{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"news","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/national-galleries-set-to-launch-public-appeal-over-the-monarch-of-the-glen-1-4314040","id":"1.4314040","articleHeadline": "National Galleries set to launch public appeal over The Monarch of the Glen","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1481325762792 ,"articleLead": "

A public appeal is set to be mounted to help secure The Monarch of the Glen painting for the nation.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4314039.1481325883!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The National Galleries of Scotland has to raise 4 million by the middle of March to secure the future of The Monarch of the Glen."} ,"articleBody": "

The National Galleries of Scotland (NGS), which is now in a race against the clock to raise £4 million to buy the picture, is set to launch a campaign next month to bridge an expected funding gap.

Bosses have revealed they decided against going public before Christmas with a fundraising drive and have instead been trying to secure backing “behind the scenes”.

However, despite securing a number of donations since a potential deal with the painting’s owner, drinks giant Diageo, emerged in mid-November, NGS said it is only likely to have a “platform” in place by the turn of the year.

The Scotsman revealed last month that The Monarch of the Glen painting was at risk of going overseas after being suddenly put up for sale for the first time in 100 years by Diageo.

Sir Edwin Landseer’s 1851 masterpiece of a stag set against a remote Highland backdrop was expected to generate a sale of more than £10 million at auction in London.

Described by auctioneers Christie’s as “a great icon of European 19th century painting,” The Monarch of the Glen was originally commissioned for the House of Lords, but never went on display and was bought from the artist by the sportsman Lord Londesborough for 350 guineas.

It had been on public display in Edinburgh for two decades under a loan between Diageo and the National Museum of Scotland. However, Diageo decided to put the painting up for sale as it does not have a link to any of its brands.

The Scottish Government intervened within hours to say it wanted the painting to remain on display in Scotland because of its “strong associations” with the country.

It emerged in mid-November that Diageo had agreed to remove the painting from a sale at Christie’s in London and instead sell it to NGS if it could raise the reduced price of £4m. It has been set a deadline of 16 March to raise the funding or run the risk of the whisky firm sending it back to auction.

Sir John Leighton, director-general of NGS, said: “What we’re doing at the moment is very much behind the scenes. We’re trying to get a platform or a base and we will see where we are in around late-mid January. I would imagine we will then come out with an announcement saying we have so much pledged and what we still need to raise.

“That is when we would go public with an appeal. We thought about going public earlier, but if you do that and the amount you still have to raise seems too large, people think it is not worth it.

“The other thing is it is not the best time of year to be waving the tin. In the run-up to Christmas, people’s charitable notions tend to focus on social causes. I don’t think you can compete with that.

“There has been a good response so far. As ever, it’s all about converting response into pledge. I’m being quietly optimistic, but not complacent, about it.

“There is a lot going on and a lot of other competition for people’s attention. Although £4m is a very reasonable and conservative price for that picture, it is still a lot of money. I suppose if we were in a London context it would be one cocktail party, but we are not.”

Sir John stressed that he was hoping to avoid NGS having to call on any public funding to secure future of the painting.

He added: “There is so much pressure on those budgets that if we can do this in other ways I would prefer to do that.”

Scottish culture secretary Fiona Hyslop told The Scotsman: “It is correct that The Monarch of the Glen is made available to the public to view.

“People have different views about it, but it is an iconic painting of Scotland and it is a recognisable image the world over. I wish those that are part of the fundraising campaign well in their activities. They seem confident that the target is achievable and I’m keeping in closing contact with them.\"

" ,"byline": {"email": "brian.ferguson@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Brian Ferguson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4314039.1481325883!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4314039.1481325883!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The National Galleries of Scotland has to raise 4 million by the middle of March to secure the future of The Monarch of the Glen.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The National Galleries of Scotland has to raise 4 million by the middle of March to secure the future of The Monarch of the Glen.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4314039.1481325883!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/uk/sky-receives-takeover-approach-from-21st-century-fox-1-4313809","id":"1.4313809","articleHeadline": "Sky receives takeover approach from 21st Century Fox","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1481302747000 ,"articleLead": "

UK satellite broadcaster Sky received a takeover approach today from 21st Century Fox, the American media giant.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4313808.1481302669!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sky's shares surged on the news. Picture: Bill Henry"} ,"articleBody": "

The proposed offer is worth £10.75p a share, a premium of 36 per cent to the closing price on Thursday night, and values Sky at some £25.3 billion. The proposal represents a premium of 40 per cent to the closing price on 6 December, being the last business day prior to the initial proposal being received from 21st Century Fox.

Sky said in a stock exchange statement: “After a period of negotiation, the independent directors of Sky and 21st Century Fox have reached agreement on an offer price of £10.75 per share in cash, less the value of any dividends subsequently paid by Sky (the ‘Proposal’).

“However, certain material offer terms remain under discussion and there can be no certainty that an offer will be made by 21st Century Fox, nor as to the terms of any such offer.”

Shares in Sky jumped 30 per cent in late trading following the announcement.

Sky said it had formed an independent committee of the Board to consider the terms of the proposal.

The independent committee comprises Martin Gilbert, who is also chief executive of Aberdeen Asset Management, Andrew Sukawaty, Jeremy Darroch, Andrew Griffith, Tracy Clarke, Adine Grate, Matthieu Pigasse and Katrin Wehr-Seiter, “each of whom the board of the company considers to be free from conflicts of interest with regard to the proposal”.

Click here to ‘Like’ The Scotsman Business on Facebook

" ,"byline": {"email": "mflanagan@scotsman.com" ,"author": "MARTIN FLANAGAN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4313808.1481302669!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4313808.1481302669!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Sky's shares surged on the news. Picture: Bill Henry","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sky's shares surged on the news. Picture: Bill Henry","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4313808.1481302669!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/teachers-warn-against-schooling-overhaul-1-4313678","id":"1.4313678","articleHeadline": "Teachers warn against schooling overhaul","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1481296163517 ,"articleLead": "

Scottish teachers have slammed plans for an overhaul of the education system to address declining  standards with a warning the changes are \"politically\" driven and regressive.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4313677.1481296297!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "John Swinney has proposed the changes to reverse the fall in standards"} ,"articleBody": "

The prospect of councils' role in running schools being scaled back has been branded \"tokenistic\" by the EIS union with a warning that it could mean even more \"unecessary\" red tape and bureaucracy for teachers.

The global PISA survey of schooling this week found Scotland had tumbled down the international education standings and now sits behind England and Northern Ireland, as well as a host of other nations.

Education secretary John Swinney recently set out plans for change after a governance review proposed the creation of new \"educational regions\" prompting concerns that councils role in running schools could be sidelined. Headteachers are also to get stronger control in running schools, including over hiring and firing.

But the EIS has warned in its official response to the changes that they are being rushed to meet ‘political rather than educational imperatives.’

Concerns are also raised about schools being burdened with administrative functions, with the ‘increasingly politicised\" role of teaching quango Education Scotland also criticised.

\"The EIS is not convinced about the benefit of the proposed extension to schools of responsibilities that currently sit with local authorities,\" the response states.

\"This appears to be either potentially tokenistic or an unnecessary imposition of additional bureaucratic layers to school operations. Schools are already part of a local authority’s corporate responsibilities.\"

Labour said the SNP could not use the report to justify forcing through reforms opposed by Scotland’s teachers.

Education spokesman Iain Gray said: “Coming after a brutal assessment of the SNP’s record on education is this damning verdict on their so-called “reforms” for the future.

“Labour will listen to the views of teachers on what is best for the future of our schools – not the views of a government which has failed our pupils in the first place.

