How has Khamenei responsed to Iran plane crash?

Owen Garner gives us a rundown of Iran’s plane crash after their armed forces admitted to shooting down a flight from Tehran to Kyiv.

PODCAST: General election 2019 – Manifesto reaction special

It’s Manifesto Week in British politics, as the main parties release their plans for if they win the upcoming general election.

EN4 News’ Political Editor Andrew McDonald and correspondent Iain Leggat discussed the key points of the manifestos that have been released so far.

 

 

You can find the manifestos for Labour, the Greens and the Liberal Democrats below (the Conservatives and SNP are yet to release their 2019 manifestos):

Hibs sign ex-Liverpool goalkeeper Adam Bogdan

Ex-Liverpool goalkeeper Adam Bogdan has signed for Hibernian on a short-term deal.

The player is on a shorterm contract that will expire on December 31.

Bogdan is the first signing of the new Hibernian manager Jack Ross. Bogdan had a successful loan period with Hibernian last season.

The 32-year-old only played two games for Liverpool’s first team and will be joining the Edinburgh side in what is a tough time for Hibernian.

Havingalso  represented Bolton and Wigan, the Hungarian international told the club’s website: “I’m really happy to be at a club that means a lot to me. My family and I really enjoyed our time here last season and when the opportunity arose to sign, it didn’t take me long to think it over.”

General election 2019: Which way will Edinburgh’s five constituencies swing in December’s vote?

With December’s general election looming, EN4 News political correspondents Andrew McDonald and Iain Leggat assess the state of play in Edinburgh’s five constituencies and attempt to call the result.

 

Edinburgh South

Edinburgh South (Credit: Ordnance Survey)

A predominantly suburban constituency, starting from parts of Bruntsfield, Marchmont and Morningside and stretching out to Gilmerton and Fairmilehead in Edinburgh’s outskirts, Edinburgh South used to be a tight Labour/Lib Dem marginal until the SNP wave of 2015 – since then it has been a straight battle between them and Labour’s Ian Murray. EN4 News also joined the sitting MP, Labour’s Ian Murray, on the campaign trail.

Predictions:

McDonald: The SNP are campaigning hard here because it’s one of only two mainland seats they’ve never held. There is a reason for that though, and Ian Murray remains the safest of Labour’s Scottish MPs. Sure bet and a LABOUR HOLD.

Leggat: It’s going to take a lot to stop Ian Murray, despite the Unite union members trying to oust him before the campaign. He’s immensely popular and on course for a big win in the constituency. SNP want this bad, but Murray has full control so LABOUR HOLD.

Edinburgh South-West

Edinburgh South West (Credit: Ordnance Survey)

The only Edinburgh constituency that differs from merely being North/East/South or West, Edinburgh South-West was created in 2005 to replace the Edinburgh Pentlands constituency, while also taking some more of central Edinburgh.

It has a mix of urban-city areas like Fountainbridge moving out through half of Edinburgh’s western commuter belt and parts of Sighthill and Balerno and finishing in Edinburgh’s rural outskirts. This used to be Chancellor Alistair Darling’s seat until he stepped down in 2015 – it’s been held by the SNP and Joanna Cherry QC since then.

Predictions:

McDonald: A three-way battle can always go any way due to the nature of first past the post (FPTP) – and in winter, weather-influenced turnout could turn up a freak result. Cherry’s increased fame and declining support for 2nd-placed Tories and 3rd-placed Labour will likely see this stay SNP though, so SNP HOLD.

Leggat: The most exciting battle in the capital, but Joanna Cherry’s public displays of anti-Brexit heroism will make her a tough candidate to beat. Callum Laidlaw for the Conservatives is the biggest threat, leading with a pro-union, anti-indyref 2 argument. Very tough to predict, but SNP HOLD…just.

