Body recovered from reservoir after man got into difficulty

Police were alerted to a man in the water on Wednesday at Threipmuir Reservoir near Balerno.

Reservoir: Man's body recovered from water. Bob Douglas via IStock
Reservoir: Man's body recovered from water.

A body has been recovered from an Edinburgh reservoir after a man was seen in difficulty earlier this week, police have said.

Police were alerted to a man in the water on Wednesday at Threipmuir Reservoir near Balerno, on the outskirts of the capital, after he reportedly fell overboard from an inflatable boat.

Officers have confirmed a body has now been recovered.

While formal identification is yet to take place, the family of the man concerned has been told.

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The reservoir and its car park have now been reopened to the public.


Scottish Government requests military support over ambulance pressure

Nicola Sturgeon apologised to those who had endured long waiting times for treatment.

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Ambulance service: The Scottish Government has officially requested support from the military.

The Scottish Government has officially requested support from the military to deal with pressure in the ambulance service that has extended waiting times, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has confirmed.

On Thursday, Nicola Sturgeon told MSPs during First Minister’s Questions the possibility of asking for aid was “under active consideration”, but the request came just a few hours later.

The MoD has said the request relates to support of the mobile testing units currently deployed by the Scottish Ambulance Service, which would free up resources within the service.

Sturgeon apologised to people who had endure long waits for ambulances, including the family of 65-year-old Gerard Brown, the Glasgow man who died while waiting 40 hours for treatment.

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A spokeswoman for the MoD said: “The Ministry of Defence has received a request from Scottish Government under the Military Aid to Civilian Authority process.

“We are working hard to identify where we can most effectively assist other government departments and civil authorities.”

Speaking in Holyrood on Thursday, the First Minister said: “I apologise unreservedly to anyone that has suffered or is suffering unacceptably long waits.

“A range of actions have already been taken to address these challenges, for example additional funding to support new recruitment.

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“A number of additional actions are currently under active consideration and I’m happy to summarise these in further exchanges, but I can confirm now that this includes consideration of seeking targeted military assistance to help deal with short-term pressure points.

“Such military assistance is already being provided to ambulance services in England and of course we have had military assistance for other aspects of the pandemic over the past 18 months.”

Health secretary Humza Yousaf, who said on Wednesday that people should “think twice” before calling for an ambulance, will make a statement to parliament next week, setting out measures being taken by the Scottish Government to ease the crisis.

The Tory leader Douglas Ross criticised Yousaf’s comments, calling them “dangerous and reckless”, and urged the First Minister to apologise on Yousaf’s behalf – which she did not.

Instead, the First Minister said people should “never hesitate in calling an ambulance if that is the intervention they think is required”.

Ross said: “This shouldn’t be happening in Scotland in 2021.”

He added: “Last week, the First Minister wouldn’t accept the ambulance service is in crisis, surely the last seven days will have changed her mind?”

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Sturgeon refused to say there was a crisis, instead saying: “I don’t challenge the extent of the pressure that’s on our ambulance service and indeed on all parts of our national health service.

“It is incumbent on me as First Minister, with all of my colleagues across government, as it faces up to these challenges.”

Pressure because of coronavirus, the First Minister said, was driving the problems being seen in the sector.

She added: “These are challenges mirrored in health services across the UK and indeed many parts of the world because of the realities of Covid.

“The fact that anyone in our country waits an unacceptable period of time for an ambulance when they need urgent care is not acceptable to me and it’s not acceptable to anyone, and that is why we will work closely and intensively with the ambulance service to support it to meet those challenges, which I would expect to continue for a period as the Covid pressure continues and as we go into the winter months.”

The First Minister continued: “I do not, in any way, underestimate the extent of the challenge facing the ambulance service and by extension people across Scotland.

“This is the latest in a number of significant challenges posed to us as a result of this pandemic, our responsibility is to take the action to support the service to meet that challenge and that’s what I’m focused on, what the health secretary is focused on and what the entire government is focused on.”

Speaking specifically about the case of Mr Brown, a spokeswoman from the Scottish Ambulance Service said: “We have started an investigation into the circumstances relating to the delay in reaching Mr Brown and will be in contact with Mr Brown’s family directly to apologise for the delay in response and pass on our sincere condolences.

