2005-06-26

Intolerance: Bigot March Arrests Soar

Police and organisers last night expressed 'disappointment' after more than 70 people were arrested during Scotland's first major Orange parade and rally of the year... Around 18_000 people joined the procession through Glasgow's city centre in the first major Orange march since Sir John Orr's review of parades in Scotland. But 74 people were arrested for breach of the peace and sectarian offences as members of Glasgow's 182 lodges and 90 bands paraded through the city. Strathclyde Police divisional commander Mr.Kenny Scott said there had been 14 arrests 'in relation to the parade' in the city centre and another 60 arrests in the Glasgow Green area where the rally was held. He added:
'We are very disappointed with the level of disorder and drunkenness.'
Mr.Ian Wilson, Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland, also expressed concern at the number of arrests. In the weeks before the parade Mr.Wilson insisted the organisation would take a 'zero tolerance' approach to public disorder and sectarian abuse. He contacted 500 lodges and flute band associations around Scotland and Northern Ireland to warn participants against excessive drinking and offensive behaviour. He also instructed them not to display sympathy for outlawed Ulster paramilitary groups. But last night Mr.Wilson said that despite the arrests the parade itself had been 'excellent' and described the turnout as 'wonderful'. He added:
'We expected the police to be robust, we had called for them to be robust where there were problems and it appears they have been. 'Obviously I'm disappointed at the arrests, but I'm relieved that it seems to have been for comparatively minor offences. 'I would also be surprised if any members of the lodges or bands were involved.'
'Police arrest 74 during Orange rally ', Richard Gray, The Scotsman, 2005-06-26, Su Links Scottish Catholic Media Office Muslim Council of Britain Church of Scotland Scottish Council of Jewish Communities Scottish Episcopal Church Humanist Society of Scotland Free Church of Scotland Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland National Secular Society United Free Church of Scotland