Edinburgh West

Edinburgh West (Credit: Ordnance Survey)

Commuter belt territory moving from parts of Gorgie and all of Murrayfield, Davidson’s Mains and Silverknowes all the way out to include the airport and South Queensferry, making Edinburgh West the largest of Edinburgh’s constituencies by land mass. Went from being safely Conservative to safely Liberal Democrat in the 1990s. Lib Dem Christine Jardine won the seat back from the SNP, who took it in 2015.

Predictions:

McDonald: Edinburgh West elected an SNP MP in 2015 and she didn’t last a year before (since dropped) fraud allegations lost her the whip. That trust is hard to win back, and Jardine remains a popular MP. Confident bet from me and a LIB DEM HOLD.

Leggat: SNP will be keen to win this back after failing to retain in 2017, and I am predicting a shock victory. They have gone for Sarah Mason as their candidate and I think she can pose a real threat to the incredibly popular Christine Jardine. A surge in SNP votes across the country will see Lib Dems lose a stronghold. SNP GAIN.

Edinburgh North and Leith

Edinburgh North and Leith (Credit: Ordnance Survey)

Holding everything from Leith to the Northside of Princes Street and stretching down to Fettes College and The Royal Botanical Gardens, it’s a constituency with a wide demographic within the city. It was a Labour seat from its first use in 1997 all the way to 2015 where the SNP took another shock victory during their storming electoral campaign. Deidre Brock claimed the victory and held her seat in 2017. It was an incredibly tight victory for Brock just fending off her nearest challenger, Labour’s Gordon Munro, by just under 2000 votes.

Predictions:

McDonald: A traditionally working class area with a high Remain vote and a high No vote, this is one of Labour’s top target seats. They’ll fancy their chances of overturning the SNP’s 1600 majority from 2017 and whether they can do it will depend on the stickiness of the Conservatives’ 2017 vote and on youth turnout in a constituency with a large student population. Hard to call but if Labour are going to win anywhere in Scotland, it’ll be here with a LABOUR GAIN.

Leggat: I think the pull to vote SNP nationwide will secure the seat for Deidre Brock. Gordon Munro will try his hardest to claim back a traditionally Labour seat and attempt to spur on the student population of Leith, but with the nationalist identity around the area, I think SNP are just about safe. SNP HOLD.

 

Edinburgh East

Edinburgh East (Credit: Ordnance Survey)

This constituency contains the city centre of Edinburgh, as well as the University of Edinburgh and one of the city’s most deprived areas in Craigmillar. It stretches from Portobello all the way to Tollcross and the Southside. Historically, Edinburgh East has been a Labour stronghold, with the party holding it all the way from the 1930s right up until 2015, where the SNP’s Tommy Sheppard claimed the seat from Sheila Gilmour. Sheppard secured the seat again in 2017, losing 7% of his majority in the process.

Predictions:

McDonald: Popular MP, decent majority and the other parties are putting in little effort here. If this doesn’t stay SNP I’ll eat Iain’s hat so therefore… SNP HOLD.

Leggat: Can Labour’s Sheila Gilmore claim her seat back? Most probably not. Tommy Sheppard is an easy bet to secure his seat. Labour are in with the only real shot and did make small gains in 2017, but the popularity of Sheppard will see him through to a SNP HOLD.

The “chosen one” returns – Jose Mourinho unveiled as Tottenham Hotspur manager

Credit – Ronnie Mcdonald

Jose Mourinho has said he will look to ignite some “passion” and “happiness” to Tottenham Hotspur after being unveiled as the club’s new manager on Thursday.

The 56-year-old “chosen one” was appointed on Wednesday following the surprise sacking of Mauricio Pochettino.

The former Chelsea and Manchester United boss praised the quality of the Spurs training ground and the array of talent the club had at their disposal.

Mourinho added: “Happiness-wise I am convinced my choice was a great one.

“The club is huge. I know that I have potentially a great job in my hands.”

Mourinho put pen to paper securing him as Tottenham manager until the 2023, with a hefty £8 million annual salary.

He takes over a struggling Spurs side that are winless in their last five Premier League matches and are 14th in the table, 20 points behind league leaders Liverpool.

