Activist heading off to Gaza despite being held at gunpoint

Theresa McDermott is planning another trip to Gaza

By Cara Sulieman

A SCOT who had a gun held against her head by an Israeli soldier during a raid on a aid flotilla that left nine dead is getting ready for another trip to Gaza.

Theresa McDermott was on the convoy of six ships taking aid to the war-torn Gaza strip that was stormed by Israeli commandos at the end of May.

The postal worker had a soldier point a gun against her head and threaten to kill her after her ship was boarded by forces as they tried to deliver aid to the blockaded Palestinian strip.

Her boat was near the MV Mavi Marmara which soldiers opened fire on after apparently coming up against fierce resistance from the activists on board.

Despite this, and previous experiences where Theresa has been arrested and jailed by Israeli forces, she is planning another flotilla with the Free Gaza group in October.

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Apple iPad Sparks Sales Rush From Scottish Gadget Fans

By Michael MacLeod

SCOTLAND went iPad crazy today (fri) as hundreds of people queued to get their hands on this year’s must have gadget.

And among the Apple worshippers in the queue at its Glasgow store wasn’t a young up and coming web developer or dot-com businessman – but a pensioner.

Retired linen factory owner William Boyd, 78, from Fife, claimed he had never even used a computer in his life – let alone a touch screen tablet.

But he wanted to be one of the first to pick up the handheld device at the Glasgow Apple Store.

He hopes to use it to stay in touch with his family and keep an eye on the stock exchange.

And although he is keen to catch up with the digital generation, Mr Boyd insists an iPad will never replace his love for picking up a real-life newspaper.

He said: “I wanted an iPad for many reasons, the main being the simplicity of operating it.

“At least, I hope it is going to be simple.

“I have never used a computer before in my life but I will use mine for the internet, emails to keep in touch with the family and things like that.” Continue reading

Volcanic ash leaves thousands stranded

All flights in and out of the UK have been cancelled

By Cara Sulieman & Rory Reynolds

THOUSANDS of passengers were stranded at Edinburgh Airport today (Thursday) as volcanic ash moved into Scottish airspace.

Staff at the airport greeted passengers with the news that the eruption in Iceland had sent a mass of ash into the atmosphere, grounding planes across the country.

With little information available, holiday makers and businessmen were trying to find other ways to get to their destination.

Tanya Nixon, 27, and her seven-year-old daughter Alessia Fortunato had travelled from Sunderland to fly with Ryanair to Pisa.

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Scotland’s should forget tourist cliches claims branding expert

By Andrea McCallum

SCOTLAND should stop relying on shortbread and tartan to sell itself to the world – according to a branding expert.

David Guy, business director for the Edinburgh branch of marketing firm Billington Cartnell, said Scotland should take a leaf out of Ireland’s book and promote the warmth of its people.

And he said VisitScotland’s current approach was failing to exploit the perception of the Celtic nations as warm and friendly.

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Government job scheme under fire

By Cara Sulieman

THE GOVERNMENT has come under fire for only handing out employment funding to TWO Scottish firms.

The job creation fund has splashed £30 million on grants in Scotland but private firms has received just a fraction of that cost – with most going to local authorities.

They have been criticised for handing taxpayers’ money from one section of government to another and not supporting struggling private businesses.

The £1 billion Future Jobs Fund gives employers up to £6,500 to take on a young person aged 18 to 24 for six months.

But of the 10,328 grants handed out in Scotland, just 462 have gone to private businesses.

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Sir Robin blasts SFA for no Team GB

By Cara Sulieman

THE SCOTS-BORN mayor of the London borough hosting the 2012 Olympics has blasted the SFA for blocking a British football team.

Sir Robin Wales is furious that there won’t be a UK team taking part in the football tournament saying it would be the only way for Scotland to “be in with a chance of qualifying for something”.

The Kilmarnock supporter is the civic head of Newham, where most of the Olympics main venues are based, including the athletes’ village.

Speaking about the decision to only have English players in the British team, the 55-year-old said: “It may not be popular with everyone but why not have a British football team?

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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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McCartney vows to wow Scots fans after 30 years

By Rory Reynolds

SIR PAUL McCartney wants to play in Scotland for the first time in three decades, it has been revealed.

The Beatles legend last played in Scotland since 1979, when he treated fans to an appearance with rock band Wings in Glasgow.

But now the 67-year-old, who owns a farm on Kintyre, and famously released the anthem Mull of Kintyre, wants to do a UK tour to take in Scotland.

McCartney has asked gig promoters to look into a date north of the border as part of a ‘Union Jack’ tour.

The rock star previously had to pull out of a gig at Celtic Park in 2003 as part of the Back In The World Tour after losing his voice.

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Edinburgh restaurant boasts Michelin Star

By Andrea McCallum

SCOTLAND’S capital can boast five Michelin Star restaurants – after a newly-opened venture grabbed the latest coveted award.

Chef Paul Kitching – owner of elite establishment 21212 – was given the prestigious honour for his restaurant which only opened last May.

Edinburgh now holds more Michelin Star restaurants within the UK than any city outside of London.

And now 21212 will feature alongside the capital’s finest restaurants within the Red Michelin Guide 2010.

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Scots tourism failing to keep pace with rest of UK

By Andrea McCallum

SCOTLAND is not spending enough on tourism, leaving it playing catch-up with the rest of the UK.

Hotels and restaurants have been slammed for paying out less than half the UK average on modernisation.

And that has left the country’s tourism industry lagging behind the rest of the UK, according to a government report.

Its failure to keep up-to-date has made attracting new holiday makers, and bringing back old ones, much harder.

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