Today’s international news

Trump ally arrested in Florida

The former campaign adviser to the US President Roger Stone has been charged with seven counts in Robert Mueller’s investigation, which looks at alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

The indictment includes one count of obstruction, one count of witness tampering and five counts of false statements.

US commerce secretary “out of touch”

Wilbur Ross has been mocked online after he suggested workers affected by the government shutdown should take out bank loans.

Federal workers will miss another payday today, following reports that some have had to use food banks.

After the Senate rejected two bills which would have ended the deadlock, this is now the longest US government shutdown in history. The President has defended the culture secretary.

Venezuelan opposition leader considers amnesty for Maduro

Juan Guaidó has said that if President Nicolás Maduro cedes power, he could potentially be given amnesty.

Since declaring himself acting president earlier in the week, Guaidó has said he is reaching out to all sectors to end the crisis, even the military. However, the military’s support remains in favour of Maduro.

Kurdish politician freed after 79-day hunger strike

The Diyarbakir court in Turkey has released Kurdish MP Leyla Guven, 55 after she endured a 79-day hunger strike.

Guven’s release date details have not been released, but the court said they would continue to monitor her after.

The MP is part of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party. The Kurdish and Turkish conflict risen from various Kurdish groups fighting for independence from Turkey.

Guven was imprisoned after she criticised Turkish military’s involvement in Afrin, Syria, which the majority identifies as a Kurdish town.

She had been in jail for a year before beginning her strike in November last year. She claims she started the strike in protest of Turkey’s treatment of Kurdish military leader, Abdullah Ocalan who was imprisoned back in 1999.

Her daughter, via Twitter, announced the MP’s release.

In someone else’s clothes… literally

With a clothes swap sale set to take place on Saturday 26th, EN4News gives an insight into why this type of event is the latest fashion trend.

When opening your wardrobe, what do you see?

Clothes, of course, are most likely to fill that space — but where did you get them? Maybe you’ve got a few designer labels hanging in the closet — Calvin Klein, Ted Baker — or some high street buys that you just couldn’t resist when payday came around — New Look, Topshop, Primark.

It might even be the case that you have the odd charity shop item, but do you have any from a clothes swap?

Events like clothes swaps and vintage sales have bloomed in Edinburgh as of late, with people flocking to get the best deals for very little if any money. It seems to be a student’s dream, in the sense of being the newest way to find unique stylish clothing items for pennies.

In fact, on Saturday 26, between the hours of 1pm and 4pm, people will be swapping clothes in Edinburgh. The Sustainable Clothes Swap will take place at the Ocean Terminal shopping centre. The event, which is being hosted by Fashion Revolution Scotland and The Leith Collective, aims to help people clear out clothes they no longer wear without just throwing them away.

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Fashion Revolution wants to change the way clothes are sourced, produced and consumed. (Picture credit: Fashion Revolution)

Fashion Revolution was created to protest the unsafe working conditions cheap fashion is made in. The turning point for this was the collapse of the Rana Plaza in Bangladesh in April 2013. More than 1,100 people died, making it one of the deadliest textile factory incidents. This gave the fashion organisation a clear vision:

“We believe in a fashion industry that values people, the environment, creativity and profit in equal measure.”

It has been stated that “clothes and textiles make up around 6% of household waste in the UK”. This should not be the case as they can be recycled or reused, and now donated into clothes swaps.

As to why Saturday’s clothes swap is happening, it follows a new campaign. The Leith Collective has partnered up with Ocean Terminal to deliver the Sustainability Campaign throughout January. With a variety of workshops being offered, it is hoped that shoppers will learn more about recycling, reusing and upcycling.

Attending the clothes swap could see you walk away with a complete not-so-new new outfit, but there are a few things you should do before you turn up:

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Infographic by Michaella Wheatley for EN4News

 

University of Edinburgh joins £20m ocean preservation project

One of The University of Edinburgh’s schools is involved in the five-year programme that will focus on changing the ways that the world responds to threats to the oceans.

The School of GeoSciences’ researchers will be involved in the new ‘One Ocean Hub’ programme, which has been set up by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF).

The Hub aims to combat pressures such as climate change, plastics and pollution, and overusing the ocean’s resources, which have affected the ocean’s ecosystem.

It is hoped that the £20 million ‘One Ocean Hub‘ project could help developing countries, who depend on the oceans for supplies and food, evolve and understand how to care for it.

The UKRI GCRF wishes to “empower local communities, women and youth to co-develop research and solutions.”

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Developing countries depend on the oceans to provide fish. (Photo credit: Christina Mittermeier)

More than 50 organisations around the world are included in the project.

