{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"scotland","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/leader-comment-single-market-should-be-on-table-1-4728824","id":"1.4728824","articleHeadline": "Leader Comment: Single market should be on table","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1524490453000 ,"articleLead": "

IN the aftermath of the 2016 EU referendum, participants on both sides of the argument insisted that the time had come for people to accept the result and move on.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4728823.1524490449!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A new Brexit poll has shown Britain would narrowly vote to stay in the EU if a new referendum was held next week. Picture: Emmanuel Dunand"} ,"articleBody": "

That this might easily happen was always the most fanciful notion. Even now, feelings remain strong among both leavers and remainers and, with less than a year until the UK departs the EU, there is little sign of the unity political leaders – on the Leave side, particularly – have encouraged.

A massive online survey on Brexit – completed by 200,000 readers of Johnson Press, Trinity Mirror and Newsquest websites – suggests that if the referendum was rerun tomorrow, the Remain campaign would this time secure victory with a result of 51-49. Almost 17,000 of those who participated live in Scotland and their responses highlight the deep insecurity that remains about the implications of an all-bridges-burned hard Brexit. Among those readers, 64 per cent believe Britain would be better off economically inside Europe while 67 per cent felt Britain should remain part of the single European market. The UK-wide picture is a little more comforting for ardent Leavers but even then a majority – 52 per cent – believe the economy would be best served by remaining in the EU.

Since the referendum there has been a great deal of heat around the sort of Brexit which might take place, will it be “hard” or “soft”? Unfortunately, there has been precious little light during this debate. It is not, even now, at all clear whether the UK will be able to tailor any of the conditions of Brexit to suit what is considered to be the national interest. In the aftermath of every speech on the subject she makes or every meeting she has with EU counterparts, the sense that Prime Minister Theresa May is feeling her way in the dark on this issue lingers. Since her early statement that Brexit means Brexit, the Prime Minister has failed to clearly describe her vision of the UK’s relationship with the EU and its institutions after March 2019.

We accept that the survey which has thrown up these results was not conducted under the same conditions as conventional opinion polling but the sheer size of the sample involved means the findings have credibility. Those who continue to argue against any effort to strike workable deals on the single market and the customs union should pay heed to the majority who feel very differently, indeed.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4728823.1524490449!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4728823.1524490449!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "A new Brexit poll has shown Britain would narrowly vote to stay in the EU if a new referendum was held next week. Picture: Emmanuel Dunand","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A new Brexit poll has shown Britain would narrowly vote to stay in the EU if a new referendum was held next week. Picture: Emmanuel Dunand","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4728823.1524490449!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5773872462001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/joe-bor-anti-semitism-and-the-power-of-comedy-to-combat-it-1-4728678","id":"1.4728678","articleHeadline": "Joe Bor: ‘Anti-semitism and the power of comedy to combat it’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1524461402000 ,"articleLead": "

My name is Joe Bor – ten years ago I won Jewish Comedian of The Year – my mum was judging but then again, she always does.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4728677.1524426603!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Joe Bor"} ,"articleBody": "

‘Jewishness’ hasn’t always had too much impact on my comedy. However, over the past few weeks that has changed, partly because I’ve chosen to call my current show A Room with a Jew and probably because anti-Semitism has been in the news an awful lot.

I was recently invited to be a guest on a TV show to talk about anti-Semitism, and more specifically the current debate regarding the Labour Party. I was also encouraged to promote my comedy show, but the problem is, anti-Semitism is not a naturally funny subject. Most of my contemporaries get invited on Mock The Week and 8 Out of 10 Cats and riff on the subject of humorous statistics. I get the subject of potential religious persecution within major political parties.

I was asked if I thought Corbyn hated my people – and I felt as uncomfortable as, well, a Jew in the Labour Party. Personally, I do think there has been a rise in anti-Semitism, not just in the Labour Party, but in society as a whole. There are many reasons for this. Fascism has grown globally. Far-right political parties have used immigration as a scapegoat for a slump in the economy in a worryingly similar way to what we saw in Germany in the 1930s. The far right have even been elected in countries across in the world, including Austria and America, which have legitimised such extremism. Plus, the thorny subject of Israel doesn’t help. But none of this is very funny and the rise in anti-Semitism is obviously a very serious subject. How then to tackle it with humour?

When I first started stand-up, I found it hard talking about being Jewish on stage and some of my jokes fell flat. It’s not that audiences were anti-Semitic; I think they were more naive and confused. There is a rich history of Jewish comedians; Jerry Seinfeld, Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, Joan Rivers, Lenny Bruce, Groucho Marx, there’s a lot of us. Jews have a strong tradition of comedy – I think often because it is a reaction to the tragedy they have experienced.

There are also a wealth of Jewish comedians on the comedy circuit that are not as represented on TV, especially in the UK. In fact, when I asked a TV producer why there aren’t more Jews on TV they replied that in the UK “Jewish just isn’t a ‘thing’.’Judaism can be a difficult subject to make jokes about but humour can also be the greatest weapon we have. I was asked to talk about Count Dankula (real name Mark Meechan) who was accused of being anti-Semitic because he trained his dog to do a Nazi salute when the dog heard the prompt “gas the Jews”. Meechan was subsequently taken to court for filming this and posting it online. I’ve seen a lot of debate about whether this act should or should not have been classed as a hate crime. Personally I’m not sure, but one of my favourite comments came from David Baddiel, who commented: “If there is a comedy genius in Meechan’s video, surely it is the pug – even though he was only obeying orders.”

Whether or not it should have been classed as a crime it was a nasty thing to do. The last thing the world needs right now is more nastiness, which is why it’s so important to be able to use humour to fight it. Jews have a rich tradition in comedy – instead of making them a people to ridicule, let’s make them a people to champion.

Joe Bor is performing his show A Room with a Jew at: The Stand, Edinburgh, on 13 May and The Stand, Glasgow, on 14 May

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4728677.1524426603!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4728677.1524426603!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Joe Bor","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Joe Bor","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4728677.1524426603!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/jackie-baillie-don-t-let-the-snp-lose-grip-on-gdp-growth-1-4728318","id":"1.4728318","articleHeadline": "Jackie Baillie: Don’t let the SNP lose grip on GDP growth","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1524351286000 ,"articleLead": "

I remember the scenes in Portugal and Greece during the financial crisis. The queues of workers on the streets of Athens, desperate to withdraw their money from collapsing banks. The young men and women marching through the streets of Lisbon, demanding the chance to do even the most basic of jobs. The boarded-up shops, the bankrupt businesses, the political inertia.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4728317.1524327740!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "ATHENS, GREECE - JUNE 29: People wait in line to withdraw 60 euros from an ATM after Greece closed its banks on June 29, 2015 in Athens, Greece. Greece closed its banks and imposed capital controls on Sunday to monitor the growing strains on its crippled financial system, bringing the prospect of being forced out of the euro into plain sight. (Photo by Milos Bicanski/Getty Images)"} ,"articleBody": "

Such scenes came to epitomise broken economies and broken dreams. For the right, this was the result of a bloated and invasive state. For the left, this was the result of rampant capitalist greed.

Even years on from the financial crisis, many observers are still cautious about the economic position of much of southern Europe. Mediterranean countries are nothing like the powerhouse economies of northern Europe, they argue.

Yet this comes with one exception: Scotland.

Despite all the Scottish Government’s bluster, its complacency and economic mismanagement risks turning Scotland into the economic sick man of Europe. Last year, Greece enjoyed an annual GDP growth rate of 1.9 per cent, Portugal, a growth rate of 2.4 per cent. Scotland under the SNP enjoyed an annual GDP growth rate of just 0.8 per cent over the same period.

The Scottish Government target was to close the GDP growth gap between Scotland and the UK by 2011, and with small independent EU countries, including Portugal, by 2017. They have failed on both counts.

And in the face of projected growth of a paltry one per cent, Scottish ministers’ mantra that “the fundamentals of the Scottish economy are strong” is looking increasingly hollow.

In contrast, economic growth is at the heart of Labour’s plan for government, both in Scotland and across the UK. Without economic growth, we cannot provide the high quality jobs people want and need. We cannot build homes, not just for the next generation but for the here and now. We cannot give our public services – our NHS and our schools – the funding they so vitally need.

That is why Scottish Labour has developed an industrial strategy. It outlines how we will build the high-wage, high-skill jobs of the future. It outlines how we will rise to the challenge of automation and the fourth industrial revolution. It outlines how we will harness the opportunities of the future, rather than succumb to its dangers. And at its core, it supports the delivery of a fair, sustainable and growing economy.

But words alone are not enough, which is why Labour is committed – at Holyrood and Westminster – to ending Tory and SNP austerity and investing in our economy.

A £20 billion Scottish Investment Bank is one example of how we would kickstart economic growth, support business and improve infrastructure. That’s ten times the level of investment planned by the SNP.

This is the time for bold approaches that will create transformational change in our economy. Of course, there are challenges ahead.The Tories’ shambolic handling of Brexit has caused widespread uncertainty and, with chances of a good deal with Brussels diminishing by the day, people in Scotland and across the UK will surely be left worse off.

That is why Labour supports a jobs-first Brexit – including maintaining a customs union – that would put the economy and growth at the heart of our relationship with the EU.

But it is not just the Tories who are to blame for Scotland’s economic woes. In Holyrood, the SNP is little different in its approach. Nicola Sturgeon might claim she cares about economic growth, but the reality is quite the opposite. Growth is down, wages are stagnating and public money is being squandered.

I am sick of listening to SNP ministers avoiding responsibility for the economy by saying they don’t have the power. This is the most powerful devolved parliament in the world. Maybe they should start by using the powers they do have and open their ears to what businesses are telling them.

If we learn anything from these latest growth figures – and the SNP’s record – it must be that the old order has to change and yield to a new way of thinking. No longer should the Scottish Government get away with glossing over missed targets, refusing to review out of date economic strategies, and presiding over stagnant growth.

Without urgent action, it will be Scotland – not Greece and Portugal – that will be at the wrong end of European league tables for economic growth.

