No-deal could be detrimental to Scottish businesses

As Britain prepares to leave the EU, figures published by the Confederation of British Industry claim the fall-out of Brexit could cost Scotland £14 billion. 

While politicians across the country try to negotiate ways to leave the EU with a solid trade deal, recent analytics predicting the effect of Brexit on Scotland’s businesses paint a bleak picture.

On January 15, the Prime Minister suffered a historic defeat after 232 politicians voted against her current deal. After escaping a no-confidence vote on January 16, May has vowed to continue with “what the British people voted for” and finalise negotiations.

However, on January 23, First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon criticised Theresa May of being more concerned with “winning support of the DUP”, than trying to compromise with fellow cabinet members on a better deal.

“The future effects of Brexit on Scottish business and trade are largely unknown, mainly because the terms of the deal itself are still fluid. What we do know, however, is that Brexit will be bad for the economy, with businesses fleeing to other countries and trade becoming far more regulated.

“In recent polling among Scottish businesses, only 8% felt fully ready for Brexit, and 18% reported that they did not feel ready for it at all. These figures are deeply concerning with only two months remaining to a no-deal Brexit,” SNP MSP, Colin Beattie told EN4 News.

Despite the prime minister’s reassurance that Scotland’s welfare is being acknowledged, researchers are already predicting increased food and beverage prices, higher tariffs and business owners leaving the UK to avoid ‘outside’ EU regulations and taxes.

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Infographic by Jade du Preez for EN4News

In their annual year-on report, CBI anticipated an 8.1% decrease in Real Gross Value, amounting to £14 billion in Scotland, by 2032. This echoes earlier figures released by the Scottish Government which estimated Brexit would cost £8 billion by 2030.

The damning figures came after May previously assured the public in November 2018, that Brexit would be “good for Scotland” and would provide a “free-trade area with no tariffs” while on a tour to visit farmers in Renfrewshire.

Similarly, a Scottish Licensed Trade Association survey found that out of 500 outlets, 17% believed they were already experiencing issues related to Brexit, with a further 40% anticipating the loss of staff from European countries.

With conflicting reports on trade deals, there appears to be growing concern from businesses such as the Scottish Whisky Association, who stated on their website that leaving the EU could have a “fundamental impact on our industry.”

The owner of Greek restaurant Ola Kala in Edinburgh also shares similar concerns on the impact of a no-deal Brexit.

“We’re going to be affected obviously because most of our products are imported from Greece, so if there’s going to be borders, taxes or delays we’re definitely going to be affected, but I don’t think I’m the only one.

“The bad thing is, if there’s a Brexit with no rules it will be pretty serious. If there’s an organised Brexit, like we all hope, then I think things will be smooth, but if there’s going to be a crash Brexit, then things will definitely be difficult.”

 

 

 

 

 

Should we introduce a maximum driving age in the UK?

Questions are being raised regarding the safety of elderly drivers and other road users after Prince Philip, 96, found himself involved in a collision on the Sandringham estate this week. 

Currently in the UK, the minimum age for driving is 17, with no maximum guidelines on how long you can drive for. Both the Queen, 92, and Prince Philip, are frequently seen driving their signature Range Rovers.

While people are reluctant to remove rights from elderly citizens, many are concerned that the growing number of accidents, caused by OAP’s, are starting to become unignorable.

For example, in October 2018, 80-year-old John Norton and 87-year-old Olive Howard were killed after Norton took the wrong turn on the M40 in Buckinghamshire, and travelled up the wrong side of the carriageway for eight minutes.

The tragic accident also saw 32-year-old soldier Stuart Richards killed when his Ford Mondeo crashed head-on into the pair.

Another pensioner recently failed a breath test in Lanarkshire, also in October 2018, after crashing his Audi A6 and colliding with a parked car. Francis Broughton admitted to courts that he had been drinking the night before and was eventually banned from driving for 17 months.

As of November 2018, over 5.3 million British drivers are still on the roads, with 110,790 being over the age of 90 and 11,245 incidents recorded for over-70’s in recent years.

It has been reported that 2.8 million drivers are between the age of 17-21, and they are four times more likely to be involved in crashes.

However, people across social media have started to  debate whether there should be tighter regulations in place for OAP drivers.

Currently, there are no reported plans in place from the British government or councils to reassess driving ages after Prince Phillip’s incident.

