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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I Predict a (Pussy) Riot

pussy riot

Tension in Russia is nothing new. If you happen to be a straight cisgender male, you’re generally okay. If you are literally anybody else, you essentially reside in an informal jail cell. Protestors of the human rights deficiencies in the country are treated with extreme measures, and nothing exposed this as viscerally as the treatment of the Pussy Rioters. A feminist punk rock protest group from Russia, they first made worldwide headlines in 2012, when they staged a performance in Moscow’s ‘Cathedral of Christ of the Savior’ of their song ‘Punk Prayer – Mother of God, Chase Putin Away” in reaction to the Orthodox Church leader’s support of Vladimir Putin during his election campaign. they were arrested and charged with “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred”. they were imprisoned for two years and only released in December 2013. “We didn’t ask for any pardon” Alyokhina stated at the time of her release, “I don’t need mercy from Putin.”

Today, it has been revealed that two members of the Pussy Riot movement, Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, have been arrested in the Russian resort of Sochi,  near where the Winter Olympics are being held, after Alyokhina posted a photograph of what appears to be them imprisoned in the back of a police van in Sochi.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova told the BBC that she and Maria Alyokhina were being held at a police station after being detained on suspicion of “theft”. They have not yet been officially charged. Ms Tolokonnikova said that they had arrived in Sochi on Sunday to perform a new song, ‘Putin Will Teach You To Love Your Motherland’, about “political repression in Russia”. She tweeted that the authorities used “force” during the detentions near a ferry terminal about 30km (20 miles) north of the seaside Olympic venues.

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This comes after more controversy in Russia concerning the removal of a transgender rights activist from the Winter Olympics arena on Tuesday, which was defended by the International Olympic Committee as being “peaceful.” Former Italian MP Vladimir Luxuria – dressed in rainbow colours – was taken away by four unidentified men in a car with Olympic markings as she tried to enter an arena Monday night for a women’s hockey game. The first openly transgender parliamentarian in Europe was guilty of watching the Olympics in Sochi while holding a banner reading “Gay is OK”. This is another event showcasing the rising tensions in Sochi due to Russia’s oppressive human rights laws. While being gay has been legal for twenty years, a new law that was passed recently puts LGBT rights and issues are alien to Russian culture, and members of LGBT communities should be regarded as second-class citizens and should not be regarded as equal to the rest of Russian citizens.

Scottish Independence Debate Podcast

Stuart Johnston presents an independence debate with Ashtin Loughry and Cameron Bark. Will independence be a good thing for Scotland or not?

The independence question – you decide

When it comes to the Scottish independence referendum, I’m not sure. It’s not a case of a lack of information as such, but probably a bombardment of disinformation.

When the original idea of an independence vote came around I was prolifically no. But really it was because I was thinking of ‘if it’s not broken, don’t fix it’. But that’s a pretty shallow argument, so it took a bit of thinking to arrive where I am now. I would say that I’m on the fence, leaning towards yes. My lean is attributed to one section of arguments: politics. The reason for that is because the way I see it the only spectrum in an independent (or not) Scotland that can truly be predicted is political.

The current state of affairs isn’t particularly desirable as Scotland is under a Conservative/Lib Dem coalition that we specifically didn’t vote for. I come from an area of Thatcher wasteland so for my community being ruled by Conservatives is a huge injustice. So, at least if we were independent we would be ruled by a government that we actually voted for. Thin argument if that’s your only one though.

The other side of the coin is that if we vote no then how would Scotland be treated as part of a country that we tried to escape. I dread the thought.

For me, that ends all viable arguments. For there is no models to compare of an already developed country in a similar situation. Because Scotland and the rest of the UK are so similar, I can’t see there being many social or economic arguments either way. This is unlike the situation with the Catalan region of Spain, which with the huge tourism industry in the region, if they were to become independent, and follow other small countries in installing a duty free law, could see their area turn into a country or principality such as Andorra or Monaco. The way I see it Scotland will remain indifferent.

