{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"scotland","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/nicola-sturgeon-politicians-united-in-defence-of-democracy-1-4457467","id":"1.4457467","articleHeadline": "Nicola Sturgeon: Politicians ‘united in defence of democracy’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495753200000 ,"articleLead": "

Nicola Sturgeon has said all General Election campaigners will be “united in defence of our democracy” as the campaigning formally resumes.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457466.1495746246!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Nicola Sturgeon pays tribute to Manchester bombing victim Eilidh MacLeod at FMQs. Picture: PA"} ,"articleBody": "

Political parties across the country suspended campaigns following the Manchester terrorist attack on Monday.

Leaders from several of Scotland’s main parties said those affected by the bombing would remain on their minds as they returned to the election campaign trail on Friday in a show of defiance to the terrorists.

SNP leader Ms Sturgeon said: “Our thoughts continue to be with the families and friends of those who have lost their lives in Manchester and all those who were caught up in this despicable attack.

“In the face of unbearable tragedy, the last few days have also shown us examples of exceptional courage and selflessness - and there is a clear determination from people across the UK and beyond that we will stand defiant in the face of such cowardice.

“Free and fair elections can all-too-easily be taken for granted - and as we resume campaigning for the election on June 8, we do so with an even stronger commitment to those freedoms which we are fortunate to enjoy.”

• READ MORE: Scottish political leaders signal end to election truce

She said having a “robust debate” was right but added “we must never forget that we all want the best for our constituents and communities - and we are all united in our defence of democracy”.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said: “The dreadful events in Manchester will continue to be at the forefront of all our minds today but it is vital that the democratic process continues as we prepare for the June 8 election.

“Terrorists are attacking us because they hate our freedoms and our way of life.

“Nothing better rebukes their twisted ideology than the sight of campaigners out on our streets in free and fair elections asking for people’s votes.

“We will not be beaten by terrorism. As the election gets back under way, we will show that to be the case.”

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said it was the “right time” to restart the campaign.

She added: “In the coming weeks we’ll see endless photo opportunities, fiery clashes in TV debates, and passionate town hall hustings.

“It’s one way we can all show those who bring terror to our country that they will never win.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie will use a visit to a Glasgow pharmacy to highlight the contribution of NHS workers.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Laura Paterson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4457466.1495746246!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457466.1495746246!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Nicola Sturgeon pays tribute to Manchester bombing victim Eilidh MacLeod at FMQs. Picture: PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Nicola Sturgeon pays tribute to Manchester bombing victim Eilidh MacLeod at FMQs. Picture: PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4457466.1495746246!/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/regions/edinburgh-fife-lothians/edinburgh-hotel-pays-compensation-over-shower-scalding-death-1-4457427","id":"1.4457427","articleHeadline": "Edinburgh hotel pays compensation over shower scalding death","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495742651000 ,"articleLead": "

The family of a tourist who died after being scalded in an Edinburgh hotel shower has received an apology and compensation from the owners.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457426.1495742646!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kalyani Uthaman suffered multiple organ failure after the scalding and died in hospital. Picture: Contributed"} ,"articleBody": "

Kalyani Uthaman, 59, from India was on holiday in Scotland in August 2012 when she was severely scalded at the Premier Inn in Newcraighall in Edinburgh. She suffered multiple organ failure and died in hospital several weeks later. Her family sued for a six-­figure sum to pay hospital fees.

The hotel’s owners, Whitbread, said it was “an isolated incident”.

The family’s lawyer argued the hotel failed in its duty of care by not having fitted a thermostatic mixing valve to regulate water temperature.

Speaking from Bangalore yesterday, Mrs Uthaman’s son said she was treated in intensive care for six weeks but died of multiple organ failure.

Sundar Uthaman, 44, said: “I feel vindicated in the sense that a settlement is an acknowledgement by Whitbread that they did wrong.

“I’m still angry at what they did and the fact it wasn’t until Thompsons Solicitors raised the court proceedings that they issued an apology.

“I would also bring to attention that nobody spoke to me and my family regarding what happened. So I really feel disappointed.

“The settlement has prevented the evidence being heard in court. I would really like this to be discussed in the court to make sure such a tragedy never happens to anyone else.”

A Crown Office spokesman said: “The family of Kalyani Uthaman were informed, in January 2014, of the decision not to hold a Fatal Accident Inquiry.

“The incident was fully investigated by police, the council and health and safety experts and while this is a tragic case, independent Crown Counsel agree that there would be no focus for a discretionary FAI and no recommendations for a sheriff to make. To hold such an inquiry would not be in the public interest.”

A spokesman for Premier Inn said: “We are very sorry for the tragic accident that occurred to Ms Uthaman in 2012 and our thoughts are with her family.

“We take millions of bookings every year and we would like to reassure our guests that this was an isolated incident.

“We constantly monitor and regulate the water temperature of our showers in line with industry best practice, which is based on Health and Safety Executive regulatory guidance and NHS healthcare guidelines.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ANGUS HOWARTH"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4457426.1495742646!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457426.1495742646!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Kalyani Uthaman suffered multiple organ failure after the scalding and died in hospital. Picture: Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kalyani Uthaman suffered multiple organ failure after the scalding and died in hospital. Picture: Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4457426.1495742646!/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/scottish-police-authority-chairman-loses-confidence-of-msps-1-4457421","id":"1.4457421","articleHeadline": "Scottish Police Authority chairman loses confidence of MSPs","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495740316000 ,"articleLead": "

A cross-party committee of MSPs has heaped pressure on the chairman of the Scottish Police Authority by saying it has “no confidence” in his leadership.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457420.1495740308!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scottish Police Authority chairman, Andrew Flanagan. Picture: Michael Gillen"} ,"articleBody": "

In a letter to Justice Secretary Michael Matheson, the justice sub-committee on policing criticised Andrew Flanagan for a decision to hold meetings in private and for his treatment of a board member who spoke out against the move.

The letter follows a similar intervention from Holyrood’s audit committee, which wrote to Mr Matheson expressing “very serious concerns” about the standard of governance at the SPA.

Yesterday the SPA confirmed it would perform a U-turn on the issue of holding meetings in private, with all future committees to take place in public.

The committee letter said: “There will be many difficult decisions for the SPA board to take going forward. Openness, inclusiveness and transparency will strengthen the decision-making process and the accountability of the SPA.

“Given the evidence that it has heard, the sub-committee does not have confidence that the current chair is the best person to lead the board.”

Committee convener Mary Fee MSP said: “Mr Flanagan’s testimony to the sub-committee was frankly inadequate and we do not have confidence in his leadership.

“Though he was apologetic, we are not confident he accepts he was wrong.”

John Finnie, the Scottish Greens’ justice spokesman, asked Mr Flanagan to “seriously reflect on his position”.

During an appearance before the committee last week, Mr Flanagan offered an “unreserved personal apology” to Moi Ali, who has accused him of bullying and effectively forcing her out of the organisation after she spoke out against the decision to hold meetings in private. But Mr Flanagan refused to resign his position, believing he has “got more right than wrong” during his tenure.

In a statement released last night, he said: “As I indicated in my evidence to the committee, I have publicly acknowledged recent mistakes without caveat or qualification.

“I remain focussed on building a broad consensus around my continuing leadership of the SPA, and my contribution to a stable and collaborative leadership within policing.”

Ms Ali called on Mr Matheson to intervene and remove Mr Flanagan from his post.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "CHRIS MARSHALL"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4457420.1495740308!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457420.1495740308!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Scottish Police Authority chairman, Andrew Flanagan. Picture: Michael Gillen","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scottish Police Authority chairman, Andrew Flanagan. Picture: Michael Gillen","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4457420.1495740308!/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/environment/scotland-s-weather-scots-bask-in-record-mini-heatwave-1-4457358","id":"1.4457358","articleHeadline": "Scotland’s weather: Scots bask in record mini-heatwave","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495735106000 ,"articleLead": "

Scots are being urged to bask in a record-breaking mini-heatwave while they can as cooler temperatures and thunderstorms are set to move in towards the end of the bank holiday weekend.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457355.1495797984!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Revellers from Airdrie enjoying the sun on Ayr beach. Picture: SWNS"} ,"articleBody": "

The mercury soared in locations across the country yesterday as Aboyne, in Aberdeenshire, reached 27.2C, with Edinburgh hitting 24C ahead of this weekend’s Edinburgh marathon.

Glasgow also experienced a rising temperature, with 23.4C recorded on Thursday afternoon.

Experts have since predicted the skyrocketing temperatures could break May records in some areas today, with parts of the country forecast to be as warm as 30C.

The current record for May heat is 30.9C, recorded in Inverailort in the Highlands in 2012.

However, the ‘mini-heatwave’ is only expected to last until Saturday afternoon, as rain and thunderstorms move across the UK, cooling temperatures down for Sunday and later next week.

• READ MORE: Scotland’s weather: Edinburgh hotter than Canary Islands

Temperatures in Edinburgh peaked at 24.1C on Thursday afternoon, with revellers congregating on Portobello beach and in Princes Street Gardens to enjoy the sunshine as the capital surpassed temperatures in Lanzarote and Cape Town, while Glasgow Green was swamped with people soaking up the sunshine.

A Met office spokesperson said: “The reason for the warm weather is an area of high pressure out towards the east of the UK.

“It’s allowing warm and humid air to be dragged up from the south, helping temperatures climb high.

