25 January 2010

Death Toll Mounts in Haiti

11 days after the quake survivors are still being pulled from the rubble in Haiti. Saturday’s miraculous escapee had survived on cola and snacks. These miracle stories are really heart warming but rebuilding the poorest country in the Caribbean is going to take years and the death and injury toll has been horrendous. Latest estimates are that more and 150 thousand people have perished in Port au Prince alone. A sobering though for a Monday morning


I have a motion going to Council on Thursday seeking to enhance the protection of Corstorphine Hill Local Nature Reserve. The current protection is a planning designation which can be overturned overnight. This protection is sorely needed as we have had over the last few years a couple of attempts at inappropriate development from giant (150 by 50 meter) water tanks to the zoo wanting enclosures and roads built on it. This last is very ironic as the zoo is supposed to be a conservation body. The idea that we develop what is a Nature Reserve should not be something any conservation group should be doing.



Well done to the Mighty Hibernian who thumped a good, but admittedly jaded, Hamilton side 5-1 on Saturday. Oh and fellow Hibs fan Andy Murray is through to the Quarter Finals of the Australian Open and now faces Rafa Nadal. Best of luck to him.

22 January 2010

Christmas crime Crackdown a Great Success

Today I had an excellent meeting with Alex neil, the Housing Minister who was receptive to a number of new ideas we had. He was also delighted to hear of our Homelessness Strategy and the impact it has been having on slashing the numbers of people who are homeless in the City.

Monday also saw the announcement of the results of the latest Christmas crime crackdown. Another terrific drop and more success for partnership working.

http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/CEC/Corporate_Services/Corporate_Communications/Press_Releases/NewsRelease.jsp?ID=4533

The crime rate dropped by 29 percent in the city centre during December 2009 when compared with averages for the same period over the last 3 years. I think by anyone’s standards that is a remarkable achievement.

The City also has kept its title of Most Improved Urban Local Authority in Scotland.

http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/CEC/Corporate_Services/Corporate_Communications/Press_Releases/NewsRelease.jsp?ID=4527

This is the second year we have enjoyed this success and is a real morale boost for the Lib Dem led administration. I also note that 3 out of the 4 most marked improvements are in my portfolio. I have said it before I am very lucky in the quality of the Officers I work with.

The By election, if that is what the Americans call it, caused by the death of Ted Kennedy happened yesterday. The shock result was a win for the Republicans in a seat which had been Democrat since 1952 when JFK saw off Henry Cabot Lodge. This robs Obama of his 60% filibuster proof majority. It is astonishing that with the Presidency, a majority in both Houses this technique can still hold up the passage of legislation. I suspect that there was a large element of complacency and the poor will be the ones who suffer most.


The BBC have run a bit on the biggest crystal cave in the world. See link below.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8466493.stm

This look amazing like something out of Journey to the Centre of the World.