“The EIS is clear in its opposition of the SNP’s plans to centralise education, believing them to be about politics rather than what is best for our schools.\"

" ,"byline": {"email": "scott.macnab@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Scott Macnab"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4313677.1481296297!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4313677.1481296297!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "John Swinney has proposed the changes to reverse the fall in standards","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "John Swinney has proposed the changes to reverse the fall in standards","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4313677.1481296297!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/train-firms-warning-over-railway-policing-1-4313993","id":"1.4313993","articleHeadline": "Train firms warning over railway policing","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1481328001000 ,"articleLead": "

Train companies have warned the Scottish Government that plans to integrate railway policing into Police Scotland could increase costs and undermine the response to incidents on the network.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4313992.1481319774!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Railway Policing (Scotland) Bill, which will see British Transport Polices operations north of the Border taken over by Police Scotland, was published yesterday. Picture: John Devlin"} ,"articleBody": "

The Railway Policing (Scotland) Bill, which will see British Transport Police’s operations north of the Border taken over by Police Scotland, was published yesterday.

But responding to a government consultation on the proposal, train operator CrossCountry said the plans represented a “massive risk” to the resilience of the network.

Meanwhile, Virgin Trains East Coast said it was concerned that extra money would be needed to “up skill” Police Scotland officers not currently used to policing the rail network.

And TransPennine Express said it was concerned about the response time for incidents north of the Border.

British Transport Police, which currently polices the entire UK network, is funded by Network Rail and train operating companies.

It is expected the majority of its officers will transfer to Police Scotland, although staff associations have suggested that some may not.

In its submission to the Scottish Government consultation paper, CrossCountry said the case for change had “not been addressed”, with “many questions unanswered”. It added: “There is nothing in the proposal which suggests the costs of railway ­policing will reduce, nor that railway policing would be truly immune from any future cost pressures within Police Scotland.

“The costs to the railway of a less effective railway policing arrangement in terms of disruption and the distraction arising from more general policing matters would far outweigh the direct costs of policing activity. The overall cost to the railway industry arising from a fragmented railway policing structure is therefore likely to increase.”

TransPennine Express said: “As an Anglo-Scottish operator we are concerned over the timely response to incidents just north of the Border (for example Lockerbie), the loss of a UK-wide consistent approach to major threats (such as terrorism) and the disconnection of the current close working between BTP officers in Scotland and the north of England.”

The legislation submitted by the Scottish Government gives power over railway policing to Police Scotland and the Scottish Police Authority (SPA).

The bill also requires the SPA and the chief constable to have regular contact with train operators.

Justice secretary Michael Matheson said: “We will ensure railway policing has a strong future and is fully accountable to the people of Scotland.

“Safety will always be our top priority and rail passengers and staff will continue to receive the high standards of security on our rail network that they are used to, throughout the period of integration and beyond.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4313992.1481319774!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4313992.1481319774!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Railway Policing (Scotland) Bill, which will see British Transport Polices operations north of the Border taken over by Police Scotland, was published yesterday. Picture: John Devlin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Railway Policing (Scotland) Bill, which will see British Transport Polices operations north of the Border taken over by Police Scotland, was published yesterday. Picture: John Devlin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4313992.1481319774!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/companies/retail/amazon-registers-uk-trademark-for-cashier-free-store-1-4313452","id":"1.4313452","articleHeadline": "Amazon registers UK trademark for cashier-free store","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1481287909000 ,"articleLead": "

Amazon has registered a British trademark for its new cashier-free bricks-and-mortar grocery store, paving the way for a potential launch in the country.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4313451.1481287914!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Amazon could be planning to launch cashier-free stores in the UK. Picture: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

The online retail giant recently announced that it will open an Amazon Go store in Seattle next year, but has remained quiet on whether or not it will expand the model internationally.

However, the registering of a UK trademark on 5 December is the clearest sign yet that the firm is about to expand the concept into Britain.

READ MORE: Ocado shares hit by Morrisons’ new tie-up with Amazon

Amazon Go will use technology that automatically detects when products are taken from or returned to shelves, allowing customers with the Amazon Go app to walk out of the store without queuing or scanning their items. Shortly after leaving, customers will be charged for their shopping via their Amazon accounts.

Nicla Di Palma, an equity analyst at wealth manager Brewin Dolphin, has said the model may be more successful on this side of the Atlantic.

“I would say that it is even more likely to work in the UK than in the US. For example, one of the reasons why Fresh & Easy – Tesco’s business in the US – did not succeed was that they were focusing on self-checkout, whilst the American consumer likes service.”

Amazon already has a presence in the British grocery market through a wholesale deal inked with Morrisons earlier this year.

The group’s 1,800 square foot Seattle store is set to focus on food-to-go, groceries such as milk, bread, cheese and chocolate, and will sell Amazon Meal Kits.

Click here to ‘Like’ The Scotsman Business on Facebook

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "RAVENDER SEMBHY"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4313451.1481287914!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4313451.1481287914!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Amazon could be planning to launch cashier-free stores in the UK. Picture: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Amazon could be planning to launch cashier-free stores in the UK. Picture: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4313451.1481287914!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/ruth-davidson-defends-boris-johnson-s-saudi-remarks-1-4314013","id":"1.4314013","articleHeadline": "Ruth Davidson defends Boris Johnson’s Saudi remarks","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1481321538000 ,"articleLead": "

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson has defended Boris Johnson over his public criticism of British ally Saudi Arabia, saying he was “absolutely right”.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4314012.1481321461!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Boris Johnson was slapped down by No 10 after making his controversial comments. Picture: Getty"} ,"articleBody": "

The Foreign Secretary suffered a humiliating slap down from No 10 after accusing the state of being behind “proxy wars”, while a Conservative predecessor said the “jury’s out” over Mr Johnson’s future in the job.

But Ms Davidson said that while she understands why Downing Street has distanced itself from the comments, Mr Johnson was “not wrong”.

She told BBC Radio 4’s The Westminster Hour: “I think Boris Johnson was absolutely right about what he said about proxy wars, and about Saudi and about Iran. And I agree with his analysis.

“Now, that might not be the position of the UK government, but guess what – I am not in the UK government, and I think he was right.”

Theresa May’s official spokeswoman said the Prime Minister has “full confidence” in Mr Johnson, but told reporters his comments were his own personal view and they do not reflect government policy.

And she pointedly noted that Mr Johnson will have the opportunity to set out official policy – of Britain’s desire to strengthen its ties with Saudi Arabia and support for its controversial military involvement in Yemen – when he travels to the desert kingdom.

Asked if No 10 was right to distance itself from Mr Johnson’s comments, Ms Davidson said: “I think there is a long standing diplomatic convention about not panning your allies in public. I think that this situation, particularly in Yemen, is desperate. I think that the UK government is trying its hardest to make a dreadful situation better and I absolutely understand why the UK government had to come out and say what it said – but I don’t think Boris was wrong.”

Ms Davidson, who has previously been reluctant to back Mr Johnson in the role, also said she has been “pleasantly surprised by his performance in the job”.

The Foreign Secretary is in Bahrain for the first leg of a diplomatically-testing tour of the Middle East.

The Guardian published footage of Mr Johnson’s comments to the Med2 conference in Rome last week, in which he lumped Saudi Arabia in with Iran when he raised concerns about “puppeteering” in the region.

Mr Johnson said: “There are politicians who are twisting and abusing religion and different strains of the same religion in order to further their own political objectives. That’s one of the biggest political problems in the whole region.”

Meanwhile, ex-foreign secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind said Mrs May’s appointment of Mr Johnson had been a “gamble” and he may be more “comfortable” in another Cabinet role. Asked if Mr Johnson is fit to be Foreign Secretary, he said: “The jury’s out, if I can put it that way. This is early days.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "SARAH BRADLEY"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4314012.1481321461!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4314012.1481321461!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Boris Johnson was slapped down by No 10 after making his controversial comments. Picture: Getty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Boris Johnson was slapped down by No 10 after making his controversial comments. Picture: Getty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4314012.1481321461!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/gove-says-pm-right-to-sack-him-over-post-brexit-antics-1-4314011","id":"1.4314011","articleHeadline": "Gove says PM ‘right to sack him’ over post-Brexit antics","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1481321473000 ,"articleLead": "

Michael Gove has spoken of his regrets about his bid for the Conservative Party leadership, admitting he made “mistakes” in the way he declared he was withdrawing his support from Boris Johnson.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4314010.1481321394!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Michael Gove said he has to live with his decisions. Picture: Lauren Hurley/PA"} ,"articleBody": "

The former education secretary – whose dramatic intervention led Mr Johnson to pull out of the race to succeed David Cameron in June – said he now had to “take the consequences” of his decision, including the fact that an act of treachery has become widely known as “doing a Gove”.

