Gamu fears over Mugabe “firing squad”

Gamu and her family have the support of their community as they face deportation

By Cara Sulieman

SCOTTISH singer Gamu Nhengu has told how she fears going back to her native Zimbabwe after the publicity she’s had in the UK.

The X Factor contestant said that she fears Robert Mugabe’s henchmen will try and kill her if she is forced to return to the country her family fled from five years ago.

Gamu was controversially booted out of the ITV show by Cheryl Cole just before the live rounds of the programme.

And now the family face deportation after the Home Office refused to renew her mum Noku’s visa after she wrongly claimed state benefit.

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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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Lollipop men to use spy cameras to catch dangerous drivers

Robert Purves tries out his new lollipop stick

By Cara Sulieman

CAMERAS hidden inside the sticks used by lollipop men are being used by a Scots council to catch dangerous drivers.

The video pole was introduced by East Lothian Council today in a bid to make their crossing guides’ jobs safer.

The £1,050 poles are automatically activated when held upright, snapping the registration plates of any vehicles that fail to stop.

Robert Purves, 63, works as a crossing guide on Station Road in Haddington and hopes the new kit will help avoid a repeat of near misses he has had in the past.

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Student left scarred after vicious bottle attack

Robert Thorburn pled guilty to bottling the student

By Christine Lavelle

A STUDENT was left with permanent scarring after being bottled in the face on his way home from a night out with friends in Edinburgh’s city centre.

Santhosh Manivannan, 23, was walking from the Tron Tavern in Hunter Square in the direction of High Street when he and a pal were approached by a group of males.

The pair had left the bar momentarily at around 10.30pm on March 5 this year – to see another friend off in a taxi – but were refused entry back into the pub as they were deemed to be “too drunk”.

On their way back however, they were approached by a group of men, including 20-year-old Robert Thorburn, who proceeded to shout at them, before moving in between them in a bid to split them up.

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Edinburgh film festival artistic director steps down

Hannah McGill has stepped aside as Artistic Director of the Edinburgh International Film Festival

By Cara Sulieman

THE ARTISTIC Director of the Edinburgh film festival is standing down after four years in the role.

It was announced today that Hannah McGill was moving on from her role with the internationally renowned festival.

She joined the festival in 2001 as a programme consultant before she took over as curator in 2006.

As she prepared to leave, the chair of the EIFF, Iain Smith, said that Ms McGill has been “a huge asset” and she had helped the festival grow.

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Irvine Welsh gives fans a chance to be in new novel

By Cara Sulieman

HIS previous characters became immortal with the names Renton, Sick Boy, Spud and Begbie still famous the world over.

Now Scots author Irvine Welsh is preparing to give fans the chance to join them by naming one of his new characters from his forthcoming prequel to hit novel Trainspotting after them.

The original book, which one critic said “deserves to sell more copies than the Bible”, helped launch the careers of actors Robert Carlyle, Ewan McGregor, Kelly MacDonald and Johnny Lee Miller when the film adaptation came out.

Skagboys is due to hit shelves in April 2012 and goes back into the past of the now-famous heroin addicts in Leith.

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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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Police step up search for missing Edinburgh woman

Police canvas for witnesses on St Andrews Square

By Cara Sulieman

 

THE worried parents of Edinburgh woman Suzanne Pilley today (Tues) urged people to help them find their daughter – as police forensic teams joined the hunt for the missing bookkeeper.

Anxious Robert and Sylvia Pilley, from Stenhouse, called in police after their daughter never showed for work last Tuesday (May 4) failed to contact any family or friends later.

Detectives say they are now “gravely concerned” for missing Suzanne and called in specialist teams to help.

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Top private school teacher faces being struck off for helping students cheat

By Cara Sulieman

A FRENCH teacher who worked at Prince Charles’ former school faces being struck off over allegations that he helped students cheat on an oral exam.

Eric Tessier-Lavigne is alleged to have given 11 pupils at Gordonstoun School in Elgin an unfair advantage by emailing them information about a conversation topic the day before the GCSE French exam took place on May 4 2009.

It is also alleged the emails contained the instruction “destroy after reading”.

Today, the Disciplinary Sub-Committee of the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTC) heard that Mr Tessier-Lavigne denies the charges and the case was adjourned until April 27 when they will hear evidence.

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North Berwick want to kidnap Stevenson’s history with statue

By Michael MacLeod

SEASIDERS from a Scots town want to honour Robert Louis Stevenson with a statue – because he went there on holiday as a child.

The world-famous writer was born in Edinburgh and has various memorials across the city.

But locals in North Berwick are keen to commemorate the fact he holidayed there as a child.

They hope to drive up tourism in the East Lothian town by highlighting the belief it inspired his classic 1886 novel, Kidnapped.
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