Some Scottish News & Views Issue # 456

Issue # 456                                          Week ending Saturday 16th  June 2018

Asylum-seeking Christian Family Fear Death If Forced to Leave Glasgow After Six Years
A Christian man who has spent six years seeking asylum has appealed to the Prime Minister to allow him to stay in the UK, fearing he and his family face death if they return to Pakistan. Maqsood Bakhsh fled Pakistan in 2012 with his wife Parveen and their sons Somer and Areebs, then aged nine and seven, after Islamic extremists threatened to kill him because of his religious beliefs.  The catalyst was the murder of two Christians shot outside a court, while in police custody, in Faisalabad two years previously.  Pastor Rashid Emmanuel, 32, and Sajid, 24, were accused of writing a pamphlet critical of the Prophet Muhammad that flouted Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy law, which carries the death penalty. Mr Bakhsh, 50, claims the people responsible for the deaths believe he is in league with the two men and would kill him and his family if they had the chance.  The Home Office has repeatedly rejected their asylum applications, largely as officials do not believe they would be at risk in Pakistan.  The family, who live in the north of Glasgow, have now been told they have exhausted the process and have no right to appeal, but plan to launch a legal challenge. Mr Bakhsh said: “Prime Minister, please help us because I do not understand why the Home Office keep rejecting us.  They keep telling us that some parts of Pakistan are safe for Christians.  It is true that lots of Christians live in Pakistan but once you have been targeted by Islamic extremists who know your name and your face, it is impossible to live.  Four of my friends have been killed by Islamic extremists and my sister-in- law’s brother is serving life in jail because of the blasphemy law.  My nephew was kidnapped last month and no one knows what has happened to him.” Glasgow North East Labour MP Paul Sweeney plans to raise the case in the House of Commons.  Mr Bakhsh, who was a commissioner at the Kirk’s General Assembly in 2017, worked as a data analyst in Pakistan and holds two Masters degrees, while his wife is a trained neo-natal midwife with 17-years of experience.  Due to their immigration status both have been unable to work since arriving in Scotland and survive on benefits and charity.  Mr Bakhsh said: “Not being able to use our talents and abilities to make a contribution to this great country has been very hard and frustrating for us.”  He added: “We love this city, my sons feel Scottish and they are thriving here.  They feel safe, which is my biggest concern, and want to stay with all their friends – the only people they know – and get a good education.”  Rev Linda Pollock, minister at Possilpark Parish Church where Mr Bakhsh is an elder, said their situation is “unconscionable”.  She added: “I hope that the Home Office will re-examine the family’s case, stop treating them as numbers and acknowledge them as human beings because they have so much to give to Scotland.”  A spokeswoman for the Home Office said: “The UK has a proud history of granting asylum to those who need our protection and every case is assessed on its individual merits.”

Medieval Manuscripts Secure Global Heritage Status for Gaelic
Centuries old Gaelic manuscripts have been given global significance status by world heritage experts at Unesco due to their cultural importance.  Manuscripts dating from the 14-18th century have been inscribed in a “Memory of the World” register of historically important documents.  The manuscripts, which are held at the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh, are said to be the largest collection of late medieval Scottish Gaelic manuscripts anywhere in the world.  They have been collected in Edinburgh since the 17th century, initially by the Advocates Library, the forerunner of the National Library. UNESCO instigate the “Memory of the World” initiative in 1992 in the wake of growing concern about the “parlous state” of preservation of historic documents around the world, and problems with looting and dispersal, illegal trading, destruction, inadequate housing and funding. It already includes the First World War diary of Field Marshall Sir Douglas Haig, a huge archive of material linked linked to William Shakespeare and Sir Isaac Newton’s papers. The Gaelic manuscripts collection recognised by Unesco includes medical manuscripts, poetry collections, historical texts, heroic tales, saints’ lives, prayers, charms, genealogy and “place-name lore.”  Dr Ulrike Hogg, Gaelic manuscripts curator at the National Library, said: “Only a small number of Gaelic manuscripts with a Scottish connection survive from this early period, and our collection of  more than 60 volumes is unparalleled in its scale and coverage.  The Gaels in Ireland and Scotland shared a rich learning and literary tradition, and our collection provides a fascinating Scottish perspective.  Passages in Latin and occasional samples of texts in Scots or English also show how actively Gaelic Scots were engaged with multiple European cultures. We’re delighted to have these manuscripts listed register. It highlights their outstanding historical and cultural value.”  Matthew McMurray, secretary of the UK Unesco Memory of the World Committee, said: “These manuscripts offer a snapshot of Gaelic life in Scotland which would otherwise have been lost to history.  Its scale and coverage make it the pre-eminent collection for study of Gaelic culture in Scotland.”

