EN4 News TV broadcast – Friday 24 January

Woman’s body found in Livingston

EN4 News’ Darren McConachie reports on the latest from Livingston

 

A woman’s body was found Friday morning on Almondvale Stadium Road near the Toni Macaroni Arena.

As reported by various outlets, a Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Officers were called to a report of a woman’s body having been found in an area near Almondvale Stadium Road, Livingston at around 8.35 AM on Friday, 24 January.”

The death is not being treated as suspicious and a report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.

 

Edinburgh authorities taking right approach to contain coronavirus, medical expert says

A senior Edinburgh lecturer in medical microbiology has said that local health authorities are taking the right approach as they try and contain the coronavirus.

Five people are being tested for the virus in Scotland, but all as a precautionary measure only.

Three of them are being examined at Edinburgh’s Royal Infirmary hospital. They are believed to have returned from the Chinese city of Wutan, where the coronavirus first broke out, within the last 14 days.

There are currently no confirmed cases of the disease in Scotland and the risk to the Scottish public remains low, a spokesperson for the Scottish Government said in a press release sent to EN4 News.

Dr Clare Taylor of Edinburgh Napier University, whose field of research includes immunology and infections, said that while a vaccine for coronavirus may be at least a year away, the immediate focus is to contain it.

“What we really need to do in the UK is to try and prevent it spreading in the population,” Dr Taylor told EN4 News.

“So the things that the authorities are doing at the moment, they are monitoring travellers who are coming in from the affected regions in China, they’re doing temperature screenings at airports, and anybody showing any signs of symptoms are being asked to seek medical advice, and to be honest that’s all we can do in the short term.”

The Scottish Government have also set up an Incident Management Team and will continue to monitor the situation as it develops.

(Credit: EN4 News)

A further nine people have been tested for coronavirus across the rest of the UK.
China has placed travel restrictions on Wutan and its surrounding province, Hubei. The lockdowns come ahead of the Lunar New Year, which will see millions of people travel around the country.

In China, there have been more than 800 confirmed cases of the virus, with 26 confirmed deaths.

“We now know that [coronavirus] can be transmitted from human to human and of course mass travel causes huge problems because the geographical spread can happen quite quickly, hence the reasons that Chinese authorities are shutting down big cities,” Dr Taylor said.

What is coronavirus?

Coronavirus is a type of virus which normally affects animals like birds, chickens and pigs. However, the virus has also been known to infect humans, such as the SARS virus, which emerged in China in 2003 and killed almost 800 people.

The current coronavirus (initially called WN Co-V) which emerged from China recently is also believed to have jumped from animals to humans and is now believed to be being transmitted from human to human via coughing or sneezing, much like the common cold.

The coronavirus emerged from the Chinese city of Wutan (Credit: EN4 News)

Despite the early fatalities in China, there is no reason to believe that this virus is as dangerous as SARS, Dr Taylor says.

The World Health Organisation [WHO] has also said that it’s too early to declare a global emergency.

“I think the WHO is probably right just now because it’s early days in this outbreak,” Dr Taylor adds.

“We obviously don’t want mass panic across the world, and we just have to keep our eyes on the situation to see how things develop. So far it’s a relatively small number of people who have been affected but I guess if we start to see more lethal cases occurring in countries outside China then they [WHO] might want to revisit their decision.”

Edinburgh convenience store employee recounts horror attack by group of young boys on Thursday night

An employee at a Niddrie convenience store has told EN4 News that he was subject to an attack on Thursday night.

30 to 40 youths, armed with crowbars and knives, were involved in the violence that left two members of staff injured, according to the employee, who wanted to remain anonymous.

The group waited until staff members came outside before throwing objects at them and then proceeding to attack them.

Police have confirmed that they are treating the attack as a hate crime.

The member of staff explained the results of last night’s brutal collision.

“They hit my colleague with a crowbar over the head so he has minor injuries that he went to the hospital for and his younger brother as well, they punched him,” he said.

“There was so many and they are only two people how can they fight with just two people.”

When asked how often incidents like this happen, he explained it has become a regular occurrence.

“Every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday most of the time… I don’t really know how to face this problem if they come in a group and sit outside at night time what can we do”

Despite contacting the police throughout this ongoing issue, staff are told the most they can do is bar the youths from entering the premises and then if they enter following this an arrest could be made.

“The police say to just bar them so they don’t come inside and then they don’t become aggressive with you.

“But what happens is, when we bar them they don’t just say so we can’t get in? So we can’t buy any juice or anything from here? No, they just made the plan to come outside here and look at them they had the crowbars and knives in their hands”

Those involved were known to be wearing hoods and covering their faces in a bid to hide their identity. Police are probing the situation and have asked for any witnesses to come forward.

A spokesperson for Police Scotland said: “Police were called to report of a disturbance at premises on Hay Avenue, Edinburgh, around 6.55pm on Thursday, 23 January 2020.

“A 49-year-old man and a 38-year-old man were assaulted and suffered minor injuries, however, they did not require hospital treatment.

