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Mohammad Asghar, a 70-year-old paranoid schizophrenic, was found guilty of blasphemy in January. Picture: PA

Dani Garavelli: Ill Asghar needs intervention now

THINK of the pain of watching a sick parent suffer in a dirty, under-staffed hospital or a neglectful care home, then think of the pain of Mohammad Asghar’s children. For more than four years, Jasmine Rana and her siblings have had to stand helplessly on the sidelines as their pensioner father – a paranoid schizophrenic who suffers from delusions – has languished in jail in Pakistan, thousands of miles away from their Scottish home, accused of that most outdated and emotive of crimes: blasphemy.

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Murphy didn't speak to the media after Johann Lamont's resignation. Picture: John Devlin

Insight: Doubts over Jim Murphy’s devo commitment

WHEN Labour MP Jim Murphy appeared on Dermot Murnaghan’s Sky News programme last Sunday morning, he appeared to put an end to speculation that he might hold ambitions to the lead the Scottish Labour Party, writes Euan McColm.

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Renee Zellweger denies cosmetic surgery altered her looks. Picture: Getty

Claire Black’s Week: Renee Zellweger | DIY jobs

Everyone’s big pants in a knot over what they did to Bridget, writes Claire Black.

George Osborne will have little scope for sweeteners in his autumn statement. Picture: Getty

Comment: Should we worry over UK growth slowdown?

AGAINST widespread signs that the UK’s economic growth momentum is slowing, how encouraging to be sent a demand for an extra £1.7 billion contribution to the EU because of our outperformance. This back-dated demand – by far the largest for any EU country – is due to the recalculation of GDP numbers this summer that included “informal economy” estimates including earnings from drug trafficking and prostitution. The new payments would add about a fifth to the UK’s annual net contribution of £8.6bn.

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Business writer Kristy Dorsey. Picture: Robert Perry

Comment: Politics can’t hold enterprise to ransom

HOURS before his death in a plane crash on Monday, Christophe de Margerie, the boss of French oil giant Total, warned an investment conference in Moscow that business today is being “held hostage by politics”.

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Cllr David ONeill is president of Cosla. Picture: Contributed

Insight: More devo powers to local communities

Referendum spirit must devolve power to communities, writes David O’Neill.

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Smith commission decision must be based on core principles that make sense and endure. Picture: PA

Andrew Wilson: Let’s move on together

THE public life of our small corner of the world continues to bubble and froth nicely. Truly fascinating 
and exciting times for those of us who have ached for new ways for so long. I sense that all things are possible.

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Labour seems to have forgotten that it is a party of radical constitutional reform. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

Leader: Ed Miliband’s centre cannot hold

The Labour leader’s urge to control everything is likely to lead to his downfall.

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SNP deputy leadership candidate Stewart Hosie. Picture: Robert Perry

Drumlanrig: SNP councillor who won’t take No vote

SNP councillor Pat Lee is not taking defeat in the independence referendum at all well.

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Bono visits the Baphumelele orphanage for children with Aids. Picture: Getty

Spectacle of Bono almost as sickening as Ebola call

I FEEL bad. Here I was, sharpening my pencil to write harsh words about Bono only to discover the reason he wears sunglasses, or more accurately pink-tinted wraparounds, is not because he’s a narcissistic eejit, but because he has glaucoma. Oh dear.

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Transport minister Keith Brown sets out social justice agenda. Picture: Greg Macvean

Keith Brown: We need control of welfare and tax

For around two years, a large part of our lives was a countdown to the referendum. Four weeks on, we are still assessing its impact and interrogating its implications.

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Stewart Hosie

Stewart Hosie: Change will ensure new powers

The past week in Westminster was very instructive. First we had a “Command Paper” which outlined the devolution proposals of the three unionist parties, not one of which would devolve more than 30 per cent of Scotland’s revenue base. Or to put that another way not even cover half of the Scottish Parliament’s current funding requirements.

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Angela Constance MSP for Almond Valley. Picture: Getty

Angela Constance: True equality for party members

ON 18 September I was in Livingston helping to “knock up” the Yes vote. In elections, this effort to persuade reluctant voters to go to the polling station is essential. On referendum day it wasn’t needed. Everyone had either already voted or was just about to. The record turnout marked a change in Scottish politics. At last, people had something worth voting for.

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Speeches by Gordon Brown were hugely important to the Better Together campaign. Picture: JP

Leaders: Gordon Brown points way forward

Call for a powerhouse parliament could be wake-up call Labour needs

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How The Scotsman reported the bombing at the time. Picture: TSPL

Brighton bombing: The night that changed politics

Five people died when an IRA bomb ripped Brighton’s Grand Hotel apart – 30 years on eye-witnesses tell Dani Garavelli their stories

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The EU has had its own existential crisis and numerous mini ones across its member states

Andrew Wilson: Time is right to re-secure consent on EU

HAVING to prove yourself in life is no bad thing. ­Challenged and stretched we strengthen and grow. Unchallenged we end up lazy and our muscles – real and ­metaphorical – can atrophy. Complacency sets in and we are diminished; less than all we can become.

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The free prescriptions for all policy was sold by the Scottish Government as a strike against inequality. Picture: Julie Howden

Euan McColm: Shaky Labour needs radical overhaul

PERHAPS the greatest trick the SNP ever pulled off was to convince a great many voters that policies which predominantly benefited the better-off were somehow progressive.

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Richard Lyle, the SNP MSP, filed expenses claim for a trip to the chipper

Drumlanrig: No operatic career waiting for Salmond

Scotland’s best known former boy soprano has been at it again. Nowadays Alex Salmond’s voice lacks the sparkle of its pre-adolescent four-octave range, which saw him deliver impressive performances from Gian Carlo Menotti’s opera Amahl.

The Scottish Government has highlighted the particular impact of bag litter on the environment and wildlife. Picture: Getty

Derek Robertson: A cleaner Scotland is in the bag

RETAILERS all over Scotland will be making final plans this week before the introduction of a mandatory charge of 5p for every bag used at point of sale. Large and small, corner shop or out-of-town supermarket, they will have steps to put in place to ensure the smooth introduction of the charge on Monday, 20 October.

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An Ebola burial team carries a body in Monrovia, Liberia. Picture: Getty

Dani Garavelli: No room for racism in Ebola fight

THE limits to my liberalism became clear at 10.10pm on Thursday. The BBC news had just finished reporting on the Briton who may or may not have died of Ebola in Macedonia and my youngest son had dissolved into a blubbering heap on the sofa. “It’s coming closer,” he wailed, “and we all might die.”

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By making drawdown more appealing, George Osborne has driven another nail into the annuities coffin. Picture: Getty

Jeff Salway: Another nail in the annuities coffin

AS PRE-ELECTION tax bribes go, the government’s latest pensions giveaway is something of a classic.

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Tracey Emins comments revealed an uncomfortable truth. Photograph: Getty Images

Claire Black: Tracy Emin | Wildlife | Ryanair

It’s too fine an art to balance profession and parenthood

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