Podcast: Thailand with journalist Andrew MacGregor Marshall


Andrew MacGregor Marshall is an investigative journalist who specialises in Thailand. Marshall was the former Bureau Chief for Reuters in Bankok and previously was Middle East Managing Editor for the news agency. He currently teaches journalism at Edinburgh Napier University.

EN4News News Editor Ailean Beaton spoke to Marshall about the announcement that a member of the Thai royal family, Princess Ubolratana, is running for Prime Minister in upcoming elections.

Marshall was the first journalist to break the news. In this podcast, Marshall outlines the significance of the news, calling it “the biggest news to come out of Thailand in ten years”, and discusses what this could mean for the future of Thai democracy.

Man jailed for attacking pensioner with a hammer

A man who forced his way into a pensioners home after beating her round the head with a hammer has been sentenced to five and a half years.

James Hume, 26, showed up at 76 year-old Phyllis Biggar’s home at 4am on October 15th armed with a hammer before demanding she give him money.

Mrs Biggar has spinal cancer and was able to raise a disability alarm which alerted her carers before the attacker could do more harm. He repeatedly struck her on both arms and the head while she was crying for help with the intentions of robbing her house afterwards.

The police were eventually called when one of Mrs Biggar’s carers heard the assault over a loud speaker in her home. The convict fled the scene at the sound of police sirens before the victims daughter arrived at the house to find her mother on the hallway floor soaked in blood.

Mrs Biggar was then taken to hospital where she was treated for serious wounds to the head. The court heard that she will be scarred for life.

Hume was understood to be living with his aunt in a house located on the street behind Mrs Biggar’s. He pleaded guilty to the attack at the High Court in Glasgow.

Lord Arthurson told Hume:

“This was a vulnerable lady who you attacked with a hammer. Your criminal conduct must have been absolutely terrifying.”



Scotland’s labour market continues to tighten

newsday photo 2

(Credit: Wikipedia)

Demand for permanent and temporary staff in Scotland has increased in the past few months, according to a new jobs survey.

Statistics put together by Royal Bank of Scotland have indicated that IT and computing saw the highest level of permanent vacancies in January. However, while temporary positions have increased slightly overall, the largest number of unfilled part-time vacancies were in medical, nursing and care professions.

The Royal Bank of Scotland’s Report on Jobs determined that the rate of deterioration in permanent staff supply was the strongest it has looked since 2014. The report consists of multiple responses to a survey sent to around 100 recruitment and employment consultancies.

Sebastian Burnside, chief economist at Royal Bank of Scotland, said:

”Continued expansion in permanent job placements and temporary staff billings across Scotland was seen in January, indicating further signs of a tightening labour market.

”Overall, survey data portrayed a favourable labour market for workers in Scotland, with pay pressures rising as a result of strong imbalances in staff supply and demand.”


Edinburgh tram extension budget rises to over £207 million

(Credit: Edinburgh Council)

The cost of an extension to the Edinburgh tram lines has risen by 25% to £207.3 million.

The proposed 2.8 mile extension to Edinburgh’s trams would go from the city centre to Newhaven. The initial estimation was for a total cost of £165 million.

After a “thorough tendering process” the operation has been allocated a budget of £196 million and with a “significant additional risk allocation” of 6%. The total budget eclipses the previous estimation,  a 25% rise.

The council claims that the project will be funded by future tram fare revenues, with the projected number of passengers for the first year being 16 million. However, the original project to reintroduce trams to Edinburgh cost twice the original estimation and is subject to an ongoing inquiry.

The final business case was tested against previously completed tram projects by the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School and they found the project is “more likely than not to be delivered within budget” but also recommend an extra £50 million to cover all eventualities.

The soaring budget estimate has had a mixed reaction from the public on Twitter:

The final business case is to be reviewed by councillors in March following the opening of a special data room in the City Chambers today.

