{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"world","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/people/simpsons-actor-hank-azaria-says-he-s-going-to-stop-doing-apu-1-5077089","id":"1.5077089","articleHeadline": "Simpsons actor Hank Azaria says he's going to stop doing Apu","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1579356679000 ,"articleLead": "

The Simpsons actor Hank Azaria has said he will no longer be voicing the character of Apu, following years of controversy and accusations of racism.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5077088.1579356674!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Azaria lends his voice to numerous characters in the long-running show, including Moe Szyslak and Chief Wiggum but will no longer do Apu."} ,"articleBody": "

Azaria lends his voice to numerous characters in the long-running show, including Moe Szyslak, Chief Wiggum and Comic Book Guy.

However it appears his time as Kwik-E-Mart owner Apu Nahasapeemapetilon is over.

He told Slashfilm: \"All we know there is I won't be doing the voice anymore, unless there's some way to transition it or something.

\"We all made the decision together... We all agreed on it. We all feel like it's the right thing and good about it.\"

• READ MORE: 5 best Scotland references in The Simpsons as the hit cartoon celebrates its 30th anniversary
Apu is an Indian immigrant who owns and manages a convenience store.

Known for his catchphrase \"thank you, come again,\" he first appeared in The Simpsons's first season in the episode The Telltale Head.

The character has been dogged for years by allegations of racism. Azaria is white.

• READ MORE:

The controversy intensified in 2017 following the documentary The Problem With Apu, written by and starring comedian Hari Kondabolu.

He argued the character was a problematic stereotype of South Asians.

The Simpsons writers addressed the issue but were accused of making the problem worse.

During a 2018 episode, Marge was reading a novel that had been adapted for modern audiences to make it less offensive.

The scene ended with Lisa turning to the camera and saying: \"Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive is now politically incorrect. What can you do?\"

She then looked at a picture of Apu on her bedside table that was inscribed with Bart's catchphrase, \"don't have a cow\".

Marge added, \"some things will be dealt with at a later date,\" while Lisa replied \"If at all\".

" ,"byline": {"email": "sean.murphy@jpimedia.co.uk" ,"author": "Scotsman Reporter"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.5077088.1579356674!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5077088.1579356674!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Azaria lends his voice to numerous characters in the long-running show, including Moe Szyslak and Chief Wiggum but will no longer do Apu.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Azaria lends his voice to numerous characters in the long-running show, including Moe Szyslak and Chief Wiggum but will no longer do Apu.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.5077088.1579356674!/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/dinosaurs-were-killed-off-by-asteroid-not-volcanic-blasts-1-5076285","id":"1.5076285","articleHeadline": "Dinosaurs were killed off by asteroid not volcanic blasts","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1579240848000 ,"articleLead": "

Volcanic activity did not kill off dinosaurs, scientists have said, based on an analysis of marine fossils.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5076284.1579210026!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "a microscopic image of one of the marine fossils examined by an international team of researchers. Picture: PA"} ,"articleBody": "

Instead, they believe these massive eruptions may have helped shaped life on Earth after a mass extinction event wiped out 75 per cent of the planet’s species around 66 million years ago.

The new research, in which experts from the University College London and University of Southampton were involved, attempts to address the ongoing debate as to whether the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) extinction was caused by a series of volcanic eruptions, or an asteroid collision, or both.

Geological records indicate that the environmental impacts from the massive volcanic eruptions in India, which caused a huge rock formation known as the Deccan Traps, happened 200,000 years before the K-Pg event.

According to the scientists, this indicates volcanic activity did not directly contribute to the death of dinosaurs. Instead, they are standing by the original argument that the K-Pg event was caused by a 10km-long asteroid that crashed on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, which resulted in the 200km-wide Chicxulub impact crater.

Professor Paul Bown, of the UCL Earth Sciences and study co-author, said: “Most scientists acknowledge that the last, and best-known, mass extinction event occurred after a large asteroid slammed into Earth 66 million years ago, but some researchers suggested volcanic activity might have played a big role too and we’ve shown that is not the case.”

The researchers examined tiny marine fossils to find out more about the ocean temperatures and carbon cycle changes at the time of the extinction.

These microscopic fossils, extracted from a seabed near Newfoundland in Canada, carry the geological record of the moment when dinosaurs went extinct, known as the K-Pg boundary.

The team then developed climate models showing the effects of carbon dioxide release from the volcanic eruptions.

Results showed volcanic gas emissions occurred 200,000 years before the K-Pg event.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.5076284.1579210026!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5076284.1579210026!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "a microscopic image of one of the marine fossils examined by an international team of researchers. Picture: PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "a microscopic image of one of the marine fossils examined by an international team of researchers. Picture: PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.5076284.1579210026!/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/columnists/if-karma-is-real-why-are-donald-trump-vladimir-putin-and-boris-johnson-in-power-jim-duffy-1-5075872","id":"1.5075872","articleHeadline": "If karma is real, why are Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and Boris Johnson in power? – Jim Duffy","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1579188076000 ,"articleLead": "

The idea that you benefit from being good and suffer for being bad doesn’t seem to apply to world leaders like Boris Johnson, Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump, writes Jim Duffy.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5075871.1579188072!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin meet in Helsinki after the US President spoke of his desire for an 'extraordinary relationship' with the Russian leader (Picture: Aleksey Nikolskyi/AFP/Getty Images)"} ,"articleBody": "

Someone asked me a question this week that really stopped me in my tracks. It made me think about my life and how we live our lives. And I am struggling to find the answer to it.

Despite several long walks with the dog to examine my thoughts and try to open up a debate inside my head, I failed. I spent hours online interrogating websites, chatrooms, thought pieces and social media in my quest to get some clarity and hopefully adopt a meaningful position on the subject. But, here I am still cogitating and arguing with myself. So, I thought I’d ask you the question to see where it leads. Put simply, do you believe in karma?

If you have a really good think about it, it can actually throw up more questions than a simple yes or no. Karma means the sum of a person’s actions in this and previous states of existence, which can decide their fate in future existences. Boiling it down further, we have a more simplistic and useable definition – good or bad luck resulting from one’s own actions in life. Let’s explore it a bit further to help you have a more purposeful weekend.

READ MORE: Donald Trump impeachment trial: what will actually happen, and what are the chances of the President being removed from office

READ MORE: I just experienced karma on the cancer ward – Susan Morrison

Firstly, let me put my cards on the table. I do not believe that there is an afterlife or a prequel for that matter. It is okay for George Lucas to do the first three Star Wars movies then come up with the prequels, then conclude with another Jedi-lives-forever finisher. Of course running through all of this is ‘the Force’. For some of the characters, the Force is strong in them while others are less fortunate. But, unlike the movies, I cannot accept that there is the opportunity to exist over different times as a different person or persona. So, therefore, the karma-through-the-ages bit doesn’t work for me. In short, we get one shot at ‘life’ and that is that. Of course, you may think and hope I am wrong.

‘Buenas persona’

But, the second definition of karma as the consequences that arise from one’s own actions in this life is where it gets a little tricky. For some context, many of the world’s religions teach, guide, indoctrinate or preach that being ‘good’ is a good thing. If one is good, then whichever God is up there will take note and class you as a good egg. You will not be banished into hell when you leave this Earth and, in essence, you should feel good about being good, knowing that all that will happen is good. Does that makes sense? It’s a code for living a life that could be termed as wholesome, decent and kind – in short being, as they say in Spain, a “beunas persona”.

This is what I believe karma is but also where it is completely wrong.

Stemming for Hinduism and Buddhism, karma is a term describing a cycle of cause and effect of one’s actions. Whatever happens to a person – you or me – has been caused by their own actions. So if I do something bad to you, then it will come back on me, either from you or via another entity. Conversely, if you do something good for me, then it will be “repaid” to you by me or from the universe.

It seems that your good energy travels around the ether somewhere and gets channeled back to you at some point. Put in simple terms, it can seem fair and reasonable. As human beings with unsophisticated minds, we like A equals B terminology and theory. But, I’m afraid that while karma doesn’t feel like a religion, it has all the hallmarks of social control.

Karma is for the masses

I’m afraid that as you read this, it will make you feel a bit down and depressed as I simply cannot agree that karma is real or in any way logical. In short, karma is for the masses with no real control of ‘higher level’ stuff. It feels a bit like the Karl Marx quote on religion which I have no doubt you are all aware of, but for the purposes of this piece we shall mention again. Marx wrote that “religion is the impotence of the human mind to deal with the occurrences it cannot understand”.

So, while I was told at school “that God works in mysterious ways”, it seems that karma is also cloaked in such illogical musings. But that is where its power lies.

I know and have known some very bad people. I see and witness almost every week some fairly poor human behaviour. And I don’t even need to pick up the tabloids to experience this. I keep asking myself where the karma is in it all. And it seems to get even more out of kilter the more powerful other human beings are. Trump does what he wants, Putin does what he wants and Johnson has been called out for lying about so many things, yet he was resoundingly voted in as our supreme leader. Do you get where I am going with this?

For many people on the planet, karma is not relevant. They do what they want with impunity. They have a different belief system, while the majority of us try hard to live what can be termed as wholesome lives, with a few clangers along the way. And this why my week has been turned upside down as I try to get my head around karma and its relevance or usefulness to me and you.

You will make your own mind up based on a number of personal factors. I think the answer for me is – no, I don’t believe in karma. I’m more inclined towards values. Have a “good” weekend.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Jim Duffy"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.5075871.1579188072!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5075871.1579188072!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin meet in Helsinki after the US President spoke of his desire for an 'extraordinary relationship' with the Russian leader (Picture: Aleksey Nikolskyi/AFP/Getty Images)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin meet in Helsinki after the US President spoke of his desire for an 'extraordinary relationship' with the Russian leader (Picture: Aleksey Nikolskyi/AFP/Getty Images)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.5075871.1579188072!/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/world/uk-ambassador-exits-iran-amid-protests-and-rising-tensions-1-5075638","id":"1.5075638","articleHeadline": "UK ambassador exits Iran amid protests and rising tensions","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1579154455000 ,"articleLead": "

The UK’s ambassador to Iran has returned to London for talks amid increased diplomatic tensions between the two countries.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5075637.1579124646!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Iranisan President Hassan Rouhani signs a book of condolence for victims of Ukraine Flight 752. Picture: Getty"} ,"articleBody": "

Rob Macaire has been labelled “persona non grata” by Iran’s judiciary and an effigy of the envoy was burned in Tehran by hardline protesters.

The Foreign Office sought to play down the significance of his trip to London, with sources insisting it was a planned visit for talks and he would return to Tehran.

The ambassador was arrested and briefly detained on Saturday after attending a vigil for the 176 people, including four Britons, killed when Iran accidentally downed a Ukrainian jet.

The vigil turned into a protest, although Mr Macaire said he left after five minutes when some of those present started chanting.

Iranian media reported that judiciary spokesman Gholam Hossein Esmaeili said Mr Macaire had not respected the nation’s laws and should be expelled.

“Under international law, such a person is a ‘persona non grata’,” Mr Esmaeili said.

“The [Iranian] people expect the person to be expelled and that is also what international law calls for.”

Whitehall sources insisted his visit was routine and he would use it as an opportunity to brief officials and foreign secretary Dominic Raab.

