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Press and Journal: | Njus Great Britain

Good Samaritans injured after coming to the aid of a male being attacked by youths in Inverness

Community Press and Journal

Several people have been injured after coming to the help of a male being assaulted by a group of youths in Inverness.
'Several people have been injured after coming to the help of a male being assaulted by a group of youths in Inverness. Police in the Highland capital are appealing for information about a disturbance in the Hilton area which occurred earlier today, at around 1.55am. It happened in the Clava Road area. Detective Inspector Richard Baird said, “Members of the public have been injured when coming to the assistance of an unidentified male who was being assaulted by a group of youths. \t\t\t\t\t “I am appealing to persons who may have witnessed the incident or those who have information to come forward and speak to us. “I’m also appealing to the male who was being assaulted to contact us so we can be sure you are safe and get any treatment you may need.” Anyone with information is urged to contact Inverness CID on 101 quoting incident 0462 15th June 2019.'

Greenpeace denting own credibility, says oil chief

Community Press and Journal

An oil industry leader has accused Greenpeace of “undermining its own credibility” by reviving its protest on an oil rig in Cromarty Firth.
'An oil industry leader has accused Greenpeace of “undermining its own credibility” by reviving its protest on an oil rig in Cromarty Firth. Campaigners climbed back on board the rig early yesterday morning – just hours after police and operators BP thought the demonstration had been brought to an end with the arrest of two protesters. Undeterred by security however, two more activists attached themselves to another leg of the Paul B Loyd Jr at 4am – preventing it from heading out to the North Sea to begin drilling. But last night, they were taken off the rig – in a cage that was lowered down to a waiting boat. \t\t\t\t\t The two were arrested, along with three others on land – bringing the total number of arrests to 14. Chief Superintendent George Macdonald said: “Officers returned to the platform around 2pm and, after deploying specialist tactics to access the area, subsequently arrested a man and woman who had been carrying out a continued protest on the rig. “The safety of everyone involved has remained our main priority throughout this challenging operation.” As police were flown back on to the platform yesterday, the chief executive of Oil and Gas UK (OGUK) said the re-occupation was “disappointing” and was not helping to move the debate on. Deirdre Michie said: “This is disappointing and our industry, with its focus on safe operations, will not condone these actions. “By going back on board the rig, Greenpeace is undermining its own credibility and not helping to move the debate on.” The campaign group had sent for its 949-tonne icebreaker ship Arctic Sunrise, but BP took out an injunction yesterday to prevent it heading any further north than Sunderland. BP said it supported debate and peaceful demonstration, but labelled Greenpeace’s actions as “irresponsible”, accusing the campaign group of putting other people at risk. It is understood the 92 crew members on the rig have had to stay in the accommodation unit most of the week for safety reasons. Rosie Rogers, senior climate campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said: “We realise working on a rig is a tough job at the best of times – these are dedicated, hard-working people. “Our argument remains with BP, which continues to fuel the climate emergency, not with the workers.” And John Sauven, Greenpeace’s executive director, said protestors would continue making a stand.'


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Loss leaves Scotland staring at World Cup exit

Football Press and Journal

Two halves have left Scotland fighting for their World Cup dream.
'Two halves have left Scotland fighting for their World Cup dream. In yesterday’s game with Japan and their opener against England, they have been two goals down before the interval and left themselves with the proverbial mountain to climb. On each occasion it has proved too steep a peak to ascend, with Lana Clelland’s late goal yesterday only serving to reduce Scotland’s goal-difference deficit. They now need to beat Argentina – likely comprehensively – and are beholden to other results if they are to prolong their maiden World Cup voyage beyond three games. Scotland made four changes from the 2-1 defeat to England, with Kirsty Smith, Hayley Lauder, Jane Ross and Lizzie Arnot called into the side for Sophie Howard, Nicola Docherty, Claire Emslie and Christie Murray. Japan, the world’s number seven-ranked side and 2011 world champions, brought in Nana Ichise, Iwabuchi and Jun Endo from the 0-0 draw with Argentina. Moeka Minami, Yui Hasegawa and Kumi Yokoyama dropped out. Kerr had mulled over her approach to this game; there was a reluctance to sit in and defend and wait for an opportunity, based on their experiences in a friendly defeat to Sweden. Principles were not abandoned, as Scotland showed greater aggression to the ball and commitment to continue playing out from the back, despite Japan’s front pair of Iwabuchi and Sugasawa playing high. The intelligence of midfield pair Kim Little and Caroline Weir, who took it in turns to drop in as a third defender in possession, ensured Scotland had control of the ball in the first period, however opportunities on goal were rare. They had Arnot targeting right-back Risa Shimizu, who she had beaten for pace, but too often the final pass was missing. Aberdonian Rachel Corsie, so impressive against England, will not look back fondly on her play for the opening goal. Her clearing header was poor, landing straight at the feet of Endo, who wasted little time in feeding Iwabuchi. The 26-year-old beat Alexander convincingly. Scotland would have to come from behind again. They were 2-0 down before the break as Corsie, caught the wrong side of Sugasawa, was penalised by referee Lidya Abebe for bringing down the Japanese striker. A shell-shocked Scots side desperately needed inspiration, as Sugasawa rolled the penalty beyond Alexander. The temptation was there now to panic, force the game and contribute further to their own downfall. Japan were able to pick holes in the Scotland structure, while depriving their two most influential players, Little and Erin Cuthbert, of much time on the ball. Hina Sugita hitting the woodwork just before the interval could have sunk them. Confidence was short, as were the options going forward. The majority of Scotland’s play came in their own half and they failed to find any sort of outlet. Nine pink shirts behind the ball, with a good 40 yards of space to Ross, who had the impossible task of fashioning a chance out of nothing. Emslie’s introduction at least brought a direct threat to Scotland’s game but there was still a paucity of chances. Lisa Evans forced a low stop out of Ayaka Yamashita and bafflingly, Shimizu was allowed to get away with a blatant handball in front of Cuthbert, as time and luck deserted the Scots. Lana Clelland finally gave Scotland some hope, picking out the top corner superbly from 25 yards, but it all appeared too little, too late. The intensity and drive appeared only in the dying embers of the game. Scotland will hope that is not how their tournament flickers out.'

