9am Briefing: Scotrail row student insists he paid fare

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THE Capital student who was bundled off a ScotRail train by a commuter because he apparently had no ticket today insisted he paid his fare, as the controversy over the incident continues.

A video of Heriot-Watt student Sam Main, 19, being muscled off the Edinburgh to Perth train by city finance worker Alan Pollock has become an internet sensation, with a million people viewing it online.

Today the second-year surveying student is reported as saying he was assaulted.

Meanwhile the father of Alan Pollock - dubbed “the Big Man” in the video - has stood by his 35-year-old son, insisting he would have done the same thing.

* TWO city schools have been named the worst performing secondaries in Scotland in newly-published figures.

No S5 pupils at Castlebrae Community High School in Craigmillar or Wester Hailes Education Centre gained three or more Highers, and only one per cent did at Craigroyston in Muirhouse.

In sharp contrast, Boroughmuir High School in Bruntsfield was the sixth highest in Scotland, with 57 per cent of S5 pupils passing three Highers. James Gillespie’s High School in Marchmont was joint ninth and North Berwick High School was tenth.

St Mary’s Music School in the West End was the best independent school in Edinburgh, with every pupil securing at least three Highers, with George Heriot’s School and George Watson’s College also in the top ten for Scotland.

* EVANGELICAL church ministers today urged First Minister Alex Salmond not to allow same-sex couples to marry.

They are handing over a letter at St Andrew’s House urging Mr Salmond to support the current definition of marriage.

Same-sex couples can enter a civil partnership which carries full legal rights but the ceremony cannot be conducted in a church or other religious premises.

Paul Rees, Senior Pastor at Charlotte Baptist Chapel, Edinburgh, said: “The Scottish Government has miscalculated the strength of feeling on this matter. This issue is not about legal rights, all the legal rights of marriage are already available to homosexual couples through civil partnerships. This issue is about redefining marriage across Scotland.”

* THE NHS is facing pressure from rising demand and must change the way it delivers services, according to the public spending watchdog.

Audit Scotland said in a report that the population will increase by 10 per cent over the next 25 years, with a rise in the number of older people, against a backdrop of budget cuts.

The NHS budget fell by 1.4% in real terms between 2010-11 and 2011-12. Staff numbers fell by 1.8% between September 2009 and March 2011, with further reductions forecast.