2005-06-25

Intolerance: The Incredible Shrinking Man

He still is a mound of a man, but his blue eyes widen with delight as he presses his chest with his fingertips, smiles mischievously and makes the grand announcement: He can FEEL his ribs. To Mr.Patrick Deuel, this small moment is huge. Headline huge. Man Can Feel Ribs -- A First in 25 Years. One year ago, Mr.Deuel weighed 486_kg. He was so enormous that his bedroom wall had to be cut out to extract him from his home. Then, he was rushed to a South Dakota hospital in an ambulance with extra-wide doors and a ramp-and-winch system that had to be dispatched from Denver. One man. Nearly half a tonne. Mind-boggling. So, too, were the grim realities of Mr.Deuel's life. He hadn't left his bedroom in seven months. He'd barely been outside in seven years. He couldn't sit up. He couldn't roll over by himself. He had heart trouble and diabetes and needed oxygen. Mr.Patrick Deuel was dying. A photo taken 2004-06 shows a pneumatic-like figure sprawled helplessly on his stomach looking like an inflated balloon. Now 12 months after being hospitalised for gastric bypass surgery, Mr.Deuel sits on a love seat that is propped up on cement blocks. He still looks like a plus-sized Buddha. But he is less than half the man he used to be and that, his physician says, is amazing progress. The patient concurs.
'I'm used to looking in the mirror and seeing the "Michelin Man",' he says. 'All of a sudden ... I look a little more like a human being and I say, "Ooooh, my God, where did HE come from?"'
Mr.Deuel does a quick inventory of his shrinking, yet still massive body: He touches his ribs. He stretches his fingers like fans to see bones and tendons. But thrill No. 1 is the magic number on the scale: 226_kg. He pumps a fleshy arm in triumph. He hasn't been south of 230_kg in two decades. Mr.Deuel now goes out almost every day, walks a bit, exercises and thinks about all the things he hopes to do someday.
'Life,' he says, 'is infinitely better.'
Mr.Patrick Deuel's weight was off the charts before he even knew it. Before he could walk or talk, he says, medical records defined him as obese. By the time the ambulance pulled into his driveway in this tiny town more than 40 years later, Mr.Deuel had long been a prisoner of his many kilos. He couldn't work, attend a college American Football game (a Nebraska banner hangs on his living room wall), or -- for a time -- even sit in his parent's home, and he wasn't shy about talking about it. When Mr.Deuel arrived at 'Avera McKennan Hospital' in Sioux Falls, USA, he welcomed 'the spotlight', determined to prove he was no 'Guinness Book' footnote, but a man with a message: Obese people suffer because the health care system and insurance companies don't do enough to help them. He also didn't mind being an inspiration.
'If I can lose weight, anybody can do this -- and I mean ANYBODY,' he says. 'My willpower is basically zero.'
In the year since, Mr.Deuel's story has brought him more than 2_000 e-mails and letters from as far as China and Saudi Arabia. He has acquired an agent (he has been paid to appear in a British documentary and on German TV magazine shows). And he has talked openly -- and often humorously -- about his obesity.
'My dad says I was supposed to be 8-foot-4 (2.5_m),' he likes to joke, 'But I quit growing.'
Mr.Deuel, 43, says it has been frustrating not to be able to lose weight and humiliating to be called names -- 'Fat Pat' was a common childhood taunt -- but he's not one to analyse a life defined by obesity.
'I always thought it was a problem that some people had and other people didn't like,' he says simply.
Mr.Deuel was a 'fast-food junkie' -- 'hooked on' pizza pie, crisps, beef jerky and chilli dogs. He also gobbled down cherry blintzes and 'ambrosia' (a creamy fruit, marshmallow and coconut concoction). Even now, his face brightens when he mentions his favorite foods. While those days are over, Mr.Deuel doesn't believe in total deprivation. He exercises with bar-bell weights, but still smokes (he's cut down to a pack a day), saying he can't kick two bad habits at once, and he defiantly refuses to consider any foods taboo.
'If you have a craving and don't take care of it, it's going to grow and grow and grow, and it's going to make you do something stupid -- binge,' he says.
About twice a month, Mr.Deuel indulges in foods most dieters would consider to be 'off-limits': a small piece of chocolate, an ice cream bar, 'Taco John's' nachos on his van ride home from visiting his physician in South Dakota, USA.
'I've lost 46_kg in 70 days, eating what I wanted,' he says. 'Tell me it doesn't work. ... For me, the easiest way to stay on my diet and not go absolutely crazy to is eat (to satisfy the craving), get that out of the way and get back on the program.'
The 'Atkins' and 'South Beach' faithful might shudder, but not Mr.Fred Harris, the surgeon who operated on Mr.Deuel last autumn.
'Patrick is over 21 and he can do what he wants to do,' he says. 'He's a free individual who has to enjoy his life.'
Mr.Harris's empathy has some personal history. Three years ago, he himself had bariatric surgery and is now 45_kg thinner. He declines to be more specific.
'An occasional indiscretion is OK,' Mr.Harris says. 'Every once in a while you have to have a piece of chocolate, providing you're not carrying the bag around all the time.'
Mr.Harris suspects that Mr.Deuel is a lot more careful about his diet than he admits.
'He's a naughty boy when he's trying to show off,' he says. 'I think he has made up his mind he wants to be more mobile.'
Practically speaking, Mr.Deuel can't eat as he once did. Surgery initially reduced his stomach size from three litres to the size of the end of a thumb. Now, with the swelling long subsided, he can only eat 0.1_kg to 0.2_kg of food; anything more, then he'll likely feel pain and vomit. Mr.Deuel concentrates on high-protein, low-salt foods: cottage cheese, refried beans, spinach, asparagus, non-breaded shrimp, steak, roasts, cheese. He avoids potatoes and bread. And milk makes him sick. So far, so good. Some physicians say bariatric surgery works if a patient loses more than 40 per cent of excess body weight -- something Mr.Deuel has done.
'Any way you slice it, we did what we set out to accomplish,' Mr.Harris says. 'If Patrick wouldn't lose another gramme, I'd think he had been a success. ... Anything else I get out of him is "gravy".'
When Mr.Deuel loses more weight, Mr.Harris plans to remove his panniculus, an apron-like layer of abdominal fat. It makes walking feel like he's carrying giant sacks of flour. That surgery could trim another 20 to 30 kilogrammes. It was Mr.Deuel's GP who called Mr.Harris last year after she arranged for her patient to get emergency care for neglected dental work and realised he needed more help.
'It was clear we had a dying patient,' Mr.Harris says. 'I told him, "We don't have weeks. We have days or hours." I said he could die in the bed ugly or accept admission (to the hospital).'
Even now, Mr.Deuel says he thinks he could have lost weight without surgery. At the hospital, Mr.Harris's medical team had to design extensions for an operating table. By 2004-10 when Mr.Deuel had surgery, he had dropped more than 180_kg, a lot of that water. Mr.Harris says Mr.Deuel's weight problems are not simply from overeating.
'I'm absolutely convinced the basic, overlying cause for morbid obesity is genetic,' Mr.Harris says. 'There's some nature, some nurture. But it's like wanting to have blue eyes and having brown eyes. 'You can't fight it. We desire food more, we get hungry quicker. ... Every gene in your body says, "Feed me now." '
Mr.Samuel Klein, director of 'The Centre for Human Nutrition' at Washington University's School of Medicine in St. Louis, USA, says it's likely there's a genetic predisposition to obesity, but that has not been proven. About 40 per cent of weight variability, he says, is related to genetics. To hear Mr.Patrick Deuel tell it, his troubles began when he was still in his baby carriage. Mr.Deuel says he was 3 months old when diagnosed as morbidly obese (some medical experts say there's no way to make that assessment so young.) He clicks onto childhood photos on his computer and, in his high-pitched voice, narrates a life story measured in alarming numbers: The kindergartener in cap and gown, 40_kg. The chubby-cheeked Boy Scout, 110_kg. The thick-necked, 13-year-old, holding a whipped cream confirmation cake, 125_kg. Mr.Deuel points out the less obvious, too: His little red wagon had extra sturdy wheels, his pants' legs were rolled up because he could fit only in men's clothes. His mother, Betty, proffered little guidance beyond suggesting nonfat milk but recalls once telling her son: 'If you don't get some of this weight off, you're not going to live to be very old.' Neither parent was fat, though one of Mr.Deuel's grandfathers weighed more than 140_kg. Mr.Deuel's mother worked in a health-food store and says she prepared healthy meals -- lots of salads and squash -- and they tried 'The Weight Watcher's diet', but it didn't help much. She knew how abnormal the situation was, but she says
'There's a point where you say, "Am I nagging so much where I'm making things worse?" I did believe you can overdo it,' she explains. 'I had someone ask me one day, "Couldn't he just eat less?" Well, he did.'
By high school, Mr.Deuel was 140_kg, but found his niche, lending his tenor voice to choirs and his trombone-playing talents to bands. He only lasted one semester in college, then began working a variety of restaurant jobs where meals were free.
'There was too much to choose from and I made a lot of rotten choices,' he says.
Mr.Deuel tried all kinds of diets but quit because he couldn't afford the supplements.
'I just thought one of these days somebody is going to come out with a diet that works or one of these red-hot science fellers is going to come up with a pill ... you take and lose 45_kg,' he says.
Mr.Deuel knows how 'Pollyannish' that sounds.
'Every dieter,' he says, 'is wishing for that day.'
In the mid-1980s, he fell and hurt his back and ended up on disability, making him even more sedentary. But there was one positive turn in Mr.Deuel's life. Through a newspaper personals ad in which he described himself as 'physically challenged,' he met Ms.Edith Runyan, a divorced school guidance counselor. On the 'phone, he bluntly told her he weighed about 320_kg. When they met, she found his sense of humour appealing.
'He had a positive attitude about life even though he had been kicked in the teeth a lot emotionally,' she says.
They married a decade ago -- Mr.Deuel weighed 340_kg -- and his weight gain continued, his waist expanding up to 2.3_m. Mr.Deuel had to be weighed last year at a feed mill on a scale designed for lorries. Now, he can move gingerly with two walkers; he does 'laps' around his house, moving from the living room to the kitchen to the laundry room and back. He still can't attend mass; 'I don't do steps yet,' he says. Mr.Deuel hopes to become a motivational speaker and though he first talked about reducing to 110_kg, he now says maybe he'll settle for more -- it depends how he feels. He already has plans for the future: He'd like to go fishing, attend a football game, and yes, drive to 'McDonald's' for an Egg McMuffin. He says:
'Just being able to go out and do what I want to do -- when I get to that point, I've reached my goal.'
And his timetable for that?
'At least 15 minutes before I die,' he jokes.
He pauses, smiles and reconsiders.
'Maybe a half-hour.'
Sharon Cohen, APNews, 2005-06-25

2005-06-24

TV Licence or Blanket TV Tax?