Jackie Baillie MSP is Scottish Labour’s economy spokesperson

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Jackie Baillie"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4728317.1524327740!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4728317.1524327740!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "ATHENS, GREECE - JUNE 29: People wait in line to withdraw 60 euros from an ATM after Greece closed its banks on June 29, 2015 in Athens, Greece. Greece closed its banks and imposed capital controls on Sunday to monitor the growing strains on its crippled financial system, bringing the prospect of being forced out of the euro into plain sight. (Photo by Milos Bicanski/Getty Images)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "ATHENS, GREECE - JUNE 29: People wait in line to withdraw 60 euros from an ATM after Greece closed its banks on June 29, 2015 in Athens, Greece. Greece closed its banks and imposed capital controls on Sunday to monitor the growing strains on its crippled financial system, bringing the prospect of being forced out of the euro into plain sight. (Photo by Milos Bicanski/Getty Images)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4728317.1524327740!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/health/mountain-biker-finds-his-own-path-in-fight-with-ms-1-4728332","id":"1.4728332","articleHeadline": "Mountain biker finds his own path in fight with MS","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1524350468000 ,"articleLead": "

When Andy McKenna was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis ten years ago he was advised by his neurologist to begin the regime of medication prescribed to control his symptoms.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4728331.1524335720!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Andy McKenna, who has made a film about mountain biking with MS. Picture: Ian Georgeson"} ,"articleBody": "

McKenna, a mountain biker and owner of the mountain bike tour company Go-Where Scotland, wasn’t keen. His doctor, “a lovely man”, gave him a stark warning – take the drugs or face being confined to a wheelchair as the condition, which affects the brain and spinal cord, worsens.

But McKenna, 47, who lives in the Borders, remained defiant. He questioned the long-term efficacy of drug treatments and felt unconvinced by what he saw as flimsy data. He decided that as far as possible he would fight his relapsing remitting MS without the help of pharmaceuticals.

Instead he threw himself into investigating alternative treatments, studying research papers and medical journals to write his own prescription for wellness. So far he says his efforts have been a success.

“I’ve always questioned authority and I encourage everyone to do the same. You’ve got to ask and engage in debate and do your homework,” he said.

Since then he has managed the condition with diet, exercise, stress management and supplements. He says he is “very confident” in his decision not to have conventional treatment.

Now, to get the message out to others in similar situations, McKenna and his wife, Aneela, with a photographer friend, Andy McCandlish, have made a candid film about McKenna’s journey.

The documentary, This Way Up, has been enthusiastically received and was nominated for awards at the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival and the Kendal Mountain Festival. It has also been noticed by the Scottish Government, which has approached McKenna to discuss potential health promotion projects.

“I’ve been blown away by the reaction. It’s felt a bit like walking into a room with no clothes on – I can’t go back, but if I can give people hope it’s been worth it,” he said.

A growing social media movement behind him has meant that his message has spread and he is regularly approached for advice.

“I feel very strongly that more people know about alternatives. I’m not anti-pharma just for the sake of it. If a new trial showed real progress I would consider it,” he said.

McKenna is keen to point out that his exercise and diet regime does not mean that he doesn’t experience any symptoms of MS. Flare-ups still strike and one bad relapse five years ago forced him to take “industrial strength” doses of steroids or face the loss of his mobility.

He is now emerging from a two-week wobble that saw him have to dial down his daily routine and rest. He said: “It was two weeks of weirdness. My balance was poor and everything was more of an effort. I could almost feel the signals not making it to my muscles. I just had to drop down a gear.”

When these flare-ups strike, McKenna is left with plummeting energy levels, difficulty in balancing, brain fog and vision impairment.

And he is blunt about the impact on his life. “It’s been a pain in the arse,” he said.

Aneela, 44, has fully embraced the lifestyle changes he has adopted but McKenna admits she struggles when she sees her husband laid low. The couple met at Glasgow University and the pair, who both run Go-Where Scotland, have been together for 24 years.

“I know she feels guilty sometimes,” he said. “She’s watching her best friend 
and riding partner lose his grip. Plus she has wants and needs herself and now has to face an alternative future too.”

Honesty has been the fulcrum of their relationship since McKenna’s diagnosis: “MS forces you to think deeply and figure out what’s important to you. It’s time to be more open.”

When he is well McKenna aims to take to the hills and ride for 30 minutes every day, and up to five hours with Aneela on the weekends. He chronicles his adventures on Instagram where in posts and videos he addresses any issues he might be facing or just expresses a general delight in life.

McKenna considers what, if anything, MS has gifted to him: “It has improved our lives more than we could have anticipated. I’m probably more healthy now than I’ve ever been and have a fantastic quality of life.”

For more information and to find out where you can watch This Way Up visit www.stokedonms.org.uk

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Rohese Devereux Taylor"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4728331.1524335720!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4728331.1524335720!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Andy McKenna, who has made a film about mountain biking with MS. Picture: Ian Georgeson","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Andy McKenna, who has made a film about mountain biking with MS. Picture: Ian Georgeson","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4728331.1524335720!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/snp-depute-leader-favourite-indyref2-could-be-set-for-april-2019-1-4727641","id":"1.4727641","articleHeadline": "SNP depute leader favourite: indyref2 could be set for April 2019","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1524221428000 ,"articleLead": "

The favourite to become SNP depute leader Keith Brown has said a second independence referendum could be held as early as April next year.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4727640.1524221884!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "SNP depute leader candidate Keith Brown"} ,"articleBody": "

Mr Brown made the prediction in a election leaflet posed on social media which said: “The next independence referendum could be held in 12 months or two years”.

The issue of when indyref2 should be held has dominated the contest between Mr Brown, the SNP group leader on Inverclyde Council Chris McEleny and SNP activist Julie Hepburn.

Cllr McEleny is campaigning on the grounds that a second vote should be held within 18 months in a bid to attract support from hard line independence supporters.

Until now Mr Brown has confined himself to saying that the SNP “had a job to do” to get the party ready for a tilt at a second referendum.

READ MORE: Brian Wilson: Windrush scandal echoes Scots’ slave trade shame

But ahead of hustings this weekend, Mr Brown, who as Economy Secretary serves in Nicola Sturgeon’s Cabinet, the National reported that he had posted a more direct message on social media.

He said: “The next independence referendum could be held in 12 months or two years. As the First Minister has said, the time to make the decision will be later this year when the timing and shape of the Brexit deal and the extent of the damage it will do to Scotland becomes clearer. That is something no-one can predict at this stage.”

He added: “My job if elected as depute leader will be to make sure we are ready to win the referendum whenever it comes, that we use the time between now and then to engage our membership, hone the case for independence and heighten our organisational and campaigning capacity to get us fighting fit to win.”

READ MORE: Heatwave over: Scotland set for sub zero temperatures

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "TOM PETERKIN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4727640.1524221884!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4727640.1524221884!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "SNP depute leader candidate Keith Brown","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "SNP depute leader candidate Keith Brown","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4727640.1524221884!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5734512594001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/charlotte-johnson-botanics-pushes-the-boat-out-with-shoreline-exhibition-1-4726767","id":"1.4726767","articleHeadline": "Charlotte Johnson: Botanics pushes the boat out with shoreline exhibition","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1524200419000 ,"articleLead": "

From the Forth bridges and Queensferry to the beaches of Portobello and ­Joppa, Edinburgh’s coastline communities have a proud heritage of distinct social and cultural traditions where a sense of community has endured.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4726763.1524130955!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The shoreline at Granton"} ,"articleBody": "

Time has not always been kind, industries have suffered and sensitive redevelopment is required. Yet, this seaboard is home to an internationally important flora and fauna which could soon harvest new ­benefits for those along the shore.

The Edinburgh Shoreline project has launched at a time of community desire for regeneration. It presents a real opportunity for tangible change along the 27km coastline. Steered by those who use the area for work and play – with backing from key agencies – it could become an enduring testament to the power of communities celebrating their past and ­protecting their future. While oyster beds have been lost, mussels polluted and fishing fleets faded into the past, fresh opportunities are clear.

A new vibrancy can be felt in all kinds of activity around the ­beaches, harboursides and proms. Natural habitats can be at the heart of this renaissance. There is a rich inheritance here and many area and street names give us clues.

Take Laverockbank from laverock, a lark, or Peatdraught Bay, so called because in storms peats are said to be drawn into it by the current of the receding tides. Glassworks furnaces were situated in Salamander Street – so named because of the salamander’s association in folklore with fire.

A wonderful array of nature worth celebrating is here already. Sea ­sickness might have forced Charles Darwin to give up his trips to find marine specimens with the Newhaven fishermen but there are incredible finds in our midst and massive resilience is not always required.

Who would have thought the exotic sounding pink grasshopper might have a home behind Seafield ­sewage works? How many of us knew of the kestrel nesting on the Forth Road Bridge? Or, that Leith tern colony, hidden from view in the far reaches of Forth Ports, is the largest common ternery in Scotland and accounts for five per cent of the UK population?

There are many local experts and enthusiasts on subjects from lichens to fossils, art and history who can all help build a cohesive picture of past activities and potential resources for the future. They are being supported through hands-on projects and information dissemination from the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) with its Edinburgh Living Landscape partners, RSPB, SNH and others.

By connecting with scientists and conservationists in the new Shoreline project, everyone who lives, works or plays in the area will have the chance to celebrate our relationship with the sea and the plants and animals along the coast.

Developed by a steering group including Karen Chambers, vice chair of Scottish Wildlife Trust, with historian and researcher Elspeth Wills and Leonie Alexander, ELL project officer at RBGE, it sets out to be a fun-laden adventure tackling serious challenges faced by all inhabiting the coast.

If Edinburgh and the once ­independent communities along its shoreline have a weakened sense relationship with the sea, then now is the time to turn the tide. Our coast is a strange mix of dereliction, industry, forgotten beaches, new developments and abundant possibilities.

During the next year there will be opportunities to search for little-known species, explore rock pools and mudflats, undertake practical conservation work and much more.

The centre piece of the project is a major shoreline exhibition at RBGE’s John Hope Gateway during the Edinburgh Festival. Images, films, information and ideas ­generated from shoreline communities here and in other countries will create an immersive, exciting experience.

The exhibition will be complemented by workshops, a coastal species garden, seminars, seafood fare and potentially donkey rides and rock! We also aim to organise shoreline events and installations such as a display of endangered coastal species.