Image by MikesPhotos from Pixabay

Speaking about the new squad that Mourinho has inherited, he praised the board for keeping the outstanding players at the club and also added he will look forward to working with the youngsters and future stars of Spurs.

“The potential of the club is huge, the potential of the players is great I am so happy that was one of the reasons I came because of the vision that [club chaiman] Daniel Levy put in front of me about the club and the quality of the players and the squad.

“I know potentially I have a great job in my hands. I don’t need players I just need time.”

Spurs have not only had a change of head coach but hierarchy also revealed a revamp in their background staff, including well known Lille duo Joao Sacramento and Nuno Santos.

Can Erling Haaland light up the Premier League?

Red Bull Salzburg sensation Erling Haaland is rumoured to have visited Arsenal, with the intention of a possible transfer to the Gunners in the January.

The impressive youngster has had an eye-catching season so far after finding the net 26 times in just 18 appearances for Salzburg. It has been widely reported that many of the top European teams are interested in the 19-year-old, including English giants Manchester United who, like rivals Arsenal, offered the teenage goal machine the chance to view their impressive training complex in the hopes of turning the teenager’s head away from Salzburg.

However, a move to the Emirates Stadium would come as quite the shock if the transfer were to come in, as Arsenal already have huge talents in the striking department such as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Gabriel Martinelli, and with the hefty price tag that Haaland will come with, many fans believe other positions could be bolstered.

Although the duo of Aubameyang and Lacazette have both been turning heads, if either of Emery’s big-name strikers were to leave the London club, another centre forward would need to be acquired to help Arsenal to compete with teams in the Premier League and in Europe.

It is understood that Haaland’s father wishes the youngster to move to the Bundesliga with sister club RB Leipzig and champions Bayern Munich both  interested in the Norwegian’s talents to lead their respective attacking forces. However, it is undeniable that if big money offers from the Premier League were to be received, it would be incredibly difficult to ignore – especially with talk of his salary doubling.

Leipzig hold a key advantage in the race for Haaland as they have the option to sign him for just €30 million next summer, as a result of the relationship between them and Salzburg. English teams, meanwhile, have been quoted closer to €85 million, which would almost certainly be too much for Arsenal, who spent the majority of their transfer funds on failing winger Nicolas Pépé during the summer.

The quoted fee is more appealing to Manchester United who have found it increasingly difficult to find a consistent talisman as evidenced by their current position of 7th in the Premier League. Solskjaer has stressed to the United fans that his focus remains the development of young players, a category that Haaland certainly falls into.

By Aaron Purewal

A Wonderful World Cup in Japan

By Fergus Robb

With the Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan drawing to a close, it is nearly time to reflect on the ups and downs of the tournament to assess just how well the hosts have done.

Trials, tribulations and typhoons have filled the Japanese air during this tournament, and the World Rugby association board has come under a lot of scrutiny.

There is no doubt the brave blossoms of Japan have been fan favourites during this World Cup and have captured the heart of many a neutral rugby fan.

The Japanese culture is another aspect of the experience which has made this World Cup such an intriguing and exciting one.

With England and South Africa ready for a final showdown in the final game on Saturday, it is time to beg the question – was this a successful Rugby World Cup?

The tragedies of typhoon Hagibis left a lot of Japan in disarray. More importantly, World Rugby put safety at the forefront and cancelled games to ensure fan and game personnel’s security.

The typhoon caused major destruction across the country with flooding and structural devastation claiming lives.

World Rugby assured fans prior to the tournament that there would be typhoon contingency plans put in place, however many saw no such signs of this.

As a result of the poor planning on World Rugby’s behalf, some games were cancelled, upsetting fans on a global level. In one specific case, the Italy v New Zealand game being called off robbed the Azzurri of any chance to qualify for the knockout rounds and prevented a number of their experienced players from having a final send-off.

Outwith the devastation of the typhoon, the rugby world can agree that Japan have succeeded in hosting the tournament. The efficiency of those in charge has meant that, apart from the forced game cancellations, everything has run rather smoothly.