Question is, do you need a TV licence to watch TV on a handset or is this a loophole created by technological convergence?
'O2' is due to begin trials of broadcasting TV-to-mobiles next month as part of a deal with cableco ' NTL'. Performance testing is due to get underway shortly before 350 punters in Oxford get the chance to view TV on the move from 2005-09. Elsewhere, 'Virgin' kicked off trials of its TV-to-mobile service earlier this month -- providing content from 'Sky Sports News', 'Sky News' and new music channel 'Blaze' -- to the handsets of 1_000 London triallists. While 'Orange' launched its service in 2005-05 providing punters with an initial line-up of nine channels including 'ITN News', 'CNN', 'Cartoon Network' plus 'specials' such as 'Celebrity Love Island' and 'Big Brother'.
According to 'Orange', you do. A spokesman for 'Orange' told us:
'"Orange TV" can be viewed on your handset as long as you have a TV licence for your home TV.'
Which is the kind of clear answer that can prove realy helpful, except that it completely at odds with what 'O2' told us. A spokesman said
'"O2's" service is currently being trialled and that a full commercial launch is not due before the end of 2006. 'Regarding the question on whether people would need a TV licence, we don't believe it will be necessary for consumers although we will be clarifying with "Ofcom",' he said.
So, two different operators, two different answers. Thankfully, those people at TV Licensing -- the group that collects the TV licence fee that funds the 'BBC' in the UK -- were able to steer us in the right direction. The key, it seems, is whether a TV programme is broadcast at the same time as it is becomes available via a mobile handset or on a PC via a broadband connection. If it's not, then no licence is needed. If it is streamed live, or almost live, then it is. A spokesman for TV Licensing explained:
'Anyone who uses or installs television receiving equipment to receive or record television programme services must be covered by a valid TV licence. 'Mobile phones capable of receiving television programme services live or virtually live would come under the definition of TV receiving equipment. 'So, if you choose to view live or virtually live programmes on emerging technology (eg mobile devices) or on a PC, in essence you are watching the programme at the same time as it is being broadcast throughout the UK, and you are required by law to be covered by a valid TV licence 'However, providing that you have a TV licence for your main address then you will be covered for any television equipment that is powered by its own internal battery. It has been our experience that people who use mobile phones to receive television programme services are likely to already be covered by their existing TV licence.'
Which is all well and good, but things are changing -- something that's already been acknowledged by the Government. According to a Green Paper published in 2005-03 the licence fee could be replaced by a tax on having a PC instead of owning a TV. For while the government plans to retain the license fee for at least ten years, ministers are looking ahead to a time when high-speed broadband connections routinely deliver digital television channels to the nation's homes. In that event a fee based on television ownership could become redundant and the government might look at other ways to raise revenue, from subscriptions to taxing other access devices. Indeed, the whole area of 'Digital multimedia platforms' is something regulator 'Ofcom' is due to look at over the next year or so. It wants to understand 'likely developments in digital platforms and services and produces a framework to address the emerging policy challenges, including content delivery across different platforms, business models and consumer demand'. And that means how viewers pay to watch TV -- be it on the gogglebox, PC, mobile or some other gadget. 'Depends', Tim Richardson, The Register.co.uk, 2005-06-24, Fr 14:15 GMT

2005-06-23

Science: The Importance of PCOS in Fertility

The most common cause of infertility in young women is rooted in the way that girls develop in the womb, new research suggested yesterday 2005-06-22. One in five women of reproductive age is thought to have symptoms of 'polycystic ovarian syndrome' (PCOS) -- even though they may not be diagnosed. Celebrity sufferers include Ms.Victoria Beckham, Ms.Jools Oliver and Ms.Emma Thompson. The condition is caused by cysts on the ovaries -- which produce hormonal irregularities. As well as finding it difficult to conceive, women with PCOS may have irregular periods, be obese and suffer from acne and excess body and facial hair. Researchers, led by Mr.Michael Davies, from 'The University of Adelaide' in Australia, studied 544 women born between 1973 and 1975. He told the annual meeting of 'The European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology' in Copenhagen:
'Symptoms of PCOS were fairly common.'
One in five women had more hair than normal and a quarter reported more than four days menstrual irregularity. Five per cent of the women were diagnosed with PCOS. The researchers compared the women's medical histories with information about their births. Women without a PCOS diagnosis -- but with irregular periods -- were heavier at birth and had larger placentas. Their mothers also tended to be heavier in late pregnancy. In contrast, the birth weight of women with PCOS tended to be on average 0.196_kg less than those without the condition, and they had smaller placentas.
'Our research suggests that, during pregnancy and birth, there are several factors working through different pathways that are implicated in the overlapping and varying symptoms of PCOS that emerge in the offspring's later life,' said Mr.Davies. 'One pathway may be mediated by high maternal weight in late pregnancy, which is linked to irregular periods in the daughter, and possibly obesity and weight-related reproduction problems,' he added. 'A second pathway may involve reduced placental and foetal growth, which is linked to the more severe symptoms of PCOS in the daughter, usually resulting in an early clinical diagnosis of the syndrome. 'A foetus that has been affected by restricted growth is more likely to have problems with insulin metabolism in later life due to an underlying metabolic problem. 'In women, this problem appears to be associated with PCOS and is most evident where there is a constellation of symptoms of increasing severity.'
Mr.Davies said events that occurred not only to the mother, but possibly also the grandmother may have a bearing on the development of a foetus. Ms.Beckham, 30, blamed PCOS for problems conceiving before she had Brooklyn, six. But her condition does not seem to have affected her getting pregnant since. Her second child, Romeo, is two and she had son Cruz in 2005-03. Ms.Oliver, 28, the wife of the TV chef Mr.Jamie Oliver, took a fertility drug because of PCOS before conceiving Poppy, two, but did not need help with Daisy, her second daughter. Ms.Thompson, 45, has a five-year-old daughter, Gaia. She needed IVF because of PCOS and conceived on the first attempt, but subsequent attempts have failed. Ms.Sam Maccuish, chairwoman of a Glasgow-based support group for couples having trouble conceiving, said the earlier women can find out about possible problems such as PCOS the better. She said:
'There are a number of women in the support group I run who have spent the last ten years trying not to get pregnant, then they discover in their early or mid-thirties that they have these problems, which puts them in a much lower success rate for IVF.'
Women can reduce the severity of PCOS through diet and avoiding certain oral contraceptives. They can also improve their chances of successful IVF by beginning treatment at an earlier age. Ms.Maccuish had PCOS herself, but because she knew from the age of 22 she would have trouble conceiving she started IVF much earlier than most. She now has two children, which is unusual for those who conceive via IVF, because she and her husband were young. She added:
'If the research enables women to know they have a problem at an early age, it is definitely worthwhile.'
'Life in the womb may hold key to later infertility problems', Louise Gray, the Scotsman, 2005-06-23, Th

2005-06-21

Science: Female Orgasms Are Mind-Blowing

An orgasm is literally a mind-blowing experience for a woman, scientists have revealed. Much of her brain shuts down when she reaches a sexual climax. The discovery was made during experiments in the Netherlands-- when couples' brains were scanned during lovemaking. Neuroscientist Mr.Gert Holstege, from 'The University of Groningen' said it appeared that shutting down the brain during orgasm ensured that obstacles such as fear and stress did not get in the way.
'When you are fearful or have a very high level of anxiety, then it's hard to have sex because during sex you really have to give yourself and let go.'
Men were studied in the same way but because the male orgasm typically takes such a short time it was difficult to obtain meaningful brain scan data. A total of 13 women and 11 men, ranging in age from 19 to 49, took part in the experiments at Mr.Holstege's laboratory. Since it was vital to remain completely still in the scanner, volunteers had to have their heads restrained while being stimulated. The rest of the body was free to move. Participants lay naked on a table with their head inside the scanner -- but had to wear socks to avoid cold feet.
'Alcohol brings down the fear level,' said Mr.Holstege.
'Everyone knows if you give alcohol to a woman it makes things easier.'
'Women's Brains Really Are Blown By Orgasms', Yahoo!News, 2006-06-21 Tu

