Edinburgh City Council urged to tackle graffiti hotspot

Edinburgh City Council have been urged to act on the increasing cases of graffiti found on historic buildings in the city centre.

Milne’s Court, owned by the University of Edinburgh, became the latest historic spot to be targeted by vandals in Edinburgh’s Old Town.

The close which connects The Mound to The Royal Mile is a popular photo spot for tourists who visit the city.

People have taken to social media asking Edinburgh City Council to do something about the graffiti.

One tweeted: “This is heartbreaking. Anything @Edinburgh_CC @edinhelp can help with? Milne’s Court.”

Another said: “Graffiti is now a major problem in Edinburgh. The police and council need to get a grip as it is scarring the city.”

“The Old Town is covered in graffiti by mostly the same vandals judging by the tags so why can’t they find those responsible and get them to remove it?”

(Credit: EN4 News)

Edinburgh City Council appointed a graffiti officer last year to deal with complaints of graffiti and look into how to deal with graffiti as well as prevent and protect buildings from graffiti.

Joanna Mowat, Edinburgh City Council, said: “The City has previously made efforts to work with groups who have been making street art and trying to find appropriate places where this can take place that is not on historic buildings.

“Where it is left on these buildings or in areas where it is not welcomed and catered for then it does have an impact on the city and makes it look unloved and uncared for.”

Despite the measures that have been put in place to deal with graffiti on public buildings; privately owned premises’ that have been marked are the responsibility of the owner and the council can only give advice on how to remove it.

The Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland (AHSS) have said that they abhor graffiti on listed buildings.

“The AHSS does not agree with any idea that this is art. It is an insult to its historic surroundings and to the building itself.”

“It affects the public perception of their importance and suggests that they are not being cared for properly. Tourists will find that their vision and expectations of the Royal Mile will be damaged and discouraged.”

They explained that the removal of graffiti is expensive and difficult as well as possibly causing semi-permanent damage to the stonework.

 

Alex Salmond: Former First Minister appears in court charged with several counts of sexual assault against 10 women

 

The former First Minister, Alex Salmond, pictured arriving at court last year. (Credit: EN4 News)

Former First Minister Alex Salmond has appeared in court charged with counts of sexual assault against 10 women.

The former SNP leader denies the 14 charges, which include one count of attempted rape, one count of intent to rape, 10 counts of sexual assault and two of indecent assault.

The offences are alleged to have taken place while Salmond served as First Minster.

Speaking outside the high court in Edinburgh, Salmond, 64, said he was innocent and said he will defend himself ‘vigorously’.

He continued: “But the only proper place to answer criminal charges is in this court.”

The attempted rape allegation relates to an instance inside Bute House in June 2014 where it is claimed the politician is alleged to have pushed a woman against a wall, to have removed her clothes and his own, before pushing her onto a bed and lying naked on top of her.

Another is said to have taken place on a visit to Stirling Castle.

The allegations are said to have taken place over a period of 6 years form 2008 until 2014.

Salmond, served as first minister of Scotland from 2007 until 2014, when he resigned following the Independence referendum. He was then elected as member of parliament for Gordon, in Aberdeen-shire until 2017.

He resigned from the Scottish National party in August 2018 follow allegations of sexual misconduct.

His QC, Gordon Jackson, said Mr Salmond was pleading not guilty, and judge Lady Dorrian set the trial date for 9 March next year.

Scottish FA deal to buy Hampden Park stalled

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The sale of Hampden Park is under threat (Photo credit: Jmorrison230582 via Wikipedia)

The Scottish FA’s deal to buy their national stadium Hampden Park is in danger of collapsing.

A £5m deal was agreed with owners Queen’s Park in September, with a move to Murrayfield also discussed.

The agreement was due to be signed off last month but negotiations have stalled, with Glasgow City Council appearing to block the move.

The council is refusing a floating charge unless they have a say on how the stadium is run, after investing £2.6m into Hampden’s redevelopment on the promise they would be represented on the Hampden Park Ltd (HPL) board – the body that runs the stadium.