The Fruit Tree Foundation – ‘First Edition’ review

In recent years there has been an increase in the number of super groups in the music world, such as Them Crooked Vultures and Chicken Foot, but that world has always been missing one thing – a super group with kilts, beards and a particular taste for Irn Bru. That’s right, we have our first ever Scottish super group.

The Fruit Tree Foundation is a project to raise awareness of The Mental Health Foundation which contains members of Idlewild, Frightened Rabbit, The Twilight Sad, Sparrow and the Workshop and more. With such a talented bunch of songwriters from some of my favourite bands collaborating on the one album I was desperately excited to get a listen, and it did not disappoint.

So many different musicians working together guarantees one thing – diversity, and this diversity is demonstrated immediately in ‘First Edition’. The opening track, an acoustic guitar number featuring delicate piano and the vocal talents of The Twilight Sad’s James Graham, is followed by a fast paced, ridiculously catchy tune entitled ‘Forgotten Anniversary’ which would make even the best of us want to dance.

The third track on the album, ‘Favourite Son,’ is a particular highlight in my humble opinion. A simple rhythm guitar section combined with a heavy handed drum beat gives the song a strong basis to build on, and it is built upon superbly with guitar parts, which would not be out of place on an Arctic Monkeys’ record, and the powerful vocal back up of both Emma Pollock and Jill O’Sullivan.

The sheer variety of ‘First Edition’ is perhaps demonstrated in its finest form in‘ Beware Beware,’ which would be best listened to around a campfire by a group of people dressed in kilts, truly a wonderful piece of Scottish music.

There is never a point in the album where the listener becomes bored or wants to skip a particular song. The more upbeat songs, such as ‘Singing For Strangers’ and ‘All Gone But One’ have me tapping my foot and singing along without fail. Whereas the slightly more delicate numbers, ‘Fall Arch’ and ‘After Hours’, in particular, contain beautiful vocal harmonies that grasp the listener’s attention to the point where one is staring in awe at the computer screen wondering if the people creating the music are quite as gorgeous as the music itself.

‘First Edition’ finishes as it started, with a quiet acoustic number based around simple acoustic guitar work and delicate piano, with the vocals supplied in brilliant fashion this time by James Yorkston and Jill O’Sullivan. ‘Just As Scared’ proves the perfect finale to a simply brilliant album which, although it has literal highs and lows in terms of volume, instrumentation and pace, stays constant in the superb quality.

The Fruit Tree Foundation have created a truly fantastic album which I would recommend to anyone who likes good music and cutesy Scottish accents. (Maybe not for fans of Them Crooked Vultures)

-Calum Wilson (@_calumMDSN)

Scottish Land Registry abandons costly IT projects

Meadowbank House - Registers of Scotland HQ

Bosses at the Scottish quango responsible for registering property have abandoned two IT projects at a cost of £6.8 million because, in the words of a Scottish Government Gateway Review which reported in 2011,“the successful delivery of the project/ programme appears to be unachievable.“ Continue reading

Suspicious package found at Glasgow Airport

BBC news have just revaled that a suspicious package has been found in the search area at Glasgow Airport.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/mobile/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-11690676

I have just watched BBC News at Ten live and their latest information said that the search area has been cordoned off but that the airport remains open.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-11690676

As I’m searching this on Google I can see feeds from Twitter which is inundated with speculation over the situation and many tweets state that the airport is now being evacuated. Apparently, The Royal Navy Bomb Disposal team are in attendance and are preparing to detonate the package. Hopefully this does not turn out to be a huge waste of resources as another tweeter has just informed us that the package is in fact, a haggis.

I have just tried to log in to my Twitter account in the hope of finding more credible tweets but I have been greeted with a welcome message which says that Twitter is currently “Over Capacity.”

I heard this on the news ten minutes ago and began searching Google instantly. I found one result from BBC News. I have just searched again and there are now  literally hundreds of posts and the updates are constant.

I think we all know what tomorrow’s big Scottish news story will be.