Mohammad Sudais lost his family in a gas blast in Pakistan and is in a Glasgow hospital receiving treatment for 80% burns to his face.
The boy has a six-month emergency visa and campaigners anticipate that a “brutal” and “cruel” UK Home Office will try to send him home in August.
The four-month-old’s closest relative in Pakistan is his 85-year-old disabled grandmother.
Mohammad ‘s Glasgow-based aunt and uncle want to bring him up in Scotland.
Fraser Latta, a lawyer specialising in immigration law, has been instructed to submit a permanent residency application on behalf of Mohammad.
The boy, whose late parents were Afghan nationals, had surgery on Wednesday which his family said had gone well.
Mohammad was so badly-burned he cannot close his eyelids, meaning his eyes get very dry. Coloured lights have been strung above his bed to keep his eyes moving and reduce the dryness.
Robina Qureshi, director of the migrant and refugee charity, Positive Action, said: “The child is here on a medical visa which was supported by the Scottish Government.
“But when they applied for the visa, the red tape meant they had to give a return date for him because he is an Afghan refugee.
“Based on previous experience in similar cases, we expect to have to fight to be here.”
She added: “There have been many sad cases and the Home Office can be brutal and cruel. It’s not a devolved matter, it’s up to the Home Office.”
Ms Qureshi confirmed that Latta & Co had been instructed to submit a permanent residency application.
She said: “He has an 85-year-old grandmother back in Pakistan who is really in no fit state to look after him and so it’s felt that the best solution is to keep him here.
“He’s already been through and survived so much, he deserves the best possible outcome for the rest of his life. He’s only a baby.”
Mohammad is recovering in the high dependency unit at Yorkhill’s Canniesburn Unit with his uncle Mohammad Asif at his side.
The boy stopped breathing and had to be resuscitated just hours before surgery was due to start.
The next 48 hours are said to be critical for the baby but the family are confident that he will recover well and say he is “so curious as to what is going on around him”.
A statement on the official Facebook page for the tot said: “Mohammad Asif and his family are grateful for the good wishes and messages of support from members of the public for Baby Mohammad.
“Baby is fine as of this morning and the family are comforted that he is in the safest place in the world for him right now in the high dependency unit. It is of course one day at a time.”
The boy’s uncle faced a race against time to bring his only surviving nephew over from Peshawar, Pakistan after a gas blast killed his family in December.
Father, Ameen, mother, Samaira and 13-month-old brother Abdul all died in hospital shortly after the explosion.
More than £15,000 has been raised so far to cover transport and the legal costs which are to come.
A spokeswoman for the Home Office said they would be unable to comment until the application had been submitted and considered.]]>
The German Shepherd was abandoned as a puppy in Kabul and faced a horrible death as a fighting dog.
But when Scots bank manager Jane Wilson saw a picture of Rambo on an animal shelter’s website she immediately fell in love with him.
Jane, 40, helped raise the cash needed to bring Rambo on his 5,000-mile trip to his new home in Brora, Sutherland.
It is thought Rambo was abandoned by his owners because he was suffering behavioural problems related to the regular bomb attacks that plague the city.
Many strays fall into the hands of dog fight organisers.
Their Usual practice is to cut off a dog’s ears and tail to mark them as a stray before getting them to fight to the death.
Rambo was lucky enough to be looked after by Kabul charity Nowzad Dogs.
But because of his behavioural problems – constant barking and snapping – Rambo languished in their shelter for more than a year.
Jane, who already looked after ten dogs, spotted Rambo on the charity’s website.
She said: “We saw Rambo and knew we could take on his challenge and so set about bringing him home.”
Rambo had to spend 30 days in quarantine in Afghanistan before he was flown to Edinburgh via Dubai last July.
Jane said: “When he first arrived he was a nervous wreck and would bark at everything.
“But he soon settled in with the other dogs and is now really quite loving with the people he knows.
“He’s still not overly keen on strangers and cars but we’re slowly working to desensitise him and with the progress he’s already made we’re sure he can do it.”
Jane who lives in Brora with partner Martin Dingwall, says Rambo is now truly part of her ten-dog clan.
She said: “We have quite a lot of land so we thought we would put it to good use.
