Some Scottish News & Views Issue # 375

Issue # 375                                                    Week ending 19th November 2016

How Internet Technology Can Bring A Family Together Fast by Iain MacIver Courtesy of the Press & Journal
If I am writing rubbish here this week, it’s not really my fault. There is something up with the keyboard of my computer so my wife is letting me use hers. She has loads of work to do but has decided that my need is greater - in other words, I need to keep the editor happy and get this column in by the deadline or I will be in for laldy.

It is not just the keyboard that’s different. Mrs X’s computer is doing all sort of strange things that take a bit of getting used to. When I click on the bookmark for the news, it just goes to a photo of Brad Pitt looking very cold on a beach. Hmm, must be a fault. I thought the entire machine was faulty at first when I could not even get it to start up. Why do they not make all On switches to look like On switches? Yes, it is on the front but it is a panel you press to fire it up.

However, I think I’m better with technology than my other half. She is not very computer savvy, my wife. She is a bit better now but when she got her first computer, she went to a shop in Stornoway and said she wanted a pair of pink curtains that would have to be the size of her computer screen. The assistant scratched her head and wondered if she heard her right. “Madam,” she said, because it was a very posh shop, “computers do not have curtains.” Mrs X then chirped up: “Helloooo…. My computer’s got Windows.”

She’s a lot wiser now, of course. She has mastered how to write emails, how to chat for hours on end on Facebook and how to find websites featuring the aforesaid Mr Pitt. I hardly ever see her. It’s great. Seriously, technology is a wonderful thing and through all the latest technological advances, there are now fantastic new ways for our family to communicate with each other. And, if I want to see them face-to-face at a family meeting, I can do that too and they will all come running to me because of technology. How? I just turn off the wi-fi.

Talking of Windows, that reminds me that in Tong, there are some panes getting a bit of a polish even as I stab away at these strange keys. No, I am not going to mention the most powerful man in the world this week. Just because I hear rumours that an address or two in his mother’s home village are to be spruced up, I will say nothing. I don’t know what it means and I am not going to speculate. If a large, dark jet is spotted circling Stornoway Airport soon, that’ll be a private matter and none of our business.

Instead, my business will be getting ready for my annual health check-up soon. That is not something I am really looking forward to. It is just one long telling-off from start to finish. “Did you take our advice from last time? No, you did not. You have to start cutting down on how much you eat and you need to start taking more exercise. You need to have more physical activity that tires you out - like walking faster, lifting weights or something like that.”

I know, I know. Perhaps I could have done better but I have been very busy with all sorts of other things. Still, I get plenty of exercise in another sort of physical way - I am always jumping to conclusions, pushing my luck and dodging deadlines.

Sitting here trying to get used to someone else’s computer made me realise how difficult it is to reprogramme ourselves, never mind the computer. Maybe it is because Mrs X is a woman and she has just adapted it to her wily ways to baffle me. Maybe women are like computers in many ways. One is a cold, heartless machine and the other is a computing device.

I can hear Mrs X shouting downstairs. She is getting a bit angry that I am still hogging her computer. Not to worry, I have learned over the years how to calm her down. When she is telling me off for something, I just sit her down gently and I take both her hands in mine. That way she can’t hit me with them.

Oh-oh. I’d better finish off. She is coming up the stairs and shouting that if I don’t get off her computer and do some shopping, she’ll slam my head on the keyboard. She wouldn’t do that. She’s just jokinr£wekj*re0un8#

Call to Help Map Coastline Plant
Caithnessians are being called on to help build a map of where seagrass can be found around northern Scotland.  Seagrass is a flowering plant which lives under the waves in shallow, sheltered areas of coastlines. However, with pollution on the rise, climate change and human disturbance, populations are disappearing. The Scottish marine conservation charity Project Seagrass is trying to monitor and map remaining populations.  It is asking for people’s help by using a Seagrass Spotter app to take a picture of any seagrass sightings around the coast. Researchers believe with so little known about the seagrass around Caithness, the chances are people will be discovering populations no one has found before.  Healthy seagrass meadows are places for young fish to grow, hide and find food. Other benefits of the underwater gardens include more oxygen to breathe, more carbon being locked away in their leaves and roots, and protection for sandy coastlines.