Premiere for Iconic Glasgow Cinema Turned High-end Offices

One of the best-known buildings in Glasgow, which has hosted concerts by The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash and The Rolling Stones, has been revived as commercial office space after total renovation.  The former Odeon Cinema on West Regent Street, which closed its doors in 2006, has been rebranded The Reel House and converted into four floors of Grade A office accommodation billed “one of Glasgow’s most exciting office developments”. The Art Deco property, which also has a third-floor balcony, was purchased in 2016 by Carrick Properties. It was originally opened in 1934 by the Paramount Cinema chain.  Knight Frank has been appointed alongside JLL as joint letting agents for the building. Sarah Addis, associate at Knight Frank, expects high interest “given the quality of the refurbishment, its central position, and the lack of Grade A office accommodation of its kind currently available in Glasgow”.

Scots Supermarket Installs Reverse Vending Machine for Plastic Bottles
An Iceland store in Musselburgh has become the first supermarket in Scotland to install a reverse vending machine that will pay customers to return drinks bottles for recycling in a bid to cut the amount of plastic waste polluting the environment.  The new facility has been put in as part of a six-month trial into the technology, ahead of Scottish Government plans to roll out deposit-return facilities across the country.  It will accept bottles of all sizes and brands bought in Iceland and Food Warehouse outlets. Shoppers using the new apparatus will receive a 10p voucher to spend in-store for every bottle returned.  The move comes shortly after the frozen food retailer unveiled a similar machine in a London branch, becoming the UK’s first supermarket to do so.  Richard Walker, group managing director of Iceland Foods, said: “At least one third of plastics, much of this relating to packaging, is single-use and then discarded – plastic bottles are a prime example.  In the UK consumers go through an estimated 13 billion plastic drinks bottles a year, but more than five billion are incinerated, sent to landfill or left to pollute our streets, countryside and marine environment. This must change, and we want to be part of that change.  Through this initiative, we hope to help make it easier for people to act in an environmentally conscious way while tackling the threat of the millions of plastic bottles that go unrecycled every day. Scotland is making great strides in its fight against plastic pollution and we’re keen to work with key stakeholders like Zero Waste Scotland and the Scottish Government to ensure we make it as easy as possible for shoppers in Scotland to reduce the amount of plastic they use.”  It is estimated more than 12 million tonnes of plastic enters the world’s oceans every year, posing a serious threat to marine life.  Plastic pollution can harm or kill sea creatures through entanglement in debris such as abandoned fishing gear and as a result of eating plastic mistaken for food.  The Scottish Government has pledged to tackle “throwaway culture” and has announced a ban on the sale and manufacture of plastic-stemmed cotton buds and microbeads in cosmetic products.