“Through this evening there won’t be a great deal of change, plenty of evening sunshine and it is going to stay quite warm.

“It should be a mild and humid start to Friday and temperatures should do well again, getting into the mid to high 20s, perhaps even as high as 30C across parts of Scotland.”

The soaring temperatures come just a month after Edinburgh suffered its driest April on record as a paltry 4mm of rain fell at the Royal Botanic Garden - the lowest level of rain since records began in 1959.

However, the Met Office warned a series of severe downpours and thunderstorms was set to follow the warm spell, hitting the west coast first before moving across the rest of the country.

Temperatures are expected to drop down to an average of 21C on Sunday before falling again on Monday to around 18C.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "James Delaney"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4457355.1495797984!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457355.1495797984!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Revellers from Airdrie enjoying the sun on Ayr beach. Picture: SWNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Revellers from Airdrie enjoying the sun on Ayr beach. Picture: SWNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4457355.1495797984!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4457356.1495735100!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457356.1495735100!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Ayr beach on Thursday. Picture: SWNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ayr beach on Thursday. Picture: SWNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4457356.1495735100!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4457357.1495735102!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457357.1495735102!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "People on Ayr beach enjoy some hot weather as temperatures hit 27c in parts of Scotland. Picture: SWNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "People on Ayr beach enjoy some hot weather as temperatures hit 27c in parts of Scotland. Picture: SWNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4457357.1495735102!/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/politics/general-election/scottish-political-leaders-signal-end-to-election-truce-1-4457187","id":"1.4457187","articleHeadline": "Scottish political leaders signal end to election truce","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495726275000 ,"articleLead": "

Tory leader Ruth Davidson has urged Scots to use the General Election as a chance to \"move on\" from the uncertainty of recent years as campaigning resumes north of the border tomorrow.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457186.1495725205!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ruth Davidson gets election campaigning underway again"} ,"articleBody": "

It came as the SNP announced that it will be holding its postponed manifesto launch on Tuesday next week in Perth, a week after it was originally planned.

All parties will be back on the campaign trail tomorrow after hostilities were suspended for four days after the Manchester bombing and the Tory leader has pledged to \"fight for every vote.\"

The SNP looks poised for a resounding victory in the election but Ms Davidson's party has now established itself as its main challenger, ahead of Labour, and poised to take seats off the Nationalists.

In a statement today, Ms Davidson insisted that it is \"vital that the democratic process continues\" ahead of the June 8 election.

“Terrorists are attacking us because they hate our freedoms and our way of life. Nothing better rebukes their twisted ideology than the sight of campaigners out on our streets in free and fair elections asking for peoples’ vote,\" the Tory leader said.

“We will not be beaten by terrorism. And as the election gets back underway, we will show that to be the case. Our own campaign will restart with the same energy and hard work as when it left off.

• READ MORE: General election 2017: Parties set to resume campaigns

“From the Borders to Banffshire and back again the Scottish Conservatives will be pounding the pavements and fighting for every single vote. We believe this election offers a huge opportunity for Scotland and the UK to move on from the last few years of uncertainty.

“So, in the coming 13 days, we will be seeking support from all over Scotland so we can send a clear message to the SNP: that it is time for all of us to move on too.”

Ms Davidson will be joined on the election campaign trail tomorrow by Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie who will call for EU nationals working in Scotland's NHS to be given the immediate right to continue working in Scotland, regardless of the outcome of the Brexit negotiations. Recent reports suggest that there are as many as 225 family GPs and thousands of nurses and care workers in Scotland who would be lost to the Scottish NHS if their rights to reside and practice were removed.

Commenting on the General Election campaign formally resuming tomorrow, Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said: “This weekend thousands of political activists from all the parties will hit the doorsteps to campaign in the General Election.

“The horrific events of Manchester will loom in everybody’s minds, but the time is right to restart the campaign to show how we value our freedom and democracy.

“In the coming weeks we’ll see endless photo opportunities, fiery clashes in TV debates, and passionate town hall hustings. It’s one way we can all show those who bring terror to our country that they will never win.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "scott.macnab@scotsman.com" ,"author": "Scott Macnab"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4457186.1495725205!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457186.1495725205!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Ruth Davidson gets election campaigning underway again","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ruth Davidson gets election campaigning underway again","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4457186.1495725205!/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/regions/inverness-highlands-islands/orkney-councillor-writes-poignant-poem-for-manchester-victims-1-4456984","id":"1.4456984","articleHeadline": "Orkney councillor writes poignant poem for Manchester victims","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495719847000 ,"articleLead": "

Orkney Islands Council convener Harvey Johnston wrote a moving message of sympathy and support for all those affected by the Manchester Arena terror attack.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456982.1495718504!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Barra teenager Eilidh MacLeod, who was killed in the Manchester terror attack. Picture: PA"} ,"articleBody": "

Before reading the message, he said: “Our deepest heartfelt sympathies are with all of those affected by the attack in Manchester, the victims, their families and friends.

• READ MORE: Manchester attacks online fundraiser for Eilidh MacLeod launched

“It is all the more appalling that this attack was targeted at young people who were enjoying themselves had had so much to look forward to in life. Orkney might seem a long way from Manchester, but an attack of this nature is an attack on us all.”

His poem states:

Oh Manchester, we share your pain

The bairns and youngsters maimed and slain

By Evil, rank and inhumane.

Orkney stands with you.

With Barra too we grieve today

Together, Good can win the fray

And Love, not Hate’s the only way.

Orkney stands with you.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ALISTAIR MUNRO"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4456982.1495718504!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456982.1495718504!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Barra teenager Eilidh MacLeod, who was killed in the Manchester terror attack. Picture: PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Barra teenager Eilidh MacLeod, who was killed in the Manchester terror attack. Picture: PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4456982.1495718504!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4456981.1495718511!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456981.1495718511!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Orkney Islands Council convener Harvey Johnson. Picture: Supplied","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Orkney Islands Council convener Harvey Johnson. Picture: Supplied","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4456981.1495718511!/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/environment/salmon-return-to-the-clyde-as-water-quality-improves-1-4456252","id":"1.4456252","articleHeadline": "Salmon return to the Clyde as water quality improves","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495711463000 ,"articleLead": "

Glasgow’s River Clyde is now far less polluted than it used to be, with water quality improving and fish returning to areas that they have been unable to access for decades, according to monitoring work carried out by Scotland’s environmental regulator.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456788.1495711458!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Picture: John Devlin"} ,"articleBody": "

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) said the Clyde was in “significantly better health” than expected thanks to high levels of investment. Some parts of the river are now graded as “excellent” after recovering from years of pollution.

The river’s overall quality was previously ranked as “bad”, the worst possible category, but improved to “moderate” in 2015 and some stretches have now improved again.

Around 62 miles of waterways have been opened up by removing barriers to fish, with salmon reintroduced in higher parts of the river that they were previously unable to access. Pollution had driven the species to extinction in the river’s catchment area.

Sepa, which monitors the water quality in Scotland’s lochs and rivers, said the Clyde had also experienced fewer overflows from sewers and less pollution from agricultural sources.

The Scottish Government hailed what it described as a “lasting change in the Clyde’s fortunes” and said further efforts were under way to make more improvements.

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “The Clyde flows through the very heart of Glasgow and for centuries the river has provided our largest city with a gateway to the world and a source of prosperity.

“However, since industrialisation in the early 1800s, we’ve abused this river, tipping our waste into it without a ­second thought for the impact it has on the communities ­living along the banks, water quality or the wider environment.”

She added that “hard work and investment” had seen water quality improve, aqua­tic species return, and eradicated “the stench which once made residents’ lives a misery”.

Between 2010 and 2021, Scottish Water will have invested more than £600 million in wastewater treatment works and sewerage systems in the area.

The Scottish Government has spent £3.1m on river restoration projects near Hamilton and Shotts through its Water Environment Fund.

Sepa chairman Bob Downes said: “Having a healthier River Clyde system is a real benefit to people living in Glasgow. There’s still a lot of work to be done, but seeing the results of the hard work that has already happened is very rewarding and encouraging.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "CHRIS GREEN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4456788.1495711458!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456788.1495711458!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Picture: John Devlin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Picture: John Devlin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4456788.1495711458!/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/propaganda-will-make-muslims-more-hated-says-muslim-scholar-1-4456070","id":"1.4456070","articleHeadline": "Propaganda will make Muslims more hated, says Muslim scholar","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495643589000 ,"articleLead": "

Prince Ghazi bin Muhammed of Jordan, one of the world’s leading Muslim scholars, has told the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland that terrorist propaganda will succeed in making Muslims “even more hated than they currently are by most of the world.”

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456069.1495643586!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad of Jordan delivers a speech to the General Assembly. Picture: Andrew O'Brien"} ,"articleBody": "

Prince Ghazi, who gave a major hard-hitting speech in the presence of the Princess Royal representing the Queen, began by condemning the Manchester terror attack saying terrorists did not represent Muslims.

“Let me start by condemning in the strongest possible terms in my name and in the name of his majesty King Abdullah 11, (the 2nd) these terror attacks of innocent young people,” said Prince Ghazi who is King Abdullah 11 (the 2nd) of Jordan’s personal envoy.

“We are particularly appalled to see them pretend to represent our religion. Obviously they do not.

“I believe they will find that this country is made of stronger stuff than they might ever imagine.”

• READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon: Terrorists will not win

The prince, who works to promote better understanding between Muslims and Christians and has been nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize, outlined his vision for the future including the “rise of global fundamentalist movements in all religions”, populism, extreme nationalism and xenophobia.

“Terrorist propaganda will succeed in making Muslims even more hated than they currently are by most of the world, and in some places Muslims will be in internment camps and other concentration camps,” he said.

He then referred to the founder of ISIS as a “criminal”, Boko Haram as “lunatics” and warned of further Islamist radicalisation.

“We will of course continue to have a growth of radical fundamentalism in Islam, but we will also have an Islamisation of radicals (so that angry young people with little faith will use Islam as an outlet for their anger, in addition to Islamisation of criminals - such as the late Abu Mus’ab Al-Zarqawi; the founder of ISIS - an islamisation of lunatics - such as Boko Haram - and the Islamisaation of really ignorant and gullible people , like most of the ‘lone wolf’ terrorists we see here in the West.”

• READ MORE: Manchester Area blast: Police office among those killed by Salman Abedi

He also raised the spectre of Islam being “wiped off the face of the Earth” by other religions, with a few exceptions.

“The other world religions - all of whom are enjoying their own fundamental renaissances, albeit not as spectacularly, with beautiful exceptions like Pope Francis, HM the Queen, wiill raise their voices in unison until they all demand together that Islam be wiped off the face of the Earth for not being enough of a religion of love.

“If this all sounds too bad to be true, unfortunately is isn’t. It is a mordant but serious warning.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "SHAN ROSS"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4456069.1495643586!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456069.1495643586!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad of Jordan delivers a speech to the General Assembly. Picture: Andrew O'Brien","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad of Jordan delivers a speech to the General Assembly. Picture: Andrew O'Brien","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4456069.1495643586!/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/manchester-arena-attack-music-fans-recall-moment-of-blast-1-4455575","id":"1.4455575","articleHeadline": "Manchester arena attack: Music fans recall moment of blast","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495628211000 ,"articleLead": "

FANS described the moment the suicide bomber detonated his explosive shortly after US singer Ariana Grande had finished her performance.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455573.1495631506!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "People attend a vigil in Albert Square in Manchester the day after the attack. Picture: AFP/Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

Victims described being thrown by the blast that scattered nuts and bolts across the floor.

More than 240 calls were made to the emergency services, with responders including 60 ambulances flooding the area.

Edinburgh mum Sue Wilson’s teenage daughters Marcella, 14, and Micaela, 19, were at the concert, and both travelled home safely yesterday.

Ms Wilson said: “It was a big adventure for the two of them to go together.

“Marcella was so excited on Monday when they set off. It has been a complete nightmare.”

Gary Walker, from Leeds, was with his wife in the foyer waiting to pick up his two daughters who were at the concert.

Mr Walker said he was three metres from the explosion and “surprised I got away so lightly”.

He said the blast was by the foyer door, next to the merchandise, and that glass and metal nuts were left on the floor. His daughters Abigail and Sophie contacted their parents by mobile phone, a moment Mr Walker described as “fantastic news”.

One fan, Majid Khan, 22, described the explosion and ensuing panic. “A huge bomb-like bang went off that hugely panicked everyone and we were all trying to flee the arena,” he said.

“It was one bang and essentially everyone from the other side of the arena where the bang was heard from suddenly came running towards us as they were trying to exit.”

Oliver Jones, 17, who attended with his 19-year-old sister, said: “The bang echoed around the foyer of the arena and people started to run. I saw people running and screaming towards one direction and then many were turning around to run back the other way.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4455573.1495631506!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455573.1495631506!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "People attend a vigil in Albert Square in Manchester the day after the attack. Picture: AFP/Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "People attend a vigil in Albert Square in Manchester the day after the attack. Picture: AFP/Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4455573.1495631506!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4455574.1495631507!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455574.1495631507!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Ariana Grande. Picture: Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ariana Grande. Picture: Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4455574.1495631507!/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/syrian-refugee-thanks-scots-for-their-generosity-and-kindness-1-4452939","id":"1.4452939","articleHeadline": "Syrian refugee thanks Scots for their generosity and kindness","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495437996000 ,"articleLead": "

Mariam Amiri is still struck by fear every time she hears the sound of a helicopter. The noise reminds her of the time she and her family spent in refugee camps after fleeing the war in Syria, with only the flimsy canvas of their tent acting as protection from the falling bombs.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4452938.1495437994!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "From left, Mona Al Dafan, Chadi Amri, Yassine Alharaisi, Nazira Hijazi in Airdie this week. Picture: Martin Hunter"} ,"articleBody": "

“When I hear it, it says to me and my family: ‘I’m here to kill you all’. I used to take my son and smother him for fear of losing him,” she recalls.

“We used to always wonder when our time was coming, who was going to die, what tent were they going to bomb? When the bombs came down you smelled it in the air, you saw people’s body parts thrown into the air, houses coming down with people inside them.

“You heard people’s screams of fear, pain, from people who lost loved ones. You used to see parents gathering their children’s body parts so they could bury them.”

The 23-year-old’s deeply upsetting personal account of the war in Syria is all the more remarkable as she is telling it live on stage, in front of an audience of around 100 people. Alongside her husband Chadi and their two young children, Mariam became one of the first Syrian refugees to arrive in Britain 18 months ago and has decided that it is time for her story to be heard.

The couple were among five refugees who volunteered to share their experiences at a special event in Airdrie in North Lanarkshire last week.

READ MORE: RECAP: The Scottish leaders debate as it happened

READ MORE: Scottish Leaders Debate: clashes over indyref2 and SNP record

The evening at Airdrie Town Hall was organised by the local council, which has so far resettled 133 Syrian refugees in each of the area’s main towns.

For the Syrians taking part, it was a chance to thank the people who welcomed them into the community and tell their stories about coming to Scotland.

“Thanks to Scotland and the generosity of the Scottish people and the mercy of God, I am [safe] here,” Mariam says, her voice choked with emotion.

“I live in a beautiful home that makes me feel safe. The children go to the local nursery – they are learning and integrating. Every time I take my children to nursery I can’t help but feel happy.

“My children are learning and they are safe. But I can’t help the flashbacks that take me to the time before I was here. I remember the kids that are still in Syria and in the camps. In two months’ time I will be giving birth to my third child. I have my birthing plan set up already, but can’t help thinking of those women that have their children in the streets or under the bombs.”

Mariam’s husband Chadi is lucky to have escaped Syria with his life. He recalls how he was kidnapped near Damascus by government forces and taken to a detention centre, where he was repeatedly beaten and tortured.

“They attacked me like wild animals, they did not leave one bit of my body not bruised,” he says. “They then brought a bucket of water which they threw over me and placed me on top of something like a metal bed.

“Then they started to Taser me. From the pain and fear I fell to the ground, but they started hitting me with a cable. I could not move. My body was not responding.”

Chadi was eventually released after his family paid a ransom and is now living with his family in Scotland. He hopes to shine a light on what is happening in Syria’s detention centres by telling his story to human rights groups.

The event also heard from Nazira Hijazi, 46, and her son Badr, 11, who has drawn a series of pictures about their life in Syria before and after the war. She was caught in a chemical weapons attack and was lucky to survive. A dozen members of her family were killed.

While almost all of the refugees speak through an interpreter, Nazira’s other son Yassine, 18, delivers his speech in English. The family has only lived in Coatbridge for 18 months, but he already has a noticeable Scottish accent.

After the family left Syria for Lebanon, he was forced to take whatever work he could find to earn money rather than attending school. “Many people did not want us there and they made threats and abused us,” he says.

“One night they threw firecrackers that sounded like real explosives at our house. Having difficulty getting work and facing racism from the Lebanese made life very difficult.”

Occasionally he would return to Syria to meet up with other members of his family, but the trips carried great risks and he would often have to shelter from the bombs.

“I have watched from a distance as buildings were blown up by missiles fired from heavy artillery. It is very different from watching it in the movies,” he says. “I remember looking out of my window one night and seeing the red light of a rocket travelling up the street just outside.”

Although Yassine admits that he did not know much about Scotland before being resettled, he says the family feels “very welcome” and has not had any bad experiences with racism.

“I hope to attend college in the future and train in engineering. One day when there is peace, I hope to return to my country and meet up with my friends and family,” he says with a smile.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "CHRIS GREEN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4452938.1495437994!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4452938.1495437994!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "From left, Mona Al Dafan, Chadi Amri, Yassine Alharaisi, Nazira Hijazi in Airdie this week. Picture: Martin Hunter","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "From left, Mona Al Dafan, Chadi Amri, Yassine Alharaisi, Nazira Hijazi in Airdie this week. Picture: Martin Hunter","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4452938.1495437994!/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/independence-will-never-be-backed-by-labour-says-kezia-dugdale-1-4452923","id":"1.4452923","articleHeadline": "Independence will never be backed by Labour, says Kezia Dugdale","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495429206000 ,"articleLead": "

LABOUR leader Kezia Dugdale will today place the party’s opposition to independence at the heart of its Scottish election manifesto launch in a bid to win back supporters lost to the Tories.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4452922.1495398972!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale joins Liberal Democrat, Conservative and SNP teams to mark a campaign truce in honour of murdered Labour MP Jo Cox. Picture: Getty"} ,"articleBody": "

Ms Dugdale will accuse the SNP of focusing on the constitution at the expense of Scotland’s flagging economy
and public services at the event in Edinburgh.

