Scottish Enterprise spent £100,000 on hiring celebrities

SCOTTISH Enterprise has splashed out more than £100,000 to hire celebrities such as Fred MacAulay, Jackie Bird and Sally Magnusson to attend business events.

The extravagant spending included £23,500 for former Ryder Cup golfer Sam Torrance to give golf tips to potential investors and £12,000 to comedian Fred MacAulay to act as master of ceremonies at two dinners.

The move has been branded “desperate” by David Whitton MSP, Labour’s shadow finance spokesman.

The quango receives a £276 million budget to help boost economic growth in Scotland.

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Scottish universities spend thousands on honorary degrees

By Clare Carswell

SCOTTISH Universities have shelled out £100,000 for celebrities and other notable people such as American business tycoon, Donald Trump to receive honorary degrees.

Over the past three years, Scottish universities have spent vast amounts of money on travel, accommodation and hospitality for various people they want to award an honorary degree to.

The University of St Andrews has racked up the biggest total, £60,000 including expenses for air fares and hotel accommodation. 

Last year alone, the Fife university spent more than £30,000 towards honorary degrees.  Olympic cyclist Sir Chris Hoy was one of the recipients whose appearance contributed towards that sum.

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Post mortem into children’s deaths sparks warrant

By Michael MacLeod

DETECTIVES were tonight poised to make an arrest over the deaths of three children at a flat in Edinburgh following the results of post mortem.

Examinations by pathologists confirmed the fears of police that the triple deaths were “suspicious” leading to a petition warrant being granted.

Eight year old twins Gianluca and Augustino Riggi and five year-old sister Cecilia were found dead in a flat at Slateford Road in Edinburgh on Wednesday afternoon after fire-fighters attended calls of a gas explosion.
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Russell shrugs off “Minister of Fun” tag over American trips

CULTURAL: Mr Russell (right) is a keen supporter of Scottish tourism

By Michael MacLeod

EDUCATION secretary Mike Russell has been accused of losing focus of the Scottish education system and having “far too much fun” in his job.

The SNP minister was criticised for making transatlantic visits to the likes of whisky events, a golf tour firm and a visit to Apple’s HQ in California.

His travel and engagement diaries were released after a Freedom of Information request by the Scottish Labour party, who said the implementation of the new Curriculum for Excellence should be his priority.

But Mr Russell – who openly blogs online about his globetrotting adventures – defended the visits, most of which came during the USA’s Scotland Week , saying they were to “further Scotland’s interests.”
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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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Thousands of operations cancelled every year

By Cara Sulieman

MORE THAN 600 operations are cancelled in Scotland a week, with a quarter of them being scrapped by the hospital.

NHS Fife chalked up the most, with 146 operations a week being called off.

Just over half of Fife’s cancellations were made by the hospital, and the other half by patients or “other miscellaneous reasons”.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde were next with 99 a week.

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PICTURE OF THE DAY: Cardinal Keith’s kitchen heaven

By Christine Lavelle

SIKH TREATS: Scotland’s Catholic leader rolled up his sleeves and donned a tabard today as he helped out in a Sikh cafe kitchen today. Cardinal Keith O’Brien stopped in at Edinburgh’s Punjab’n Raosi Café – which translates as the Punjabi Women’s Kitchen – in a bid to unite faiths.

Picture by Katielee Arrowsmith
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