Famous statue removed for restoration work

By Amanda MacMillan

THE oldest equestrian lead statue in the UK was taken away from its plinth in Edinburgh for crucial restoration work today (Sun).

The famous statue of Charles II sits in the capital’s Parliament Square and depicts the monarch as a Roman Emperor on horseback.

The statue dates back to 1685 and there is also the possibility that it is the work of the Dutch sculptor Grinling Gibbons.

The imposing monument is made of lead and has an internal framework, made from oak and mild steel.

Continue reading

Gamu given good odds for Christmas number one

By Christine Lavelle

X FACTOR star Gamu Nhengu has been tipped to take this year’s Christmas number one slot.

Bookies have been forced dropped the 18-year-old’s odds from 50-1 to 15-1 as scores of people have been placing bets on her to land the festive chart-topper.

Alex Donohue, from Ladbroke’s betting shop, said: “Gamu’s popularity was evident when she was eliminated from X Factor.

“With some key public appearances in the run-up to the festive period, our punters have latched on to the fact that she may well be aiming for the coveted Christmas number one.

“We have seen a lot of money for her, so have been forced to slash the odds.” Continue reading

Senior officers hit back at claims cash is being wasted at HQ

By Christine Lavelle

SENIOR officers have clashed with the Scottish Government over plans to merge Scottish police forces.

The Scottish Government no longer want eight separate constabularies, nor do they want one super-force, but speculation is growing over how many forces this will mean as the policing landscape of the country gets set for a major change.

The Association of Chief Police Officers has hit back at claims that money is being wasted at the eight HQs.

Chief Constable of Dumfries and Galloway Patrick Shearer, president of ACPOS, said: “What should be stressed is that the current structures are delivering a police service widely regarded as one of the best in the world. Continue reading

Scotland named one of the world’s spookiest places

By Christine Lavelle

SCOTLAND has been named one of the spookiest countries in the world, with more than a third of Scots claiming to have seem a ghost.

A poll of 1,000 Scots has revealed that 38 per cent think ghosts exist, and just as many believe they have seen or felt a ghostly presence.

Yvette Fielding, a psychic investigator and presented of Most Haunted, said Scotland is a “hot bed of paranormal activity”.

She has dared people to come ghost hunting in some of the country’s eeriest spots during the run up to Halloween, when the veil between the living and dead is said to be at its thinnest. Continue reading

Convertible car caught fire on M8 east-bound carriageway

By Christine Lavelle

FIREFIGHTERS were called to an incident on the M8 today (Sun) when a car was spotted up in flames.

The Saab Convertible was well alight when the firefighters arrived at the scene on the east-bound carriageway near Livingston, at around 12.45pm.

Three high pressure hose reels and two breathing apparatus were used to extinguish the fire.

A passing police officer spotted the flames and immediately stopped the traffic as a precaution because of the thick black smoke. Continue reading

Divorcing couples told to stay away from ‘bitter twitter’ rows

By Christine Lavelle

AN EDINBURGH law firm has advised feuding couples to stay away from social networking sites until their divorces have been settled.

A family law solicitor at Gibson Kerr said the trend of using websites like Facebook and Twitter to complain about partners during divorce proceedings is a phenomenon which is sweeping the UK and the United States.

Partner Fiona Rasmusen said: “With social media sites like Facebook and Twitter becoming more and more popular, it’s easy for people going through a divorce to be tempted to share their feelings online.

“In some cases they may post information about the stress they’re under, but equally it could be derogatory or unpleasant accusations leveled against their partner. Continue reading

Volume controlled speakers to aid blossoming relationships

By Amanda MacMillan

THE OWNERS of a new Edinburgh bar claim their speaker system could help blossoming relationships.

They say that in many bars and clubs the music can often be too loud, making it difficult talk to friends or try to chat up a new love interest.

But Hyde Out, opening in early November in the Edinburgh Quay area, claims to have found the solution, with a new sound system that can adjust volume levels by detecting the depth and number of people in the area.

Rory McWhirter, director of L.A White Leisure, the team behind Hyde Out, said: “The atmosphere of a bar is extremely important. Continue reading

Popular enclosure in Edinburgh Zoo closes its doors

By Amanda MacMillan

EDINBURGH Zoo has been forced to close down its popular parrot display to save costs.

The £350,000 Rainbow Landings enclosure allowed visitors to hold and feed dozens of Rainbow Lorikeets.

But it closed its doors earlier this month and leaves 60 colourful parrots in need of a new home.

Staff revealed their fears that it could be just one of several cost cutting measures at the zoo as it prepares to make around 50  employees redundant. Continue reading

Fishy business as new beauty spas open in Scotland

By Amanda MacMillan

A FISH supper with a difference will arrive in Scotland this week as two new “fish spas” open for business.

The latest beauty craze to sweep Britain will see customers paying to have their toes nibbled by fish.

Tiny toothless carp are placed in tanks where glamorous spa –goers allow them to feast on their feet – removing dead skin to leave them soft and smooth.

Christina Wright, founder of Apply Feet, runs a chain of fish spas in England.

Her first Scottish spa opens in Edinburgh’s St James Centre today (Mon). Continue reading

Chinese students are crucial to Scotland’s education sector

By Christine Lavelle

UNIVERSITIES in Scotland are cashing in China’s “crucial” student population to bolster the country’s educational sector.

Education Secretary Mike Russell said China has become a key strategy in attracting more students to study in Scotland and encouraging more researching funding from the Far East for Scottish universities.

He said it could open up an “unlimited market” for teaching English to Chinese students.

He said: “Children at almost every level are keen to learn English, and their parents are keen to learn English to a high standard, and Scotland is well placed to deliver as much as it wants to do.” Continue reading