The Scottish FA has yet to replace HPL but have told the council they will not be allowed a seat at the table.

Council bosses, who have the power to block any deal, also want assurances on the future of the National Football Museum, but the Scottish FA have yet to offer any.

In a statement provided to BBC Sport, Glasgow City Council said: “We have been in discussions with all the partners involved. However the deal is between Queen’s Park and the SFA and it is not appropriate for us to comment on that.

“It’s not clear at this stage what the management arrangements will be, however we are ready to partner with the SFA in the management of the stadium and the wider development of the area.”

Scottish League Two side Queen’s Park add further complication to the deal. They would like to keep playing their matches at Hampden beyond the 2019-20 season, but the Scottish FA wants them out at the end of next season.

Plans are in place to develop Lesser Hampden – Queen’s Park current stadium – but they could too be stalled if the deal to sell Hampden is stalled.

It is understood that £3m of the Hampden sale will be put aside for the development.

The Scottish FA also provided a statement to BBC Sport: “”Discussions between the Scottish FA and Queens Park FC regarding the final terms of the deal for the sale of Hampden Park are ongoing.

“Deals of this complexity require time and effort and we will continue to work with all stakeholders to conclude the transfer of ownership of the stadium to the Scottish FA following the expiration of the lease in June 2020.”

EN4 Newspaper Roundup 1/2/19

EN4 journalists Ross Hempseed, Bryce Arthur, and John Menzies discuss the front pages of today’s papers, as well as the top sports news.

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.”

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s national news

Final talks on teacher’s pay offer.

Council leaders are set to meet today to decide whether or not to make an improved pay offer which still falls short of what the teaching unions want.

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) teaching union are campaigning for a 10% pay rise and are threatening a strike ballot.

If the EIS vote against the improved pay offer then strike action will be planned.

The revised offer was decided upon two weeks ago, but council leaders still need to meet to decide if they are going to offer it to the teachers union.

The proposed wage rise will be funded by the Scottish Government.

Read more about this story here.

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Special Needs Drivers striking in solidarity. Credit to GMB

 

Nurse convicted of dragging elderly patient by ankles

A nurse has been ordered to carry out unpaid work after being convicted of dragging an 88-year-old patient down a hospital corridor by her ankles.

Steven Campbell, 50, pleaded not guilty to assault but was found guilty after his trial by sheriff Mary McCrory.

His crime was reported by relatives visiting another patient in the Glasgow’s Gartnavel Hospital after they saw him pulling patient Jessie Colquhoun along the corridor and into her room.

Campbell’s victim had dementia, a heart condition and arthritis.

 

Aberdeen’s Deputy Provost resigns in wake of sexual assault charge 

Deputy Provost Alan Donnelly has quit his role after being charged with sexual assault.

The incident allegedly took place in Trinity Hall in Holburn Street last November.

Donnelly was suspended from the Conservative party earlier this month and reported to police.

Police Scotland said a 64-year-old man had been charged and a report would be sent to the procurator fiscal.

 

Changes to food labels proposed after the death of 15-year-old girl

More descriptive food labelling has been proposed following the death of 15-year-old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse.

Natasha collapsed on a British Airways flight after she had an allergic reaction to sesame seeds on a Pret a Manger baguette in 2016.

All packaged food such as sandwiches and salads could be required to list the full ingredients.

Under current laws, the company was not required to publish allergen information on the product which caused Natasha to go into cardiac arrest.

 

Scotrail passenger satisfaction falls to 45%

Consumer satisfaction for Scotrail has hit a six-year low as it drops to 45% according to consumer group Which?, with one in four passengers complaining trips are ‘regularly stressful’.

Only 45% of those asked said they were happy with the Scottish train operator’s services, which is down 6% from last year.

Scotrail was voted 23rd out of 30 British train services, although the survey only provides a small glimpse of public opinion, with only 143 respondents.

