NEWS IN BRIEF

parasiteOSCARS SHOCK: IT’S ‘PARASITE’S’ NIGHT:  For the first time in the Oscars’ 92-year history, a foreign-language film was crowned Best Picture. The South Korean “Parasite” found box-office fortune as it expanded across North American theaters throughout fall and winter, and Bong Joon Ho solidified his reputation as a cunning director skilled at disguising nuanced political allegories as crowd-pleasing blockbusters. Holly Thomas in the Huffington Post

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NOMINEES for this year’s FilmG awards are practising their speeches and steadying their nerves ahead of the annual event in Glasgow’s spectacular Old Fruitmarket this Friday, 14th February, where over 400 attendees will enjoy a night of glitz, glamour and Gaelic.  This year’s short film competition saw a record 103 entries, with 48 films nominated to compete for the 18 awards.  Amongst the prizes on offer this year is the inaugural FilmG International Representative award, which will go to the most creative and best directed film in the Youth category. The winners of this award will travel to the CIAK Junior Film Festival which takes place annually in Italy. Four films are in the running for this prestigious award; Ardnamurchan High School with their film Reòite, Gairloch High School for their film Beul na h-Oidhche, Sgoil lionacleit in Benbecula with An Cogar and a group from Feisean nan Gàidheal’s drama summer school with their film An Dealbh-chluich.

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ardoch on Loch Lomond

Ardoch Estate at Gartocharn on Loch Lomondside, gifted to CHAS.

Robin House, the CHAS Hospice in Balloch has been gifted the Ardoch Estate at Gartocharn on Loch Lomondside by millionaire entrepreneur Peter Armitage.  The estate, which is 133 acres of fields running down to the loch shore, and and properties which include accommodation for weekends away for church groups and the like, is worth millions of £s. Martin Docherty-Hughes, the SNP MP for West Dunbartonshire, thanked Peter for the gesture which he says will be “truly transformational” for terminally-ill children and their families.

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Bollan 9One of the tricks of being a good politician is that you are able to spend the money allocated to you. If you can’t then the cash left over is called slippage. West Dunbartonshire Council has £17 million of cash they were lacking ideas to spend it on. I have the feeling the SNP are saving it up for a war chest for the elections next year. The SNP are forever putting the poor mouth on it. They blame Westminster for everything bad and will brook no criticism for anything they themselves are responsible for. And they are now talking nonsense about a No Cuts Budget. However, why is it that if we have a £17 million surplus in the biscuit tin that our Council is planning to pay off around 25 people? And we let go 68 employees last year? Jim Bollan, of the Communist Party, is on to the SNP. He said: “Almost another £1 million of cuts to services on top of the millions cut in the name of austerity in the past few years is what we are facing. This will mean inferior services being provided by the SNP.”

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Burgh Hall 7Absences from work through stress is a big problem for West Dunbartonshire Council, but their attempt to solve it is destined to fail. The council will be training people to recognise signs that staff are under pressure. But how?  They are calling in (expensive) consultants, the Mental Health Foundation, to help them identify the people who are mentally ill. How will these people do this? By patrolling their offices in white coats looking for folk showing signs of mental illness? Will these differ from the signs shown by staff with a hangover, having had a row with their partner or whatever? Or being bullied by their boss or being up to their eyes in debt? Mental health is a complicated area. Believe me, there will be a greater stigma attached to staff receiving a tap on the shoulder from the men (and women) in white coats than there could ever be from being  referred to your GP by your own boss, whose job it is to look after your health and welfare anyway. It appears that the Council’s new motto is now Parkinson’s Law – Work expands to meet the time allocated to it.

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WUHAN DEATH TOLL PASSES 1,000 2,478 new coronavirus cases were identified in mainland China on Monday, bringing the total number of infections there to 42,638. Worldwide, 43,090 people were infected. 108 people died from the virus in mainland China Monday, bringing the total death toll there to 1,016. Two people have died outside mainland China, in Hong Kong and the Philippines. [CNN]

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