“Officers are treating the incident as a hate crime and enquiries are ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101, quoting reference number 3092 of 23 January.”

Exclusive: Russell dismissal from Scotland camp a ‘devastating blow’, former captain Lawson says

Russell will not line-up with the Scotland team against Ireland. (Credit: EN4 News)

Former Scotland captain Rory Lawson has told EN4 News that Finn Russell’s dismissal from Scotland’s Six Nations training camp is a “devastating blow” ahead of the tournament.

Russell’s dismissal, which emerged on Thursday afternoon, has only been referred to in a short statement by the SRU in which they stated Russell had been “disciplined for a breach of team protocol during the week’s camp in Edinburgh.”

Lawson spoke about how the situation will have affected the 37 men who remain in the Scotland training camp.

“I think it’s a devastating blow,” Lawson told EN4 News. “Without knowing the ins and outs of, firstly what has happened, and secondly how it’s been dealt with, I think it’s a big challenge not only for Gregor Townsend and his coaching team but also the leadership team within the Scotland team.

“You think about Stuart Hogg – it’s his first week as Scotland captain with the rest of the squad and something like this gets thrown into the equation. It’s difficult. He doesn’t have the likes of Greig Laidlaw to lean on, who would have been one of the leaders in that decision making group previously. So, it’s stress that this Scotland squad could really do without.”

Lawson went on to discuss the issues that this situation could throw up in terms of match day team selection. The former player believes that whilst Russell is a big loss, this situation could test the depth of Townsend’s squad.

“I think, equally, the strength of any team, or any nation going in to the Six Nations, comes from the depth as well. Injuries and potential loss of players through anything to do with discipline, come within the tournament.

“It’s a blow that Scotland could ill-afford coming in to the competition. Yes Adam Hastings is in a good position, and yes there are other guys who could take that number 10 spot that are on the bench – but it’s undoubtedly a drop off in quality operators.”

Also speaking exclusively to EN4 News, fellow fly-half and former Scotland captain John Rutherford discussed his views on what has possibly gone on behind the scenes in the Scotland camp.

“It’s very difficult,” Rutherford said. “I’m now just like you, in that you’re picking up what journalists are saying or what’s going out on twitter. It sounds to me like he’s probably stepped over the line on drinking protocol. And that he’s not turned up for training.
“I think that has probably pushed Gregor [Townsend] into making the decision to discipline him for that first game.”

Rutherford acknowledged that, as of now, the details surrounding the situation and exactly what Russell’s actions have been, remain relatively unknown.

“We’re all guessing what happened. It will come out. I would have thought that over the weekend, some players will probably have spoken to friends and it will have gotten out. It’s really unfortunate – but hey, it happens all the time, in sport and business.”

Gordon Brown slams Scottish Government on child poverty record

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown has criticised the Scottish Government over their record on child poverty in the country.

One in four children in Scotland are currently living in poverty and an additional 130,000 are expected to be added to that number during the period of 2015-2028. Brown spoke out against the figures at an event in Edinburgh on Friday.

Mr Brown said: “Under current policies, the SNP will have 100,000 more children in poverty in 2023 than they promised and five years later by 2028, 250,000 more poor children than promised.”

The event aims to hear all voices for Scotland and to ask the community what kind of Scotland is to be built over the next ten years.

Mr Brown said: “Despite the turmoil of the last decade I still hope that Scotland’s future will be better inside the United Kingdom in some form, and that we can find a way forward that the vast majority of people in Scotland can support. It is time we listened to each other. The division cannot go on. We need to settle this.”

However, the SNP has responded back to Mr Brown by placing the blame back at the UK Tory government. The SNP say that cuts of £1.5 billion over a decade long period have meant that the issue has not been helped.

SNP spokesman Ms Campbell said: “The SNP Government is doing everything it can – under the financial and constitutional constraints that Gordon Brown ensured would be placed upon us – to tackle poverty and inequality in Scotland.”

Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) have also commented on the rise of child poverty in Scotland saying that the likelihood of poverty is only going to increase due to “the absence of significant policy change.”

The SNP has previously released a statement on child poverty saying that the government is taking action by using Scottish social security powers to support young families on low incomes. The Scottish Child payment will be introduced by 2022 for families with children aged under 16.

This will be a benefit paid monthly to support young families with qualifying benefits such as Universal Credit.

At the event, John Dickie of Child Poverty Action Group outlined the challenges that faced the Scottish Government but said that it was possible to be successful in reducing poverty. He outlined that in 2010/11 child poverty was reduced as a result of “real government commitment.”

Senior Economist Emma Congreve said that the Scottish government had to be more proactive.

“You have to do things, rather than say,” Ms Congreve said.

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Edinburgh school to have dual ‘Gaelic medium’ campus

Liberton High School (Credit: EN4 News)

Council chiefs are to push forward proposals to rebuild Liberton High School that could see a dual campus being built, which would include a dedicated Gaelic secondary school.