2005-06-20

Intolerance: Baby Toys Make Bad Adults

Children at playschool in Austria are having their toys taken away in the belief it will help them fight drug addiction and alcoholism later in life. The project called 'toy-free kindergartens' will see groups of youngsters forced to go without their usual classroom playthings for three months to make them more independent and socially integrated... Vienna city councillor for health, Ms.Renate Brauner, said the campaign was to prevent children from becoming addicted to drugs and alcohol in adulthood by developing their 'social competence' in childhood.
'Pilot tests have shown that taking away children's toys encourages them to think more about how to entertain themselves.
'They become more social and even those on the outside of the group find a positive role,' she said.
The campaign comes after recent studies in Austria found more and more children are growing up in families in which one or both parents drink too much alcohol and the number of teenagers developing problems with alcohol and drugs is growing. 'Children's toys blamed for drug addiction', Ananova, 2005-06-20

Money & Intolerance: Immigrants save Scottish Economy

Scotland is set to narrow its growth gap with the rest of the UK this year helped by an unexpected rise in inward migration, a new study argues. According to 'Ernst & Young', the Scottish economy is set to outperform the UK as a whole in 2005 after a disappointing performance last year. Scotland's economic prospects, under threat from a falling population, were boosted by a rise in migration in 2004... Newcomers were attracted by cheaper housing and good job prospects. New arrivals The difference between Scotland's economic output and that of the rest of the UK is expected to fall from 1.2 per cent last year to 0.7 per cent in 2005. This would bring it into line with the average figure for the past seven years after Scotland fell further behind the rest of the UK in 2004. Although the economy is expected to slow slightly this year -- output declining from 1.9 per cent to 1.8 per cent -- it will perform better than the UK as a whole thanks to more vibrant retail sales and healthy job creation. Optimism about the country's long-term economic prospects has been clouded by fears of a decline in population. Although the number of deaths outstripped births by 4_000 in 2004, Scotland benefited from a net gain of 26_000 migrants, a much higher figure than expected. 'Ernst & Young' said the rise in arrivals could be attributed to housing being much cheaper than in the south of England & Wales while employment prospects were just as good due largely to a rise in public sector jobs.
'The idea of an irreversible decline in the Scottish population needs to be revised,' said Mr.Dougie Adams, chief economic adviser to 'Ernst & Young's' Scottish Item club. 'In the past, periods of gain from migration have tended to coincide with recession in the greater south but this latest experience looks different.'
However, Mr.Adams said the figures should be treated with some caution in terms of future trends because they may have been distorted by the admission of ten new countries to the EU last year, which resulted in many young workers moving to western Europe. Export problems The picture remains a far less happy one for Scottish industry, however, with exports currently 35 per cent lower than in 2000. Exports declined 3.6 per cent last year and, according to 'Ernst & Young', are likely to see only a modest recovery this year. Engineering businesses have been particularly badly affected with overseas sales less than half of what they were in 2000. ' Scotland to 'narrow growth gap'', BBC News, 2005-06-20 12;40:03 UTC

2005-06-19

Intolerance: Females Are Angrier

It is the research finding every man suspected, and every women will vehemently disagree with -- women are the angrier gender. New research that examined the responses of 22_000 people over 50 years has found that women are more likely to feel angry and persistently frustrated than men. They also are more likely to act on their frustration in an unhealthy manner, choosing 'passive aggression' over non-violent confrontation, psychologists say. And 'Hell really has no fury like a woman scorned' -- as 'thirtysomething' women with no partner are far more likely to report angry feelings than those with partners. The survey also found that both men and women tend to mellow in middle age, and that angry children do not necessarily become angry adults. A link also was established between economic status and anger, as low-income children are more prone to tantrums and distress. The survey, funded by the government's 'Economic & Social Research Council' (ESRC), used interviews of more than 20_000 people born in 1958 and 1970, tracking responses through adulthood. It found that women were more likely to report 'persistent anger' by a small but significant margin.
Professor Joshi'In childhood, it is boys who are very angry and that sort of fits the common conception. 'But our study shows that come adulthood, it's just the opposite, as women tend to report being angry more often,' study co-author Ms.Heather Joshi said.
While the study does not offer explanations for the differences, the authors speculated that women are frustrated by 'social in-equality', particularly in the workplace.
'One can only speculate at this point, but it certainly should be looked into. My guess is further research will relate higher levels of anger to larger inequality issues facing women today,' Ms.Joshi said.
'University of London' psychologist Mr.Windy Dryden said the study confirms previous research in which diary entries of US American men and women found substantially more references to anger in the women's journals. A recent study at 'The University of Middlesex' suggested that old women tend to be grumpier than old men. The new report found that while men tend to become more tolerant as they get older, women stay angrier than ever, falling out with their friends, getting irritated by strangers in the street and feeling frustrated by the vagaries of modern technology. Mr.Dryden said anger is often prompted by feelings of powerlessness, which in women may be a response to entrenched 'sexism' in modern society. Powerlessness also may be the reason that single people in their thirties and people of low income tend to be angrier, as both may feel their lives are not going as planned. The rich and famous are not immune to frustrations and anger, psychologists are quick to point out, as any woman can feel her blood rise. In 1999, 'supermodel' Ms.Naomi Campbell enrolled in an anger management clinic and several celebrities, including Ms.Britney Spears, Ms.Diana Ross and Ms.Courtney Love have been linked to high-profile tantrums.
'Anger is caused by frustration and powerlessness. 'With all the demands in the workplace, relationships and at home, it's easy to speculate over why women get angry,' he said.
However, anger management psychologist Mr.Ian Hancock warned against 'reading too much into' the study, as men and women may define anger differently.
'The human emotional response is primarily a physiological one. 'There is a measurable physical response -- blood pressure rises, as does the pulse and adrenaline levels. 'That's the same regardless of the emotional situation. 'So a woman might be more attuned to these physiological changes and more inclined to identify them as anger,' Mr.Hancock said.
Mr.Dryden, who runs a clinical practice in London, said his work with patients suggests women respond to anger in a less constructive manner than men. He said:
'Instead of using it as an opportunity for assertion, they tend not to deal with it directly, often becoming passively aggressive, talking behind people's backs, or taking feelings out on other people. 'Men have their own problems -- violence mainly -- but I don't think women have learned to use anger for the positive,' he said.
'It's true: women are showing their rage', Eben Harrell, The Scotsman, 2005-06-18 Links: Think Your Way to Happiness (Overcoming Common Problems) Windy Dryden, Jack Gordon, Paul Hauck (Introduction) IOE - Heather Joshi NE-CF - Heather Joshi