“We honestly hadn’t intended on anymore after number ten but we heard about Nowzad Dogs and the tireless work they do so we decided to make an exception for Rambo.
“I think people often forget about the animals that are in war zones.”
Rambo is coping well with a big change in climate. Temperatures in Kabul can reach a blistering 33 degrees celsius in summer while plummeting to – 8 degrees celsius in January.
Sergeant Pen Farthing, a former US Marine and founder of Nowzad Dogs, said: “For several months Rambo lived out in our back garden in Kabul during the day and slept in our bathroom during the cold nights while we fundraised for his travel to Scotland.
“Jane was amazing in offering Rambo a forever home. And I am led to believe he has fit right in.”]]>
Passers-by spotted the spooky addition to 94-year-old statues in the Kelvin Walkway in the West End of Glasgow last night (wed).
The bronze Commerce and Industry statue, which was erected in 1920, saw its female figure receive a brand new set of garish red eyes.
And the human skull on the Philosophy statue was also given the same unsightly treatment.
Pictures of the statues, created in 1920 by Paul Raphael Montford, quickly went viral, receiving more than 200,000 hits in little over 12 hours.
A witness posted: “Someone in my city started putting LEDs on the eyes of statues last night, with interesting results.”
Quantum Deep wrote: “Do you want nightmares? Because this is how we get nightmares.”
But another viewer said they thought “this will actually decrease the crime in the areas around these statues”.
The four statues in Kelvingrove Park represent Peace and War, Navigation and Ship Building, Philosophy and Inspiration and finally Commerce and Industry.
Statue vandalism has hit the headlines several times in recent months including plans to raise the Duke of Wellington on Glasgow’s Queen Street to stop people putting traffic cones on his head.
In October, Police Scotland launched an investigation after vandals purposely scoured off the black finish on Greyfriars Bobby’s nose despite the £400 repair job being completed just hours earlier.
Another capital statue, one of the philosopher Sir David Hume, also sports a shiny gold toe after superstitious students and tourists rubbed him for good luck since it was put up in 1997.]]>
Stewart Smyth, 63, said he had taken “two swigs” of vodka during a lunch break at Inverclyde Academy in Greenock on 2 November last year.
Colleagues smelled alcohol on his breath and sent him home after he disagreed that 17 + 8 equalled 25.
He was later found by police asleep at the wheel of his wife’s Mercedes in the car park of a golf course more than two miles away.
But now the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) has agreed to give him a formal reprimand which will stay on his record for one year.
The decision comes after Mr Smyth was convicted of driving whilst more than three times the limit at Greenock Sheriff Court in September 2013, for which he was fined £750 and had his driving licence revoked for two years.
In a “reprimand with consent” decision issued by the GTCS Mr Smyth said: “I admit that the above means that my fitness to teach is impaired.”
The GTCS investigating panel said Mr Smyth would not face a full hearing, which would have had the power to strike him off, as “no physical harm has been caused to a child or pupil.”
The panel also said: “The complaint made does not constitute an abuse of a position of trust” and added: “there is evidence attesting to [Mr Smyth's] good character and history.”
The panel noted: “The complaint made relates to an isolated incident and there would appear to have been no repetition since the incident occurred.”
Giving evidence in front of Sheriff Derek Hamilton during the court case, acting head Martin Anderson said Mr Smyth disagreed that 17 + 8 equalled 25 during a Maths department meeting after lunch.
Mr Anderson said: “That’s the assertion Mr Smyth made.
“I then spoke to him in a quiet corridor right outside his classroom.
“His eyes appeared glazed, his speech was slurred and there was a smell of alcohol about his person.
“I made it clear to him that I thought he was not in a fit state to teach.
“I told him that I was removing him from taking that particular class.
“His reaction was to state, ‘Martin, Martin, I’m fine, I’m fine’. I then told him he should report directly home and shouldn’t drive.”
Mr Smith told the court he had bought beer and vodka for the weekend.
He said: “I took two swigs of the vodka.
“Don’t ask me why, I had never done it before. The opportunity was there, I just did it. It was foolish.
“I can remember walking along the corridor, following Mr Anderson, who walked ahead of me without any counselling.
“It was a lifechanging moment for myself.
“I went to a car park and just sat there.