Dalneigh Primary celebrates new dining and kitchen extension

School and Education Press and Journal

Pupils from Dalneigh primary school in Inverness yesterday celebrated the opening of their new dining hall and commercial kitchen extension.
'Pupils from Dalneigh primary school in Inverness yesterday celebrated the opening of their new dining hall and commercial kitchen extension. The facilities have a capacity for 350 children over three sittings, two for primary and one for nursery. Head teacher Rhona MacCormack said: “I’m delighted that work is complete. “The additional space and inclusion of an onsite commercial kitchen is going to make such a difference to our lunchtime preparation and pupil experience as the number of children taking school meals is on the rise. “Freeing up the hall will allow us to have lunchtime clubs and sports activities going on without affecting the serving of meals.” Inverness West councillor Alex Graham added: “This is a great day for Dalneigh Primary. Previously food was prepared at a nearby school and taken to Dalneigh. “Pupils will now benefit from the new commercial kitchen and enjoy meals which are freshly prepared onsite. “The new dining hall is a real bonus, providing better facilities and enabling the existing hall space to be used for other activities all day.” Morgan Sindall Construction was appointed under a design and build contract. The works were managed and supervised by Highland Council’s property team within the development & infrastructure service. Stuart Parker, managing director of MSC in Scotland said: “We’re very pleased to hand over this latest project for our longstanding and valued customer, the Highland Council. “Delivering it on time is particularly gratifying and everyone involved can be proud of a job well done.” Councillor John Finlayson, chairman of the care, learning and housing committee, said: “Delivering this much needed addition to Dalneigh Primary School is a fine example of our priorities programme, where we use innovative and flexible approaches when refurbishing and renovating our Highland schools in becoming more sustainable and making best use of the available budget.”'

North-east community projects could be handed funding boost

News Press and Journal

Wind surfing equipment, defibrillators and a new kitchen are among some of the items which north-east community groups could buy if councillors approve funding.
'Wind surfing equipment, defibrillators and a new kitchen are among some of the items which north-east community groups could buy if councillors approve funding. The Banff and Buchan area committee will consider 21 bids for a slice of the area initiative fund next week. The budget for the scheme for the current financial year was set at £80,000 in March and a list of eligible community projects has now been drawn up. The initiatives must support a range of improvements such as boosting the appearance of towns and villages in Banff and Buchan, providing stronger and safer communities, supporting health and active communities, tackling poverty, and enhancing transport and educational development. All the organisations are required to submit a copy of their constitution and their most recent audited accounts. Among the organisations bidding for funding is Fraserburgh Sea Cadets, who are looking for nearly £4,000 to go towards the purchase of wind surfing gear, while Sandhaven and Pitullie have applied for £5,000 to buy a portable cabin, VHF radio and a defibrillator and the Gardenstown community cafe is hoping to receive more than £5,000 for a new kitchen. Other projects include £5,000 for repairs to the Portsoy Scout hut after vandals stole lead from its roof and £10,000 for the Citizens Advice Bureau in Turriff to train volunteers as part of a scheme aimed at tackling child poverty. The fund can provide up to 80% towards the total cost of a project with a maximum of £5,000 or £10,000 if the work is deemed a priority by the community. A report by Aberdeenshire Council education director Laurence Findlay said the money would be made available once the work had been carried out. He said: “Payment will be made retrospectively when receipts have been obtained as proof that the money has been spent in accordance with the proposals applied for. Grants must be claimed before the end of the financial year in which they are awarded. “Each successful applicant will be required to provide a short outcome-focused report on the project and these reports will be presented to members.” The Banff and Buchan area committee will discuss the applications when they meet in Fraserburgh on Tuesday.'

Keith Cowe is helping with the Red Run to boost Friends of Anchor

Sports Press and Journal

Keith Cowe has a very personal reason for getting involved in the Red Run to raise funds for Friends of Anchor.
'Keith Cowe has a very personal reason for getting involved in the Red Run to raise funds for Friends of Anchor. In 2016, he was treated for testicular cancer at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and was ‘hugely impressed’ with the work done by all the staff and volunteers in the Anchor Unit. So much so that he was one of the inaugural Brave models who took to the catwalk at the Beach Ballroom the following year. The 42-year-old from Kintore is now one of the race directors for the Intellicore Red Run, which takes place at Fetternear in Kemnay this Sunday. And with more than 650 participants involved in a variety of events, comprising a 5k run, a 10k race, a new combined 5k and 10k ‘Regal Red’ challenge, a 5k walk and a couple of new children’s races ‘The Red Rascals’, he is confident the day will amass plenty of money. He said: “At the first Red Run in 2017, I ran the 10k, my first after completing treatment and used the opportunity to give something back to Friends of Anchor. “As someone who has personal experience of the great work which FoA does, I am only too aware of the difference which every penny makes towards helping support those in the north east who are affected by a cancer diagnosis. “The event has already raised £24,000 over the past two years and we are confident that the proceedings in 2019 will add a significant amount to that total. “It’s a fantastic family event, in a beautiful rural setting with a great opportunity to make a huge difference to people who really need the support.” Mr Cowe has worked hard to promote the Anchor Unit and has urged people in the region to cheer on those who have committed to the walks and races. He added: “All the routes begin at Fetternear Hall and the runs take place partially on open public roads which will be heavily marshalled and well signposted. “We are extremely grateful to a host of local businesses that have shown us support and sponsorship – their generosity has covered most of the cost of the event and will allow us to pass on the majority of the entry fee money direct to Friends of Anchor.”'