Council Leader Adam McVey said: “All Councillors will be taking the opportunity to examine in detail the FBC and associated documents in detail so that we can collectively make as informed a decision as possible come 14 March. If Council moves ahead with this project, we’ll be working hard to make sure we deliver this project on time, on budget.”

Depute Council Leader Cammy Day said: “A tram to Newhaven would not only provide a direct link for the people of Newhaven and Leith to the city centre and out to the airport, but would connect residents and visitors to major employment and travel hubs along the route.

Construction is planned using a “one-dig” approach closing each site only once and opening only when all works are complete. This approach reflects on lessons learned from the previous tram project.”


Edinburgh to introduce £2 a day tourist tax

Edinburgh ‘tourist tax’ has been backed by council and would apply to all accommodation, including Airbnb-style short-term lets. Council Leader, Adam McVey, explains to EN4 News what this will mean.

Today’s local News

Emily Hewitt brings us today’s local news from Edinburgh and the surrounding areas. 

Read more on storm Erik here

Today’s National News

Here’s a look at the news from across the UK with Ross Hempseed. 

For more information on Emiliano Sala look to our sports section for updated information.

BREAKING: Scottish Tory MP referred to Discipline Panel denying sexual touching claims

A Scottish Conservative MP has issued a statement admitting that he has referred himself to his party’s discipline panel while denying that he had groped young men, saying the reports are “completely false”. 

Ross Thomson was removed from a House of Commons bar by police on Wednesday night after claims were made of “sexual touching”.

Thomson’s full statement reads: “A series of serious allegations have been made against me that have featured in the media. I would like to state that these allegations from anonymous sources are completely false. No complaint has been made to the Police, Parliament or the Conservative party. Never the less, in the interest of openness and transparency I am referring myself to the Conservative Party’s Disciplinary Panel of the Code of Conduct. This has been a deeply distressing time for me and my family but I intend to be back at work on Monday.”

The Conservative party rules state that complaints to the discipline panel will trigger an “investigation…conducted by someone with appropriate experience and no prior involvement in the complaint”.

The links between depression and genetics

A new Edinburgh University study highlights the link between depression and genetics. (Credit: Sebastian Faugstad)

An international study conducted by the University of Edinburgh has revealed a clear link for the first time between depression and genetics.

Researchers analysed over 2 million people and discovered 269 new genes that can now be associated with depression, which many scientists are claiming will open the door to new treatments in the future. The study was the largest of its kind to date and oversaw the analysis of personal data spread throughout 20 countries.

The study found that genetic variations were impacting nerve connections controlling both decision making and personality in certain parts of the brain. The discovery has shed light on a significantly dark area surrounding the roots of the illness and has highlighted specific personality traits that could be at risk.

With depression now known to be running within families, scientists estimate that over a third of all previous and existing cases could be linked to genetics. As many as one in six people will be affected by this illness in their lifetime.

Edinburgh University (Credit: Wikipedia)

Findings indicate that people who carry such genes will also be at risk of schizophrenia, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and neurotic personality traits. However, research suggests that something as simple as DNA screening would be able to indicate whether a person will be affected by this genetic disorder long before they start experiencing symptoms.

Professor Andrew McIntosh, the lead scientist on the study, is optimistic about the positive impact the findings will have on the future of mental health.

He said: “These findings are further evidence that depression is partly down to our genetics. We hope that by launching the GLAD study, we will be able to find out more about why some people are more at risk than others of mental health conditions, and how we might help living with depression and anxiety more effectively in the future.”

Evidence has also suggested that smoking could be directly related to depression in multiple cases, despite environmental factors remaining the number one cause for the illness.

Over 40,000 people throughout the UK will now be tested in the next phase of research which will require participants to submit their saliva for genetic analysis and fill out a health and lifestyle questionnaire.

Entertainment weekly round-up

Olivia Hill takes you through the latest entertainment news including this week’s film releases.


You can watch the full trailers for all the films mentioned in this video below:

Bohemian Rhapsody

Pet Sematary


The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part

All Is True



%d bloggers like this: