Catholic church anger over abortion figures

By Christine Lavelle

THE Catholic Church says abortion is now being used as an alternative method of contraception among the nation’s school girls.

The warning comes after it was revealed that 71 girls living in the Lothians region aged 15 or under had terminations last year.

The number has reached a five year high, and both the underage pregnancy and abortion rates have risen since the previous year.

While local health chiefs said they are working hard to get the figure down, the revelation has received criticism from the Catholic Church in Scotland.

Spokesman Peter Kennedy said: “The statistics are further evidence of the chronic failure of almost two decades of misguided sexual health strategies in the Lothians. Continue reading

Marathon man runs past his goal

By Christine Lavelle

A DEDICATED Scot who ran 50 marathons in 56 days to raise funds for a cause close to his heart has smashed his goal of raising £25,000.

Mark Cooper, 27, decided to embark upon the 1,300 mile dash across Europe to give back to Edinburgh’s Headway Group, a charity he says supported his family through the loss of his mum Sheila, who died tragically in 1997 from a brain hemorrhage.

The marathon man, from Edinburgh, started running on May 1 in Amsterdam, taking the route through Holland, Belgium, France, before eventually arriving in at his finishing line in Barcelona.

And – however grueling the task was – Mark said there was never a moment when he thought he might have to pull out early.

He said: “There is no way I would have promised something I didn’t think I could deliver.

“The only thing that would have stopped me would have been a broken bone.

“Once you get started, you realise you don’t need to stop, something comes over you and you reach a place where it doesn’t hurt anymore – it’s a mental state.” Continue reading

Scottish university gets tops marks as place to work

By Christine Lavelle

THE UNIVERSITY of Dundee has topped the chart as the Europe’s ‘Best Place to Work in Academia’ – and took third place worldwide.

The eighth annual survey was compiled by The Scientist magazine, and voted for by readers.

Dundee was voted third internationally in a previous poll this year by the same magazine, based on the best places to work for post-doctoral researchers.

Professor Pete Downes, principal and vice-chancellor of the University of Dundee said: “It is extremely satisfying to once again see our international reputation reflected in this poll, which gathers the views of researchers working in major institutions all around the world.

“Dundee has performed consistently well in this poll over several years and it is a reflection of one of our great strengths, as an international centre of excellence in life sciences and medical research.

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Pensioner fights off car jacker

By Cara Sulieman

A PLUCKY pensioner fought off an attempted car jacker after he tried to steal her motor in the middle of a busy street.

The 60-year-old woman was sitting in her blue Peugeot 207 when the man opened the driver’s door and tried to grab her keys just before 5pm on Tuesday.

But she struggled against the attacker, who threatened to hurt her unless she got out the car on Citadel Court in Edinburgh.

The quick witted woman screamed, attracting the attention of her sister who ran over to help chase the man off.

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Knifeman admits sparking four hour stand off with police

The siege on Caledonian Place last year

By Paul Thornton

A MAN has admitted sparking a four-hour stand-off with armed police after going beserk with a knife.

Denim MacLeod, 28, self harmed himself then used a serrated kitchen knife as a weapon to keep police at bay during the incident at his flat in Caledonian Place in Edinburgh.

A neighbour fled the flat in terror but his brave girlfriend stayed with him as police tried to coax him out of the home last August.

Eventually they managed to persuade the “agitated” MacLeod to give himself up and he was arrested and treated for his self-inflicted wounds.

Today at Edinburgh Sheriff Court he admitted a breach of the peace. MacLeod also admitted possession of a hammer during a mass brawl on a separate occasion.

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Killer soldier back in dock

By Paul Thornton

A KILLER soldier behind the death of a young holiday rep in Cyprus which led to British troops being banned from an island has appeared in court after breaking the terms of an order to inform police of his movements.

Justin Fowler, 42, along with fellow former Royal Green Jackets Allan Ford and Geoff Pernell kidnapped and tried to rape Louise Jensen before bludgeoning her to death with an army spade and burying her naked body in September 1994.

The 23-year-old’s battered body – which suffered 15 blows by from the weapon – had to be identified from a silver ring on her finger.

The killing of the Danish tour guide outraged locals and British troops were banned from the resort of Ayia Napa in the wake of the incident.

Despite refusing to give evidence at the trial in 1996, the three men were handed life sentences after being convicted of abduction, conspiracy to rape and manslaughter.

They claimed they were too drunk to know what they were doing. Continue reading

Drunk Dundee art teacher is struck off at GTC hearing

By Cara Sulieman

A BOOZY teacher has been struck off after turning up for work reeking of alcohol on three separate occasions.

Mary Gray had been given three months to prove she was able to bring her drink problem under control, but today education bosses decided she hadn’t made enough progress.

Ms Gray worked at Morgan Academy in Dundee when the alarm was raised after she arrived at the school smelling of booze in 2007 and 2008.

The art teacher – from Dundee – has now gone into counselling for alcohol dependency after the incidents on February 20 and March 21 2007, and March 13 2008.

But today the Disciplinary Sub-Committee of the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) decided that she hadn’t done enough to fight her addiction and removed her from the teaching register.

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