“I sat and tried to compose myself, but then I started to drink.
“I just felt worthless.”
Police later found him asleep at the wheel of his wife’s Mercedes in the car park of Greenock Golf Club, with an empty bottle of vodka at his feet.
Following the court case he was allowed to keep his job by Inverclyde council, who said “the incident was fully investigated at the time and the staff member, who remains in post, is being fully supported.”]]>
A bemused Mary Johnston has been listed on travel website Trip Advisor as a “museum”.
Her bizarre 87th place puts her above Glasgow concert venue The Hydro, where superstar Beyonce recently played.
And she is currently ranked 18th most popular out of 29 museums in the city, just two places behind Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art.
Mary, 60, who has two grown-up children and lives in a terraced house in Bellahouston, boasts four five star reviews on Trip Advisor and is fast becoming an internet hit.
Mary says she loves city breaks and is a user of the website but believes her listing as an attraction is either a bungle by Trip Advisor or a practical joke.
Although there are no details about Mary as an “attraction”, Trip Advisor asks: “Been to Mary Johnston? Share your experiences!”
The travel website also compares Mary – whose picture is sideways – with a number of “similar” attractions such as Bellahouston Park and Pollok Country Park.
One Trip Advisor, Perrierdoumbe, wrote in his review of Mary: “This attraction wasn’t in the guidebooks but is fun for all the family if you’re a fan of people called Mary or rotationally-challenged photos.
The doorman seemed a bit grumpy though and didn’t seem to want to let us in.”
Jon Pavelin wrote: “I’ve met other Mary Johnstons around the world but never a sideways one. Mary, put the kettle on, i‘m on my way round after work the night. Top banana.”
“With her astounding Maryness and stunning Dollacity, Mary Doll is the highlight of any trip to this beautiful Scottish city. I’ve travelled fairly extensively in the UK and i‘ve met many a Mary, but none so very Mary-like as Mary Doll.
“The only criticism I can make is that Mary Doll is generally only viewable to the public from 9 until 5, usually being packed away for the night. This is a real shame as I can only imagine the sight of Mary Doll by moonlight must be breathtaking.”
A baffled Mary said yesterday: “I didn’t set it up. It must be a bug in the system or it is malicious.
“I’m already a user and I went on recently to review somewhere in Amsterdam so it may have happened then.
“I’m not a huge traveller, but I do like city breaks and have visited places such as Prague, Krakow, Lisbon and places like that.
“I have left a message with Trip Advisor and I am trying to get the page taken down now.
“I have been reading forums and apparently you have to bend over backwards to set up an account as an attraction.
“At least it is a good picture of me.”]]>
Martin Ross Phillips told the boy he was moving home, got him to pack up his belongings, and drove him away in a car.
But the “joke” was judged by social work watchdogs as a “serious abuse of trust” that exposed the boy to “emotional harm”.
The 53-year-old also admitted making an “inappropriate comment” to a 14-year-old girl about his wife’s bikini line.
Mr Phillips worked at Craigellachie children’s home, Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire, and Blairvadach Unit in Helensburgh, Argyll and Bute, at the time of the incidents.
The care worker had previously escaped a ban after he turned up drunk and wrestled staff and youngsters at Craigellachie.
But after admitting four further misconduct charges brought by the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC), he agreed to be banned from the profession.
His “practical joke” was played on the child, named only as “AA”, in January 2009.
Mr Phillips had the child “pack his personal effects” and then drove him “away from the unit,” the SSSC charges said.
But the charges noted: “In fact he was not leaving the unit.”
The SSSC panel said Mr Phillips’ “practical joke” was a “serious abuse of trust and an abuse of his position as a social service worker.”
He admitted another charge which said he told a 14-year-old girl he shaved “his wife’s bikini line” in October 2012.
The girl “was a vulnerable service user who was experiencing problems with sexualised behaviour at the time the comment was made,” the SSSC said.
Mr Phillips also admitted trying to source a place in a residential school for a third child, a decision which was “outwith his remit as a Residential Child Care Worker”.
He further admitted offering to meet an “extremely vulnerable” boy who was “displaying problematic sexualised behaviour” outside of work in May 2013.
