Casualties taken to hospital following huge factory blaze

By Shaun Milne

AROUND 70 fire-fighters were still tackling a massive toxic blaze in West Lothian tonight (Thurs) causing fire chiefs to warn residents to stay inside and close all their windows.

The fire broke out at a packaging plant in Brucefield Industrial Park near Livingston around Midday sending huge plumes of thick, black smoke into the air which could be seen for miles around.

Pic: courtesy Lothian & Borders Fire & Rescue

Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service reported having some nine fire crews at the scene assisted by an additional three height appliances.

An incident support unit and senior officers were on scene while one person, thought to have been an employee – was taken to St John’s Hospital in Livingston suffering from reported burns to his arms.

They were understood to work for the sites owners, Amcor Flexibles Limited, but there was no further information available about their condition.

It was understood at least one fire-fighter was also taken to hospital after becoming ill due in the after effects of fighting the blaze which involved various chemicals used in printing and packaging. Continue reading

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First Minister hails Pope’s ‘tremendous’ visit to Scotland

By Shaun Milne

FIRST Minister Alex Salmond tonight hailed the ‘Pope Benedict XVI’s State Visit to Britain as “tremendous” after his journey kicked off in Scotland.

The First Minister, who was presented to His Holiness at the State Reception hosted by Her Majesty the Queen at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in the morning, hailed the start of his visit in Edinburgh as a huge success.

He said: “The public response to the arrival of Pope Benedict XVI in Scotland has been tremendous.

“The excitement of the young people who joined hundreds of pipers for the St Ninian’s Day parade was very clear. Continue reading

Edinburgh pupils overjoyed after surprise meeting with Pope

By Cara Sulieman

PRIMARY school children in Edinburgh got an unexpected meeting with the Pope when he went on an impromptu walk about today.

All 417 pupils at St Peter’s RC Primary School were due to greet his Holiness with a song as he entered Cardinal Keith O’Brien’s house in the Morningside area of the city.

But instead of going straight into the building, Benedict XVI decided to cross the road and meet some of the children and staff from the school, which is on nearby Falcon Road.

Therese Laing, the head teacher at St Peter’s, said the children were “absolutely delighted””by the surprise turn of events. Continue reading

Papal tartan welcome as thousands cheer Pope in Edinburgh

By Shaun Milne

THE POPE arrived in Scotland to be greeted by an adoring crowd of some 125,000 people in glorious Edinburgh sunshine on his first State Visit to Britain today.

It dwarfed protests from less than 100 or so people after flashpoints failed to materialise and mar what turned out to be huge success for the city with coverage of the historic visit beamed to a worldwide audience of around a BILLION people.

One lucky schoolboy found himself being hugged by his Holiness Pope Benedict XVI in an impromptu walkabout in Morningside before lunch, while others revelled in being able to grab just a fleeting glimpse of the Catholic leader.

But in his first speech of the four-day UK wide visit, Pope Benedict XVI made it clear that he wanted to extend “the hand of friendship” to everyone gathered. Continue reading

Sex, lies and points to make as protesters jeer Pope

By Oliver Farrimond

A CROWD of angry protesters directed jeers and boos at Pope Benedict as the papal convoy made its way up Lothian Road in Edinburgh today.

Around 100 protesters greeted the Popemobile, which appeared to visibly accelerate as it moved past the angry crowd.

The protesters – who were moved into a designated “protest pen” shortly before the Papal cavalcade made its way past – waved signs reading “Condoms save lives” and “Papal Bull” and loudly booed the convoy.

Shouts of “Real justice here and now” and “Stop protecting paedophile priests” were directed at His Holiness, who waved back at the crowd seemingly untroubled from the confines of the Popemobile.

As a protective cordon of roughly 20 police officers looked on, other protesters waved blown-up condoms and blew vuvuzelas as the Papal cavalcade made its way past Festival Square. Continue reading

Pope visit sparks Rev Ian Paisley protest in Edinburgh

By Christine Lavelle

THE Reverend Ian Paisley led protests against the Pope’s visit to Britain today.

Rev Paisley, founder of the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster, was in Edinburgh along with 60 ministers from across the UK to voice their disdain for the taxpayer funded State visit.

Mr Paisley –- who sits in the House of Lords as Lord Bannside – held a service in the Magdalen Chapel in Cowgate, where John Knox once preached, and later claimed the visit was against everything the Queen stood for.

He said: “We are here for a very solemn and serious reason today, the whole day is nonsense.

“I faced the last Pope in the European Parliament when two men ran at me with knives and tried to make me a martyr, I decided not to be made a martyr.

“I have just seen the statement made today which says that if you pay £25 to be at the Mass in Scotland your sins will be forgiven.

“No man can forgive sins but Christ himself, it is misleading nonsense.

“I don’t believe the Queen will have decided to receive the Pope in a democratic way, it is against everything she stands for.” Continue reading

Dozen fire appliances tackling major West Lothian blaze

By Shaun Milne

ALMOST 80 fire-fighters were today tackling a massive toxic blaze in West Lothian causing fire chiefs to warn residents to stay inside and close all their windows.

The fire broke out at a packaging plant in Brucefield Industrial Estate near Livingston sending huge plumes of thick, black smoke into the air which could be seen for miles around.

Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service reported having some nine fire crews at the scene assisted by an additional three height appliances. Continue reading