The University of Strathclyde is leading the programme, with Glasgow School of Art and Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh also taking part.

The universities in the UK will partner with institutions from Fiji, Ghana, Namibia, Solomon Islands and South Africa.

East, West and Southern Africa, Oceania and the Caribbean will be the geographic focuses of the programme.

This is understood to be an impressive opportunity for Edinburgh’s School of GeoSciences.

Dr Sebastian Hennige, who is from the School of GeoSciences, stated that the chance “to link the science of how marine habitats will change in a future ocean, to law and policy for the benefit for stakeholders” is one of the most exciting parts of the One Ocean Hub.

The School of GeoSciences has previously researched into certain aspect of the ocean, and members of staff believe the new project will uncover more influential information.

Professor Murray Roberts, who is also from the School of GeoSciences, said:

“The One Ocean Hub is a wonderful project and a fantastic opportunity for us to build on our 20 years of research into how cold-water corals function and the biodiversity they support.”

There has been more attention given to the preservation of the oceans.

The affects people’s lives have on the oceans were brought into focus by the BBC’s Blue Planet 2, which showed the impact plastic had on the marine life in it’s final episode.

Viewers were shocked when they were shown albatross chicks being fed plastic by their oblivious parents.

It has caused people to revise their use of plastics.

In recent weeks, the changes seen in the oceans have been widely discussed due to the latest social media trend.

There have been several posts on social media focusing on the transformations of the oceans, due to the Ten Year Challenge.

From icebergs melting to coral reefs diminishing, the images displayed the changes the ocean had experienced in the past decade.

Twitter and Instagram were the platforms used most often for these posts.

This was also mentioned by Professor Roberts, who said:

“Deep corals are among the most sensitive marine ecosystems to ocean acidification.”

There is hope that the One Ocean Hub project will stop, or at least lessen, the impact global warming and the effects of humanity have had on the oceans.

Mary Queen of Scots comes home

From today, January 18, Mary Queen of Scots is gracing our cinema screens…

Well, kind of.

Mary Stuart’s persona is strong and fierce, and this is embraced by 24-year-old Saoirse Ronan, who is well known for her roles as Susie Salmon in The Lovely Bones and Christine McPherson in Lady Bird.

At the beginning of the film, Mary returns to Scotland from France in 1561 without a husband, but with claims to both the Scottish and English thrones, much to the dismay of Queen Elizabeth the First (played by Margot Robbie) and the countries she wishes to rule. This is only beginning of a political battle between the 16th-century queens.

The portrayal of two assertive women in a masculine world is a theme that appears to be quite relevant today, centuries later. They both must find a balance between marriage and independence, love and power.

The references to Scotland are understandably heavy, some inaccurately so (Mary’s accent and the on-screen meeting between the queens), but it seemed only fitting to have a Scottish premiere in Edinburgh.

Some of the movie’s stars, including Ronan and her Scottish co-stars Jack Lowden and James McArdle, attended the event on January 14 at Edinburgh Castle. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was also a guest.

The stars then attended the first Scottish screening of the Mary Queen of Scots film, which took place in Edinburgh’s Cameo Picturehouse. Several fans were lucky enough to meet the actors and actresses, such as Ronan, as shown by the short video below.

To find out more about movies that were set in Scotland, EN4News reporter Liam Mackay counts down his top ten.

 

Robots are infiltrating Edinburgh

With a new exhibit looking at robots opening at the National Museum of Scotland today, EN4News shares what visitors can expect from the machines that are becoming more and more like humans.

Over 100 robots are the stars of a new major exhibition which has taken over the National Museum of Scotland.

“Robots” explores the quest to reimagine humans as machines, exhibiting androids of a variety of ages, from the earliest to the ones used in modern research labs.

The exhibit opened in Edinburgh today – January 18.

Five time periods are shown in “Robots”, explaining the role of robots in religious belief, the Industrial Revolution, popular culture, and society’s hopes for the future. Displays include an examination into why robots are being built to resemble people in appearance and interactive behaviour.

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RoboThespian performs vocal exercises and gives a theatrical performance for visitors. Photo credit to National Museum of Scotland

Dr. Tacye Phillipson, who is the Senior Curator of Modern Science at National Museums Scotland, said;

“The exhibition highlights some of the capabilities of these mechanical marvels, but also examines how technically challenging it is for scientific fact to catch up with the imagination of science fiction.”

As Dr. Phillipson said, there is difficulty when comparing the truth of science with the fantasy that is science fiction. This will be discussed through an analysis of what a realistic future humans share with robots could potentially look like.