The SSSC panel noted Mr Phillips had “not apologised or had regret for his actions in any meaningful way” and have shown a “pattern of poor practice.”
The panel noted that he had “failed to learn and reflect from his past experiences.”
In 2012 Mr Phillips escaped a ban from the SSSC after he turned up drunk and wrestled with staff and youngsters at the Clydebank home.
He punched and slapped a child, put another child in a headlock, and sat on another staff member, but was only given a warning by the SSSC which would have expired after four years.
He also kept his job at the council, which gave him a final written warning.
Scottish Conservative chief whip John Lamont said: “This is the kind of oversight that cannot be repeated.
“The warning signs were there, they were blatant, and should have been heeded far sooner.
“The role this individual worked in requires the utmost trustworthiness, and that clearly was lacking in huge amounts.”
A spokeswoman for West Dunbartonshire Council said they never comment on individuals currently or previously employed by the council.]]>
Janice Ross, who taught on Barra in the Western Isles, allegedly got pupils to read out loud from books for “weeks at a time”.
She is also said to have embarrassed and upset pupils’ by making a reference to condom manufacture, having “teacher’s pets” and reading exam results out to the whole class.
The former English teacher is also said to have failed to report a “serious child protection issue” when one of her pupils truanted to be with her 24-year-old boyfriend.
Pupils at Castlebay School got so fed up they reported the English department – of which Mrs Ross was head – to a local councillor.
Mrs Ross, who was sacked by Western Isles Council, faces dozens of charges from the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) relating to her conduct and competence.
She did not attend the start of a disciplinary hearing in Edinburgh this week, and was not represented, but emailed to say she “refutes” the allegations.
The head of children’s services at Western Isles Council, Bernard Chisholm, told the hearing he was called in to help the school in 2008 following a damning inspection report.
He told the GTCS panel that pupils and their parents had voiced concerns over Mrs Ross’ teaching while she was principal teacher of English at the school.
He said: “There were regular complaints from parents. She had the most dysfunctional department.
“Students would say they would read out loud for weeks at a time.
“Her pupils did not have an outline for what there was to do in class.
“In my opinion this was all affecting the pupils’ life chances.”
He continued: “A number of pupils had contacted the local councillor about concerns about the teaching in the English department.”
Students said they felt Mrs Ross was “undermining” another English teacher through “facial expressions” and “bad attitude”, he said.
There had been further complaints about “teacher’s pets” in her class, he said.
“Causing great embarrassment”
Mr Chisholm described the complaints as “shocking.”
She also left a pupil “in tears” after reading out prelim marks in front of the whole class, Mr Chisholm said.
Mrs Ross is accused of “causing great embarrassment” to a pupil who had asked what gossamer was. The teacher allegedly replied that “she should know it because it was used in condoms”.
Mr Chisholm said: “The pupil was mortified and complained to her parents.”
He added that the island had a “largely Catholic population” and the pupil “felt it was difficult to talk about.”
Asked about the incident involved a female pupil’s alleged truanting to see her 24-year-old boyfriend, Mr Chisholm said it was a “serious child protection issue” and Mrs Ross had an obligation to share such information with the authorities.
The hearing heard a report from teacher who who claimed Mrs Ross undermined him when he was trying to teach one of her classes.
John Dillon stated in his report: “Mrs Ross decided to remain in the class. She interrupted to pass around Polo mints. Contrary to my wishes she proceeded to read out the passage.
“The cohesion, what was left of it, was lost when she left the class in a laughing fit, the cause of which I did not know.”
The hearing, before a panel chaired by Dr Kerr Wilson, continues.
Mrs Ross, who was dismissed by the council in 2010, now presents on a local radio station.
She told reporters, in an email sent from her Barra home, that she had tried to get the hearing postponed on medical grounds.
She wrote: “All I did was treat everyone equally. Some children here are taught from the outset…that they are to receive preferential treatment.
“I would not do that hence my career has been destroyed as a result.
“Only certain pupils in Castlebay School are cared about…everyone on this island knows that is the case.”]]>
Mohammad Sudais was flown to Scotland from Pakistan to receive treatment for horrific burns he received in a gas blast which wiped out his family.
But on Tuesday night, the eve of a major operation to repair his eyes, nose and mouth, fourth-month-old Mohammad stopped breathing.