Speaking to Fern Britton in an interview to be broadcast on BBC television tomorrow, Mr Gove said he accepted that Theresa May was “right” to tell him there was no place for him in her Cabinet, despite offering high-ranking jobs to his fellow-Brexiteers David Davis, Liam Fox and Mr Johnson. But Mr Gove, 49, appeared to indicate that he has not given up on a return to frontline politics, saying he hoped to be able to “make a contribution” in future.

Mr Gove said his decision to back Leave in the EU referendum had placed a “significant strain” on his relationship with Mr Cameron.

He and wife Sarah Vine had been close friends with the former PM and his wife Samantha, but have not had a “proper conversation” with the Camerons since the 23 June poll, he said.

He said the decision to campaign against Cameron for EU withdrawal “wasn’t easy”, but he felt that “it was better to say to David that I couldn’t support him and to go with my heart than to suppress my feelings on the matter”.

Mr Cameron “knew I was a Eurosceptic, but he thought I would either keep schtum or ... say ‘I am going to support the Prime Minister’,” he said. Mr Cameron “undoubtedly felt let down”, but behaved with “incredible decency”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ANDREW WOODCOCK"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4314010.1481321394!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4314010.1481321394!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Michael Gove said he has to live with his decisions. Picture: Lauren Hurley/PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Michael Gove said he has to live with his decisions. Picture: Lauren Hurley/PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4314010.1481321394!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/world/impeached-south-korean-leader-apologises-for-her-lack-of-virtue-1-4314007","id":"1.4314007","articleHeadline": "Impeached South Korean leader apologises for her ‘lack of virtue’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1481321234000 ,"articleLead": "

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4314006.1481321156!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Protesters held a rally in Seoul yesterday calling for president Park Geun-hye to step down. Thousands of people demonstrated against her. Picture: AP"} ,"articleBody": "

South Korean politicians yesterday impeached president Park Geun-hye, a swift fall for the country’s first female leader amid protests that drew millions into the streets in united fury.

After the vote, parliamentary officials hand-delivered formal documents to the presidential Blue House that stripped Ms Park of her power and allowed the country’s number two official, prime minister Hwang Kyo-ahn, to assume leadership until the Constitutional Court rules on whether Ms Park must permanently step down. The court has up to six months to decide.

“I’d like to say that I’m deeply sorry to the people because the nation has to experience this turmoil because of my negligence and lack of virtue at a time when our security and economy both face difficulties,” Ms Park said after the vote, before a closed-door meeting with her Cabinet where she and other aides reportedly broke down in tears.

Mr Hwang separately said that he wanted “the ruling and opposition political parties and the parliament to gather strength and wisdom so that we can return stability to the country and people as soon as possible”.

Once called the “Queen of Elections” for her ability to pull off wins for her party, Ms Park has been surrounded in the Blue House in recent weeks by millions of South Koreans who have taken to the streets in protest. They are furious over what prosecutors say was collusion by Ms Park with a long-time friend to extort money from companies and to give that confidante extraordinary sway over government decisions.

Organisers said about 10,000 people gathered in front of the National Assembly to demand that politicians pass the impeachment motion. Some had spent the night on the streets after travelling from other cities. Scuffles broke out between angry anti-Park farmers, some of whom had driven tractors to the assembly from their farms, and police. When the impeachment happened, many of those gathered raised their hands in the air and leapt about, cheering and laughing.

“Can you hear the roar of the people in front of the National Assembly?” Kim Kwan-young, an opposition politician said ahead of the vote, referring to South Korea’s formal name. “Our great people have already opened the way. Let’s make it so we can stand honourably in front of history and our descendants.”

The handover of power prompted the prime minister to order his defence minister to put the military on a state of heightened readiness to brace for any potential provocation by North Korea. No suspicious movements by the North were reported, however.

Ms Park will be formally removed from office if at least six of the Constitutional Court’s nine justices support her impeachment, and the country would hold a presidential election within 60 days.

National Assembly speaker Chung Sye-kyun said the bill on Ms Park’s impeachment was passed by a vote of 234 for and 56 opposed. That well surpassed the necessary two-thirds vote needed in the 300-seat assembly, with the opposition getting strong support from members of Ms Park’s party.

Present for the vote were relatives of the victims of a 2014 ferry disaster that killed more than 300 and was blamed in part on government incompetence and corruption; they cheered and clapped after the impeachment was announced. Most politicians left the hall quietly, though some could be seen taking selfies as they waited to vote.

Politicians from both parties faced huge pressure to act against Ms Park, the daughter of a military dictator still revered by many conservatives for lifting the country from poverty in the 1960s-70s.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4314006.1481321156!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4314006.1481321156!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Protesters held a rally in Seoul yesterday calling for president Park Geun-hye to step down. Thousands of people demonstrated against her. Picture: AP","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Protesters held a rally in Seoul yesterday calling for president Park Geun-hye to step down. Thousands of people demonstrated against her. Picture: AP","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4314006.1481321156!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/world/wilders-to-appeal-after-guilty-verdict-in-hate-speech-trial-1-4314005","id":"1.4314005","articleHeadline": "Wilders to appeal after guilty verdict in hate speech trial","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1481321084000 ,"articleLead": "

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4314004.1481321007!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Dutch far-right Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders. Picture: Getty"} ,"articleBody": "

Populist anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders was found guilty yesterday of insulting and inciting discrimination against Moroccans, a conviction he immediately slammed as a “shameful” attack on free speech and an attempt to “neutralise” him.

Presiding Judge Hendrik Steenhuis said the court would not impose a sentence because the conviction was punishment enough for a democratically elected politician.

Wilders was not in court for the verdict, which came just over three months before national elections. His Party for Freedom is narrowly leading a nationwide poll of polls and has risen in popularity during the trial.

Wilders quickly released a video message, in English and Dutch, slamming the judgment and vowing to appeal.

“Today, I was convicted in a political trial which, shortly before the elections, attempts to neutralise the leader of the largest and most popular opposition party,” Wilders said. “They will not succeed.”

Even before the hearing, Wilders had vowed not to be silenced.

“Whatever the verdict, I will continue to speak the truth about the Moroccan problem, and no judge, politician or terrorist will stop me,” he tweeted.

The politically charged prosecution centred on comments Wilders made before and after the Dutch municipal elections in 2014. At one meeting in a café in The Hague, he asked supporters whether they wanted more or fewer Moroccans in the Netherlands. That sparked a chant of “Fewer! Fewer! Fewer!” – to which he replied: “We’ll take care of it.”

Prosecutors say that Wilders – who in 2011 was acquitted at another hate speech trial for his outspoken criticism of Islam – overstepped the limits of free speech by ­specifically targeting Moroccans.

He had denied the charges and insisted he was ­performing his duty as a political leader by pointing out a problem in society.

Judge Steenhuis said: “Freedom of speech is one of the foundations of our democratic society.” But he added: “Freedom of speech can be limited, for example to protect the rights and freedoms of others, and that is what this case is about.”

Abdou Menebhi, president of the Euro-Mediterranean Centre for Migration and Development, welcomed the judgment.

He said: “For us, it’s a very important verdict.

“This gives the Moroccans who felt like victims a renewed belief in a democratic society.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4314004.1481321007!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4314004.1481321007!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Dutch far-right Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders. Picture: Getty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Dutch far-right Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders. Picture: Getty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4314004.1481321007!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/syrian-troops-shell-crumbling-rebel-enclave-in-aleppo-1-4314003","id":"1.4314003","articleHeadline": "Syrian troops shell crumbling rebel enclave in Aleppo","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1481320877000 ,"articleLead": "

Hundreds of civilians have streamed out of eastern Aleppo by foot as Syrian troops and allied forces waged a relentless campaign to drive rebels from their rapidly crumbling enclave.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4314002.1481320800!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Residents fleeing the violence in Aleppo gather at a checkpoint in Maysaloun neighbourhood. Picture: Getty"} ,"articleBody": "

Russia announced on Thursday that the Syrian army was suspending combat operations to allow for the evacuation of civilians from besieged rebel-held districts, but residents and medics inside eastern Aleppo said there was no let up in the bombardment.

