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.”

 

 

Children’s Mental Health Week rounds off fourth consecutive year

(Credit: Let The People Speak)

Children’s Mental Health Week comes to an end in the UK this weekend after the ‘Place2Be’ campaign received an overwhelming amount of support on social media.

Overseeing school talks and spreading awareness has been the main focus for mental health organisations this week after figures were released late last year showing that one in eight people under the age of 19 suffered from mental health issues.

The ‘mental health of young people and children survey’ conducted by the NHS was launched in November 2018 and provided evidence to suggest that one in five children were victims of cyberbullying, statistics many organisations have highlighted to underscore the importance of awareness campaigns like Children’s Mental Health Week this year.

Place2be‘ has focused this week around their ‘Health: Inside and Out’ campaign which attempts to spread awareness around the physical wellbeing of children and how it can affect their mental state.

However, much attention has now been drawn towards the social media aspect of the campaign after reports surfaced of children attempting to commit suicide as a result of online bullying in the past few months.

According to government surveys, at least 40% of parents are concerned about their child’s wellbeing in relation to online bullying.

Many public figures have been spreading awareness on Twitter using ‘#ChildrensMentalHealthWeek’, sparking high levels of online debate regarding recent issues.

Tom Watson, deputy leader of the Labour party used the hashtag to push for better access to arts and sports in schools:

Mick Coyle, presenter for Radio City Live in Liverpool, highlighted a public art project that saw 200 pairs of childrens’ shoes laid out, representing the annual suicide rate for young people:

Government proposals have now been put forth as a part of Children’s Mental Health Week and MP’s are now expected to introduce sanctions on social media websites in order to tackle the ongoing cyberbullying crisis.

 

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”.

Warnings issued as ‘Storm Erik’ hits Scotland

The name ‘Erik’ does not usually scream warning or cause disruption, but when the last name is ‘Storm’ it starts to sound rather unpleasant.

Storm Erik is set to cause strong winds and heavy rain throughout this weekend in Edinburgh.

Given the challenging nature of the Scottish weather, it comes as no surprise that the people of Edinburgh need to pull out their umbrellas and wellies.

It will be raining cats and dogs outside and with winds between 50mph-70mph – you might want to keep your furry friend inside.

It will also affect the rest of Scotland as the weather continue to migrate east. It is also likely to cause trouble on the roads due to spray and flooding.

Police Scotland is urging people to drive safely and for women to leave the car at home. That’s not true, but it is funny.

The yellow weather warnings are expected to come to an end at 3 pm on Saturday 9 February. However, this does not mean that it will be rainbows, unicorns and sunshine.

In the meantime, stay #weatheraware

 

Six Nations Podcast: Can Scotland defeat Ireland?

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Scotland play Ireland tomorrow in the Six Nations (Credit: Scottish Rugby / Facebook)

Scotland host Ireland tomorrow in the Six Nations, looking to record back-to-back wins in the tournament following last week’s victory over Italy.

David Ronney and Bryce Donaldson join Luke Barry to assess Scotland’s chances.

 

To read assistant coach Mike Blair’s thoughts on tomorrow’s match click here, while for Jamie Ritchie’s thoughts click here.

EN4News Morning Brief

Today’s papers (Credit: Ailean Beaton)

Good morning from a rainy and wind-battered Edinburgh. Here’s the morning news brief. 

In the papers: Brexit, Instagram and the Edinburgh Tourist Tax 

The Scotsman and Times today are focussed on the announcement that the City of Edinburgh Council have backed plans to introduce a tourist tax. The £2-per-night charge isn’t certain to go ahead until next year at the earliest, but it’s been an item of contention for local businesses for a while. Check out some of our previous stories on the issue.

The Herald have a striking front page featuring pictures of EU nationals who have made their homes here in Scotland. “They said we’d have to wait until after Brexit is done”: immigrants discuss their uncertain futures with the paper as part of their “Brexit Voices” story.

Brexit also dominates in the national papers as Prime Minister Theresa May heads to Dublin to discuss the Irish Backstop.