“We are really sorry for their loss and our thoughts are with them at this difficult time.

“All findings and lessons learned will be shared with Mr Brown’s family as part of the investigation process.”

Mr Brown’s death has been reported to the Procurator Fiscal, who said an investigation was “ongoing”.

Low-income families to receive £320 payout in coming months

Two cash payouts of £160 per child will be sent to families in receipt of free school meals in October and December.

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Low-earning families will receive bridging payments.

Low-earning families in Scotland are set for a payout of £320 in the coming months, under Scottish Government plans.

Speaking ahead of a debate on Thursday, social justice secretary Shona Robison estimated the money would reach the families of 148,000 children.

The bridging payments, as they have been described, will see two cash payouts of £160 per child sent to families in receipt of free school meals in October and December.

The Scottish Government has already supplied two similar £100 payments this year, while the new scheme – administered by Social Security Scotland – is being rolled out.

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The initiative was devised in lieu of the extension of the Scottish Child Payment, which will be available to all eligible families with a child under 16 from next year and, as pledged by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, will be doubled to £20 “as early within the life of this parliament as possible”.

Robison said: “We are determined to build a better future for Scotland’s children and we know how important these payments will be to families in need this winter – particularly with rising fuel bills and Christmas just around the corner.

“Together the Scottish Child Payment and bridging payments will put an estimated £130 million in the pockets of low-income families this year, providing support as we recover from the pandemic.

“Scottish Child Payment is already the most ambitious anti-poverty measure currently being undertaken anywhere in the UK and we have committed to doubling it to £20-a-week per child as soon as possible in this parliamentary term.”

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Four more bridging payments are planned for next year, to coincide with the start of school holidays.

While Gail Macgregor, the resources spokeswoman for local authority body Cosla, said: “Councils are pleased to be able to ensure that eligible low income families have access to an additional £520 this year and next through these bridging payments.

“It is important families who have been hardest hit by the pandemic have these vital additional funds as we move forward with the challenging recovery process.

“This demonstrates how local government can reach in and support families in our communities.”

Street locked down after tanker hits car and crashes into building

Emergency services were called to Beauly’s High Street shortly before 1pm on Thursday.

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A Highland street has been locked down after a tanker struck a car and crashed into a building.

Emergency services were called to Beauly’s High Street shortly before 1pm on Thursday.

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Emergency: The tanker crashed on Thursday afternoon.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) mobilised three appliances and specialist resources to the scene.

One casualty freed themselves from the vehicle, while another was removed and handed into the care of the Scottish Ambulance Service.

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A SFRS spokesperson said: “Crews are currently still at the scene.”

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Taped off: Police have closed the street.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Around 12.45pm on Thursday, September 16, we received a report of a crash on High Street in Beauly involving a lorry which has struck a car and a building.

“Emergency services are in attendance and the road has been closed.”


Care home’s registration temporarily suspended amid concerns

The Care Inspectorate launched legal action following an unannounced inspection.

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Concerns: A court has temporarily suspended a care home’s registration.

A court has temporarily suspended a care home’s registration after a watchdog raised “serious concerns” about the quality of care.

The interim suspension of the care provider’s registration at Singleton Park Care Home near Lockerbie in Dumfries and Galloway will take effect from September 30.

The Care Inspectorate launched legal action after it found that the home had failed to make any improvements following a critical inspection in July.

Inspectors held an unannounced inspection visit at the home in Courance on July 20 and 21 and identified significant concerns.

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They issued an improvement notice requiring “safe and effective management, leadership and oversight of the care home” as well as “improved working practices and care of people in the home”.

However, further inspection and monitoring found the care home provider had failed to meet any of the required improvements in the notice and further serious concerns were also identified.

Following a hearing at Dumfries Sheriff Court, a Care Inspectorate spokesman said on Thursday: “The sheriff court has ordered an interim suspension of the care provider’s registration at Singleton Park Care Home, Lockerbie, to take effect from September 30, 2021.