Labour have fallen behind Ruth Davidson’s Conservatives, who have been successful in appealing to the pro-Union vote in Scotland.

Both Ms Dugdale and UK party leader Jeremy Corbyn have stepped up their opposition to independence before today’s launch in Edinburgh.

The manifesto states: “Scottish Labour will never support independence, because we believe that together we’re stronger.”

It follows a similar commitment in Labour’s UK manifesto last week which confirmed the party’s opposition to both another “divisive” independence referendum and separation itself.

Ms Dugdale is launching the document on the back of a difficult campaign which has seen Labour struggling in a distant third place behind the SNP and the Tories in the polls and internal strife after a rebellion among councillors in Aberdeen who were suspended after forming a coalition with the Tories.

She is hoping the manifesto launch will send out the message to Scots that Labour can be trusted to fight independence as strongly as the Conservatives.

She says in her manifesto foreword: “Labour is the only party which knows it is the power of the whole UK working in partnership which benefits the many, not the few – that is at the root of our belief that together we’re stronger.

“That is why Labour opposes independence and a second divisive independence referendum. Independence is not the answer to dealing with Scotland’s flagging economy or our pressured public services.

“The SNP has one focus – independence. Labour will campaign tirelessly to ensure that the desire of the majority of Scots to remain part of the UK is respected.”

Prime Minister Theresa May last week branded Mr Corbyn weak on the independence issue after he indicated in an interview last year that he would be “absolutely fine” with another referendum.

Mr Corbyn has since made it clear he would oppose such a move and warns again today that nationalism is not the answer to society’s ills.

He states in his foreword to the manifesto: “In Scotland, child poverty is increasing, the number of those working but still classified as poor is at its highest level since devolution and health inequalities stubbornly persist.

“Rather than tackle poverty, the SNP obsesses over another reckless referendum that threatens people’s futures.

“Labour is opposed to independence because it would inflict turbo-charged austerity on the Scottish people.

“We will stand firm in our opposition to a second referendum because we know that together we’re stronger and unity is still our strength.

“Historically, it has been the solidarity and common endeavour of our Labour and trade union movement that has transformed the lives of the many, not the few, in our great country.

“Just as it has always been the case, only our movement offers the hope and the contemporary solutions to society’s problems. 
Nationalism, in whatever form, does not.”

Labour’s manifesto will pledge to introduce a Bill banning MSPs from holding paid second jobs after it emerged that some receive up to £130,000 in outside earnings.

Lothians MSP Neil Findlay will bring forward proposals to consult on restricting the time and earnings of paid second jobs in an effort to “restore faith” in politics.

Labour will also set out plans to extend breakfast clubs into every primary school to give children a healthy start to the day, as well as a ban on onshore fracking to protect the environment.

There will also be measures to improve access to sanitary products to tackle “period poverty” and plans to scrap the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act.

Ms Dugdale added: “It’s a manifesto for delivering change here in Scotland. Through Members’ Bills in the Scottish Parliament, Labour can help to grow our economy, restore faith in our democracy and give people a fair chance in life.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "SCOTT MACNAB"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4452922.1495398972!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4452922.1495398972!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale joins Liberal Democrat, Conservative and SNP teams to mark a campaign truce in honour of murdered Labour MP Jo Cox. Picture: Getty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale joins Liberal Democrat, Conservative and SNP teams to mark a campaign truce in honour of murdered Labour MP Jo Cox. Picture: Getty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4452922.1495398972!/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/generation-gap-hits-young-scots-voters-1-4452917","id":"1.4452917","articleHeadline": "Generation gap hits young Scots voters","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495429206000 ,"articleLead": "

Young Scots are half as likely as over-65s to feel they have the option to vote for someone who “understands their life”, a survey has found.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4452916.1495398108!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jonathan Shafi wants action on generation gap. Picture: John Devlin"} ,"articleBody": "

The poll for the Electoral Reform Society (ERS) Scotland found a generation gap in how people feel about voting before the general election.

Young people were most likely of any age group to discuss politics but felt alienated from the political system. The poll found only 26 per cent of 16- to 24-year-olds feel they have the option to vote for someone who “understands their life” compared with half of the over-65s.

Jonathan Shafi of the ERS called for action to “close this dangerous generation gap before it becomes unbridgeable”.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4452916.1495398108!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4452916.1495398108!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jonathan Shafi wants action on generation gap. Picture: John Devlin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jonathan Shafi wants action on generation gap. Picture: John Devlin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4452916.1495398108!/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/political-will-needed-to-tackle-homelessness-says-kirk-moderator-1-4452929","id":"1.4452929","articleHeadline": "Political will needed to tackle homelessness, says Kirk moderator","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495429206000 ,"articleLead": "

A leading churchman has accused politicians of lacking the will to tackle homelessness.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4452928.1495399818!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Very Rev Dr Russell Barr told the General Assembly that the numbers of homeless people is a stain on Scotlands character and consciousness. Picture: Andrew O'Brien"} ,"articleBody": "

Retiring moderator the Very Rev Dr Russell Barr told the Church of Scotland’s General Assembly that homelessness figures had hardly changed in the past 25 years.

He said: “The numbers of people homeless continues to be a stain on our nation’s character and consciousness.”

With First Minister Nicola Sturgeon sitting in the gallery, he added: “All the research has been done, the causes identified as well as the policies and processes needing to be put in place to resolve it.

“The one thing missing is the political will. Whatever the constitutional future holds for Scotland, I hope the general assembly will speak with one voice in saying this is unacceptable, this needs to change and there should be no room for homelessness in 21st century Scotland.”

Dr Barr, who founded Edinburgh-based charity Fresh Start, which helps homeless people move into new tenancies, said official statistics showed 34,662 homelessness applications to Scotland’s 32 councils in the year to March 2016, of which 82 per cent – 28,226 – were assessed as homeless.

“The figures are little different from what they were 25 years ago and the proportion of applications assessed as homeless has increased steadily from 72 per cent in 2004-05.

“Most disturbingly of all, as of September 2016, 5,751 pre-school and school-age children were registered as homeless – a 17 per cent increase on the previous year.”

Dr Barr said that the length of time families were having to spend in temporary accommodation was increasing – to 24 weeks in 2016 – and he questioned the impact it was 
having on children’s education, health and sense of well-being.

He said that research at Heriot-Watt University on a successful scheme in Finland had led to pilot studies in Glasgow where temporary accommodation was bypassed and people were given permanent flats with the necessary support.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "IAN SWANSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4452928.1495399818!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4452928.1495399818!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Very Rev Dr Russell Barr told the General Assembly that the numbers of homeless people is a stain on Scotlands character and consciousness. Picture: Andrew O'Brien","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Very Rev Dr Russell Barr told the General Assembly that the numbers of homeless people is a stain on Scotlands character and consciousness. Picture: Andrew O'Brien","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4452928.1495399818!/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/opinion/dani-garavelli-stakes-high-in-key-snp-tory-marginal-1-4452127","id":"1.4452127","articleHeadline": "Dani Garavelli: stakes high in key SNP/Tory marginal","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495320385000 ,"articleLead": "

The shopkeepers of Hawick are in the grip of feverish preparations. Up and down the High Street, they are festooning their windows with blue and gold bunting. But though the town is situated in Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk, Scotland’s most marginal Westminster constituency, and the Conservatives and the SNP are the two parties fighting for supremacy, the decorations are not proof of political engagement.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4452126.1495360791!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Would-be designer Rachel Connelly dresses a window in a shop on the High Street. Picture: John Devlin"} ,"articleBody": "

Rather, all minds are on Hawick’s annual three-day festival, the Common Riding, which starts on 8 June; the ubiquitous blue and gold are the event’s traditional colours. So all-pervading is the festival, held to commemorate the capture of an English flag at Hornshole in 1514, some people have applied for postal votes to save them visiting a polling station on election day.

Not that the Common Riding is universally embraced. For some, it’s a symbol of insularity; the obsession of an establishment clique. “Have you ever been the Cornet’s Lass [one of the chief ceremonial roles]?” I ask a young woman who has been explaining arcane rituals such as “the snuffin”. “No,” she says. “ Your face has to fit. Mine doesnae.”

Hawick’s mantra is: “It’s aye been.” You see it on posters; hear it in bars. But nowadays, it is tinged with irony. Over the past 30 years, the town’s fortunes have declined. The knitwear industry, once its lifeblood, has shrunk, though the remaining mills still produce some of the world’s finest cashmere and merino garments. The Borders Railway which brings tourists to Stow, Galashiels and Tweedbank, stops 23 miles short of Hawick, leaving it cut off from Edinburgh. And, despite its striking statues, the High Street is jaded and lacklustre.

Politically too, the landscape has been transformed. Once a Liberal Democrat stronghold, the sitting MP, Michael Moore, was beaten into third place in 2015. Back then, the Conservatives were so sure their candidate, John Lamont, would win, they shifted their focus to David Mundell’s Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale constituency. Mundell was saved, but the SNP’s Calum Kerr took Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk by a majority of just 328.

This time round, the pair are battling it out again, but all the momentum is with the Conservatives, who require a swing of just 0.3 per cent and expect the party’s resurgence to deliver it. Lamont – the son of a Duns farmer who has stood three times before – quit as MSP of the equivalent Holyrood constituency when the general election was announced, prompting a by-election. He is confident it will be fourth time lucky.