Calls for Trains to Stop At All Far North Line Stations
Almost 240 trains failed to stop at stations on the Far North Line in the last 24 months as a Highland and Islands MSP is calling for action to be taken.  Edward Mountain has written to transport minister Humza Yousaf after it was revealed trains have failed to stop 236 times at certain stations between Wick and Inverness in the last two years.  The Conservative MSP said concerns have been raised by constituents travelling on the Far North Line about the amount of times trains have failed to stop.  In August, Scottish Government officials invoked a provision in the Franchise Agreement, by which Abellio Scotrail was asked to provide an improvement plan, to address performance issues.  Mr Mountain said: “It is important trains run on time and stop at all the stations they should.  I will continue to ensure that ‘skip stops’ are monitored and the unacceptable practise is not encouraged”.

Children Petrified by Reports About Terror Attacks Turning to Childline for Help
Children as young as nine have contacted Childline “petrified” about terror attacks in the year since the Paris atrocities.  The NSPCC’s round-the-clock service has handled 660 counselling sessions about terrorism since November 2015, with children mentioning panic attacks, anxiety, insomnia, and nightmares about terror attacks.  Counsellors at Scotland’s two Childline bases in Aberdeen and Glasgow handled 111 of these sessions from children across the UK in that time.  Many feared the outbreak of war and frequently told Childline that they were scared of a terror attack hurting their families.  Across the UK one in five of the contacts to the free, anonymous service, were from young people aged 11 or younger. The Paris attacks on November 13, 2015, and the atrocities in Brussels, Orlando, Nice, and Munich this year all triggered a higher volume of calls, with girls twice as likely as boys to contact the service.  Matt Forde, national head of services for NSPCC Scotland, said: “These vicious attacks have seared themselves into the consciousness of children, who tell us how petrified they are of these sadistic atrocities happening on UK shores.  The past 12 months have been stained by these bloody events and it is little wonder that young people are so frightened about terrorism.  Sadly we now live in a world where the months are punctuated by these attacks, so it is vital that we do not brush young peoples’ fears aside. Instead, we must listen to their worries and reassure them that there are people doing everything they can to keep us all safe.  Childline is always here to listen to a child, and our helpline can offer adults advice on how to comfort and talk to children about difficult topics.”  Young people, aged 12 to 15, were the most likely to speak to counsellors.  The NSPCC’s helpline service helps parents by advising them on how to talk to children about terrorism.  Trained counsellors recommend letting your child know that that they can talk openly with you about their concerns, do not panic them, and make them feel safe and loved. Parents can also help their child by asking them about what they know and how they feel about it, agreeing such attacks are frightening and sad, but reassuring them that adults are doing everything they can to stop these incidents.  The NSPCC also advises avoiding complicated, worrying explanations, as children will not be able to process the information and it could leave them more frightened and confused.

The Essentials of Scotch
Anyone that reads my ramblings will know that I’ve got a soft spot for Scotch whisky.  I love learning about the intricacies and subtle differentiators of ‘the water of life’ – from its origins to its worldwide modern-day appeal.  But how can you really get to know whisky in Scotland? If you’re a sceptical beginner, how can you tackle some of those cautious perceptions?  If you’re a one-whisky-man/woman how can you get to know your brand better or, dare I say, tentatively branch out a little? Here’s some thoughts to get the mind working…

Scotland’s Whisky Regions
Speyside is the most famous of our whisky regions, with by far the largest percentage of our distilleries dotted around the luxuriously smooth waters of the River Spey.  Highland and Lowland drams cover a wide range of flavours and characteristics. From the light vanilla of remote Dalwhinnie in the Cairngorms to the citrusy spiciness of a Glengoyne in the Trossachs, it’s a diverse journey.  Then there’s little Campbeltown, offering a gentle introduction to the Isles where sweet and fruity mingle with lightly peated notes.  And there’s Islay. At the other end of the extreme from Speyside, the west coast offerings from Islay’s 8 distilleries are generally heavily peated and smoky.  To some they are almost medicinal (particularly in their younger years), to others they have that drama and fury that encapsulates the occasional harshness of Hebridean climates and landscapes.