How would you feel about your Grandparents being told they can no longer drive?  

Maximum driving age

Infographic by Michaella Wheatley for EN4News

Today’s Local News

Edinburgh University student jailed for sex attack on fellow student

An Edinburgh University student has been jailed for three years after a sex attack on a teenage girl. Felix Beck, 22, assaulted his victim during a sex act in which he choked her, leaving her bruised and battered.

Beck, then launched a tirade of abused against the teen, labelling her performance as “s**t” and berating her further through a series of aggressive text messages. The student cried in the dock as he was sentenced to three years, with judge Lord Uist branding the attack “callous and disgraceful”, while telling him he “only had himself to blame.”

The victim told prosecutors how the assault has caused her to change universities and how events have left her suffering from PTSD. The attack came just weeks after another woman had filed rape allegations against Beck – allegations which were dropped by Lord Uist during the hearing.

Menzies to acquire aircraft de-icing firm 

Aviation giant John Menzies has been given the go-ahead to acquire Manchester based Airline Services. The buying of the  company, which deals with aircraft de-icing and ground handling projects, was subject to a nine-month investigation due to growing concerns over ground-handling prices, completion of the market and decreasing quality of service.

After a long anticipated assessment, the Competition and Markets authority gave the green light to Menzies, due to a recent surge of contract applications in the ground handling market. The joint-venture is also expected  to extend to English airports including Newcastle, Liverpool and Birmingham.

Community works together to help ravaged charity shop 

The Edinburgh community of Davidson Mains, came together after their local charity shop was robbed by thieves. The Chest, Heart and Stroke Foundation suffered the attack on Tuesday 15th, after the intruders unscrewed the safe and escaped with money.

On hearing the news this week, residents of Davidson Mains organised local donations to the shop with adults, school children and tradesmen offering to help with repairs free of charge. Unfortunately, the shop has been subject to five separate incidents of crime in recent years, including 2013 when thieves made off with £80 and caused £500 worth of damage.

30ft wide sinkhole appears in Midlothian 

A sinkhole has appeared in Roslin, Midlothian, on the former site of a colliery. The 30ft sinkhole developed on the former site of Roslin Colliery, which had operated for over 65 years and finally closed to the public in 1969. It is thought that the network of underground tunnels that form the coal mine have led to ground become unstable and the sinkhole forming.

The area, which is now farmland, has been sealed off and is awaiting inspection from the Coal Authority. If the mine is found to be the main cause of the hole, the Coal Authority have said they will “start ground work immediately to make the area safe.”

Edinburgh mum becomes first woman to win gruelling week-long marathon

Jasmin Paris, 35, has become the first woman ever to win the 268-mile Spine Race with record-breaking time of 83 hours, 12 minutes and 23 seconds. Not only did the mum-of-one beat the previous record set by Eoin Keith in 2016, but even made time to stop and breastfeed her 14-month-old daughter, Rowan.

With a massive seven days to complete the track, the Spine Race has been dubbed one of the hardest marathons in the UK but it proved no match for Jasmin. She is well respected in the sky running (defining as hill racing above heights of 2000 metres) community and has previously won several circuit titles, as well as holding the National women’s fell running title for Great Britain.

 

Today’s international news

White House cancels Davos trip

President Donald Trump has cancelled the upcoming visit of the US delegation to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland amid what is the longest partial government shutdown in US history. Earlier this week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi requested delaying State of the Union address followed by Pelosi being denied a military craft by President Trump.

African Union urges DRC to delay the final results

The African Union has called for the final results of the elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). According to the released figures, the opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi has won the election. Runner up Martin Fayulu claims he lost because of a  deal Tshisekedi made with the exiting President Kabila, who has been in power for 18 years. As a deal of this nature would constitute fraud, DRC’s Constitutional Court is expected to rule on the forthcoming legal challenge.

Japanese pop star apologises for her own assault

This month Maho Yamaguchi went public with allegations of an assault by two obsessive fans. Recently, the NGT48 singer apologised to fans for the caused trouble. Fans responded with a petition signed by more than 53,000 requesting the resignation of her manager. Since then, Yamaguchi’s manager has been removed from his post. The two fans who assaulted Yamaguchi were arrested but released without charge.