One vote he is guaranteed is Betty Hogg’s. Taking tea in Cathy’s Café – an unpretentious purveyor of bacon butties – she says Lamont is a “good man”, always willing to help people out. “My father voted Tory – I think it is in the genes,” says Hogg. “I’m not a Nicola Sturgeon fan. I’m not for independence.”

In Hawick, however, Brexit is arguably a bigger issue than the prospect of a second indyref. At the Hawico Scotland factory shop, the knitting machines, with their twirling bobbins and carriers whirring back and forth, prove the cashmere company has moved with the times. Behind the machines, a dozen women form a manual production line. One stretches bright jumpers over a pair of illuminated cones to check for faults which she marks with thread. Then, she passes the jumpers on to be mended with needles and turning hooks. Close at hand sit boxes of buttons in exotic shades such as Clover, Furnace and African Lily.

Hawico exports into the main European markets as well as Asia and the US, and has its own retail outlets in Germany, Switzerland and Japan, but Brexit has cast a cloud of uncertainty over its future.

“The weak pound is beneficial to our UK stores, but what is going to happen with regard to import duties?” asks retail director Liz Young. “If the European countries have a knee-jerk reaction to what they are importing from Britain, that is a big concern.”

There are others, however, who believe Brexit will be liberating. One mill worker tells me her boss is convinced it will open up new markets. Hogg, who spent most of her working life in the textile industry, voted Leave for the same reason. “Brexit is a great thing – it takes us away from Brussels and all the red tape,” she says.

Gathered outside Subway, the Johnstone family had another motive for voting Leave: immigration. “We’ve all agreed on a one-off Tory protest vote because we want to put a stop to freedom of movement,” says John-George, a Labour supporter, unionist and Rangers fan, who is heading off to Ibrox for his team’s clash with Aberdeen. He thinks foreigners are “clogging up” the hospitals, and wants England and Scotland to stay together. “Why is it so important to remain part of the UK?” I ask. “Because we arra people,” he responds.

His daughter Karissa, 22, who works in the NHS, voted Yes in 2014, but forsook the SNP after the EU referendum, while her cousin Lee, 26 – father of 10-week-old Aria – says he wants tougher sentences for the town’s paedophiles and drug-users.

Surprisingly – given Labour polled just 2,700 votes in 2015 – a couple of residents say they plan to keep supporting the party. “I know it’s probably a wasted vote, but if you don’t vote for them, they will never do any better,” says Rachel Connelly, 25, who wants to be a fashion designer. “I am not totally against independence, I just wish she [Sturgeon] would ease off a bit and wait.”

With the Tories acting as if victory is theirs, the atmosphere in Hawick’s SNP hub is subdued. Veteran members Sheila Rae and Anne Bain hold the line: they praise Kerr for his commitment and insist they detect no diminution in the desire for independence, but their body language suggests they feel they’re being outmanoeuvred and outgunned. They complain about the resources the Conservatives are pouring into their campaign and tell me of an SNP canvasser hounded off a farmer’s land. “A tiny thing she was, but fearless,” says Rae.

Later, driving back up the A7 towards Edinburgh, I pass two giant Calum Kerr banners in the front garden of a house in Selkirk. Dwarfing the John Lamont banner a few doors up, they remind me of the SNP’s past swagger, so I swing off the road and ring the bell.

Doreen Mitchell invites me in. She tells me her husband John – an SNP councillor for Scottish Borders Council for 29 years – lost his Galashiels seat to a Tory earlier in the month.

Doreen continues to support Kerr and to believe Scotland would be better off standing on its own two feet. “John was disappointed with the result, but he is 67 now and ready to retire,” she says. “As for me, I’ve got my gardener back.”

The candidates standing for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk are Liberal Democrat: Caroline Burgess; Labour: Ian Davidson; SNP: Calum Kerr; Conservatives: John Lamont

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Dani Garavelli"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4452126.1495360791!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4452126.1495360791!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Would-be designer Rachel Connelly dresses a window in a shop on the High Street. Picture: John Devlin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Would-be designer Rachel Connelly dresses a window in a shop on the High Street. Picture: John Devlin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4452126.1495360791!/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/opinion/euan-mccolm-scottish-labour-in-a-mess-over-aberdeen-tory-coalition-1-4452123","id":"1.4452123","articleHeadline": "Euan McColm: Scottish Labour in a mess over Aberdeen Tory coalition","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495319084000 ,"articleLead": "

It was – on the face of things, at least – an example of the sort of strong leadership we demand from senior politicians.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4452122.1495367223!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kezia Dugdales promise not to do deals with the Tories has further eroded Labours influence on Scottish politics. Picture: John Devlin"} ,"articleBody": "

As news filtered out from Aberdeen that newly elected Labour councillors were preparing to form a coalition with the Tories to run the city council, their boss stepped in to lay down the law. Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale would not countenance such a grubby deal and suspended nine local members.

A statement was hastily released: voters could now rest assured that there were no representatives of the Labour Party sitting on Aberdeen City Council.

But if Dugdale thought her rather excessive intervention would put an end to difficult questions about Labour’s part in the political play, she was mistaken. Party members – including some senior figures – were shocked by the leader’s actions. Opponents, on the other hand, were delighted.

One of the key lines of attack in the SNP’s successful supplanting of Scottish Labour over recent years has been the accusation that the party of Blair, Brown and Corbyn is nothing more than a rabble of dishonourable “red Tories”.

During the 2014 independence referendum campaign, the Scottish nationalists’ charge that Labour was standing “shoulder to shoulder” with the Conservative Party succeeded in prising away a number of voters. Labour, having succeeded in toxifying the Tory brand, paid a heavy price for working with their political enemies as part of the Better Together campaign.

But surely all the damage that charge is going to do has already been done? Scotland is now a nation divided along constitutional lines and we can reasonably assume that anyone who has stuck with Labour this far is unlikely to be in favour of Scottish independence.

This being so, it seems utterly perverse that the party’s leader should have acted as she did.

Labour’s explanation for the suspension of these councillors is that they had broken a party pledge that no elected member would enter into a coalition deal with any party committed to a programme of “austerity”.

Having made this foolish promise, the Labour Party had little option but to act when those councillors agreed terms with the Tories.

It was a promise that Labour should never have made. The party has few enough options, these days, without going out of its way to further limit its prospects of playing a meaningful role at any level of government.

The council elections are run on a single transferable vote system, which – you will recall, having played your joyous part in the democratic process a couple of weeks ago – means that voters can lend support to more than one party. Among those voters who helped Labour take nine seats in Aberdeen will be those who also supported the Tory Party.

Tory supporters who voted tactically for Labour – perhaps offering the party a second preference – to try to keep the number of SNP councillors to a minimum in Aberdeen will wonder what the bloody point of that was.

In suspending its councillors in Aberdeen, Labour has done something advantageous to the Tory Party at the behest of the SNP. What a pitiful position for a party that once dominated Scottish politics to find itself in.

Some Labour activists are concerned that the suspensions in Aberdeen will have repercussions in next month’s general election. Labour’s last surviving Scottish MP in the 2015 SNP landslide was the member for Edinburgh South, Ian Murray. Even he would concede that among those who returned him to Westminster two years ago were a number of those who might traditionally have voted Tory. Will those same voters feel so happy supporting a Labour candidate now they know that party views them with such contempt?

Naturally, SNP strategists are tickled by this unexpected Labour meltdown. But there are concerns among senior nationalist ranks about how the general election might impact on plans for a second independence referendum.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says she wants to hold indyref2 either late next year or early in 2019. Prime Minister Theresa May’s position is that now – with Brexit negotiations ahead – is not the right time to discuss the matter. If the Conservatives can live up to the most optimistic polling predictions and return as many as 12 of Scotland’s 59 MPs, the next UK government would feel confident in simply blocking another referendum.

I’m inclined to agree with the view of one veteran SNP strategist that Sturgeon is not the sort to reply to such an outcome with an unofficial vote. Her predecessor, Alex Salmond, might have enjoyed the sport of such a wheeze, but Sturgeon has a calmer head.

If the First Minister is denied her second referendum by the next UK government, she will have little choice but to return her focus to the domestic agenda. Perhaps we might see some evidence that the reform of education is the priority Sturgeon says it is.

A block on indyref2 would put huge pressure on the SNP’s impressive discipline. The party’s left wing would favour radical action – mass protests, an illegal referendum. When the leader failed to deliver these things and whatever else they had demanded, fractures in the party would be inevitable.

The SNP will, without even a whisper of doubt, win by far the majority of Scotland’s seats in June. But the leadership is braced for some losses. Nobody in SNP HQ expects a rerun of the 2015 result, when the nationalists took 56 out of 59, but few expect losses to run into double figures.

The nationalists expect to lose seats only to Tories. If this is so, it’s hard to see how Labour gets back in the game.

The Scottish Tories will do better than last time in the general election because leader Ruth Davidson has established herself as the ultimate defender of the Union. There is nothing subtle about Davidson’s message which is why it has cut through to so many voters.

In stark contrast, Labour’s decision to suspend its Aberdeen councillors for preparing to work with fellow unionists makes it look pitifully weak on the constitution.

Is it any wonder Scottish Labour’s on its knees?