The Shoreline Project is fairly ambitious. We hope it will lead to better connections, participation and knowledge and, ultimately, the more robust, beautiful and diverse shoreline that our capital deserves.

With support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Green Infrastructure Community Engagement Fund, administered by Scottish Natural Heritage on behalf of the Scottish Government, we will celebrate the best of our seafaring communities.

We will provide resources and expertise to shoreline communities to develop projects important to them – relating for example to access, local history and shoreline species. All we ask is that you bring your enthusiasm.

Charlotte Johnson is Edinburgh Shoreline project manager, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4726763.1524130955!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4726763.1524130955!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The shoreline at Granton","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The shoreline at Granton","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4726763.1524130955!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4726765.1524130960!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4726765.1524130960!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Charlotte Johnson is Edinburgh Shoreline project manager at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Charlotte Johnson is Edinburgh Shoreline project manager at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4726765.1524130960!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/scotland-s-population-rises-for-eighth-year-on-the-trot-1-4726978","id":"1.4726978","articleHeadline": "Scotland’s population rises for eighth year on the trot","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1524143488000 ,"articleLead": "

Scotland’s population has risen for the eighth year in a row and now stands at its highest ever level, official figures have revealed.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4726977.1524143484!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop"} ,"articleBody": "

According to data released by the National Records of Scotland (NRS), net migration means there is now 5,424,800 people living in Scotland.

With deaths outnumbering births, population growth has been driven by net migration – but the latest figures suggest the number of people moving to Scotland from abroad since the Brexit vote has reduced.

The figures, which reflect the situation midway through last year, found that there had been an increase of 20,100 people (0.4 per cent) on the previous year.

Since 1997 Scotland’s population has increased by six per cent from 5,083,340.

In the year leading up to June 207, 47,600 more people came to Scotland from the rest of the UK – an increase from 46,300 the year before.

NRS said 32,900 arrived from overseas, a decrease from the 40,400 recorded the previous year.

When the number of people leaving Scotland was factored in, net migration from overseas came to 13,400. While net migration from the rest of the UK was 10,500.

Those figures overcame the decrease experienced in “natural change” - the difference between deaths and births.

When the number of deaths were subtracted from births, the total came to minus 3,800.

Tim Ellis, the Registrar General for Scotland, said: “Migration continues to be main driver of Scotland’s population growth, but in the year following the EU referendum fewer people arrived from overseas than in the previous year.

“Overall net migration, from both overseas and the rest of the UK, remained positive with more people coming to Scotland than leaving.

“The growth in Scotland’s population varies across the country - around two thirds of Scotland’s councils (21 councils) increased in population over the last year, compared to a third (11 councils) which experienced population decline.”

The greatest increase in population was in Midlothian, which grew by 1.7 per cent, while the greatest population decreases were in Aberdeen City, Inverclyde and Shetland Islands where the number of residents decreased by 0.5 per cent over the year to mid-2017.

External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “I welcome that Scotland’s population has reached a record high of 5.42 million. These latest statistics show we have met our target of matching average European population growth between 2007 and 2017, which is a significant achievement.

“Migration underpins Scottish population increases, therefore the UK Government’s fixation on reducing migration – as illustrated by the shameful treatment that has come to light of the ‘Windrush generation’ – is hugely concerning.

“These harmful anti-immigrant polices run counter to our clear position that Scotland is a welcoming and progressive country, which values the contribution of everyone who choose to make Scotland their home.

“As our recent discussion paper sets out, falling migration would have a devastating impact on Scottish businesses and communities – with the potential to cost our economy up to £10 billion per year by 2040. What is abundantly clear is that Scotland needs the powers to set a migration policy tailored to our own requirements.”

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" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "TOM PETERKIN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4726977.1524143484!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4726977.1524143484!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4726977.1524143484!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/environment/state-of-the-art-recycling-turns-poo-cakes-into-farm-crops-1-4724090","id":"1.4724090","articleHeadline": "State-of-the-art recycling turns ‘poo cakes’ into farm crops","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1523813730000 ,"articleLead": "

We haven’t dug for victory since the Second World War, but if Scottish Water has its way we’ll all be doing our bit to improve the nation’s agricultural yield.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4724089.1523793378!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "John Davidson with deliveries of the TH cakes at the Penicuik Estate. Picture: Lisa Ferguson"} ,"articleBody": "

Scottish Water has revealed it is making “poo cakes” from human waste matter at its Seafield Wastewater treatment centre in Edinburgh and selling them to farmers as an organic, nutrient fertiliser.

The “TH cakes” are made using state-of-the-art thermal hydrolysis technology.

Costing only £2.45 per tonne, compared with £200-£250 a tonne for artificial fertilisers, the initiative is being welcomed by some farmers at a time of financial constraint.

The industry employs around 67,000 people, and supports a further 360,000 jobs in Scotland – producing much of its £5 billion in food and drink exports.

John Davidson, farm manager at Penicuik Estate in Midlothian, said the “TH cakes” were better for the environment and reduced financial pressure on farmers.

“I started using the TH cakes after hearing about them from a farmer in East Lothian. They are extremely cost-effective and I’ve managed to cut my usage of artificial fertiliser by around 30 per cent.

“It’s a very slow-release fertiliser whereas the artificial kind is an instant hit and doesn’t last as long and can also leech into water courses. Another factor is that potash, used in artificial fertilisers, is not an endless resource, it has to be mined and won’t be there forever.”

Davidson added: “In the past every house had a midden and waste would eventually be taken out to the fields. This is just a high-tech, fast way of doing the same thing.”

Professor Hugh Pennington, emeritus professor of bacteriology at the University of Aberdeen, said the project was a positive recycling move.

“While there is a need to consider safety and chemicals going into it, these can be tested for and it is unlikely this would not be done. It’s a very good way of recycling stuff which would otherwise go into the sea.”

However, Ian Sands, National Farmers Union Scotland combinable crops chairman, voiced reservations. “NFU Scotland would advise any members thinking of using thermal hydrolysis cakes to consider whether its use is acceptable for current or future buyers of crops grown on their land.

“For going on 20 years, the Scotch whisky industry has not accepted malting barley which has been grown on land which has ever had this kind of fertiliser used on it.

A spokesman for Veolia, which runs Seafield for Scottish Water, said the cake enriches the soil with key levels of nitrogen, phosphate and sulphur and was a useful soil conditioner.

Natalie Walker of Scottish Water said: “The green initiatives Seafield delivers, such as producing these organic poo cakes is a testament to the innovative work being delivered there.”

Seafield celebrates its 40th anniversary this week. Before 1978 waste was pumped into the Forth. From 1978 until 1998 it was dumped at sea by the vessel Gardy Loo.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Shn Ross"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4724089.1523793378!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4724089.1523793378!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "John Davidson with deliveries of the TH cakes at the Penicuik Estate. Picture: Lisa Ferguson","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "John Davidson with deliveries of the TH cakes at the Penicuik Estate. Picture: Lisa Ferguson","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4724089.1523793378!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/police-scotland-ready-to-pay-out-over-illegal-surveillance-1-4724108","id":"1.4724108","articleHeadline": "Police Scotland ready to pay out over illegal surveillance","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1523746454000 ,"articleLead": "

Police Scotland is preparing to make compensation payments to four men put under illegal surveillance by the force’s Counter Corruption Unit.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4724107.1523739303!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Deputy Chief Constable Rose Fitzpatrick said the matter was in hand. Picture: Andrew Cowan"} ,"articleBody": "

The now-defunct CCU breached guidelines on accessing communications data when, in 2015, it attempted to uncover a journalist’s sources following stories about the investigation into the unsolved murder of Emma Caldwell in 2005.

Durham Constabulary, which was brought in to carry out an investigation into the episode, said the four men – two serving officers and two retired officers – had been “gravely wronged”.

In a report published last year, the English force said the four complainants deserved a public apology, and it called for ex-gratia payments to be considered.

Deputy Chief Constable Rose Fitzpatrick has now written to a committee of MSPs to inform them the matter of compensation is “in hand” and will be discussed with the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) next month.

Caldwell, 27, was working as a prostitute when her body was discovered in woodland in South Lanarkshire 13 years ago.

Officers from the CCU began the search for a journalist’s source after media reports about a “forgotten suspect” in 2015.

The four complainants took legal action to “complain of the collateral interference with their privacy”.

One of the men was later awarded £10,000 in damages following a decision by the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT).

In a letter to John Finnie, the convener of the Scottish Parliament’s justice sub-committee on policing, Fitzpatrick said Police Scotland had “developed options for consideration” which would be discussed with the SPA on 1 May.

Finnie said: “Police Scotland were wrong in the way they dealt with this issue; this was confirmed by the independent tribunal and, most importantly, fault has been publicly acknowledged by Police Scotland.

“There’s no doubt there’s a history of ex-gratia payments being made by public authorities, including the police, and it would seem to me that a further way of recognising the harm done to the four individuals would be to provide them with financial compensation.”

He added: “I am satisfied the necessary arrangements are now in place to prevent a repetition of this sorry incident.”

Assistant Chief Constable Alan Speirs said: “Police Scotland is committed to working with the complainers to fully and completely conclude all matters.

“Any future considerations of compensatory or ex-gratia payments will be considered within the legal frameworks which govern Police Scotland in conjunction with planned discussions involving the Scottish Police Authority.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Chris Marshall"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4724107.1523739303!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4724107.1523739303!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Deputy Chief Constable Rose Fitzpatrick said the matter was in hand. Picture: Andrew Cowan","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Deputy Chief Constable Rose Fitzpatrick said the matter was in hand. Picture: Andrew Cowan","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4724107.1523739303!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/health/jowell-s-nhs-anti-cancer-cap-should-be-offered-to-my-son-1-4724104","id":"1.4724104","articleHeadline": "Jowell’s NHS anti-cancer cap ‘should be offered to my son’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1523745934000 ,"articleLead": "

The mother of a terminally-ill youngster diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour has hit out at the “special treatment” given to Dame Tessa Jowell who has a similar condition and was given a £240,000 skull cap that fires electric pulses into her brain.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4724101.1523788933!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jennifer Stewart with her son Luke, who has a brain tumour"} ,"articleBody": "

Jennifer Ure Stewart described the decision to provide the Labour peer and former culture secretary with the pioneering device as “unfair”, adding that the treatment which is being trialled by the NHS in England should be rolled out nationwide.

