness of Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements for keeping track of high-risk offenders. Continue reading

Nursing agencies paid higher hourly rate than First Minister

By Rory Reynolds

NHS boards in Scotland are paying nursing agencies a higher hourly rate than the First Minister in a desperate bid to cover for staff shortages.

Health authorities across Scotland are throwing up to £4,500 per nurse per week at firms supplying temporary nurses in an attempt to keep staffing levels up.

And one trust even revealed that it paid up to £890 per shift for each nurse on public holidays – nearly 10 times the amount that a registered NHS nurse is paid.

It works out at up to £74 per hour for a single nurse and cost the NHS £12.9m last year.

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Environment watchdog uses flights three times per day

By Rory Reynolds

SCOTLAND’S environmental watchdog has come under fire after it emerged that staff took nearly three flights a day last year.

The Scottish Environmental Protection Agency used planes for 536 work-related journeys last year – the vast majority of them return flights – with 389 of those being short domestic trips within the UK.

The government quango also spent more than £500,000 on flights in the last five years, with some tickets costing as much as £3700.

The figures, released under Freedom of Information legislation, come as the SEPA looks to axe around 10 per cent of its staff to cut costs.

The activities of the government agency, which monitors and regulates air pollution, have been branded “absurd” by critics. Continue reading

UFO sightings rocket after MoD shutdown alien hotline

By Rory Reynolds

SCOTLAND saw a massive increase in UFO sightings in the year the Ministry of Defence axed their supernatural investigations department.

New figures released under Freedom of Information Act have shown that reported sightings increased three-fold in the year that the MoD shut down its UFO hotline.

Last year 28 were reported to the MoD while just 10 were received in 2008 and nine the year before.

The calls varied from incidents with obvious explanations – an airborne object near Edinburgh Airport, travelling “at the speed of an airliner” – to more mysterious ones.

Among the calls that defence staff received last year include a man reporting a “bright orange bulb” in the sky in East Kilbride, that “came towards him like a tornado, then disappeared”. Continue reading

Football defeats increase A&E admissions

By Andrea McCallum

HOSPITAL admissions rocket when Scotland’s football teams suffer defeat, according to new figures.

An investigation linking Saturday scores and casualty queues has proven that hospital visits increase when Premier League teams do badly.

The figures reflect hospital admissions in two-team city hospitals like Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee – and show that in one-team city Aberdeen the trend is reversed.

Admissions to A&E units on Saturdays at Scotland’s hospitals were compared to club results over a year.

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Economist suggests independent Scotland would have failed in banking crisis

By Andrea McCallum

A TOP UK economist has claimed that banks would have failed during the banking crisis if Scotland was an independent nation.

John Kay, a member of the Scottish government’s Council of Economic Advisors, said Scotland would not have survived the bail-outs of RBS and Lloyds.

Kay is due to discuss the ideal solutions to the banking crisis to the David Hume Institute in Edinburgh on Tuesday.

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Edinburgh venue evacuated after fire scare

By Andrea McCallum

AROUND a thousand people were evacuated from a popular entertainment venue in Edinburgh – leaving hundreds of Valentine’s couples out in the cold.

The Omni Centre was emptied at around 10.15pm on Saturday night after lights in the main complex overheated and set the alarms off.

Crowds of people poured out into the street and stood for almost an hour while fire crews searched the massive glass complex.

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Fewer females call abuse line in winter

By Andrea McCallum

HUNDREDS of women suffered domestic abuse during the cold snap because they were unable to leave home to call for help.

According to new figures from the Scottish Domestic Abuse Helpline there was a 22 per cent drop in calls during the worst winter on record.

Experts have said the statistics – covering a four week period from Boxing Day – are unlikely to reflect a reduction in the number of assaults.

Instead they could show that the bad weather left vulnerable women trapped.

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