Flagship V&A Museum to Recieve Extra £1 Million Government Funding A Year

Scotland’s new flagship museum is to receive a further £1 million a year from the Scottish Government to support its operation over the next decade, the First Minister has announced. The V&A Dundee is due to open in September but concerns have been raised over its financial sustainability.  During First Minister’s Questions at Holyrood, Labour MSP Jenny Marra told MSPs: “A board paper for V&A Dundee states that our new museum needs more cash to cover operating costs, a £500,000 bank loan and potentially further government grants.  It is my understanding that costs have been under-estimated or missed and there is not a clear plan for where future revenue will come from to run the museum and to service the bank loan after the initial opening phase.”  She called for assurances from the Scottish Government that it was working to ensure the project is on a “firm financial footing”. While the museum is not a Scottish Government-led project, ministers have provided £38 million towards construction and £5.5 million in revenue funding.  Nicola Sturgeon said: “We have also agreed a further package of revenue support that will be worth £1 million a year and support the museum in the first 10 years of its operation.  The Scottish Government is committed to supporting this fantastic new development for Dundee.  I think for many years, decades and generations to come this will be a new museum that people not just in Dundee, but right across Scotland, will be thoroughly and very rightly proud of.”  A V&A Dundee spokesman said the museum had arranged an overdraft facility, not a £500,000 loan. Every successful organisation plans for its finances, including assessing potential risks, and as part of that we have organised an overdraft as the museum prepares to open,” he said.  We have not borrowed money - this option would only be used for cashflow purposes, not to run the museum.”  He added: “Thanks to the long-term support of our founding partners, private supporters and others, we are in a strong position to launch and run the new museum. We are very confident the museum will be an international success.”  He said the annual £1 million post-opening funding was agreed in 2014 and was not new money.

Scots Cricket Star Calum Macleod Banned From Speaking Gaelic During Match

Scotland cricket superstar Calum MacLeod was banned from speaking in Gaelic during a match.  The umpire ordered him to button it because it was unfair and rude to other players - team-mates and the opposition.  MacLeod blasted a stunning unbeaten 140 in Edinburgh to spur the Scots to history-making glory against England on Sunday. And today he is aiming to keep up the momentum when Scotland square up to Pakistan in the first of two T20 clashes at the same venue.  MacLeod and sibling Allan - both fluent in Gaelic - were appearing for Coatbridge-based club Drumpellier in a junior league match when the language curb was imposed.  His brother, now a broadcaster with BBC Alba, said: “It was hilarious. I was keeping wicket and Calum was bowling - so using the Gaelic was useful to discuss tactics between deliveries.  But this particular umpire took exception and told us to speak English." MacLeod had also made history in 2009 when he became the first Gaelic speaker to appear in a Test match - for England.  He was attached to Warwickshire in at the time and was called up as substitute fielder in the Ashes tussle with Australia at Edgbaston.  His appearance created a stir among the home fans, who started to chant “are you Scotland in disguise".  As the he prepared for the Pakistan challenge, it was revealed that MacLeod and Scots coach Grant Bradburn had been snapped up by Derbyshire for their T20 Vitality Blast campaign. Bradbury will provide support for specialist white-ball coaches John Wright and Dominic Cork.  Derbyshire supremo Kim Barnett said: “We’re delighted to be working with Cricket Scotland and to have Calum and Grant on board - along with another top Scots player Safyaan Sharif. Calum is a powerful striker and showed against England what he can do on the big stage. He offers further depth to our squad, alongside Safyaan, for what is a busy month of cricket.”

