Afternoon roundup

 

In this segment Emer Harrison, Liam Mackay, and David Paul discuss Article 50, Paris Riots and the Mars Insight probe.

Fizzy drink health crisis?

A report released by Cancer Research UK revealed children’s shocking fizzy drinks habits, but is this the full story? 

Newspapers are no stranger to doom and gloom,  just today we were told that every day Scottish children consume 600,000 fizzy drinks a day. However this isn’t the full story.

The report released by Cancer Research UK looked at the diets and obesity levels of Scottish children. They found that 1 in 4 were obese, with fizzy drinks being a contributing factor.

Despite consumption of fizzy drinks being high sugary fizzy drink consumption has actually fallen by 21%.

Researchers have been calling on the Scottish Government to further the limit the advertising and sale of junk food special offers. despite the average Scot consuming 12 kilocalories less in fizzy drinks everyday, the consumption of junk food such as confectionery biscuits and cakes has been steadily increasing since 2010.

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Fizzy drinks currently on the market.

There are calls for the Scottish Government to do more when tackling the obesity with suggestions that restrictions on multi-buy offers on junk food and fizzy drinks which could limit children’s intake.

However, the government is holding a consultation for restricting the advertising of unhealthy food. Members of the public have until the 9th of January 2019 to take part.

Theresa May begins five day debate

Theresa May will desperately bid to push through her Brexit deal this week

Theresa May has begun five days of debate over her Brexit deal in an attempt to sell it to MPs in Westminster in what is being called the ‘meaningful vote’.

The prime minister will spend eight hours per day fielding questions arguing that her Brexit deal delivers on her commitments to end free movement and the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. MPs are set to cast their final votes next Tuesday evening.

The Importance of the Deal

The future for Theresa May and the UK government are resting of the outcome of the vote. If MPs reject the deal, it is likely that there will be a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister and the current government. With 100 conservatives saying they intend to vote against the deal, the odds are currently stacked against Theresa May.
Opposition MPs have said that they would also trigger a second EU referendum if the deal collapses.

Dr Marc Geddes, lecturer in British politics from the University of Edinburgh, said that the majority of MPs are unsatisfied with the way that May is handling the deal: “the Brexit vote, we have been repeatedly told, was all about ‘taking back control’ and returning sovereignty to Parliament. For the government to then ignore the will of Parliament is why so many MPs are angry.”

Potential outcome

The outcome of the next few days of debate is uncertain. It is unlikely that Theresa May will gain the majority vote, but where will that leave parliament? Geddes believes that “it partly depends by how much May loses.

If it is a significant chunk of the House of Commons, then there are question marks over her authority as prime minister – though I think it is unlikely that she will either resign or be pushed out by losing the [majority vote] motion.” There are other possibilities, however. Article 50 could be extended, or perhaps there will be another Brexit referendum. There could also be a no-confidence vote in Theresa May or even a confidence vote in HM Government.

What will happen next?

At this stage, what will happen after the next five days of Theresa May’s debate and after the vote is cast next week is uncertain, but updates will come throughout today and we will keep you updated with the latest.

Click here to see news on the Brexit deal as it happens.

Update: French PM renounces fuel tax rises

Latest: French Prime Minister, Edouard Philippe has announced a suspension on fuel tax hikes, after protesters took to rioting in the French capital and surrounding areas.

Following crisis talks in Paris today, the PM renounced the policy put forward by President Emmanuel Macron. He stated that the fuel increase will be suspended for six months.

“No tax is worth putting the nation’s unity in danger.”

French motorists began protesting the tax spike in mid-November, when leader Macron announced the price rise was a necessity to combat climate change. However, the protests took a violent turn when political protesters known as “Yellow Vests” began violent clashes with authorities.

The riots, which saw over 130,000 people take to the streets in protest saw major damage to multiple homes, cafes and stores throughout Paris has seen more than 400 arrests since the clashes began. Over 133 were injured, including 23 members of the French security forces.

The action took a sinister turn Saturday afternoon when an 80 year old woman was killed after being struck with a gas canister thrown during the troubles. The unnamed woman, who was at home at the time of the incident, was struck in the head whilst closing her shutters. The woman was taken to hospital but died in the operating theatre. Two more people have also been killed.