Stewart is preparing to return to the Monterrey Vale Oriente hospital in Mexico, where her eight-year-old son Luke is due to receive his 13th treatment. He was diagnosed with a brain tumour known as Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Giloma (DIPG) in January 2017, with doctors giving him six to nine months to live.

Dame Tessa was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour last year and made a passionate speech about her condition, while wearing the skull cap in the House of Lords in January.

The device has been provided on a test basis by the NHS, with the costs covered by the manufacturer, US firm Novacare. However, the cap is considered too expensive to be routinely offered and paid for by the health service.

Stewart, from Tranent in East Lothian, said: “It’s just unfair. I wish the woman all the best but this treatment is something that’s pioneering and is not widely available in this country. It could be brought to the UK to help not just Dame Tessa. Has it been tested on any other types of brain cancers?

“There are children who have to go through heaps and heaps of chemotherapy, they lose all their hair, they’re sick constantly and are in the hospital for months on end. So, could this be something that helps not even Luke but children who have something that’s not as deep-rooted as his tumour and they then wouldn’t have to go through chemotherapy?”

Stewart was spurred into a mammoth charity campaign which has raised over £187,000 on a Help Luke JustGiving page for his treatment. The youngster will receive the results of his latest PET scan while in Mexico. It will be compared with last year’s one to see how much the brain tumour has shrunk.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The NHS has processes in place to assess the use of devices such as the skull cap used by Ms Jowell. A clinical trial is under way which will provide evidence as to whether it’s appropriate for the treatment to be made available more widely. Eligibility for clinical trials will vary depending on the treatment, and clinicians can be best placed to consider and make any referrals for anyone who might benefit from taking part.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4724101.1523788933!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4724101.1523788933!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jennifer Stewart with her son Luke, who has a brain tumour","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jennifer Stewart with her son Luke, who has a brain tumour","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4724101.1523788933!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4724102.1523788939!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4724102.1523788939!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Dame Tessa Jowell speaking in the House of Lords. She was diagnosed last May with a high-grade brain tumour known as glioblastoma.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Dame Tessa Jowell speaking in the House of Lords. She was diagnosed last May with a high-grade brain tumour known as glioblastoma.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4724102.1523788939!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/rates-hike-for-private-school-nurseries-is-discrimination-1-4724098","id":"1.4724098","articleHeadline": "Rates hike for private school nurseries ‘is discrimination’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1523738872000 ,"articleLead": "

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay has been warned that his plans to increase the business rates paid by private schools could face a legal challenge amid concerns of its impact on nursery provision.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4724097.1523738869!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "New regime threatens to cut nursery places"} ,"articleBody": "

Around 30 fee-paying schools across Scotland provide nursery facilities for a total of around 1,500 children, in partnership with local authorities.

Fee-paying schools fear that the new rates regime will affect their nurseries because they will not be entitled to the same relief as those run privately, in the third sector or by councils.

The Scottish Government has said nurseries should receive 100 per cent business rates relief, from this month on, to help it meet its ambitious childcare target.

Ministers have pledged to expand funded early learning and childcare to 1,140 hours a year by 2020 for all eligible children.

Last night opposition politicians said nurseries run by private schools were being discriminated against because their institutions were about to be hit by a business rates hike.

Mackay intends to end the arrangement whereby private schools – as non-profit charitable institutions – are eligible for 80 per cent business rates relief. Charging them the full amount is expected to raise £5 million.

Conservative Shadow Education Secretary Liz Smith said: “How can it be right that a private, profit-making nursery is liable for 100 per cent rates relief when a nursery in a non-profit-making charitable institution is not?

“This discrimination makes no sense at all, particularly as these nurseries are participating in partnerships with local authorities who 
are trying their level best in very difficult circumstances to expand childcare provision.

“The Scottish Government’s policy is riddled with holes to the extent that I think a legal challenge is highly likely.”

John Edward, director of the Scottish Council of Independent Schools (SCIS), said: “It is quite odd that you create a business rates system that would favour people who would set up a private nursery for their own good over ones that by law aren’t able to run a profit.”

Edward also suggested that Scottish Government policy could result in nurseries run by private schools withdrawing from their partnerships with local authorities.

He said: “The government’s own policy about early-years numbers suggests to schools that independent school nurseries cannot charge for their nursery provision on top of the state amount, despite these nurseries offering longer hours in many cases, higher staff ratios and wider provision of activities – all of which require additional funding.

“If independent school nurseries are forced to withdraw from their local authority partnerships then local authorities are going to lose thousands of places at nurseries that they help to support – a result which benefits no-one and achieves nothing.”

The Scottish Government said independent schools, depending on the circumstances of their property, could “split their estates” to make nurseries eligible for rates relief.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Tom Peterkin"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4724097.1523738869!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4724097.1523738869!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "New regime threatens to cut nursery places","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "New regime threatens to cut nursery places","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4724097.1523738869!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/sturgeon-to-face-calls-for-ministerial-statement-on-chinese-backed-wind-farm-1-4723581","id":"1.4723581","articleHeadline": "Sturgeon to face calls for ministerial statement on Chinese-backed wind farm","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1523632502000 ,"articleLead": "

Nicola Sturgeon will fly back from China to face calls for a ministerial statement on her government’s decision to “call in” a planning application relating to a Chinese-backed wind farm.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4720829.1523688169!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The First Minister called for 'an international strategy for peace'"} ,"articleBody": "

The demand for an “urgent” statement at Holyrood was made by Labour after it emerged the Scottish Government had taken control of a planning application associated with the Chinese state-owned State Development and Investment Corporation (SDIC).

The decision was taken the day before the First Minister met with the SDIC on her trade mission to China.

The government’s action means it will now have the final say on the planning application for the site of the old Cockenzie power station rather than East Lothian council.

The Scottish Government has insisted there is no link between Ms Sturgeon’s meeting with the state-owned State Development and Investment Corporation (SDIC) and the planning decision.

But opposition parties have accused Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP of caring more about the interests of a Chinese company than local communities.

SDIC’s subsidiary Red Rock Power Limited is the owner of Inch Cape Offshore Limited, which is behind the Scottish application.

The firm plans to build 72 turbines up to 300 metres tall around 15 km off the Angus coastline. Electricity from the turbines would be sent to the National Grid via a substation at the East Lothian site.

Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Monica Lennon, said: “SNP ministers need to urgently explain this disgraceful move to block local people from taking part in a planning decision.

 “This is just another power grab from a SNP government that treats local democracy with disdain.

“In the same week Nicola Sturgeon met the State Development Investment Corporation, a planning application by its subsidiary company was snatched out of the hands of East Lothian Council so that her Planning Minister could make the decision.

“Whether this is intentional or coincidental, it speaks volumes about a government that only wants power for itself – not for local people and is more interested in cosying up to Chinese investors than the rights of local communities.”

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" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "TOM PETERKIN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4720829.1523688169!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4720829.1523688169!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The First Minister called for 'an international strategy for peace'","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The First Minister called for 'an international strategy for peace'","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4720829.1523688169!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/catholics-muslims-and-polish-people-more-likely-to-experience-deprivation-1-4721858","id":"1.4721858","articleHeadline": "Catholics, Muslims and Polish people more likely to experience deprivation","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1523455791000 ,"articleLead": "

Roman Catholics, Muslims, white Polish and other ethnic groups are more likely to live in deprived areas than the Scottish population as a whole, according to major survey.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4721857.1523455786!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ethnic and religious minorities more likely to live in deprived areas. Picture: John Devlin"} ,"articleBody": "

The Scottish Surveys Core Questions 2016, published by the Scottish Government, looked at the relationship between poverty, health and sections of Scottish society.

When the distribution of those categorised as the 20 per cent most deprived in society was looked at, it found almost two times as many Roman Catholics as those identified with the Church of Scotland were amongst the poorest.

READ THIS: Michelle Mone’s lingerie brand Ultimo to cease UK trading

Almost 30 per cent of the Roman Catholic population fell in the most deprived category compared with 15 per cent of Church of Scotland worshippers.

Almost one quarter of Muslims (24.7 per cent) fell into the most deprived category. Thirty-five per cent of the Polish community found themselves in the most deprived category compared with 20 per cent of white Scots.

Last night Labour’s health spokesman Anas Sarwar described the findings as “troubling”.

Mr Sarwar said: “This is an important report that asks tough questions for policy makers in public health and equalities.

“Labour has long made the case for the link between deprivation and ill health, but many Scots may be surprised to see these figures for people from Catholic and Muslim communities.

READ MORE: ‘Cutting edge’ anti-terror barriers to be erected in Capital

“More broadly, it is particularly troubling to see religious minorities are more likely to live in deprivation.

“Studies such as this show the importance of proper equality impact assessments of public policy.”

The survey also found that lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) people are more likely to suffer from poor general health, long-term illness and lower mental well-being than heterosexual people, according to a new report.

Only 64 per cent of those identifying as LGB or another sexual orientation other than heterosexual reported good or very good general health, the document found.

This was significantly lower than the heterosexual group at 73.8 per cent.

People in the LGB and other group were more likely to report a long-term limiting health condition at 32.5 per cent, compared with 23.8 per cent for the heterosexual group.

They recorded a lower mental wellbeing score, at 23.8 per cent compared with 24.4 per cent for the heterosexual group.

The report also found smoking rates were higher among the LGB and other group, at 28.8 per cent - 9.6 percentage points higher than the heterosexual group at 19.2 per cent.

Tim Hopkins, director of the Equality Network, said: “It is really welcome that this kind of statistical data is now available.

It does say in the report that the statistics of LGB people needs to be treated with some caution, because a lot of LGB people don’t feel confident in identifying themselves as LGB.

“But having said that it does not surprise us that there is a statistically significant number of LGB people have poorer health and poorer mental health. There is other research showing that LGB people still experience significant discrimination and prejudice.

Other research shows us that one in three LGB people experienced some form of hate crime in the last year. This kind of discrimination has an impact on mental health and health in general. Some of the research describes this as `minority stress’. If you experience prejudice and discrimination it has a real impact on mental health and health.”

