Usain Bolt may not run at Commonwealth Games unless tax law changes

Shona Robinson wants to see the exemption extended to the Commonwealth Games

By Cara Sulieman

TOP ATHLETES may chose not to compete at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow because of UK tax rules.

The tax man takes a cut of any sponsorship earned by non-UK resident sportsmen who appear at events in Britain.

Big events like the London Olympics and the World Cup England is bidding for are exempt.

But the Inland Revenue have NOT exempt the Commonwealth Games from the rules – leaving politicians fearing that athletes like Usain Bolt will fail to show.

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Ex-sheriff, 91, says he loves “a bit of fisticuffs” after attack

By Michael MacLeod

A RETIRED sheriff was taken prisoner in his own home while he was robbed of his precious wartime medals.

Thug Michael MacKinnon burst into 91 year-old William Hook’s Edinburgh townhouse and covered the ex-sheriff’s head with a cloth.

But Hook fought back and gave the intruder a black eye, forcing him out his back door where he got stuck in a river and arrested by police.

Speaking of his ordeal sheriff Hook said: “The chap didn’t scare me in the slightest – in fact I like a bit of fisticuffs.”

MacKinnon, 26, came face to face with a different sheriff in court yesterday and pled guilty to assault and robbery charges.
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Architect grilled over balcony gap after Ben’s tragic fall

DIGNIFIED: Ben's parents Ross and Louise leave court

By Michael MacLeod

THE grieving family of a toddler who tragically fell to his death through a gap in a balcony at his mother’s office have been told there was “no reason” for the gap to be there.

Little Ben McCreath was just 21-months old when he plunged 15-feet to his death from the first floor of Edinburgh’s Princes Exchange building, where his mother Louise worked as a part-time receptionist.

Today (Friday) she and husband Ross watched on tearfully during the second day of evidence at a Fatal Accident Inquiry into their son’s death.

They heard the building’s architect Mark McPhillips admitting he made changes to the original building plans, which ultimately proved fatal for Ben.
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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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Licensing laws end 18-year tradition

Peter Swanson behind his bar in Edinburgh

Peter Swanson behind his bar in Edinburgh

By Cara Sulieman

AN EIGHTEEN year tradition is coming to and end as new licensing laws brought in today (Tues) mean stricter rules.

The bar has opened its doors at 6am every morning for shirt workers looking to enjoy a pint after work, but the new legislation means that it can’t be open for more than 16 hours a day.

It has left Peter Swanson, owner of The Gladstones, in Edinburgh with the choice of opening early or staying open later at night.

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Job reject takes on law firms over age “discrimination”

Andrew McSorleyBy Michael MacLeod

A LAW graduate claims he was refused a job because he is a 37 year-old man and not a young woman.

Andrew McSorley is angry that law firms have a “fixation” with employing freshly qualified graduates, rather than older people with more experience.

He claims he is taking on three firms for discrimination and yesterday (Monday) launched a case against Edinburgh commercial legal firm Tods Murray LLP.

Their traineeships are so popular that places for 2011 have already been filled.

But when Mr McSorley applied last year, he claims the firm took three separate letters to give a good reason as to why he shouldn’t get the job.

Now he plans to use statistics to prove he was unfairly rejected, claiming young females have a better chance of securing legal jobs for no apparent reason.

Tods Murray lawyers insist they turned his application down because he did not have a 2:1 degree.
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Mother of dog-bite victim welcomes new bill

Barbara, Jamie, Andrew, Matthew and Craig Osborne

Barbara, Jamie, Andrew, Matthew and Craig Osborne

By Alexander Lawrie

THE mum of a toddler who had his face ripped open by a neighbour’s pet yesterday welcomed a new Bill lodged at the Scottish Parliament demanding improvements to the Dangerous Dogs Act.

Barbara Osborne heard her son’s screams as he was savagely attacked by a dog outside their home in Dalkeith last month.

Five year old Andrew is still recovering and has been left with horrific scars on his face.

And yesterday mum Barbara welcomed the Control of Dogs (Scotland) Bill being presented to the Scottish Parliament.

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Schoolboy tipped as next Apprentice

By Cara Sulieman

A SCHOOLBOY is being tipped as a new Alan Sugar style ‘Apprentice’ after he started a successful business selling exam papers.

Along with a group of friends, he developed a website where pupils across the country can buy and sell their old past papers.