The Foreign Office said it was “very much business as usual”.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: “Ambassador Rob Macaire is returning to the UK today on a long-planned visit.

“He will have a number of meetings while in the UK and this is very much business as usual. He will be returning to Iran in the coming days.”

The latest developments come after the UK, France and Germany began action against Iran over its failure to comply with the terms of the nuclear deal. Prime Minister Boris Johnson suggested that Donald Trump could produce an alternative nuclear deal after the current accord was undermined by the US withdrawal from it.

The US president responded on Twitter, saying he agreed that a “Trump deal” was the way forward.

Meanwhile, an imprisoned British-Australian woman begged Australian prime minister Scott Morrison to help secure her release from an Iran jail. Cambridge-educated academic Kylie Moore-Gilberthas been in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison for more than a year. She said: “I beg of you, prime minister Morrison, to take immediate action, as my physical and mental health continues to deteriorate with every additional day.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.5075637.1579124646!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5075637.1579124646!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Iranisan President Hassan Rouhani signs a book of condolence for victims of Ukraine Flight 752. Picture: Getty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Iranisan President Hassan Rouhani signs a book of condolence for victims of Ukraine Flight 752. Picture: Getty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.5075637.1579124646!/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/columnists/how-donald-trump-may-expose-boris-johnson-s-empty-promises-on-brexit-ian-murray-1-5075602","id":"1.5075602","articleHeadline": "How Donald Trump may expose Boris Johnson’s empty promises on Brexit – Ian Murray","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1579154406000 ,"articleLead": "

US tariffs on Scotch whisky show how difficult it will be for the UK to strike a post-Brexit trade deal that will replace even a fraction of the trade we will lose by leaving EU, says Ian Murray.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5075600.1579113186!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The whisky industry is the jewel in Scotland's economic crown. Picture: PA"} ,"articleBody": "

You can’t help but notice the extensive refurbishment works happening at the former House of Fraser’s department store in west Princes Street. The vast building is being transformed into an international Johnnie Walker whisky visitors’ centre.

It shows how important the whisky industry is to Scotland’s economy – it is the jewel in our crown. It is both iconic around the world and a major source of employment. It is also more than that. It is about who we are and our culture.

The industry has been growing as whisky becomes more and more popular across the globe.

The danger is that our cherished industry is becoming a pawn in a tit-for-tat global trade dispute.

READ MORE: Whisky chiefs to press US on ‘devastating’ Scotch tariffs

READ MORE: Boris Johnson urges Donald Trump to rethink huge tariffs on whisky

Last year, the US imposed a 25 per cent duty on Scotch whisky and liqueurs as part of a long-running dispute at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) over aircraft subsidies.

The mood music from the Trump administration in Washington was that these punitive and unnecessary tariffs would be reduced or removed but I was shocked this week to hear that the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) was heading to the US for urgent talks amid fears that Trump administration will further increase tariffs on single malts.

No special favours

This issue on its own is very worrying, but also translates to how weak the UK negotiating position may be in any future post-Brexit trade deal with the US. One of the main economic advantages of being a member of the European Union is the fact that the UK is part of a trading block of over 500 million people and 28 countries. That makes it much more powerful when discussing trade with other global partners.

For three years the industry trade union, GMB Scotland, has been calling on the UK government to bring forward protective measures for the whisky and spirits sector but there has been little to no progress.

he government needs to intervene now to mitigate the impact of the previous tariff increases but also to tackle the threat of further increases. Importantly, it must lay down a marker that in future trade deal negotiations the UK will not compromise on protecting whisky and other industries.

If these tariff increases are implemented it will show that President Trump is in no mood to grant any special favours to the UK in any future trade negotiations.

The world visitor centre for Johnnie Walker is hugely significant but any downturn in the whisky industry will have a disproportionate impact on Scotland’s rural communities which rely more heavily on distillation, production and maturation. We also have considerable employment through bottling plants in the Central Belt.

Johnson’s fantasy rhetoric

The debate about Brexit will no doubt continue unabated in the coming months as Boris Johnson tries to justify his vacuous “get Brexit done” slogan. The threat of ‘no deal’ is well and truly back on the table at the end of this year as a future trading relationship with the EU will be almost impossible to conclude in the short time available.

Boris Johnson will be desperate to get a trade deal with a large partner like the US, but from a fairly weak negotiating stance. This crisis engulfing trade in Scotch whisky with the US is an indication of how difficult it will be to replace even a small fraction of the trade we will lose by being part of the European Union.

The Trump administration is uncompromising and will set aside any “special relationship” with the UK in order to extract maximum economic benefit for the US.

Whisky is so important to the Scottish and UK economy. I will be doing all I can to support the SWA and GMB Scotland with this issue. As the reality of Brexit bites against the fantasy rhetoric of the Prime Minister, it may be the issue of Scotch whisky tariffs that finally bursts Boris Johnson’s vacuous promises on Brexit. Let’s hope Edinburgh’s newest visitor centre continues to celebrate the bright future of Scotch whisky and is not turned into a museum of a once bright past.

Ian Murray is the Labour MP for Edinburgh South

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Ian Murray"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.5075600.1579113186!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5075600.1579113186!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The whisky industry is the jewel in Scotland's economic crown. Picture: PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The whisky industry is the jewel in Scotland's economic crown. Picture: PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.5075600.1579113186!/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/columnists/think-2c-of-global-warming-wouldn-t-be-bad-think-again-leader-comment-1-5075595","id":"1.5075595","articleHeadline": "Think 2C of global warming wouldn’t be bad? Think again – leader comment","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1579154400000 ,"articleLead": "

After the warmest decade on record, humanity must stop the rise of global temperatures to avoid catastrophic consequences like 37 per cent of the entire world’s population experiencing severe heatwaves on a regular basis.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5075594.1579112467!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Gospers Mountain Fire rips through a building in Bilpin, New South Wales, last month (Picture: Dan Himbrechts/AAP Images via AP)"} ,"articleBody": "

In yet another sign that climate change is real, happening right now and a problem we must take much more seriously than we currently are, three major scientific organisations have concluded that the last decade was the warmest on record.

The world’s average temperature in each of the last five years was more than one degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels. To some, this may not sound like much, but the effects have already been profound.

For example, the US Glacier National Park once used to have some 150 glaciers, but is now down to less than 30 of significant size. The famously impassable ‘Northwest Passage’ over the north of Canada claimed the lives of scores of 19th century explorers looking for a shorter sea route between Europe and the Far East as they became trapped in the ice. In 2013, the first freighter sailed through and in 2016 a cruise ship made the journey.

READ MORE: Wildfires make climate change worse in more ways than one – Dr Richard Dixon

READ MORE: ‘Catastrophic’ climate change is accelerating faster than predicted

And while Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, has recently been under water amid major floods, parts of Australia has been devastated by wildfires that have sent vast clouds of smoke and dust into the air.

The famous US climate scientist Professor Michael Mann, currently on sabbatical in Australia, told Reuters that it was “conceivable that much of Australia simply becomes too hot and dry for human habitation”, adding that “we could well see Australians join the ranks of the world’s climate refugees”.

So we should be concerned about the effects of one degree of global warming and we must increase our efforts to stop the rise in temperatures. For, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, at 1.5C of warming it is estimated that about 14 per cent of world’s population will experience severe heatwaves at least once every five years; at 2C, the figure is 37 per cent with heatwaves in India and Pakistan like the one that killed thousands of people in 2015 potentially happening every year.

In the oceans, coral reefs – a vital habitat for many forms of marine life – are expected to be virtually wiped out as a result of the warmer water, ocean acidification and more severe storms of a 2c world.

Droughts, fires and floods – how many more plagues of biblical proportions will it take before we demand serious action from our political leaders? Later this year in Glasgow, world leaders will gather for a climate summit that it is already clear will be of historic importance, one way or the other.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.5075594.1579112467!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5075594.1579112467!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Gospers Mountain Fire rips through a building in Bilpin, New South Wales, last month (Picture: Dan Himbrechts/AAP Images via AP)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Gospers Mountain Fire rips through a building in Bilpin, New South Wales, last month (Picture: Dan Himbrechts/AAP Images via AP)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.5075594.1579112467!/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/world/donald-trump-impeachment-trial-what-will-actually-happen-and-what-are-the-chances-of-the-president-being-removed-from-office-1-5075444","id":"1.5075444","articleHeadline": "Donald Trump impeachment trial: what will actually happen, and what are the chances of the President being removed from office","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1579100882600 ,"articleLead": "Donald Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives last month, making him the third ever US President to be so.","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5075443.1579101100!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "(Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)"} ,"articleBody": "

The House moved toimpeach himon two counts - that he had abused his power and that he hindered Congress frominvestigating the case.

Nearly allDemocratsvoted in favour of impeachment, while every Republican, the opposite.

Now the eyes of America - and indeed, the world - will be on the next stages of the impeachment process, and it's been announced that the hearing will begin in the Senate on Tuesday 21 January.

So could Trump - who once owned golf courses in Scotland before resigning his directorship just before he wasinauguratedas President - be removed from office?

Here's everything you need to know:

Why has Donald Trump been impeached?

Democrats claim say they had no choice but to act because Mr Trump has shown a pattern of behaviour that poses a risk to the democratic process ahead of the 2020 election.

He is accused of withholding aid from Ukraine while requesting the country's president dig up dirt on Joe Biden, the former Vice President and current favourite to face President Trump in the 2020 presidential election.

"Our president holds the ultimate public trust. When he betrays that trust and puts himself before country, he endangers the constitution, he endangers our democracy, he endangers our national security," said Jerrold Nadler, the Judiciary Committee chairman, announcing the charges.

"Our next election is at risk. That is why we must act now. No one, not even the president, is above the law."

What happens now?

Now President Trump has been impeached, to bring the impeachment process to its legal conclusion, the Senate must now try the president and find him guilty by a two thirds majority.

The Senate is currently 53 Republicans, 45 Democrats and two independents. Senators are unlikely to vote against their own party lines - making the chances of him being removed from office unlikely.

If the president is found guilty, he is removed from office and can be barred from running for any federal position in future.

Trump can also have other privileges removed, such as the presidential pension, and can face further criminal prosecutions in a civil court.

If the Senate finds against Trump, then Mike Pence, the current Vice President, automatically becomes 46th US President. In theory he could refuse this post, as he could refuse to take the oath of office.

If the trial does not find two thirds in favour of a "guilty" verdict, then no action is imposed.

Have Presidents been impeached before?

Previously, only two out of the 45 men elected as president have faced impeachment; Trump is the third.

Two have been impeached by the House and none have been removed from the White House by the Senate.

Impeachment did not appear to damage Bill Clinton's popularity with the American public, and Democrats did better than expected during the midterm elections that took place shortly after the process began.

Polling even suggests Clinton is the most popular living president.

Following the Watergate scandal, Richard Nixon faced impeachment for the obstruction of justice, abuse of power and contempt of congress in 1974 , but he resigned before the House could vote on impeachment.

Andrew Johnson was impeached for "high crimes and misdemeanours" in March 1868 after he removed the Secretary for War from office. The Senate did not find him guilty, however, and he served out one term.

President Johnson never ran for election as president, having taken the job after Abraham Lincoln was assassinated.