Syrian state TV showed families emerging from ravaged districts, some of them with children, as civilians continued to stream out of the ever-shrinking enclave that had been held by rebels since 2012.

Efforts to evacuate hundreds of wounded people faltered, however, despite pleas from medical officials earlier this week.

A hospital administrator in eastern Aleppo said medics have submitted lists of patients who need to be evacuated from hospitals.

“There hasn’t been a response yet, and the shelling continues,” he said.

Rebel defences have collapsed in the face of a wide-ranging government offensive preceded by an intensive aerial campaign.

More than three-quarters of the rebel sector has now fallen, including the symbolically important ancient Aleppo district.

Tens of thousands of residents have fled to western Aleppo, and those remaining are now cornered in the southern part of the formerly rebel-held east.

Yesterday, the UN human rights office said it is deeply concerned about reports that hundreds of men have gone missing after crossing from eastern Aleppo into government-controlled areas of the city.

Spokesman Rupert Colville said that family members have reported losing contact with the men, who are between the ages of 30 and 50, after they fled opposition-held areas of Aleppo around a week or ten days ago.

Mr Colville said the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights is also concerned by reports that some civilians trying to flee are being blocked by armed opposition groups and in some cases being fired upon.

“Civilians are being used as pawns and prevented from leaving,” he said at a briefing in Geneva.

An opposition official disputed government claims that the army now holds 90 per cent of eastern Aleppo, saying that more than a dozen neighbourhoods remain in rebel hands.

“More than 30 per cent of east Aleppo is controlled by us,” said Osama Abu Zayd, an adviser to the loose rebel umbrella group known as the Free Syrian Army.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4314002.1481320800!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4314002.1481320800!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Residents fleeing the violence in Aleppo gather at a checkpoint in Maysaloun neighbourhood. Picture: Getty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Residents fleeing the violence in Aleppo gather at a checkpoint in Maysaloun neighbourhood. Picture: Getty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4314002.1481320800!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/companies/financial/crowdfunding-probe-launched-over-investor-concerns-1-4312952","id":"1.4312952","articleHeadline": "Crowdfunding probe launched over investor concerns","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1481284261000 ,"articleLead": "

The UK’s £2.7 billion crowdfunding market is to come under further scrutiny after the City watchdog found evidence of “potential investor detriment”.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4312951.1481271776!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "FCA chief Andrew Bailey said crowdfunding investors need more protection. Picture: Contributed"} ,"articleBody": "

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said that, following a review of the sector, it will consult on a further regulation for peer-to-peer (P2P) lending.

It found it is difficult for investors to compare platforms with each other, to assess risks and returns and financial promotions do not always meet requirements to be “clear, fair and not misleading”.

The FCA is also concerned that there are inadequate provisions in the event a firm goes bust and cannot repay borrowings.

READ MORE: How big is the crowdfunding market in Scotland?

Jude Cook, co-founder and chief executive of Edinburgh-based crowdfunding platform ShareIn, said that today’s statement from the regulator “hasn’t brought with it any big surprises”.

She added: “When crowdfunding regulations came in back in 2014, it had always been the plan to review them in 2016. The statement this morning has highlighted that further regulation may be coming regarding P2P platforms.

“It was interesting to note findings on the anticipated appeal to investors of the new Innovative Finance ISAs introduced this year, which has been generally welcomed in the industry. This could well result in mandatory disclosures but we wait till next year to find out the details.”

Loan-based crowdfunding is growing rapidly, with a report by innovation charity Nesta and the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance showing that consumer and business loans totalled almost £2.4 billion last year, up from £1.3bn in 2014.

Over the same period, the equity-based crowdfunding market expanded from £84 million to £332m, while debt securities grew from £4.4m to £6.2m.

A fresh consultation, to begin in the first quarter of next year, will look at strengthening rules on wind-down plans, additional requirements on cross-platform investment and extending mortgage-lending standards to loan-based platforms.

FCA chief executive Andrew Bailey said: “Our focus is ensuring that investor protections are appropriate for the risks in the crowdfunding sector while continuing to promote effective competition in the interests of consumers.

“Based on our findings to date, we believe it is necessary to strengthen investor protection in a number of areas. We plan to consult next year on new rules to address the issues we have identified.”

Click here to ‘Like’ The Scotsman Business on Facebook

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "RAVENDER SEMBHY AND GARETH MACKIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4312951.1481271776!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4312951.1481271776!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "FCA chief Andrew Bailey said crowdfunding investors need more protection. Picture: Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "FCA chief Andrew Bailey said crowdfunding investors need more protection. Picture: Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4312951.1481271776!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/glasgow-bin-lorry-crash-driver-will-not-face-private-prosecution-1-4312919","id":"1.4312919","articleHeadline": "Glasgow bin lorry crash driver will not face private prosecution","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1481318600000 ,"articleLead": "

GLASGOW bin lorry crash driver Harry Clarke will not face a private prosecution over the tragedy which claimed six lives, appeal judges ruled yesterday.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4312918.1481281987!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Picture: Robert Perry"} ,"articleBody": "

In a rare legal move, relatives of three crash victims sought permission from senior judges to bring charges against the 59-year-old.

It followed a controversial Crown Office decision not to prosecute Mr Clarke, who had blacked out behind the wheel on the day of the fatal crash almost two years ago.

Three judges at the Appeal Court in Edinburgh ruled the families could not launch a private prosecution against Mr Clarke. The court also rejected a similar plea for a private prosecution of motorist William Payne, lodged by the families of students Mhairi Convy and Laura Stewart, who were knocked down and killed in Glasgow in 2010.

The students’ relatives voiced disappointment and said they had been “locked in a most brutal horror story” since the crash.

The lorry driven by Mr Clarke went out of control in Queen Street on a busy Christmas shopping day on 22 December 2014.

Relatives of crash victims Jack and Lorraine Sweeney, 68 and 69, and their granddaughter Erin McQuade, 18, brought the prosecution attempt to court.

Stephenie Tait, 29, Jacqueline Morton, 51, and Gillian Ewing, 52, also died in the incident.

A fatal accident inquiry (FAI) heard Mr Clarke had a history of health issues but had not disclosed his medical background to his employers or the DVLA.

A sheriff found Mr Clarke “repeatedly lied in order to gain and retain jobs and licences”.

The Crown Office insisted there was insufficient evidence to raise criminal proceedings against Mr Clarke but the families of the victims disagreed and sought permission to prosecute him on charges of dangerous driving and causing death by dangerous driving.

Scotland’s second-highest judge Lady Dorrian, who heard the Bills for Criminal Letters with two other judges, ruled in both cases: “We do not consider that the Crown made an error of law.”

She added: “It is quite difficult to conceive of circumstances in which the court would pass a bill where the Lord Advocate had examined and investigated the circumstances of the case, and concluded as a matter of informed judgment that the whole tenor and weight of the evidence did not justify prosecution.”

Judges did not consider that the state of knowledge of either motorist “can reasonably be elevated to the degree necessary to be capable of establishing beyond reasonable doubt that on the day in question they drove in the face of an obvious and material danger,” she said.

The families of Ms Convy and Ms Stewart expressed their disappointment over the ruling outside court.

Cate Cairney, Laura’s aunt, said: “Since 17 December when Laura and Mhairi were brutally mown down by William Payne, we’ve all found ourselves locked in a most brutal horror story.

“As families who had to identify their daughters, seeing them as no people ever should, we trusted the process and we trusted the law, and this law has fatally let our girls down.”

