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

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Pope Benedict XVI lands in Edinburgh for first Papal visit

By Shaun Milne

POPE BENEDICT XVI has arrived at Edinburgh Airport from the Vatican in Rome for the start of his UK wide Papal visit this morning amid brilliant sunshine.

The plane carrying His Holy Father – call-sign Shepherd One – touched down at 10.16am.

As it taxied from the runway a Union Jack and Vatican flag were flown from its cockpit as it was then slowly guided towards the recently refurbished main airport terminal.

Airport workers and members of the public joined waiting media craning their necks for a glimpse of the leader of the Catholic Church as excitement mounted.

The Duke of Edinburgh, who arrived shortly before the plane touched down, waited with Cardinal Keith O’Brien as the Pope emerged at 10.34am. Continue reading

Police appeal for help with mystery injuries

By Cara Sulieman

POLICE are appealing for witnesses after a man was found lying in the middle of the road in the early hours of Sunday morning after a night out.

It is not known if the man fell or was the victim of an assault and Lothian and Borders are hoping that other party-goers will be able to clear up the mystery.

The ambulance service received a call just before 5am this morning when the 37-year-old was found lying in the middle of Holyrood Road, Edinburgh.

He was rushed to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary for treatment – but the emergency services were unable to say what injuries he had sustained.

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Advocates for Animals Step Up Calls For Ban On Snares

By Shaun Milne

ANIMAL welfare supporters are stepping up their call for a ban on snares by launching a new campaign at the Scottish Parliament later this week.

Edinburgh based Advocates for Animals will unveil an 8ft sign reading ‘Welcome To Scotland, A Snare Free Country’ outside Holyrood at 10am on Thursday.

The snares being targeted include wire nooses used by some estates and farmers to catch what they commonly regard as pests such as rabbits and foxes. Continue reading

Miralles widow fears new anti-terror door will “rupture” Holyrood

By Michael MacLeod

A BIDDING war to build a new anti-terrorist security entrance to the Scottish Parliament has been criticised by the widow of the building’s original architect.

Benedetta Tagliabue, widow of Spanish architect Enric Miralles, said the competition to design an extension will “rupture” the £431 million parliament.

She told weekend reports that she did not want “new hands” touching the iconic and controversial designs.
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Controversial bollards “go against” spirit of Scottish Parliament

By Michael MacLeod

FAILING new security bollards around the Scottish Parliament have been criticised by an MSP who says they defy the idea of open parliament.

The SNP’s John Wilson says the £40,000 bollards – which can be automatically lowered into the ground to allow access – are like “a ring of steel.”

He fears the perimeter barrier – designed to prevent terror attacks – sends out the wrong message to the public.

Wilson’s comments come after reports that Holyrood chiefs were left red-faced when three mechanical bollards got stuck when a VIP tried to get in.
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New Survey Reveals Culture of Bullying at Holyrood

By Oliver Farrimond

SHOCKING survey statistics have revealed that more than a fifth of staff at the Scottish Parliament feel that they are victims of bullying or harassment.

Workers at Holyrood were responding to a “staff equality audit”, with many claiming to being subjected to “unacceptable behaviour”, mostly from colleagues.

The survey also shows one in eight staff complaining directly of bullying, with others citing unreasonable behaviour, harassment and discrimination.

The news comes despite repeated efforts by the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body to prevent workplace intimidation and harassment. Continue reading