Search re-booted as third sighting revealed by officials.

Just as searches were losing momentum a third suspected sighting of the 239 passenger plane has been revealed. 

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As we see out the fifth day of searches for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 we can only find ourselves more in the dark at the days revelations. The plane which was headed towards Beijing had last certified contact at around 1.30am on Saturday morning, less than an hour after it set off from Malaysia, but a press conference earlier today divulged a possible sighting at 2.15am North of the coast of Thailand. This is the third point of contact which has been released and is causing a reverberation of questions to be felt across the globe – not least the families of those on board.

To further confusion, the second announced sighting was made by Malaysian air force chief, Rodzali Daud, who was said to have commented that MH370 had been detected at 2.40am close to Pulau Perak, an island in the strait of Malacca, geographically this doesn’t tie in with the other sightings. Daud has subsequently denied this claim which instantly raises alarm bells for those desperately grappling and trying to connect the dots.

Pressure put on officials is coming from all angles as China, home to more than half of those travelling the Boeing-777, urges Malaysia to send more aircrafts and ships to speed up the search. What had previously seemed to be a floundering search has in response to the days findings, more than doubled in size since Tuesday and now covers 27,000 square miles. This expansion comes with conflicting feeling however, as at this stage in a search and rescue with experts coming from so many angles – India today became the 12th country to join the search – we would expect to have a firm understanding of the route the plane had taken, instead of growing closer to an answer the possibilities are widening. 

Malaysian transportation minister Hishamuddin Bin Hussein has defended his government’s approach in response to criticism 

“We have been very consistent in the search,” he said.

Poignantly, the information that can be confirmed is the tranquility onboard suggested from the pilots reply to Malaysian air control just moments before it went missing, ”All right, roger that”.

For hundreds of families another sleepless night awaits.

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All of us first

Asked to write a blog piece on Independence leaves me with the same feeling of erroneous responsibility that fills you up as you take the driver seat for the very first time after the L plates come off, tentatively turning the key and glancing for your absent co-driver. I have formed my own hazy opinions based primarily, I completely put my hands up and say, on my parents vibrant discussions on the debate. Despite having come to an almost definite conclusion regarding what i’ll vote, yes by the way, I definitely don’t feel armed or able to create solid arguments to involve myself in the discussions which are going on around me. And it seems that, yet again, for women across the country this is widely the case.

The current yes polls stand at around 30% of men and an estimated 22% of women. While of course polls aren’t the be all and end all, from my experience social media debates – and those had around a few pints at the pub – are too, male dominated. To me this demonstrates an issue almost as important as the very question of independence itself. Why are women not immersing themselves in the world we all share in the way that men are? For lack of a better word i’d describe myself as a feminist (although i’d prefer just a people-ist), but I definitely feel that if women are shying away and not getting involved in the current affairs which are going on around them how can we ever establish a world where gender equality isn’t a fight, but a given? Discussions with various female friends and relatives have lead me to a couple of conclusions, is it the adversarial set up of the debate (and debates in general) that puts women off? Or perhaps that we are relatively new to the whole voting system in the first place? Or, on a more intrinsic level, it could be that in general women fear contentious situations more than men, with anxieties surrounding separation – a yearning for togetherness.

For me, some of the most important issues rooted in the entire debate are in how the results will leave different groups within society feeling placed, for example English people residing in Scotland and how we guarantee they are as welcome as those born and bred in Auld Reekie.

So, while I feel completely unequipped to write a coherent and balanced piece on why my gut, heart and head are all telling me yes, I would happily get stuck into some of the remarkably pertinent issues being starkly highlighted by the Independence debate.

Super foods? Super skint.

A couple of wee pieces I wrote on the conundrum of being healthy with the ever-present money constraints of your average student. The first a comment style piece and the second more news-y..

You’re Mackereling me skint. 

Wondering round Stockbridge Farmer’s Market I was met by a table of silky looking chanterelles, fat bunches of coriander, plump little blackberries, and a debate about student nutrition. A blackboard brightly inviting to ‘ask about our vegetable box delivery’ would trigger cynicism in even the most enthusiastic of students. Being able to afford a fruit and veg box conjures the same fantasy of having one of those delightful, brown, cardboard ‘graze’ boxes dropped through my letter box every week.

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‘To be honest, all I want is some walnut bread and some brie’. Middle class problems, or quite a poignant voice which most students can associate with. A survey done recently in Edinburgh showed that every student who was asked wished they could afford decent cheese. If mum knew that Robbie was eating toast with Farm-foods plastic slices would her heart not shatter a little?

The problems didn’t only linger with the cheese course. ‘I try live off £10 a week because I like to have money to go out as well. Being a vegetarian helps but I rarely get to enjoy proper fruit and veg.’

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I know that organic, local produce is best. Not one celebrity chef, health expert or politician would disagree. As I left the market with the smell of succulent strawberries and just baked rye bread I thought that it would be nice to come home from the expected 35 hours of study a week, plus the 37 hour ‘part time’ job which we aren’t supposed to have, to a nutritious two veg, one meat dinner without thinking, but alas as long as a tuna steak costs £5.03 and an every day value cottage pie costs 95 pence I know what i’ll be heating up tonight.

Are we starving our students brains? 

A survey conducted on a selection of students studying in the City of Edinburgh has found that 100% sacrifice healthy food because of cost.

In recent years, huge amount of research has gone into nutrition and the effect it has on our brain function. It’s fully acknowledged how positive an impact a nourishing diet can have, particularly for growing, working brains.

A range of students were asked a selection of questions regarding their weekly spend, and this was then compared with the typical ‘brain foods’ we’re advised to eat. Oily fish, pumpkin seeds, blueberries, avocados, dark chocolate and whole-grains are the super six which consistently come out top in power lists. The UK’s leading supermarket prices for these being; £4 for two salmon fillets, £1.75 a packet of pumpkin seeds, £3 per punnet of blueberries, £1.25 a large avocado, upwards of £1.50 for a bar of quality chocolate and a loaf of wholegrain bread, £1.49. With an average weekly budget of £20, super-foods are definitely off the menu. The energy these foods combined provide around 4000 calories, sustaining the average adult for 2 days. Two packets of every day value cereal would do the same, and comes in at a whopping £1.54. Image

Students expressed that they actively scrimped on foods they knew were beneficial, but that the stress of being continuously reminded that this was detrimental to their health was overwhelming.

Isla Macleod, 19, studying Animal Biology said ‘People say wholegrain is better but every day value white bread is half the price. I just don’t feel I have a choice.’

With pressure on this generation of students already at it’s peak is there an alternative to the Catch 22 we’re plunging them into?