The council believes that the dual campus is the only deliverable option. It’s hoped that the new building could open its doors in 2024, however, the project carries a hefty £75 million price-tag.

A Liberton grandparent, Charlie Shields, said, “They should get a new school because they’re all getting new houses up there, so why not give the kids a new school building too?

“I’ve been here 48 years and it’s been here the whole time. It’s time for a new building.”

The proposal for a new building has been met with open arms by people in the area. The current school building has been in place since the school’s establishment in 1959. In 2014, a prefabricated wall fell and tragically killed Keane Wallis-Bennett, a 12-year-old pupil at the school.

The decision to make a new dedicated Gaelic school is one that has divided opinions. “I think it’s a waste of time. We all speak English here, so why would we start teaching them Gaelic,” said Charlie Shields.

However, there does seem to be more support for the Gaelic-speaking institution than there is opposition. Another local grandparent, Derek Carlin, said, “It’s too late for me to start now, but I think we should all learn Gaelic. It’s a good idea; it’s our national language. We learn French and Spanish, surely we could learn our own native language.”

There is a clear resurgence of Gaelic throughout Edinburgh, with the city’s first dedicated Gaelic school opening in 2013, Bun-sgoil Taobh na Pàirce. Comann nam Pàrant Dùn Èideann also operates throughout the city, giving support to pupils of Gaelic schools as well as their parents.

EN4 News spoke to Sally Swanson, who was educated at a Gaelic medium school, about her outlook on the introduction of more Gaelic schools after her own experience.

“It’s great that we’re trying to strengthen our connection with our roots.” Overall, I’m 100% for Gaelic schools; they’re so important, especially at this time in politics when it feels like we need to cling to our Scottish-ness!”

“The argument that Gaelic is a dying/dead language is completely redundant. It really isn’t – it’s still thriving in a lot of places, and only moves like this (to create fully Gaelic medium spaces) will continue to help strengthen it.”

The Western Isles council recently announced that they are going to introduce a controversial ‘Gaelic first’ policy, which would mean all children would be taught Gaelic as their first language to try and encourage children to be more bilingual.

As Gaelic is being reintroduced in schools all over the country, could Liberton one of many Gaelic Medium schools to appear in Edinburgh?

The Gorgie Farm bidding wars: The story so far

Edinburgh’s Gorgie Farm has been thrown a lifeline by two bidders, as the farm looks to have a new owner by the end of January. But what has led up to this point?

Gorgie Farm, one of the last urban farms in Scotland, broke many residents and employee’s hearts when the farm went into liquidation on November 1 2019.

The farm is, unfortunately, no stranger to financial difficulty. In 2016 the farm was under pressure to come up with the money to continue operating. In less than six weeks the farm managed to raise more than £100,000 which enabled the farm to continue to run.

Since 2016 costs of the farm have been steadily rising, but income to the farm has not been sufficient to keep the farms head above water.

In November, the Edinburgh Evening News reported that Gorgie Farm announced it had gone into liquidation and as a result 18 jobs were set to be lost. Livestock was to be sold for slaughter and pets were to be rehomed.

Gorgie City Farms Chairman George Elles at the time said: “We are sincerely grateful to all our staff who have worked tirelessly to provide much-needed services and an accessible amenity for the city, and to our volunteers who have been inspired by the opportunities and support we have been able to offer.”

On November 15 hope began to rise for the farm as ten charities and commercial organisations expressed their interest in buying the farm. On top of this positive news, a former employee of Gorgie Farm Hannah Ryan’s helped Gorgie City Farm’s go fund me page raise £72,000.

Leader of the City of Edinburgh Council, Adam McVey, praised the interest in Gorgie Farm saying: “Ten organisations coming forward, and the positive response to the crowdfunding initiative is a clear signal of just how much people across the city value the farm.”

Five days later a mystery £20,000 donation from a single anonymous donor brought the total of the go fund me closer to £100,000. This massive sum of money is set to be topped up by the council pledging £27,303 towards securing the long-term future of the Farm.

Green councillor Gavin Corbett says that the recent period at Gorgie farm has been “ a difficult time for staff and volunteers” and that there now appears to be “light on the horizon for the farm”.

In December, out of the 10 organisations that expressed interest the list was narrowed down to two prospective owners. The First was mental health charity ‘Love Learning’, who propose to turn the farm into a therapy petting farm.

The other Charity was ‘Cyrenians’, an organisation that works with people who are at risk of becoming homeless to get back on their feet. The organisation aims to help give people a chance to change their lives for the better.

In January ‘Cyrenians’ pulled out of the bid to become the new owner of Gorgie Farm. Now, the owner of the East Links Family Park, Grant Bell, has become a front runner against ‘Love Learning’ to become the new operator at Gorgie Farm.

Speaking to EN4 News Mr Bell said he wasn’t able to tell us much regarding his potential takeover as he is waiting for the council to make a further comment regarding progress being made on this new deal.

A decision as to who will be running Gorgie Farm is expected to be announced by the end of January.

 

Gorgie Farm key dates (Credit: Lewis Robertson)

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