The Etiquette
Ultimately you should simply enjoy whisky any way you like, but if you’re interested in the proper etiquette, here’s a few tips… The experts say drink Scotch neat or with a little water (and absolutely no ice). Remember to put your nose to use too – smelling is half the fun. ‘Single malt’ has long been seen as a requirement for many, and simply means what you’re drinking is the product of a single distillery. Purists will likely turn their noses up with blends, but don’t let that affect you – there are some fabulous blends out there that only underline the endless possibilities open to your taste buds.  Age may, or may not, matter. Price certainly goes up the older the dram gets but the quality is purely down to personal taste. Most brands start their ranges around the 10-year mark but, increasingly, ageless lines are taking prominence – such as the Talisker Storm, Macallan Gold or the Ardbeg Uigeadail.

Visiting a Whisky Distillery
There’s something supremely special about going straight to the source.  This is where the magic happens and where all the love that makes each whisky unique gets poured in.Having been to several dozen tours around the land, the process in each is pretty similar, but each distillery retains its own identity.  From the characteristic and passionate guides to the traditional vs modern look and approach of the distilleries themselves, you’ll likely find yourself getting very attached to them.  Admire the sea of stills at Glenlivet (it’s like Callanish for whisky lovers), marvel at the visual marketing appeal of Glenfiddich’s on-site shop or gawk at the simple beauty of little Edradour and you’ll doubtless agree.  For those of you that love your peated, smoky, salty drams, the destination has to be Islay and I can’t help but adore the industrial and step-back-in-time feel of the likes of Bunnahabhain distillery, or the back-to-basics approach of the Laphroaig malting floor.  Throw in some local island charmers and it becomes about so much more than the liquid in the glass.  Whether you’re a die hard, brand loyal whisky pro or a complete novice looking to dip your toe into this so-Scottish of past-times, the love affairs will begin and deepen at the distilleries themselves. So get yourself to a tasting, sample some of a distillery’s finest and let the whisky do the rest.

On The Scent Of Dunskey Castle
Break away from the popular tourist routes and head south says newest Scotlander David Weinczok  “So what brings you to Stranraer then? Not exactly the centre of the universe is it?”  “Well, no,” I replied, still groggy and not nearly caffeinated enough, to the man at the hotel breakfast table. “But that’s the point, isn’t it?” Indeed, where’s a Central Belter to go in search of some castle and landscape therapy?  “North!” is the typical tourist refrain, while more seasoned stravaigers usually advocate the west.  As a heritage professional who regularly chats with visitors I’ve heard the same circuit described a thousand times – start your trip in Edinburgh or Glasgow, shoot north to Loch Ness and Culloden with a stopover at Stirling, and maybe if you’re really keen pop out to Skye and return via Glencoe.  What I hardly ever hear, though, are plans to venture south. That’s a real shame, because while it may not be the first direction that the tartan tourism industry promotes internationally, Galloway in particular can stand toe to toe with the Highlands for its scenery, history and hospitality.  I came to the Rhins of Galloway on the scent of Dunskey Castle, a coastal gem near Portpatrick. Right from the start I could tell it was something special.  A steep, stepped ascent from the car park leads to a narrow stretch where you are flanked by cliffs to the right and a deep trench to the left, making the approach feel like the lead-up to a thrill ride.  The spurs of stone jutting out into the turquoise waters are as dramatic as anything I’ve encountered in Caithness or the Argyll coast.  The castle itself is a typical towerhouse, but it’s that well-worn adage that comes to mind when you see it: location, location, location. The weathered beauty of the ruin is amplified by its precipitous position, the roughness of the stone soothed by the sound of waves below.  This is the ‘historic environment’, a term enthusiastically taken up in recent years; Dunskey Castle isn’t just its walls.  It’s the breathlessness while climbing the stairs, the flowers and weeds sprouting in the courtyard, and the sight of a not-all-that-distant shore on the horizon – Northern Ireland – reminding you that the people who lived here were always a part of a world far larger than we give them credit for.  A big part of the reason that people instinctively head north is the notion that what’s up there is what Scotland really is. Popular imagination certainly reinforces this.  But in my experience there are many, many ‘Scotlands’, and the Old Man of Storr or Edinburgh Castle are no more or less the authentic Scotland than a sleepy Fife village or a Glasgow tenement.  After all here I was, nearly as far from the Highlands as it’s possible to be in Scotland, bouncing echoes off the walls of medieval Dunskey Castle perched atop towering cliffs doing perpetual battle with the sea. Turns out that no matter what Scotland you’re looking for, you just might find it in the last place you expect.

First Minister Plans Dublin Trip to Strengthen Ties with Ireland
Nicola Sturgeon will meet politicians and business leaders in Dublin later this month in an effort to strengthen Scotland's relationship with Ireland.  The First Minister will host meetings with Irish President Michael D Higgins and minister for foreign affairs and trade Charlie Flanagan as well as meeting about 100 business representatives.  Michael D Higgins and Nicola Sturgeon will meet once more when the First Minister travels to Dublin.  She will also become the first serving head of government to address the Seanad, the upper house of the Irish parliament, during the visit.  Ms Sturgeon said she looked forward to speaking about the Scottish Government's plans to protect Scotland's interests in the European Union (EU) following the vote for the UK to leave the bloc.  The announcement follows a report that the Irish Government had rejected direct talks with Ms Sturgeon over the plans.  The First Minister has said she will seek discussions with EU institutions and other EU member states to "explore all possible options to protect Scotland's place in the EU".  The Herald newspaper said Irish minister for the diaspora and international development Joe McHugh had confirmed formal Brexit talks would take place only with the UK Government.  Speaking in advance of her visit, Ms Sturgeon said: "Scotland and Ireland have a shared history and a long tradition of co-operation on a range of issues.  In the post-Brexit landscape, it has become even more important that we work together to protect our shared interests.  Last year we established an innovation and investment hub in Dublin to strengthen our relationship with Ireland and promote inward investment.  I am proud and humbled to have been invited to address the Seanad and recognise what an honour this is.  I am looking forward to the opportunity to speak to senators about my hopes for continued work between our two nations and my plans to protect Scotland's interests in the EU."

Golspie and Brora 2017 Galas Set to Clash
Two neighbouring East Sutherland communities will be holding gala weeks on the same dates next year, sparking fears that one or both will suffer as a result. Golspie Gala Week and Brora Carnival Week are both scheduled to take place on the last week of July, 2017.  The clash has occurred after Golspie, which traditionally holds its gala in the first week of August, pushed its festivities back a week.  But in so doing it coincided with the traditional calendar slot occupied by the Brora carnival.  A large poster on the gala week’s Facebook Page states: Note the date change – 22nd-29th July. The festival is now in its 44th year. Posts on both the organisations’ Facebook pages voice concern over the clash.  Golspie Gala Week secretary Campbell Stewart said the decision to change the dates had been taken by the management committee two months ago and also discussed at the group’s more recent annual general meeting.  He said in recent years the gala week had experienced a drop in attendance figures and profits at dances held at the end of the August week and traditionally frequented by younger people.  The slump has been put down to the fact the increasingly popular Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival was being held from the Thursday to the Saturday of the same week.  Mr Stewart said committee members were aware the rescheduled gala week would clash with Brora Carnival Week but felt there was no other option.  He said; "It was a very difficult decision and was only taken after an awful lot of thought by committee members. There was a lengthy debate about the best way forward and alternatives were looked at with one committee member suggesting we ask Belladrum to change its dates.  But at the end of the day our responsibilty is to the gala week.  We were finding it very difficult to compete with Belladrum. We were losing the younger folk to it and not just folk from Golspie but also from Rogart, Brora and Tain.  Over the last few years our numbers and our profits have been nowhere near what they used to be.  If we had not had good weather for this year’s Banger Derby, we would probably have incurred a slight loss."  He continued: "The committee decided to move it back a week to try and avoid Belladrum. It’s isn’t just about profit. We recognise that people want to have the opportunity to go to both Golpie Gala Week and Belladrum.  Just as many people have welcomed this decision as have condemned it."  Mr Stewart said he had apologised to organisers of Brora Carnival Week. The issue was discussed by members of the carnival week at a meeting on Wednesday evening.  Russell Rekhy, chairman of Brora Carnival’s management committee said yesterday: "Brora is at an advanced stage of planning for our 27th carnival week. We hope that the clash of dates can be resolved to avoid any impact it may have on the villages."