Macron and Philippe’s approval rating have hit a new low as the violence spread across Paris and the hope is the suspension of the tax increase eases tensions between protesters and the government.

Foodbank usage set to rise as Universal Credit rolls out in Edinburgh

Foodbanks in Edinburgh have raised concerns over the controversial roll out of Universal Credit as over 10,000 local tenants are set to be moved to the new system.

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Foodbanks prepare for the incoming rush of service users

The Trussel Trust, who funds a network of foodbanks, have recorded an increase by nearly a fifth of all users in areas where universal credit has recently been rolled out across the country.

Despite the Scottish Conservatives maintaining a positive attitude towards the introduction of Universal Credit, December is predicted to be one of the busiest months on record for local foodbanks.

What is universal credit?

Universal Credit is a combined payment of six different kinds of benefits;

  • Working tax credit
  • Child tax credit
  • Income support
  • Housing benefit
  • Income based job seekers allowance
  • Income related employment and support allowance

Why is it now a problem?

Since the roll out of this new benefit system, people have had to wait up to five weeks for their first payment.

Consequently, this has left families unable to pay for basic living costs and leading them to fall further down the poverty line.

Despite the government claiming there will be funds in place to support the roll out, recent evidence that more people are falling into poverty has triggered several MP’s to call for it to be paused.

Bethany Biggar, operations manager at Edinburgh North West Foodbank, claims all foodbanks in the local area are prepared for the worst.

‘We are expecting to see an increase in both young people and families since the Trussel Trust have reported an 18% rise in usage around the country.’

‘As of yet, since the roll out only began on the 28th here, I couldn’t comment on a rise but we are certainly hoping for the best and prepared for the worst.’

With Christmas time known to be a difficult time for those living in poverty, many will claim the roll out is poorly timed and an unnecessary strain on already struggling families.

 

Interview: Ayshia Taskin

Edinburgh artist wants to reduce food waste and global hunger – one corn puff at a time.

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Artist Ayshia Taskin (Photo Credit: Rachel Lee)

Meet Ayshia Taskin. She’s a mother, an artist, a wife, a student – and now, thanks to her recent project, an engineer.

With her installation performance art piece, Paradise Corns, Ayshia hopes to prompt visitors into conversations about the impact food waste and modern day corporate consumerism has on world hunger. Paradise Corns – the name of the machine Ayshia built herself – churns out edible corn puffs which visitors of the exhibition are free to help themselves to.

When I first encounter Ayshia, she envelopes me in a friendly hug. In the interview below, Ayshia passionately discusses the personal connection Paradise Corns has to her and about her hopes of a world in the not-too distant future where food waste has drastically reduced and everyone is happy and healthy with a full belly.

I thought that was all my life was going to work in hospitality, I never thought I was going to be an artist. I’m the first in my family on both sides to go to university. I’m really lucky because my husband took the brunt financially, he told me to finish university and focus on my art. Luckily I got funding to go to Venice, there are some really supportive tutors at ECA. I always try and keep myself and my work down to earth. It gives me a good worth ethic.

I think what happens in your childhood really affects you when you grow up. When I was a kid in Cyprus, me, my brother and sister would see the British tourists with an abundance of food and enjoying their holiday. I think that sticks in my brain that I was born in Britain but only had a bit of couscous to eat. It is very surreal to look back on.

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“Paradise Corns” produces an abundance of corn puffs (Photo Credit: Ayshia Taskin)

When I look and see people still starving in 2018 when we shouldn’t be – we have all these factories and mechanisms to make things available to people – it’s very irritating in my mind the way the system works and they don’t necessarily want everyone to have an abundance of food or anything because it’s all about the capitalist system. I think we are at a point where we don’t need capitalism anymore. There’s enough food in the world but it’s not distributed properly.

I don’t like to see the waste. It’s unnecessary. In the West we are so disconnected from other countries who don’t have access to food at all. If everyone was just more aware of the rest of the world, and how people in the world are struggling to survive then things will change.

“Paradise Corns” is the amalgamation of performance, multi-sensory methods, i.e. olfactory senses, sight, smell, taste and auditory. Visual stimuli in the form of video and the literal production of food – auditory stimulation in the form of the sounds of the milling machine, extruder and videos. I created a set of films as part of the Paradise Corns project that are inspired by adverts from the 90s. They were very child-focused…bright colours…very appealing. ‘You can have this, when you want it’…but not really if you don’t have any money. It helped create a spoiled society and food waste.