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Euan McColm"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4452122.1495367223!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4452122.1495367223!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Kezia Dugdales promise not to do deals with the Tories has further eroded Labours influence on Scottish politics. Picture: John Devlin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kezia Dugdales promise not to do deals with the Tories has further eroded Labours influence on Scottish politics. Picture: John Devlin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4452122.1495367223!/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/regions/edinburgh-fife-lothians/studio-24-owners-confirm-sale-to-property-developers-1-4451585","id":"1.4451585","articleHeadline": "Studio 24 owners confirm sale to property developers","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495286882000 ,"articleLead": "

The owners of a popular live music venue in Edinburgh where rock giants Nirvana once played have confirmed it has been sold to a property developer.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4450476.1495231231!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Studio 24 bosses have announced that the popular nightspot is to close after 22 years. Picture: Google Maps"} ,"articleBody": "

Studio 24 was snapped up shortly before it was announced that the Calton Road building would be closing within weeks.

Bosses have blamed a long-running battle with the city council and neighbouring residents for the demise of the venue, which was previously known as the Calton Studios and has operated for more than 30 years.

The former TV studios are close to the New Waverley development, a £150 million scheme to create new apartments, shops, bars and restaurants between the Royal Mile and Calton Road.

The owners of the former engineering factory have had a series of battles with residents in new flats which have been built in the Calton Road area over the last 15 years.

News of its closure was greeted with widespread dismay on social media and prompted an online petition to save the venue, which attracted more than 3500 backers in less than 24 hours.

Manager Gill McArthur said: “The building has been sold. The deal was concluded this week. We are leasing it back to give us time to allow a celebration of all we have done over the years. They will most likely develop it into flats.

“The council will get what they have always wanted. A city for the rich and no diversity.

“No-one else would take on the risk. It’s too fragile an industry when one person has too much power to close you down.

“My family have lost tens of thousands of pounds trying to do what was right for this city - music, culture and diversity.

“The council could have made amends for their failure, but they allowed us to suffer and now Edinburgh will. It’s a sad time and we’re all devastated. But we’d rather choose when to go.”

A statement issued on the Studio 24 Facebook site said: “For years we’ve fought the good fight, giving a place for lovers of underground music somewhere where they feel safe in a friendly environment surrounded by staff who genuinely care about the music playing, the atmosphere and making sure the customers feel the same love.

“We’re gutted we’ve had to come to this decision, but with years of investing thousands upon thousands in sound-proofing and legal fees in order to stay open, alongside complaining neighbours and harsh council-enforced sound restrictions, we feel these problems won’t leave us, with more complaints recently received and no real support from licensing standards officers, therefore threatening our ability to stay open.

“We feel that it’s better to jump than be pushed, and perhaps us leaving the entertainment circuit might make the powers-that-be realise the need for a shake-up of how a capital city’s music scene should be supported. Calton Road once pulsed with music – from The Venue, to The Bongo on New Street to Studio 24. This part of the Old Town is almost silenced now. It’s the heart of the city, but the beat has been silenced.”

Music fans have been left reeling by a spate of recent closures, including Electric Circus and the Citrus Club. Pub operator Wetherspoon recently took over the former Picture House venue on Lothian Road, while Leith Depot’s operators have announced that their building is facing demolition after being bought over by a new owner.

• READ MORE: Outcry as Edinburgh’s Studio 24 announces closure

A statement from the Music Is Audible group of venues and promoters, which was set up to campaign for a better deal for the city’s music scene, said: “We are saddened to hear of Studio 24’s decision to close following what appears to be a renewed round of complaints from neighbours regarding noise and the subsequent response from the licensing authorities.

“After more than two years of discussions with the council, it is disappointing that a venue which has been in the frontline of developments that changed the fabric of Calton Road seems to feel that it must step down from providing one of the most vital homes to alternative musical culture in the city.

“Our hearts go out to those at Studio 24 who fought for the right to party and for a space for creativity, despite – to put it very mildly – challenging conditions in the face of development in the area.

“This was development, notably, that took place after the building was a well-established space for music making. What happened to prompt Studio 24’s decision has yet to be made clear, but we respect their decision. What happens next with the building housing Studio 24 remains to be seen.

“For it to be simply sold off to convert the building into flats (a process arguably at the root of Studio 24’s problems) would deprive not just Calton Road but the city as a whole of a key cultural asset.

“The venue was driven by a commitment to music and to community rather than profit, and had a unique character. As such, its loss is more significant than the loss of a more commercial profit-driven business.

“We wants to reassert our position in protecting existing music venues in the city to ensure a local music community can thrive.”

A council spokeswoman said: “Our staff have been speaking to Edinburgh’s venue owners and performers for more than a year to establish a plan for live music in the city.

“During this time, significant changes have been made to make Edinburgh’s noise policy clearer and fairer. Since new conditions came into effect for Studio 24 in November, the council hasn’t received any noise complaints relating to the venue.”

Paul Lawrence, the council’s director of place, added: “We haven’t been made aware of the venue’s reasons for closure of Studio 24, but I would welcome a meeting with the owners to discuss their situation.

“We’re committed to working with the industry to support live music and I will be presenting a report detailing the work of the Music Is Audible taskforce to members of the new council administration this summer.

“Meanwhile, I continue to urge existing and potential venue owners to come to us to discuss issues and plans.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BRIAN FERGUSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4450476.1495231231!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4450476.1495231231!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Studio 24 bosses have announced that the popular nightspot is to close after 22 years. Picture: Google Maps","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Studio 24 bosses have announced that the popular nightspot is to close after 22 years. Picture: Google Maps","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4450476.1495231231!/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/opinion/leader-comment-day-of-reckoning-for-rbs-1-4451558","id":"1.4451558","articleHeadline": "Leader comment: Day of reckoning for RBS","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495229059000 ,"articleLead": "

It has been almost ten years since the UK government bailed out the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS). Now, finally, investors who watched their shares collapse in value are closer to finding out the truth behind the fiasco.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4451557.1495229057!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Former RBS executive, Fred Goodwin. Picture: PA"} ,"articleBody": "

The Royal Bank of Scotland is an important Scottish company. And the current management, who were not involved at the time, are trying to put this catastrophic period behind them and emphasise the firm’s community roots.

But the 14-week, £700 million trial brought against the lender by 9,000 retail investors and 18 institutions, is an essential part of this process. The case centres on whether bosses knew of RBS’s fragile state before it raised £12 billion from shareholders. Months later, RBS shares fell by 90 per cent.

When Fred Goodwin, who was stripped of his knighthood in 2012, appears at the High Court on 8 June, it will be the first time he has been forced to publicly account for his and the bank’s actions. Thousands of investors have been waiting for this day for years. To move on properly, sometimes we need to look back and learn. Perhaps then we can once again be proud of RBS.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4451557.1495229057!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4451557.1495229057!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Former RBS executive, Fred Goodwin. Picture: PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Former RBS executive, Fred Goodwin. Picture: PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4451557.1495229057!/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/sport/football/teams/rangers/craig-whyte-wanted-ticketus-removed-from-takeover-papers-1-4451485","id":"1.4451485","articleHeadline": "Craig Whyte ‘wanted Ticketus removed from takeover papers’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495221489000 ,"articleLead": "

Craig Whyte told accountants to remove Ticketus from documents relating to his Rangers takeover, a trial has heard.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4451484.1495221489!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Former Rangers owner Craig Whyte leaves the High Court in Glasgow. Picture: SNS Group"} ,"articleBody": "

A key associate of Whyte accepted it could have been “misleading” not to have revealed the role of a tickets firm in the Rangers takeover.

Former business partner Philip Betts was quizzed about “cash flow projections” made ahead of the May 2011 buyout.

A jury heard how the involvement of Ticketus – said to have helped fund the deal – was removed.

Prosecutors yesterday went on to claim the information had been “actively concealed”.

The evidence was yesterday made at Whyte’s trial at the High Court in Glasgow.

The 46 year-old denies a charge of fraud and a second allegation under the Companies Act in connection with his takeover.

Mr Betts – an asset finance broker – previously told how he got involved in Whyte’s bid for Rangers after first meeting him in 2009.

Prosecutors state Whyte took out a loan from the firm against three years of season ticket sales to help fund the takeover.

The court heard how cash flow projections had to be prepared before the purchase of Sir David Murray’s majority stake at Ibrox.

Prosecutor Alex Prentice QC asked had there been a “desire” to keep “the involvement of Ticketus confidential”.

Mr Betts said the company had not wanted the Murray group to know and he believed that this involved a non-disclosure agreement being signed.

Any mention of Ticketus was then taken out of the financial projections.

Mr Prentice suggested this could be “highly misleading” to the Murray team.

Mr Betts replied: “It would be misleading, yes.”

The advocate depute went on to state the information had been “actively concealed” from the Murray side.

The court was later told that there were “a number of hitches” in getting the Whyte buy-out “over the line”.

The jury earlier heard how Whyte’s buy-out was eventually clinched with a £1 coin being flicked across a table in Edinburgh. The trial, before Judge Lady Stacey, continues.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "GRANT MCCABE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4451484.1495221489!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4451484.1495221489!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Former Rangers owner Craig Whyte leaves the High Court in Glasgow. Picture: SNS Group","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Former Rangers owner Craig Whyte leaves the High Court in Glasgow. Picture: SNS Group","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4451484.1495221489!/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/environment/wildlife-enthusiasts-head-to-caithness-hoping-to-spot-orcas-1-4451435","id":"1.4451435","articleHeadline": "Wildlife enthusiasts head to Caithness hoping to spot orcas","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495217111000 ,"articleLead": "

Scientists and wildlife enthusiasts are gathering in the far north of Scotland in the hope of glimpsing some of the ocean’s most impressive predators as they make their annual passage to summer hunting grounds.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4451433.1495217110!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Enthusiasts are hoping to spot orcas in the north of Scotland. Picture: Contributed"} ,"articleBody": "

Teams of experts and volunteers will take up key positions on boats and coastlines around Caithness to take part in a yearly survey of killer whales, or orcas.