Moray MP 'Must Now Apologise' Over Barracks

A war of words has broken out between two politicians over Kinloss Barracks. While welcoming news the Army base would remain open Douglas Ross, Conservative Highlands and Islands MSP called for an apology from Moray’s MP. Mr Ross accused the SNP’s leader at Westminster Angus Robertson for creating uncertainty and fear when he raised concerns over the future of Kinloss in August while the Ministry of Defence was carrying out a review of its estate.   Mr Robertson hit back saying doubt over the base was created by the Tory government at Westminster, and "sound military sources" had indicated to him Kinloss was being considered for closure so he had nothing to apologise for.  Defence Secretary Michael Fallon made an announcement on Monday confirming that Moray will retain its army barracks for the foreseeable future, although eight other military bases in Scotland will be closed over the next 16 years.  Mr Ross said: "This is great news for Kinloss and for Moray. People have understandably been worried, but the only person whipping up rumours was Angus Robertson, because while the UK government was going through a proper process that’s delivered the right answer, he saw the chance for a few cheap headlines."  He added: "Local people were genuinely concerned and worried and a task force was set-up. This could all have been avoided but for the Moray MPs attempts to make political capital where there was none.  Now we know it was entirely unnecessary scaremongering, he must now apologise."  However Mr Robertson said the uncertainty in this process was created by the UK Tory government’s decision to "slash" its military footprint,  He added: "The facts are these - the MoD held a meeting with Moray Council to discuss alternative uses for Kinloss. The MoD promised a public consultation that did not occur.  Sound military sources indicated to me that Kinloss was under consideration for closure. Had a decision been made to close Kinloss and we had made no effort to prevent that, despite knowing those facts, then that would have been irresponsible.  The Conservatives have a short memory, as they seem to have forgotten the decision to scrap the Nimrods, which was made with no notice whatsoever and has since been roundly condemned.   I make no apology for being extremely sceptical about the Tory’s approach to defence decisions and no apology for putting pressure on the government to keep Kinloss Barracks in my Moray constituency open."

