Scottish toxic waste is being dumped on developing nations

By Christine Lavelle

AN investigation has revealed that tens of thousands of tonnes of toxic waste from Scotland are being illegally dumped in Africa and Asia each year.

According the Scottish Government’s environmental watchdog, the offloading on developing countries has been aided by organised crime groups.

It includes broken televisions, microwaves, tyres and contaminated paper from Scottish homes and businesses.

The waste is said to be endangering the health of people in Nigeria, Zanzibar, Ghana, Indonesia, Pakistan and China.

But, in a major crackdown, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) has stopped eight shipments of the illegal trade this year. Continue reading

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Picking up son from Edinburgh Airport cost nearly £1 a minute

By Christine Lavelle

EDINBURGH Airport has been accused of “ripping off” its passengers, after one man was charged £26 to park his car for 27 minutes.

John Hamilton, from Kelty in Fife, said the airport is confusing customers with a confusing new parking system.

The airport brought in a new elite service in July this year, which uses the ground floor of the multi-storey car park being used for short-term stays.

This ‘Fast Track’ area costs £26 a day for customers to have the priviledge of parking a one minute walk away from the main terminal building.

But, Mr Hamilton says the new system is misleading and with the signs being so unclear at the airport, it is had led to more people paying huge sums to park their cars. Continue reading

Sacked driving examiner was told to fail more people

By Christine Lavelle

A DRIVING examiner whose pass rate was deemed “too high” by bosses has told how he was sacked for not failing enough candidates.

Jim Kerr, 61, launched a leaflet protest after being let go by the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) earlier this month.

He said: “I have worked as a driving examiner for 23 years and underwent regular spot checks for quality control purposes.

“My decision to pass or fail was never called into question.”

The problem began when the DSA introduced a new “chi-square” mathematical system which collects pass rates for individual testers, and compares their performance to colleagues at the same test centre. Continue reading

Victim to sue church for counselling – not compensation

By Christine Lavelle

A MAN who claims he was raped by a priest is to sue the Catholic Church – for counselling.

Christopher Williams, 30, says he was abused by a churchman for five years during the 1990s, which started when he was only eight years old.

His abuser has since died, and Mr Williams claims he is not suing for compensation but to get the counselling he needs to get his over the ordeal.

The action comes after Pope Benedict XVI apologised to the victims of sexual abuse.

He expressed his “deep sorrow and shame” over the abuse scandal during his four day visit to the UK, almost two weeks ago. Continue reading

Students could be fast-tracked into second year of univeristy

By Christine Lavelle

STUDENTS in Scotland could be fast-tracked into second year, if they opt to take the new Scottish Baccalaureate qualification.

It is already backed by Mike Russell, education minister, and the procedure could mean big changes for university education in this country.

The University of Edinburgh is the first to announce it will accept the Scottish Baccalaureate as a formal entrance requirement, and students who take the science baccalaureate will be able to skip first year.

Made up of a group of highers, advanced highers and an interdisciplinary project, the Scottish Baccalaureate was an election manifesto pledge made by the SNP government to encourage young people to take sciences and languages to a more advanced level. Continue reading

Finding Nemo a reason for decline in Fish Friday tradition

By Christine Lavelle

SCOTLAND has seen a dramatic decline in the ‘Fish Friday’ tradition, with thousands saying they would not touch fish after watching Finding Nemo.

Eating fish on a Friday used to be seen as an end of the week treat, but a survey has found that only six per cent of Scots regularly uphold the healthy tradition – even though 85 per cent are aware of it.

And, although six out of 10 people across the UK say they are conscious of the health benefits, only 13 per cent opt to feed their family fish on a Friday.

The reasons given for rejecting the long-established routine include a rise in eating out at the weekends, and choosing to order fast food takeaways that are much more widely available now.

In the survey conducted by fish processor John West, 12 per cent of Scots said they did not eat fish regularly because it is too expensive.

But – some reasons were far more bizarre than others. Continue reading