Sturgeon in Canada

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon continues her jaunt across North America, discussing trade, Brexit, Independence as well as fine Scottish cuisine. Our reporter, Rory Hill, will have a round-up of Sturgeon’s US and Canada trip on the website later this morning.

Bezos’ private business

Amazon founder and richest man in the history of the world, Jeff Bezos, has published a rather scandalous post on Medium. Following news of the break-down of his marriage, Bezos has claimed that the National Inquirer magazine are holding him to ransom with some very sensitive images.

This seems to have been a weird theme on social media through February.

In Tech

A huge story for those following Facebook, as Germany orders the social media company to halt the process of combining user data from across their products. Germany has always had the lead on social media regulation, although the question of how to safeguard children from harmful content has been dominating in the UK this week.

That Friday Feeling (no longer)

Westminster, like Holyrood, doesn’t normally sit on Fridays. But with all the Brexit stuff taking up parliamentary time over these past few months, members will be sitting today to power through a long list of Private Members’ Bills. All this after our MPs have lost out on their February recess week too, aww.

And the Weather

Here in Edinburgh, the wind and rain are due to stick around through the day, with a wee bright spell around lunchtime. 10 degrees and wet into the weekend.

Thanks and make sure to visit en4news.com for all the latest news and culture.

 

Blair has “no concern” about Scotland’s defensive issues

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Blair isn’t worried about conceding late on last weekend (Credit: Bryce Donaldson)

Scotland Rugby assistant coach Mike Blair isn’t concerned about Scotland’s defensive issues despite conceding three late tries in their Six Nations victory over Italy last weekend.

Scotland beat Italy 33-20 at BT Murrayfield with tries from Blair Kinghorn, Stuart Hogg and Chris Harris helping them to the top of the table, but were 33-3 up with 10 minutes to go.

Blair admitted that Scotland made “poor” defensive decisions, but the coaching staff will leave “no stone unturned” as they prepare to host Ireland tomorrow.

“We were 33-3 up against the Italians but that last 15 minutes really hit home that if we do not get things right that teams will expose you,” he said.

“There were a few poor decisions in defence, perhaps a lack of energy, [which] meant that it was certainly a disappointing finish to the game. We are aware of that, we are aware of where our standards need to be to avoid that happening in other games.

“There is no concern. We have got a very hardworking coaching team who leave no stone unturned.

“We have conceded a few soft tries but that is nothing to do with our system. We just need to make sure the players are making smart decisions under pressure.”

 

 

Blair Kinghorn was one of the stand-out performers in last weekend’s victory, becoming the first Scottish player in history to score a hat-trick of tries.

Blair was quick to praise Kinghorn’s efforts even though he misses out on a starting spot against Ireland tomorrow.

“There’s not many who will doubt his ability after Saturday [match against Italy] and I think Blair has something like 80 or so games for his club Edinburgh already which, for a 22-year-old is crazy numbers,” Blair said.

“He’s building up a lot of experience early on in his career, obviously he’s a great talent, the height he’s got and the speed that he’s got on top of the superb handling ability that he has as well.

“We are all delighted with him, he is gaining experience all the time and already looks comfortable at international level already.”

Environmental activists storm Parliament

Extinction Rebellion staged a sit-in protest against climate change at Holyrood on January 25.

Earlier today 45 people from the organisation entered the Scottish Parliament, occupied the Debating Chamber and held a symbolic Citizens Assembly on Burns Day. The group was almost immediately asked to leave.

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Photo credit: Extinction Rebellion Scotland

Robert Alcock, of Extinction Rebellion, commented,

“We are not breaking the law. We are lawfully gathered in OUR Parliament, to draw attention to the climate emergency and to call for a Citizens’ Assembly in the name of the land and people of Scotland.”

A large crowd of both protesters and police gathered outside the Scottish Parliament this afternoon in a symbolic citizens’ assembly against climate change.

Extinction Rebellion is a non-violent activist group aiming to put pressure on the Scottish Government to make the necessary changes to policy regarding climate change.

The group is actively promoting the recent warnings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) that global warming has only twelve years to be kept at a maximum of 1.5 degrees.