Mhairi’s father Alan Convy said: “The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service from the very start nearly six years ago have done everything in their power to protect an early incorrect decision of non-prosecution, to protect the process, to protect their own self-importance and, in doing so, rather than admit they got it wrong, protected William Payne and allowed their non-prosecution of him to give a huge green light to other drivers out there who have black-outs to get on the road and to kill people and walk away.

“We firmly believe that this includes people like Harry Clarke. How many more innocent daughters, parents, brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews have to die before the Crown do the right thing and send out the right message to the public?

“If this ruling is the law, then the law is wrong in our eyes. It needs changed.”

The Crown said it acknowledged the distress caused to the relatives by the decision not to prosecute the drivers.

A spokesman said: “The Crown has an obligation to take decisions of this nature professionally and dispassionately, on the basis of the evidence. After carefully considering all the relevant evidence, Crown Counsel concluded there was insufficient evidence in law to raise criminal proceedings. We note that the court does not consider that the Crown erred in its assessment of these cases.”

Ms Convy, 18, and Ms Stewart, 20, were walking in Glasgow’s North Hanover Street on 17 December 2010 when a Range Rover apparently lost control, mounted the kerb and hit them.

An FAI found the crash happened after Mr Payne suffered a “vasovagal episode” and temporarily lost consciousness.

He was initially accused of causing the deaths of the students but the charges against him were later dropped.

READ MORE: Glasgow bin lorry: Trauma at seeing Edinburgh mum die

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "HILARY DUNCANSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4312918.1481281987!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4312918.1481281987!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Picture: Robert Perry","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Picture: Robert Perry","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4312918.1481281987!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/markets-economy/construction-figures-show-surprise-fall-in-output-1-4313143","id":"1.4313143","articleHeadline": "Construction figures show surprise fall in output","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1481283516000 ,"articleLead": "

Official UK figures have shown that construction activity took a hit in October.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4313142.1481283547!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Infrastructure activity was down on the month. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said output fell 0.6 per cent month-on-month, compared with economists’ estimates for a 0.3 per cent rise. A drop in infrastructure work and a slowdown in repair and maintenance activity dented progress.

Year-on-year figures were more upbeat, however, with construction output rising 0.7 per cent compared with October 2015, versus estimates of no growth.

ONS senior statistician Kate Davies said: “October saw the biggest jump in private house building for almost a year though less work on commercial buildings and infrastructure projects saw overall construction output down on the month.

“Meanwhile, new construction orders fell in the third quarter, thanks mainly to a large fall in orders for public projects such as schools and hospitals.”

READ MORE: Construction crumbles to four-year low after Brexit vote

Scottish Building Federation managing director Vaughan Hart noted that total output from the construction sector north of the Border during the third quarter topped £3.7 billion, down marginally on the £3.9bn recorded in the same period a year earlier.

However, output from the private housing and private commercial sectors and from repair and maintenance were all up compared to the third quarter of 2015, helping to offset a decline in infrastructure output.

Hart said: “These new figures suggest that the Brexit vote has had no immediate effect on the performance of the Scottish construction sector.

“We anticipated a slowdown in infrastructure activity as major projects such as the Queensferry Crossing draw to a close. More concerning is an ongoing slump in private industrial output with the removal of empty property rates relief having a negative impact on that sector of the industry.”

The ONS made an upward revision to its third-quarter UK construction figures, saying that activity fell 0.8 per cent compared to previous estimates of a 1.1 per cent drop.

IHS Market economist Chris Williamson said: “Official data provide tentative signs that the construction industry and exporters are seeing some signs of improved performance after the post-referendum soft patch. However, construction data and trade numbers are highly volatile.”

Click here to ‘Like’ The Scotsman Business on Facebook

" ,"byline": {"email": "sreid@scotsman.com" ,"author": "SCOTT REID"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4313142.1481283547!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4313142.1481283547!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Infrastructure activity was down on the month. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Infrastructure activity was down on the month. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4313142.1481283547!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/airline-taxes-should-be-axed-say-tories-1-4313131","id":"1.4313131","articleHeadline": "Airline taxes should be axed say Tories","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1481282834488 ,"articleLead": "

Plans to axe airport taxes on long haul flights from Scotland have been unveiled by the Scottish Conservatives.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4313130.1481282930!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Murdo Fraser says the change will help create a "stronger economy""} ,"articleBody": "

The party say it will give Scotland's ailing economy a much-needed boost by tapping into the lucrative markets of China, the US west coast and central America.

Talks have already taken place with the SNP Government which also wants to axe APD through the new powers coming to Holyrood under the Smith Commission. A bill is due to be published setting out ministers' APD plans in the next few weeks.

The Tories had opposed any move to cut APD in this year's Holyrood election but say the slump in Scotland's economy since then means action is now needed. The party is also supporting an immediate APD freeze on short-haul flights to the UK and Europe, in order to ensure passengers can also enjoy cheaper fares to destinations nearer to home.

Tory finance spokesman Murdo Fraser said: “APD is one of the new powers of the Scottish Parliament coming our way thanks to our proposals to strengthen devolution.

“As we prepare for Brexit, it is more important than ever to use these powers to go global, so we can create new jobs, deliver more opportunities, and build a stronger economy.

“Abolishing APD for long-haul flights has the potential to do just that for Scotland. Airlines will be incentivised to put on new direct long-haul flights from Scotland.

“That means instead of having to go via London or Amsterdam, families and businesses would be able to get on a plane in Edinburgh or Glasgow and fly direct to China or the USA, or other global destinations.\"

Air passenger duty is charged on all passenger flights from UK airports, with the rate of tax varying according to where the passenger is going, and the class of travel, starting at about £13 for short-haul flights to Europe.

It brings in about £3bn a year for the UK government. The Scottish government wants to use new powers being devolved to Holyrood to reduce APD from Scottish airports by 50% from April 2018 before eventually abolishing the tax altogether.

" ,"byline": {"email": "scott.macnab@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Scott Macnab"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4313130.1481282930!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4313130.1481282930!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Murdo Fraser says the change will help create a "stronger economy"","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Murdo Fraser says the change will help create a "stronger economy"","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4313130.1481282930!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/brave-airdrieonians-fan-honoured-on-strip-after-cancer-battle-1-4313962","id":"1.4313962","articleHeadline": "Brave Airdrieonians fan honoured on strip after cancer battle","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1481315613000 ,"articleLead": "

A SCOTTISH football team have announced that their new home strip will feature the face of one of their longest serving fans after he sadly lost his battle with cancer.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4313961.1481315535!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The club's home strip will feature Mark Allison's face and signature. Picture: Airdrieonians Twitter"} ,"articleBody": "

Well-known Airdrieonians fan Mark Allison was diagnosed with the disease in 2014 and told he only had three months to live. The Airdrie man battled on fighting the cancer until his death earlier this year.

The brave football fan raised almost £70,000 for a number of charities through his F**k Cancer campaign.

The League One team announced that Mr Allison’s face and signature would appear on their home shirt until the end of the season, a decision that the club said had met with the overwhelming approval of fellow fans.

Mark’s sister Julie Timmons, told STV: “I think it’s amazing - Mark would be ecstatic, a dream come true.

“Incredible but truly deserved, in my humble opinion. I just wish he was here to see it.”

The new strip will go on sale on Saturday before their clash with Stenhousemuir.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4313961.1481315535!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4313961.1481315535!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The club's home strip will feature Mark Allison's face and signature. Picture: Airdrieonians Twitter","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The club's home strip will feature Mark Allison's face and signature. Picture: Airdrieonians Twitter","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4313961.1481315535!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/donald-trump-discusses-links-with-scotland-in-phone-call-to-nicola-sturgeon-1-4313926","id":"1.4313926","articleHeadline": "Donald Trump discusses links with Scotland in phone call to Nicola Sturgeon","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1481315595000 ,"articleLead": "

US President-elect Donald Trump has discussed the “long-standing relationship between Scotland and the United States” in a phone call with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4313925.1481313951!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Scottish Government described the call from Mr Trump as a brief introductory conversation. Picture: Getty"} ,"articleBody": "

The Scottish Government described the call from Mr Trump as a “brief introductory conversation”.

