‘Grenfell’ flammable cladding in Scotland


London Grenfell Tower inferno survivors and local residents lobby a meeting of the Kensington and Chelsea council demanding it resigns

From daily News Line in Britain:

Friday, 6 October 2017

GLASGOW CLADDING SCANDAL

HUNDREDS of residents have received letters confirming Glasgow tower blocks have the very same combustible cladding that rapidly spread the fire in the Grenfell inferno, which claimed the lives of so many men, women and children.

Glasgow has the highest population of tower blocks in the UK, with an estimated 96 high rises due to be refurbished. Initially Glasgow City Council said that there was combustible cladding found on 57 private high rise buildings. Last month the authority said further investigations had reduced that total to 19.

Now Glasgow City Council has written to residents of three separate buildings within Glasgow Western Harbour warning them that the buildings in which they are living contain the same combustible cladding as the Grenfell Tower.

The Grenfell Tower fire occurred on 14th June, meaning that for the past three and a half months these residents have been unknowingly residing in potential fire traps. The flammable cladding: Aluminium Composite Material, known as ACM has been banned in Dubai while Australia is considering a ban on its import today.

SNP council leader Susan Aitken has apologised for not telling homeowners and tenants sooner. This, however, will come as cold comfort to those residents whose lives and the lives of their families have been put in to such serious danger.

The letters state that the developer of their properties has ‘verified that limited ACM is present on the building.’ Dated October 1st it tells residents that they should ‘seek specialist fire safety advice’.

Glasgow residents are already living in fear after reporting regular fires in their own tower blocks.

Almost every resident of Glasgow tower blocks interviewed by Scottish local paper the Sunday Herald said there had been fires in their high rises.

Earlier in the year, a tower block at 30 Kingsway in Glasgow caught alight. It is still blackened by smoke — the damage stretching up eight or more floors. One resident, who lives with her mother on the 18th floor said she could smell smoke and then spotted the fire out of the window.

She remained indoors, was not evacuated and the fire was put out but she was left shaken and in fear of her life. She said: ‘What happened in London is a disgrace. I keep thinking about those babies and wee ones. I’m left terrified and so is my mum. I want out but they won’t rehouse me.’

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Grenfell Tower-like disaster in Scotland?


This video says about itself:

Not another Grenfell in Glasgow

8 August 2017

We can’t risk another tragic incident like the fire at Grenfell happening in Scotland. To date, no real fire testing has been conducted on any cladding in high rise flats in Scotland.

By Lamiat Sabin in Britain:

Glasgow: Tenants in the dark about cladding risk

Thursday 21st September 2017

Council silent on use of Grenfell-style material on some towers

FIRE services and residents of some private high-rise blocks in Glasgow have not been told that the buildings are covered in combustible cladding like that on the Grenfell Tower, it was revealed yesterday.

Council chiefs were aware of the issue but did not make the information public immediately, MSPs heard.

A search has revealed that flammable cladding — similar to the material believed to have fuelled the Grenfell fire, which killed around 80 people in west London in June — had been used on an undisclosed number of properties, said Glasgow City Council assistant head of planning and building standards Raymond Barlow.

The council has only recently notified Holyrood ministers about the matter but has told neither the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service nor the tenants and owners, he added.

“We’re simply saying we’re supplying the information to Scottish ministers and then we wish to see what they wish to do with the information before we take it further,” he told members of the Scottish Parliament’s local government and communities committee.

Committee convener and MSP Bob Doris asked him: “So, combustible cladding has been found in some private properties?”

The council official responded: “Yes, it’s just not public information yet.”

Mr Doris replied: “It’s now public information because you are telling us.”

Mr Barlow said it was a “national issue” and that was why he was making it known through the ministerial working group.

Mr Doris agreed that while it was a “national issue,” the council also bore a “a direct local responsibility” to flag up potential dangers to those potentially affected.

He voiced hope that reassurances to building owners and tenants “might be able to be given speedily” and warned that the committee might want to question council officers again on the matter.

The committee convener said afterwards: “It was deeply concerning to hear a Glasgow City Council official say that combustible cladding has been found in private high-rise homes.

“People who are currently living in private high rises and who listened to this today will, of course, be worried about their safety in their homes.

“We don’t want this to cause undue alarm, as these buildings may well be safe, but people who live in these homes deserve answers.

“That’s why we’ve asked Glasgow City Council and the Scottish government to urgently provide us with more information on the extent of this issue and we will put these concerns to the minister when he appears next week.”

402 dead Scottish Catholic orphanage children discovered


This video from Britain says about itself:

11 September 2017

Bodies of hundreds of orphan children who died at a home run by Catholic nuns ‘are found buried in a mass unmarked grave’.

Up to 400 children who died at a Scottish orphanage are believed to have been dumped in a mass grave, research has revealed.

The Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul ran the Smyllum Park orphanage in Lanark from 1864 until it closed in 1981.