“The Care Inspectorate is working closely with partners at Dumfries and Galloway Health and Social Care Partnership to ensure residents of the home experience a safe transition to new care arrangements.

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“We have taken this legal action to ensure people experienced an improvement in their care following serious concerns raised during an inspection. The suspension of the provider’s registration will allow for transition to alternative care arrangements.

“A further hearing is expected in due course.”

A Singleton Park Care Home spokeswoman said they did not want to comment.


Child’s life-changing surgery after swallowing magnets in viral trend

Jack Mason, 9, had his appendix, small bowel and part of his large bowel removed after swallowing magnets.

Carolann McGeoch via Supplied
Jack Mason had to undergo serious surgery after swallowing a number of magnets.

A schoolboy has had life-changing surgery after swallowing magnets in a viral trend that could have killed him.

Jack Mason was taken to hospital on Tuesday last week with abdominal pain and vomiting they struggled to control.

The nine-year-old was blue-lighted to the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow the next day where scans showed something was blocking his bowel.

Jack’s mum Carolann McGeoch said he admitted to swallowing around six of the magnets after “a bit of probing”.

British Association of Paediatric Surgeons via BAPS
An X-ray of a patient who swallowed 18 magnets.
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It was not until after surgeons came to speak to her she realised the severity of the situation.

She said: “It was explained to me that the damage these magnets can cause could be so extreme that he might not pull through.

“Through floods of tears I then had to sign my permission to the operation and to acknowledging that ‘anything could happen’.”

“There are videos across social media encouraging kids to do tricks with these but what the videos fail to mention is that ultimately those tiny wee magnets could kill.”

Carolann McGeoch, Jack’s mum

After four hours of surgery, Jack had lost his appendix, small bowel and 30cm of his large bowel, “all for the sake of some silly magnets”, Carolann said.

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“Jack is lucky to be alive, but if his experience can prevent other kids from enduring the same then I will do everything I can to get the word out there,” she said.

Carolann wrote to Jack’s school, Borestone Primary in Stirling, to ask them to arrange an assembly and inform kids about the dangers of the toy magnets.

Carolann McGeoch via Supplied
The toy magnets that Jack had been playing with.

The trend, known as the “#PiercingChallenge”, originated on video-sharing platform TikTok and involves teenagers using tiny magnets as fake tongue piercings.

The clips have been viewed more than 353 million times.

Jack does not have TikTok but, Carolann said, the videos are being shared all over social media and are easily accessible.

Following several cases of children in Scotland and the rest of the UK swallowing the toys, the British Association of Paediatric Surgeons and Child Accident Prevention Trust launched awareness campaigns.

Gregor Walker, a consultant paediatric surgeon who was involved in Jack’s care, said: “We are very pleased with Jack’s progress since surgery and I am grateful to all members of the team at the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow for their continued hard work.

Supplied
Jack Mason is recovering from serious surgery after swallowing a number of magnets.
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“I am also grateful for Jack’s mother in highlighting this on social media. Increasing awareness is extremely important and this is another example of the hazards of swallowing magnets, which seems to have been happening more frequently over the last two years.

“In our hospital 20% of the children who swallow magnets have required a procedure, with 10% requiring major surgery.

“The important message is that if you think your child has swallowed magnets, please attend your local hospital for review.”

Jack’s surgery left him unable to walk unaided but on Thursday his condition improved and his mum was delighted to announce he had managed to go to the toilet meaning what is left of his bowel is working.

Borestone Primary School’s Parent Teacher Association wrote to parents and carers to share Jack’s story.

“We were really concerned when we heard one of our very own P5 pupils has been gravely ill in hospital and had to undergo serious and life changing surgery – all due to a TikTok challenge involving magnets,” the notice read.

“We all wish Jack a speedy recovery and hope he will be back in school very soon.”

Carolann said the last week had been a “heartbreaking” experience that could have been far worse.

“There are videos across social media encouraging kids to do tricks with these but what the videos fail to mention is that ultimately those tiny wee magnets could kill,” she said.

“Jack’s life has changed forever, let’s stop others from having to go through the same.”

TikTok has been contacted for comment.