North-east partnership to host dementia events

Health care Press and Journal

The Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership is holding a series of public events as it develops its own dementia strategy.
'The Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership is holding a series of public events as it develops its own dementia strategy. As part of the initiative, the group wants to hear from anyone affected by the range of degenerative conditions. And now, to help them devise a plan for the next five years, officials are hosting a series of events to allow people to tell their own stories. The sessions will be held across Aberdeenshire next month and will allow those living with dementia to provide their own accounts of the condition. Rhona Atkinson, chairwoman of the integrated joint board (IJB), said they wanted a better understand of how it affects sufferers and their families. She said: “This strategy will set out how the partnership supports those living with dementia and their families over the next five years. “It is such an important area for us, so it is vital that we understand what support people need, when they need it, what is working well and not so well.” “The team working on the strategy have set out a great way to support those who are already living with dementia to participate through the storytelling sessions and I would urge anyone who is able to come along and join in.” The events are open to people with a dementia diagnosis, family members, unpaid carers, volunteer groups and medical professionals. The storytelling sessions will be held at the Rescue Hall, Prince Street in Peterhead on Wednesday, July 3, the Gairoch Heritage Museum, Loco Works Road in Inverurie on Thursday, July 4 and at Stonehaven Town Hall, Allardice Street in Stonehaven on Friday, July 5. They take place between 12.30pm and 3.30pm. To book tickets for the Peterhead event, visit https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/dementia-storytelling-session-peterhead-tickets-63109065915 For Inverurie, go to https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/dementia-storytelling-session-inverurie-tickets-63107832225 Tickets for the Stonehaven event can be booked at https://stonehaven-dementia.eventbrite.co.uk/'

ScotRail forced to apologise after Aberdeen trains cancelled yet again

Travel and Experiences Press and Journal

ScotRail has apologised to north-east rail passengers after staff shortages led to several Aberdeen trains being cancelled.
'ScotRail has apologised to north-east rail passengers after staff shortages led to several Aberdeen trains being cancelled. Commuters living south of the city faced “serious disruption” as a result of the cancellation of eight of the local trains, which are supposed to run almost hourly between Aberdeen and Montrose. InterCity trains travelling between Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen were forced to make extra stops at Portlethen and Laurencekirk in an attempt to minimise the impact of the cancellations yesterday afternoon and evening. Another local service, which was supposed to go to Stonehaven, was terminated at Aberdeen. North East Tory MSP Liam Kerr warned north-east travellers were “fast losing patience” with ScotRail. He said: “This will cause serious disruption for passengers in the north-east today. “I will be writing to ScotRail to ask if these staffing issues only apply to the north-east – as many locally are beginning to suspect. ScotRail must address any staffing shortages as quickly as possible.” The company has faced widespread criticism for the frequency of delays and cancellations in the north and north-east. Labour north east MSP Lewis Macdonald said: “There are lots of people from Montrose, Laurencekirk, Stonehaven and Portlethen who work in Aberdeen. “They are being encouraged to take the train to reduce congestion in the city. But if they take the train on a Friday morning and they can’t get home on a Friday afternoon that’s not a good message.” An inability to get enough crew led to the cancellation of four trains heading out of Aberdeen to Montrose, via Portlethen, Stonehaven and Laurencekirk, at 1516, 1610, 1953 and 2115. In the other direction, the 1649, 1806, 2050 and 2303 from Montrose to Aberdeen were cancelled. During the afternoon, four InterCity trains linking Aberdeen with Edinburgh or Glasgow, which already stop at Stonehaven, made an extra stop at either Portlethen or Lawrencekirk. Staff shortages also led to the 1737 Dyce to Stonehaven train, via Aberdeen and Portlethen, having to stop at Aberdeen. Passengers seeking to get to Stonehaven were advised to the LNER’s 1818 service from the city. Those wanting to travel on to Portlethen were told to ask station staff to organise alternative transport. A train fault led to the cancellation of the 0802 service from Wick to Inverness. A ScotRail spokesperson said: “We’re sorry to our customers who’ve been disrupted by these cancellations. Anyone delayed by 30 minutes or more can claim money back through the Delay Repay Guarantee on our website or mobile app.”'

Aden Country Park carers’ garden in line for revamp

News Press and Journal

A space dedicated to unpaid carers’ at a north-east country park is in line for a major revamp.
'A space dedicated to unpaid carers’ at a north-east country park is in line for a major revamp. Aden Park carers’ garden was created 16 years ago as somewhere for those who look after loved ones to visit for relaxation. But changes to the area are being considered and a number of carers have visited the Mintlaw attraction for a brainstorming session. There were 28 carers at the event to share their experiences with other people and come up with a vision for the garden’s transformation. Among the ideas being discussed were the installation of metal laser cut sculptures made by students from Nescol in Fraserburgh. Other suggestions included using environmentally-friendly paint for the fencing, the construction of a pergola and adding a new bench. The carers also painted brightly coloured stones with supportive messages on them. The garden was in danger of becoming overgrown until last year when Quarriers Aberdeenshire Carer Service, Aberdeenshire Council, the Scottish Association of Mental Health and Friends of Aden Country Park joined forces to transform its appearance. It has also been entered into this year’s ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ competition organised by Keep Scotland Beautiful. Joanna McPherson was one of the carers involved in the meeting earlier this week and described the collaboration as a success. She said: “This special event was a first for us and it shows the power of partnership, working with carers and the community across both Aberdeenshire and more widely across Scotland to make a positive difference. “I’m excited about the plans for the garden, I have first-hand experience of being a carer and I know the impact which something as simple as a calm outdoor space can have on health and wellbeing. “There is still so much we would like to do to transform the garden and we would appreciate any support or donation from local businesses or individuals.” Anyone interested in helping with the restoration of the carers’ garden at Aden Country Park in Mintlaw is asked to contact Linda Camilli on 01467 538700 or 07812 228437.'