Edinburgh Wants to Oust Sydney As Best Place to See in New Year

As the first major city to welcome in the New Year, Sydney Australia proudly boasts that it is hosts the most talked about party in the world. But now organisers of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay event are gunning for the number one spot and hope to topple the Australian city from its perch.  The capital’s Hogmanay celebrations attracted 165,000 people last year, and had an economic impact of £39 million, a new report states. However, Underbelly, in its second year running the three-day event, wants Hogmanay to be the most talked about New Year celebration in the globe.  Around 10,000 more people, from 80 countries, attended the last Hogmanay event compared to 2017, and the organisers believe there still room for Edinburgh’s three-day New Year festival to grow.  Charlie Wood, director of Underbelly, said: “Our plans aren’t about increasing that number of visitors, it is about increasing how Edinburgh and Scotland are viewed internationally. It’s about creating an event that is talked about, not just in the city, that notion of ‘Oh why wasn’t I there?’.  That’s the goal, its about creating those images and stories, that really sell the city and the country internationally.” Underbelly said its own research shows that Hogmanay generated 37 TV news pieces reaching 89 million viewers, 201 radio pieces reaching 141 million listeners, and more than 2,000 online articles reaching more than 10 billion readers, with 360 pieces in print. These figures helped lift Edinburgh from the 17th most covered New Year event in 2017 to joint 7th this year.  However, the short term aim, Mr Wood said, is to break into the top five, with a long term aim of being the most-visible New Year event in the globe.  The research shows the top New Year celebrations being covered internationally are Sydney at no 1, followed by Seoul and Hong Kong at joint 2nd, followed by New York, Singapore, and Paris, and then London and Edinburgh at joint seventh, followed by Tokyo, and Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur, Manila and Moscow at joint 10th. Mr Wood added: “It cannot be an exact science, but it helps build a picture about how the world looks at Edinburgh.  And our goal is to make sure that it beats every other city in the world as the city that everyone talks about - which is creatively we try to make it as different as possible. The aim is to get images and stories, about Hogmanay and about Scotland, all around the world.”  The economic impact figure is 40 per cent higher than the last measurement, in 2010, of £27.9m.  The last Hogmanay was the first staged by Underbelly for the City of Edinburgh Council, after being run by Peter Irvine’s Unique Events for more than 20 years.  Ed Bartlam, co-director, said: “We didn’t set out to throw away what was already great about the event, we kept that, Peter Irvine did so much brilliant stuff, we just wanted to turn it up a notch, and that’s what we want to continue doing for the next few years.”  Research conducted by BOP Consulting also surveyed 5,236 attendees and found that Hogmanay was the main or only reason for visiting Scotland for 71% of attendees from elsewhere in the world, 74% of whom were attending Edinburgh’s Hogmanay for the first time. Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is principally funded by City of Edinburgh Council. More than one-third of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay 2018 income came from public sector funding and 66% was from commercial sources of revenue including ticketing and sponsorship income.  Charlie Wood and Ed Bartlam added: “We’re delighted by the increased economic impact of the event on Edinburgh and Scotland; to be an event that both encourages people to visit and creates employment in the city; to have people from 80 countries buy tickets for the event but also see a strong local audience that engages and participates.”  Councillor Donald Wilson, the culture convener for the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “Underbelly certainly didn’t fail to impress in their first year producing the event and this report highlights just how much of a success the festival was with a whopping estimated economic impact of £39.8m for Scotland.”

Minister Resigns to Fight for Meaningful Vote on Brexit
A junior minister has resigned from the government to fight Brexit, saying Theresa May was offering MPs a "fake choice" between a "bad deal or no deal".  Phillip Lee, a parliamentary under-secretary of state in the Ministry of Justice, revealed his announcement in a speech to a Conservative think tank on Tuesday morning, hours before MPs begin two days of debate on the EU Withdrawal Bill.  Mr Lee, who was previously reprimanded by party whips over his criticism of the government's approach to Brexit, called on fellow MPs and ministers to speak up in favour of an amendment to the crucial Brexit legislation giving the Commons greater control over the final deal with Brussels.  He is reported to have said: "It is hard to be part of a Government that would countenance the breach of such fundamental principles – and it is important that individual ministers and Parliamentarians should be able to speak up.”  Mr Lee told journalists: "This is not about Remain or Leave. It is because I fear we are having the worst of all worlds forced upon us with a fudge in the middle.”  He tweeted that he was "incredibly sad" to have to resign "so that I can better speak up for my constituents and country over how Brexit is currently being delivered".  The MP for Bracknell also indicated he was in favour of a referendum on the final Brexit deal, adding: "When the Government is able to set out an achievable, clearly defined path – one that has been properly considered, whose implications have been foreseen, and that is rooted in reality not dogma – it should go to the people, once again, to seek their confirmation." In January, Mr Lee was spoken to by government whips after questioning whether the government could press ahead with Brexit following the publication of internal analysis showing every available model for leaving the EU would harm the economy. The next phase of Brexit has to be all about the evidence. We can’t just dismiss this and move on. If there is evidence to the contrary, we need to see and consider that too," he tweeted.  "But if these figures turn out to be anywhere near right, there would be a serious question over whether a government could legitimately lead a country along a path that the evidence and rational consideration indicate would be damaging," he added.  "It’s time for evidence, not dogma, to show the way. We must act for our country’s best interests, not ideology and populism, or history will judge us harshly."       