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More than 100 robots are on display at the National Museum of Scotland from January 18. Photo credit to National Museum of Scotland

Various robots will show the latest advances in their technological designs, including Bipedal Walker walking like a person, Inkha answering questions and offering fashion advice, Zeno R25 replicating facial expressions, and ROSA moving its ‘eye’ to watch as visitors move.

With robots being at the very centre of popular culture since 1920, when the word ‘robot’ was first used, film buffs have a chance to see a T800 Terminator which was used in the film Terminator Salvation.

A new section to the exhibition, which was first developed in London’s Science Museum, has been added just for its time in Edinburgh. This is due to the city’s ground-breaking robotics work.

The display, by the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics’ Robotarium, analyses the creation of Valkyrie, a bot built by NASA and currently being programmed by the Robotarium with the hope of sending it to Mars on a mission.

Dr. Phillipson also said that the city is “a major centre for robotics research and we are delighted to have created a special section for the exhibition’s Edinburgh run which looks at some of this work.”

The funding for this unusual exhibition was provided by players of the People’s Postcode Lottery.

Senior Programmes Manager at People’s Postcode Lottery Hazel Johnstone said:

“Taking an in-depth look at the wonderful world of humanoid robots, visitors will be able to come face to face with a range of iconic examples; from some of those seen on the silver screen to robot workers.”

Visitors to the museum have until May 5 to see the “Robots” exhibit, with tickets costing up to £10 for adults. Purchase them here.

This is the last chance to see the exhibition in the UK before it begins to tour internationally.

 

Podcast: New Year’s resolutions

The day to ditch your New Year’s resolutions has now passed — January 17 — but have you managed to keep your grip on your goal for 2019? If you have, then you are one of the few.

Join Michaella Wheatley and Olivia Hill as they chat about the most common resolutions made at the New Year and how to ensure you do not fail before January ends.

If you would like to share your own resolutions for the New Year, please use the comment section below or get in touch on social media.

New Year’s resolutions: yay or nay?

For more than 4,000 years, New Year’s resolutions have existed, but why do so many people put themselves under pressure to change their lives for the better? EN4News gives an insight into what it’s like beginning new year without an ambition for 2019.

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New Year in Edinburgh. Photo credit to Robbie Shade

Five… Four… Three…

Two…

One…

Happy New Year!

And just like that, 2019 begins.

All around, people are celebrating — a “cheers” here, a kiss there. There’s a chorus of “all the best for 2019” that rings through the gathered crowd, and it’s all with the best intentions.

This is because a new year means a blank slate, a chance to become a new version of yourself. In the first few days of the year, when the mantra of “new year, new me” still echoes around your head, it is easy to follow whatever goal has been set. Your entire being is focused on completing your New Year’s resolution.

Yet, as reported by YouGov last year, most Brits’ resolutions begin to crumble on January 10. The pressures of everyday life return, with work starting back up and bills from Christmas appearing on your doormat, and your goal of drinking more water or getting your five a day begin to slip through your fingers.

If January 10 passed by, and your resolution was still going strong, then another hurdle forms on January 17 — the date chosen for the American creation of Ditch New Year’s Resolutions Day. Most resolutions of the exercise and weight loss variety are the first to go in this instance.

However, this is only the case if you have a resolution for 2019. If not, then you are like me.

You buck the trend, and why shouldn’t you? New Year’s resolutions put so much pressure on people to make big changes to their lives, and that is a large part of why so many fail. They’re too ambitious, too negative on themselves, too restrictive on what they can’t do or have. It makes for a difficult time and then before they know it, January isn’t even over and they’ve given up.

As someone who can be too hard on themselves, I find New Year to be quite daunting. Of course, I do see every new year as a time to accomplish something different.

Last year, I told myself I would be more confident by the end of 2018. This gave me a full year to make small, attainable changes to my life that would improve my confidence. Getting out more, speaking to new people, saying “yes” to situations that make me anxious — these were all things I did over the 365 days that created 2018.

And that is what makes completing your resolution easier. By making small changes, and reminding yourself that setbacks are acceptable, and to be expected, it will be more likely that you end 2019 with a successful resolution under your belt.

This year, just like 2018, I have chosen to follow the same rule of “this time next year I will have…” but as for what I will have accomplished, that’s for me to know and you to find out.

 

Blue Mondays are to be beaten

With the most depressing day of the year just around the corner, EN4News offers some tips on how to avoid getting the Monday blues.