A spokeswoman said the First Minister offered her congratulations and “expressed her belief in the values Scotland and the United States share” in the call on Friday.

Ms Sturgeon had written to Mr Trump to congratulate him in the days after winning the presidential election.

The letter emphasised the bonds of friendship and economic ties between Scotland and the US, and Ms Sturgeon also stressed shared values of “equality, tolerance, diversity and human rights for all regardless of race, faith, gender or sexual orientation”.

Mr Trump, whose mother was born on the Isle of Lewis, owns two golf courses in Scotland and took time out of his presidential campaign to mark the reopening of Turnberry with his family in June.

The creation of his first Scottish course in Aberdeen led to clashes with the Scottish Government and former first minister Alex Salmond over the prospect of an offshore wind farm planned in sight of the resort.

In the early stages of his White House campaign, Mr Trump was stripped of his role as a business ambassador for Scotland over controversial comments.

Ms Sturgeon - and other Scottish party leaders - had backed Hillary Clinton in the race for the White House but she has said she will engage “positively and constructively” with Mr Trump.

When he visited Turnberry in June, Mr Trump was asked about the prospect of Scottish independence and said: “’I’ll leave it up to the people.

“I love the people of Scotland. That is why I built, in Aberdeen, one of the great golf courses in the world.

“I’ve gotten to know the people of Scotland so well through my mother and everything else.

“The people of Scotland are amazing people and that question really has to be addressed to the people.

“It was a very, very close vote (in 2014) and I don’t know that people want to go through that again.

“I was here when people were going through that vote.

“I didn’t take sides but I will tell you it was a nasty period, and I can’t imagine they would go through that again, but the people of Scotland may speak differently.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4313925.1481313951!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4313925.1481313951!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Scottish Government described the call from Mr Trump as a brief introductory conversation. Picture: Getty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Scottish Government described the call from Mr Trump as a brief introductory conversation. Picture: Getty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4313925.1481313951!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/companies/farming/deal-needed-to-protect-scots-food-labels-after-brexit-1-4313056","id":"1.4313056","articleHeadline": "Deal needed to protect Scots food labels after Brexit","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1481279441000 ,"articleLead": "

Scotch Beef, Scotch Lamb, Orkney Scottish Island Cheddar and Scottish Wild Salmon could still enjoy European Union protection from imitations – provided the UK government reciprocates with a similar recognition of European products.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4313055.1481279363!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Many Scottish foods have PGI or similar protections. Picture: Contributed"} ,"articleBody": "

The PGI (Protected Geographical Indicator) and similar schemes are widely used to protect the producers of specialist, high-quality foods which are recognised around the world from those wishing to fraudulently cash in on their good name.

Two of the country’s biggest food “brands”, Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb, have enjoyed this status since 1996 and the PGI status has been used as a significant marketing tool for both sectors.

Yesterday, Laurent Vernet, head of marketing with Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) said it was vital for UK legislation to give protection to PGI foods in this country as the new political landscape unfolded. He pointed out there were numerous examples of non-EU member countries with products which benefited from this status.

READ MORE: Brands are vital to Scotland’s food and drink sector

He said: “We see no reason why Scotch Beef PGI and Scotch Lamb PGI, which were among the first meats in Europe to be awarded PGI status, should not continue to benefit from PGI status as long as the necessary production criteria are in place.

“As an industry in Scotland we have worked hard to build strong brands underpinned by world-leading quality assurance. QMS is committed to ensuring our industry’s top quality brands, with their iconic reputation, continue to thrive on the global marketplace.”

Vernet added that QMS was also keen for clarity on the position of third country arrangements – products with PGI status are currently protected as part of bilateral agreements between the EU and third countries.

A report published yesterday by the Agricultural & Horticultural Development Board showed that, at present, the UK has 61 registered Geographical Indication products and 17 applications in the pipeline, with the majority relating to the meat and cheese sectors.

Kathy Roussel, head of the organisation’s Brussels office, said that government bodies recognised the benefits of protecting traditional and geographical food products.

She said a team was looking at how best to protect these products post-Brexit, adding: “When the UK leaves the EU, registered protected food names should be able to benefit from EU protection against imitation, provided there is a reciprocal agreement between the UK and the EU.”

However, Roussel said the funding provided by the EU to promote these brands would dry up post-Brexit – a source which had put £5 million into promoting Scotch Beef and Lamb over the past ten years.

But she conceded that producers might still see mileage in using EU protected food names as a ­valuable marketing tool to differentiate their products on EU and international markets.

Click here to ‘Like’ The Scotsman Business on Facebook

" ,"byline": {"email": "bhenderson@farming.co.uk" ,"author": "BRIAN HENDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4313055.1481279363!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4313055.1481279363!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Many Scottish foods have PGI or similar protections. Picture: Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Many Scottish foods have PGI or similar protections. Picture: Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4313055.1481279363!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/three-highland-golf-courses-named-in-top-35-places-to-play-1-4313716","id":"1.4313716","articleHeadline": "Three Highland golf courses named in top 35 places to play","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1481312333000 ,"articleLead": "

THREE of the Highlands’ most prestigious golf courses have been named in the top 35 best places to play in Great Britain and Ireland.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4313713.1481312181!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Royal Dornoch Golf Course. Picture: Contributed"} ,"articleBody": "

Royal Dornoch Golf Club, Castle Stuart Golf Links and the Nairn Golf Club have all moved up the rankings in the latest list of 100 leading GB&I courses compiled by Golf Monthly magazine for 2017/18.

Royal Dornoch’s Championship Course is placed 7th (up one place on last year); Castle Stuart 21st - up two places - and Nairn 33rd - up one place.

The three courses - along with leading hotels the Kingsmills and Culloden House, in Inverness, and the Royal Golf in Dornoch – make up the partner organisation Highland Golf Links (HGL) which promotes destination breaks in the area.

READ MORE: Snowsports season is upon us - where can you go for fun?

Fraser Cromarty, chairman of HGL and CEO at The Nairn Golf Club, said: “Having three HGL courses inside the top 35 of the GB&I list is fantastic news for the Highlands.

“The fact that these courses are moving up the rankings is also very encouraging.

“It reflects investment that has been made to improve our offering, as well as a growing awareness of the outstanding link courses we have here and that the Highlands is a wonderful golfing destination.

“All three links courses can be played over the course of a weekend and, with our partnership with the leading hotels in the area, golfing breaks in this part of the world are easy to manage and very rewarding.”

This year Royal Dornoch hosted the Tartan Tour’s Northern Open and the biggest gathering of ‘royal’ clubs ever organised as part of the celebrations to mark 400 years of golf being played in the town.

Golf Monthly said the Championship Course “is as natural a links as you will find anywhere” and added: “The course at Royal Dornoch is simply meant to be. There’s no layout on earth that has a more natural feel than this incredible northern links.

“Royal Dornoch delivers a selection of highly individual and unadulterated golf holes flowing across the most exquisite playing surfaces. This is golf in its purest form.

“If a trip to any course constitutes a pilgrimage, Dornoch is that place.”

READ MORE: Scottish links golf experience with ultimate golf service

Castle Stuart hosted the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open this summer, the fourth time in six years it has staged the European Tour event.

Golf Monthly said: “Castle Stuart is a visual feast both internally and externally over the Moray Firth to the Black Isle.

“It’s an extremely versatile course and it is no surprise that it’s already hosted four Scottish Opens. The course is set over a fabulous stretch of coastline with a number of the most striking holes played right along the water’s edge.

“Castle Stuart’s eye-catching, art deco-inspired clubhouse offers panoramic views of the course and surrounding countryside from all three floors.

“A hugely impressive modern classic that can be played by all.”

Nairn, which has previously held both the Walker Cup and Curtis Cup, was the setting for the Fairstone Men’s Home Internationals this year.

Golf Monthly said: “Gorse lined, criss-crossed by burns and pockmarked by pot bunkers, Nairn delivers typical Scottish links golf.

“It’s an out-and-back layout with the sea visible on every hole. A stunning links with beautiful views to the Black Isle over the Moray Firth. A testing but fair track.”