" ,"byline": {"email": "alex.nelson@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Alex Nelson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.5075443.1579101100!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5075443.1579101100!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "(Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "(Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.5075443.1579101100!/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/people/thomas-markle-i-paid-for-meghan-s-school-and-university-even-after-her-tv-success-1-5075287","id":"1.5075287","articleHeadline": "Thomas Markle: I paid for Meghan's school and university - even after her TV success","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1579095315000 ,"articleLead": "

The Duchess of Sussex's father has claimed he paid tens of thousands for his daughter's private school fees, university tuition and was paying off her student loan even after her career as an actress took off.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5075286.1579095311!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Thomas Markle said Meghan sent him only occasional "modest" financial gifts after landing a role in the hit TV series Suits, even though he was still paying off her college debts. Picture: PA"} ,"articleBody": "

Thomas Markle said Meghan sent him only occasional \"modest\" financial gifts after landing a role in the hit TV series Suits, even though he was still paying off her college debts.

The claims form part of the Mail on Sunday and Mail Online's defence to legal action brought by the duchess against the newspaper for publishing a private letter she sent to her father in August 2018.

READ MORE - 'Democracy denier' Boris Johnson tells SNP to 'change the record' on Scottish independence

In documents submitted to the High Court, Mr Markle denies ever accusing Meghan of failing to help him financially, saying her \"modest\" cash gifts were \"greatly appreciated\".

In her letter, Meghan apparently accuses her father of telling the press \"you've never helped me financially and you've never asked me for help\", calling the claims \"untrue\".

Listing the financial assistance Mr Markle claims to have given his daughter over the years, the documents state: \"Mr Markle had supported the claimant throughout her childhood and youth.

\"He had paid her private school fees. He had paid all her college tuition and after she left Northwestern University he continued to pay off her student loans even after she had landed a well-paid role in suits.\"

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It continues: \"She did send him financial gifts occasionally, although he was still repaying her student loans, as stated above.\"

Mr Markle said he continued to support Meghan when she returned to LA to look for acting jobs and he sold 20,000 dollars (£15,378) worth of Facebook shares to fund her first wedding to producer Trevor Engelson in 2011.

The documents state: \"However, since May 2018 (Meghan) has not supported him in any way, despite the fact that, as she knows, he has been ill and therefore has medical expenses, not all of which are covered by his insurance.\"

The duchess's case against Associated Newspapers Limited - the Mail on Sunday and Mail Online's parent company - alleges the publication of the letter amounts to misuse of private information, infringement of copyright and breach of the Data Protection Act 2018.

In its defence statement, the company said the duchess's decision not to assist her father was \"deserving of criticism\".

It said Meghan had done nothing to support her father since May 2017 - a year before her wedding to Prince Harry.

It said: \"In light of the claimant's very considerable means and resources, reasonable people may well take the view of her failure to support him in any way, financially or emotionally, since May 2017, is deserving of criticism.

\"That view is not an allegation that is verifiably false.\"

No date has been set as yet for the court hearing.

" ,"byline": {"email": "newsdeskts@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Scotsman Reporter"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.5075286.1579095311!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5075286.1579095311!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Thomas Markle said Meghan sent him only occasional "modest" financial gifts after landing a role in the hit TV series Suits, even though he was still paying off her college debts. Picture: PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Thomas Markle said Meghan sent him only occasional "modest" financial gifts after landing a role in the hit TV series Suits, even though he was still paying off her college debts. Picture: PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.5075286.1579095311!/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/transport/easyjet-resumes-flight-to-sharm-el-sheikh-for-first-time-in-nearly-five-years-1-5075258","id":"1.5075258","articleHeadline": "EasyJet resumes flight to Sharm el-Sheikh, for first time in nearly five years","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1579092383000 ,"articleLead": "

EasyJet is resuming flights to Egypt's Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh for the first time in nearly five years, following the lifting of travel restrictions to the area.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5075257.1579092378!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "EasyJet is resuming flights to Egypt's Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. Picture: Gettyimages"} ,"articleBody": "

The airline said two flights a week would be launched from Manchester Airport from June 7, and flights from London Gatwick will commence on September 30. There will also be flights to nearby Hurghada.

UK airlines were banned from flying to the region following the bombing of a Russian plane soon after take-off from Sharm el-Sheikh airport, killing all 224 people on board, in November 2015.

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But in October last year, the Department for Transport (DfT) lifted restrictions due to \"improvements in security procedures\" and \"close co-operation between our aviation security experts and their Egyptian counterparts\".

EasyJet's decision comes two months after rival travel company TUI announced its own resumption of holidays to the region.

Smaller firms and travel agents have also relaunched services to Sharm el-Sheikh, which was previously one of the most popular destinations for British tourists keen for some sun.

Ali Gayward, UK country manager at easyJet, said: \"We are looking forward to operating these flights this summer and adding them to an ever-growing range of great destinations for our customers.\"

Stephen Turner, commercial director at Manchester Airport, said: \"The return of easyJet's route to Sharm el-Sheikh is very welcome and we are sure it will prove immensely popular with sunseekers all year round.\"

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EasyJet also announced that it will launch three new flights to Rome in Italy and twice-weekly flights to Menorca, starting in June.

The company added: \"With Egypt proving popular in the North West, the airline is also extending its winter flights to Hurghada to operate year-round three times a week on Mondays,

Wednesdays and Sundays, with the first flight departing on 1 June.\"

Bosses said they expect to carry more than 37,000 passengers on the new routes in the first 12 months, serving almost five million passengers to and from the airport.

The closure of Sharm el-Sheikh to foreign flights in November 2015 had a major impact on several travel companies, who had pinned their hopes on the growing tourism trade to the region.

Monarch Airlines blamed the ban, in part, for its collapse in 2017, and tourists still intent on visiting the resort would previously have to travel to Hurghada and take a ferry.

" ,"byline": {"email": "newsdeskts@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Scotsman Reporter"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.5075257.1579092378!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5075257.1579092378!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "EasyJet is resuming flights to Egypt's Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. Picture: Gettyimages","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "EasyJet is resuming flights to Egypt's Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. Picture: Gettyimages","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.5075257.1579092378!/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/columnists/democratic-taiwan-just-sent-a-huge-message-to-china-steve-cardownie-1-5074687","id":"1.5074687","articleHeadline": "Democratic Taiwan just sent a huge message to China – Steve Cardownie","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1579088400000 ,"articleLead": "

A landslide election victory for Taiwan’s new president shows how strongly the island, claimed by China, feels about democracy and independence, writes Steve Cardownie.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5074686.1579007771!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Tsai Ing-wen celebrates her victory with supporters in Taipei, Taiwan. Picture: AP"} ,"articleBody": "

Warm congratulations to President Tsai Ing-wen, who won a second term in last weekend’s election in Taiwan.

I had the pleasure of meeting her last October in Taipei and listened very carefully as she addressed the crowd at an annual rally where she was keen to reassert Taiwan’s independence from China. This was a message that must have resonated with the electorate, leading to her landside victory in this island of 23 million people.

READ MORE: Edinburgh should learn from Taiwan and get spectacular ‘Flying Theatre’ – Steve Cardownie

READ MORE: Steve Cardownie: Young Scots should grab chance to visit Taiwan

Concerned about the events in Hong Kong and the example it has set, she went on the record to say: “I want the Beijing authorities to know that democratic Taiwan and our democratically elected government will never concede to threats.”

She is set to resist pressure from China and to safeguard the democratic institutions of the Taiwanese people whilst still wishing a mutually beneficial relationship based on respect and friendship with China.

Just after her victory was assured she told Beijing that “peace, parity, democracy and dialogue are the keys to stability” which demonstrated her constructive attitude, underpinned by a steely resolve to maintain Taiwan’s independence.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "STEVE CARDOWNIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.5074686.1579007771!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5074686.1579007771!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Tsai Ing-wen celebrates her victory with supporters in Taipei, Taiwan. Picture: AP","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Tsai Ing-wen celebrates her victory with supporters in Taipei, Taiwan. Picture: AP","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.5074686.1579007771!/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/british-australian-woman-imprisoned-in-iran-begs-for-release-aid-1-5075009","id":"1.5075009","articleHeadline": "British-Australian woman imprisoned in Iran begs for release aid","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1579072997276 ,"articleLead": "An imprisoned British-Australian woman has begged Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to help secure her release from an Iran jail.","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5075008.1579072997!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Imprisoned Kylie Moore-Gilbert. Picture: Twitter"} ,"articleBody": "

Cambridge-educated Kylie Moore-Gilbert, who was most recently a lecturer in Islamic Studies at Melbourne University, has been in Tehran's notorious Evin prison for more than a year, having reportedly been given a 10-year sentence.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson opens door to a 'Trump deal' on Iran

"I beg you to act faster to end this terrible trauma that myself and my family must live through day after day" Dr Moore-Gilbert wrote in the June 2019 letter that was smuggled out of the prison and published by the Centre for Human Rights in Iran.

Dr Moore-Gilbert also wrote that she had travelled to Iran on a university program and had been doing research interviews.

"Unfortunately, one of my academic colleagues on this program and one of my interview subjects flagged me as suspicious to the Revolutionary Guards," she said.

She wrote again on Christmas Eve to say she had been kept in solitary confinement for extended periods, had been allowed only one three-minute phone call with her family in nine months and had undertaken five hunger strikes.

"I beg of you, Prime Minister Morrison, to take immediate action, as my physical and mental health continues to deteriorate with every additional day that I remain imprisoned in these conditions," she added.

When asked last month by reporters if he was concerned for Dr Moore-Gilbert's welfare, Mr Morrison said he was, adding: "As I am for any Australian who finds themselves in these types of situations."

Around the same time Iran's foreign ministry said it would not "give in to the political and smear campaigns" over the jailing.

The Australian government secured the release of dual British-Australian citizen Jolie King and her Australian boyfriend, Mark Firkin, in early October, some three months after they were arrested in Iran.

Other Britons imprisoned in Evin include Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori who are serving five and 10 year sentences respectively on charges disputed by the British Government.

" ,"byline": {"email": "news@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Scotsman Reporter"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.5075008.1579072997!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5075008.1579072997!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Imprisoned Kylie Moore-Gilbert. Picture: Twitter","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Imprisoned Kylie Moore-Gilbert. Picture: Twitter","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.5075008.1579072997!/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/lifestyle/whisky-chiefs-to-press-us-on-devastating-scotch-tariffs-1-5074422","id":"1.5074422","articleHeadline": "Whisky chiefs to press US on ‘devastating’ Scotch tariffs","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1578992053000 ,"articleLead": "

Whisky industry representatives are heading to the US for crunch trade talks amid fears the Trump administration could further hike tariffs on single malts.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5062490.1578992049!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The US imposed a 25 per cent duty on Scotch whisky last October. Picture: Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

The US imposed a 25 per cent duty on Scotch whisky and liqueurs last October as part of a long-running dispute 
at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) over aircraft subsidies.

A review of tariffs is now being carried out by the Office of the US Trade Representative, which could result in rates on single malts increasing.

READ MORE: 10 of the best Scotch whiskies (chosen by experts)

Karen Betts, chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), will travel to Washington DC next week to meet key stakeholders to discuss the import tariffs.

She said the move would have a detrimental effect on the US economy as well as industry in Scotland.

She explained “There’s real concern about a rise in tariffs on Scotch whisky - a further rise could be devastating to distillers.

“We will speak to the US government and urge them to lift the tariffs altogether – all the tariffs are doing is damaging the sector on both sides.

“Tariffs on whisky products also has an impact on the American economy. Price rises impact sales, which impacts on investment and jobs, and also has an effect on taxes.”
The Scotch whisky representatives will hold the talks in collaboration with the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS).

Meetings have been arranged with senior representatives from the US departments of trade, commerce and agriculture, aiming to increase the pressure on the Trump administration for the removal of whisky from the trade dispute.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has already vowed to remove tariffs on US whiskey once the UK leaves the EU.

Single malt exports across the pond are worth more than £1bn every year and the country is the industry’s most valuable market.

The SWA has raised fears the added costs will undermine “decades of hard work and investment” and ultimately lead to a reduction in the amount spirits crossing the Atlantic, putting jobs and investment at risk.

It estimates that in the first year of the tariffs come into force, exports of whisky to the US will fall by as much as 20 per cent, the equivalent of sales worth nearly £80m.

In the meantime, the association is calling on the UK government to support the sector and mitigate the impact.

Some distillers have already taken proactive steps to try and lessen the impact of the tariffs, as well as the effects on trade posed by the UK’s departure from the European Union.

Douglas Taylor, chief executive of Bruichladdich Distillery Company, which produces a range of single malts, including the award-winning Islay Barley, notes in the firm’s most recent annual accounts that it has moved to try and anticipate such “risks.”

He points out that the Hebridean firm has secured written agreements with its suppliers regarding the supply of all its main raw materials, and that it also has a specific department dedicated to supply management.

Rates on Scotch account for 62 per cent of the total UK tariff bill, according to the SWA.

Scotch exports to the US were worth £1.04bn in 2018, with 137 million bottles shipped across the Atlantic.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.5062490.1578992049!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5062490.1578992049!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The US imposed a 25 per cent duty on Scotch whisky last October. Picture: Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The US imposed a 25 per cent duty on Scotch whisky last October. Picture: Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.5062490.1578992049!/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/education/fiona-buchanan-where-s-the-justice-in-a-climate-crisis-that-poor-people-didn-t-create-1-5073934","id":"1.5073934","articleHeadline": "Fiona Buchanan: Where’s the justice in a climate crisis that poor people didn’t create?","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1578981603000 ,"articleLead": "

The climate crisis is one of the greatest injustices that we face, with the world on course to reach 3C warming unless rapid and drastic action is taken.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5073933.1578912346!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Fiona Buchanan, Campaigns and Advocacy Coordinator for Christian Aid Scotland"} ,"articleBody": "

People are losing food, water, homes and family. The impacts are devastating and can no longer be ignored. This means more extreme climate events, rising sea levels and critical threats to human life. The poorest and most vulnerable people are on the frontline of this climate crisis and are facing its worst effects through more frequent and intense droughts, floods and storms.

Every day, people living in poverty must battle a crisis they did not ­create, because of inequalities of wealth and power. This is deeply unjust.

This is not news to the communities already on the frontline of the crisis. Christian Aid works alongside ­farming communities in ­Malawi, pastoralists in Kenya, families ­living on marginal land in Bangladesh and many others who have been ­facing the devastating impacts of climate change in Latin America, Asia, Africa for years. From flooding and ­hurricanes to droughts and melting glaciers, climate change is driving families from their homes, creating food crises, challenging livelihoods, and fuelling conflict.

Christian Aid exists to create a world where everyone can live a full life, free from poverty. But we cannot end poverty without addressing the climate crisis and the injustice and inequality at its roots. We need a ­fundamental transformation in the systems that drive both climate change and poverty, and we need solutions that address the underlying drivers of both ­climate change and global inequality.

Without systemic change, climate change, and the response to it, will further exacerbate existing inequalities and extreme poverty. It will take committed action from governments and individuals alike, but we can all be part of the solution. We need a new model that is sustainable, democratic, and that includes everyone – we need a New Deal for Climate Justice.

Our close work with partners and communities means that Christian Aid is uniquely positioned to raise our voices alongside our global neighbours living in poverty to call for ­climate justice. In collaboration with our local partners, we work to ­combat the climate emergency by calling on those with ­power to tackle the root causes of climate injustice. Joining with passionate local campaigners to bring about ­lasting change, we highlight that ­climate change is a matter of justice.

To achieve this, we need a significant shift in our global economy: away from fossil fuels and into ­sustainable energy, in the way that land and money is owned, managed and invested, and in our patterns of consumption. We believe that a ­better way is possible, that ambivalence of political leadership and resistance of powerful vested interests can and must be overcome.

As individuals all of us will need to play our part in this great transition – through our political activism, our role in the workplace and our action as consumers. We need to work together to right these wrongs and stop this climate crisis. The good news is that more and more people are waking up to the enormity of the problem and the solutions needed.

Across the world, social movements are pressing their governments to do away with socio-economic models that fuel climate change, risks, and inequality. 2019 was the hottest year on record but it was also a record year for public awareness of the climate crisis, reflected in the youth strikes, Extinction Rebellion protests, the global public response to the burning Amazon and bushfires in Australia, and growing climate-related disasters elsewhere in the world. Together we can drive rich governments to respond and seize this opportunity to take urgent action for climate ­justice.

We have a unique opportunity in Scotland this year to do just this, as Glasgow prepares to host the UN climate talks (COP26) in November. As thousands of people from across the world come together to push governments on climate ambition, we hope that the talks will offer a chance to prioritise the voices of grassroots and indigenous communities, to unlock progress and to drive levels of ambition across the world, with tangible outcomes achieved.

We also know that this moment offers an invaluable chance to build the power of the climate movement to sustain its journey towards climate justice. If we act now, we can build a better world, where everyone can flourish. Stand together with Christian Aid to fight this climate crisis. To find out more how to campaign with Christian Aid, go to caid.org

Fiona Buchanan, campaigns and advocacy coordinator for Christian Aid Scotland.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Fiona Buchanan"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.5073933.1578912346!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5073933.1578912346!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Fiona Buchanan, Campaigns and Advocacy Coordinator for Christian Aid Scotland","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Fiona Buchanan, Campaigns and Advocacy Coordinator for Christian Aid Scotland","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.5073933.1578912346!/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/columnists/wildfires-make-climate-change-worse-in-more-ways-than-one-dr-richard-dixon-1-5074340","id":"1.5074340","articleHeadline": "Wildfires make climate change worse in more ways than one – Dr Richard Dixon","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1578981600000 ,"articleLead": "

Vast wildfires in Australia, following major fires in Siberia, the Amazon, California and Scandinivia send enormous amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, writes Dr Richard Dixon.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5074339.1578935932!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Firefighter Trevor Stewart watches a fire on in Tumburumba, Australia, on Saturday (Picture: Sam Mooy/Getty Images)"} ,"articleBody": "

The Earth breathes. If you look at the main climate change gas, carbon dioxide, over the course of a year it is higher in the winter and early spring and lower in the summer and autumn. This is because there is more land, and therefore there are more trees, in the northern hemisphere, so in the northern spring there is a growth spurt which takes carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, with most of it returning as the leaves fall and decompose later in the year.

The average level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is increasing year-on-year as we burn more fossil fuels and lose more forest, so while the graph undulates it climbs ever upwards. The annual average measurement is now 50 per cent higher than levels before the industrial revolution. That extra gas is what traps the Sun’s heat and has driven our planet to more than 1C warmer than it should be.

READ MORE: Scientists tee up study into climate change impact on home of golf

READ MORE: ‘Catastrophic’ climate change is accelerating faster than predicted

Healthy forests are vital in holding back climate change; increasing forest cover could help slow climate change but forests which are cut down or burned make the problem worse.

Forests on fire are a double whammy. As the trees burn, they release a short-term pulse of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, accelerating climate change – the last thing we need. And, unless new vegetation and trees re-establish themselves strongly, they are not there to lock up future emissions as they grow.

Massive carbon dioxide spike

We are only at the start of the Australian fire season, but the huge fires there are estimated to have added 350 million tonnes of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, more than Spain’s total annual emissions, and adding more than 70 per cent to the total annual emissions from fossil fuel use in Australia.

It will take decades for trees growing back to absorb this pulse of pollution but in many areas the new hotter, drier conditions in Australia mean that trees will not grow back as they were or even at all.

Those bushfires have now killed an estimated one billion wild animals, as well millions of cattle and other livestock. The human death toll stands at nearly 30 and thousands of homes and businesses have been destroyed.

Dust from the fires has travelled 2,000 kilometre to turn the glaciers of New Zealand pink. Climate change means these glaciers are already melting but a nasty bit of feedback means the dust-darkening of their surface will make them melt even faster.

Fires in Siberia, Amazon, Scandinavia, California

Of course, the huge fires in Australia follow on from fires, the size of Belgium, in Siberia and in the Amazon last summer, and significant fires in Scandinavia and California the year before.

Meanwhile the Australian government continues to play down the role of climate change in creating the conditions which have enabled the huge fires currently raging across large parts of the country, despite 2019 being the hottest and driest year ever recorded in Australia. They continue to subsidise the fossil fuel industry to the tune of tens of billions of dollars. And they are also continuing to try get a loophole into international climate agreements that would mean they would not have to try too hard to meet any future target, since they are well off track to meeting the climate promises they made in 2015.

As the planet gasps, the recent spate of fires around the world is a warning of what may become the new normal, and they need to be the wake up call to act to avoid things getting considerably worse.

Dr Richard Dixon is director of Friends of the Earth Scotland

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Richard Dixon"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.5074339.1578935932!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5074339.1578935932!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Firefighter Trevor Stewart watches a fire on in Tumburumba, Australia, on Saturday (Picture: Sam Mooy/Getty Images)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Firefighter Trevor Stewart watches a fire on in Tumburumba, Australia, on Saturday (Picture: Sam Mooy/Getty Images)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.5074339.1578935932!/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/columnists/the-sinister-reasons-why-us-is-ranked-below-chile-uruguay-and-costa-rica-on-democracy-henry-mcleish-1-5074128","id":"1.5074128","articleHeadline": "The sinister reasons why US is ranked below Chile, Uruguay and Costa Rica on democracy – Henry McLeish","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1578926063000 ,"articleLead": "

Democracy in the US is in trouble with voter suppression, an outdated and flawed electoral system and overly influential lobbyists, writes Henry McLeish.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5074127.1578926060!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A Trump supporter holds a sign that reads "Keep America Great", a reference to the US President's election campaign slogan "Make America Great Again" during a rally in Joliet, Illinois. (Picture: Joshua Lott/AFP via Getty Images)"} ,"articleBody": "

Democracy recognises the importance of universal suffrage and the benefit of treating citizens as equal when casting their votes in fair and free elections. Voting should be made as simple as possible with the minimum of restrictions if democracy is to thrive. The protection of human rights and the rule of law should apply equally to all citizens. From the Greek republics to the present day, democracy should mean “power of the people”.

This is not the case in the US today. Every aspect of democracy is under attack.

While voter suppression is the most obvious example of political corruption, it represents only one aspect of a much wider assault. Representative government is weakening. The rise of corporate elites and organised money is replacing the power of the vote. Lobbying and special interests are driving policy on Capitol Hill.