New Gin Festival Set for Aberdeen
Gin lovers can look forward to a brand new festival celebrating the popular spirit later this year. G2Gin Festival will be held at Trinity Hall on Holburn Street, Aberdeen on September 14 and 15.  In total, 25 gin companies will come together for the event, which is supported by well-known tonic producers Fever Tree.

New Posts Will Help Hospital Patients

Two new full-time jobs have been created in Wick to help hospital patients and people with mental health issues.  Caithness Citizens Advice Bureau and NHS Highland have launched the initiative after securing funding for the posts, which are expected to last up to 18 months. Iain Gregory, deputy manager at Caithness CAB, said two welfare rights officers have been employed as a result of the funding from SSE. The energy giant made the money available through its Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Ltd (Bowl) project. One of the employees will be based in Caithness General Hospital and the other with the community mental health team in Wick.  They will provide advice on benefits and entitlements as well as CAB services to any patients who require assistance.  Mr Gregory said: “We identified a need for intervention at an early stage for hospital patients and people with mental health issues. You may not know what to do if you are in hospital for a long time, what you are entitled to and what happens if you are not able to go back to work.  An adviser will also be available to help people with mental health issues.  We are delighted to be able to deliver this transformational service to hospital patients and to those supported by the Caithness mental health team. This venture will make a huge difference to countless lives and people can be assured that an expert CAB staff member is always available to take care of their support needs.” Mr Gregory stressed that the service is “entirely voluntary” and can be offered in hospital and after discharge. “If people can’t be bothered while they are in hospital we can make arrangements to see them at home,” he said. The funding is due to last between 12 and 18 months.  He added: “If it is successful we would hope to continue it permanently.”

Scottish Government Threaten to Pull Out of ‘Power Grab’ Talks After Brexit Debate Damp Squib
Scottish ministers have threatened to pull out of talks with the UK Westminster government after the SNP said it was a “democratic outrage” that post -Brexit devolution plans were approved by the House of Commons with just 15 minutes’ debate. Tuesday night’s vote at Westminster effectively brought a months-long constitutional row to an end, sparking outrage from opposition parties after the devolution provisions of the EU Withdrawal Bill were passed with almost no discussion. The votes marks the first time the UK Westminster government has legislated in devolved areas without Holyrood’s consent since the creation of the Scottish Parliament.  Scottish Brexit minister Michael Russell said Holyrood was “being treated with contempt by the UK Westminster government” and claimed “we can’t carry on with devolution as it is now”. Time for debate on devolution was squeezed by three hours of votes on other parts of the Withdrawal Bill. It meant that only the Cabinet Office minister David Lidington was able to speak on the contentious legislation, with a handful of brief interventions from Scottish MPs. There were claims from Labour and Conservatives that SNP parliamentarians had deliberately stalled on their way through Westminster’s voting lobbies to boost their complaints. Ahead of last night’s result, Mr Russell said: “All the systems that are meant to work are clearly of no importance to the UK Westminster Government.  Over the next few weeks we’ll be looking at ways in which we can say, look, we’ve got to find a new arrangement here because this present arrangement does not work.” With talks ongoing on the joint management of new powers in areas like agriculture, fisheries and the environment between the UK and devolved governments, Mr Russell said: “I cannot imagine that we would want to co-operate on those in areas which are unsuitable for the Scottish Parliament.” In a post on Twitter, he added: “How can any meaningful negotiation take place after that?”  SNP MPs voiced their anger on social media, with the party’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford calling it a “democratic outrage”. “We are witnessing the biggest ever attack on devolution with Scotland’s voice silenced by the Tories,” Mr Blackford said.  Labour abstained in last night’s votes because defeating the government would have seen the key clause of the Withdrawal Bill revert to an earlier version, which would have retained all new post-Brexit powers at Westminster. In a video posted on Twitter from inside one of the voting lobbies, SNP MPs Hannah Bardell and Kirsty Blackman claimed “the House of Commons and its procedures are out of date and archaic. We have to walk through a lobby, stand in a queue, and have our named checked off, all of which could be done in a couple of seconds if we had electronic voting,” Ms Bardell said in the clip. Labour’s Paul Sweeney led complaints to the Commons speaker about the lack of time for debate, while Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine accused Scottish Conservatives of “cowardice” for backing the government’s timetable, claiming they “effectively tried to silence MPs and the constituents they represent”. Scottish Secretary David Mundell said the UK Westminster Government had made “strenuous efforts” over the past year to reach a deal with Edinburgh on post-Brexit powers. Tory Paul Masterton said First Minister Nicola Sturgeon “never wanted a deal on this, she wanted a fight. It’s pathetic.”