I harbour a fascination of mass food production and consumerism. When I watch documentaries about starving people, food waste, countries unable to feed their people and my son asks, ‘well why don’t we just send food’. I always think ‘yeah we could, but that’s not going to sustain them’. People need to eat everyday so if I make a machine, you can make a machine too.

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Ayshia constructs her masterpiece (Photo Credit: Ayshia Taskin)

I didn’t study engineering but I built a machine. It shows that women can engineer things. I’m not an engineer – I’m not even good at basic mathematics – but when you have such a desire to make something or do something for a purpose you just have to go for it.

Women are held back from doing engineering jobs because they don’t have the belief they can do it because it’s so historically male dominated. I think we have to encourage girls from young age to be interested in engineering and building things. The logic brain is considered masculine and the creative side of the brain is considered the feminine, sensitive side. To this all starts at childhood, so I think it’s important for parents and teachers to give girls mechanical sets.

We should all try our best but it shouldn’t be the sole responsibility of individuals. The Council should provide more outdoor space to grow your own things – fruits, vegetables, corn – whatever! It’s more sustainable. I would love for anyone to be able to walk into a supermarket and buy whatever they want and to have an abundance of food, but it’s just not possible.

I set up a free-for-all pantry in the studio. I wouldn’t say it was me, I would just do it. I set myself a budget of five pounds a week to get as much as I can and then everyone can help themselves. People in the studio can add to it they want but not forced to, or don’t have to spend as much as a fiver.

With Paradise Corns, I’m creating the food waste and I want it to look shocking. The project has so many layers. I don’t want to tell people what to take away from it – they may want to just take a corn puff! But I hope the work inspires people to question how food is made and consumed so we can create a future where people do not starve.

Jamie Ritchie excited for BT Murrayfield return

Jamie Ritchie looks forward to another match at BT Murrayfield. Photo by Daviod

Jamie Ritchie looks forward to another match at BT Murrayfield. (Photo Credit: David Ronney)

Edinburgh Rugby’s Jamie Ritchie is itching to get back onto the BT Murrayfield pitch after successful Autumn Tests with Scotland.

The flanker scored his first try for Gregor Townsend’s side in their 54-17 win over Fiji in November and says playing at Scotland’s home of rugby is a unique experience.

He said: “Playing here is something that I’ve dreamt of since I was a kid. Growing up playing rugby in Scotland it was something very special.”

Ritchie got minutes against Fiji, South Africa and Argentina over November and jokingly admitted his try wasn’t the most impressive.

He added: “Did you see it? It was pretty average.

“Obviously it was amazing. It took me 42 games to score for Edinburgh so to do it in three or four for Scotland, it was pretty cool.

“Being in front of a home crowd, everyone is shouting for you instead of the other team so it makes a bit of a difference.

“To get to play in front of a sell-out BT Murrayfield was amazing for me.”

Ritchie is set to return for Richard Cockerill’s Edinburgh side this Friday when they face Newcastle Falcons in the Heineken Champions Cup.

“Playing here is something that I’ve dreamt of since I was a kid.”

With the side suffering from tough results due to depleted squads as of late, Ritchie knows the importance to have the international players back at the club.

He said: “It’s back to square one as far as I’m concerned, get back playing well for Edinburgh.

“Guys who played a few Autumn internationals got a week off last week so hopefully we’re pretty fresh coming into these next two games.

“We’re looking forward to it. Europe probably freshens it up for the whole squad having had a bit of patchy form.

“We’re excited to get out there and hopefully play well.”

Bruce Springsteen announces UK return

Springsteen is know as the “the Boss”. Photo Credit: Craig O’Neal

Legendary singer Bruce Springsteen has confirmed he will play a string of concerts across the UK in 2019.

Though no confirmed shows have been announced as of yet, Springsteen recently announced it was “time to get back to my day job”, confirming his return to musical form with a new studio album with his E Street Band.

A new studio album would mean the first new material released by the artist since 2014’s “High Hopes” however “Springsteen on Broadway”, a greatest hits performance covering Bruce’s mammoth 46 year career will premiere on Netflix December 15th.