Fraserburgh bowling club secures funding boost

Sports Press and Journal

A north-east bowling club has secured funding to repair its precious green.
'A north-east bowling club has secured funding to repair its precious green. Fraserburgh Bowling Club will use the £7,000 from the Suez Communities Trust to repair the surface at their Strichen Road base. It means they can refurbish the edge of the green with the work needed to stop the edges of it falling into the ditches. Greenkeeper Sandy Greig said the scheme should be completed in the autumn. He said: “This funding is most welcome for the much needed work to be done to enhance the surrounding edges of playing surface and to meet with health and safety standards. “Work on this project should commence about the middle of September and should take two to three weeks to complete.” The Suez Communities Trust was established in 1997 to help with community and environmental improvement projects.'

Councillors move towards scrapping free parking in Peterhead despite U-turn pleas

Law and Order Press and Journal

The free use of Aberdeenshire car parks is facing the axe, despite impassioned pleas from business and community leaders.
'The free use of Aberdeenshire car parks is facing the axe, despite impassioned pleas from business and community leaders. Councillors will consider approving changes to off-street pay and display facilities in the region’s towns and villages. The proposals have been subject to extensive consultation and members of the infrastructure services committee will be asked to give them the green light next week. If approved, the 60-minute free period, introduced in 2014, to make town centres as accessible as possible, will be scrapped on September 1. That would mean motorists paying a fee of 50p for the first hour, £1 for one to two hours, £3 for two to five hours and £5 for any period over five hours. Council chiefs have claimed the “vast majority” of car parks would remain free, but are taking action to close a budget black hole of £211,000. It currently costs £48,000 a month to run car parks in Aberdeenshire, with income sitting around £33,000 a month. However, groups responding to the consultation have asked the local authority to consider a u-turn and retain the free period. Rediscover Peterhead business improvement district (Bid) boss John Pascoe was one of those who responded to the consultation and warned it would have a “real impact” on shopkeepers in the town. He argued that scrapping the free parking period would provide an “additional hurdle” for visitors coming to Peterhead. He said: “The town centre businesses we surveyed are of the view that the free period should be retained at all costs, to avoid a real impact on those businesses.” “The removal of a free parking period would be an additional hurdle to visiting the town centre and will likely drive away customers and visitors, effectively reversing the pattern the free periods initiated in 2014.” Bennachie Community Council has also raised concerns about the move and feels people living in rural areas will be “penalised”. Responding to the consultation, the group said: “The consequence of these changes means that the majority of rural inhabitants have no option other than to use a car. “It is completely inappropriate for rural residents to be penalised with parking charges when they have no option but to use a car.” Council transport boss Ewan Wallace insisted the authority had been left with no choice but to scrap the free periods. He said: “Every option for continuing to provide free periods has been looked at, and the council is between a rock and a hard place. “It is simply not sustainable to continue providing them, or to rely on those who pay for longer periods to pay even more to cover the cost of the free periods.” Meanwhile, members of the infrastructure services committee will hear about plans for the council to take over the enforcement of on-street parking from the police. The local authority has developed its own proposals for the scheme which could lead to the return of traffic wardens or parking enforcement officers to the streets of Aberdeenshire. Council officers could be asked to revisit the study with any fresh findings coming back to the ISC next January.'

Barefoot runner shows adventure is not just for boys with daring run covering the length of Britain

News Press and Journal

An adventurer, who is currently undertaking the equivalent of 100 marathons, will visit Caithness this weekend as she navigates her way from the most northern tip in Shetland - and she is doing it while running barefoot.
'An adventurer, who is currently undertaking the equivalent of 100 marathons, will visit Caithness this weekend as she navigates her way from the most northern tip in Shetland – and she is doing it while running barefoot. Anna McNuff is nearly two weeks into the mammoth challenge of covering the 2,620-mile distance, with her trek expected to last five months. Her labours began on Sunday, June 2 in Shetland with the Girlguiding ambassador travelling through villages, moors, mountains and beaches, as well as taking on some farmland and a few A roads as part of her Barefoot Britain challenge. \t\t\t\t\t The adventurer is stopping off at various locations along the way to speak with numerous young guides to share her experiences. During the weekend, Ms McNuff will be running from Gills Bay to Lybster, before she enjoys a well-earned break tomorrow to meet with members of local Brownie and Guide groups at Latheron Village Hall. \t\t\t \t\t\t\t \t\t\t \t\t\t Anna McNuff is undertaking the challenge from Shetland all the way south through Britain \t\t The talks tie into a new manifesto launched by the Girlguiding charity, which is seeking to highlight the challenges girls currently face in terms of access to adventure. The initiative comes on the back of research undertaken by the charity, which consulted with 76,000 girls in the guiding community. Ms McNuff said: “Girls want adventure. They want to have exciting experiences without worrying about being treated differently or feeling unsafe because they are girls. “Barefoot Britain will show girls that adventure is as much for them as it is for boys. “All the way through Barefoot Britain, I’ll be talking to girls and young women about taking on adventures and doing things that scare them. I want to show girls that their gender is not a barrier to adventure and to encourage the girls and young women of the UK to be their brilliant selves.” \t\t\t \t\t\t\t \t\t\t \t\t\t The adventurer is to stop off in Caithness this weekend to speak to local girl groups and encourage more girls to get involved in outdoor adventure \t\t She added: “There are so many people who care about the future. Girlguiding makes a huge difference to the lives of girls and the women they will go on to be. “I want to show people how rewarding it is to support girls in their adventures – and how that’s an adventure in itself. Just you being you can make a real difference.” The challenge is scheduled to end on Sunday, November 10 in London.'