There have already been a number of sightings of the animals in Scottish waters so organisers of Orca Watch, which begins today and runs until 28 May, are hopeful that spotters will be rewarded for their efforts.

Orcas, which despite their common name are actually from the dolphin family rather than whales, are voracious predators at the top of the food chain.

They feed on seabirds, squid, octopuses, turtles, sharks, rays and fish as well as marine mammals such as seals and dolphins.

There have been a number of sightings of whales and dolphins, known collectively as cetaceans, in Scottish waters in recent months.

Amazing footage of orcas feeding just off the shoreline in Shetland just a couple of weeks ago has been widely shared on social media.

The rare appearance of a giant humpback whale, seen breaching in the Firth of Forth, also sparked massive public interest. But the Pentland Firth is one of the best locations in the UK to see a range of whale and dolphin Risso’s dolphin, humpback whale, minke whale and orca can often be seen from the shore.

Orca Watch, run by the charity Sea Watch Foundation, is now in its sixth year.

Members of the public are being invited to join in the surveys, which form part of one of the biggest and longest-running citizen science projects in the world.

The hardy team of spotters, on the ferries, cliffs and headlands, were rewarded with a range of sightings during last year’s count.

A number of orcas were recorded, along with minke whales, common dolphins, harbour porpoise and a possible humpback whale joining the list of other cetaceans seen during the week-long event.

The star attractions were an Icelandic female and her pod, including a new baby, known to researchers as 019 or Mousa.

She is a very distinctive animal with notch shaped like a half-moon cut out of her dorsal fin. Evidence suggests Mousa and her family have been making this annual journey for the past few years, leaving the herring-rich waters of Iceland to head south at a time that coincides with the common seal pupping season in Scotland.

In 2016 the pod ventured deep into the Moray Firth and was spotted just a few miles off Inverness - the furthest south it has ever been recorded.

“It is wonderfully exciting to see a whale or dolphin in the wild for yourself, and although it takes both luck and patience - and many layers of warm clothes - the rewards are worth it,” according to Anna Jemmett, Sea Watch Foundation volunteer and organiser of this year’s event.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ILONA AMOS"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4451433.1495217110!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4451433.1495217110!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Enthusiasts are hoping to spot orcas in the north of Scotland. Picture: Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Enthusiasts are hoping to spot orcas in the north of Scotland. Picture: Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4451433.1495217110!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4451434.1495217112!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4451434.1495217112!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "editorial image","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "editorial image","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4451434.1495217112!/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/politics/video-destroyer-testfires-missile-system-off-scotland-1-4451192","id":"1.4451192","articleHeadline": "Video: Destroyer testfires missile system off Scotland","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495207076000 ,"articleLead": "

The Royal Navy has released dramatic footage of Type 45 destroyer HMS Diamond test-firing its Sea Viper missile system targeting an incoming drone travelling at 500mph.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4451189.1495206971!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "HMS Diamond test-firing its Sea Viper missile system targeting an incoming drone travelling at 500mph. Picture: PA"} ,"articleBody": "

The £1 billion warship carried out the firing exercise, which was designed to simulate a projectile attack on the ship, off the coast of Scotland.

The missile flew at four times the speed of sound before it destroyed the target Mirach drone which was heading through the skies above the Outer Hebrides.

Commander Ben Keith, the commanding officer of Portsmouth-based HMS Diamond, said: “An explosion in the sky marked the missile destroying her target, all in all the culmination of another successful week’s work for HMS Diamond.

“I am immensely proud of my team and the work they put in over the past few weeks to make this test firing possible.

• READ MORE: Hebrides Range missile range secure until 2028

“We have proven once again that the Type 45 destroyer is a world-beating ship when it comes to air defence and this firing gives us the utmost confidence in Diamond and her systems in advance of our deployment later this year.”

The Sea Viper system is a combination of the Sampson radar and the Aster missile system which is capable of tracking aircraft and objects across thousands of miles of airspace.

A Royal Navy spokesman said: “The successful missile firing was the final tick in the box for HMS Diamond’s training package and marks the end of a busy few months for the ship and the men and women on board.

“She will now return to Portsmouth for a final period of preparations before deploying later this year.”

Diamond’s sister ship HMS Daring returned home to Portsmouth last week after a nine-month deployment carrying out security patrols in the Middle East.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Ben Mitchell"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4451189.1495206971!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4451189.1495206971!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "HMS Diamond test-firing its Sea Viper missile system targeting an incoming drone travelling at 500mph. Picture: PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "HMS Diamond test-firing its Sea Viper missile system targeting an incoming drone travelling at 500mph. Picture: PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4451189.1495206971!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4451190.1495206973!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4451190.1495206973!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Royal Navy's newest warship similar to HMS Diamond that was launched in the River Clyde in Glasgow. Picture: PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Royal Navy's newest warship similar to HMS Diamond that was launched in the River Clyde in Glasgow. Picture: PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4451190.1495206973!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4451191.1495206976!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4451191.1495206976!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Type 45 destroyer HMS Diamond test-firing its Sea Viper missile system off Scotland. Picture: PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Type 45 destroyer HMS Diamond test-firing its Sea Viper missile system off Scotland. Picture: PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4451191.1495206976!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"1495206735715"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/queens-hall-to-get-new-glass-sided-entrance-in-3m-makeover-1-4450277","id":"1.4450277","articleHeadline": "Queens Hall to get new glass-sided entrance in £3m makeover","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495170000000 ,"articleLead": "

A glass-fronted entrance will be created for one of Edinburgh’s flagship concerts halls as part of a £3 million makeover aimed at securing its long-term future.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4450276.1495137010!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "An artists impression of how the Queens Hall will look after a makeover. Picture: Contributed"} ,"articleBody": "

A cafe-bar, box office and concourses will be created at the Queen’s Hall under a blueprint revealed ahead of a major fundraising campaign due to get under way later this year.

Daylight will be allowed to flood into the venue with the opening up of blanked-off windows and the creation of the new glazed entrance into the building.

Audiences will also be able to look out on to South Clerk Street from a new first-floor “gallery” where a third, pop-up, bar could be created for certain events. The changes, which will see the venue lit up by new “lanterns” after dark, are aimed at tackling perceptions it is closed even when a concert is on.

The changes to the front of the building are expected to transform “dark and uninviting” foyer spaces and stairwells and allow the Queen’s Hall to expand its corporate hospitality facilities.

More comfortable seating is expected to be installed in the pews of the historic auditorium, but will hopefully be able to be removed for “standing” concerts.

Video screens will also be installed to allow audiences better views of shows without altering listed features of the building, which is due to celebrate its 40th anniversary as a concert venue in 2019.

A long-term vision, released to supporters of the venue, said the proposed changes would “breathe new life” into the venue while ensuring that the “essential character” of the auditorium is unaltered.
Chris Duncan, partner at Mill Design, the project architects, said: “The Queen’s Hall is in urgent need of restoration and modernisation to ensure its future as a viable, leading international venue for all genres of musical performance in Edinburgh.

“This agreed need has arisen out of feedback we’ve received from artists, along with detailed workshops between the design team and staff to establish the key areas where change is required. Addressing these limitations would greatly enhance its strength as a going concern.”

Although no funding is any place for the proposed scheme, it is hoped a successful appeal will allow work to be completedor the building’s 200th anniversary in 2023.

Nigel Griffiths, chair of the Queen’s Hall board, said: “We want a building that is fit for the 21st century. We’re about to interview fundraisers with a view to starting a drive for 
the £3m at the end of the summer.

“One of the limitations with the Queen’s Hall is that it can look closed when it is open. People will be able to see right into the building in future, as they can at the moment with the Festival Theatre.

“Our ambition is to double the audience numbers we are getting. We’re open all year, but we have around 100 unused nights. We want to make it a go-to venue for any sort of musical taste 365 days of the year.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BRIAN FERGUSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4450276.1495137010!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4450276.1495137010!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "An artists impression of how the Queens Hall will look after a makeover. Picture: Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "An artists impression of how the Queens Hall will look after a makeover. Picture: Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4450276.1495137010!/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/education/teaching-union-calls-for-end-to-more-rules-by-big-guns-1-4450040","id":"1.4450040","articleHeadline": "Teaching union calls for end to “more rules by big guns”","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495136587000 ,"articleLead": "

The president of one of Scotland’s leading teaching unions says the profession will not improve unless there is an end to “more rules and governance by top-heavy big guns.”

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4380339.1495124868!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Teachers say they want more time to teach pupils."} ,"articleBody": "

Euan Duncan, president of the Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association, due to speak on the opening day of the association’s 73rd annual congress in Crieff today, said: “A jaded profession cannot sparkle. The ship is wobbling. If Scottish education is to retain its sheen it needs more than a bit of spit and polish.

“Having asked the experts, teachers, what would make things work the way they should, it’s time for politicians to start listening.

“We have had plenty of change in recent years, and what we really need now is time for reflection, time for consolidation, time to teach, time to lead, and the resources to do it well.”

Mr Duncan added: “If the Cabinet Secretary for Education is serious about improving education, he needs to give teachers time to teach so that we can keep putting pupils first.