The SSCQ 2016 report provides detailed information on Scottish households across a number of topic including equality characteristics, housing, employment and perceptions of health and crime.

It gathered survey responses from around 20,000 people by collating data from the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey, the Scottish Health Survey and the Scottish Household Survey. In addition to its findings on the LGB community, the report also identified a link between deprivation and poorer health outcomes.

Only 62.1 per cent of the most deprived households across Scotland reported good or very good health, while this proportion rose to 82.9 per cent for the least deprived.

Meanwhile there was a “very clear correlation” between deprivation and long-term limiting health conditions.

The rate in the least deprived areas is around half that in the most deprived areas, at 16.5 per cent compared with 33.2 per cent.

The survey also found that around one fifth of adults in Scotland smoke. Between 2012-2016 there has been a clear reduction in smoking rates across all ages under 75, both genders and all levels of deprivation.

The “White: Polish” ethnic group has higher smoking rates than the Scottish national average. Smoking among the “Asian” group is lower than average, driven by a rate less than five per cent among Asian women.

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" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "TOM PETERKIN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4721857.1523455786!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4721857.1523455786!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Ethnic and religious minorities more likely to live in deprived areas. Picture: John Devlin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ethnic and religious minorities more likely to live in deprived areas. Picture: John Devlin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4721857.1523455786!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/competition-avengers-sneak-peek-ticket-giveaway-1-4720799","id":"1.4720799","articleHeadline": "Competition: Avengers sneak peek ticket giveaway","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1523266584000 ,"articleLead": "

Marketing Edinburgh has teamed up with Disney to offer two lucky Marvel fans the chance to attend a special sneak peek of footage from the highly anticipated, Avengers: Infinity War movie – before the film gets its world premiere in Hollywood.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4720798.1523256426!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Marketing Edinburgh is offering two Marvel fans a chance to attend a special sneak peek event."} ,"articleBody": "

The lucky winners will join director, Joe Russo, at a central Edinburgh location tomorrow to watch a sneak peek of the first act of the film. Guests will also hear from Joe as he discusses his experience of making the movie and what it was like to film in Edinburgh.

Head of Film Edinburgh Rosie Ellison said: “It’s so fantastic for the city to be receiving recognition from Joe Russo.”

READ MORE: In Pictures: Stars at Avengers Infinity War fan event ahead of Edinburgh date

Economy Convener, Kate Campbell, said: “Edinburgh is getting ready to assemble for the Avengers. You can really feel the excitement building in Edinburgh for the movie’s release, with a whole weekend of superhero activity being planned as businesses capitalise on the buzz surrounding the city’s starring role.

“The movie itself will promote the city to audiences all over the world, but this special screening hosted by Director Joe Russo means Edinburgh will get to receive a sneak peek of previously unseen footage.

READ MORE: Edinburgh set for weekend of celebrations to mark release of Avengers: Infinity War

“The movie is the largest production Edinburgh has ever hosted, and it is a real credit to the city that the feedback from Disney’s producers, directors and actors was all so positive and that they loved the city so much.”

For more information visit, www.edinburgh.org/cityofsuperheroes.

To enter simply e-mail newsen@edinburghnews.com by 5pm today and tell us who plays Thanos in the new film. Mark “avengers competition” in the subject line and include your contact details.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4720798.1523256426!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4720798.1523256426!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Marketing Edinburgh is offering two Marvel fans a chance to attend a special sneak peek event.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Marketing Edinburgh is offering two Marvel fans a chance to attend a special sneak peek event.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4720798.1523256426!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ {"gallery": {"id":"1.4720749","galleryImages":[ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4720742.1523218834!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4720742.1523218834!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 08: (L-R) Director Joe Russo, actors Sebastian Stan, Tom Hiddleston, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Letitia Wright, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Holland and director Anthony Russo attend the UK Fan Event for "Avengers Infinity War" at Television Studios White City on April 8, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 08: (L-R) Director Joe Russo, actors Sebastian Stan, Tom Hiddleston, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Letitia Wright, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Holland and director Anthony Russo attend the UK Fan Event for "Avengers Infinity War" at Television Studios White City on April 8, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4720742.1523218834!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4720743.1523218844!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4720743.1523218844!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 08: Elizabeth Olsen attends the UK Fan Event for "Avengers Infinity War" at Television Studios White City on April 8, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 08: Elizabeth Olsen attends the UK Fan Event for "Avengers Infinity War" at Television Studios White City on April 8, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4720743.1523218844!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4720744.1523218851!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4720744.1523218851!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "US film directors Joe (L) and Anthony Russo pose on the red carpet upon arrival to attend the Avengers: Infinity War UK Fan Event in White City, west London on April 8, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Anthony HARVEYANTHONY HARVEY/AFP/Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "US film directors Joe (L) and Anthony Russo pose on the red carpet upon arrival to attend the Avengers: Infinity War UK Fan Event in White City, west London on April 8, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Anthony HARVEYANTHONY HARVEY/AFP/Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4720744.1523218851!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4720745.1523218857!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4720745.1523218857!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Tom Hiddleston attending the Avengers: Infinity War UK Fan Event held at Television Studios in White City, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday April 08, 2018. See PA story SHOWBIZ Avengers. Photo credit should read: Matt Crossick/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Tom Hiddleston attending the Avengers: Infinity War UK Fan Event held at Television Studios in White City, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday April 08, 2018. See PA story SHOWBIZ Avengers. Photo credit should read: Matt Crossick/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4720745.1523218857!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4720746.1523218862!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4720746.1523218862!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Benedict Cumberbatch (second right) and Tom Holland (right) pose with Marvel cosplayers attending the Avengers: Infinity War UK Fan Event held at Television Studios in White City, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday April 08, 2018. See PA story SHOWBIZ Avengers. Photo credit should read: Matt Crossick/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Benedict Cumberbatch (second right) and Tom Holland (right) pose with Marvel cosplayers attending the Avengers: Infinity War UK Fan Event held at Television Studios in White City, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday April 08, 2018. See PA story SHOWBIZ Avengers. Photo credit should read: Matt Crossick/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4720746.1523218862!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4720747.1523218866!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4720747.1523218866!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Sebastian Stan (left) poses with a Marvel cosplayer attending the Avengers: Infinity War UK Fan Event held at Television Studios in White City, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday April 08, 2018. See PA story SHOWBIZ Avengers. Photo credit should read: Matt Crossick/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sebastian Stan (left) poses with a Marvel cosplayer attending the Avengers: Infinity War UK Fan Event held at Television Studios in White City, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday April 08, 2018. See PA story SHOWBIZ Avengers. Photo credit should read: Matt Crossick/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4720747.1523218866!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4720748.1523218870!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4720748.1523218870!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Paul Bettany (left), Letitia Wright (centre) and Benedict Cumberbatch attending the Avengers: Infinity War UK Fan Event held at Television Studios in White City, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday April 08, 2018. See PA story SHOWBIZ Avengers. Photo credit should read: Matt Crossick/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Paul Bettany (left), Letitia Wright (centre) and Benedict Cumberbatch attending the Avengers: Infinity War UK Fan Event held at Television Studios in White City, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday April 08, 2018. See PA story SHOWBIZ Avengers. Photo credit should read: Matt Crossick/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4720748.1523218870!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ]}} ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/texan-dressed-to-kilt-founder-wounded-by-scots-snub-1-4720524","id":"1.4720524","articleHeadline": "Texan Dressed to Kilt founder ‘wounded’ by Scots snub","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1523138876000 ,"articleLead": "

The founder of the famous Scottish/American fashion show Dressed to Kilt has criticised the international arm of the Scottish Government for not offering to support the high-profile event.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4720604.1523181693!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kimberly Stewart and Alana Stewart walk the runway at the Johnnie Walker Dressed to Kilt 2006 fashion show. Picture: Getty Images."} ,"articleBody": "

Geoffrey Scott Carroll yesterday claimed Scottish Development International (SDI) had “not bothered to contact us”, despite having an office in Houston, where the fashion show is being held.

As models took to the catwalk to showcase the work of leading Scottish designers on the other side of the Atlantic yesterday, Scott Carroll expressed his frustration at the quango, charged with representing the Scottish Government and Scottish enterprise agencies globally.

Dressed to Kilt is traditionally one of the highlights of Scotland Week, the series of events which promote Scotland across North America and coincide with the anniversary of the 1320 Declaration of Arbroath.

The fashion show has traditionally taken place in New York, but this year has moved to Houston in recognition of the large Scottish diaspora in the Texan oil and space city and to raise funds to repair damage caused by Hurricane Harvey.

Scott Carroll, the event’s founder and chairman, said: “We have been embraced by the Houston business community and incredibly well supported by the British-American Business Council here in Houston. Indeed the British Consul General here in Houston is actually walking the catwalk as the official model of the British-American Business Council. Scottish businessmen are supporting us. The only group that has not bothered to contact us is Scottish Development International and they have a decent size office here with a half a dozen people.”

SDI has 40 offices across 20 countries. It aims to attract inward investment to Scotland, and promote its exports and the nation abroad.

In previous years Dressed to Kilt has been supported by a host of celebrities and politicians. Alex Salmond has worn a kilt on the catwalk. His predecessor as first minister, Jack McConnell, was criticised for his dress sense when he turned up in a pinstripe kilt and “Braveheart” shirt. Gerard Butler, Andie MacDowell and Mike Myers are among the Hollywood stars who have supported the event.

This year’s event will see Kirk Shireman, the head of Nasa’s space station programme, wear the kilt on the catwalk. One of the beneficiaries will be veterans’ charities, so other participants include former US Navy Seals. Honoured at the event will be Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale, Houston’s man of the year, who opened his furniture showrooms and warehouses to thousands of people displaced by Hurricane Harvey. Designers showcased include House of Bruar and Edinburgh Castle Tweed.