Community views sought on new initiatives for Sutherland

News Press and Journal

Highland Council is inviting communities to offer their thoughts and opinions on a draft strategy to improve five town and village centres in Caithness and east Sutherland.
'Highland Council is inviting communities to offer their thoughts and opinions on a draft strategy to improve five town and village centres in Caithness and east Sutherland. The draft Caithness and Sutherland town centre strategy presents several potential scenarios for Thurso, Wick, Brora, Dornoch and Golspie. These actions came from the findings of the 2018 town centre health check undertaken by the council and are aimed at making the sites more attractive, active or accessible. \t\t\t\t\t Councillor Matthew Reiss, chairman of the Caithness committee, said: “With the challenges we are facing in Caithness, we need to ensure that the town centres are thriving and attractive places. “The town centre checks provided us with valuable data about the current situation in our main towns and this strategy document now provides an excellent opportunity to set out what needs to happen to deliver the change that’s needed. “It’s also a timely piece of work, particularly given the momentum currently being generated by local people to transform Wick town centre.” The consultation on the draft strategy started yesterday and runs until August 23. You can view and comment on the draft strategy online at consult.highland.gov.uk Anyone requiring  more information should phone 01349 886608.'

OPINION: How is Gove still in the race, hasn’t he had his marching powders?

Politics Press and Journal

Sniff. What’s that? Sniff. Just a runny nose, that’s all. Sniff.
'Sniff. What’s that? Sniff. Just a runny nose, that’s all. Sniff. Ok, yes, so who didn’t do a little bit of the old Colombian marching powder in one’s youth? Apart from Gove, of course. Have you ever seen anyone who more obviously has never touched anything stronger than Calpol? He’s only saying he did to look cool, like me.   I mean it was on tap wasn’t it? It was fashionable in the eighties, like mullets and Michaela Strachan. Woof! Springwatch? She can focus my binnoculars any season of the year. Anyway, It was the lifestyle.  I was a journo living a 24/7 back then…I had a high pressure job, deadlines to meet, and all my mates were doing it so, you know, it was on. On like Donkey Kong! Don’t judge me, ok? Yes, my use of class ‘A’ drugs was a serious offence which contributed to a pernicious trade that brings misery to our communities and finances organised crime. But let me be very clear; so what? It doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be PM! After all, I am posh, privately educated, and I’ve written in newspapers about how bad what I did was when other people do it; which is totally what world leaders do now. So I could still be a contender, Charlie! Happily, my leadership campaign goes from strength to strength. the other candidateshave all been spending the week helping my chances by shooting themselves in the feet. Whilst I, using the same technique as Boris, have held on to my share of support (2% and holding steady) by saying and doing absolutely nada. Matt, Dom, Mark and Rory (aka Oldboyzone) can forget it – no-one knows which of them is which. Especially since one of them has already been knocked out. Which one? Exactly! Sajiid Javid has been whinging about not getting invited to the State Banquet with Donald Trump. Buck up Saj, it might not have been a backlash for your outspoken criticism of Trump’s Islamaphobic policies; it might have just been because Theresa didn’t want to have to explain why her Home Secretary looks like Rowan Atkinson playing Dr. Evil. And as for Esther McVey, I guarantee that Loraine Kelly remembers ME from back in the day. Yowzers! But the one who kept making the mistake of sharing his weird beliefs this week was Jeremy Hunt…(that’s ‘HUNT’ Victoria Derbyshire – you potty mouthed scamp!). I met a psychologist chap this week who told me that there is a scientific explanation why people keep calling Jeremy Hunt that word. Firstly, it’s an unconscious spoonerism with ’Conservative’; secondly the fact that the word is taboo makes it psychologically more, rather than less, likely that it will happen and thirdly, he’s Jeremy Hunt. Kevin Cash – Money Saving Expert and King of the Grips. There’s only sae mony hours of TV I can watch, afore I hiv tae stop staring at the 60 inch flatscreen and get chased awa fae my neighbour’s patio windows. So this wik I had a good evening oot planned and instead found myself hugely disappointed. Noo, My musical tastes is fit ye might cry ‘eclectic’. There’s nae song I winna listen tae the first 30 seconds o’ on Amazon for free.  But I’ve been an especially big fan of Rod Stewart iver since that happy day in 2011 fan I realised that I could hear ivery note of his gig at Pittodrie withoot having tae pay for a ticket, thanks tae a park bench on the Broadhill and a stiff South Westerly wind.   But that’s fit’s done for him this time. I had been looking forward tae the gig, and had secreted my deckchair and some oot o’ date cans of Asda Smart Price lager in a prime listening position roon the back of the Gordon Barracks. So imagine my annoyance fan Rod cancelled on us at the last minute due tae “high winds and bad weather”. Noo I get the concerns. The AECC venue is getting on a bittie, and is noo a bittie creaky. Much like Rod himself. Ye dinna wint tae be enjoying the spectacle only tae find something on stage blowing off withoot warning. Much like Rod himself. I reckon the answer lies in shoring the place up tae mak sure it stays plumb till the new TECA place opens. That shoogly tower needs sorted oot for a start. I dinna even ken fit it’s for, but ye widna trust it in a high wind. My mate Mick the Pill has a load of sacks of Polyfilla fit he rescued fae the building works at ARI. If we’ve ony left over fae sorting the cooncil oot wi’ a job lot, tae mak sure Provost Skene’s Hoose disnae fa’ doon afore they get their statue of Dennis Law through the doors, I reckon I can dae them a deal. But we’ll need tae get a bend on. They’ve noo had tae postpone Rod’s gig, fit wiz meant tae be the final een at the venue, for anither month. And fa kens fit state the AECC, and the weather, will be in by July? Given the  current conditions, Rod should be ready for snaw!'


Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave? On 23 June 2016 the UK held a referendum and 51.89% of voters voted to leave the EU.

GALLERY: Unusually outgoing otter puts on a show for visitors at Moray park

Nature Press and Journal

An adventurous young otter has proved a hit with visitors to a Moray park after taking a liking to its pond.
'An adventurous young otter has proved a hit with visitors to a Moray park after taking a liking to its pond. The creature has shown itself to be unusually friendly around humans, coming within feet of the scores of people who have often braved dire weather conditions to catch a glimpse of it at the water feature in Cooper Park during the week. Local wildlife enthusiast, Steve Truluck, has shared several videos and images of the otter online. He described the animal as “bold as brass”, saying it “wasn’t bothered at all” when people were standing mere footsteps away watching it play about in the water and scurry around the edge of the pond. He added: “The otter got out and came right up to people, it has no fear at all.” A 30-second clip of the otter darting about the area has been viewed almost 3,000 times on the internet. Commentators marvelled at the otters show with one saying that he was really “playing for the crowd.” Others described the footage as “stunning” and that it was “worth getting soaked for.”   Please enable Javascript to view this gallery And photographs later showed it “casually” departing the pond and heading in the direction of the nearby River Lossie – where it is understood that its more reserved parents reside, between Elgin Academy and Moray Leisure Centre. Otters are considered to be a threatened species and are protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981, after the species was lost from most of England and Wales between the 1950s and the 1970s because of pesticide pollution of waterways. But they are thriving in the clean water of the north and west of Scotland, where there are thought to be about 8,000. They are one of Scotland’s top predators and feed mainly on fish and crustaceans, and can be found near freshwater areas or along the coast. But the Elgin creature is not the only otter to enjoy the surroundings of a public park. Last week, a family of the animals was found to be living in the pond at Figgate Park in Edinburgh. It is thought they are likely feeding on frogs and small fish living in and around the water.'

Man with rare facial cancer defies odds by taking on 1,000-mile cycling challenge

Health care Press and Journal

A man with a rare facial cancer which means he struggles to breathe is defying his condition by taking part in a mammoth cycling challenge.
'A man with a rare facial cancer which means he struggles to breathe is defying his condition by taking part in a mammoth cycling challenge. Graeme Heward was diagnosed with cancer of the nasal lining in 2010 and has since undergone almost 30 surgeries, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The ordeal has cost him his right eye and he has now been placed on palliative care having been told his condition is terminal. But Mr Heward, who is from Cheshire, is eager to spread a message of hope by embarking on a 1,000-mile bike ride to raise money for Maggie’s Centres – which offer free practical, emotional and social support to people with cancer and their families. He is averaging 80 miles a day riding from Swansea to Inverness, taking in every Maggie’s Centre in the UK, and was given a warm welcome in Aberdeen this week. He battled through rain, wind, flooding and fallen trees to reach the Granite City centre. \t\t\t \t\t\t\t \t\t\t \t\t\t Pictured are Lesley Braithwaite, Graeme Heward, Elliot Heward, Polly Woodward at Maggies Aberdeen. \t\t Mr Heward explained that a quote from the founder of the charity, Maggie Keswick Jones, summed up his approach to life – “above all, what matters is not to lose the joy of living in the fear of dying”. He added: “A lot of people don’t know what Maggie’s is and hopefully they will never need to use their services but I just want to help them in any way I can.” People can donate to his fundraiser at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/maggies-tour Those wanting to raise their own funds for Maggie’s can still sign up for a few spaces left for next week’s Culture Crawl. Every year, the charity creates a new route exploring some Aberdeen landmarks. At each venue, participants are treated to cultural performances, live music, and local food and drink offerings. The 10-mile walk will start at Aberdeen Beach Leisure Centre on Friday, and people can sign up at www.maggiescentres.org/ccaberdeen'

