Seal skin ban halts sale of traditional sporrans

The traditional sporran is having to change as new laws ban seal skin

By Zoe Keown

ONE OF the first words that comes to mind when you think of the Scottish sporran is traditional.

But as an EU ban on the sale of seal skin comes into play, the traditional make up of this Highland accessory is about to change, and it is feared that this unique part of Scottish culture will be sent to the history books.

In a battle of tradition over morals, sales of the sporran are already slowing down as alternate versions made with rabbit skin, pony hide and even vegan sporrans – made with mock leather and faux fur – are set to fill the new gap in the market. 

Duncan Chrisholm, an Inverness kiltmaker, and chairman of the Kiltmakers Association of Scotland, said: “It has affected sales as a lot of customers like the more traditional sporran.

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Scotland saw 53 child abductions last year

By Oliver Farrimond and Cara Sulieman

SCOTLAND has seen 53 cases of child abduction in the last year, according to figures released today.

Although the term abduction can cover a range of crimes, the cases include a 14-year-old schoolgirl who was forced into a car and sexually abused before being released by her captor.

Strathclyde Police had the largest number of cases in the last year, with 33 children being held against their will.

Politicians have vowed to do all they can to improve the system, saying that any case of abduction is “extremely traumatic” for the families involved.

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Elderly in care homes given less to spend than criminals

Care home residents are having to survive on just £3.19 a day

By Cara Sulieman

OAPS living in care homes are given less money to spend than prisoners.

Residents who get their essential living costs covered by the state are left with just £3.19 a day for personal items compared to the £3.86 a day inmates receive.

The shocking revelation has been branded “ludicrous” by politicians who are calling for the personal allowance to be increased.

Care home residents with less than £14,000 qualify to have their fees paid by the council but any income they receive has to be handed over to fund their care.

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Number of ‘forced adoptions’ rocket as more children taken into care

More children than ever are being taken into care

By Cara Sulieman

THE NUMBER of parents having their children taken off them and put up for adoption has rocketed in the last three years.

The number of cases where social services have stepped in and forced adoption have doubled in the past three years and a record number of kids have been taken into care.

Figures obtained from Scotland’s councils under the Freedom of Information laws reveal that 203 children were put up for adoption by social workers last year.

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Salmond slammed for “forgetting what he stands for”

Alex Salmond has been accused of forgetting what the SNP stands for

By Zoe Keown

THE SNP has been slammed for forgetting what it stands for after leader Alex Salmond backed out of plans to put Scottish independence to a vote.

Speaking of the party, Salmond’s former deputy Jim Sillars said: “They are extremely competent in handling their briefs but they’ve forgotten that they are supposed to be leading a national movement for independence.”

With the party already slumping behind Labour in the polls, it is also thought the leader’s neglect to highlight the party’s self-rule aims will put the party’s re-election prospects at risk.

Sillars added: “Being competent ministers doesn’t automatically translate into support from the public unless you campaign for what you say you stand for.”

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Usain Bolt may not run at Commonwealth Games unless tax law changes

Shona Robinson wants to see the exemption extended to the Commonwealth Games

By Cara Sulieman

TOP ATHLETES may chose not to compete at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow because of UK tax rules.

The tax man takes a cut of any sponsorship earned by non-UK resident sportsmen who appear at events in Britain.

Big events like the London Olympics and the World Cup England is bidding for are exempt.

But the Inland Revenue have NOT exempt the Commonwealth Games from the rules – leaving politicians fearing that athletes like Usain Bolt will fail to show.

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Scotland’s bird population plummets

By Zoe Keown

SEASONAL Affective Disorder not only affects the human race, it also affects our birds, as new figures suggest that some of Scotland’s favourite species’ are falling prey to the country’s adverse weather conditions.

A new survey conducted by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) has revealed that the number of curlews has dropped by 21 per cent in the last year, and between 1995 and 2008 the drop was as high as 53 per cent.

The survey also found that the lapwing population faced a nine per cent decline in the last year, and have witnessed a 27 per cent drop since 1995.

Birds of prey have also witnessed a sharp decline, with the number of kestrels in particular dropping by 64 per cent in the past year.

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