Doctors revived the youngster but it seemed unlikely yesterday’s (wed) operation would go ahead.
Despite the setback, the operating team at Yorkhill, Glasgow, led by Dr Stuart Watson, went in to theatre with Mohammad at around 2pm.
A nationwide campaign was launched by the youngster’s Glasgow-based uncle last month after the accident in Peshawar which left him with horrifying injuries.
Mohammad was found whimpering under the wreckage having suffered 80% “full thickness skin loss”.
The appeal has so far raised £15,000 – enough to transport the tot to Scotland, where the NHS is paying for his treatment.
A post on the official fundraising page for Mohammad said surgeons were taking him to theatre.
It read: “Baby Mohammad is now in theatre. The operation will be led by Dr Stuart Watson and his team of doctors.
A previous post told his followers that he had “stopped breathing last night.”
It added: “Resuscitated. There’s infection they think. Not sure if major surgery today will take place.”
Just an hour before the drama unfolded, Mohammad’s uncle, Mohammad Asif, recorded a moving video at the hospital.
Cuddling the infant, he told how the family were “nervous” but “optimistic”.
He said: “Tomorrow [Wed] he shall have his major operations. The eyes, mouth and probably the nose as well.
“The doctors are very optimistic. The team is led by Dr Watson who is a very humble and kind man.”
The 47-year-old tearfully added: “We’re hoping that this boy will be looking different from tomorrow, in a positive way.
“Obviously we are nervous, you know, because this is the only hope of my brother. But he will be okay.”
More than £15,000 has been raised
The team of six surgeons were scheduled to perform the operations on the youngster yesterday (wed) after staff battled to get his weight up.
He was fed a diet of milk every hour to help him gain 2kgs and was given iron supplements to help him heal.
Kind-hearted strangers have already donated more than £15,000 towards the appeal which funded the travel costs and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde are paying for the treatment.
The four-month-old was the sole survivor of a gas explosion which ripped through the family house on December 16.
Father, Ameen, mother, Samaira and 13-month-old brother Abdul all died in hospital shortly after the explosion.
Mr Asif added: “It’s tragic and it is going to stay with us for the rest of our lives. He has no one else to go. My children are crazy about him. I have three girls and now I have two boys.”
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde declined to comment, saying it was a matter for the family.]]>
Jean Lugton, 73, was rescued by a passing group of students after her Corsa was trapped by the “sinkhole” which suddenly appeared in an Edinburgh street.
The horrified pensioner said there appeared to be a cave under the 2ft-wide hole and she feared being buried alive.
Police raced to the scene in Forrest Road – just yards from Greyfriar’s Bobby – and immediately cordoned off the street.
Scotland has been plagued by potholes in recent years as a result of bad weather and cutbacks on maintenance. Councils have paid out millions in compensation to drivers whose vehicles have been damaged.
The latest, dramatic incident happened at around 7:45pm on Tuesday as Ms Lugton drove to meet friends.
She said: “I was at the traffic lights outside Doctors pub so I was travelling quite slow.
“The next thing I knew I thought I had hit a pothole, I tried to rev my engine to get out but it didn’t work.
“When I got out of my car I saw that my wheel up to about half way was stuck in the hole.”
She added: “There was a group of students walking past and they came over to help and four of them managed to lift my car out of the hole and got it to the side of the road.
“We called the police and they came and closed off the road within about five minutes.”
Ms Lugton, who escaped without injury, said: “It was just a complete horror.
“When we looked into the hole it was just completely hollow underneath the road, not like a pothole but more like a sinkhole. It was like a cave, it was terrifying.”
She will need to take her car to a garage to get it checked for damage but declined to comment on whether she would sue the council.
“There are lots of potholes in the city that need to be looked at,” she said.
“This is big enough to draw attention and I would assume they are working to find out what happened.”
A police spokesman said: “There’s nothing to suggest anything else is going to happen but we’ve closed the road until we know exactly what has happened.”
Travellers took to social media on Tuesday night to find out what was holding up their journeys.
Susan Tait said: “Radio mentioned pothole/sinkhole appeared in Forrest Road – big enough for a car to go into – exaggeration or true?”
Potholes topped the list of complaints from Edinburgh residents in a recent survey.