‘I can’t wait to get out my room and experience life in Glasgow’

International student tells of life in quarantine ahead of return to campus for the new academic year.

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An international student who is stuck in her flat while quarantining has said she can’t wait to “experience life in Glasgow”.

Taneeshaa travelled to Scotland from Malaysia and is due to begin a Masters in social innovation at Glasgow Caledonian University.

But after arriving on Sunday, September 12, the 23-year-old must complete a ten-day quarantine period inside her student accommodation.

“It’s just tiring to see the same four walls again and again,” Taneeshaa told STV News. “You know, I wake up and see the same thing.

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“So I just wish I could be free a little bit, but I’m hoping this will pass really quickly. I’ve always wanted to experience life in Glasgow.”

In the meantime, Taneeshaa is keeping herself busy by sorting out her flat and preparing for university life.

She said: “I’m in a studio apartment, so I have my own kitchen and my own washroom. It’s very convenient for me and I have enough food stocked up for my quarantine.

“I’m busy unpacking. I’ve so much luggage to unpack and sometimes when I’m bored I’ll just look out the window and I’m on my gadgets most of the time, my laptop and phone.”

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Back to class

While larger lecturers will still take place online over the next academic year and face masks, lateral flow tests and social distancing will remain in place at times, the student experience is expected to be much closer to normal.

Most classes will take place in person, while students will be free to roam campus after being confined to their rooms during lockdown.

And, importantly for many, bars and nightclubs have all reopened as Scotland tries to emerge from the pandemic.

‘Cautious approach’

Queen Margaret University principal Paul Brice said institutions would be “acting cautiously” as students returned to campus.

He said: “Our incident management group will meet daily and we know from last year that we can pivot quickly and make changes if we need to.

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“We will work to keep the university operating as nearly normally as we possibly can.”


Proposed sleeper train will connect Scotland with mainland Europe

If it goes ahead passengers could fall asleep on departure from Glasgow or Edinburgh and wake up in Frankfurt.

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Sleeper Train: Could connect Scotland to Germany.

A new sleeper train that would connect Scottish cities to mainland Europe is being proposed.

The German Green Party’s plans would see both Glasgow and Edinburgh connected to cities including Madrid, Rome, Istanbul, St Petersburg and Oslo, with a direct line from Scotland to Germany.

If it goes ahead then passengers could fall asleep on departure from Glasgow or Edinburgh and be in Frankfurt by the time they wake up.

Over 40 railway lines will connect several countries throughout the continent.

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Scottish Greens transport spokesman Mark Ruskell MSP has welcomed the news.

He said: “The cooperation agreement between the Scottish Greens and the SNP commits our parties to significant investment to upgrade and improve Scotland’s railways.

“We know that if we want to encourage more people to leave the car behind me need to make rail a more convenient and affordable option for communities across the country.

“It’s also clear that the work needed to tackle the climate crisis can’t stop at our borders, and that we need to work with international partners to deliver real change that offers effective alternatives to flying too.

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“That’s why these proposals for a vast network of European sleeper trains are so exciting.

“Linking Edinburgh with Frankfurt could prove transformational in how people travel for work, study and leisure. And of course these links needn’t stop at Edinburgh and Glasgow but could carry on north too.

“With the German Greens in with a real shot of entering government there is every chance that work on these routes could progress rapidly, and I’d urge the Scottish and UK Governments to engage enthusiastically with them.”


Police warning ahead of largest Orange march since Covid lockdown

Nearly 5000 people are expected to take part in the processions through Glasgow.

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This year marks the 200th anniversary of Orange parades in the city.

Thousands of marchers will take part in Orange Lodge processions through Glasgow on Saturday in the largest gathering of Order members since the coronavirus pandemic.

This year marks the 200th anniversary of Orange parades in the city and follows the cancellation of the biggest annual event, commemorating the Battle of the Boyne, the last two years.

Glasgow’s police chief has warned the force will not tolerate “offensive behaviour, including hate crimes, drunkenness and disorder” and urged the “large majority” who behave in the “right way” to influence those around them.

Nearly 5000 people are expected to take part in the marches which will see members of local groups converge at Glasgow Green.