Comment -R
How on Earth can anyone with Scotland`s interests at heart not be disgusted by what happened in Westminster on Tuesday. When Scots MPs tried to hold the Prime Minister to account for the contempt shown to Scotland, they were silenced. Its rather obvious that both Labour and the Tories see their Scottish MPs as easy lobby fodder and have a great deal of contempt for any degree of Scottish self government.  The Debate was allocated 15 minutes to discuss devolution aspects. TWELVE minutes were taken up by the Deputy Prime Minister, leaving, ONE minute each for the Scots, Welsh and Northern Ireland MPs to put their case. Tuesday in Westminster is another large nail in the coffin of the failed Union. The farce of allowing 15 minutes for this debate gives the clear impression that genuine Scottish concerns are unimportant to Westminster.  The Scottish Parliament now has no way to block post-Brexit trade deals that open up Scotland’s NHS to privatisation, or allow chlorinated chicken to be imported to Scotland.  The broken promise to fishermen that powers would be returned on the day after the UK left the EU is only one example of how an increasing number of Scots feel their concerns are marginalised by Westminster. Both groups of Scottish Labour and Scottish Tory MPs will be remembered for their betrayal.

History Lovers Wanted by Highland Castle this Summer
For history lovers, this summer job must rank up there with the best.  Urquhart Castle, on the banks of Loch Ness, is looking for a number of people to keep the attraction running over the summer.  Successful candidates will have to share the history of the castle at Drumnadrochit which welcomes just under 500,000 visitors a year.  HES is looking for friendly people who can bring the castle to life - as well as boost retail sales and keep the site tidy and presentable.  Urquhart Castle is one of the most visited historic sites in Scotland with people drawn to its remarkable location at Drumnadrochit. The medieval fortress witnessed great conflict over time with control of the castle passed back and forth between the Scots and the English during the Wars of Independence. The Lords of the Isles inflicted regular raids on the stronghold with government troops blowing up Urquhart Castle as they departed following the Jacobite Risings. Historic Environment Scotland is seeking an evening duty manager, evening stewards and people to run the car park.

Man Dies After Helicopter Crashes on Western Isles
A helicopter has ditched in a loch in the Western Isles, resulting in the death of a 58-year-old man.  It is understood that the victim was the only one on board the aircraft which was carrying salmon when it ditched in North Uist.  Police Scotland said the alarm was raised at 10.15am, and that the man’s next of kin have been informed. Chief Inspector Ian Graham, Area Commander for the Western Isles said: “Firstly, our thoughts are with the man’s family and the local community at this difficult time. Our enquiries into this are ongoing and we are liaising with other agencies, including the Air Accidents Investigation Bureau, in order to establish the full circumstances. The A867 between Lochmaddy and Clanach Na Luib has reopened.”

Aberdeen Bids to Become UK Testing Ground for 5g Technology

Aberdeen has emerged as the second Scottish city hoping to become the UK’s test bed for the next generation of mobile technology. Council bosses have submitted an application to the UK Westminster Government’s 5G Urban Connected Communities project, which will see funding awarded to successful bidders to trial emerging 5G technologies for residents and businesses. The bid follows the announcement in February that Aberdeen is to become Scotland’s first gigabit city through a £40m investment from CityFibre. The firm is working in partnership with Vodafone to deliver full-fibre broadband throughout the city.  The 5G project will tap into £200million of funding to support the development of mobile connectivity and to test solutions to existing challenges.  Glasgow City Council confirmed its bid to become a testing ground for 5G technology in April.  Aberdeen has previously led in 4G pilot schemes and, through the Aberdeen City Region Deal, is moving forward with plans to deliver a city wide IoT Network and a Regional Data Exchange Platform as integral parts of the bid and the Smart City vision.