Tory front-runner Boris Johnson pledges ‘orderly, managed Brexit’ by October

Politics Press and Journal

Tory leadership front-runner Boris Johnson has claimed that he can achieve an 'orderly, managed Brexit' by October by simply ditching the controversial aspects of Theresa May's Withdrawal Agreement.
'Tory leadership front-runner Boris Johnson has claimed that he can achieve an “orderly, managed Brexit” by October by simply ditching the controversial aspects of Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement. The former foreign secretary said it was his intention to remove the Irish backstop from the agreement, which he described as “that prison, that Hobson’s choice”, and implement unspecified “alternative arrangements” to keep goods flowing back and forth across the border. The backstop, which bedevilled Mrs May’s deal, is an insurance policy designed to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland by keeping the UK in a customs union. Eurosceptic MPs have always rejected its inclusion in any Brexit deal as it could potentially keep the UK tied to the EU if it was ever needed. Mr Johnson, in his first broadcast interview on BBC Radio 4, said: “The obvious way to do it is to make sure that you have checks on everybody who breaks the law, but you do it away from the border.” He added: “I think that we can get to a situation in which we are able to leave smoothly with an orderly, managed Brexit, and that’s what we should be aiming for. “There is a clear way that the now effectively defunct Withdrawal Agreement can be disaggregated – the good bits of it can be taken out.” The comments came after health secretary Matt Hancock announced that he was dropping out of the Tory leadership race. Mr Hancock, who secured 20 votes in the first ballot of the contest on Thursday, said the party is looking for a candidate for the “unique circumstances that exist now”. In a statement, Mr Hancock said: “I ran as the candidate of the future, but the party is understandably looking for a candidate for the unique circumstances we face right now. “I have therefore decided to withdraw from this contest, and I will look for the best way to advance the values we fought for, of free enterprise, and an open, aspirational, free society, underpinned by an optimistic belief in the value of each individual person.” He did not immediately commit to backing another runner, saying he needed to “talk to all the other candidates about how these values can be best taken forward”. Moderate Conservatives have been discussing who can best challenge Mr Johnson, with some fearing the foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, who came second on Thursday, appeared to be too much of an “establishment” figure. Candidates need to secure 33 votes in the second ballot on Tuesday in order to continue in the contest.'

Boris Johnson in Downing Street would be ‘catastrophic’ for Scotland, John McDonnell warns

Politics Press and Journal

As the Tory leadership battle heats up, Labour's shadow chancellor tells Westminster reporter Daniel O'Donoghue why he worries for the future of the Union
'As the Tory leadership battle heats up, Labour’s shadow chancellor tells Westminster reporter Daniel O’Donoghue why he worries for the future of the Union Sat in his office surrounded by policy papers and strategy boards, shadow chancellor John McDonnell struggled to hold back his anger as he reflected on the ongoing Tory leadership battle. Describing it as “grotesque”, he claimed the majority of the leadership pitches could have been written “10 or 20 years ago” as they were all “tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts”. Mr McDonnell is particularly concerned about the “catastrophic” impact a Boris Johnson government would have on Scotland. In an interview with the Press and Journal, he admitted he would “worry” about the future of the Union in the former foreign secretary’s “dangerous” hands. The senior Labour figure, who is Jeremy Corbyn’s right hand man, also slapped down the SNP for continuing to agitate for independence – saying the “best thing” for Scotland was a Labour prime minister in Downing Street and not a “harmful” second referendum. He said: “The reaction to Boris or any Tory leader by Nicola Sturgeon should not be to harm your country even more by splitting away and by dividing. “The best thing to do is to defeat him at a general election and get a Labour government in, simple.” Mr McDonnell, sitting in his office surrounded by policy papers and strategy boards in Labour’s parliamentary HQ, struggled to hold back his anger as he spoke of the “grotesque” Tory leadership contest which has been playing out over the last week. He said the majority of leadership pitches could have been written “10 or 20 years ago” as they were all “tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts”. \t\t\t \t\t\t\t \t\t\t \t\t\t Boris Johnson \t\t Asked about the candidates left running and their potential impact on Scotland, Mr McDonnell said Mr Johnson posed the greatest threat. The former London mayor launched his campaign on Wednesday by seeking to big up his Unionist credentials – telling journalists and supporters that he “will seek to strengthen the Union of our four nations.” However that pledge has since been undermined with his continued bullishness around a no-deal Brexit and promises of a tax break in England that would leave Scottish workers footing the bill. Mr McDonnell said: “I think a Boris Johnson premiership could be catastrophic, it really could and I think if you look at his track record in government so far, when he was foreign secretary he wasn’t just an embarrassment he was actually dangerous and I think that’s my worry about him as premier as well.” He also said that Mr Johnson “should not have the right to take over as prime minister without a general election”, he said: “That happened with Theresa May, a prime minister was imposed upon us, it shouldn’t happen twice”. Mr McDonnell however said he was “confident” of a recovery, he said: “Look in a general election we’ll have a much wider debate on what’s going on, not just Brexit. “We’ll get on to the domestic policies, in terms of how we transform the economy with investment in public services and how we tackle poverty.” Asked if he still had confidence in Richard Leonard to lead the party in Scotland, he replied with a simple “yeah”. Mr McDonnell will be taking Labour’s policy offers on “roadshow” around the country throughout the rest of this year and into next year with dates yet to be announced for Scotland.'

Motorists facing detours for three weeks – after sign falls off Aberdeenshire bridge