“We are asking all those attending the County Grand Orange Lodge of Glasgow processions, either as a participant or supporter, to do so safely, responsibly and respectfully.”

Chief superintendent Mark Sutherland
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The marches will be accompanied by a large policing operation working to “reduce disruption to the wider community”.

Chief superintendent Mark Sutherland, divisional commander of Greater Glasgow Police Division, said: “We will however not tolerate offensive behaviour, including hate crimes, drunkenness and disorder and such behaviours, will be dealt with swiftly and proportionately.

“Where this is not possible during the event we will launch follow-up investigations as necessary.”

On Saturday, 24 individual Lodges will take part taking various routes through Glasgow some of which will pass Catholic places of worship.

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Following an assault on a Catholic priest in July 2018, marches were re-routed to avoid passing St Alphonsus church on London Road in 2019.

Chief superintendent Sutherland said Police Scotland was aware of the protests at particular locations the processions will pass.

He said: “We continue to work with these groups to ensure their rights are protected and would again urge everyone to show tolerance, and respect the rights of others.”

Call It Out a campaign group against anti-Catholic bigotry, said it objected to a small number of routes which pass churches.

© Google Maps 2020
St Laurence Catholic Church in Drumchapel

Cowcaddens Orange and Purple District 11 will pass St Theresa of Lisieux Roman Catholic Church on Saracen Street with around 200 participants.

St Benedict’s Catholic Church will be passed by the Greater Easterhouse Truth Defenders District 17.

Drumchapel Orange and Purple District 57 will pass by St Laurence Catholic Church in Drumchapel on Kinfauns Drive.

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When approaching all music ceases and must remain silent while services are in progress.

© Google Maps 2020
St Benedict’s Catholic Church Easterhouse

Call It Out said it would hold protests in opposition to the marches at sites along certain routes.

A spokesperson said: “Call it Out will organise peaceful vigils outside all Catholic Churches affected…”

“We look forward to the pageantry, the colour and music and welcome the supporters of the Loyal Orange Institution who turn out to watch and enjoy the spectacle.”

Spokesperson for the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland

The city’s police boss said the force was a “rights-based organisation” that put a commitment to upholding human rights at its heart.

He said: “This means we are committed to supporting the human rights of individuals and groups who wish to assemble, balanced against the rights of the wider community and ensuring the safety of everyone involved.

“We are asking all those attending the County Grand Orange Lodge of Glasgow processions, either as a participant or supporter, to do so safely, responsibly and respectfully.”

A statement from the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland said: “The grand master Jim McHarg and Grand Lodge executive officers congratulate the County Grand Lodge of Glasgow on reaching the 200th anniversary of Orange parades in Glasgow.

“Jim McHarg stated he looks forward to a peaceful and successful parade as Glasgow’s Orange family celebrate their heritage and culture.

“We look forward to the pageantry, the colour and music and welcome the supporters of the Loyal Orange Institution who turn out to watch and enjoy the spectacle.

“Our message to everyone is keep safe and enjoy your day.”


Lyon team bus targeted by vandals ahead of Rangers game

The bus was outside a hotel in Renfrewshire when it was targeted.

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Ibrox: Lyon play Rangers tonight in the Europa League.

The Lyon team bus has been targeted by vandals near Glasgow on the eve of their Europa League clash against Rangers.

The French Ligue 1 side are in the city to take on the Scottish champions at Ibrox on Thursday night.

And pictures posted online show the bus covered with graffiti slogans including Rangers Ultras, Ibrox Crew, RFC and F*** Lyon.

Police are now investigating the incident that took place outside a hotel on Langbank’s Old Greenock Road in Renfrewshire.

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The attack, believed to have taken place either late on Wednesday night or in the early hours of Thursday, was reported to officers at around 8.30am.

A spokesman for the force said: “Around 8.30am on Thursday, police received a report of a bus being vandalised outside a hotel in Old Greenock Road, Langbank.

“Enquiries are continuing to establish the full circumstances surrounding the incident.”

Rangers play Lyon at Ibrox in their Europa League opener on Thursday night.


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