Families allowed on Fife beach awash with radiation

THE clean-up of a Fife beach has been halted putting families at risk of potentially lethal radiation.

For years radioactive waste has been found at the beach in Dalgety Bay which is thought to come from the luminous dials of wrecked warplanes.

Defence Estates, the MoD’s land agents, began removing the material two years ago after experts warned it posed a serious risk.

But now the clean-up has been halted and no agreement has been reached with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) to resume, despite warnings the problem is set to get worse. Continue reading

Scottish soldiers join forces with Afghan National Police

2 Scots joined forces with the Afghan National Police to drive out insurgants

SCOTTISH soldiers joined forces with the Afghan National Police to claim back a huge part of the country from the Taleban.

In just a few hours they drove out insurgents, arrested key leaders of the terrorist group and seized a massive haul of drugs and weapons.

Operation ZMARAY SARAK 5 saw three security forces come together, including the 2 Scots the Royal Highland Fusiliers.

Three drugs runners were captured along with 250 kilogrammes of heroin in the first part of the process to clear the area around Lashkar Gah in Helmand Province.

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Scots war hero Mark Wright to feature in TV show

Mark Wright on patrol in Afghanistan

By Cara Sulieman

THE STORY of a Scottish soldier who received the George Cross after his death in Afghanistan is to be told on television.

Mark Wright was injured in a minefield in 2006 and will feature in a documentary about George Cross Heroes, based on a book by deputy Tory chairman Lord Ashcroft.

The Discovery Channel programme is being made to tie in with the opening of a new gallery at the Imperial War Museum in London which will feature Lord Ashcroft’s collection of George Crosses and Victoria Crosses.

Corporal Wright’s father Bob runs the Mark Wright Project in Dalkeith with his wife Jem and he went down to London to be interviewed for George Cross Heroes.

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Gulf War tank just £12k on MOD’s very own eBay

By Michael MacLeod

A TANK which went up for public auction on the internet has sold for more than twice its estimated value.

The Soviet-designed T55 Battle Tank was captured from the Iraqi army by UK Armed Forces during the first Gulf War.

The four-tonne military machine was valued at just £5,000 when it first went under the hammer last week.

Now, after a frantic flurry of bidding, an unnamed war memorabilia collector has snapped up the huge vehicle for £12,500.

The seller, Paul Southerington, has been the MOD’s only authorised vehicle and equipment dealer for eight years.
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Proud mum welcomes back soldier son

By Paul Thornton

A PROUD mum has spoken at her relief of seeing her soldier son return home safe and sound from Afghanistan this week – as she prepares to wave her other boy off to the same deadly war zone.

Linda Wight, 59, welcomed home son Chris after the 28-year-old came back with B Company 1 Scots as part of the 3 Rifles Battle Group which has just endured the bloodiest losses since the start of the campaign.

Chris returned just before the last of the battle group arrived home last Wednesday, with the force suffering 30 losses during their six month tour.

It was the SIXTH time Linda has welcomed a son home, with Chris also completing two earlier tours of Iraq and older brother Neil having come back from three visits to the Gulf.

But –with uncertainty hanging over where Catterick based Corporal Neil, 33, will be posted next – Linda insists that it never becomes any easier to say goodbye to her boys.

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Missing Holyrood Items Include Mass Storage Devices

By Andrea McCallum

THE SCOTTISH Government has had more than 1,000 security passes, 27 laptop computers, 20 BlackBerry devices – and a banana – lost or stolen over the last five years.

Figures revealed that memory sticks, hard drives and PC base units have also gone astray since 2005 – as well as 12 apples and a business suit.

And now the loss of mass data storage devices has raised fears over the possible threat to personal privacy and organisational security.

Tory justice spokesman Bill Aitken said: “Things have indeed come to a pretty pass when even the corridors of power are not immune to the acts of criminals.

“At the same time, it goes without saying that some of our essentially high paid civil servants could take more care of their property – especially taxpayers’ property.”

Other items reported lost or stolen include a guillotine, a jar of coffee, a kettle and a bottle of champagne.

Independent MSP Margo McDonald said: “Even a small number of lost security passes falling into the wrong hands could allow a more systematic theft to be carried out.”

She added that the losses “warrant some kind of investigation into the use of equipment like this”.

