WITH just a few days to go until the opening ceremony at Glasgow 2014, there is no shortage of challenges for the organisers.

This week, around a dozen staff at the Athletes Village were struck by the Norovirus bug.

It looks as though the bug has been nipped in the bud, however, and with some 6000 athletes currently arriving, let's keep our fingers crossed that this global village remains infection free.

Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell has also called on Prime Minister David Cameron to speak out strongly against homophobia.

Mr Tatchell quite rightly points out, that of all the 53 Commonwealth countries who will be competing at Glasgow 2014, in 42 of those countries, homosexuality remains a crime.

As if both of these issues arriving in the same week wasn't enough, along comes the prospect of a strike at the BBC. The BBC has, of course, exclusive rights to broadcast Glasgow 2014.

A number of its unions, most notably the NUJ, the National Union Of Journalists, have voted, by a margin of some 77%, in favour of strike action, and of a work to rule.

In my opinion, neither the threat of strikes, protests or infection will spoil the party for people across the country.

All the necessary security arrangements and precautions are now fully in place. Indeed, the Athletes Village itself now has its very own resident fire engine, crewed by three shifts of firefighters on a rotational basis.

The hundreds of thousands of visitors who flock to the Games will see Glasgow in its very best light.

The 1 .5 billion global audience will witness the beauty, warmth and diversity of this great city.

July 27 will see Super Sunday, a day when 14 venues will be in use, road closures and rolling roadblocks will be in place, and live sites and festival areas will be active across all parts of the city.

It promises to be quite a party. Let's enjoy it and make sure that we put on our Sunday best.

GREAT news that 270 new jobs will be created in the next couple of years by Doosan Babcock in Renfrewshire.

This follows an announcement, just a couple of months ago, by the same company, of a £70 million deal with EDF energy, which safeguarded 1000 jobs. The deal with EDF extended the life expectancy of our nuclear facilities at Hunterston and Torness.

Nuclear energy is a key component of Scotland's energy mix and is responsible for 35% of all the energy used.

It remains equally important in the creation and maintenance of jobs in Scotland and in particular, in the Ayrshire and East Lothian communities where they are located.

I have experience of providing protection to these installations over a period of 33 years.

In my opinion, they remain extremely safe forms of power generation.

Indeed, contrary to popular opinion, the accident profile of energy generation is more evident in the delivery of renewables than in nuclear.

Our increasing reliance on wind turbines is creating a large number of incidents of blade failure, outbreak of fire, and poor or non-existent maintenance regimes.

In our headlong rush to implement a policy of renewable energy generation, and reduce reliance on nuclear, I would urge some caution.

Nuclear remains a safe, viable and effective component of our energy mix. It also employs thousands of staff.

Just as "global warming" caught us by surprise, what if "global calming" took place, and the wind didn't blow, or at least, not as hard.

Where would our energy resilience be then?

History provides a constant stream of examples of "all of your eggs in one basket" policies, not being very wise. History is not often wrong.

THE new EU president, Mr Juncker, has declared there will be no new member states in the EU for the next five years.

The announcement had both the Yes and No campaigns accelerating into overdrive.

Mr Juncker then attempted to clarify that this position may not necessarily apply to Scotland.

Either way, it's a very confused position, not helped by his intervention.

I have little doubt that an independent Scotland would become part of the EU.

When that would happen, and under what terms, remains unclear.

Looking at the various poll trackers and the poll of polls, it looks like the independence referendum will produce 55% saying no, with around 35% saying yes to independence.

Quite where the 10% of "don't knows" go remains unclear.

A showstopper may be just what's needed, but where will it come from, if at all?