Employers tighten their purse strings during festive period

SOME of Scotland’s biggest employers have lost some of the Christmas spirit as they reveal that they will be making no financial contribution to an office party this year.

A survey has revealed that organisations including Standard Life, Aegon, Scottish Enterprise and Northern Rock will not be funding Christmas parties.

Staff can still organise their own party but they will have to dip into their own pockets.  

Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds say they will only be making modest contributions to the cost of staff parties. Continue reading

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Some-fin special for Christmas

SHOPPERS are being offered the chance to snap up a Christmas present with a little more bite this year – shark diving.

Deep Sea World at North Queensferry in Fife say they are cutting prices in the hope a dive with the feared beasts at Scotland’s national aquarium may hook those looking for the special something.

The aquarium based in the waters if the Firth of Forth is the only place in Scotland where it is possible to get up close and personal with the notoriously feared water creatures.

Adult divers are able to swim alongside three-metre-long sand tiger sharks, giant stingrays and many other sharks, rays and other fish species including angel sharks, tope and bull huss.

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Cash-stapped council scale back Christmas

By Cara Sulieman

A CASH-STRAPPED Scots council are cutting back on Christmas in a bid to save money.

The City of Edinburgh Council has cancelled a raft of events for this year’s festive season including the popular Great Scottish Santa Fun Run.

The major cut backs come as after the council went more than £100,000 over budget on last year’s holiday celebrations.

As part of the cuts, all events that happened in West Princes Street Gardens have been axed.

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Rugby player brings happy ending for new bride

Matthew Gilgore found the ring

By Cara Sulieman

A NEWLYWED who had waved goodbye to her wedding ring forever after losing it during a snowball fight has had it returned to her after a string of lucky events.

Minpreet Jongkees lost her sparkler during a romantic Christmas Day snowball fight on the Meadows with her husband Arjan.

And after two days of scouring the huge area in Edinburgh with metal detecting enthusiasts, she had given up all hope of seeing the special ring again.

But restaurant worker Matthew Gilgore literally stumbled on the band when he was rugby tackled to the ground during a sunny day out.

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Brave Fife Student Ready To Graduate Despite Kidney Failure

Roxan Buys gets ready to graduate next week

By Cara Sulieman

A BRAVE design student is getting ready for her graduation day despite being on kidney dialysis since Christmas.

Roxan Buys, 22, is set to collect her BDes in Product Design from Edinburgh Napier University next week.

With a prestigious design prize under her belt, she should be looking forward to a bright future.

But the student, from Kirkcaldy, has had to hook herself up to a noisy dialysis machine every night since Christmas after her kidneys failed.

Now on the organ donor list, Roxan faces up to three years waiting for a new kidney.

But she isn’t letting her restrictive illness stop her and has passed her course with flying colours as well as managing to keep up her passion for snowboarding.

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Tax body denies action on struggling Scots firms is unfair

By Rory Reynolds

THE government’s tax collector has denied claims that it is forcing firms to the wall after it was attacked for axing struggling Scottish businesses.

New figures have revealed that HM Revenue and Customs forced a Scots firm to close almost every working day for two years for failing to pay their bills on time.

The public body was responsible for nearly a quarter of all corporate insolvencies north of the border in 2008 and caused 212 in 2009.

HMRC has been criticised for refusing to budge on short term defaults on tax payments and urged to ease up on firms that are struggling due to the recession.

One critic said: “There must be thousands of people in Scotland who are out of work right now because of HMRC policies.” Continue reading

Edinburgh man clinches European taekwondo championship

Peter Pryde won the European Veteran Champion title

By Cara Sulieman

A CANCER beating martial arts teacher has clinched a European title after fighting testicular cancer that threatened to ruin his taekwondo career.

Former Hearts FC and Dunfermline Athletic player Peter Pryde became the European veteran champion at finals in Italy earlier this month.

He celebrated the win on his 42nd birthday earlier this month after undergoing radiotherapy for the cancer he was diagnosed with two years ago.

Peter, a joiner at Napier University, has been passionate about the sport for the past eight years after taking it up to keep fit when he retired from professional football.

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