An SDI spokesperson said: “Our key objective of delivering economic growth for the textiles sector in Scotland is focused on engaging more directly with key customers to influence their decision-making process in terms of sourcing from Scotland.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Tom Peterkin"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4720604.1523181693!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4720604.1523181693!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Kimberly Stewart and Alana Stewart walk the runway at the Johnnie Walker Dressed to Kilt 2006 fashion show. Picture: Getty Images.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kimberly Stewart and Alana Stewart walk the runway at the Johnnie Walker Dressed to Kilt 2006 fashion show. Picture: Getty Images.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4720604.1523181693!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/regions/edinburgh-fife-lothians/woman-blames-botched-delivery-after-passport-left-in-street-1-4720239","id":"1.4720239","articleHeadline": "Woman blames botched delivery after passport left in street","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1523080800000 ,"articleLead": "

A DISTRAUGHT mother-of-three has told how her passport was abandoned in the street and other personal documents went missing after a botched delivery.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4720238.1523044599!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Justina Kirkwood says the courier is lying"} ,"articleBody": "

Justina Kirkwood’s passport was found by a good Samaritan next to a smouldering pile of embers – her marriage certificate and British citizenship papers are unaccounted for.

The documents were lost during a UK passport application and now MP Tommy Sheppard is set to call for a full investigation from Home Secretary Amber Rudd.

“They’re satisfied the passport was delivered to the customer and they’re not prepared to take it any further – that’s completely unacceptable,” said Mr Sheppard.

“It seems very strange that somebody’s passport ends up in a pile of rubbish in Craigmillar – it’s a very shocking and cavalier response.”

Married Edinburgh University graduate Mrs Kirkwood said she applied for a UK passport after living in Edinburgh for 11 years.

It took her two years to gain British citizenship at a cost of £2,000 and her UK passport was eventually delivered in December.

“The courier gave me a look of disgust and was clearly angry to be handing me a British passport,” said Mrs Kirkwood, 30.

“It seemed to me that he took offence to the fact I spoke a foreign language to my children.”

Her supporting documents, including her Lithuanian passport, were supposed to follow but never arrived.

Four days later, Mrs Kirkwood, a dancer who once performed at the Royal Tattoo, was contacted by a woman who found her Lithuanian passport behind Lidl in Craigmillar.

“She found it on the street next to a burnt pile of documents.”

She notified the police and contacted the Home Office – but four months on is no closer to finding out what happened.

“It turns out that the courier is claiming to have delivered it. He claims to have posted my documents through my letterbox.”

Mrs Kirkwood, who lives in Portobello with parking attendant husband Jamie, 32, and children Aiden, five, Lucy, four and three-year-old Alecija, says the system is open to fraud.

“They say their proof of delivery is a picture of my door.

“I wasn’t asked to sign for my British passport, the courier just handed it in and walked away.”

Now Mrs Kirkwood, and Mr Sheppard on her behalf, want answers – and say the woman finding her Lithuanian passport proves something went drastically wrong.

“I have a witness and I have proof,” said Mrs Kirkwood.

“It’s very concerning.”

Police have confirmed they are investigating “a reported theft of documentation”.

A Home Office spokeswoman said: “Our investigation into Mrs Kirkwood’s complaint has concluded, and we are satisfied that her supporting documents were delivered correctly.

“However, should Mrs Kirkwood have any further evidence that she would like us to consider regarding this matter, we would invite her to contact us to investigate this 
further.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4720238.1523044599!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4720238.1523044599!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Justina Kirkwood says the courier is lying","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Justina Kirkwood says the courier is lying","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4720238.1523044599!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/nicola-sturgeon-agrees-to-trade-underperforming-edinburgh-zoo-panda-1-4716420","id":"1.4716420","articleHeadline": "Nicola Sturgeon agrees to trade ‘underperforming’ Edinburgh Zoo panda","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1522563883000 ,"articleLead": "

At first glance, Nicola Sturgeon’s visit to China, scheduled to take place next week, makes perfect sense.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4716419.1522563876!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Xi Jinping is disappointed at Yang Guang's failure to sire a cub. Picture: Getty"} ,"articleBody": "

The First Minister will be able to talk about trade, strengthen the links between the Edinburgh and Beijing governments, and perhaps give a cursory mention of human rights as she walks out the door.

But Scotland on Sunday can reveal that the true purpose of the visit is far more clandestine: the swapping of Scotland’s male panda.

After seven years of failing to produce cubs with Tian Tian, Chinese officials have been left frustrated and embarrassed by the underperformance of an animal which is regarded as a global symbol of Chinese power.

Secret tests have taken place to establish that the reason for the lack of baby pandas at Edinburgh Zoo is Yang Guang’s low sperm count.

Now, following pressure from Chinese Premier Xi Jinping, the Scottish Government has agreed that a secret swap will take place to substitute Yang Guang with a new panda from China.

On Friday, the First Minister will flick through an A4 ring binder which contains scores of laminated images of male pandas which have been pre-approved by China. As a matter of political courtesy, Sturgeon will have the final say on which panda will fly to Scotland for a new life – and will also be allowed to see the creature during her visit and to name him. Diplomats have privately stated that the swap can take place without anyone knowing as “they all look the same”.

A source told Scotland on Sunday: “It’s not as if anyone is going to notice the difference. Black and white.”

Edinburgh recently announced new direct flights with China and the plan is for the new panda to fly in on the first flight from Beijing on 12 June. Officials said this would minimise stress for the animal.

“The panda will go first class. We are taking no chances here. This isn’t a crate job. If he wants to watch All The President’s Men with a gin and tonic he will get it.”

The arrival of the first Hainan Airlines flight is likely to be accompanied by diplomatic hoopla. Speeches will be made and ribbons cut, but in the background the new panda will be processed and Yang Guang will go back on the same flight.

“There is a low tolerance for failure over there. He’s had seven years. He faces an uncertain future,” said a source.

A spokesman for Edinburgh Zoo, owned by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, said: “We don’t comment on transfer speculation.”

Yang Guang hasn’t been a great transfer. He probably generated more headlines when he gave himself a fright when a stick of bamboo fell over. It was captured on CCTV.

Sturgeon’s visit to China next week comes just over a year after a £10 billion investment deal with the country collapsed.

The First Minister is to take part in high-level business and government meetings during her visit to Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. She says the aim of the trip will be to show the world’s second largest economy that Scotland is a “fantastic place to invest”.This will be her first visit to China since 2015.

Latest figures show that exports from Scotland to China are increasing at a faster rate than to any of Scotland’s other top five export partners, with a rise of more than 40 per cent last year.

In December, the First Minister met Vice Premier Liu Yandong in Edinburgh during her visit to the UK. Liu’s successor, Li Lapfoor, will greet the First Minister on her arrival in Beijing.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "PERCY CRADOCK"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4716419.1522563876!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4716419.1522563876!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Xi Jinping is disappointed at Yang Guang's failure to sire a cub. Picture: Getty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Xi Jinping is disappointed at Yang Guang's failure to sire a cub. Picture: Getty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4716419.1522563876!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/outcry-at-threat-to-limit-music-tuition-to-wind-and-brass-1-4716361","id":"1.4716361","articleHeadline": "Outcry at threat to limit music tuition to wind and brass","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1522535359000 ,"articleLead": "

Dame Evelyn Glennie has added her voice to parents campaigning against a local authority’s plans to end music lessons for children studying string instruments and percussion.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4716360.1522568793!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Violinist Iona Hamilton with her mother, Moray. Picture: Alistair Linford"} ,"articleBody": "

This week will see the issue come to a head as West Lothian councillors discuss their controversial plans to end free tuition for some instruments while maintaining free lessons for brass, woodwind and bagpipes.

Faced with a chorus of opposition from children, parents and leading musicians – including Glennie, the world famous percussionist, the composer John Rutter and the violinist, Nicola Benedetti – a special council meeting has been convened for Tuesday.

The “Save Our Strings” campaign was launched to object to the proposal, which was introduced as part of a drive to save £493,000 from a budget of £993,000 for music lessons. The proposal would affect 562 pupils – 189 percussion students and 373 strings students – including violinists, guitarists and cellists. According to the campaign, the move would affect 26.5 per cent of the total number of instrumental students (2,117). It is estimated that the equivalent of ten full-time music staff would be affected by the proposal.

Part of the rationale behind maintaining free brass, woodwind and piping lessons was to recognise West Lothian’s rich mining heritage which produced many prize-winning brass and pipe bands.

But campaigners believe it is unfair to target certain instruments and that means-testing would have been a better way to make savings.

Tuesday’s meeting will see an SNP motion recommending that sort of approach to councillors, but whether it wins enough support remains to be seen. West Lothian is an example of a hung local authority and is made up of 13 SNP members, 12 Labour, seven Conservatives and one independent. Save Our Strings yesterday sent all councillors a briefing paper outlining their objections.

Glennie said: “I am extremely saddened and frustrated by any cuts to any art form. To be a hearing-impaired person and to experience the inclusiveness and integration of participating in music as a youngster was the best medicine I could have asked for. Who has the right to eliminate any subject that makes our youngsters into well balanced and productive members of society?”

Campaigner Siobhan Williams added: “This has been quite upsetting for quite a number of children, many of whom want to study music at Nat 5 and Higher level for which it is essential to be learning an instrument. We are prepared to pay at a level that will allow the less well off to continue for free.”

A West Lothian council spokesman said: “We are considering proposals for a new sustainable model for music tuition in West Lothian within the approved £0.5 million budget. This aims to ensure that instrumental music can be maintained for the largest number of pupils.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Tom Peterkin"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4716360.1522568793!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4716360.1522568793!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Violinist Iona Hamilton with her mother, Moray. Picture: Alistair Linford","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Violinist Iona Hamilton with her mother, Moray. Picture: Alistair Linford","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4716360.1522568793!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/rangers-video-takes-fans-on-journey-of-autism-1-4716359","id":"1.4716359","articleHeadline": "Rangers video takes fans on journey of autism","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1522534270000 ,"articleLead": "

Rangers FC will show a “match-day experience” video from the perspective of a young boy with autism attending football at half-time during their game with Dundee on Saturday.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4716421.1522564790!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "In The Journey a young actor plays the part of a Rangers fan with autism"} ,"articleBody": "

The club in partnership with Scottish Autism have made the film which stars Gers legend Mark Hateley alongside a young actor playing the part of a boy with the condition.

The initiative was announced ahead of World Autism Day tomorrow, with the Ibrox club providing a safe area known as Broxi’s Den where children aged between five and 12 can watch the match in a quiet space.