Edinburgh council has paid out more than £102,054 over the past five years to drivers whose vehicles have been damaged by potholes in the city.
Pothole payouts are costing councils across Scotland £1,600 a day, with compensation varying for repairs like burst tires and damages suspension.]]>
Maria Sakkadas failed to discipline pupils who ate, drank, slept, walked about listening to music and played on their mobile phones in her class.
One youngster sat on his chair like a horse and shouted “Ye hah” while another, emerging from under his desk, was told by Ms Sakkadas: “I wondered where you were.”
The English teacher at St Paul’s High, Glasgow, presided over “chaotic” scenes in which she would discipline quiet pupils while disruptive students threw paper, read newspapers and did homework for other subjects.
Pupils at the Catholic school in Pollok who asked for help were told to “just get on with it”.
Ms Sakkadas was sacked for “chronic incompetence” in 2011 but managed to get back into the same school on appeal eight months later.
Further mayhem followed – resulting in complaints from the teacher’s own pupils – and she was sacked again and reported to watchdog the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS).
At a hearing in Edinburgh yesterday, a GTCS panel found that numerous allegations relating to her competence to teach had been proved.
David Byrne, a quality control officer at Glasgow City Council, told the panel that he observed two of Ms Sakkadas’ lessons.
Mr Byrne, a former English teacher, said: “For six years I have been an observation officer and been involved in eight cases like this but none to this level. I have never seen worse disruption in a classroom.”
The official had a feedback session Ms Sakkadas in which she admitted the pupils’ behaviour was often worse, which he said he found “deeply worrying”.
He said: “The kids just scrunched up the paper and threw them at each other. The class moved on to read a novel. Some weren’t on the right page and some had no books.
“I couldn’t follow what she was asking myself. The instructions weren’t clear so no learning could take place.”
The headteacher of St Paul’s, Lisa Pierotti, told the hearing: “There was lots of noise coming from the classrooms, banging on desks and a ruckus instead of learning noise.
“Pupils reading newspapers and ignoring the teacher, sleeping with their heads on the desk and walking about the classroom listening to their MP3s.
“One pupil crawled under the desk during the lesson and when he stood up she just said, ‘Oh I wondered where you were.’”
She added: “I visited her classroom and found it very chaotic, there was a complete lack of control.
“She demonstrated chronic incompetence and I felt I had no alternative than to refer her to Glasgow City Council for disciplinary action.”
One of the charges against the teacher stated that: “A pupil in your S2 class was sitting in his chair, as if riding a horse, shouting, ‘Ye hah.’”
GTCS case Presenter Gary Burton said there was no doubt fellow teachers had put in place a “robust support strategy”.
He said that, despite that: “There are clear examples of Ms Sakkadas failing to communicate and failing to deliver tasks to pupils.
“[In] one class…pupils were running around the corridor. Despite poor behaviour there seems to have been no steps taken by Ms Sakkadas to manage the behaviour.
“The two pupils who were interviewed by Ms Burns following their complaints said she didn’t have control over the class and they had learned more the previous year.”
Panel convenor Neil MClauchlan said yesterday: “The panel has determined that the respondent is unfit to teach.
“As a result it has been recommended that the respondent must be removed from the register.”
The GTCS said in its written decision that Ms Sakkadas “professional competence could be considered to fall significantly below the standards expected of a registered teacher”.
They added that the “seriousness of the Respondent’s failures was exacerbated by what appeared to be her failure to recognise and remedy her shortcomings”.
Ms Sakkadas was banned from reapplying to become a teacher for 15 months. The maximum ban is two years.
The GTCS said this marked “the seriousness of the failures” while allowing the teacher “sufficient time to reflect on the reasons for her failures…and whether she might be able to teach in the future”.
Ms Sakkadas, who did not attend the hearing and was not represented, could not be contacted for comment.
Ms Sakkadas has 28 days to appeal the decision.
In 2011 another teacher at St Paul’s High School was banned from the classroom for sending sexual emails to a pupil.
Roy McGregor, an English and drama teacher failed to “maintain an appropriate professional boundary” with the pupil.
He admitted sending illicit emails to the 14-year-old between February and December 2010 and was struck off.]]>