The nuns previously acknowledged that children had been buried in 158 compartments in the town’s St Mary’s Cemetery.

After the babies’ mass grave discovery at a Roman Catholic children’s home in Ireland

From the Daily Record in Scotland:

Bodies of 402 children discovered to be buried in mass grave near Scottish orphanage run by nuns

The nuns who ran the Smyllum Park orphanage in Lanarkshire previously acknowledged that 158 children were buried there

By John Jeffay

18:49, 10 SEP 2017

About 400 children died at a ­Scottish orphanage run by nuns and were buried in an unmarked grave, research has revealed.

The Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul, who ran the Smyllum Park orphanage in Lanarkshire, had previously acknowledged that 158 ­children were buried there.

But research, including a trawl of more than 15,000 official records, has revealed 402 babies, toddlers and ­children died there between 1864 and when it closed in 1981.

Children who died after being sent to live at the orphanage were buried in an unmarked mass grave a mile away at St Mary’s Cemetery in Lanark.

Headstones mark the graves of the nuns and staff members buried nearby but no stone or memorial has ever recorded the names of the dead ­children.

Former first minister Jack ­McConnell, who apologised to victims of care home abuse on behalf of the then Scottish Executive in 2004, said: “It is ­heartbreaking to discover so many children may have been buried in these unmarked graves.

“After so many years of silence, we must now know the truth of what happened here.”

The order of nuns who ran Smyllum, where orphans and children of desperate Catholic families were placed, previously claimed they had records of 120 children who died there and were buried in 158 lairs at a ­cemetery.

On average, one child died every three months there, with many believed to be buried in unmarked graves at St Mary’s Cemetery.

Former residents of the orphanage have accused the nuns and staff who ran the home of beating and neglecting some of the children.

Their allegations formed part of the campaign that inspired the ongoing Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry.

The charity who ran Smyllum gave evidence to the inquiry earlier this year in which they claimed that abuse ­allegations were a “mystery” with “no evidence” of mistreatment.

The care given at Smyllum will be scrutinised during the second phase of the inquiry starting in November. ­Relatives of children who died at the orphanage are also calling for an ­investigation at St Mary’s using ground-penetrating radar to establish how many bodies are buried there.

The probe, carried out by the BBC Radio’s File on Four programme and the Sunday Post, involved scrutiny of death certificates.

In 2003, burial records given to campaigners by Smyllum bosses suggested 120 children had been buried at St Mary’s but relatives believed the figure was too low.

Research by Janet Bishop of the ­Association of ­Scottish Genealogists and Researchers in Archives, found 402 certificates listing Smyllum as the place of death or normal residence.

No details are recorded apart from their names, date of birth and when they died. Causes of death included accidents and diseases of the time such as tuberculosis, flu and scarlet fever. Some died of malnutrition.

Janet Docherty, the widow of former resident Frank, said: “He always feared there were more kids buried there and this is proof of that. He would have been content that it has come out now.”

Good fulmar news from Scotland


This video says about itself:

PuffinsIsle of May, Scotland

27 July 2016

The Isle of May is located in the north of the outer Firth of Forth, approximately 8 km (5.0 mi) off the coast of mainland Scotland. It is a renowned bird wildlife sanctuary and while there are a range of interesting birds to observe there is no doubt that the main attraction are the puffins.

From the Isle of May nature reserve in Scotland:

Fantastic Fulmars

Posted on August 4, 201 by Bex Outram, Assistant Reserve Manager

The number of our serene tube-nose Fulmar has risen, with an increase of 10% on sitting birds. The overall population is 341 pairs, the sixth highest count; the highest population count being 381 pairs in 2010.

Our Fulmars are still very much present on the island at the moment feeding chicks. Both adults are now able to go on fishing trips bringing food back for their young, which are now large enough to fend for themselves. The defence strategy of Fulmars is to squirt an oily substance from their beak towards any unsuspecting intruder that gets too close; something a seabird doesn’t want is to have oiled feathers as they won’t be able to fly. The chicks are now at that stage where they are able to project this far enough to keep them out of any harm. It is an amazingly effective defence strategy and there are few predators that are brave (or stupid) enough to try and predate a Fulmar.

These superb seabirds are also more prone to ingesting plastics than many other seabirds due to their foraging strategy. They will often feed on carrion and pick bits of food off the surface in feeding frenzies. With such an abundance and variety of plastics in the ocean it can be very hard to differentiate between what is food and what is potentially harmful.

They seem to be having a good season and we hope that this success continues for one of our under-appreciated but quietly brilliant seabirds.

Stop British Trident nuclear weapons, peace activists arrested


This video from Scotland says about itself:

Faslane Peace Camp – Fighting Trident

4 March 2009

Faslane Peace Camp in Scotland reached 25 years of age in 2007/08. This film is about the ongoing attempt by one of its longest serving protesters at ‘civil disobedience.’