Glasgow Marine Engineering Firm Cleanship Solutions Eyes Growth

A company based in an iconic symbol of Glasgow's shipbuilding past is positioning itself for the future by helping  to cut harmful emissions from ships. Located in the South Rotunda on the south bank of the River Clyde, Cleanship Solutions, part of the Malin Group, is a marine consultancy helping shipowners comply with upcoming international marine regulations. The Glasgow firm is market leader in the feasibility analysis, design and installation of a device called a scrubber which helps remove harmful gases. The company says it will continue to grow over the next year with continued additions to headcount planned and a substantial increase in turnover targeted.  Managing director Chris McMenemy said: “A scrubber is a piece of machinery which cleans exhaust gas of dangerous chemicals such as sulphur dioxide. Cleanship Solutions are helping an ever growing number of shipowners install scrubbers as part of their strategy for complying with the upcoming sulphur cap set by the maritime industries’ governing body; the International Maritime Organisation.” The Clyde-based firm, which has 20 scrubber retrofits on its books, is actively recruiting new members of staff.  This year has already seen Cleanship Solutions take on four new employees, three of those graduate Naval Architects from the University of Strathclyde. Having access to talented and passionate employees is key to the ongoing success of the business,” Mr. McMenemy said.  “It is also important to have people who buy into the brand values of the company, and this is something we are proud to talk about and think we do well. At Cleanship Solutions our purpose is to be the shipowners’ trusted advocate and this is demonstrated through our core values of remaining impartial and striving to be the go to source for compliance related advice. With the addition of our new staff, it sends a signal to existing and new clients around the world that we are ready to help them prepare for compliance in this challenging time for shipping.”

Ruth Davidson Increases Pressure for Migration Target Review As GP Rules Relaxed

Hundreds more doctors from outside Europe will be available to NHS bosses in Scotland to help ease the recruitment crisis in the biggest relaxation of immigration policy in more than a decade.  The UK Westminster government is expected to announce that it is removing NHS workers from the cap on tier-2 skilled worker visas, clearing a bottleneck that has prevented badly-needed doctors and nurses from being recruited to meet growing demand for healthcare. An additional 8,000 skilled migrants in other professions including IT, engineering and teaching are expected to be allowed to come to the UK each year under the proposals.  It is a significant victory for the new Home Secretary Sajid Javid, who said he would examine the cap following concerns about doctors with job offers in the UK being turned away by immigration authorities.  The reports were welcomed by the British Medical Association (BMA) Scotland, the Scottish Government and the Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, who said “changing the rules to permit more doctors, engineers and other highly skilled professionals entry to the UK is good for the NHS and good for the economy”. Ms Davidson has stepped up calls on Theresa May to review a controversial net migration target of 100,000 to boost the economy and ease pressure on public services, with Brexit expected to see a significant drop in workers arriving from EU countries. However, Downing Street has so far resisted any demands for a relaxation in immigration policy.  The number of workers from countries outside the European Economic Area allowed into the UK with a tier-2 visa is capped at 20,700 annually, a limit that has repeatedly been breached in every month since December as employers increasingly recruit from outside the EU.  GPs had warned Mr Javid of a “desperate need” for the cap to be lifted amid escalating patient demand and growing shortages of doctors in some roles.  In the three months to March 2018, more than 1,500 visa applications from doctors with job offers in the UK were refused as a result of the cap, according to the British Medical Journal. The BMA Scotland welcomed the move to help ensure the supply of doctors meets demand. In the past few months, new figures have revealed how NHS Scotland staff have reported concerns about staff shortages 16,600 times in the past four years, while £26 million was paid in overtime to nurses in midwives last year.