The often-malign influence of right-wing evangelical Christian groups and capitalism are pushing transactional politics. And the Supreme Court and the Republican party are leading the charge to marginalise and monetise politics under the bullying and intimidation of President Trump.

READ MORE: Insight: The end of history in Trump’s sights

READ MORE: Why Donald Trump should read Robert Burns’ poem To a Louse – Henry McLeish

The military and economic dominance of the US, and its global reach, conceal a deeply flawed democracy and an emerging oligarchy.

In an election year, it is worth spending some time to understand what is going on in US politics and how events will be shaped by a democracy in which the idea of the “power of the people” is at best a lie and, even worse, a cruel and misleading betrayal of the American electorate.

Damning electoral integrity report

Much to the dismay of progressives in the US, Trump could win another four years because power and influence no longer lie with the people. The inspiring idea of democracy itself is being undermined and replaced by concentrations of power and wealth rarely seen in western democracies.

Worryingly, no one seems overly concerned about the dismantling of electoral and institutional processes. The Democratic Party is distracted by Washington and Capitol Hill. Sadly, the Republican Party is the cheerleader for a great deal of what is harming America’s politics and government.

To assess US democracy in an international context, it is worth referencing the work of the “Electoral Integrity Project”, produced annually by Harvard University and the University of Sydney. This report looks at elections in different countries and builds an index of how issues such as falling turnout, voter suppression, electoral malpractices, intimidation, disinformation, public dissatisfaction and party polarisation impact on outcomes and democracy.

In terms of electoral integrity, the US scores well behind the top seven countries in north-west Europe, including the Nordic countries with Denmark top on 86 out of 100. The US scores 61 in the Americas, placing it behind Costa Rica, Uruguay and Chile! The report concludes that America is pulled down because of “electoral laws, voter registration and district boundary issues”. This damning report captures the weakening integrity of America’s democracy and the fact that it is falling well behind other countries who take more care of their electorates and who see positive benefits from power and the people being more aligned.

Suspicions about the ‘mob’

A conspiracy of powerful interests is now at work destroying democracy in America and the potential power of the vote. This decline is accelerating, partly because of the complacency and weakness of the two parties, but mainly because both are being overwhelmed by forces they have unleashed and have collectively refused to confront.

As a result, much of the electorate think this is okay and that this is how a democracy should operate, especially when citizens are conditioned by ‘American exceptionalism’ and the virtues of the free market. By their inactivity, progressives are emboldening special interests but, at the same time, preserving the myth that people, politics and power are inextricably linked. In the US, they are clearly not. History tells us a great deal. The Founding Fathers in the US, who drafted the constitution in 1787, feared political parties, popular democracy and centralised (federal) government. Suspicious of the ‘mob’, their commitment to extending the vote was weak. With the passing of time, an outdated constitution and the judgements of the Supreme Court have strengthened self-interest and anti-democratic forces, enabled state-level governments to drive voter suppression and have bestowed new powers on large business interests.

States’ rights and emerging oligarch power are destroying the very foundations of democracy that the constitution and the Supreme Court were set up to protect.

The marketisation of US politics expands. Trump has made matters worse, but only because he has the street cunning to seize on the weaknesses of democracy and to exploit the very tenuous grip the voter now has on how America is governed.

Time running out

Trump is now a priceless asset for those who conspire to destroy democracy in its current form and replace it with the darker side of America: money, mammon and immorality. The Pledge of Allegiance reference to “one nation under God” could be replaced with “one nation under the market” and the Gettysburg address adapted to read “for, by and of the lobbyists”.

These are extraordinary times. This Bermuda triangle of above-the-law Trump, powerful lobbying interests and weak congressional political leadership is likely to wreck the ideals of those who wish to see a different America.

There may not be enough time to change this. The Democratic Party faces a direct and immediate challenge as November approaches. Trump’s base is solid and may remain so. Impeachment hasn’t moved the dial. The Democrats must therefore improve the overall turnout and increase their share of that vote. But everything the anti-democratic forces are doing is aimed at reducing the numbers of African American, Asian, Hispanic, Native American and poor voters – because they vote for the Democrats. Keeping your own vote sweet and preventing the opposition from voting may be Trump’s winning strategy.

America is held up as the “land of the free and the home of the brave”. But its democratic credentials look less impressive when we consider: a fragile electoral system; low levels of turnout; the breathtaking intensity of voter suppression; the outdated and discriminatory Electoral College; the role of corrupt capitalism; the power of lobbying; social media, local radio and Russian interference; dubious Supreme Court decisions; the gerrymandering of electoral boundaries; and the frightening legacy of slavery and race.

Over the next few weeks, there will be an opportunity to look in more detail at how this assault on America’s democracy is being organised and what the likely consequences are for the presidential election.

Another four years of Trump will only continue the dismantling of an already weak and ineffective democracy.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Henry McLeish"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.5074127.1578926060!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5074127.1578926060!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "A Trump supporter holds a sign that reads "Keep America Great", a reference to the US President's election campaign slogan "Make America Great Again" during a rally in Joliet, Illinois. (Picture: Joshua Lott/AFP via Getty Images)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A Trump supporter holds a sign that reads "Keep America Great", a reference to the US President's election campaign slogan "Make America Great Again" during a rally in Joliet, Illinois. (Picture: Joshua Lott/AFP via Getty Images)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.5074127.1578926060!/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/father-of-two-firefighter-killed-by-falling-tree-while-battling-australian-wildfire-crisis-1-5073744","id":"1.5073744","articleHeadline": "Father-of-two firefighter killed by falling tree while battling Australian wildfire crisis","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1578832864000 ,"articleLead": "

A firefighter has been killed while battling the Australian wildfire crisis, taking the death toll to 27 people since September.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5073743.1578832860!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A firefighter has been killed while battling the Australian wildfire crisis, taking the death toll to 27 people since September."} ,"articleBody": "

Bill Slade, 60, was killed by a falling tree on Saturday near Omeo in the south-eastern state of Victoria, with the father-of-two commended for 40 years of service with Forest Fire Management Victoria.

The fires have destroyed more than 2,000 homes and have focused many Australians on how the nation adapts to climate change.

READ MORE - ‘It’s alarming’ Emergency exit windows are locked on Caledonian sleeper

The government led by Prime Minister Scott Morrison has come under blistering criticism for downplaying the need to address climate change, which experts say helps supercharge the blazes.

Thousands of protesters rallied late on Friday in Sydney and Melbourne, calling for Mr Morrison to be fired and for Australia to take tougher action on global warming.

Extinction Rebellion said demonstrations also took place in London, Sheffield, Bristol and Lambeth, as well as in 30 countries worldwide from Argentina to Zambia.

More than 100 activists brandishing signs reading \"burning earth\", \"Scott Morrison is a fire starter\" and \"wake up and smell the smoke\", demanded more action to tackle the fires, outside the Australian high consulate at the Strand in London.

The chief executive of Siemens said on Friday that the German engineering company will review its involvement in a coal mine in Australia after climate activists called for it to pull out of the project.

READ MORE - The community that vanished to make way for Scotland's once 'most prosperous town'

Authorities are using relatively benign conditions forecast in southeeast Australia for a week or more to consolidate containment lines around scores of fires that are likely to burn for weeks without heavy rainfall.

The reprieve from severe fire conditions promises to be the longest of the current fire season.

" ,"byline": {"email": "claire.mckim@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Scotsman Reporter"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.5073743.1578832860!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5073743.1578832860!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "A firefighter has been killed while battling the Australian wildfire crisis, taking the death toll to 27 people since September.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A firefighter has been killed while battling the Australian wildfire crisis, taking the death toll to 27 people since September.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.5073743.1578832860!/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/heritage/insight-the-end-of-history-in-trump-s-sights-1-5073696","id":"1.5073696","articleHeadline": "Insight: The end of history in Trump’s sights","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1578813394000 ,"articleLead": "

Images of clouds of thick black smoke and dust billowing up above where an ancient monument once stood shocked the world less than five years ago when a 2,000-year-old temple was shelled by Islamic State in Syria.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5073695.1578777544!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A column with the stone statue of a bull in Persepolis. Picture: iStockphoto/Getty"} ,"articleBody": "

The Temple of Baalshamin in the Syrian city of Palmyra was just one of numerous World Heritage sites – alongside the city’s Monumental Arch and the Temple of Bel – which were damaged or entirely destroyed during the country’s civil war, which has raged since 2011.

Now cultural historians fear a similar situation could occur in nearby Iran, following unprecedented threats by US President Donald Trump to utilise ancient monuments, temples and archaeological sites as military targets.

“In Syria, they had a horrible loss of cultural monuments,” says Jaakko Hämeen-Anttila, professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies at Edinburgh University. “Monuments were damaged, museums were looted and items sold. That’s the worst thing that has happened, culturally, in the Middle East for quite a while.

“If Trump carried through his threats in Iran, it would obviously surpass even the damage that was done in Syria.”

In a move which would be in breach of the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, Trump threatened to target 52 Iranian sites – representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran in 1979 and held for over a year.

The threat came in retaliation following increased tensions between the US and Iran after the American military killed Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in a targeted attack in Iraq on 3 January.

The president said: “They’re allowed to kill our people. They’re allowed to torture and maim our people. They’re allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people. And we’re not allowed to touch their cultural sites.”

Although US authorities appear to have since backtracked on the president’s veiled warning, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo insisting the government would “behave lawfully”, experts still fear for Iranian cultural monuments, some of which date back more than 5,000 years.

His threat did not come lightly. Iran, which has a total of 24 historic sites on Unesco’s World Heritage list, has a rich cultural history, described as its “glory” by prominent Iranologist Richard Nelson Frye.

Despite international agreements prohibiting countries from targeting cultural sites during a conflict, neighbouring Iraq has already lost many important cultural items due to heavy military machines crushing them in recent years.

“Major libraries of tens of thousands of clay tablets from 3,000 years ago were lost in Iraq,” Hämeen-Anttila explains. “Archaeologists knew they were there, but they were buried in the soil. There were a lot of treasures, but when you put a tank over that ground, clay tablets turn into dust.”

The Hague Convention, created in 1954, requires “refraining from any act of hostility” directed against cultural property.

The convention covers “movable or immovable property of great importance to the cultural heritage of every people, such as monuments of architecture, art or history, whether religious or secular; archaeological sites; groups of buildings which, as a whole, are of historical or artistic interest; works of art; manuscripts, books and other objects of artistic, historical or archaeological interest; as well as scientific collections and important collections of books or archives or of reproductions of the property defined above,” as well as buildings and centres whose main purpose is to house such items.

It also prohibits using a cultural site “for purposes which are likely to expose it to destruction or damage in the event of armed conflict”, meaning that armies cannot shelter soldiers in cultural structures in an attempt to avoiding bombardment.

Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, tweeted following Trump’s threats that “targeting cultural sites is a war crime”, while Unesco director-general Audrey Azoulay “stressed the universality of cultural and natural heritage as vectors of peace and dialogue between peoples, which the international community has a duty to protect and preserve for future generations”.

Victoria and Albert museum director and former Labour politician Tristram Hunt said that Trump’s threats “must be condemned” and compared such a move to the destruction of Palmyra by Islamic State – which is not covered by the Hague convention, as it is a rebel group rather than a government force.

“This is a worrying step towards the normalisation of cultural destruction as a war aim,” said Hunt.