The private suite is based in the Broomloan Stand Corner and is made up of different zones, including a sensory suite and viewing gallery. Rangers have also provided autism awareness sessions for staff.

Karen Mathie, senior charity executive, Rangers Charity Foundation, said: “We’ve had a fantastic response from our fans and have discovered just how many of their lives are impacted by autism in some way. We want to make it as easy as possible for supporters with autism to be able to come to the Stadium and enjoy following their team in comfort.

“The Journey video really shows how people with autism can experience their surroundings and we hope it helps improve the public’s understanding of some of the obstacles autistic people face every day.”

Charlene Tait, director of autism practice and research, Scottish Autism, said: “We work closely with a number of public venues and organisations on initiatives aimed at both raising awareness of autism and improving accessibility for autistic people. While it’s encouraging to see progress being made in raising the public profile of the condition, we must recognise that there is a long way to go when it comes to wider public understanding and acceptance.

“Part of the challenge is the fact that autism is an invisible and multi-dimensional condition which affects people in different ways – some require 24/7 care while others are able to live independent lives but might require lower level or occasional support.”

‘We let him know that we’re going to a game well in advance’

CASE STUDY

Nicola Munro, from Tillicoultry in Clackmannanshire, said her 11-year-old son Alfie, who lives with autism, is a regular at Rangers matches and has applied for the Broxi’s Den facility.

Alfie has benefited from the club’s autism-friendly support and the family look forward to making the trip to home games.

Munro described her match-day routine to prepare her son, who attends the New Struan School in Alloa run by Scottish Autism, for trips to Ibrox. She said: “Basically we’re all Rangers fans in the household and we introduced Alfie to the club early on.

“We started taking him to matches but we have to do a lot of preparation beforehand when he’s going to a game.

“So, we make sure he wears ear defenders and we let him know that we’re going to be going to a match well in advance.

“In our experience with Alfie, he can get anxious from the fact that he’s going out to a public event where there are a lot of people and also the noise of the crowd and things like that can affect him.

“We have to prepare him properly the night before the game – he’s excited but there’s a lot of things that we have to do. We have to make sure he’s got technology with him, like a Nintendo Switch, which acts as a distraction for him just travelling to the game first of all. That can help calm his anxiety about getting there.”

She added: “Then when we arrive we have to be very careful with the stairs at the stadium as they are very steep and a lot of people on the spectrum have problems with their balance and co-ordination, which Alfie has.

Also getting in and out of your seating area can be a problem as he might feel overwhelmed with the noise of the crowd. We always try to make sure we get seated at the end of a row.”

Munro said the other Rangers fans had been “fantastic” with the youngster, offering to swap seats and singing along with him.

She said: “He tries to take part in the match-day experience and he’s good at letting us know if things are getting to be too much for him.

“Alfie absolutely loves going to Ibrox and Scottish Autism have given us tickets to attend the home match against Dundee on 7 April.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Kevan Christie"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4716421.1522564790!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4716421.1522564790!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "In The Journey a young actor plays the part of a Rangers fan with autism","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "In The Journey a young actor plays the part of a Rangers fan with autism","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4716421.1522564790!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/alex-salmond-s-lbc-phone-in-ends-after-six-months-1-4716184","id":"1.4716184","articleHeadline": "Alex Salmond’s LBC phone-in ends after six months","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1522495873000 ,"articleLead": "

Alex Salmond’s stint as a presenter of a political debate show on LBC radio has ended after just six months.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4704671.1522495866!/image/image.png_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.png","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "editorial image"} ,"articleBody": "

A LBC statement said the former First Minster had “completed his contract” for his Sunday afternoon phone-in programme on LBC “Salmond on Sunday”.

An LBC spokesperson said: “Alex Salmond has completed his contract as presenter of the Sunday afternoon show on LBC. We’re now discussing other projects with him.”

Mr Salmond, who said he wanted to pursue a journalism career after losing his Westminster seat, has come under fire for hosting a show on Kremlin-backed RT, formerly Russia Today.

The criticism intensified when he continued fronting “The Alex Salmond Show” on RT following the attempted murder of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in the Salisbury nerve agent attack.

Theresa May has blamed Russia for the attack. Mr Salmond has defended his relationship with RT, which has been accused of broadcasting pro-Putin propaganda, by saying he has full editorial control over his show.

Mr Salmond tweeted: “I signed up to a six month contract with LBC last September which completed at the end of March. I have had a great time with listeners who are both opinionated & fun and I enjoyed the phone in experience.

“I look forward to launching another project with LBC currently under discussion.”

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" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "TOM PETERKIN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4704671.1522495866!/image/image.png_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.png","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4704671.1522495866!/image/image.png_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.png","alt": "editorial image","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "editorial image","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4704671.1522495866!/image/image.png_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.png","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/fmqs-nicola-sturgeon-attacks-eu-s-common-fisheries-policy-1-4715090","id":"1.4715090","articleHeadline": "FMQs: Nicola Sturgeon attacks EU’s Common Fisheries Policy","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1522334577000 ,"articleLead": "

Nicola Sturgeon has underlined her opposition to the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) when she said she was unable to support the arrangement that gives European fishing fleets access to EU waters.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4701629.1522330812!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Nicola Sturgeon says CFP is "unfair" to fishermen"} ,"articleBody": "

At First Minister’s Questions, Ms Sturgeon said she was against the CFP even though rejecting it would be incompatible with the SNP’s desire for Scotland to retain EU membership. Members of the EU are required to sign up to the CFP.

The First Minister was asked about the issue by Green co-convener Patrick Harvie.

READ MORE: Kenny MacAskill: Stop treating Catalonia as a proxy for Scotland

Mr Harvie said that if it not been for the CFP there would be no cod left in the sea or in the shopes.

“Surely the Scottish Government must accept that whether we are in or out of the European Union that shared approach to a shared environmental resource will always be necessary,” Mr Harvie said.

Ms Sturgeon replied saying the CFP was “unfair” to Scottish fishermen.

READ MORE: Brexit: 10 big questions needing answered on Britain’s exit

She said: “I’m on record, my party is on record... I think it was back in 2004 that a SNP MP introduced a member’s bill in the House of Commons to try to argue that we should come out of the Common Fisheries Policy.

“The Common Fisheries Policy, even taking account of the points that Patrick Harvie makes, is not fair to Scottish fishermen. That’s why I don’t support it.”

Earlier Ms Sturgeon failed to give an explicit commitment to start campaigning to get back into the EU immediately after Brexit when challenged to do so by Mr Harvie.

Mr Harvie said: “Will the First Minister commit to not only continuing to oppose the Brexit process in principle, but also if this is done to us and we are dragged out of Europe to immediately campaign to get back in as a full member state?”

Ms Sturgeon restricted her reply to saying: “My views on membership of the European Union are no mystery. I oppose Brexit in principle. I don’t want us to leave the EU and I want to see Scotland continue to be a proud European nation.”

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" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "TOM PETERKIN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4701629.1522330812!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4701629.1522330812!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Nicola Sturgeon says CFP is "unfair" to fishermen","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Nicola Sturgeon says CFP is "unfair" to fishermen","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4701629.1522330812!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5760379859001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/nhs-computers-still-run-system-attacked-by-wannacry-hack-1-4712376","id":"1.4712376","articleHeadline": "NHS computers still run system attacked by WannaCry hack","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521968934000 ,"articleLead": "

The majority of NHS health boards in Scotland are still operating outdated computer systems despite last year’s crippling cyber attacks which exploited a flaw in the programme.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4712375.1521968929!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Edinburgh Royal Infirmary's A&E Department. Lothian has by far the highest proportion of computers running XP. Picture: Greg Macvean"} ,"articleBody": "

A total of 11 out of 14 authorities confirmed through a Freedom of Information (FoI) request that they still operate Windows XP, which was targeted by criminals using malicious ransomware software known as WannaCry.

Almost 3,000 out of 19,251 computers (15 per cent) across NHS Lothian continue to run Windows XP, making the health board the most vulnerable to a further attack.

Microsoft ended support for Windows XP in April 2014. The last major security update was carried out as far back as 2008. Last May, Microsoft released a one-off patch for XP to prevent users sharing files that were being used to spread the ransomware virus across the world, including the UK-wide NHS infrastructure.

Shadow health secretary Miles Briggs said it was “completely irresponsible” to be running out of date computer programs.

“The cyber attacks last May affected 11 of the 14 health boards in Scotland and NHS Lothian was fortunate not to have been hit,” he said. “NHS Lothian has by far the most computers running on Windows XP, that no longer runs security updates, leaving NHS Lothian open to cyber attack.”

Half of the NHS boards in Scotland failed to provide a date for which they would phase out the Windows XP system and Police Scotland claimed an exemption from the FoI on the basis that “disclosure would provide those intent on disrupting police activities with enough information to plan and execute a targeted attack”.

Hackers often demand its victims pay a ransom to access their frozen files or to remove harmful programs. They dupe users into clicking on a fake link – whether it’s in an email or on a website, causing an infection to corrupt the computer.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Any suggestion that NHS Lothian has been left ‘at risk’ are simply not true. Scotland’s public sector organisations take cyber security very seriously. Our public sector action plan on cyber resilience, produced in partnership with the National Cyber Resilience Leaders’ Board, sets out common baseline measures that all public sector organisations – including NHS boards – are currently working towards. From May 2018 the EU Security of Network and Information Systems Directive will come into effect. This will set out robust cyber resilience requirements. A body will be established which will be responsible for regulating NHS boards’ compliance with these requirements.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Kevan Christie"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4712375.1521968929!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4712375.1521968929!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Edinburgh Royal Infirmary's A&E Department. Lothian has by far the highest proportion of computers running XP. Picture: Greg Macvean","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Edinburgh Royal Infirmary's A&E Department. Lothian has by far the highest proportion of computers running XP. Picture: Greg Macvean","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4712375.1521968929!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/report-warns-of-brexit-damage-to-key-economic-sectors-1-4712412","id":"1.4712412","articleHeadline": "Report warns of Brexit damage to key economic sectors","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521934484000 ,"articleLead": "

Brexit poses “significant worries” for all six of Scotland’s key economic sectors, according to an official report which warns the prospect of EU withdrawal has already proved damaging.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4712411.1521924347!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Pro-Europe marchers on Edinburgh's Royal Mile yesterday. Picture: Ian Rutherford"} ,"articleBody": "

The report for the independent Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) says the ability of businesses to mitigate against Brexit risks is becoming more difficult by the day.