‘Honest’ Map Reveals Culloden As Written by the Losers
Forced to fight against a formidable foe after weeks of starvation and sleep depravation, defeat at Culloden was inevitable.  As every Scot knows, the battle fought at Culloden Moor on the 16th of April 1746 - the last pitched battle fought on British soil - ended in a shattering defeat for the forces of Charles Edward Stuart.  It spelled the end of a year-long rebellion which had threatened to rip the United Kingdom in two and reinstall a Catholic monarch to the British throne.  An estimated 3,000 men died on the battlefield, however, only one third of that total perished in action, the remainder were wounded soldiers slaughtered in the aftermath.  The map ‘A Plan of the Battle of Culloden’ is a contemporary record of Culloden drawn up by cartographer John Finlayson who fought at Culloden as an artilleryman for the Jacobite Army.  Experts believe the map dates from the time of the battle, due to the fact that Fort George, designed in 1747, appears as an outline on the Ardersier peninsula. The plan gives us a good sense of the considerable challenge faced by Charles Edward Stuart’s Jacobites as they prepared to clash with a much larger and better-equipped Hanoverian Army.  Fascinating details include a depictions of the English supply ships making their way up the Moray Firth, and of their camp at Nairn.  Also included is the path the Highlanders took the night before the battle when they attempted in vain to surprise the ‘Duke in his camp’. The Highlanders got as far as Culraick, 4 miles from the encampment at Nairn, when the attack was thwarted. The result meant the Jacobean troops faced a 20 mile trek on foot back to camp, with little or no sleep for the coming battle.  Similarly, Finlayson has also marked out the paths the Highlanders took as they fled from battle. The lines of ‘flight’ spread out towards Inverness and the west.  According to map historians, Finlayson’s ‘first-hand account’ of the battlefield and the events which took place should be taken with a pinch of salt, as his allegiances may have skewed certain facts to fit Jacobean agendas. Chris Fleet, map curator at National Library of Scotland explains: “This is a very special map, though certain visual elements of what we see here do have to be treated as propaganda. The draughtsman (John Finlayson) was an engineer in the Jacobean Army and a close companion of Bonnie Prince Charlie. We have to imagine that for him personally, the defeat would have been a very significant blow and there would have been a great deal of sentiment attached when producing this”.  The map certainly doesn’t beat about the bush in admitting that Culloden was a crushing defeat - as evidenced by its inlays, which include a unicorn with a broken horn, a lion in chains, a pair of snapped thistles, a fallen soldier, and an extinguished candle. There is a real sense of despair at play here, something Mr Finlayson doesn’t attempt to hide.  In his ‘observations’ on the left hand side, Finalyson also explains that the Highlanders had been “obliged to fight, after a fatiguing march, without any refreshments, having had no sleep and but little food the two days and nights immediately preceding”. According to map curator Chris Fleet, this account is what makes the map so unique: “Hanoverian map records of this battle would never have felt the need to explain why the Jacobites lost, other than the fact they had been rightfully defeated.”  John Finlayson’s map, while clearly alluding to the Jacobite cause, manages to present the events in an open and honest manner which doesn’t shy away from admitting defeat at Culloden and the fierce sense of disappointment which accompanied it.

Highland Entrepreneur Receives Parliamentary Recognition

The achievements of a Highland entrepreneur have been singled out for praise in Scottish Parliament.  Highland Conservative MSP Edward Mountain put forward a motion for Lachlan McInnes, managing director of the McInnes Group, to be congratulated on being shortlisted as a finalist for a prestigious green energy award.  Lachlan, who is originally from Fort Augustus, has been nominated for the award after being crowned a winner at the Young Professional Green Energy Awards in May this year. He beat off competition to win the Business Development Award after achieving outstanding results in a new business venture experiencing growth and success.  Lachlan, 30, carved out his business empire after being made redundant from his apprenticeship in 2011. He paid to complete his own apprenticeship and founded McInnes Plumbing and Heating Ltd followed by McInnes Renewables in 2013, collectively known as the McInnes Group.  Mr Mountain said: ‘I am delighted to have been able to acknowledge the positive steps that Lachlan has taken to secure an apprenticeship. It took courage and the strength of his convictions to make this change and I am delighted that he has been shortlisted for an award.’  The Scottish renewables awards ceremony celebrates innovators and leaders in green energy and showcases the very best and brightest working in the sector. The awards dinner will be held on December 1 and will take place at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, where the winners will be announced.

