9am Briefing: Firefighters battle welfare club blaze

DOZENS of firefighters were today battling a major blaze at Whitburn Miners Welfare Club, which broke out in the early hours.

The fire, which was reported just before 4.50am, was being battled by firefighters using six sets of breathing apparatus. With seven fire engines and two height appliances in attendance, a fire service spokeswoman said it was a "substantial fire". The cause is unknown.

There are no reported casualties, but the ambulance service was in attendance as a precaution.

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• COUNCIL leader Jenny Dawe has been accused of insulting the people of Edinburgh after describing the trams fiasco as "a small glitch".

In a TV interview she said: "We'll get through this, we'll get a tram and in the run of things I think that this will just be a small glitch on the way there."

Edinburgh Central SNP MSP Marco Biagi said: "This is an insult to the people of Edinburgh who have put up with years of disruption and to the taxpayers Ms Dawe expects to foot the bill.

"Once again Jenny Dawe has completely missed the point."

• A MOTORCYCLIST has been killed after a collision with a car on a country road on the outskirts of Edinburgh.

The man, understood to be aged around 30, was involved in an accident with a car while travelling along a country lane between Kirkliston and Cramond around 1.15pm yesterday.

A spokesman for the Ambulance service said several teams were dispatched to the incident but that the motorcyclist died at the scene.

• THIS year's Festival Fringe is set for a record year, with ticket sales are already 20 per cent higher than this time last year, it was reported today.

Fringe director, Kath Mainland, said that the day after the launch of the Fringe programme on June 9, ticket sales were 23 per cent higher than the same day last year.

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The number of events has increased to a record 2542 this year, up from 2453 last year.

• THE Principal of Telford College has warned that Scotland is in danger of adopting the "Tesco approach" to further education.

Miles Dibsdall said plans by the Scottish Funding Council to merge colleges would produce a series of supermarket-style educational institutions with many smaller branches, it was reported today.

The proposed mergers will see the number of FE colleges in Scotland reduced from 40 to 12.

Mr Dibsdall said educating students was not like preparing a microwave meal: "You don't put them in college for three minutes, take them out and they're done."

• A BRITISH Airways pilot has been questioned by police over allegations that the threw a mobile phone from his cockpit window just moments before take-off from Edinburgh Airport.

The incident, on Friday evening, led to the passenger jet being grounded while he and his crew were removed and replaced with another.

A BA spokeswoman said: "We are investigating the matter and speaking to the pilots to understand the exact circumstances around the whole incident."