 

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Scotrail’s ironic slogan. Credit: Scotrail

 

Human bone found in Primark socks

Police are investigating a human bone which has been found in a pair of Primark socks in Essex.

Essex police say the socks were bought in a Colchester store and the bone does not appear to be a result of recent trauma.

Police said the socks were bought on December 10 and was reported to police on January 2.

Police said without further testing, they could not determine the age or origin of the bone.

 

Council Leaders Accept Deal on Teachers’ Pay

Council leaders have decided to bring a revised Scottish Government pay offer forward that could see teachers across Scotland get a 9% pay rise.

The news comes after a previous pay offer was overwhelmingly rejected by 97% of members of Scotland’s largest teaching union.

The Educational Institute of Scotland are now in a position to ballot their members on whether to accept or reject the deal that Education Minister John Swinney has said he hopes will end pay disputes .

If this new pay deal is not accepted then it is likely teachers in Scotland will vote for strike action.

Commenting following the meeting Councillor Gail Macgregor said: “I am pleased that Council Leaders have today agreed to present a revised proposal incorporating the additional monies made available by the Scottish Government to the teaching unions.

“We understand that the Teachers Unions will now present this revised and enhanced offer to their members and we would strongly encourage its acceptance.”

 

 

Alex Salmond in Court: A picture timeline

The Former First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond yesterday appeared at the Edinburgh Sheriff Court where he was charged with 14 offences, two of which included attempted rape.

Salmond did not make any plea but did make a short statement outside the court before returning inside to receive his bail papers.

EN4News reporter Calum Wilson has the full story here.


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Slideshow Images: Ross Cowper-Fraser

Alex Salmond charged of attempted rape and sexual assault

 

Former First Minister Alex Salmond was arrested on Wednesday evening, January 23, and appeared at Edinburgh’s Sheriff Court at 2PM the following day where he faced the charges of 14 offences in the minutes-long private hearing, without making his plea.

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Salmond entering Edinburgh’s Sheriff Court (Photo credit: Ross Cowper-Fraser)

The charges were nine counts of sexual assault, two counts of indecent assault, two counts of attempted rape and a charge for breach of the peace.  

Salmond made a short statement to the  media outside the court strenuously denying the charges : “I am innocent of any criminality whatsoever.” 

The former First Minister could not take any questions and said: “I have got to observe the rules of the court and in court is where I will state my case.” 

 

The written statement read: “I co-operated fully with the police. I was released by the police after [the] interview and agreed to attend court today. I have always maintained that I have never engaged in criminality and that remains my position.” 

Police Scotland launched its investigation on Salmond in September last year following the Scottish Government’s inquiry after several complaints of sexual harassment against Salmond.  

After an internal investigation by the Scottish Government, Salmond won a legal battle against them earlier this month after Judge Lord Pentland said that the government’s actions had been “unlawful in respect that they were procedurally unfair” and had been “tainted with apparent bias.”

The former leader had been at the forefront of the Scottish Independence campaign. The referendum results were in favour of no to independence winning by 55%.     

Salmond had stopped to shake hands with two Yes supporters before entering the court.

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One supporter handed out badges, which read: “I stand with Alex. I would walk 500 miles.” (Photo credit: Calum Wilson)

Alex Salmond resigned as First Minister and SNP leader after Scotland rejected independence in 2014.

 

Boris Johnson makes major speech on Brexit

Former foreign secretary and frontrunner in the Leave campaign Boris Johnson made a major speech over Brexit on Friday morning, January 18. He delivered his speech at English construction company JCB’s factory in Staffordshire.

Johnson claimed May should put the removal of the Irish “backstop” to the top of her list of priorities. The backstop was an agreement by UK-EU to ensure there was no hard border between Ireland and the UK. However, this would mean chaining the UK to EU’s trade policy when it comes to Irish and British dealings.

He believed extending the March 29 deadline for the triggering of Article 50 would be a “mistake.”

The former secretary said a better deal needed to be negotiated with Brussels to deliver a Brexit the British public voted for in 2015.

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