This year saw the highest number of golfing visitors take advantage of Play and Stay packages offered by Highland Golf Links to boost business during the ‘shoulder’ months of April, October and November.

Royal Dornoch, Castle Stuart and Nairn all feature in the prestigious HGL 54-hole Pro-Am, sponsored by Blue Group, which this year attracted a capacity field.

All three courses are also part of the Paul Lawrie Foundation’s Winter Series of events for young players in the Highlands.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ALISTAIR MUNRO"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4313713.1481312181!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4313713.1481312181!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Royal Dornoch Golf Course. Picture: Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Royal Dornoch Golf Course. Picture: Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4313713.1481312181!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4313714.1481312185!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4313714.1481312185!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Nairn Golf Club. Picture: Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Nairn Golf Club. Picture: Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4313714.1481312185!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4313715.1481312187!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4313715.1481312187!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Castle Stuart Golf Course. Picture: Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Castle Stuart Golf Course. Picture: Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4313715.1481312187!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/companies/farming/top-civil-servant-cannot-rule-out-more-farm-payment-errors-1-4313004","id":"1.4313004","articleHeadline": "Top civil servant cannot rule out more farm payment errors","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1481277690000 ,"articleLead": "

While the catalogue of farm support payment blunders continued to grow this week, Scotland’s top civil servant could give no categorical assurance to an inquiry that there would be no further errors.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4313001.1481277711!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Leslie Evans: 'We cannot commit to there being no further errors.' Picture: Contributed"} ,"articleBody": "

Addressing the Scottish Parliament’s public audit committee’s meeting, which looked at the ongoing problems in the sector, permanent secretary Leslie Evans apologised for the continuing errors and said that there were some reasons to have greater confidence in the system.

However, citing the extent and complexity of the new support arrangements, she told the committee: “We cannot be confident of total success … and we cannot commit to there being no further errors.”

READ MORE: Still time to apply for farm support advance loans

Following the news of a series of mistakes at the beginning of the week – which included duplicate payments of 2016 support loans and an arithmetical error that had seen 166 producers in the second payment run receive too much – it was also revealed that a data protection breach had taken place on Wednesday.

Conservative committee member Ross Thomson said the session had provided little in the way of reassurance that the issues which had led to the mistakes were under control.

He said: “No-one seems to have been subject to any disciplinary action to date as a result of these errors and I have to say I find that extraordinary.”

Rural affairs committee member, Mike Rumbles, who sat in on the meeting, said a lack of confidence in the entire system had resulted in 5,000 farmers – almost one-third of farm business – rejecting the loan scheme.

He added that distrust had been exacerbated by the lack of any information on how payments had been calculated.

Click here to ‘Like’ The Scotsman Business on Facebook

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BRIAN HENDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4313001.1481277711!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4313001.1481277711!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Leslie Evans: 'We cannot commit to there being no further errors.' Picture: Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Leslie Evans: 'We cannot commit to there being no further errors.' Picture: Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4313001.1481277711!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/companies/scotland-s-upbeat-small-firms-shrug-off-brexit-fears-1-4312917","id":"1.4312917","articleHeadline": "Scotland’s upbeat small firms shrug off Brexit fears","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1481275210000 ,"articleLead": "

The vast majority of small businesses in Scotland are confident about their future despite likely economic headwinds, according to a new survey.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4312916.1481275134!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Small firms appear less concerned about Brexit than elsewhere in the UK. Picture: John Devlin"} ,"articleBody": "

Figures produced for challenger bank Aldermore, the specialist UK mortgage and small business lender, found that 85 per cent of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) north of the Border predict their revenues to either grow or hold steady in 2017. Of those that expect to grow, half plan to do so by launching new products or services.

Carl D’Ammassa, managing director of business finance at Aldermore, said the results highlight businesses’ resilience when it comes to both domestic and international trade.

READ MORE: Brexit: Large banks ‘planning moves from UK to France’

Although the majority of the Scottish electorate voted to remain within the EU, SMEs seem less concerned about the repercussions of Brexit than their counterparts elsewhere in the UK – 59 per cent said the decision to leave the EU will either have no impact or a positive impact on their business. Across the UK as a whole, the comparative figure was 34 per cent.

D’Ammassa said: “Scottish SMEs’ views on the expected impact of Brexit are in line with the views of the rest of the UK, but Scottish companies are even more confident about their growth prospects in the coming year compared to the UK average.”

Nearly one in four firms with growth plans intend to drive those ambitions by entering new markets or through investment in technology, the survey noted.

Click here to ‘Like’ The Scotsman Business on Facebook

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "KRISTY DORSEY"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4312916.1481275134!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4312916.1481275134!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Small firms appear less concerned about Brexit than elsewhere in the UK. Picture: John Devlin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Small firms appear less concerned about Brexit than elsewhere in the UK. Picture: John Devlin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4312916.1481275134!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/companies/farming/bananas-giant-fyffes-ripe-for-picking-by-japanese-group-1-4312967","id":"1.4312967","articleHeadline": "Bananas giant Fyffes ripe for picking by Japanese group","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1481275073000 ,"articleLead": "

Fruit supplier Fyffes is to be acquired by Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation in a deal that values the Irish firm at €751.4 million (£633m)

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4312966.1481275066!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Fyffes has agreed to a takeover by Japanese trading giant Sumitomo. Picture: Andrew Stuart"} ,"articleBody": "

Sumitomo will pay €2.23 in cash for each Fyffes share, representing a premium of 49 per cent on yesterday’s closing share price.

Hirohiko Imura, director and managing executive officer of Sumitomo, said: “Sumitomo Corporation has long admired Fyffes for its outstanding track record and market-leading position, and we are delighted that the Fyffes directors have unanimously agreed to recommend our offer to shareholders. We believe that our offer represents a great reward for Fyffes’ shareholders.”

In September, Fyffes itself acquired Canada’s All Seasons Mushrooms in a €41m deal, marking its second such acquisition in just six months. That followed the takeover of Ontario-based company Highline Produce in April.

The latest tie-up follows the collapse in 2014 of a planned merger between Fyffes and Chiquita after a consortium led by Brazil juice maker Cutrale and investment firm Safra raised its offer for the US company.

On the Sumitomo deal, Fyffes chairman David McCann said: “We believe this transaction represents a compelling proposition for our shareholders and crystallises the substantial value created in recent years through the various strategic developments and the strong operating performance.”

Sumitomo, a global trading company with a presence in 66 countries, has been active in the banana industry since the 1960s and is the market leader in Asia, importing about 30 per cent of the bananas into the Japanese market.

Click here to ‘Like’ The Scotsman Business on Facebook

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "RAVENDER SEMBHY AND GARETH MACKIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4312966.1481275066!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4312966.1481275066!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Fyffes has agreed to a takeover by Japanese trading giant Sumitomo. Picture: Andrew Stuart","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Fyffes has agreed to a takeover by Japanese trading giant Sumitomo. Picture: Andrew Stuart","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4312966.1481275066!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/motherwell-fc-contact-police-after-launching-abuse-probe-1-4313840","id":"1.4313840","articleHeadline": "Motherwell FC contact police after launching abuse probe","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1481308556000 ,"articleLead": "

MOTHERWELL has become the latest Scottish club to launch an internal investigation into potential abuse.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4313881.1481308474!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Directors of the North Lanarkshire club had launched an internal investigation. Picture: Wikipedia"} ,"articleBody": "

Directors of the North Lanarkshire club started work to “ascertain whether it is possible any such incidents could have occurred at the club in the past”, in light of recent coverage around the UK.

A forensic accountant is now being brought in to examine employment records, and Police Scotland and the Scottish Football Association (SFA) have been made aware.

The club said “all information collated to date has been passed to the relevant authorities”.

It comes as an SNP MSP called on the SFA to launch an inquiry into allegations of historical sexual abuse at Scottish clubs.

James Dornan has written to SFA chief executive Stewart Regan requesting urgent action.

His call follows demands for an inquiry into the scandal from former SFA chief executive Gordon Smith.

