Nation being given chance to vote for their favourite place to have a cuppa

By Amanda MacMillan

AS the nation celebrates National Cupcake Week the search begins for Scotland’s best cafés.

Visitors and locals alike are being given the chance to nominate their favourite place to go for a cuppa and a slice of cake as part of VisitScotland’s Café Days promotion.

The initiative is part of Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink and aims to celebrate the wealth of great cafés in the country.

One of the first cafés to be nominated is the Beach House Café in Portobello, Edinburgh, which offers many homemade delights to tickle your sweet tooth.

Jonathan Bendit, owner, said: “We are delighted to find out that we have been nominated. We did not have a clue.

“Since we opened up in 2008 we have seen a considerable rise in people coming in for a cup of tea or coffee and a slice of cake.

“People like places to come and just sit and blether with their friends. Continue reading

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Car clubs set to expand across country according to new report

By Amanda MacMillan

THE FUTURE of car clubs in Scotland looks bright, according to a report published yesterday (Mon) which points them in the right direction for expanding across the country.

The Transform Scotland Trust has published ‘Developing Car Clubs in Scotland’ which describes the benefits of the car pooling service.

The report also says that if action is taken now, car club membership in Scotland could boom from 3,500 today to 25,000 by 2014/15.

Professor Stephen Stradling, chair of the Transform Scotland Trust, said: “Our research points the way forward for car clubs to become a reality for people across Scotland. Continue reading

Cardinal says Pope did all he could after child abuse scandal

By Christine Lavelle

SCOTLAND’S most senior Catholic says the Pope’s visit to the UK will be tainted by the ‘church cover-up’ child sex-abuse scandal.

Speaking ahead of the Papal visit later this week, Cardinal Keith O’Brien said he believes Pope Benedict XVI handled the scandal in the only way he could – by saying sorry.

It has been reported in the past that the Pope played a leading role in a systematic cover-up of child sex abuse by Roman Catholic priests.

In 2001, while he was a Cardinal, he issued a secret Vatican edict to Catholic bishops all over the world, instructing them to put the Church’s interests ahead of child safety.

And, more recently, the Catholic Church has been rocked by fresh allegations from a Belgian commission looking into sexual abuse by Catholic clergy, which says it has received testimony from hundreds of victims. Continue reading

Couple changed to offers UNDER after difficulty selling flat

By Christine Lavelle

A COUPLE desperate to sell their one-bedroom flat before getting married have been forced to change their asking price to ‘offers UNDER £159,000’.

Duncan Hall, 33, and Laura Jack, 30, did not receive a single inquiry about the Edinburgh property, after putting it on the market in the traditional offers over style.

And although recent reports suggest that the housing market in Scotland is back on-the-up, the soon-to-be married couple say it has been a struggle just to attract viewers.

They decided the best way to shift it would be to encourage buyers by dramatically changing the wording – and the price. Continue reading

Father pays tribute to Commonwealth champion daughter

By Amanda MacMillan

THE father of the former Scots Judo Champion who died suddenly while serving in the Army in England has said he “couldn’t have asked for a better daughter.”

Ian Hart, 60, paid tribute to his daughter Corporal Stephanie Hart who died aged 29.

Miss Hart, originally from Sighthill in Edinburgh, won a bronze for Scotland at the Manchester Commonwealth Games in 2002 before signing up for the Army shortly before the outbreak of the war in Iraq.

She was serving in Aldershot, Hampshire with the 10th Queen’s Own Gurkha Logistics Regiment when she passed away on August 28.

Her death took place off barracks. Continue reading

Scottish economy boost thanks to Spanish investments

By Christine Lavelle

SCOTLAND’S economy is to receive a major boost over the next two years after Spanish power giant Iberdrola announced it will be investing £2.7 billion in businesses here.

Iberdola, owner of ScottishPower, has more than 1,800 suppliers in Scotland already, including Scottish Coal.

Senor Ignacio Galan, chairman of Iberdrola, said: “In the coming years, Iberdrola will intensify its firm commitment to Scotland.

“We plan to make investments in the United Kingdom of £4 billion in the 2010-12 period, two-thirds of which will go to Scotland. Continue reading

Man who died in Borders car crash named

Andrew McLean died in a car crash in the Borders

By Cara Sulieman

A 22-YEAR-OLD man has died in a crash after colliding with an oncoming car.

Andrew McLean was the driving his Vauxhall Nova south on the A701 in the Borders when he collided with a Peugeot 307 that had been travelling in the other direction.

Today his parents Michelle Denny and John McLean were too upset to talk too much, just saying that they are “united in grief”.

The accident happened just before 1.30pm on Saturday half a mile north of the junction with the A72 in Peebleshire near Mountain Cross.

Continue reading