Springsteen last toured the UK in 2016, which included a stop at Glasgow’s Hampden stadium. Known for his mammoth performances, the singer played for over three hours at the famed football stadium.

Bruce and the gang will be well rehearsed for next year’s dates, currently playing five nights a week as part of the Broadway shows in New York City. Though Springsteen turns 70 next year, it seems the iconic American hero is showing no signs of slowing down any time soon.

Sturgeon offers cash injection to combat climate change

Nicola Sturgeon has pledged £200,000 to fight climate change ahead of her appearance at Poland climate change summit.

The money will be given to the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action – the body responsible for enacting the Paris Agreement strategy.

It is hoped that the funding will help all levels of Society to come together to reduce climate change. The first Minster said this about the funding.

“We have a moral responsibility to do what we can to prevent, and mitigate the effects of, global climate change.

“Scotland has been widely praised internationally for our work to tackle climate change, and I am absolutely determined that there will be no let-up in our efforts.”

“It requires everyone in society – individuals, businesses and governments – to play their part in changing behaviours, and I’m pleased that the Scottish Government is able to support the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action in its work.”

David Attenborough kicked off the conference with a speech about climate change being humanities greatest threat.

The conference has came under fire for being hosted in Poland’s coal country with the Polish Government have announced the opening of a new coal mine next year near the conference centre.

The conference will run from the 2nd to the 14th of December.

Christmas has arrived at the Royal Botanic Garden

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Visitors to the gardens can watch festive light projections on the Glasshouse.

 

It may only be the first week of December, but the festivities in Edinburgh are well and truly underway and the Royal Botanic Garden has a brand new Christmas trail for visitors to enjoy.

Until the 29th of December, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is running a winter-themed trail with decorations, music and over a million lights called “Christmas at the Botanics”. This is the second year the Royal Botanic Garden has put on the event and there are similar trails all across the UK.

Emma Henderson from Culture Creative , the creative management company behind “Christmas at the Botanics”, mentioned some of the other trails around the country.

“Christmas at the Botanics is one of seven lit trails themed around Christmas which include Christmas at Kew, Christmas at Bleinheim Palace, Christmas at Dunham Massey, Christmas at Bedgebury, Christmas at Beaulieu and Christmas at London Zoo.”

“The first trail was at Kew Gardens six years ago and its success has led to other trails being added each year.”

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Some of the one million lights on display at “Christmas at the Botanics”.

This year, the mile-long trail has several new additions, including contributions from both UK-based artists and artists from around the world.

“This year’s trail includes artworks by international and UK artists, live theatre and light projections onto the world-famous Glasshouse and Inverleith House,” said Emma.

“French lighting designers Tilt have two installations: “Lily of the Valley” and “Carbonium”. Mandylights from Australia, whose work has been shown previously at Vivid Festival in Sydney, has brought us ‘The Cathedral of Light.'”

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The Cathedral of Light is one of the new attractions at the gardens this year.

The Cathedral of Light, a 70m-long tunnel with over 100,000 lights, provides quite a spectacle at the halfway point of the trail. Visitors should take their time to enjoy the stunning lights and accompanying Christmas carols: this is one of the prime picture taking areas.

There are also a number of new features this year for children to enjoy on their way around the gardens. Emma Henderson spoke about some of the options available for families to enjoy together.

“This year’s Santa Panto is themed around the gifts that conifer trees give us year-round. It’s presented by Connie Fir and Connor Fir, two Christmas elves who are Santa’s helpers. Our conifer trail is also new this year, which highlights six key specimens in the garden for adults and children to find.”

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Festive decorations have been placed at different points around the garden.

Although the trail is outdoors and some may be sceptical to brave the Scottish weather on winter evenings, there are plenty of opportunities to buy hot food and drinks around the garden.

“Christmas at the Botanics is a family event created for everyone to enjoy. There are over a million twinkling lights, creamy hot chocolate, mulled wine and marshmallows, Christmas music, crackling fires and of course, Santa Clause. So wrap up warm and come enjoy the wonderful Christmas atmosphere and fun.”

You can find out more about “Christmas at the Botanics” and how to purchase tickets here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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