Sold in the shops for an average of £8 – past papers can be a hefty investment for pupils studying for their Standard Grades and Highers.

But thanks to Pursuit UK, they can now grab themselves a bargain by buying used books from older students.

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Prominent SNP professor dies

By Lauren Crooks

A LAW expert and former MEP has died from cancer aged 67, it was announced today.

Sir Neil MacCormick had been battling the disease for the past year and lost his fight for life at his home in Edinburgh on Sunday.

First Minister Alex Salmond led tributes to the professor, a prominent Scottish Nationalist, saying he was “deeply saddened” by his death.

He said: “He was a man of immense warmth, intellect and breadth of knowledge, and Scotland’s public life is greatly the poorer for his passing.”

“Neil sprang from one of Scotland’s leading political families, and was passionately committed to his party and the cause of Scottish independence.

“Yet his approach was always inclusive, and he strongly believed in advancing Scotland’s case by building alliances, and indeed friendships, beyond those of party.

“Neil was a hugely distinguished academic, an outstanding ambassador for Scotland as a Euro MP, but above all a fine human being.

“His latter role was as a Scottish Government special adviser, where he made an excellent and important contribution even during his period of illness. That was the mark of the man.”

As a student at Glasgow University Neil debated with John Smith, Donald Dewar and Menzies Campbell , and even played bagpipes at John Smith’s funeral.

His passing was announced by Edinburgh University, where he worked for 36 years as Regius Professor of Public Law and the Law of Nature and Nations.

He was elected as an SNP member of the European Parliament in 1999 serving until 2004.

But he retired from Europe to return to academic work and was named as Alex Salmond’s special advisor after the SNP victory in 2007.

And in 2002, he was knighted for his academic achievements.

Professor Douglas Brodie, Head of the University’s School of Law, said: “Neil was a valued friend, mentor, teacher and colleague to many people in the world of law and politics.

“His death will bring great sadness to many in the world of education, law and politics and to his many students, colleagues, admirers and friends. He possessed a staggering intellect, great wit and a wonderful, dry sense of humour, but most of all a warmth and spirit that touched all who knew him.”

Prof Brodie added: “Perhaps no other contemporary scholar has influenced so many areas of legal thinking so deeply over such a long period.”

Neil is survived by his wife Flora and three daughters from a previous marriage.

One in ten Scottish lawyers face the axe

By Oliver Farrimond

ONE in ten Scottish lawyers have lost their jobs as a result of the recession.

Leading law firms such as Dundas and Wilson have been forced to cut up to fifty staff at a time as cash flow has dried up.

Jobs have been hit across the profession, with experienced legal experts and trainees alike facing the axe.

There are an estimated 8000 lawyers in private practice in Scotland.

Lorna Jack, head of the Law Society in Scotland, described the situation as “extremely worrying”.

She said: “Members of the Law Society have been telling me to a person that they cannot remember ever being in a situation as bad as this one.”

“This is definitely the worst of any recessions – the money is just not around.”

Prominent law firms Shepherd & Wedderburn and Brodies have also recently announced job cuts, with dozens of staff facing the threat of redundancy.

The collapse of the housing market and the resulting downturn has seen previously healthy sources of revenue completely dry up.

Wealthy clients are resorting to managing their own accounts to save cash, and legal partners are having to bail out firms with their own money.

Jack said: “It’s not unheard of for partners to be asked for more cash to sustain their firms.

“They’re having to make business decisions that they have never had to make before.”

The threat of redundancy facing Scots solicitors is not expected to lift until the economic climate improves.

In the meantime, the Law Society has encouraged lawyers to work pro-bono, or for voluntary organisations in order to maintain their skills.

Special hotlines have even been set up for legal trainees who are fearing for their future.

Jack said that she was “very worried” about trainees who have just started posts at struggling firms.

Trainee solicitor Alistair Wrench, 23, said that it was a worrying time to be training as a lawyer.

He said: “You hope that everything will be fine, but at the back of your mind you do worry that there won’t be a job at the end of it.”

Recruitment companies have also set up special programs to help solicitors re-train to find work in different sectors.

John Denholm, managing director of recruitment firm Denholm Associates, said that a large number of those made redundant could struggle to find work.

He said: “To a lot of them, preparing a curriculum vitae is a complete mystery.”