The warmth and comfort that accompanies the festive season have started to fade away, leaving the cold and dark nights in its wake. You go to sleep in the dark and you wake up in the dark. All of a sudden, your workplace opens its doors again, you might be heading back to school or university, and it is almost as if Christmas has never even happened.

Of course, there is evidence that it did actually happen — a quick glance at most bank

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The weather is partly to blame for the birth of Blue Monday.

balances shows the perils of the giving season. No matter how much you pinch yourself, and even though you think your bank balance looks like a nightmare, your generosity was not a dream.

These are the factors that appear to cause the most depressing day of the year: Blue Monday. The one day that seems to make the entire country, the whole world even, suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

Usually falling on the third Monday of the month, it is understandable why so many people feel the January blues. Combined with the reasons previously mentioned, there is also the likelihood of failed New Year’s resolutions that can cause such despair.

Way back in 2005 on January 24, the first ever Blue Monday arrived, and it became acceptable to feel a little down on that particular day.

Now, depression is not limited to one day per year — it is a mental health condition. People suffer from feelings of anxiety and unhappiness on a daily basis, and that is why some view Blue Monday as a great way of spreading awareness of the condition.

Some charities have shown support for this specific day, and have started organising awareness campaigns. Samaritans began a fundraising campaign called “Brew Monday“, encouraging people to gather for a cup of tea and raise money to ensure support continues for the 1,324 people who call the charity every day.

It is the day when people with depression, or any other mental illness that causes them to feel down, realise they are not as alone as they once thought.

Not only that, but coping mechanisms are also discussed and shared more often. Here’s our list of tips to help you fight the blues.

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Infographic by Michaella Wheatley for EN4News

No matter how you feel on Monday, January 21 this year, otherwise known as 2019’s Blue Monday, know that it is just one day in the year – and hopefully the advice above will make it a little easier.

Hate crime has no place in Scotland

With “Leith Stands Up To Racism” planned for the 27th of October, Michaella Wheatley takes a look at the latest campaigns to combat hate crime.

Scotland is known for many things such as kilts, whisky and haggis. It’s even known for providing some of the greatest talent – Billy Connolly, Ewan McGregor, and Karen Gillan. People come to see Edinburgh Castle, Kelvingrove Art Gallery, and even the Glenfinnan Viaduct.

However, on the 24th of September, Scotland added one more attraction to the list, and this one seems to buck the trend.

The country is putting a stop to hate crime. It will no longer be home to hatred.

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The “Letters from Scotland” campaign hopes to end hate crime in the country. Credit to One Scotland.

It’s been declared on walls, radio, and TV, that no type of hate is allowed in the country. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you believe, Scotland will not stand for hate against anyone.

The “Letters from Scotland” campaign, founded by One Scotland, is the latest force to put a stop to the hate crime that has increased throughout the country. With so much uncertainty, last year’s terrorist attacks and the country’s vote on Brexit are still fresh in people’s minds and there is a concern that hate crimes could flare drastically.

In Edinburgh, only one type of aggravated crime was reported to have decreased, as stated by the Procurator Fiscal Office. Below are the statistics of hate crimes reported:

Edinburgh's aggravated crime

But One Scotland has faith in its country, as the website reads:

“Scotland believes in equality for all. No one should be denied for opportunities because of age, disability, gender, gender identity, race, religion or belief, or sexual orientation.”

It’s only been a month since the message was first displayed, but the campaign has already made a large impact. It would be no surprise if the campaign becomes one of the strongest against hate crime in Scottish history.

There is almost no escaping the words on the letters,  as soon as you read “Dear…” or hear a strong Scottish tone, you know what’s about to happen.

Following One Scotland’s lead, the Scottish Government and Police Scotland have also shown support for the campaign.  In the last year, more than 5,300 charges of hate crime were reported to the Procurator Fiscal in Scotland. However, it is believed that several incidents go unreported. The campaign is hoped to raise awareness, as well as the need to combat the issue in a positive manner.

Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Humza Yousaf, said, “As somebody who has faced Islamaphobic and racial abuse over the years, I know how upsetting being a victim of hate can be. Hate crime and prejudice are completely unacceptable and we are absolutely committed to tackling it.

“We all have a role to play in stamping out prejudice and I would ask anyone who witnesses a hate crime to play their part and report it.”

The Cabinet Secretary for Justice also commented specifically on the campaign on Twitter last month:

The trend to stand up against hate crimes goes further than this campaign, with “Stand Up To Racism Edinburgh” organising a march to take place on the 27th of October. The event, which will start at 11am on Balfour Street, will be in response to recent hate crimes in the city.