2005-06-18

About Time

Article by Mr.Brian Morton: Time has been much in the news this past week. The most famous 'Time Lord' of all has been doing battle with his most notorious enemies. Mr.Asafa Powell shaved another hundredth of a second off the men's 100m sprint record. And it's the 50th anniversary of an invention that made such calculations possible. In 1955-06, at Teddington in Middlesex, Mr.Louis Essen completed the maths that led to the building of the world's first atomic clock. It was accurate to approximately one in ten billion, but it took more than a decade for the technology to be adopted as the international standard. A 1967 conference on weights and measures rather grudgingly accepted that Mr.Essen's machine was doing rather better than anyone's 'Rolex' or long-case grandfather clock. Time in Britain is now set by 'The National Physical Laboratory' (NPL, and still in Teddington), but in line with a network of more than 200 atomic clocks which maintain what is now described as Co-ordinated Universal Time (known as UTC after its French version) and collated at 'The International Bureau of Weights and Measures'. Mr.Essen is one of British science's forgotten heroes. Born in Nottingham, he worked on radar during the war but also helped to develop the technology -- the cavity resonance waveometer -- which allowed precise measurement of the speed of light. He is the only physicist to have been honoured by both the Americans and Russians during the Cold War. It was, however, a Glaswegian, Lord Kelvin, who came up with the original idea for an atomic clock, laying down much of the theoretical work in 1879. Mr.Essen's original design used the absorption of microwaves by caesium atoms to determine time. He based his work on British research into the transition of electrons between states in atoms, a process helpfully likened by the people at NPL to the motion of stars in a solar system, 'only far more accurate'. This led to the official definition of a second as the duration of (take a deep breath)
'9_192_631_770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the caesium 133 atom'.
By 2000, atomic clocks were so accurate that they would lose just one second during the entire known age of the universe. However, scientists aren't satisfied yet. Even the recent 'caesium fountain', in which particles are slowed down by laser beams the better to detect those tiny microwave transitions, are set to be superseded by what's billed as the biggest revolution in the measurement of time for 50 years. NPL's Mr.Patrick Gill has been working on optical (rather than microwave) frequency transitions, bombarding a single strontium ion cooled to near absolute zero (shades of Lord Kelvin again) first with a blue then a red laser beam, creating a highly stable system that is claimed to be accurate to one part in ten to the power 18. That would make it about 1_000 times more accurate than the best existing clocks. Quite what this might have to do with catching -- or missing -- the 07:26 from Kirknewton to Waverley isn't obvious, but highly accurate time measurement is essential to the running of the Internet, the security of the world's stock markets (where millions of pounds, dollars, yen or euros can be won or lost in a second), to phone messaging and even to the GPS systems beloved of hill-walkers and sailors. And, of course, it's essential to precisely co-ordinated broadcasting. When I presented on 'BBC Radio Scotland', it was only necessary to hit the links to weather at about 57 minutes and 40 something seconds past the hour, and you could have used a sundial for that. When my wife Ms.Sarah Macdonald was cueing the news on 'BBC Radio 4', on the other hand, it was essential to get within a breath of the time signal -- 'crashing the pips' is still a hanging offence at 'Broadcasting House' -- which is about the thickness of Mr.Asafa Powell's micromesh vest. It's also still only half a century since men in 'gabardines' and 'trilbies' stood around a cinder track with stop watches and agreed that Mr.Roger Bannister really had broken that other mystical time barrier. Where next? Once Professor Gill and his team produce the goods, are we going to be excited about thousandths, maybe ten thousandths, of a second being skimmed off existing records? (With thanks to staff at the National Physical Laboratory, Teddington. Catch up with their work on www.npl.co.uk) 'Precise time measurement is ongoing science quest', Brian Morton, The Scotsman, 2005-06-18, Sa

Ikea Moving Into Town

The furniture retailer 'Ikea' yesterday (2005-06-17) unveiled radical plans for the first in a series of smaller stores in town centres across Britain. The new shops are a departure for the Swedish retailer, which has previously opted for huge out-of-town warehouses. An application to build a smaller store at Hillingdon, in West London, is expected to be submitted for planning permission within the next fortnight. Mr.Scott Cordrey, 'Ikea's' UK property manager, said:
'The concept will be very different to anything we have built before in the "Ikea" world. 'This will be a benchmark for retailers in the M25 area, both in flexibility and environmental measures.'
The new store, which will include a restaurant, will be about 20_000 sq m in size and laid out over three levels. The development also will include 240 one- and two-bedroom flats, with 170 of them classified as affordable housing. The chain intends to build between eight and ten of the new smaller stores within the next three years. A spokesman for 'Ikea' said they have no immediate plans for a new store in Scotland, but that they have not yet chosen locations for the smaller shops. The company already has two large branches in Scotland -- one just off the Edinburgh city bypass and another at Braehead in Glasgow. In 2004, The Deputy Prime Minister Mr.John Prescott refused the furniture chain permission to build a 30_million_GBP store at Stockport, near Manchester, because it went against government policy on out-of-town shopping developments. 'Ikea' appealed to the High Court but the decision was upheld on 2004-03. In a statement released after the High Court decision the company said it would continue with its expansion plans. The smaller stores are seen as a way around the planning policy. The firm has described its new format as '"Ikea" as we know it' but that it would involve 'compromises on range presentation and office space'. Mr.Leigh Sparks, professor of retail studies at 'The University of Stirling', said:
'The smaller size of the stores will inevitably mean a compromise on the number of products available.
'How they handle that will be an interesting choice, and what works and what doesn't work is something they'll have to find out through experimentation.'
Mr.Sparks thinks the new stores may make use of 'Ikea's' home delivery service and could act as a shopfront for items that may not be held in stock in the smaller stores but would be available to order. He added:
'Much will depend on the mix of products in store. There is a danger that if existing customers go to the new stores and are dissatisfied with the range they find there then it could damage the brand.'
Mr.Neil Mason, a senior retail analyst with Mintel, said:
'This is an attempt by "Ikea" to modify its format to get planning consent and make itself more available to consumers in the UK. 'They've been a victim of their own success in some ways -- they're just so popular. They have a winning formula and I see no reason why they can't repeat that with their smaller format stores.'
He added that the Swedish firm's plan to start selling goods on-line also would appeal to shoppers who wanted to avoid the crowds in its existing 13 large stores. 'Giant IKEA thinks small to expand in town centres', Peter Ranscombe, The Scotsman, 2005-06-18 Links: Ikea