Car explosion in Colombia kills over 20 people

The blast happened on Thursday in the capital Bogota leaving over 20 people dead and dozens injured.  The 57-year-old driver of the car was also killed by the explosion. The vehicle, carrying 80kg of powerful explosive, crashed and exploded outside the General Santander police academy. President Ivan Duque described it as a “terrorist attack.”

Winter storm hits Levant region, killing two 

A severe winter storm hit Turkey extending to Lebanon and Egypt, killing one Syrian girl and another adult in a multi-car pile up as people tried to escape the storm. The storm came after temperatures plunged and the heavy rain turned into snow. The conditions across the region are improving but the storm is moving to Iran and Iraq.

Surviving R Kelly: When will we start reacting to signs of abuse?

Another day, another sex scandal, and this time it’s RnB singer R. Kelly in the firing line.

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A mugshot of R. Kelly from his legal troubles in 2002.

At the start of 2019, US TV company Lifetime releases a documentary detailing allegations of sexual assault, statutory rape, domestic violence and even enslavement by R. Kelly. The world watches in disbelief as another well-respected member of the entertainment industry is outed for being a misogynist abuser. Though R. Kelly has been in similar legal trouble before, new allegations and damning details arose from the documentary, entitled Surviving R. Kelly.

However, while shock radiates through social media, many who have been following Robert Sylvester Kelly from early in his career know that dark accusations aren’t unheard of.

 

 

For instance, in 1994, Kelly married late singer Aaliyah Haughton in Illinois. As the legal age of marriage in the state is 17, it was later revealed that the pair falsified documents to state Aaliyah was 18 — she was just 15 years old.

Aaliyah’s mother Diane Haughton recently criticised facts of the documentary citing that Aaliyah just wanted to “fulfil her dream” and called claims made in the series a “fabrication.”

However, it isn’t just the circumstances surrounding Aaliyah that are alarming. Another instance occurred several years later when a video was leaked to the Chicago Sun-Times of Kelly allegedly urinating on a 14-year-old girl during a sex act in 2002.

These events escalated to the singer being indicted on 21 counts of Child Pornography, but he was eventually found not guilty after five years in 2007, after the girl and her parents, unfortunately, refused to further testify.

The list is almost endless.

Both 2017 and 2018 saw several prominent U.S figures outed in the media for acts of sexual misconduct, notably Miramax producer Harvey Weinstein and actor Kevin Spacey.

Rumours of sexual abuse have circulated the media industry for decades. But my biggest question while watching Surviving R Kelly: where were the parents of these young girls?

And secondly, why didn’t the celebrities speaking up now voice their disdain earlier?

“All of a sudden you’re, like, bin Laden of America. Osama Bin Laden is the only one knows exactly what I’m going through” – R Kelly, Blender Magazine, 2003

The documentary took us through a host of interviews from the victims, to celebrities, collaborators and even R Kelly’s family and friends. All had similar stories to tell about the abuse they suffered behind closed doors, with his family recounting his own troubled childhood.

It’s hard to believe that — in the exclusive circle that Hollywood is — that none of these celebrities or parents knew, or at least had an inkling of what was happening.

Numerous celebrities have come forward to condemn their former colleagues’ actions, such as Nick Cannon who apologised for working with him and reflected on his own daughters.

Lady Gaga tweeted that she “stands behind these women 1000%”, while calling for her sexually charged 2013 collaboration with R.Kelly, Do What U Want, to be removed from streaming sites.

As of now, the song is still being streamed on Google Play.

Other celebrities have weighed in, including Chance the Rapper, who apologised for working with R. Kelly in the past and supported the allegations against him. Chance explained his delay in speaking out by saying he didn’t “value the accuser’s stories because they were black women.”

I appreciate Chance the Rapper’s change of heart, but in my opinion, the value of African-American women’s opinion (versus that of any other race of women) shouldn’t even come into question.

Abuse is abuse, and while it’s good for celebrities to voice their opinion and support for victims, the benefit of them speaking out seems like too little, too late. Especially when rumours have circulated about R Kelly for almost three decades.

Instead, their words, wealth and energy should be invested in providing safeguards for young impressionable singers, actors and fans who can easily be taken advantage of. It seems that may turn a blind eye based on a potential payday.

Whether a male is of black origin or otherwise, we have forgotten that these same pledges were made by the industry – “we will do better” – during the Weinstein scandal.