Police to Target Rural Crime
Police officers from across Scotland are being brought up to speed on how to identify stolen agricultural plant and vehicles in a series of training events being run across the country this month.  Following a similar series of training events last year, more than 70 police officers from across the country will learn how to identify stolen agricultural vehicles and plant in a bid to further reduce the impact of crime in rural areas.  The theft of agricultural vehicles is one of the key priorities identified by the SPARC (Scottish Partnership Against Rural Crime) group and quad bikes, all-terrain vehicles and trailers are the most common items to be stolen.  The first of the four awareness training events held on Tuesday this week at Auchterarder in Perthshire.  The training events in Aberdeenshire, Perthshire and Lanark are being delivered by a police officer from the National Agricultural Vehicle Intelligence Service (NAVCIS) and an agricultural vehicle specialist from NFU Mutual insurance company, which is funding the three days of training.  Inspector Jane Donaldson, Police Scotland’s rural crime co-ordinator, said: ‘Our focus on rural vehicle crime has already seen an overall reduction in the theft of quads and ATVs, and significant reductions in previous hot spot areas of Lanarkshire and Ayrshire. We acknowledge, however, that the theft of a vehicle routinely used as part of a business will have a significant impact on the day-to-day productivity of that enterprise. We are committed to reducing these thefts further and ensuring the way we investigate these crimes is consistent and reflects best practice.’ Clive Harris, NFU Mutual’s agricultural vehicle security specialist added: ‘Working in partnership with Police Scotland is enabling us to share our experience as the insurer of most of Scotland’s farmers to help stop farm vehicles being stolen – and bring thieves to justice.’

Hall of Clestrain Restoration Efforts Recognised in Parliament

The purchase of the Hall of Clestrain by The John Rae Society has this week been recognised in the Scottish Parliament.  A motion, lodged by Orkney MSP Liam McArthur, has commended The John Rae Society for “endeavouring to preserve an important piece of Orkney’s history”, further adding the purchase could enhance “Orkney’s fine natural heritage for the benefit of the local population and tourists alike”.  Andrew Appleby, president of the John Rae Society, said: “The John Rae Society is delighted that Orkney MSP Liam McArthur has lodged a motion in The Scottish Parliament to recognise our purchase of The Hall of Clestrain in Orphir.  The society is now working hard to create a world class heritage and visitor centre, ensuring the Hall of Clestrain becomes a key visitor attraction in Orkney. Crucial to our success will be fundraising to complete the project, and I would therefore encourage folk to donate what they can for this historical jewel in Orkney’s crown.” Mr McArthur added: “The John Rae Society has undertaken an exciting new project, and I wish them well in creating a new visitor attraction in Orkney that will not only add to our growing reputation as a tourist destination but will also appropriately celebrate the life of John Rae. This motion has already gained support from MSPs across the country and party spectrum, and I hope will go some way to raise awareness of this new project.”

Scottish 'Hacker' Fears He'll Die Behind Bars in the USA After Home Secretary Approves Extradition Request
A Scot accused of hacking into American government computers fears he will die behind bars after UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd authorised his extradition to the US.  Lauri Love, who has Asperger syndrome, spoke of his fears as his father called for "British justice for a British citizen".  The 31-year-old is alleged to have stolen huge amounts of data from US agencies including the Federal Reserve, the US Army, the Department of Defence, NASA and the FBI in a spate of online attacks in 2012 and 2013.  US authorities want Lauri, who lives with his parents near Newmarket in Suffolk, to face trial on charges of cyber-hacking which his lawyers say could mean a sentence of up to 99 years in prison if he is found guilty. UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd has granted US request to extradite Lauri Love  The Home Office said Rudd had "carefully considered all relevant matters" before signing an order for Lauri's extradition on Monday.  Lauri said; "I don't think much of my future life prospects. I face decades and decades behind bars and at worst I may die.  We were kind of expecting this but it's still a disappointment and a kick in the gut. I've got to watch my mental health now and make sure I have support. We will put as much as we can into the appeal."  The former Glasgow University student, who could face the possibility of three separate trials in different jurisdictions, has 14 days to apply for permission to appeal against the decision. Responding to the announcement, Lauri's father, the Rev Alexander Love, said: "It was going to happen - it was inevitable - but it's still painful. I cannot begin to express how much sorrow it causes me."  He added: "All we are asking for is British justice for a British citizen."  It is alleged that between October 2012 and October 2013 Lauri caused "millions of dollars"' worth of damage by placing hidden "backdoors" within the networks he compromised, allowing him to return and steal confidential data.  Lauri, who also suffers from depression and eczema, has said that a jail term in the US could cause his health to deteriorate and would lead to a mental breakdown or suicide.  Sarah Harrison, director of the Courage Foundation, which runs Lauri's defence fund and support campaign, said the decision to send him for trial in the US under Donald Trump's command "beggars belief".  Prime Minister Theresa May previously blocked the extradition to the USA of Scots hacker Gary McKinnon who was wanted on similar charges has been named most dangerous hacker of all time by activist group Anonymous,Scots hacking guru Gary McKinnon's extradition was blocked McKinnon also had Asperger syndrome and the then Home Secretary brought his ordeal to an end in 2012 when she refused the American extradition request. Harrison wants her client to be given the same protection.  She said: "The US has ruthlessly persecuted hackers and digital activists for years and nobody expects that to improve under President Trump. Theresa May set a good example by protecting Gary McKinnon back in 2012.  For a Home Secretary in her government now to willingly send a brilliant and vulnerable UK citizen to Donald Trump's America beggars belief."