It is hoped that the symbolic citizens’ assembly, which took place unexpectedly in the Debating Chamber at Holyrood, will start a nationwide conversation on the issue.

Parliament is set to debate the first stage of the new climate bill within the next six weeks, but the group says that the commitments made by the government with regards to cutting emissions are nowhere near what it should be.

The Scottish government, according to the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, must actively reduce CO2 emissions by 10% each year.

Extinction Rebellion is in favour of the idea of a Special citizens’ assembly made up of select individuals from every local Scottish authority.

They would be able to hold Parliament accountable over the issue of climate change and have the power to revise and review any legislation that the Scottish Government intend to pass.

The organisation hopes that Scottish people are made to feel more included in decisions that are both important to others and the environment.

 

 

 

One in ten Scottish households avoids TV licence fee

This week’s revelation by The Times that 10% of Scottish households avoid paying their TV licence raises the question of whether the BBC is effectively providing for a Scottish audience.

While the BBC Annual Report claims that “it’s been a great year for Scottish content”, audiences in Scotland expressed that the extent to which the BBC provides for their part of the UK is lower than the rest of the UK.

BBC Scotland at Pacific Quay in Glasgow. (Photo credit: Stevie Spiers)

The difference, however, is not significant. UK wide, 56% of adults think the BBC is effective at reflecting people like them, and 53% of adults in Scotland say the same.

Furthermore, 55% of UK adults say the BBC is effective at reflecting the part of the UK they live in.

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Last year saw a variety of Scottish productions from the BBC, including the murder mystery Shetland and documentary series Island Medics, as well as the announcement that comedy classic Still Game is returning this year.

Despite this, the BBC’s spending in Scotland during 2017/18 had a sharp decrease from the year before.

While in 2016/17, £233 million was spent in Scotland, 2017/18 experienced a decrease of £10.4 million.

An analysis done by the Scottish Parliament’s Information Centre (SPICe) in 2016 found that out of the £320 million raised from the licence fee in Scotland, just over half of that money was spent on investing across platforms and channels in Scotland.

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Looking over to Northern Ireland and Wales, 75% and 95% of licence revenue were spent in the countries respectively.

According to the BBC Report, the spending on Scotland will increase this year, which is to be expected with the launch of the new BBC Scotland channel next month.

Last year, half of the Scottish adults viewed dedicated Scottish news services on BBC Television each week. The new channel will bring Scotland news from a Scottish perspective and reflect on Scottish life through contemporary programmes.

A spokesperson from TV Licensing says that they do not speculate on future evasion rates as they use a number of factors to calculate them.

“TV Licensing’s estimated evasion rate has remained broadly the same over the last three financial years. Our figures show the rate was between 6%-7% for 2016-17, and 6.5%-7.5% for 2017-18. Changes of less than one per cent are not significant.”

 

 

Scottish Government pledges £30,000 to help prevent children going missing

The Scottish government has announced plans to finance a programme to support children and young people at risk of going missing.

Nearly two-thirds of missing person investigations in Scotland involve young people. The new scheme aims to educate this at-risk age-group on the dangers of going missing and how to receive professional help.

The programme has been awarded £30,000 funding by the government to tackle the issue from a preventative position.

Nearly 64%, of all missing person investigations in Scotland involve young people and the charity Missing People, one of two charities involved in the new programme along with Barnardo’s Scotland, say that these figures are likely to be a significant underestimate.

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Credit to missingpeople.org.uk

Only 1 in 20 children who run away from home seek professional help.

Missing Persons Operational Coordinator Yackson Bell from Police Scotland spoke about missing people in the Capital. Yackson estimates that in the Edinburgh about 54% of the 3,000 missing person incidents last year involved children.

Yakson pointed out that young people who run away put themselves at an increased risk of experiencing crime or sexual exploitation:

“We live in fear of that on an almost daily basis.”

“All these risks are heightened if a young person goes missing.”

“If we can raise awareness of that then its something that then we support it 100%.”

You can listen to Yackson Bell talk about the programme here.

 

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