As Chance the Rapper highlighted, before the Lifetime documentary and details of R Kelly’s sordid sex life were made public, little attention was paid to claims made by the victims.

While it’s good to highlight issues and expose potential abusers, the abuse will continue until people have the courage to speak up sooner. It’s easy to ignore questionable activities in the moment and then act shocked later. It takes considerably more courage to act immediately.

Until the industry and parents of minors fully recognise and act on signs of abuse, I fear we’ll hear similar stories about more of our “favourite”  entertainers in the years to come.

R Kelly reportedly denies all allegations of sexual abuse and is seeking legal action against Lifetime.

China bridges the 26 mile gap

After nine years of construction, Chinese President Xi JinPing has unveiled the world’s longest crossing bridge, linking Hong Kong to China’s mainland. 

The bridge, which cost an estimated US$20 billion to build, is set to be a life-changing invention for Chinese citizens who want to access Hong Kong and Macau from the mainland city of Zhuhai.

Spanning over 54km (26 miles) and covering 21,500 square miles of China, the bridge assists with a larger plan to expand 11 cities in the region, with the cities of Hong Kong and Macau home to 68 million people in total.

“I declare the Hong Kong – Macau – Zhuhai bridge officially open.” – President Xi JinPing, October 23, 2018

So far, the making of the now famous bridge hasn’t been easy, with 18 workers reported to have lost their lives during the construction process.

With 400,000 tonnes of steel to assemble, the new bridge has enough steel to build 60 Eiffel Towers, which in itself, weighs an impressive 10,000 tonnes. The design is also said to withstand an earthquake magnitude of eight and is also typhoon-proof, which are known natural disasters in the region.

The Hong Kong – Macau – Zhuhai bridge is expected to drastically decrease commuting time from four hours to just 30 minutes, meaning people can easily travel to and from Hong Kong’s international airport.

Originally set to be unveiled in 2016, the longest bridge in the world is now open for business, setting the tone for China’s futuristic vision.

Truth or death? – The harsh reality of journalism

Journalist Jamal Khashoggi has been declared dead but without a body and without facts, one question I want to know is, how many journalists need to die in the name of freedom of speech?  

October 2, 2018, journalist Jamal Khashoggi walked into the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. As his fiancée waited outside, the journalist stepped into the building, never heard from again.

After his fiancée raised the alarm, Turkish forces began an investigation, finding evidence of torture, prompting several reports of Khashoggi’s fingers and head being cut off.

Khashoggi, by all accounts, was a courageous journalist, fuelled by a desire to see a modern progression of the Saudi regime. Deliberately choosing self-imposed exile he continued his dedication to change, through the Washington Post.

Eagerly awaiting his return, fellow journalist Karen Attiah recounts how colleagues at the Post had hoped Khashoggi would be able to submit his weekly column, which she said “captures his passion and commitment to freedom of speech in the Arab world.”

“This is the last piece of his I will edit for the Post. This column perfectly captures his commitment and passion for freedom in the Arab world” – Karen Attiah, Global Opinions Editor, Washington Post

Sadly, Khashoggi would never return.

So far, Saudi have officially “plead the fifth” recounting a botched fist-fight, while maintaining Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman is innocent. Whether this is to be believed from a country who still indulges in medieval punishment, is out for jury.

According to data collected from Committee to Protect Journalists, 48 reporters have died this year with, 47 in 2017 and a total of 1,323 since 1992. In 2017, 262 were also imprisoned, with most of these being in Arab countries.

Olivia O - Saudi Journalists

1,323 journalists have been killed since 1992.

The evasive and global response from governments, sheds light on the perceived value of a journalist’s honour to the truth. The disposal of journalists seems like a more viable option for corrupt governments and organisations than to deal with the publication of facts.

“Those who rule by fear, and fear to explain their rule, fear questions. They kill messengers.” – Jamal Khashoggi

The topic of a journalist’s safety is rarely addressed by public figures, instead dismissed as part of the job.  U.S President Donald Trump was recently cited praising congressman Greg Gianforte as “his guy” for an attack on a Guardian journalist, further highlighting the divide between the media and the state.

Unfortunately, this isn’t anything new. Even with the threat of vast media coverage the immediate threat to a journalist’s freedom is still very much active. After the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, is the hatred towards journalists accepted as the new normal?

 

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