Coathanger statue unveiled

The statue attracts attention on its first day

By Amanda Keenan

A UNIQUE sculpture depicting the crucifixion of Jesus Christ has been put on display in Edinburgh’s Parliament Square.

The 9ft tall piece ‘Die Harder’ was unveiled outside St Giles’ Cathedral by acclaimed sculptor David Mach.

The Fife born artist is best known for his artwork made out of everyday items including coat-hangers, match sticks and bricks. 

He spent three-and-a-half months creating the crucifixion scene through welding together 3000 coat-hangers.

He said: “This work is made of thousands of coat-hangers, we’ve teased the hooks out to points.

“It’s a material I use a lot for sculpture, so we’ve got this ‘pierced Christ’ that appears. It looks like quite a violent image and I wanted to enhance that violence in a way.

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NHS should pay donors for organs

By Cara Sulieman

THE NHS should PAY people for their organs, according to new proposals from a think tank.

The controversial plan comes from a fellow at The Adam Smith Institute (ASI) who believes it would speed up the waiting list for transplants.

Tim Worstall – a fellow with the group – is floating the idea independently of the think tank.

The only country in the world that allows organs to be swapped for cash is Iran.

And it goes against the ethical guidelines set down by the NHS and medical groups said there are “no plans” to change policy.

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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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New PM Cameron arrives in Scotland – by the back door

By Michael MacLeod

DAVID Cameron was forced to scrap plans for a grand public arrival at the Scottish Parliament today as protesters forced him to make his way via the back door instead.

His first official visit to Scotland as Prime Minister was meticulously planned in advance of his meeting with First Minister Alex Salmond.

Arrangements had been made for Mr Cameron’s green Jaguar car to deliver him at the Queensberry House entrance off Edinburgh’s Royal Mile.

But an eleventh-hour change swung into place after noisy crowds of protestors gathered in wait.

None the less, the new PM shrugged off the demo, and laughed:  “I’m making friends everywhere.”
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After-hours booze plan for bar staff is ditched by MSPs

By Michael MacLeod

PLANS to let Scots pub staff drink alcohol after closing time have been thrown out amid fears they could open a loophole in the law leading to illegal “lock-ins”.

The idea was raised in the Scottish Parliament today (Tuesday) by Bill Aitken MSP, who hit out at government “killjoys” for shunning his plan.

Justice secretary Kenny MacAskill said police were already busy enough when pubs close without having to monitor bar staff having a tipple.
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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

Tennent’s backs minimum pricing

By Cara Sulieman

THE Scottish Government yesterday toasted a decision by brewing giants Tennent’s to back plans for minimum pricing on alcohol.

But opposition parties said the glass was remained half empty and called on more to be done to tackle the nation’s drink problem.

Tennent’s said the government’s plans “could be part of the solution” to Scotland’s binge drinking culture.

It comes just a day after figures showing the true extent of Scottish schoolchildren’s relationship with alcohol – with 300 under 16 admitted to hospital with booze-related diseases every year.

The Scottish Government welcomed the move by the Glasgow-based beer makers, saying that Tennent’s had “nothing to fear” over the new proposals.

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Scottish NHS Boards slammed by Ombudsman

By Cara Sulieman

SEVERAL Scots health boards have been slammed by the Public Services Ombudsman over a series of complaints by patients – on the same day that NHS Scotland was revealed as being the least efficient in the UK.

Jim Martin, the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman, has highlighted six cases where complaints were upheld against NHS Boards.

In his January report, which was delivered to the Scottish Parliament today (Weds), Mr Martin said that the cases “speak for themselves in the suffering many of them describe”.

The “stories of inconvenience, pain, distress and suffering” uncovered by the Ombudsman included an elderly woman with dementia who suffered in silence for two months before NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde finally diagnosed her broken leg.

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Health quango back-tracks on external PR contract

By Cara Sulieman

A SCOTTISH health quango has back-tracked on plans to hire an external public relations company after coming under fire from politicians.

NHS Health Scotland put out a tender worth £120,000 for a “public affairs agency” to help them get their message across at parliament.

But last week Labour MSP Richard Baker called for Audit Scotland to investigate the contract as he thought it was a waste of public money.

He said that ministers needed to “make sure they are getting their priorities right” and questioned the value for money of the contract.

And now the quango – responsible for organising national health campaigns – has cancelled the contract, saying very little about their decision only that they had decided to do it themselves.

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Residents use Facebook to start grit campaign

Grit bins lie empty as council's run low

By Cara Sulieman

SCOTS fed up with treacherous road conditions are taking to the internet to vent their anger.

Hundreds of Facebook groups have been set up in protest to the lack of grit across the country – with many encouraging users to refuse to pay their council tax until the streets are save again.

And four Scottish councils have been specifically targeted, with individual groups set up for Aberdeen City Council, West Lothian Council, Fife Council and Midlothian Council.

All four are named ‘Tax Payers for Gritted Roads and Grit Bins With Grit’ – and are calling on the council to sort out the problems caused by weeks of heavy snowfall across the country.

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