Intolerance: Latest E-mail Scandal

It started as an unfortunate accident involving spilt ketchup and a 4_GBP dry cleaning bill. But the resulting angry e-mail written by secretary Ms.Jenny Amner to a high-flying lawyer sparked a nationwide media frenzy and sent the two protagonists into hiding yesterday (2005-06-17). Mrs.Amner, a 25_000_GBP/year secretary at the world's fifth-biggest legal company, became incensed after Mr.Richard Phillips, a senior associate, asked her to pay a 4_GBP dry cleaning bill for accidentally spilling tomato sauce on his trousers. Her withering e-mail to Mr.Phillips -- who earns an estimated 100_000_GBP/year -- has sped across the Internet after being leaked from the London offices of the multi-national law firm 'Baker & McKenzie'. The first e-mail, which Mr.Phillips sent on 2005-05-25, said:
'Hi Jenny. I went to a dry cleaners at lunch and they said it would cost £4 to remove the ketchup stains. If you cd let me have the cash today, that wd be much appreciated.'
The 'final straw' for Ms.Amner reportedly came when she returned to work after her mother's funeral to find a yellow post-it note chasing her for the money. Ms.Amner replied on 2005-06-03:
'With reference to the e-mail below, I must apologise for not getting back to you straight away but due to my mother's sudden illness, death and funeral I have had more pressing issues than your £4. 'I apologise again for accidentally getting a few splashes of ketchup on your trousers. Obviously your financial need as a senior associate is greater than mine as a mere secretary.'
The angry secretary informed Mr.Phillips that she had told various partners, lawyers and trainees about his e-mail and they had offered to 'do a collection' to raise the cash.
'I however declined their kind offer but should you feel the urgent need for the £4, it will be on my desk this afternoon,' the secretary's e-mail ended.
Ms.Amner copied the e-mail to colleagues and from there it rapidly circulated among other law firms in London. Recipients began adding their own often sarcastic asides as they sent the note on. One simply said:
'This guy should emigrate.'
It is ironic that the furore should hit Mr.Phillips, who is the company's specialist in media, e-commerce and intellectual property. Reporters standing outside the city offices of 'Baker & McKenzie' were last night left waiting in vain as both Mr.Phillips and Ms.Amner stayed away from work. However, three private security guards hovered in the reception 'Baker & McKenzie' as the company continued to fend off press enquiries. Even staff at a dry cleaners across the road from the company's offices grew tired of being asked if they had cleaned the now famously soiled trousers. 'Baker & McKenzie', which has launched an internal inquiry into the e-mail spat, said both employees were now 'very upset' by all the publicity over the leak.
'Ms.Amner is particularly distressed because she was recently bereaved,' the spokesman added.
Another London law firm, 'Norton Rose', demonstrated the destructive power of e-mail in 2000 when Ms.Claire Swire, an employee, sent an e-mail to a colleague in 2000 describing a sex act. The leaked note, forwarded to six other people, went on to be seen by millions. In 2005-03, Mr.Mark Thompson, the BBC's 'Director General', was forced to admit he had once bitten a colleague on the arm after an e-mail detailing the incident was leaked on the web. A month earlier, Mr.Alastair Campbell, formerly the head of media relations at Downing Street, mistakenly sent a four-lettered e-mail to BBC2's 'Newsnight'. Ms.Jo Moore, a government adviser, shot to notoriety after e-mailing colleagues that the events of 2001-09-11 represented 'a good day to bury bad news". '57 varieties of woe for lawyer as saucy trouser e-mail backfires', Fergus Shepphard, The Scotsman, 2005-06-18

Money: PFI Fiasco

Taxpayers are to pay an estimated 33.5_million_GB to buy an airport terminal which cost just 9_million_GBP to build, thanks to a Private Finance Initiative deal branded by one economist as 'ludicrous'. Ministers are expected to pay 25_million_GBP to buy the terminal at Inverness Airport. This comes on top of the 8.5_million_GBP paid by the publicly owned company which manages the building. Opposition politicians last night condemned the cost of buying out the 'rip-off' PFI project, which comes just months after the executive agreed to pay 27_million_GBP plus VAT to buy out the Skye bridge PFI deal. The Inverness terminal PFI project has been controversial from the start. Private investors put up 5.5_million_GBP of the 9_million_GBP to build the terminal. The European Union also paid 3_million_GBP. In exchange, the publicly owned body 'Highlands & Islands Airports Limited', which runs 'Inverness Airport', paid the investors 3_GBP for every passenger arriving or departing. But as the airport became busier, the bill grew and grew. Since 1999 a total of 8.5_million_GBP has been paid, 1.87_million_GBP of it in the last year. Faced with another 19 years before the contract expires, ministers decided it was better to buy out the private company Infrastructure Investors (I2) which bought the contract from 'The Noble Bank' last year. Transport Minister Mr.Nicol Stephen said the buy-out represented value for money as the PFI deal was penalising the airport for success and hampering its growth. Passenger numbers at Inverness have grown from 337_000 in 1998 to 700_000 this year, with hopes of reaching a million by 2010. Mr.Stephen said the contract had been holding back the development of the airport:
'A buy-out is going to be expensive, but we believe it's still value for money. It would be even more expensive to continue to fund this deal.'
But Mr.Stephen said PFI deals will continue:
'A lot has been learned. In the early days there was a political dogma to force these schemes along. No doubt ministers at the time thought they were sound deals, but with the benefit of hindsight they clearly weren't.'
Mr.Fergus Ewing, the local 'Scottish national Party' MSP, said the PFI arrangement was
'one of the most inept deals that this [New] Labour government has ever mishandled'. 'The terminal originally cost over 9_million_GBP. However, after only six years, the PFI repayments have almost equalled that and the PFI owners are expected to receive a lottery-style payout of more than 25_million_GBP. 'The PFI owners are therefore expected to have received around 36_million_GBP.
'If so, they will have received four times as much as the building actually cost.'
Mr.Tony Mackay, an Inverness economist, said the original deal was 'ludicrous', adding:
'It was a very silly agreement to make. 'I have no objection in principle to PFI arrangements, but this one and the Skye bridge have been so badly managed that they just cost a fortune. 'With hindsight it has proved to be a rip off and the executive should never have agreed to it.'
Mr.Simon Cole-Hamilton, director of 'Inverness Chamber of Commerce', said the buy-out was a worthwhile investment but added:
'We are having to pay now for using a form of funding which turned out to be inappropriate for the needs.'
The PFI deal was drawn up by the last 'Conservative & Unionist Party' government in 1995, but signed by 'The New Labour Party' government in 1998-02. No-one from I2 was available for comment yesterday. According to its website, the I2 Fund, owned by 'Barclays Bank' and 'Societe Generale' investment bank, was created to invest in the equity of infrastructure projects in the UK and Europe to create a 'diversified low risk portfolio'. Other investments include a 45_million_GBP waste water treatment project in the Highlands, a 32_million_GBP contract to build new schools in West Lothian and a housing project for 'The Ministry of Defence' in Lossiemouth. 'PFI fiasco as public foots airport £33m bill ', John Ross, The Scotsman, 2005-06-18 Links: BAA Highlands & Islands airports Prestwick Airport Scottish Executive PFI Unit Trades Union Congress Unison Scotland PFI campaign

