October 22nd, 2012
12:01 PM ET

Helicopter makes emergency water landing

[Updated 12:29 p.m.] All 19 people who were on the helicopter are accounted for, UK officials tell CNN.

[Updated 12:01 p.m.] A helicopter with 19 people on board made an emergency water landing Monday in Scotland.

The Scottish navy said the chopper ditched - a term for making a forced landing - near the southern tip of Shetland.

Lifeboats were launched to help bring people safely back to land.

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Filed under: Scotland • World
October 15th, 2012
01:08 PM ET

Scotland's choice: Should they stay or should they go?

Might the UK soon be a little less United?

A new agreement will pave the way for Scotland to vote (but likely not until 2014) on its independence and whether to break away from London control.

It may be a bit early to say whether the referendum will be passed, but we do know how some Scots  feel about the issue.

Sean Connery's vote would be yes. He may portrayed one of the British government's most faithful servants as 007, but the actor has long been an ardent nationalist. He's one of  the Scots that's helped launched the campaign "Yes Scotland" to "build a groundswell of support for an independent Scotland."

But has it worked so far? Not exactly. A survey released last week by TNS-BMRB showed that only 28% of Scots favor leaving the United Kingdom.

While it may be early to gauge the pulse of Scotland on a vote for independence, we definitely know how Prime Minister David Cameron feels about the issue. He tweeted this earlier Monday:

[tweet https://twitter.com/David_Cameron/status/257832508496957441%5D

September 3rd, 2012
04:55 PM ET

10 beached whales rescued on Scotland coast

Ten beached pilot whales were rescued Sunday in Scotland, but 16 others could not be saved, the local newspaper The Scotsman reported.

The stranding occurred between Pittenweem and Anstruther at the mouth of the bay called the Firth of Forth on the North Sea.

Rescuers took advantage of high tide to get 10 whales out of trouble about 4:30 p.m., but the rest, including three calves, died, the paper said. A 17th whale died Monday, BBC reported.

The Fife Coastguard, Fire Brigade, British Divers Marine Life Rescue team, and Scottish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals were joined by local veterinarians and volunteers in the rescue effort, The Scotsman reported. Large crowds gathered but were urged not to interfere with the rescuers.

A group of whales believed to be the ones that were refloated was spotted Monday near North Queensferry, across the Firth of Forth from the Scottish capital, Edinburgh, BBC reported. They were being monitored for signs of stranding as low tide approached. About two dozen other whales, believed to be from the same pod, were seen in shallow water a short distance away.

Bob McLellan, Fife Council's head of transport and environmental services, told BBC the whale carcasses are in a hard-to-reach place and may have to be winched up the cliff face for disposal.

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Filed under: Animals • Environment • Scotland • United Kingdom • Whales • World
Scottish soccer giant Rangers expelled from top tier
After financial disaster, Scottish club Rangers is being forced out of a tier that it has won 54 times.
July 4th, 2012
05:39 PM ET

Scottish soccer giant Rangers expelled from top tier

Glasgow Rangers, one of Scotland’s most storied and followed soccer clubs, was kicked out of Scotland’s top league Wednesday because of its major financial troubles.

The exile of Rangers, a huge source of TV and sponsorship revenue, may put the country’s other clubs in peril. But some Scottish Premier League clubs claimed that they had little choice but to drop Rangers, saying they faced revolts by supporters if they let the Glasgow club stay after incurring large tax debts.

The lower Scottish Football League will now decide whether to accept Rangers for the 2012-13 season, and, if so, whether to start it in the First Division - one step below the SPL - or an even lower tier.

Rangers have been Scottish champions 54 times and are half of the famous "Old Firm" rivalry with city neighbors Celtic. No club other than Rangers or Celtic has won Scotland's first tier since 1985.

Rangers were liquidated and essentially became a new club this year after administrators seized the old version because of an unpaid tax bill of $14 million. The UK government also was seeking tens of millions of dollars more allegedly owed in back taxes.


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Filed under: Scotland • Soccer • Sports • United Kingdom
Reports: Lockerbie bomber dies in Libya
A photo taken on September 9, 2009, shows Lockerbie bomber Abdelbeset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi at a hospital in Tripoli.
May 20th, 2012
09:04 AM ET

Reports: Lockerbie bomber dies in Libya

Abdelbeset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, the Libyan intelligence officer convicted in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Scotland in 1988, has died in Libya, according to media reports.

He died at home after a battle with cancer, his brother told Reuters news agency.

Al Megrahi was freed from a prison in Scotland in 2009 after serving eight years of a life sentence for blowing up the Pan Am 747, killing all 259 on board and 11 in the town of Lockerbie below.