“This is not about lengthy statements from Education Scotland or long improvement documents, it is about reducing the amount of teacher class-contact time to allow teachers to carry out the vital tasks that keep afloat the success of that learning for every child.

“The constant overflow of words from Education Scotland needs to be stiffly translated into time to enable every educator to work smartly, effectively and rightly for every child. Teachers are looking for assistance, not advice.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "sross@scotsman.com" ,"author": "SHN ROSS"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4380339.1495124868!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4380339.1495124868!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Teachers say they want more time to teach pupils.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Teachers say they want more time to teach pupils.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4380339.1495124868!/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/wings-over-scotland-demands-10k-over-kezia-dugdale-column-1-4449833","id":"1.4449833","articleHeadline": "Wings Over Scotland demands £10k over Kezia Dugdale column","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495137561000 ,"articleLead": "

Labour leader Kezia Dugdale is being sued for £10,000 by a pro-independence blogger after she accused him of “homophobic” abuse.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4449841.1495114763!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kezia Dugdale is facing possible legal action over comments she made in a newspaper column. Picture: John Devlin"} ,"articleBody": "

Ms Dugdale told MSPs at First Ministers Questions on Thursday that she had “called out” Stuart Campbell of the Wings Over Scotland website in a newspaper column she writes because of “homophobic comments” he had made about the Tory MSP Oliver Mundell.

The claims of homophobia have been rejected by the blogger who says he will now seek to increase his financial demands on the Labour leader over her comments at Holyrood.

“Mr Campbell has written to me, via his lawyers, to demand a £10,000 payment for, and I quote ‘damage to reputation’,” Ms Dugdale revealed at First Ministers Questions yesterday.

The Labour leader continued: “I stand firmly by my comments. I’ve never kowtowed to a bully and I will not start today.

“There is a catalogue of evidence that demonstrates the bile that Stuart Campbell appears to believe is acceptable.”

The row stems from a tweet by Mr Campbell during the Tory conference in March. Mr Mundell’s father David, the Scottish Secretary, became the first serving Conservative cabinet minister to ever publicly state he was gay last year.

Mr Campbell tweeted: “Oliver Mundell is the sort of public speaker that makes you wish his dad had embraced his homosexuality sooner.”

The blogger yesterday rejected claims of homophobia and warned that he will now take the matter to court.

He added: “The tweet Kezia Dugdale read out at FMQs is – obviously – not homophobic in any way.

“It’s a criticism of Oliver Mundell’s terrible public-speaking skills, and to the best of my knowledge Oliver Mundell isn’t gay. I absolutely and categorically reject any accusations that I’m a homophobe – it’s an outrageous and completely false allegation and we’ll be pursuing the case in court.

• READ MORE: Wings Over Scotland ‘to sue ex-Labour aide over Clinton bet’

“It’s correct that we initially offered to accept £10,000 for a quick settlement, but received no reply, and on the advice of counsel it’s likely that we’ll seek a higher figure, particularly now that Ms Dugdale has compounded the offence by repeating the defamatory statements on national television and involving the First Minister.”

However, the prospect of upping the payout based on Ms Dugdale’s comments yesterday is unlikely as they are covered by “Parliamentary privilege” in relation to potential defamation actions.

Many senior SNP figures have “actively encouraged” the blogger, Ms Dugdale told MSPs yesterday, as she called on the SNP leader to bring this to an end.

“When my colleagues do something that I disagree with, I take action,” she told Ms Sturgeon.

“I am asking the First Minister to do the same.”

Ms Dugdale added: “There are a few SNP politicians who have called him out, but 44 per cent of SNP MSPs and 50 per cent of SNP MPs have actively encouraged him along.”

She said this included ten government ministers, among them the finance secretary Derek MacKay, justice secretary Michael Matheson and transport minister Humza Yousaf.

Ms Dugdale said: “Social media can be a force for good, but as leaders we have a duty to stand up when it becomes an outlet for aggression, intolerance and hatred, so I want to ask the First Minister a clear yes or no question.

“Will she today order her politicians and her ministers to denounce and shun ‘Wings Over Scotland’ once and for all?”

But Ms Sturgeon claimed the Labour leader had only raised the issue at First Ministers Questions to divert attention from her own internal party problems, branding it an “absolutely ridiculous” line of questioning.

“I’m not responsible for Stuart Campbell any more than Kezia Dugdale is responsible for people who hurl abuse at me in the name of being a supporter of the Labour party,” Ms Sturgeon said

The First Minister pointed to the rebellion Ms Dugdale faces in Aberdeen where nine councillors have been suspended from the party after forming a coalition with the Conservatives.

“What we’re seeing here today is a bit of a political smokescreen,” the First Minister added.

“Her party is in disarray – it is in civil war and it is in meltdown.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "SCOTT MACNAB"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4449841.1495114763!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4449841.1495114763!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Kezia Dugdale is facing possible legal action over comments she made in a newspaper column. Picture: John Devlin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kezia Dugdale is facing possible legal action over comments she made in a newspaper column. Picture: John Devlin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4449841.1495114763!/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/regions/glasgow-strathclyde/craig-whyte-rangers-deal-sealed-by-1-tossed-across-table-1-4450249","id":"1.4450249","articleHeadline": "Craig Whyte Rangers deal sealed ‘by £1 tossed across table’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495133623000 ,"articleLead": "

Craig Whyte’s Rangers takeover was clinched with a £1 coin being tossed across a table in Sir David Murray’s office, a court heard.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4450248.1495133623!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Former Rangers owner Craig Whyte arrives at Glasgow High Court. Picture: John Devlin"} ,"articleBody": "

Philip Betts – a key associate in Whyte’s buyout – recalled being at the May 2011 meeting as the businessman acquired Sir David’s majority stake in the club.

Mr Betts told how he also took photos at the gathering he described as being “light hearted”.

The claims were today/yesterday made at Whyte’s trial at the High Court in Glasgow.

The 46 year-old denies a charge of fraud and a second allegation under the Companies Act in connection with his takeover.

• READ MORE: Ticketus wanted Craig Whyte’s Rangers deal kept secret

Mr Betts – an asset finance broker – told how he got involved in Whyte’s bid for Rangers after first meeting him in 2009.

The 54 year-old recalled Whyte had wanted his interest to be “low profile”.

He told the trial Whyte had wanted to raise £10m.

But, Mr Betts said Whyte later claimed he was “struggling” to do so and “could not understand why”.

Mr Betts then got in touch with a contact in the financial sector. This individual said he had someone who could help with funding.

Mr Betts and Whyte went on to meet this person at a Starbucks coffee shop near St Paul’s in London.

It eventually resulted in a meeting with Ticketus, who “expressed an interest” in Whyte’s proposal.

Prosecutors state Whyte took out a loan from the firm against three years season tickets to help fund the takeover.

• READ MORE: Craig Whyte warned he would be ‘mad’ to takeover Rangers

Mr Betts said Whyte had been “pleased” at the Ticketus interest.

But, the witness added: “He then asked me to ask them would they consider £20m.

“I think I laughed. I said I would ask as long as he was happy to receive a no.”

However, Mr Betts recalled “after some deliberation” Ticketus came back and said they would be “interested”.

Whyte eventually struck a £1 deal with Sir David to takeover at Rangers.

Mr Betts told how he travelled to Edinburgh in May 2011 for the buyout to be completed.

He said initially the trip to Scotland involved sitting in a lawyers office “twiddling our thumbs”.

But, the Whyte and Murray groups later went to Sir David’s office in the capital.

Prosecutor Alex Prentice QC asked Mr Betts did he take photos at the meeting.

Mr Betts: “Two or three – at the signing of the paperwork at the offices of the Murray group.”

• READ MORE: Craig Whyte ‘laughed’ when advised to drop Rangers deal

Mr Prentice: “Once the signing occurred was a £1 coin provided?”

Mr Betts replied: “There was, but I do not know from who. It was flicked across the table to the lawyers of the Murray Group.

“It was all light hearted.”

The advocate depute went on: “Was anything said?”

Mr Betts: “Congratulations, you are now owner of Glasgow Rangers Football Club, I think.”

Mr Betts is due to carry on with his evidence today/tomorrow. (FRI)

The trial, before Judge Lady Stacey, continues.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "GRANT MCCABE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4450248.1495133623!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4450248.1495133623!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Former Rangers owner Craig Whyte arrives at Glasgow High Court. Picture: John Devlin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Former Rangers owner Craig Whyte arrives at Glasgow High Court. Picture: John Devlin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4450248.1495133623!/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/lifestyle/travel/best-scottish-castles-to-spend-the-night-in-this-summer-1-4450240","id":"1.4450240","articleHeadline": "Best Scottish castles to spend the night in this summer","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495132222000 ,"articleLead": "

Once they were the preserve of nobility. Now you can stay there. Gaze out from the same turrets as Macbeth, putter around medieval grounds, and sleep the night away in a four poster bed. Visit Scotland has rounded up some of the best Scottish castles to visit this summer.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4450239.1495132223!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The view out from Culzean Castle in Ayrshire. Picture: Robert Perry."} ,"articleBody": "

This article first appeared in our sister title, i.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4450239.1495132223!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4450239.1495132223!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The view out from Culzean Castle in Ayrshire. Picture: Robert Perry.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The view out from Culzean Castle in Ayrshire. Picture: Robert Perry.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4450239.1495132223!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} ]}}} ]}