“Leith Stands Up To Racism” will declare that migrants and refugees are welcome in the capital.

Stand Up To Racism Edinburgh stated on Facebook that “Last month, over 300 people came out to support a peace vigil in response to the firebombing of the Sikh temple in Leith, which the police are treating as a hate crime.

“Earlier this year, two young Polish men were physically attacked in Davidson Mains, and Shabaz Ali, a young Syrian refugee, was stabbed six times in a racially motivated attempted murder attack in the Fountainbridge area.”

A number of film screenings were held across Edinburgh between October 2017 and March 2018. “Syrian Voices”, a short film focusing on three refugee families living in Edinburgh, was also shown at Edinburgh University on the 10th of October.

There is no question that Scotland wants to put an end to hate crime, and these campaigns and events might be the turning point to make it happen.

So, if you witness an act of hate, do what’s right and report it – because as One Scotland said:

“There’s no place for hate crime in Scotland. It’s everyone’s responsibility to challenge it.”

EN4News were lucky enough to chat with Steve West, who was promoting the Leith Stands Up To Racism march. Watch the video below:

 

Edinburgh Waverley station worst in Scotland for delays and cancellations

As an experienced train commuter, Michaella Wheatley gives an insight into how train delays from Edinburgh Waverley can impact everyday lives.

“The 15:35 service to Stirling has been delayed. Please listen for further announcements.”

The sigh that escaped my mouth was echoed across the platform. A quick glance around, and it became obvious that this was the last thing anyone wanted to hear. Frowns were plastered to almost all faces on platform 14 – and those who did not wear a frown wore a blank expression instead.

It was not that much of a surprise to hear my train was delayed. Unpleasant and disappointing? Yes, but shocking? No.

At least one train a week, out of the three Edinburgh to Stirling services I took, ended up being slightly delayed. This varied from the train being a minute late to arriving at the platform roughly a quarter of an hour after its scheduled time. For me, this meant waiting on the platform for longer, then being home a little later than planned.

It might not seem like a long time to me, but for those who had to catch another train, it was inconvenient. These are the commuters who are always hit the hardest when trains fail to run on time — the domino-effect of one delayed train, leading to missing the next train, and so on, is likely to ruin their plans completely.

Judging from some of the reactions to this announcement around me, it was easy to spot who would be missing their next train home.

In light of the importance of reliable train services and why they are important to commuters, consumer group Which? has uncovered the percentage of delayed and cancelled services for stations across the UK.

The company looked at the 20 busiest train stations outside of London and the ten busiest London stations from the beginning of this year to September 30, 2018, using data from the rail-performance tracking website On Time Trains.

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42% of all Edinburgh Waverley services end up delayed by more than a minute.

Three of Scotland’s train stations made the top 20 busiest stations in the UK: Edinburgh Waverley, Glasgow Queen Street, and Glasgow Central. Most services ran smoothly for both Glasgow stations, with Queen Street reaching only 39% of delays and Central on second place with 34%. The two Glasgow stations reported a 3% in cancellations on all services.

Edinburgh was ranked the worst station in Scotland, the 16th worst outside of London, even though it is the second busiest Scottish station after Glasgow Central.

Last week, Which? reported that 42% of all train services from Edinburgh Waverley are delayed, by one minute or more, or cancelled. The station’s cancellation rate was stated to be 4%.

However, since the end of September, these statistics have changed slightly.

The table below, including statistics from On Time Trains about Edinburgh Waverley’s performance over the past six months, reports the current percentage of delays and cancellations.

Edinburgh Waverley Station Performance

It is hoped that rail companies, as well as the government, will take notice of this report.

Alex Hayman, who is the Managing Director of Public Markets at Which?, said: “Passengers have told us reliability is hugely important to them. People have been left deeply frustrated at the unacceptably high levels of delays and cancellations which impact on their everyday lives.

“Passengers must be at the centre of the forthcoming Government rail review, it must look at performance targets to drive improvements in punctuality and reliability for passengers.

“The review must not be used as an excuse to delay real action to improve passengers’ experiences on the trains today. As a first step, the Government must introduce fully automatic compensation, ensuring more passengers get the money they are owed.”

In the Which? report, it is found that only eight train operating companies offer Delay Repay, and ScotRail is one of them.

This report from Which? comes a few weeks after ScotRail announced major changes to the train timetables, which will take effect in December, and are hoped to combat criticism from passengers about over-crowding trains during rush hour. The changes include faster journey times, more services, and more seats have been promised, but failed to announce how this would affect the punctuality of Scotland’s train, which is, at the end of the day, the biggest problem at hand.

 

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