Social affairs

Quarry expansion set to go ahead

THE SCOTTISH government has ruled out a last-minute intervention to stop the expansion of Europe's largest quarry, Glensanda.

Tomorrow Highland Council will formally approve the extraction of an additional 400 million tonnes of aggregate, making the superquarry one of the three or four largest in the world.

Campaigners had built their hopes on the SNP government preventing mountain tops being removed from Morvern and blasted into aggregate for building roads in the south of England. The John Muir Trust, named after the pioneering conservationist, is backing locals who are "outraged" that no independent inquiry has been carried out into the expansion and that it has been left to the council to make a decision.

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Pupils' orchard project is ripe for harvesting

Councillors entering Glasgow's magnificent Victorian city chambers will have to be careful not to upset the apple cart as 120 varieties of local apples, harvested by the city's children, will be put on display on Friday.

More than 1,000 fruit trees have been planted by the city's schoolchildren, many in or near their playgrounds. The children plant the apple and pear trees, watch them grow and harvest the crop.

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Why we should hang on to Scottish traditions at New Year

LAST Hogmanay, driving through the centre of Edinburgh after the fireworks, I saw a young woman aged somewhere between 12 and 18, standing in the pool of light from a street lamp. Dressed in only a sparkly party dress with no coat, she was clearly dazed from drink or drugs and perhaps alone and shivering as a tide of strangers jostled past her in the shadows. She looked so vulnerable that I pulled over to see if she needed help. But by the time I had made my way through the crowd to where she had been, she had vanished.  The vulnerability of the drunk amid strangers at New Year is not all on the female side - the previous year an assertive woman in her 30s from a naval family arrived at my house having walked across town, saying she had seen a young chap in a kilt on North Bridge.

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No sign of open diagnosis on children's hospital

No sign of open diagnosis on children's hospital

FAST forward to 2012. You might be aware that this is the year London hosts the Olympics. It is also when the east of Scotland 's new children's hospital is scheduled to open its doors. A shining palace of health, it will be a place where those who come to be treated will be children first and sick second.

Perhaps it will also have a shiny, blue, two-storey helter-skelter like London 's new children's hospital, the Evalina, which was recently visited by a focus group from Edinburgh.

"We don't want a cheap box, we want something that is really outstanding, that has a wow factor, " says consultant paediatric surgeon Bill Manson.

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Living with Grandma

The little badge was unearthed from a corner of my mother's ancient sewing box the other night, when she was sewing similar ones on to my children's scout uniforms.

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