The uncertainty over the final Brexit arrangements has been described as a “high concern” by industry leaders in the six sectors which have been identified as the most important for Scottish economic growth.

The SPICe research examined the attitudes of those involved in food and drink, energy/renewables, tourism, creative industries and the financial services sectors, as well as consulting other sources.

The hard-hitting report has just been published and has led to renewed calls for the UK to retain its relationship with the single market.

Major concerns centred around the uncertainty caused by Brexit, the impact withdrawal would have on the UK’s EU workforce and the potential for trade barriers to be erected. The report said “significant worries” had been identified in all six sectors and warned that small and medium-sized businesses would be particularly affected.

It said: “Unanimously industry leaders have expressed high concerns about uncertainty surrounding Brexit negotiations at the moment. While most growth sectors are hopeful that they may be able to cope with the serious obstacles posed by Brexit, they warn that their ability to cope is becoming more difficult by the day, and that for some business decisions it is already too late.”

It added: “The inability to make any long-term plans – which is particularly harmful for smaller enterprises, unable to make costly contingency plans – is already causing considerable damage.”

The briefing document, titled “The Impact of Brexit on Scotland’s Growth Sectors”, identified a host of issues. It found that industries in the tourism and food/drink sectors were already having issues with a lower influx of workers from EU countries. In the hospitality sector, the report notes that there is anecdotal evidence within the hospitality sector that the influx of EU workers has been in “steep decline”.

Recruiters in hospitality quote a fall in applications from prospective EU workers of “easily 75 per cent”. That finding chimed with a report published yesterday by Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) which found recruitment agencies experienced a 10 per cent to 15 per cent shortfall in seasonal workers last year. The SPICe report also warned that a no deal scenario will hit exports.

Catherine Stihler MEP, co-chair of Scottish Labour for the Single Market, said the report was “alarming”. “There is a high level of concern in all six growth sectors about the uncertainty of post-Brexit arrangements, with Theresa May moving us closer to the cliff-edge by the day. Businesses are simply unable to make long-term plans because the Tories are in such chaos,” she said. “One of the biggest concerns is the impact of Brexit on the movement of people. Migrant workers from Europe are vital for so many industries in Scotland and across the UK, and the report demonstrates how this could particularly affect rural areas.

“If we are to leave the EU, then we must ensure we secure the least-worst option for both workers and employers, and that’s permanent UK membership of the single market.”

A spokesman for the UK Department for Exiting the European Union said: “We are working to secure the best and most ambitious deal for the whole of the UK, including Scotland.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Tom Peterkin"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4712411.1521924347!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4712411.1521924347!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Pro-Europe marchers on Edinburgh's Royal Mile yesterday. Picture: Ian Rutherford","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Pro-Europe marchers on Edinburgh's Royal Mile yesterday. Picture: Ian Rutherford","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4712411.1521924347!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/scotland-hit-by-rise-in-cyber-sex-crime-1-4711684","id":"1.4711684","articleHeadline": "Scotland hit by rise in cyber sex crime","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521901008000 ,"articleLead": "

Scotland has experienced an increase in cyber sex crime with the majority of victims being children under the age of 16, a new Scottish Government report says.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4711683.1521901003!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Justice Secretary Michael Matheson urges online vigilance"} ,"articleBody": "

The internet was used to commit one-fifth (20 per cent) of all Scottish sex crimes, with an increasing variety of apps and websites being used including Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook.

According to Cybercrime in Scotland: A Review of the Evidence, Facebook was the most commonly mentioned social media vehicle used for cyber sex crime. It also quoted studies suggesting that “much sexual harm to children was committed via apps on smartphones and tablets”.

It expressed concern that “some of the most popular social media networks used by children are recurring vehicles for sexual crime”, with parental controls either not being used or being overcome.

Although online sexual crimes tended to involve “non-contact offending”, the report warned that the internet may be a “precursor” to crimes such as rape and sexual assault.

The research found an increase in internet use to commit “other sex crimes”, a category of sex offence used by Police Scotland to describe behaviour not covered by rape/attempted rape, sexual assault or crimes associated with prostitution.

The internet was involved in 38 per cent of “other sex crimes” in 2013-14 increasing to 51 per cent in 2016-17.

Seventy four per cent of the victims of crimes in these categories were under 16 and 83 per cent were under 20. Victims had an average age of 14.

The research found that 26 per cent of the perpetrators of crimes in these categories were under the age of 16 and 57 per cent were under 20.

The internet was used as a means to commit at least 20 per cent of all sexual crimes recorded by the police in Scotland in 2016-17.

The three crimes with the highest rate of internet use acts were indecent photos of children (98 per cent cyber-enabled in 2016-17), viewing sexual activity or images (71 per cent) and communicating indecently (58 per cent).

The research estimated that the number of cyber-enabled instances of those crimes doubled between 2013-14 and 2016-17 to a total of 2,224.

Yesterday Scottish Conservative shadow justice secretary Liam Kerr said described the findings as “alarming”.

“The fact so many of these victims are children is something that needs urgent and radical attention,” Mr Kerr said. “I hope the Scottish Government outlines its intention to ensure those guilty of such offences are punished heavily.”

Scottish Labour’s justice spokesperson, Daniel Johnson, said: “It is incredibly worrying to see this huge rise in the number of sexual cybercrimes involving children and young people. They need to be safe when using the internet, and it is vital that they are given the tools and the information they need to keep themselves safe.

“There are so many opportunities for young people through the internet, but also so many risks. Parents and teachers must be given the skills to guide children and young people through the potential pitfalls.”

On cybercrime more generally, the study found evidence that online offences were under reported to the police and other authorities.

Police Scotland only dealt with 30 incidents of computer misuse – which covers hacking and virus attacks – in 2016-17, according to recorded crime data.

Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP said: “When we know cybercrime, sexual cybercrime and fraud is on the rise, it is worrying to hear the Scottish Government admit it has a long way to go to understanding how to deal with it. Where personal data is only a click of a button away, the authorities must ensure they are one step ahead.

“A freedom of information request from the Scottish Liberal Democrats recently revealed that the Scottish Government doesn’t know how many cybercrime experts it will need in the next five years. If cybercrime is to be prevented, resources need to be put in place now.”

Justice secretary Michael Matheson said: “This report shows how the internet and new technologies can impact on the scale and nature of criminal activity across Scotland. While fraud, online sexual crimes and computer misuse such as hacking might be the most obvious examples of cyber crime, we must remain vigilant at all times.

“Police Scotland are committed to recruiting more civilian cyber specialists to ensure they have the right mix of skills in place to counter the threat posed by cybercrime.”

READ MORE: SNP MP says Russia tried to ‘exploit’ Indyref

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "TOM PETERKIN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4711683.1521901003!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4711683.1521901003!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Justice Secretary Michael Matheson urges online vigilance","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Justice Secretary Michael Matheson urges online vigilance","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4711683.1521901003!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/humza-yousaf-angered-by-racism-row-mistaken-identity-claim-1-4711931","id":"1.4711931","articleHeadline": "Humza Yousaf angered by racism row mistaken identity claim","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521824282000 ,"articleLead": "

A senior Labour politician has come under fire for suggesting that a councillor embroiled in a racism row could have been the victim of mistaken identity.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4709506.1521824277!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Humza Yousaf angered by council leader's suggestion"} ,"articleBody": "

Elaine Murray, a former MSP and the current Dumfries and Galloway council leader, has been criticised by Transport Minister Humza Yousaf for making the suggestion.

Ms Murray intervened following allegations that her colleague Cllr Jim Dempster had racially abused a brother and sister when they went into his newsagent shop as children around 30-years ago.

When the allegations were made this week, Mrs Dempster had already been suspended by Labour for making a racially offensive remark about Mr Yousaf. Mr Dempster said that no-one would have seen Mr Yousaf “under the burka” on a visit to Dumfries and Galloway made by the Transport Minister. He has acknowledged and apologised for making the remark. But has denied the latest accusations which date from the late 1980s and early 1990s.

The unnamed individuals, who made the accusations against Mr Dempster, claimed he chased the sister, then only aged six, around his shop with an air freshener claiming she “smelled like curry”.

The brother claimed he is still haunted by the “10-years of hell” he endured when going to Mr Dempster’s shop in the village of Sanquhar.

Yesterday Ms Murray sent some journalists an email titled: “Jim Dempster – a case of mistaken identity?”

Her email referred to a message she had received from a “well respected business person” in Dumfries and Galloway, whose father she knew through the council.

The “business person” said the claims against Mr Dempster had been discussed on social media by a group of friends who were at school with one of the councillor’s accusers.

The message referred to a “growing consensus that it must have been a case of mistaken identity”.

It suggested Mr Dempster had been confused with another shopkeeper who had a shop nearby. It said said descriptions of the shop and of the shopkeeper’s alleged behaviour was a “better fit” with the other shopkeeper.

It added: “I thought I should pass it on in case this mistaken identity angle hasn’t been considered.”

Ms Murray said she had passed the information on to Mr Dempster and added: “The victims of the racist bullying are not to be blamed if this is mistaken identity, as they would have been traumatised by their experiences. The person who went to the press with their statements and the journalists who carried it without investigation are. I shall be conducting my own enquiries over the weekend.”

But Mr Yousaf, who has been in touch with those making the allegations against Mr Dempster was angered.

On twitter, the Transport Minister said Ms Murray should stop being an “apologist” for Mr Dempster’s “inexcusable behaviour”.

Mr Yousaf added: “I have spoken again to victims and they absolutely reassure me it is Jim Dempster who racially abused them, not mistaken identity. How dare a Council Leader try to cast doubt about the victims of racism. Why is @NithCllrMurray even getting involved - Dempster has been suspended!”

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" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "TOM PETERKIN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4709506.1521824277!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4709506.1521824277!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Humza Yousaf angered by council leader's suggestion","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Humza Yousaf angered by council leader's suggestion","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4709506.1521824277!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} ]}}} ]}