The stadiums, transport, fan zones and host cities were all ideal for a tournament such as this. The Japanese culture of respectfulness and joy was well reflected throughout the World Cup and could be seen upon the faces of many a fan during the games.

The success of the host nation during their campaign is hoped to have inspired a new generation of Japanese rugby players, as well as having caught the eye of every rugby fan in the world.

So, despite the minor setback of the most devastating typhoon to hit Japan in 60 years, the country was an excellent host for the Rugby World Cup. This tournament has played host to some of the most shocking rugby upsets and most entertaining games of the last few years.

With Wales and New Zealand fighting it out on Friday for the bronze medal, it is between England and South Africa to see who lifts the Webb Ellis Trophy come Saturday morning.

Regardless of these results, Japan, as a country, will end the tournament on a high and deserve to pat themselves on the back for a job well done as tournament hosts.

Football, Rugby, UFC and Golf – It’s the weekly sport quiz!

Is This The TownsEND?

Last week, Scotland’s Rugby World Cup came to an abrupt end. The national teams trip came to a close after being outplayed by the hosts, Japan, in the decisive final game of the pool stages. As well as a loss to Ireland, this years World Cup has been a letdown for Gregor Townsend’s side. As Scotland rugby continue to disappoint on the big stage and leave fans empty handed by falling at the first hurdle, the question must be asked: Is Townsend right for the job?

Townsend took charge of the Scots in the summer of 2017 and since his start there has been no doubt of an improvement around the Scotland camp. Gregor Townsend has brought fast and attacking rugby into Scotland’s game which is something their fans have rarely seen before. However, since a successful first year and a huge win over England, the form under Townsend has plateaued. Unfortunately, this inconsistent form has come for the squad at the worst possible time.

Whilst almost every Scotland fan appreciates Townsend’s work and progress so far, there are a large majority of fans who have put pressure for a change in coaching after the loss to Japan. There are many mixed emotions over Townsend’s place in the Scotland set up. It has been so hard to determine whether he has done particularly good or bad. Since taking over the coaching duties, Townsend has taken charge of 22 games, winning 11, losing 10 and drawing 1. Although such numbers aren’t bad, there are improvements to be made. Many fans have expressed that Townsend has taken Scotland as far as he can – he has laid the foundations for improvement, it is now time for someone else to take over.

One thing Scotland fans can’t deny is the former Glasgow Warriors coach’s man-management. Townsend has turned inconsistent players into Scotland’s key men. World-class fly-half Finn Russell is like a different player. Adam Hastings, Ali Price, Sam Johnson, Scott Cummings and Darcy Graham are amongst just some of the players that have been given opportunities during his time – so far they have not disappointed.

There are arguments for both sides of this debate and one thing the Scottish Rugby Union do not want to do is oust their head coach too early. He has brought a distinct brand of rugby into the country’s play for the first time in years and has also made the side consistently play a brand of rugby that fans enjoy to watch. He has promoted youth from the start of his Scotland tenure and he also is not afraid to take a risk when needed. On the other hand, fans complain there isn’t enough priority on defensive work for Scotland – potentially the reason we were knocked out of the world cup. As well as that, fans fear that Scotland’s results have not been consistent.

The loss to an incredible Japan team in the final World Cup pool match was not all down to Townsend. Nevertheless, fans have been questioning the coach for a fair while now. Townsend will no doubt stay in charge until at least the coming Six Nations in which a decision will be made by the board to decide whether he will stay as Scotland coach. With a grey cloud over the Scotland squad after a bleak World Cup performance, the only way is surely up.

Spurs bounce back and Chelsea win late in Amsterdam – Champions League Review podcast

Tottenham Hotspur bounced back from a terrible run of form with a big win over Red Star Belgrade on Tuesday, while Chelsea left it late to seal a big win in Amsterdam and take control of their group.

Gregor Kerr and Kris Gourlay discussed this and more big talking points from the week’s Champions League action.

 

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