While Iran’s cultural heritage is not limited to monuments – Iranian literature and stories have a rich history and influenced writers in English, including Chaucer, whose Canterbury Tales were influenced by Persian poetry – the country’s physical architecture is unique and among the oldest in the world.

“The one most significant Iranian monument that comes to mind is Persepolis,” says Hämeen-Anttila. “If you think about Greek culture, it is all tied up with Persepolis.”

Persepolis is one of Iran’s best-known sites, which Unesco says “ranks among the archaeological sites which have no equivalent”. The archeological ruins cover a total of 1.6 square kilometres with remnants of large columns, two royal palaces and gardens, as well as what is believed to be the mausoleum of Cyrus the Great.

The country is also littered with ornate cuneiform rock carvings – one of the earliest systems of writing – dating from the fifth century BC.

These inform us about Zoroastrianism, which was the most common religion until the 7th century, when the Arab conquest took place in what was then known as Persia.

“Persians used it for carving into the rocks,” says Hämeen-Anttila of the early writings. “It was often used for imperial propaganda. They also depict rock carvings of the kings themselves, showing how they vanquished the Roman emperors. Of course, the Romans had their own version of that too. Then there is the Islamic period, where there are beautiful mosques, which are newer, so are even better preserved.”

In the city of Isfahan in central Iran, the Shah Mosque is spectacular, mainly due to its intricate blue and yellow mosaics. It was built during the Safavid dynasty under the order of Shah Abbas I of Iran, while three Armenian Christian monasteries, known as the Armenian Monastic Ensembles of Iran, were established between the 7th and 14th centuries in the period known as Medieval Persia.

Hämeen-Anttila adds: “These are the great sites, but then the country is also full of beautiful mosques from the Safavid dynasty of the 16th century, where there are a series of small mosques that tourists would not usually know about or notice.”

He adds: “There has been a continuing architectural tradition even in modern times. It is like castles in Scotland – you can’t miss seeing half a dozen historically significant monuments if you drive for an hour anywhere.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Jane Bradley"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.5073695.1578777544!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5073695.1578777544!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "A column with the stone statue of a bull in Persepolis. Picture: iStockphoto/Getty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A column with the stone statue of a bull in Persepolis. Picture: iStockphoto/Getty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.5073695.1578777544!/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/columnists/rise-of-violent-sex-shows-women-s-liberation-movement-has-work-to-do-susan-dalgety-1-5073210","id":"1.5073210","articleHeadline": "Rise of violent sex shows Women’s Liberation movement has work to do – Susan Dalgety","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1578728400000 ,"articleLead": "

With one in three women experiencing unwanted choking, slapping and spitting during consensual sex, a challenge to the legal status of ‘female’ and other setbacks in the fight for gender equality, modern society needs ‘whole, full-voiced’ women like Jane Fonda, writes Susan Dalgety.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5073209.1578663194!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jane Fonda is arrested for blocking a street in front of the US Capitol during a 'Fire Drill Fridays' climate change protest in Washington DC in October (Picture: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)"} ,"articleBody": "

Jane Fonda is magnificent. Looking every inch the Hollywood matriarch, she was arrested for the fifth time in recent weeks on the eve of her 82nd birthday.

As the crowd in Washington DC sang ‘Happy Birthday’, police officers led her away in handcuffs. Her crime? She is the organiser of Fire Drill Fridays, weekly protests outside the US Capitol against the climate emergency that has seen California, and now Australia, in flames.

Speaking earlier this week on The Late Show, she worried that her generation was not doing enough to tackle climate change, compared to the legions of young people who have been inspired by Greta Thunberg.

“Well, humankind is facing the greatest crisis that we’ve ever faced, and there were all these young students that were sacrificing a lot and working so hard,” she told the host of the American TV show, Stephen Colbert.

And she explained why she had decided now was the time for direct action. “We don’t do civil disobedience as a first effort, but we’ve been petitioning and writing and marching and begging the government and they don’t hear.

“We’ve used every lever of democracy and so we have to take a step further... risking getting arrested.”

READ MORE: Susan Dalgety: Can we bet the farm on equality reform?

READ MORE: In dispute over trans rights, feminists must have free speech – Susan Dalgety

The star is taking time off from her protest to film the latest series of her hit comedy show Grace and Frankie, but environmental charity Greenpeace will make sure Fire Drill Fridays will continue in her absence.

It is 50 years since Jane Fonda first hit the headlines for her activism. In 1970, she was arrested in Cleveland on trumped-up drug charges. It was later revealed that Richard Nixon’s administration had ordered her arrest for her protests against the Vietnam War.

A giant leap for womankind

Her police mug shot became a viral sensation, 35 years before the internet. The image of a 32-year-old Fonda, her fist raised in a defiant salute, inspired a new generation of feminists.

Even her shaggy hair cut was seen as a political statement. She had just ditched her long blonde locks for a more casual look, little knowing that it would become, as American Vogue was to suggest later, “a symbol for women who won’t back down”.

It is also 50 years since British feminism took a giant leap for womankind. The first National Women’s Liberation Conference took place in Oxford in February 1970, heralding a series of events held throughout the country over the next decade where women argued for seven straightforward, but significant, changes to society.

These included equal pay, educational and job opportunities, free contraception, abortion on demand, the right to a self-defined sexuality and an end to discrimination against lesbians.

We may have secured more control over our reproductive system, but there is still a long way to go before we have equal pay. The World Economic Forum has just predicted that, across the world, women will have to wait 257 years to be paid the same as men.

Violent sex the new normal

A recent investigation by online newspaper The Ferret showed that, in Scottish schools, boys still outnumber girls in ten subjects such as maths, physics and computing, while girls make up more than three-quarters of the students studying art, fashion and childcare.

Our 21st-century girls may have made it out of the kitchen, but many of them remain trapped in the nursery and beauty salon. And I doubt if those pioneering feminists anticipated that, 50 years after first making their demands, their sisters would be fighting to maintain their legal status as female against a horde of trans-women, in beards and beads, insisting their lived identity matters more than a woman’s natal sex.

The last demand, which was added in 1978, was a call for “freedom for all women from intimidation by the threat or use of violence or sexual coercion regardless of marital status”.

Recent research by Health Scotland shows that the risk of partner abuse is highest among young people aged 16 to 24 years.

And one in three young women, born long after the first Women’s Liberation conference, have experienced unwanted choking, slapping or spitting during consensual sex. Violent sex is the new normal, just as sex in the dark once was.

Life, it seems, is tougher now for young girls than it was for those of us who reached our teenage years in the 1970s, which is why it is incumbent on us older women to follow Jane Fonda’s example and stand up for what is right, whether it is protesting government inaction against climate change or fighting for sexual equality.

Even though Fonda has long been a symbol of the women’s movement, she admits she was a late adopter of feminism.

Girls trapped in push-up bras

Writing in 2016, she said, “In 1970... I learned that 5,000 women in New York City were demonstrating for legalised abortion. I wrote in my journal: ‘Don’t understand the Women’s Liberation Movement. There are more important things to have a movement for, it seems to me.’”

But as she entered her sixties she had an epiphany. “When I turned 60 and entered my third and final act, I decided that I needed to heal the wounds patriarchy had dealt me,” she wrote.

“I didn’t want to come to the end of my life without doing all I could to become a whole, full-voiced woman.”

There are many negative things about ageing, not least having to turn the volume on the television to its highest setting, but it is also a time of liberation. Women of a certain age care far less about what people think about them, and far more about what is right and wrong.

Older women can speak out freely, without the need to worry about their career prospects, or whether their partner approves of their opinion.

We can say choking during lovemaking is wrong, full stop.

We can point out our natal sex is real, end of. And we can campaign, until the dying light, against climate change, illegal wars or the structural inequalities that trap our girls in a world full of pink plastic, push-up bras and pout-plump lip-gloss.

Fifty years on from the first Women’s Liberation event, we can, like Jane Fonda, become whole, full-voiced women. Just try not to get arrested.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.5073209.1578663194!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5073209.1578663194!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jane Fonda is arrested for blocking a street in front of the US Capitol during a 'Fire Drill Fridays' climate change protest in Washington DC in October (Picture: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jane Fonda is arrested for blocking a street in front of the US Capitol during a 'Fire Drill Fridays' climate change protest in Washington DC in October (Picture: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.5073209.1578663194!/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/business/a-tourist-tax-is-common-in-europe-so-how-do-we-make-it-work-here-john-yellowlees-1-5072461","id":"1.5072461","articleHeadline": "A tourist tax is common in Europe, so how do we make it work here? – John Yellowlees","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1578636017000 ,"articleLead": "

In these challenging times, any opportunities for new income streams have to be considered. As well as responding to the recent Scottish Government consultation on the so-called “tourist tax”, CILT has been pleased to ­support interest in the topic by Transform Scotland, the Scottish campaign for a sustainable ­transport policy, which has conducted its own study.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5072460.1578567190!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "John Yellowlees, chair, CILT Scotland."} ,"articleBody": "

Nineteen European countries have a Transient Visitor Levy (TVL), which some sources put at typically about £2 per night paid either on arrival or added to a hotel bill.

Geneva provides a transport card and a free journey available for up to 80 minutes to get new arrivals from airport to hotel. Amsterdam’s TVL is an £8 per day general tax, while Dubrovnik charges £2 per day, with the money going to the Red Cross, tourist board and destinations, but Berlin exempts business travellers.

In Italy no less than 32 cities have a TVL that ranges from £7 per day in Rome to just £1 in Florence, with tax recipients ranging from public ­transport, information provision and cultural activities to cleaning and road ­maintenance.

In Scotland there have been calls for a TVL to mitigate the impact of the North Coast 500. Orkney has experienced saturation by cruise liners, Glenfinnan with its Harry Potter ­viaduct and Bonny Prince Charlie monument is another tourist hotspot, and in Edinburgh the summer and winter festivals and the growth of Airbnb have impacted on public transport and on the availability of homes for rent. A survey by Edinburgh City Council found that 78 per cent of visitors to Edinburgh would be willing to pay £4 per night, and 91 per cent of residents were in favour. However three-quarters of small businesses were opposed, ­seeing a negative impact on their livelihoods, and the hotel industry has raised the spectre that Scottish families wanting to enjoy a “staycation” might be incentivised to cross the Border or fly overseas while the tax would bypass daytrippers, whose local environmental impacts are also significant.

The Edinburgh survey found that most city centre residents had had their lives affected by tourist growth and believed that more could be done to accommodate tourists. A total of 133 respondents to Transform Scotland’s own survey favoured using the revenue from a TVL to improve parks, while 99 wanted better infrastructure for pedestrians and 77 more support for public transport. Whereas 69 per cent had been impacted, 89 per cent did not consider liability to TVL when booking a holiday.

Transform Scotland’s study recommends early legislation empowering local authorities to introduce a TVL, with Edinburgh encouraged to clarify its ideas for a £2 per night charge and make clear as to how it might spend the income. Investments should be in the city centre public realm, with encouragement of cycling, litter prevention and monitoring of Airbnb.

Other local authorities should investigate the applicability to their areas of a TVL, which should be renamed a Visitor Levy on the basis that not all visitors are tourists. For CILT, safety is always the top priority, and our city centres may have to be redesigned so as to accommodate tourist attributes, including wheeled luggage, and also to guard against new forms of terrorism.

