Activist heading off to Gaza despite being held at gunpoint

Theresa McDermott is planning another trip to Gaza

By Cara Sulieman

A SCOT who had a gun held against her head by an Israeli soldier during a raid on a aid flotilla that left nine dead is getting ready for another trip to Gaza.

Theresa McDermott was on the convoy of six ships taking aid to the war-torn Gaza strip that was stormed by Israeli commandos at the end of May.

The postal worker had a soldier point a gun against her head and threaten to kill her after her ship was boarded by forces as they tried to deliver aid to the blockaded Palestinian strip.

Her boat was near the MV Mavi Marmara which soldiers opened fire on after apparently coming up against fierce resistance from the activists on board.

Despite this, and previous experiences where Theresa has been arrested and jailed by Israeli forces, she is planning another flotilla with the Free Gaza group in October.

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Volcanic ash leaves thousands stranded

All flights in and out of the UK have been cancelled

By Cara Sulieman & Rory Reynolds

THOUSANDS of passengers were stranded at Edinburgh Airport today (Thursday) as volcanic ash moved into Scottish airspace.

Staff at the airport greeted passengers with the news that the eruption in Iceland had sent a mass of ash into the atmosphere, grounding planes across the country.

With little information available, holiday makers and businessmen were trying to find other ways to get to their destination.

Tanya Nixon, 27, and her seven-year-old daughter Alessia Fortunato had travelled from Sunderland to fly with Ryanair to Pisa.

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Sir Robin blasts SFA for no Team GB

By Cara Sulieman

THE SCOTS-BORN mayor of the London borough hosting the 2012 Olympics has blasted the SFA for blocking a British football team.

Sir Robin Wales is furious that there won’t be a UK team taking part in the football tournament saying it would be the only way for Scotland to “be in with a chance of qualifying for something”.

The Kilmarnock supporter is the civic head of Newham, where most of the Olympics main venues are based, including the athletes’ village.

Speaking about the decision to only have English players in the British team, the 55-year-old said: “It may not be popular with everyone but why not have a British football team?

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Sir Harry Lauder’s possessions go under the hammer

By Cara Sulieman

A BOX of treasures that used to belong to one of Scotland’s biggest entertainers is going under the hammer next month.

Fifty of Sir Harry Lauder’s signature possessions including his walking stick, travelling chest, a kilt, sporran and signed photographs were discovered in a dusty attic after 17 years.

The talented comedian, singer and entertainer – who counted Sir Winston Churchill amongst his friends – was born in Portobello.

Two of his great nephews, Harry and Colin Valance, have put the items up for sale on March 6 at Shapes Edinburgh Auction.

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Scottish men look at breasts first

By Cara Sulieman

AROUND half of Scots men admit that they always look at a woman’s breasts before they look at her face.

Those living in Edinburgh are most likely to cop an eyeful with city women boasting an average bra size of 36D.

In Aberdeen women are more petite, with 32A as the average.

But it is Glasgow’s women who are more likely to impress the boys.

Their average size of 36C is apparently “perfect” for 48 per cent of men.

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Clan leader hopes to reclaim ancient territory

By Cara Sulieman

A CLAN chief is plotting to take back land that he claims once used to belong to his family.

Ranald MacDonald, chief of the MacDonald’s of Keppoch branch, is hoping to use an ancient law to regain ownership of the entire area of Lochaber.

And he claims that the law stands in his favour – with the government failing to abolish an Anglo-Saxon system of ownership.

The chief wants to use Ur Duthchas – Gaelic for clan territory – to achieve his aims and has now submitted a petition to the Scottish Parliament in the hope that they will agree with him.

Mr MacDonald became the chief of the clan after a legal battle that he took all the way to the Court of Session in 2004 where the judges decided that he was the rightful successor.

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New school opens to help vets conquer phobias

By Cara Sulieman

A NEW school is opening up to help student vets get over their fears of snakes and rats.

Rising numbers of unusual animals being kept as pets prompted Edinburgh University to set up an exotic teaching facility.

It is estimated there are 100,000 households in the UK with snakes and a further 80,000 with pet rats – all of whom need veterinary care.

But even vets have phobias, and they will be given special one-to-one lessons to help them overcome their fears at The Royal (Dick) School for Veterinary Studies in Midlothian.

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Adventure seekers sign up for army

By Cara Sulieman

FED UP ex-office workers seeking an adventure break from their day jobs were among 1,000 new army recruits unveiled at Dreghorn Barracks yesterday (Weds).

As the force celebrated a 30 per-cent enrolment boost, many of the new troops said they joined to escape the monotony of normal jobs.

Head of the recruitment drive Brigadier David Allfrey said the new soldiers had “a desire for an edgy life, to crave something exciting.”

Among them was Glasgow’s Anthony Murray, who was inspired to enlist after watching Ross Kemp in Afghanistan and seeing coffins coming back from war.

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Susan returns to Scotland after American album launch

By Cara Sulieman

A WINDSWEPT Susan Boyle breezed back into Scotland yesterday (Wed) after making a flying visit to America to launch her debut album.

And with her first disc ‘I Dreamed A Dream’ already going down a storm in the charts, SuBo said the outlook had never looked sunnier.

Sheltering from rain and gales with her trademark hair protected by a hood, she wandered around her locals shops almost unnoticed at first back in her West Lothian hometown of Blackburn.

Sporting a bright red scarf – complete with a badge of her pet cat Pebbles – she was eventually stopped by overjoyed friends and school children keen to welcome the star back home.

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Tokens of diplomatic thanks up for auction



By Cara Sulieman

THEY were symbols of thanks for preventing two countries from going to war over a drunken misunderstanding.

And now the silver punch bowl, cup and salver given to the American admiral who saved the day are going under the hammer in Edinburgh.

Russia and Britain almost went to war in 1904 over the Dogger Bank incident, where a nervous Russian fleet opened fire on British fishing vessels in the North Sea.

But the Americans stepped in and negotiated a truce between the two nations, who were so grateful that they sent gifts.

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