Remains of Possible Iron Age Settlement Found in Caithness

Remains of a previously unknown prehistoric settlement may have been found by archaeologists working in the far north of Scotland.  A perfectly preserved hearth, a hammer stone, a possible striking stone used to start fires and a “wonderful” pig’s tooth which is normally associated with high status sites have been found near Thurso.  The discoveries, which likely date to the Iron Age, which dates from roughly 800BC to 80AD, were made at the first ever excavation of the Thusater Burn site. The dig which was led by Orkney Research Centre for Archaeology (ORCA) and the University of Highlands and Islands following promising results from an earlier ground survey. Around 40 volunteers from the area took part in the dig, which was held as part of the Caithness Broch Project Festival which aims to equip people with skills in archaeology. Expert said the finds at Thusater Burn point to domestic use, and could represent the site of a wag - a semi underground structure - or potentially a broch, the large monumental tower-like structures built in Scotland during the Iron Age.  Research will continue to establish the nature of the structure and a possible date of occupation.

Flybe Co-pilot Suffers Seizure During Inverness Flight

A Flybe co-pilot had to be restrained by a member of cabin crew after suffering a violent seizure in the cockpit while flying from Scotland, an investigation has revealed. He became incapacitated and repeatedly pressed on the rudder pedals, requiring the aircraft’s commander to counteract his actions, according to the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB). The autopilot system became disconnected and the Bombardier Dash 8 turboprop airliner slewed, causing a cabin crew attendant to fall to the floor.  Forty-three passengers and four crew were on board the flight from Inverness to Jersey on August 5 last year. The commander was routinely looking around the cockpit when he noticed that his co-pilot was shaking, his arms were tensed and he was leaning back in his seat looking towards the ceiling.  Disaster was averted by the commander calling the senior cabin crew member into the cockpit, where she moved the co-pilot’s seat back and restrained him, allowing the commander to concentrate on diverting the aircraft to Manchester Airport. It was “physically demanding” to restrain the co-pilot due to his limbs “flailing and going stiff”, the report stated.  An “able bodied passenger” was chosen to wait outside the cockpit door and be ready to assist if required.  The landing was carried out safely and paramedics boarded the aircraft to take the co-pilot to hospital where he was released after three hours.  He had not previously shown any symptoms which might have alerted him or his colleagues to the possibility of a seizure, according to the AAIB.  The investigation concluded that this was a “serious incident” which was “professionally managed” by the commander and cabin crew. Flybe chief operating officer Luke Farajallah said: “All airlines train their crew to be prepared for all possible incidents including, however rare, that of a pilot becoming incapacitated during flight.”

Thousands to Rally Against Donald Trump in Edinburgh

Thousands of protestors are expected to march on the Capital ahead of American President Donald Trump’s official visit to campaign against his controversial policies. Scotland United Against Trump has organised a demonstration and march ahead of the American President’s arrival in Scotland on Saturday, July 14.  Campaigners are due to meet at the Meadows at 12pm before marching down the Mound, past the US Consulate on Regent Terrace and finally finishing outside the Scottish Parliament where organisers are hosting a “Carnival of Resistance” against the President. The Edinburgh-based Scotland Against Trump has joined forces with political parties, unions and social movements to form a coalition, now known as Scotland United Against Trump to organise nation-wide protests.  The Labour Party, the Green Party, STUC, Jubilee Scotland, Amnesty International, Global Justice Now and Muslim Council Scotland are backing the rally that asks Scots to take a stand against Mr Trump and his administration’s anti-migrant and Muslim stance. Kirsty Haigh, of Scotland United Against Trump, said: “When Trump was elected we feared the worst and those fears proved to be true. He spouts so much racism and sexism, his politics are dangerous. We wanted to get involved to try and stop his far-right policies.  Trump and his politics are not welcome in Scotland. This march is a response to something damaging.”  Organisers are optimistic that turn-out could top the 10,000 mark. Kirsty added: “We know there is strong feeling in Scotland against Trump’s divisive politics.”  Organisers believe that it is critical to talk openly about Trump’s radical policies, such as his “pure hatred towards migrants”, because of those echoed in corridors of power much closer to home. It is hoped that the march could have a real impact on policy-making in Holyrood, Westminster and further afield.