Aircraft Firm to Set Up £8.5m Centre of Excellence At Glasgow Prestwick Airport

An aircraft maintenance firm is bringing £8.5 million in investment to Glasgow Prestwick Airport .  Chevron Aircraft Maintenance says it will establish a “world-class centre of excellence” for aircraft engineering, maintenance and training at the South Ayrshire airport. It will create up to 82 jobs, 67 of which are highly-specialised and skilled positions. The Manchester-based company expects to increase turnover from £9.6 million this year to £19 million by 2021.  Holyrood Economy Secretary Keith Brown said: “The company’s investment, which is being supported by our economic development agency Scottish Enterprise, underlines their commitment to Scotland and is great news for the local Ayrshire economy.  This development will bring many new and highly-skilled jobs to the Prestwick area. I wish the team every success with the new venture and look forward to hearing of their achievements.”  After a tour of hangar 747, where Chevron is now located at the airport, Mr Brown met project engineer Simon Yeardley, who is originally from Ayrshire and has worked in England since 2012.  Supported by a regional selective assistance grant of £2 million from Scottish Enterprise, the project, which will be operational early in 2017, follows increased customer and market demand.  The airport provides a large space for the firm’s line maintenance support operations, including a maintenance and overhaul facility, a training school, an aircraft decommissioning site and on-site office and workshop. Neil Morris, managing director of Chevron Aircraft Maintenance, said: “The airport is in an excellent location at the midway point of the Great Circle Route making it a convenient stop-off point for the many aircraft that have existing flight planning over the airport.”

Figures Reveal 14,000 Drop in Unemployment Figure
Unemployment in Scotland has fallen by 14,000 in three months, official figures show. Data for July to September reveals that 129,000 people were out of work during that period.  The unemployment rate now stands at 4.7%, just below the rate of 4.8% recorded for the UK as a whole.  While unemployment fell, figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that employment also dropped by 25,000 over the same spell.  The number of those in work in Scotland stands at 2,604,000.  The Scottish Government said there are now 40,000 more people in employment than at the pre-recession peak in 2008.  The Scottish Government said Scotland is outperforming the UK on female and youth employment.  Holyrood’s Economy Secretary Keith Brown said: “Today’s labour market statistics again show that Scotland is outperforming the UK on unemployment and has the second highest employment rate of the four nations.  Our female and youth employment rates are also higher than those for the UK as a whole.”

First Electricity Produced From Meygen Tidal Project

The developers of what will become the world's biggest tidal energy farm has generated electricity for the first time from underneath the Pentland Firth.  Atlantis Resources Ltd have confirmed the first turbine of the MeyGen project located in the Inner Sound is now operating and exporting power.  The turbine is one of four 1.5MW turbines which has been installed as part of its demonstration array that is being installed on the seabed between the Caithness coast and Stroma.  Eventually 269 turbines will be installed to the seabed which will have the potential to generate power for 175,000 homes.