Law and Order Press and Journal

Motorists will be forced to take detours for three weeks following the 'ridiculous' decision to close a bridge after a sign fell off it.
'Motorists will be forced to take detours for three weeks following the “ridiculous” decision to close a bridge after a sign fell off it. Aberdeenshire Council has sealed off a much-used countryside road after a plate advising drivers about a mandatory height restriction dropped off the 11.5ft Lower Powburn railway bridge near Fordoun. The decision to close route will affect several communities which have already been cut off by the demolition of an unsafe bridge nearby last year. Anna Mitchell, store manager of Castleton Farm Shop, has raised fears about her business suffering as customers struggle to reach the rural outlet. She said: “More needs to be done to maintain bridges in Aberdeenshire, it’s ridiculous they are left to get in such a state.” And Laura Wilson, a Fordoun farm worker, added: “It sounds like an absolute nightmare, that road is pretty much the main road out of Auchenblae. “It seems like bridges are just falling apart across Aberdeenshire.” Aberdeenshire Council explained that the bridge is owned by Network Rail, and the delay to fix the sign was necessary to “obtain agreement” to carry out the work. West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine MP, Andrew Bowie, yesterday called for the organisations to work together to ensure that the road is reopened “urgently”. The decaying state of bridges in the area first became a problem last year when the creaking 168-year-old Abbeyton Bridge was closed after repeated use by heavy vehicles left it on the brink of crumbling onto railway tracks underneath. The crossing, on the B966 Castleton to Fettercairn road east of Fordoun, was demolished in a £1 million operation over Christmas. Mr Bowie said: “This latest closure simply serves to highlight how vulnerable Fordoun is to this type of disruption, given the ongoing problems with the Abbeyton Bridge. “Residents, businesses and visitors will all face difficulties getting in and out of the village. “There was already a strong case for replacing the Abbeyton Bridge in the long-term – and I hope this latest incident will focus minds on finding the best way to do that.” Resident Carole Tailford wrote to Mr Bowie and the chief executive of Aberdeenshire Council, Jim Savege, about the situation. She said: “Lower Powburn has become the main artery for these communities. “Perhaps it is time all of the wider community raises a petition to voice strong concern about this situation.” The decision to close the stretch between Upper and Lower Potterton until Wednesday, July 3, will mean a 6.6 mile diversion for motorists – adding almost 15 minutes onto their journeys depending on road conditions. To reach the A90 Aberdeen to Dundee road from the direction of Auchenblae people will have to travel along the B966 west of Fordoun and then onto the Old Aberdeen Road. Travel problems will be further exacerbated when the back road between Auchenblae and Stonehaven closes next week for surface repairs. \t\t\t \t\t\t\t \t\t\t \t\t\t Abbeyton Bridge before it was demolished \t\t Aberdeenshire has more sub-standard bridges than anywhere else in Scotland, with 65 of the 1,800 structures regarded as defective. A council spokesman said: “As the Lower Powburn bridge is owned by Network Rail it will be necessary to obtain agreement though their asset protection procedures before this work can be carried out by ourselves. “We have started this process.” Andrew Bowie at the bridgeA Network Rail spokesman added: “The signage on the bridge is maintained by the council and we are working with the local authority to reinstall the missing sign as soon as possible.”'

Engineering firm failed to pull off tractor move

Agriculture Press and Journal

After the Second World War the British tractor industry mushroomed to such an extent that many long-established engineering concerns looked into producing their own models. Pete Small looks at one such concern – Turner Manufacturing of Wolverhampton
'After the Second World War the British tractor industry mushroomed to such an extent that many long-established engineering concerns looked into producing their own models. Pete Small looks at one such concern – Turner Manufacturing of Wolverhampton Turner Manufacturing’s origins go back to the early 1800s when Thomas Turner set up in business as a locksmith. Under the Dumbell family, which took control in 1901, the firm was producing railway equipment, motor vehicles, bicycles, marine engines and many other products. During the First World War the firm built machine tools, and in the inter-war period it produced vehicle components and even fairground equipment. The Second World War saw the company receive government contracts to produce winches and aircraft landing gear. Wishing to broaden its product range during peace time the firm developed other lines, such as light delivery vehicles. However, it was a move into diesel engines that saw it become involved with tractors. It produced a range of vee layout engines, with single cylinder, two cylinder and four-cylinder options produced. Turner produced its first tractor in 1948, known as the Mk1, by using its two-cylinder power plant in a lightweight three-wheeled tractor. In the same year chief draughtsman Tom Graver and tractor designer Reginald Hill started to design a much larger tractor, which was fitted with the four-cylinder Turner engine, a wide four-wheel front axle and a three-speed gearbox. This machine, known as the Mk II Prototype, was chosen for production after trials. Further development continued with a four-speed gearbox fitted and engine uprated to 40hp. Working with Adrolic Engineering of Coatbridge saw the tractor fitted with a hydraulic linkage. This fitment allowed a range of matching implements to be offered alongside the tractor. Leverton of Spalding in Lincolnshire was greatly involved with the cultivator and tool bar options, while Featherstone produced the mid-mounted mower and McConnel the saw bench. A full range of ploughs were also offered including a heavy disc type. It was Adrolic that produced the mould board types while Salopian manufactured the disc type. Denning of Chard in Somerset made a set of discs, while Bomford produced the dozer and grader blades. Not only was there a good range of implements but there were plenty of accessories too. Scottish Aviation of Prestwick supplied the cab, while Steelfab produced a fore end loader. Stanhay in Kent made wheel strakes while Belton Bros of Drury came up with the Pick Up Hitch. All this equipment had been demonstrated in May 1950 on a farm near the factory but the tractor was launched at the Royal Show at Shrewsbury the summer before. It was hastily renamed from the Turner All Purpose Tractor to the much grander Turner Yeoman of England. The new Mk 2A and Mk 3 versions appeared over the next two years. They had been upgraded through the work of consultant engineer Harry Aston who redesigned the cylinder heads to improve the combustion process, while a Donaldson air cleaner was fitted as well as a change from dry to wet cylinder liners. For the Mk 3 in 1951 a colour scheme of two tone green and yellow was adopted. Turner, which had the distinction of being the first tractor manufacturer to offer its own diesel engine, struggled to sell enough tractors for various reasons. Firstly, it was too expensive; at £700 it was £200 more than a diesel Fordson. There were also reliability issues and the power rating was lower than the competition from Fordson, Massey Harris and eventually Nuffield. Production continued until 1955 and it remained available until 1957 when the final stocks were cleared. But Turner did not leave agriculture, as speculation suggests the company dropped its tractor to clinch a contract with Ford to make components for its Major, and in the 1970s Turner developed synchromesh transmissions for International Harvester and British Leyland. Today the Turner tractor is celebrated by the Turner owners register.'