READ MORE: More police forces investigating football-linked ‘child sex abuse’

A Motherwell statement said: “As a result of the extensive coverage relating to allegations of historic child abuse in football, the Directors of Motherwell FC began an internal investigation to ascertain whether it is possible any such incidents could have occurred at the club in the past.

“Having spoken to a number of people who had connections to the club in the period covering late 1970s and 1980s, we have decided to widen the investigation and have employed a forensic accountant to assist us with the examination of employment records and club documents from the period.

“We have made both Police Scotland and the Scottish FA fully aware of the nature of our investigation.

“We will continue with that process, but all information collated to date has been passed to the relevant authorities. The club will wait until the conclusion of the investigation before making any further comment.

“In the meantime, Motherwell FC would urge anyone who may have been affected by abuse in football to contact Police Scotland or the NSPCC helpline (0800 0232642) set up to support and advise victims of abuse.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4313881.1481308474!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4313881.1481308474!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Directors of the North Lanarkshire club had launched an internal investigation. Picture: Wikipedia","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Directors of the North Lanarkshire club had launched an internal investigation. Picture: Wikipedia","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4313881.1481308474!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4313839.1481308479!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4313839.1481308479!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "MSP James Dornan has written to SFA chief executive Stewart Regan requesting urgent action. Picture: John Devlin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "MSP James Dornan has written to SFA chief executive Stewart Regan requesting urgent action. Picture: John Devlin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4313839.1481308479!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/three-workmen-injured-after-wall-collapses-in-glasgow-s-west-end-1-4313883","id":"1.4313883","articleHeadline": "Three workmen injured after wall collapses in Glasgow’s west end","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1481308269000 ,"articleLead": "

Three workmen have been injured by a wall that collapsed in the west end of Glasgow.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4313882.1481308193!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Emergency services were called to Vinicombe Street. Picture: Google"} ,"articleBody": "

Emergency services were called to Vinicombe Street, off Byres Road, at about 2pm on Friday.

Police Scotland said there were serious but “not life-threatening injuries”.

Two men were taken to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in the city and another was treated at the scene.

Building inspectors and the Health and Safety Executive have been informed, a force spokeswoman said.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4313882.1481308193!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4313882.1481308193!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Emergency services were called to Vinicombe Street. Picture: Google","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Emergency services were called to Vinicombe Street. Picture: Google","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4313882.1481308193!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/scots-gps-warn-rising-workloads-may-affect-patient-care-1-4313813","id":"1.4313813","articleHeadline": "Scots GPs warn rising workloads may affect patient care","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1481303035000 ,"articleLead": "

Patients could be put at risk by stretched GPs as a stark survey reveals more than nine out of 10 Scottish GPs believe their workload is impacting on patient care.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4313695.1481303360!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Nine out of 10 Scottish GPs say their workload could have a negative impact on patient care."} ,"articleBody": "

Doctors leaders warned that GPs faced “simply unsustainable” workloads, following the poll of 900 family doctors in Scotland by the British Medical Association (BMA).

Only 7 per cent of GPs said appointments were long enough, while a third said all patients should be offered more time with their GP.

It comes amid concern over significant recruitment issues, with an estimated 900 GP shortfall by 2020 and reports of GP practices turning away new patients.

Dr Alan McDevitt, chair of the BMA’s Scottish GP committee, said: “This survey reflects the immense pressure that GPs working across Scotland are currently feeling.

“The rising workload is simply unsustainable and something has to change to make general practice in Scotland fit for the future.”

The findings come days after a critical report from the General Medical Council said many trainee doctors were working beyond their competences due to huge workloads.

Critics described the situation as “increasingly dire” and called for a boost to funding for general practice.

Conservative shadow health secretary Donald Cameron said: “This is the latest in a long line of warnings the SNP has received on Scotland’s GP crisis.

“Posts are being left unfilled, patients can’t get quick appointments and projections for future service levels are becoming increasingly dire.”

Margaret Watt, chair of the Scotland Patients Association, said: “Heavy workloads are a problem because doctors do not have sufficient time to diagnose things properly.

“This is not the doctors’ fault, it is the Scottish Government’s fault. Patients and doctors deserve better than that.”

Ministers signed an agreement last month to make doctors the leaders of a team of staff as part of a major shake-up of primary care.

Health Secretary Shona Robison said: “We are significantly increasing the amount of investment going into primary and GP care – an extra £500 million by the end of this Parliament. However, as we have made consistently clear, we must also reform the way we provide services.

“These reforms, coupled with the additional investment, will help to improve the attractiveness of general practice as a career, reduce workloads, and create a more sustainable workforce.”


Soaring workloads and 12-hour days prompted staff at Riverside Medical Practice in Inverness to take action.

The busy practice, which has 10,000 patients on its rolls, was struggling to retain staff and to get locums on board because of workloads.

The team brought in nurse practitioners to tackle home visits and emergency care, as well as hiring a pharmacist.

Executive partner Dr Iain Kennedy said: “Workload is a massive issue for Scottish GPs and it was a very big issue for us.

“We have had to work very hard to get it to a manageable level.

“We have had significant issues with recruitment and retention of staff.

“Doctors left because they found the pace too much and locums were reluctant to come and work for us because it was so busy.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Lizzy Buchan"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4313695.1481303360!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4313695.1481303360!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Nine out of 10 Scottish GPs say their workload could have a negative impact on patient care.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Nine out of 10 Scottish GPs say their workload could have a negative impact on patient care.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4313695.1481303360!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/virgin-increases-weekend-edinburgh-to-newcastle-trains-1-4313454","id":"1.4313454","articleHeadline": "Virgin increases weekend Edinburgh to Newcastle trains","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1481300525000 ,"articleLead": "

Virgin Trains is increasing weekend services connecting Edinburgh and Newcastle following an increase in passengers.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4313766.1481300449!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Picture: Chris Watt"} ,"articleBody": "

Six new departures between the cities will be added from this weekend to the east coast timetable.

They include later services from Edinburgh on Friday and Saturday evenings, leaving at 10.01pm and 8pm, and three new trains connecting the UK and Scottish capitals on Sundays.

The additional services will provide more capacity than ever as passengers plan festive breaks, shopping trips and visits to relatives in the run-up to Christmas and Hogmanay.

It follows news that 5000 more Virgin Trains passengers are crossing the border every week after a timetable shake up in May which delivered 42 additional services between Edinburgh, Newcastle and London.

READ MORE: Virgin Trains recruiting £57,000 drivers for east coast line

An additional 26 departures per week have been introduced at Morpeth, in Northumberland, with the later Edinburgh departures also calling at Dunbar, Berwick-upon-Tweed and Alnmouth.

The new timetable takes effect from December 11 and will add 22 new services, 12,000 additional seats per week and dozens of extra stops to the network. It comes as Virgin Trains nears completion of a total overhaul of its entire train fleet.

The news was welcomed by Scotland’s Transport Minister Humza Yousaf, who said: “This increased connectivity between Scotland and the North East of England is to be welcomed as the East Coast main line is a key transport corridor supporting economic growth between and within the regions. Demand for rail travel, including the leisure market, continues to grow - this increased service provision, particularly enhanced weekend and later evening services, will offer opportunities for passengers and businesses alike.”

The development comes ahead of the introduction of the state-of-the-art fleet of Azuma trains in 2018, which will transform journeys on the east coast route. New services to Stirling and Sunderland were launched in 2015 after Virgin Trains took over the east coast route.

Virgin Trains is investing £140m into its east coast route as part of its commitment to the eight year franchise. It has already invested £20m in refurbished carriages and provided a Netflix-style steaming service as part of its customer service improvements.

David Horne, Virgin Trains’ managing director on the east coast route, said: “More people are choosing to travel with us than ever before and have given us great feedback about the customer service improvements we’ve made. We know that there’s particularly strong demand at weekends so we’re delighted to be able to provide more services than ever for people travelling between Scotland and England.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4313766.1481300449!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4313766.1481300449!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Picture: Chris Watt","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Picture: Chris Watt","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4313766.1481300449!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} ]}}} ]}