By Peter Lazenby in Scotland:

Five activists arrested for Trident base road block

Wednesday 12th July 2017

FIVE peace campaigners were arrested yesterday after blockading the Trident nuclear weapons base at Coulport in Scotland.

The five locked themselves together using concrete blocks and metal tubes at 7am across the access road leading to the base.

Police were forced to use cutting gear to separate them after they blocked the road to the base for two and a half hours.

The action was part of the Trident Ploughshares nuclear disarmament international camp taking place this week near Coulport.

Those arrested included veteran disarmament campaigner Brian Quail, 79, Angie Zelter, 66, a peace and environment campaigner from Knighton in Wales, and Sam Donaldson, 29, a community worker from Hull.

The Spanish campaigners arrested were Women in Black activist Almudena Izquierdo Olmo, 60, from Madrid, and Alternativa Antimilitarista activist Juan Carlos Navarro Diaz, 46, from the Canary Islands.

Last week, the United Nations introduced a Nuclear Ban Treaty in its attempts to halt nuclear weapons proliferation but British government refused to take part.

Ms Zelter said: “British nuclear weapons are illegal and now there is a United Nations Ban Treaty. It is imperative that all of us get involved in non-violent nuclear disarmament as our government is engaged in state terrorism.”

Ms Izquierdo said: “We demand our government, as part of Nato, sign and ratify the UN Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty in order to prohibit nuclear weapons from entering foreign military bases and ports in Spain.”

The international protest camp was set up on Saturday, and will remain until July 18. Protesters include a delegation from Finland.

Fish to amphibian evolution, new research


This video says about itself:

The Evolution of Amphibians

23 January 2016

The first major groups of amphibians developed in the Devonian period, around 370 million years ago, from lobe-finned fish which were similar to the modern coelacanth and lungfish.

These ancient lobe-finned fish had evolved multi-jointed leg-like fins with digits that enabled them to crawl along the sea bottom. Some fish had developed primitive lungs to help them breathe air when the stagnant pools of the Devonian swamps were low in oxygen. They could also use their strong fins to hoist themselves out of the water and onto dry land if circumstances so required.

Eventually, their bony fins would evolve into limbs and they would become the ancestors to all tetrapods, including modern amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. Despite being able to crawl on land, many of these prehistoric tetrapodomorph fish still spent most of their time in the water. They had started to develop lungs, but still breathed predominantly with gills.

From the University of Calgary in Canada:

Fossil holds new insights into how fish evolved onto land

‘It’s like a snake on the outside, but a fish on the inside’

June 21, 2017

The fossil of an early snake-like animal — called Lethiscus stocki — has kept its evolutionary secrets for the last 340 million years.

Now, an international team of researchers, led by the University of Calgary, has revealed new insights into the ancient Scottish fossil that dramatically challenge our understanding of the early evolution of tetrapods, or four-limbed animals with backbones.

Their findings have just been published in the research journal Nature. “It forces a radical rethink of what evolution was capable of among the first tetrapods,” said project lead Jason Anderson, a paleontologist and Professor at the University of Calgary Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (UCVM).

Before this study, ancient tetrapods — the ancestors of humans and other modern-day vertebrates — were thought to have evolved very slowly from fish to animals with limbs.

“We used to think that the fin-to-limb transition was a slow evolution to becoming gradually less fish like,” he said. “But Lethiscus shows immediate, and dramatic, evolutionary experimentation. The lineage shrunk in size, and lost limbs almost immediately after they first evolved. It’s like a snake on the outside but a fish on the inside.”

Lethicus’ secrets revealed with 3D medical imaging

Using micro-computer tomography (CT) scanners and advanced computing software, Anderson and study lead author Jason Pardo, a doctoral student supervised by Anderson, got a close look at the internal anatomy of the fossilized Lethiscus. After reconstructing CT scans its entire skull was revealed, with extraordinary results.

“The anatomy didn’t fit with our expectations,” explains Pardo. “Many body structures didn’t make sense in the context of amphibian or reptile anatomy.” But the anatomy did make sense when it was compared to early fish.

“We could see the entirety of the skull. We could see where the brain was, the inner ear cavities. It was all extremely fish-like,” explains Pardo, outlining anatomy that’s common in fish but unknown in tetrapods except in the very first. The anatomy of the paddlefish, a modern fish with many primitive features, became a model for certain aspects of Lethiscus’ anatomy.

Changing position on the tetrapod ‘family tree’

When they included this new anatomical information into an analysis of its relationship to other animals, Lethiscus moved its position on the ‘family tree’, dropping into the earliest stages of the fin-to-limb transition. “It’s a very satisfying result, having them among other animals that lived at the same time,” says Anderson.

The results match better with the sequence of evolution implied by the geologic record. “Lethiscus also has broad impacts on evolutionary biology and people doing molecular clock reproductions of modern animals,” says Anderson. “They use fossils to calibrate the molecular clock. By removing Lethiscus from the immediate ancestry of modern tetrapods, it changes the calibration date used in those analyses.”