2005-06-17

Intolerance: The Cost of Pets

Playstations and television are replacing pets in the modern home as families discover the hectic pace of their lives leaves no room for animals, according to new research. The percentage of British homes with a pet has fallen from almost 55 per cent in 1999 to 48 per cent today. In some cases, children are even turning to virtual pets instead of the real thing. However, while fewer people own pets, those who do are spending more money than ever on their care, with the market for food, pet accessories and pet insurance now worth an estimated 3_600_million_GBP. Animal charities even believe the fall in pet ownership could be a good sign, showing that people are becoming more responsible and not taking on a pet they know they could not care for properly. Yesterday's (2005-06-15) study by 'Mintel' identified longer working hours, the increase of overseas holidays and the trend to live in flats and smaller homes as playing a part in the reduction of pet ownership.
'The falling number of children has contributed to this decline. 'What is more, even in those families with children, the demand for pets may not be as strong as it once was, since many children now prefer to immerse themselves in the world of computer games and TV programmes,' the study concluded.
Gadgetry such as video games, computers and mobile phones have monopolised children's attention. As an indication of this, computer-generated 'virtual pets' have seen their popularity soar in recent years. 'Neopets.com', a website themed around the ownership of pets, created and cared for by the site's members, now boasts more than 25 million members worldwide and has just struck a film deal with 'Warner Bros'. Rudimentary virtual pets such as 'Tamagotchi' continue to sell, and in October 'Nintendo' will release a virtual pet game, 'Nintendogs', in which virtual dogs will respond to voice commands and bark at 'Nintendogs' on other nearby consoles. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), said decreasing pet ownership may reflect better decision-making by potential pet owners.
'It may be that people are thinking twice over whether they have the facilities, time and inclination to care for animals correctly. 'It's a big investment and when people don't understand that, we usually come in,' an RSPCA spokesman said.
Edinburgh's largest pet shelter also responded optimistically yesterday, hoping that the study may presage a decrease in the 105_000 dogs found straying or abandoned each year.
'We are down about 70 dogs this year on the number of dogs we have to rehome. That's not a huge number but it's significant. 'It's always the hope at shelters that people will become more responsible,' Mr.David Ewing, the manager of 'The Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home', said.
Despite decreasing pet ownership, the pet-care market rose by 24 per cent in the past five years, reaching a net worth of 3_600_million_GBP. Pet food, which accounts for half of the market, is up 15 per cent, thanks to a willingness to spend more on premium food. The sale of pet accessories, including jewelled collars and trendy dog-suits, has swelled to almost a quarter of a billion pounds a year.
'Owners are showing a continued willingness to indulge. 'Increased levels of disposable income have enabled consumers to spoil their animals, with a range of new products,' the study said.
Pet health-care and insurance have also increased 30 per cent over the past five years. Pet owners are increasingly willing to pay for expensive treatments for sick pets, rather than have them put down. This has caused veterinary prices to soar, which in turn has led to the rise in pet insurance. While only 12 per cent of pets are currently insured, that number is expected to explode now that popular supermarkets such as Asda and Tesco have entered the market.
'At present, the penetration levels of pet insurance are quite low, but as it becomes an increasingly high-profile sector within the wider insurance market, this will change,' the study said.
The study also found that women are more likely to spend money on pets than men. While just one in ten men likes to buy gifts for pets, more than one in five women do so. Ms.Katy Child, a researcher for 'Mintel' , said:
'It would seem that British women are taking a more motherly role when it comes to looking after their pets. 'In some cases, the arrival of a new pet into the home does have similarities with the arrival of a new baby.' 'On their first visit to the vet, a new dog owner receives a puppy pack, mimicking the baby bounty packs given to new mothers in hospital. 'Products such as nappies and disposable training mats are even available to toilet-train a puppy, as one might do a toddler.'
A psychologist who specialises in human-animal interaction, Professor Ms.Deborah Wells, from 'Queen's University', Belfast, said:
Life is fast-paced and people don't have time for big pet commitments. That is why cats are now more popular than dogs -- they require less care. 'But people have always lived with animals,' she said. 'Maybe we are just going to see people buy less time-consuming pets.'
ENGINEER MISSING MAN'S BEST FRIEND Mr.Daniel Wardrope has a beautiful girlfriend, lots of friends and a successful career as a mechanical engineer. Still, something is missing in his life.
'I always felt like I'd get a dog when I grew up. It never occurred to me that life would get in the way,' he says.
A British citizen who grew up in Australia, Mr.Wardrope's childhood dog, Eva, found the family's 30-acre property outside Melbourne to be a virtual Eden, hence her name. But when 27-year-old Mr.Wardrope moved to Edinburgh three years ago, he found his life had suddenly become a pet-free zone.
'My one bedroom in Edinburgh was a complete loss for a pet. 'I knew owning a dog would be prohibitively expensive in the city, and it is too far to travel to the country,' he said.
With a full-time job, as well as a place in 'The Scottish Basketball Team', life has also proved too fast-paced for Mr.Wardrope to have a dog. Smaller pets that require less upkeep, such as hamsters, fish or birds, don't interest him. Nor does the idea of a small, city-friendly dog.
'What I need is a big, thumping, drooling, loveable dog,' he said. 'I'll get him one day. I know it sounds dramatic, but until then my life will be a little sadder.'
'iPods and PlayStations are replacing pets', Eben Harrell, The Scotsman, 2005-06-16, Th Links: Nintendo PlayStation Sega Xbox Edinburgh International Games Festival

2005-06-16

Third Forth Road Bridge Go Ahead

Ministers gave the go-ahead yesterday for a third road bridge over the River Forth. Mr.Nicol Stephen, the transport minister, announced that a new crossing will be built near the Kincardine Bridge at an estimated cost of 100/120_million_GBP. Motorists will not be charged to cross the new bridge, at least for the foreseeable future. The 'Executive's' decision had been widely expected, as ministers gave provisional backing to the scheme three years ago, pending the outcome of a public inquiry. Ministers endorsed the inquiry's findings yesterday and unveiled the timetable of construction. But the plan drew attacks from campaigners, concerned at any increase in road capacity. Mr.Dan Barlow, the head of research at 'Friends of the Earth Scotland', said his organisation did not approve of the plan, but stressed that, if it was to go ahead, it had to be the last road bridge over the Forth. He insisted that the bridge had to put an end to any suggestion of an expensive new crossing alongside the Forth Road Bridge. The new Kincardine road bridge will be modest by modern standards. It will be a single-carriageway construction, and its estimated cost is cheap in road-building terms. Mr.Stephen said the project would help to reduce congestion and improve the environment for local communities. The 1_200-metre crossing, combined with the recently opened Kincardine eastern link road, will free Kincardine of traffic crossing the Forth. The entire length of the new route is almost four miles and has been chosen to minimise the impact on the saltmarsh and mudflats at Kincardine, which form part of the important feeding grounds for birds on the Firth of Forth. Work is due to start next year. It will include cycle and pedestrian paths and is due to open to traffic by the end of 2008. Mr.Stephen said
'This second crossing will improve transport links in the Forth Valley and central Scotland. 'It will significantly improve the quality of life for the local community in Kincardine, as well as improving travel for road-users in Clackmannan, Falkirk and Fife.'
The new crossing will be a slender, low, multi-span viaduct to match the Kincardine Bridge, which opened in 1936 and is slightly east of the new location. The existing bridge is used by up to 26_000 vehicles a day which is 4_000 more than its design capacity, and much of the traffic is lorries. The two bridges will bring total capacity to 55_000 vehicles a day, with new and upgraded road links to enable traffic to bypass Kincardine, which is a significant bottleneck. Vehicles heading to and from Clackmannan and Kinross will travel over the new bridge, with Fife traffic continuing to use the existing one. Business groups have given a warm welcome to the plans. Mr.Iain Duff, the chief economist at 'The Scottish Council for Development and Industry' (SCDI), said
'It should alleviate some of the congestion on the Forth Road Bridge, which will be particularly welcomed by the road haulage industry. 'In particular, SCDI expects that it will make it easier for freight operators from Glasgow and the south-west to use ferry services at Rosyth.'
SANCTUARY FOR WILDLIFE Inter-tidal areas of the Firth of Forth, which includes the mudflats and saltmarsh habitat around Kincardine Bridge, are internationally important for seabirds, ducks and waders, including shelduck, knot and redshank, during the winter months. Washed by seawater with the high and low tides, the area provides a vital winter food source for the birds, which probe vegetation and mud with elongated beaks for crustaceans, molluscs and other invertebrates. In conservation terms, internationally important means any percentage of an international population greater than 1 per cent of the total. Kincardine and the Firth of Forth support a significant concentration of what is known as the north-west European and North African migration line. 2 per cent of this population of shelducks (about 4_500 birds) are present in winter, as are 3 per cent of the western European and Canadian population of knots (9_250) and 3 per cent of European and west African population of redshanks (4_300). 'Green light for new Forth crossing', Hamish Macdonell, The Scotsman, 2005-06-16, Th Links: Forth Bridges Visitor Centre Trust Forth Estuary Transport Alliance ForthRight Alliance

