Victory for freedom of information

By Cara Sulieman

SCOTTISH ministers have backed down in their bid to stop the country’s information commissioner from accessing their files.

Lawyers for the government were due to appear in court to challenge the powers of Kevin Dunion.

They wanted to stop him from accessing their files, which in an important part of his job.

But they abandoned the case at the last minute and Mr Dunion has dropped his request for the information.

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Council blunder plunges residents into the red

By Cara Sulieman

A COUNCIL cock-up left many residents out of pocket when their tax payment was taken out of their bank account two days early.

Edinburgh City Council said that they are investigating the blunder, which saw more than 5,000 people who pay by direct debit affected by the “administrative error”.

Today (Mon) was pay day for many residents in the city meaning the extra bill – which was taken out on Friday – would have plunged them into the red and left them hit with banking fees.

A letter apologising for the mistake has been sent out, and the local authority have vowed to pay any charges that residents incur.

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Group petition for law to stop future Brandon Muir cases

By Cara Sulieman

A GROUP set up in memory of Brandon Muir are to have their child protection petition heard before a committee of the Scottish Parliament.

Calling on the government to set up a Safe Guardian scheme, they hope that children who are suffering from suspected abuse can stay with a safe family member while social services investigate.

RealJustice4Brandon claim that Brandon’s life might have been saved if he had been able to stay with his grandparents instead of returning to his mother’s house.

The tragic tot from Dundee died from a ruptured intestine just hours after his mother’s boyfriend, Robert Cunningham, assaulted him.

Allan Petrie from the campaign group hopes that the petition – which will be heard by the Public Petitions Committee on December 1 – will bring in a law to help protect Scotland’s children.

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Smelly bus stops hit the capital

Scratch and sniff bus stop

Scratch and sniff bus stop

By Cara Sulieman

NOT for nothing was Edinburgh once dubbed Auld Reekie.

With the ongoing bin strikes seeing stinking rubbish littering the streets, and rush-hour traffic clogging the roads and filling the air with fumes, a chance of a minute’s solace would sure come as a breath of fresh air.

Now commuters can do just that after two busy stops in Edinburgh were both fitted with unique push and sniff advertising boards, allowing them to enjoy a waft of the countryside on their way to work.

The new ads have been installed by Scotch Whisky Experience who are promoting a new sense room attraction at the museum.

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Little girl reunited with her pet cat

Heather and Bo

Heather and Bo

By Cara Sulieman

A LITTLE girl who lost her pet cat on the same day as her doting granddad’s funeral has been re-united with the wayward kitty after a frantic fortnight long search.

Heather Wilson, five, was left distraught when Bo disappeared the same day that Barrie Wilson was laid to rest.

It was a double blow because he was the one who gave her the pet as a birthday present.

But a fortnight later the moggie turned up at the Scottish SPCA centre in Dunfermline in Fife where staff were able to track him back to the Wilson family for a surprise reunion.

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‘Heather the weather’ goes green 031

By Karrie Gillett

YOUNG people are being urged to go green when considering which career path they choose to take in life.

A new initiative is encouraging job seekers to look in the environmental sector – with more staff needed to respond to the fight against climate change.

And the campaign was backed by TV’s Heather Reid – who landed a job as a BBC weathergirl after finishing her degree in physics.

Yesterday, speaking outside Holyrood, ‘Heather the weather’ said she got involved in the Careers Scotland drive because of the relationship between weather and climate change.

She said: “Weather is obviously so closely linked to the environment and I have always been interested in how our weather is going to change over the next couple of decades because of global warming.

“Young people are the next generation and they are going to solve some of the problems that we have created.

“Hopefully this initiative is going to widen that and build on those opportunities that we already have.”

Jobs that are being offered for green-minded youngsters include turbine engineers for wind farms, to traditional jobs like plumbers.

Alex Blackwood, head of key labour market services at Careers Scotland said some tradesmen would need a new type of skill-set to match the renewable fuels that will be burning in the future.

He said: “We’re launching the initiative because we estimate that there will be a further 50,000 jobs in this area within the next ten years and we need people to fill these jobs.

“At the same time, it’s about a government policy to make a difference to our carbon footprints. 

“We need people to work in these areas so that we can make a difference.”

The campaign is being called The Path is Green (tp:g) and aims to highlight the 80,000 jobs already available in Scotland in industries such as recycling and conservation.

And the crusade is going online with advertising across social networking sites to let young people know what qualification they will need before getting involved.

Speaking at the launch, a 25-year-old mechanical engineer revealed the challenges involved in generating renewable electricity from ocean waves.

Ros Hart – who works for Pelamis Wave Power – said: “It’s good to be involved in something that is making a difference and changing the world for the better.

“In my job, I’ve also been lucky enough to work in other countries. Wave power is a brand new area of engineering and every day there are new problems to solve.”

The scheme launched by Careers Scotland – part of the new Skills Development Scotland Organisation – was backed by Enterprise Minister Jim Mather.

He said: “The global challenge to tackle climate change brings many opportunities for rewarding careers.

 “Our huge renewable potential means Scotland will be at the forefront of the green energy revolution, bringing tremendous opportunities for people to work in this high profile industry

 “Working in renewables will not only give you an exciting and varied career, you’ll be helping our economic recovery and helping to save the planet.”