Joe Goldblatt, Emeritus Professor at Queen Margaret University, has suggested development of a permanent year-round festival park, perhaps on the waterfront or near the airport, so as to ease pressure on the city ­centre – perhaps funding from a TVL could be used for this purpose. Maybe it could also revive the lapsed idea of an Edinburgh Card giving discounted travel and admissions?

We have urged consistency of charging at a Scotland-wide level, with centrally-agreed criteria on whether a levy should be applicable in a given destination or region while recognising the need for local flexibility.

Applicability to daytrippers would have to consider the definition of a tourist destination, and cruise ship passengers would need special attention since, like users of motor-homes or caravans, they bring their own accommodation with them.

We think that disabled people and their carers, those travelling for medical care, and young people, including students should be exempt – but that business travel should be included on account of the significant impact of conferences on cities’ infrastructure.

Remittance by accommodation providers of levies could, in our view, be made monthly, with the licensing of providers offering an enforcement tool – Airbnb shows the way since it has always had provision built into its software for TVL collection. We do not consider that revenues should be allocated to priorities articulated through local tourism strategies since their quality and content (where they exist) vary widely. Using them as instruments could result in a multiplicity of different charging policies across Scotland causing misunderstanding and confusion for visitors.

John Yellowlees, chair, CILT Scotland.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "John Yellowlees"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.5072460.1578567190!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5072460.1578567190!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "John Yellowlees, chair, CILT Scotland.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "John Yellowlees, chair, CILT Scotland.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.5072460.1578567190!/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/world/uk-government-very-concerned-by-reports-crashed-ukrainian-airliner-was-shot-down-in-iran-1-5072823","id":"1.5072823","articleHeadline": "UK government 'very concerned' by reports crashed Ukrainian airliner was shot down in Iran","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1578592691000 ,"articleLead": "

Downing Street said it was looking into \"very concerning\" reports about the Tehran airliner crash following speculation in the media that the jet was shot down by a missile.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5072822.1578589271!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A Ukrainian plane carrying 176 passengers crashed near Imam Khomeini airport in Tehran on January 8. Picture: Rohhollh Vadati /AFP"} ,"articleBody": "

Boris Johnson used a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to call for a \"full, credible and transparent investigation\" following the plane crash.

Asked whether there were any concerns about the cause of the disaster, a Number 10 spokesman said: \"I'm not going to speculate on this but the reports we have seen are very concerning and we are urgently looking into them.\"

Three Britons were among the dead after Ukraine International Airline (UIA) plane crashed moments after take-off from Iran, with investigators focused on how the aircraft fell out of the sky.

The Iranian military had disputed suggestions the airliner was brought down by a missile, with officials in Iran blaming an engine fire.

The victims included engineer Sam Zokaei, from Surrey, Saeed Tahmasebi Khademasadi, from west London, and Mohammad Reza Kadkhoda Zadeh, from near Brighton.

All three were named on the list of 167 passengers on board flight PS752 by Ukraine International Airlines (UIA), which crashed moments after it left Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran at 6.10am local time (2.40am GMT) on Wednesday, bound for the Ukrainian capital Kyiv.

The Prime Minister pushed for the facts to be established during his conversation with Mr Zelenskyy on Thursday.

Mr Zelenskyy ordered a criminal investigation soon after the details of the tragedy emerged this week.

The airline ruled out human error, and crew were not said to have made an emergency call.

The crash comes amid escalating tension in the Persian Gulf following the killing last week of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani by the US, prompting several airlines to reroute flights away from Tehran's airspace.

Iran fired missiles at army bases in Iraq were both US and UK troops were stationed, although both Number 10 and the White House said there had been no casualties incurred.

A Downing Street spokesperson said: \"He offered his condolences to the president for the loss of the Ukraine International Airlines plane and for all those who were on board.

\"President Zelenskyy updated the Prime Minister on Ukrainian efforts to establish the facts and the Prime Minister offered UK support.

\"The Prime Minister said that there needed to be a full, credible and transparent investigation into what happened.\"

During his conversation Mr Johnson also \"underlined the UK's continued commitment to Ukrainian sovereignty\" with tension over territory continuing to bristle between the eastern European country and Russia.

" ,"byline": {"email": "newsdeskts@scotsman.com" ,"author": "Diane King"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.5072822.1578589271!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5072822.1578589271!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "A Ukrainian plane carrying 176 passengers crashed near Imam Khomeini airport in Tehran on January 8. Picture: Rohhollh Vadati /AFP","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A Ukrainian plane carrying 176 passengers crashed near Imam Khomeini airport in Tehran on January 8. Picture: Rohhollh Vadati /AFP","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.5072822.1578589271!/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/boris-johnson-tells-iranian-president-hassan-rouhani-to-end-hostilities-1-5072643","id":"1.5072643","articleHeadline": "Boris Johnson tells Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to end hostilities","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1578580480000 ,"articleLead": "

Boris Johnson has called for an end to hostilities in the Gulf in a phone conversation with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5072642.1578580477!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke to Iranian President Hassan Rouhan on the phone. Picture: Peter Summers"} ,"articleBody": "

The Prime Minister also said he remained committed to the nuclear deal with Tehran, despite US President Donald Trump's call for the UK to break away from the arrangement.

During the 20-minute call, Mr Johnson also urged an end to the \"detention and mistreatment\" of jailed British-Iranian mother Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and other dual nationals held by Tehran, and demanded their immediate release.

READ MORE: Labour leadership candidates clash over IndyRef2 position
Downing Street said the Prime Minister \"underlined the UK's continued commitment\" to the troubled nuclear deal in the conversation.

On Wednesday, Mr Trump said the \"time has come\" for Britain, Germany, France, Russia and China to \"break away\" from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) - the US president has already pulled out of the agreement which was aimed at easing sanctions in exchange for Iran not pursuing a nuclear weapon.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: \"The JCPOA is the best arrangement currently available to deliver upon our goal of stopping Iran from having a nuclear weapon.\"

READ MORE: Wanted: Remote Scottish island seeks manager to bring in tourists to forgotten isle
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who held talks in Washington with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, acknowledged that Iran's breaches of the JCPOA were becoming \"acute\".

\"We want to see Iran come back to full compliance and we will be looking at all measures including potentially triggering the DRM (the deal's dispute resolution mechanism),\" he said.

Mr Johnson's call with Mr Rouhani came as tensions appeared to have eased following Tehran's retaliation against the US over the killing of General Qassem Soleimani.

The Downing Street spokesman said: \"They discussed the situation in the region following the death of Qassem Soleimani and the Prime Minister called for an end to hostilities.\"

In the Commons on Wednesday, Mr Johnson said Gen Soleimani, who was killed by a US drone strike on January 3, \"had the blood of British troops on his hands\" because he had \"supplied improvised explosive devices to terrorists\".

Following a missile barrage aimed at military bases in Iraq hosting US forces and troops from allies including the UK, Mr Trump suggested Tehran was \"standing down\" - signalling that the two

" ,"byline": {"email": "newsdeskts@scotsman.com" ,"author": "Diane King"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.5072642.1578580477!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5072642.1578580477!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke to Iranian President Hassan Rouhan on the phone. Picture: Peter Summers","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke to Iranian President Hassan Rouhan on the phone. Picture: Peter Summers","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.5072642.1578580477!/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/columnists/a-story-of-globalisation-that-would-make-marco-polo-gasp-bill-jamieson-1-5072193","id":"1.5072193","articleHeadline": "A story of globalisation that would make Marco Polo gasp – Bill Jamieson","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1578570000000 ,"articleLead": "

After a local shop was out of moisturiser, an order from Amazon saw the specific cream sent from Italy to Scotland, via Southend, Milton Keynes, Bristol and Redruth in Cornwall, writes Bill Jamieson

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5072192.1578502095!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A plane arriving at London Southend Airport is met by a water-arch salute (Picture: Simon Ford/Shutterstock)"} ,"articleBody": "

Ever clicked on those pesky emails inviting you to track your online order? Prepare for a surprise when you do.

The ever-enterprising Mrs J was stumped when, after Christmas festivities in Cornwall, she couldn’t find her favourite Nivea moisturiser cream product at Boots the Chemist – so she went online.

There was the product on the Amazon website – and click she duly did.

There then appeared in her email box a travelogue setting out a startling insight into the world of economic globalisation – one that would have caused Marco Polo to gasp in wonder.

It set out an astonishing journey for what was once an everyday cosmetic product in the UK.

READ MORE: Striking pictures show Scotland’s Amazon depot preparing for Black Friday

READ MORE: Amazon taking huge site next to Queensferry Crossing

The email recounted that the order was placed overnight on Saturday, January 4 and at 10.02am on Sunday the package “departed an Amazon facility” at, of all places, Lonate, Pozzolo, Italy, close to the border with Switzerland.

This, according to Wikipedia, is “a town and commune located in the province of Varese in the Lombardy region... served by Ferno-Lonate Pozzolo railway station”.

At 1.46pm the same day, it “departed an Amazon facility” at Southend-on-Sea, Essex, arriving at 5.07pm at a similar facility in Milton Keynes.

It left there at 8.39pm heading for Bristol, where at 2.01am it left to be forwarded to Redruth, Cornwall, arriving here at 6.40am before being put out for delivery.

The final stage of the journey – some 15 miles – was the shortest, but one awaited with bated breath. Would it arrive to the sound of a frenetic Verdi overture on the back of a motorbike like a pizza quattro formaggi from Domino’s pizza?

It arrived in darkness, shortly after 7pm.

There is, it seems, nothing that can now be sourced on the world-wide-web and delivered from the most unexpected corners of the Earth.

And at the current rate of retail attrition in the high streets, Lonate, Pozzolo might come to seem no more than popping out to the corner shop.

Avanti, Amazon!

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Bill Jamieson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.5072192.1578502095!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5072192.1578502095!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "A plane arriving at London Southend Airport is met by a water-arch salute (Picture: Simon Ford/Shutterstock)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A plane arriving at London Southend Airport is met by a water-arch salute (Picture: Simon Ford/Shutterstock)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.5072192.1578502095!/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/donald-trump-turns-up-pressure-on-uk-and-allies-to-ditch-iranian-nuclear-deal-1-5072310","id":"1.5072310","articleHeadline": "Donald Trump turns up pressure on UK and allies to ditch Iranian nuclear deal","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1578549628000 ,"articleLead": "

The US and Iran appeared to have stepped back from the brink of war after President Donald Trump resisted a further military response to Iranian missile strikes on allied troops in Iraq.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5072309.1578519611!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "An aerial photograph of Ain al-Asad Airbase after Iran's missile attack with rings showing impact sites. President Trump said no Americans, Iraqis or other allied troops were killed in the raid. Picture: PA"} ,"articleBody": "

A volley of more than a dozen missiles aimed at two US bases on Tuesday night did not result in any casualties, with the US president crediting an “early warning system” for averting further bloodshed that would have deepened the crisis.

In a televised address from the White House, Mr Trump seemed intent on de-escalating the confrontation with Iran, triggered by a US drone strike that killed General Qassem Soleimani, the head of the elite Iranian Quds Force.

But the US president turned up the pressure on US allies, including the UK, demanding they abandon what he called a “defective” nuclear agreement with Iran and calling on Tehran to unilaterally cease uranium enrichment that could lead to an atomic weapon.

