Scotland saw 53 child abductions last year

By Oliver Farrimond and Cara Sulieman

SCOTLAND has seen 53 cases of child abduction in the last year, according to figures released today.

Although the term abduction can cover a range of crimes, the cases include a 14-year-old schoolgirl who was forced into a car and sexually abused before being released by her captor.

Strathclyde Police had the largest number of cases in the last year, with 33 children being held against their will.

Politicians have vowed to do all they can to improve the system, saying that any case of abduction is “extremely traumatic” for the families involved.

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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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Scotland’s crime-ridden train network

By Cara Sulieman

SCOTLAND’S sprawling network of trains and stations are being plagued by drug dealers, drunkards and sex attackers, shock new figures reveal.

Hard pressed officers from British Transport Police are now dealing with almost 7000 different crimes every year – with city centre stations the main battleground.

A total of 6978 offences were committed under their jurisdiction. Of those, a staggering 1482 serious crimes and 2870 petty offences actually happened aboard rail or subway carriages last year.

Scotland’s most dangerous station has been revealed as Glasgow Central – with a frightening 548 crimes reported there between 2007 and 2008.

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Record-setting RBS losses provoke anger

By Oliver Farrimond

THE ROYAL Bank of Scotland yesterday announced losses of £24 billion – the biggest in British corporate history.

With the recession set to deepen in 2009, the announcement will come as grim news to investors, shareholders and RBS customers.

Speaking at a news conference, RBS chief executive Stephen Hester said the bank was “under no illusions” about the scale of the losses.

He added that it was important “to think about the past, to know what went wrong, to disclose it and to address those issues”.

The troubled bank, which was bailed out by taxpayers earlier this year, is also under fire over the pension of ex-boss Sir Fred Goodwin.

The disgraced exec’s £650,000-a-year retirement package has provoked widespread anger, with political leaders from all parties calling on the ex-RBS chief to give up his taxpayer-funded pension.

Controversial Edinburgh tram opens doors to public

By Oliver Farrimond

EDINBURGH residents got a first look at the controversial new tram development yesterday as a mocked-up carriage opened its doors to the public.

Shoppers on busy Princes Street were able to walk inside the carriage and talk to those working on the project.

The scheme is currently mired in controversy, and has caused Edinburgh’s busiest shopping district to close to traffic.

Alastair Richards, project manager, said that feedback on the tram’s design had been largely positive, and called for patience during the planned disruptions.

He said: “Time will always be an issue, but broadly speaking we are moving forward.

“Hopefully people can bear with us while we convert the infrastructure, and invest in Edinburgh’s future.”