2005-06-15

Level Crossing Horror hits Court

A couple watched a car carrying their three-year-old daughter drive on to a level crossing as a train thundered down the line, a court heard yesterday, 2005-06-14. The vehicle was hit by the 80mph train and the girl, Ms.Sara Clegg, suffered life-threatening injuries. A man in the car was killed. Sara's parents, Jim and Lorna Clegg, are claiming damages for the trauma of witnessing the accident. They are suing both the driver of the car, a family friend, and 'Network Rail' which maintained the allegedly 'dangerous' crossing. 'The Court of Session' was told that the barriers could be lifted by a motorist simply operating a push-button control, as the driver had done that day. Mr.Clegg, of Clarkston, East Renfrewshire, who, with his wife and son, had been in a second car waiting to cross, said:
'I understood the crossing to be clear... at that moment a train came at full speed.'
He described thinking that the car being driven by his friend, Ms.Jane Rogerson, a television producer, had made it across safely:
'We realised after the train passed, the car was not there... it had been hit.
'I think it was Lorna that screamed.
'We clambered over the barriers and ran up to the car.'
His daughter had been a passenger in the rear seat of the two-door car. Ms.Rogerson's partner, Mr.Bruce Thomson, had been sitting in front of the girl.
'At first we could not even see Sara in the back.
'The booster seat had been knocked off and she was lying in the rear footwell.
'We opened the door to try to get to Sara and Bruce fell out the car.
'He was injured and unconscious.
'Jane was injured but I could hear her moaning,' said Mr.Clegg, a roads engineer.
Sara had been taken to hospital and a consultant neurosurgeon was called from his home to attend to her.
'He came in to see Lorna and me.
'He explained he was going to remove part of Sara's skull and he could not guarantee that she would live,' said Mr.Clegg.
The court heard that there was a separate damages action in relation to Sara's brain injury, but in the present case Mr and Ms.Clegg were seeking up to 80_000_GBP for the mental trauma they had suffered, and for wages lost by Ms.Clegg, a human resources consultant. Lawyers for Ms.Rogerson, of Dowanside Road, Glasgow, maintain that the crossing was 'inherently dangerous' and that 'Network Rail' should be held negligent. They say improved safety measures were introduced after the accident. 'Network Rail' says a red warning light was illuminated during the incident on 2001-05-01, and a klaxon was sounding, yet Ms.Rogerson had driven on to the crossing. 'Parents watched as girl was hit by train', John Robertson, The Scotsman, 2005-06-15, We Links: Department for Transport Office of Rail Regulation Strategic Rail Authority Association of Train Operating Companies Network Rail National Railway Museum HM Rail Safety Inspectorate Office of Rail Regulation Rail Safety (Railtrack)

Intolerance: Architects versus Planners

One of Scotland's leading architects has condemned the planned M8 extension, saying the controversial route will involve 'smashing a hole through Glasgow'. Award-winning Mr.Charlie Sutherland, whose work is recognised across Europe, says the 500_million_GBP cost of the motorway would be better spent developing the city...
'Glasgow's development plan currently promotes independent and unconnected zones, and the city's most strategic piece of infrastructure -- the M74 extension -- is going to smash through the fabric of the city,' he said. 'We believe this money should be used to create major developments in the city rather than something that passes over it.'
This is not the first time that Mr.Sutherland, whose firm designed 'The An Turas ferry shelter' on Tiree (which beat the Scottish Parliament for a coveted Royal Institute of British Architects award), has spoken out. Last year, 2004, he and his partner Mr.Charlie Hussey made waves with proposals to site a 'green' transport hub on Princes Street. However, Mr.Stuart Macdonald, director of 'The Lighthouse', Scotland's national centre for architecture, said that the architect's comments raised important issues about Glasgow's future.
'Though the funding issue is a complicated one, if I had to choose between the motorway and developing the river, I'd go for the river every time,' he said. 'Obviously Charlie is being contentious, but I think he is raising a pertinent question of whether, at a time when we are pursuing sustainability, we need more roads instead of investing in the infrastructure of the city.'
A spokesman for 'Glasgow City Council' rejected Mr.Sutherland's comments as being ill-informed.
'The M74 extension is an essential piece of infrastructure that will make a huge difference in a number of ways, in particular to those living in the south and east of the city,' the spokesman said. 'It will remove traffic from busy local roads, it will release land for redevelopment and will create vital opportunities and up to 20_000 jobs in the vicinity of the five-mile extension and its major junctions. 'There is some 2_400_million_GBP of public and private money being invested in the area around the Clyde over the next 10 years, so there is already an immense amount of development happening or in the pipeline. 'It is painfully obvious that the M74 extension and the ongoing river regeneration are complementary and are not in competition for resources.'
Mr.Sutherland's comments come as Glasgow is about to host the prestigious 'Archiprix International' competition, which will draw over a hundred young architects to the city. One of the major 'live' projects on which they will work while in Glasgow will be possible designs for the Clyde re-development. They will float radical ideas to change what is currently a major traffic conduit, cutting off the river from the city centre, into an artery linking the river to the heart of the city. The M74 extension is currently a major point of contention in Glasgow; 'CBI Scotland' yesterday 2005-06-14, called for Scotland's planning laws to be amended to prevent legal challenges to large-scale developments, delaying the construction of national infrastructure projects. The call came after environmental campaigners managed to stall the M74 scheme for at least a year on a legal technicality relating to 'The Scottish Executive's' inquiry into the project. 'M8 plan will 'smash hole' through city ', Craig Brown, The Scotsman, 2005-06-15 We Links: www.arcspace.com/architects/Sutherland_Hussey scottisharchitecture.com www.blueverticalstudio.com/05/archives/001676.html glasgowarchitecture.co.uk scotland.archiseek.com/news/2003/000052.html 'Ferry Shelter wins Building Prize' BBC News 2003-10-23 www.archidose.org/Nov03/110203c.html edinburgharchitecture.co.uk/sutherland_hussey_architects