Speaking shortly before noon in Washington surrounded by his national security advisers, Mr Trump hailed the fact that no Americans, Iraqis or other allied troops were killed in Tuesday’s raids.

He added that Americans should be “extremely grateful and happy” with the outcome of the strike that killed Gen Soleimani.

Mr Trump said Iran appeared to be “standing down”.

Mr Trump also announced he would ask Nato to become “much more involved in the Middle East process”.

It came after a late-night tweet following the Iranian missile strikes in which he insisted “All is well!”

Tehran’s limited strike on two bases – one in the northern Iraqi city in Irbil and the other at Ain al-Asad in western Iraq – appeared to signal that it also wanted to avoid a wider clash with the US.

Foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted that the country had “concluded proportionate measures in self-defence”.

But Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, speaking yesterday, said the strike was not necessarily the totality of Iran’s response. “Last night they received a slap,” he said. “These military actions are not sufficient… What is important is that the corrupt presence of America in this region comes to an end.”

In his remarks, the US president said the “time has come” for Britain, Germany, France, Russia and China to “break away” from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Mr Trump said the “very defective JCPOA expires shortly anyway and gives Iran a clear and quick path to nuclear breakout”.

“Iran must abandon its nuclear ambitions and end its support for terrorism. The time has come for the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia and China to recognise this reality.

“They must now break away from the remnants of the Iran deal – or JCPOA – and we must all work together towards making a deal with Iran that makes the world a safer and more peaceful place.”

Under the deal, Iran agreed to limit its nuclear programme and allow in international inspectors in return for the easing of economic sanctions.

Hours before Mr Trump’s remarks, Boris Johnson said the deal remains the “best way of preventing nuclear proliferation in Iran”.

He told MPs during Prime Minister’s Questions: “It is the best way of encouraging the Iranians not to develop a nuclear weapon… It is a shell that has currently been voided, but it remains a shell into which we can put substance again.”

The Prime Minister urged Tehran to hold back from further “reckless and dangerous attacks” and told President Trump during a phone call that there was a need for “urgent de-escalation”.

At the first Prime Minister’s Questions session since the election, Mr Johnson said: “We of course condemn the attack on Iraqi military bases hosting coalition forces.”

He added Gen Soleimani, who was killed by a US drone strike on 3 January, “had the blood of British troops on his hands”, because he had “supplied improvised explosive devices to terrorists”.

In a call with Mr Trump, the Prime Minister stressed the need for “urgent de-escalation to avoid further conflict”.

The message was echoed by Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab in talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last night. Diplomatic sources said Mr Raab stressed there is still a path to a peaceful solution if all sides are willing to engage in meaningful talks.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.5072309.1578519611!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5072309.1578519611!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "An aerial photograph of Ain al-Asad Airbase after Iran's missile attack with rings showing impact sites. President Trump said no Americans, Iraqis or other allied troops were killed in the raid. Picture: PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "An aerial photograph of Ain al-Asad Airbase after Iran's missile attack with rings showing impact sites. President Trump said no Americans, Iraqis or other allied troops were killed in the raid. Picture: PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.5072309.1578519611!/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/columnists/as-australia-burns-biblical-flood-hits-city-bigger-than-london-kenny-macaskill-1-5072012","id":"1.5072012","articleHeadline": "As Australia burns, biblical flood hits city bigger than London – Kenny MacAskill","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1578549600000 ,"articleLead": "

Indonesia’s capital Jakarta is sinking as sea levels rise, meaning the millions of people who live there will have to move and underlining the pressing need to take action to stop climate change, writes Kenny MacAskill.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5072010.1578486864!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A woman wades through floodwater in Jakarta, Indonesia, where dozens of people have died. (Picture: Dita Alangkara/AP)"} ,"articleBody": "

Media attention has been on Australia where the fires are almost primordial and frightening. But climate change is playing out elsewhere with even more devastating effect. It’s almost biblical in proportions as fire and flood threaten humanity.

In Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, 66 have died so far and more than 173,000 have been displaced. Without diminishing the tragedy afflicting our Commonwealth cousins, this is even worse. They’re not burning but drowning. Torrential rain – that Australia prays for – is washing them away.

READ MORE: Climate change: we need action, not words – Melanie Main

READ MORE: Sir Lindsay Hoyle: Australia’s wildfires should act as a wake-up call to us all

Fifteen inches apparently fell on New Year’s Day, some welcome to 2020. A further four inches is anticipated in the next few days.

It’s not just Jakarta that’s affected but, given that its metropolitan area covers 30 million people, that’s bad enough. Bekasi, a city I’d never heard of, has seen 150,000 poor souls displaced. I’ve no doubt the tempest will abate but the problem is only going to get worse.

Jakarta is sinking and will succumb to rising sea levels. Plans are being made to relocate it elsewhere but what about its citizens, especially those who are poor and vulnerable Where will they go? What about other communities as it won’t be the only place to go under. Where can they go? Whole countries, whether in the Pacific or the Asian sub-continent, are threatened by rising sea levels caused by climate change.

We need to change and change fast or future generations will face the apocalypse and sooner than we think.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Kenny Macaskill"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.5072010.1578486864!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5072010.1578486864!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "A woman wades through floodwater in Jakarta, Indonesia, where dozens of people have died. (Picture: Dita Alangkara/AP)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A woman wades through floodwater in Jakarta, Indonesia, where dozens of people have died. (Picture: Dita Alangkara/AP)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.5072010.1578486864!/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/columnists/1-035-reasons-why-metoo-movement-has-not-gone-too-far-laura-waddell-1-5072142","id":"1.5072142","articleHeadline": "1,035 reasons why MeToo movement has not gone too far – Laura Waddell","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1578549600000 ,"articleLead": "

Some commentators who attack the MeToo movement put themselves into role of accused, rather than empathising with the victims of sexual assault and harassment, writes Laura Waddell.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5072140.1578498315!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Harvey Weinstein's lawyer Donna Rotunno carries his walker up a flight of stairs as he arrives at the New York City criminal court for his sex crimes trial (Picture: Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)"} ,"articleBody": "

Perhaps it sounds outlandish to you, as it does to me, when Harvey Weinstein lawyer Donna Rotunno says of the #MeToo movement, that “I feel that women may rue the day that all of this started when no one asks them out on a date, and no one holds the door open for them, and no one tells them that they look nice.”

With this statement, Rotunno muddies the waters between sexual harassment in the workplace and standard flirtation, between predation and attraction, and between abuse of power and consent. It’s a comment that accuses women, en masse, of lacking the cognitive abilities to really comprehend what we want, playing directly to the peanut gallery of those prejudiced against us.

And yet as perverse as this defence is, it is neither surprising, nor even particularly rare. The same sentiment, arranged in different wording, can be seen all over social media. It can be overheard at freshers’ week.

It has been issued by many, many commentators in mainstream media, who have responded to a seismic cultural evolution – of women encouraged to more vocally stand up against assault and harassment – with brittle and defensive puffing, projecting themselves straight into the role of accused rather than empathising with those at a power disadvantage, and actually asking, often with significant righteousness and expectation of audience agreement, if those opposed to being groped while trying to go about their jobs are the ones who have gone too far.

How does this affect me, they ask, as though more social pressure to treat women as equals is an affront to their own human rights.

READ MORE: Harvey Weinstein: Former model accuses film producer of sexually assaulting her when she was teen

READ MORE: British teenager found guilty of lying about being gang-raped in Cyprus can return home

In this, many framings of sexual harassment and violence against women in the public conversation have mirrored and sought to actively defend the status quo rather than challenging it, with instincts not dissimilar from online trolls with their hostile, petulant attitudes towards women.

When conservative and overwhelmingly white women voted for Donald Trump, they were ingratiating themselves with a particular kind of macho power rather than standing up to it, believing someone else to be the ultimate target of the administration.

Sheltering within the patriarchy

A significant number of voices in the public realm, on the radio and in columns, are able to grasp the power differentials of complex legal and political matters just fine, but their logic flies out of the window at the prospect of women asserting themselves.

They are free to make a different choice about where their critical energies go, but after all, tackling the patriarchy is challenging. Many find it easier, even profitable, to shelter within it. These reactionary views often shimmer with a glint of panic about modernisation and their own inability to hold on as the world keeps turning.

While some mainstream feminist markers of the last decade will come to feel very of the moment, such as fad t-shirts made in sweatshops with gimmicky slogans, the genie is out the bottle when it comes to understanding of consent, and there is little excuse not to get with it.

Outside of regressive, contrary framings, conversations have become more nuanced about what consent actually means, and there is more social support for establishing boundaries. This is the biggest achievement of the MeToo movement.

But it has been a terrible week for efforts to tackle sexual violence across the board.

Worst-case scenario

On Tuesday, the 19-year-old British woman who retracted her accusation of gang rape by a group of Israeli men under concerning circumstances, to then be tried for false accusation, was sentenced by Cypriot courts to a four-month suspended jail sentence. Legal and women’s charities have highlighted troubling details of the case, pointing to forensic evidence which backs the woman’s account, and the possibility of intimidation.

Found guilty, found guilty, found guilty, boomed headlines in Britain in the echo of the judge’s gavel.

This reverberates through our society. It’s in the high proportion of victims of sexual violence who do not report it for fear of not being taken seriously. It’s in the statistic that men themselves are more likely to be a victim of sexual violence than to face a false rape accusation.

There are reports of Israeli citizens drawn into the case and showing support for the young woman, some going so far as to travel to Cyprus to protest.

What happened to the 19-year-old woman in Cyprus may be one worst-case scenario, but there are others. Several weeks ago, a young woman in India was set alight on her way to testify at a rape case. She died from the injuries.

Some of the anger here is a little nationalistic in temperature, affront at the idea a court in Cyprus might mistreat a British citizen, and certainly there is lots to criticise in the handling of this case.

Low rates of prosecution

But, while each individual story that becomes breaking news is troubling in its own right, we must remember that British citizens are let down every day by how we handle sexual violence in this country. These nightmare cases have hit the headlines, but there are many more painful stories of violence and intimidation that never see the light of day. There are thousands of them, held in individual bodies and minds.

Low rates of prosecution. A lack of support for male victims. Universities brushing problems under the carpet. Clunky and sensationalised reporting. Long waiting lists for mental health support. Defence which scrutinises the private sexual lives of victims in order to capitalise on the deeply abhorrent idea that the victims were asking for it, leaning on sexist and homophobic tropes.

Recently, Rape Crisis Scotland fundraised to keep open helplines and support centres, revealing the statistic that “on a typical day in Scotland 1,035 survivors were waiting to access ‘life-saving’ Rape Crisis Support.” Why must they fundraise at all?

When someone next asks if women standing up for themselves has gone too far, or uses their platform to minimise the scale of harassment and violence, remember these people, because it is about them.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.5072140.1578498315!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5072140.1578498315!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Harvey Weinstein's lawyer Donna Rotunno carries his walker up a flight of stairs as he arrives at the New York City criminal court for his sex crimes trial (Picture: Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Harvey Weinstein's lawyer Donna Rotunno carries his walker up a flight of stairs as he arrives at the New York City criminal court for his sex crimes trial (Picture: Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.5072140.1578498315!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} ]}}} ]}