Doctors who had been treating him for prostate cancer gave him just three months to live, and he was released on compassionate grounds.

He received a hero's welcome upon his return to Libya, enraging many in the United States and Britain.

The destruction of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988 was the world's deadliest act of air terrorism until the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington, according to the FBI.

Al Megrahi was the only person convicted in the case.

As rebels swept into Tripoli two years after al Megrahi's release, politicians on both sides of the Atlantic called for him to be extradited, with the Americans demanding a trial in the United States, and British lawmakers saying he should return to prison in Scotland.

CNN's Nic Robertson tracked al Megrahi down at the palatial villa Moammar Gadhafi had built for him, apparently in a coma and near death. Al Megrahi's family said his son and mother were trying to care for him with oxygen and an intravenous drip, but with no medical advice.

Al Megrahi's death may make it impossible ever to get the full story behind the Lockerbie bombing.


Reports: Lockerbie bomber Megrahi dead

CNN's Nic Robertson addresses media reports Lockerbie bomber Abdul Al Megrahi is dead.


A look back at Lockerbie plane bombing

Phil Black charts the story of the Lockerbie bombing from the crash of the flight to the release of the convicted bomber.


CNN finds Lockerbie bomber

In a CNN exclusive, Nic Robertson finds Lockerbie bomber Abdel Basset al-Megrahi in Tripoli.

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Filed under: Libya • Scotland
Overheard on CNN.com: Panda sex drive, robotic squirrel and a Beltway Batman
Edinburgh's male giant panda, Sunshine, enjoys a meal in December. Sadly for Sunshine, sex isn't on the menu.
April 5th, 2012
07:48 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Panda sex drive, robotic squirrel and a Beltway Batman

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

The following three stories are all a bit - or a lot - bizarre, but they've gotten a really interesting reader response. Check out the comments from readers.

Why panda sex is so complex

Pandas have a reputation for being picky maters with a narrow window of opportunity. Conservationists in Scotland were hoping panda pals Sweetie and Sunshine would take their courtship to the next level, but alas, nothing came of it. Readers had lots of suggestions to improve the process.

"Throw a bottle of wine, a pair of cuffs and a copy of 'Fifty Shades of Grey' in the cage, that should get her going," said NorCalMojo.

Some suggested that pandas need to mate if they want to survive, and if they can't mate, we humans need to help them along. "Oh, just get the turkey baster already," wrote commenter Paul. CNN.com's Elizabeth Landau responded to the following reader's comment.

Harry: "Either artificially impregnate the female panda or let them go extinct. If they only have a three-day-a-year window for reproduction then it's pretty clear that they won't survive as a species with humans around. So either we save it ourselves or let it go bye-bye.

elandau: "A number of readers asked about artificial insemination in pandas. This is a common practice for captive pandas, veterinarian Copper Aitken-Palmer tells us. For instance, every baby panda born at Zoo Atlanta has been the result of artificial insemination, and most groups with giant pandas in the United States, Europe and China participate in assisted reproduction techniques."

Is the panda beyond help? FULL POST

Filed under: Animals • Environment • Overheard on CNN.com • Science • Scotland • Snakes • World
Thursday's intriguing people
Patrick Sullivan of Downpatrick, Northern Ireland, walks in last year's St. Patrick's Day parade in Downpatrick.
March 17th, 2011
09:46 AM ET

Thursday's intriguing people

St. Patrick

To Irish Catholics, St. Patrick's Day is not just a day for green beer and ridiculous hats. It's the feast day of their nation's patron saint.

According to Catholic.org, Patrick was born to Roman parents in occupied Scotland in the year 387. He was kidnapped and taken to pagan Ireland as a slave at age 14 but escaped and returned to Great Britain at age 20. He entered the Catholic priesthood and eventually became a bishop. In 433 he was dispatched back to Ireland, where he used a shamrock to illustrate the concept of the Holy Trinity. Virtually the entire population of the island converted to Catholicism.

He died on March 17, 461 (some sources say 493).


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Filed under: Baseball • Gay and lesbian • Ireland • Most Intriguing People • Religion • Scotland • Sports
October 5th, 2010
12:54 PM ET

Seaweed, wool make traditional bricks tougher

Wool bricks are 37 percent stronger than regular bricks, researchers say.

You’ve got more wool, clay and seaweed than you know what to do with. Here’s a solution: Make really strong bricks.

Researchers in Spain and Scotland say they’ve done just that.

In experiments conducted at the University of Seville in Spain and the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland, researchers added wool fibers to the claylike soil used to make bricks, then threw in alginate conglomerate, a polymer made from seaweed, according to a study published in the journal Construction and Building Materials.

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Filed under: Architecture • Environment • Scotland • Scotland • Spain • Technology