Public sector organisations have faced repeated criticism over losses of data and the potential risk to personal security.

NHS Grampian was censured by the Information Commissioner’s Office in September last year after three separate incidents.

Personal data of 200 patients and staff was found in a confidential waste bag, a laptop holding personal details of 1500 patients was stolen and an email containing sensitive personal information was distributed.

Memory sticks were banned by NHS Lothian after they lost a device storing 127 patients in June 2008.

And a Royal Navy officer from the Ministry of Defence was robbed of a laptop which contained the personal details of 60,000 Scots in January 2008.

Green MSP Patrick Harvie said: “The loss of potentially sensitive data relating to people or to policy decisions is a serious concern.

“Everyone is aware of high-profile data losses of this nature and the Scottish Government needs to be vigilant.”

LibDem justice spokesman Robert Brown said the level of lost or stolen items seemed “very high”.

He added: “Of course there are people in and about in terms of visitors and staff and contractors so to that degree I can understand how it can happen.

“But it does sound as though there needs to be tighter regulation on what people do with their laptop after hours.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The government takes the loss or theft of items from its buildings very seriously and has robust guidelines to help ensure items are kept secure.

“With regard to security passes, the percentage lost or stolen has halved since 2005.

“We continue to work to achieve the highest levels of security and work is under way to improve the security incident management process.”

Scots troops ready for challenge in Helmand

By Rory Reynolds

STANDING proud and tall in his regulation issue desert combats, Shaun Garrett checks the contents of his army rucksack one final time, handling the gas mask, rations, and weaponry that could very well help keep him and his colleagues alive.

It won’t be lost on some, however, that while this strapping lad from the tiny port town of Stranraer may be old enough to fight and should fate decide, die for his country, at just 17-years-old he isn’t yet old enough to buy a farewell round.

He doesn’t turn 18 until Saturday, his birthday.

By then he’ll be in Afghanistan, the babe of his unit, after the young private signed up 10 months ago, travelling from his Wigtownshire home to Edinburgh to join the Royal Scots Borderers, known as 1SCOTS.

Despite being the youngest member of the battalion, he insists he is ready for Afghanistan, as he and his colleagues stowed their gear ready to fly out to Helmand today. Continue reading

UFO sightings rocket after MoD shutdown alien hotline

By Rory Reynolds

SCOTLAND saw a massive increase in UFO sightings in the year the Ministry of Defence axed their supernatural investigations department.

New figures released under Freedom of Information Act have shown that reported sightings increased three-fold in the year that the MoD shut down its UFO hotline.

Last year 28 were reported to the MoD while just 10 were received in 2008 and nine the year before.

The calls varied from incidents with obvious explanations – an airborne object near Edinburgh Airport, travelling “at the speed of an airliner” – to more mysterious ones.

Among the calls that defence staff received last year include a man reporting a “bright orange bulb” in the sky in East Kilbride, that “came towards him like a tornado, then disappeared”. Continue reading

MOD should slash top brass officers to fund frontline troops

By SHAUN MILNE

A former Government minister is calling on the MoD to axe its senior military commanders by at least half to free up millions of pounds for front-line troops and their families.

Written answers to a series of Parliamentary Questions in the House of Lords reveal that a salary pot of £6.762 million is shared between 47 military chiefs.

A further £2.656 million has been spent on official residences that go with the posts for 19 senior top brass.

As well as the salaries exceeding £100k each, further associated expenses for ‘entertaining’ is costing the taxpayer around £77,000 a year.

Now there are calls for Lieutenant Colonels, Admirals and Generals to fall on their swords to free up cash for frontline staff. Continue reading

FLYGLOBESPAN: Bust airline ‘owed’ £30 million by credit card firm

Bruce Cartwright

By Cara Sulieman

SCOTS travel giants Globespan went bust despite being owed around £30 million from a credit card processing company, it was revealed last night.

Administrators said they believed a firm called E-Clear owed the firm around £30 million – but about half of it would now be claimed back by stranded customers.

Bruce Cartwright, partner at administrators PricewaterhouseCoopers, said that people who had booked a flight with their credit card would be able to claim the money back.

But for others, including the hundreds of staff, there seemed little hope of anything good emerging from the financial disaster.

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