Man charged in connection with George Floyd death image

26-year-old man will appear at Dundee Sheriff Court after an image allegedly mocking Mr Floyd's death appeared online.

Man charged in connection with George Floyd image. Police Scotland/Getty Images
Man charged in connection with George Floyd image.

A man has been charged in connection with the circulation of an image on social media that made reference to George Floyd, the African American man who died in police custody in the US.

Police Scotland said the 26-year-old man from Fife will appear at Dundee Sheriff Court and enquiries are continuing.

Mr Floyd, 46, died in police custody after a white officer held him down by pressing a knee into his neck in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 25, sparking protests across the US and internationally.

Black Lives Matter rallies are set to take place in Edinburgh and Glasgow this weekend.

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Police Scotland said in a statement: “We can confirm that a 26-year-old man has been charged with communications offences following the circulation of an image on social media that made reference to the death of George Floyd.

“The man is due to appear at Dundee Sheriff Court and enquiries are continuing.”

More than 1000 students across Scotland self-isolating

At the Scottish Government’s Covid-19 briefing on Wednesday, students were given a strong warning against house parties.

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University of Glasgow: More than 600 students are self-isolating following two 'significant clusters'.

More than 1000 students across Scotland are self-isolating in halls of residence following a number of coronavirus outbreaks.

At least 124 students have tested positive for Covid-19 at the University of Glasgow.

More than 600 students are now in quarantine following “two significant clusters” linked to the university’s Murano Street and Cairncross residences.

It is believed the outbreak was largely caused due to social activity at the start of freshers’ week, from September 12-14.

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The university is now working with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s public health team to manage the outbreak.

Parker House in Dundee.
Abertay University: All residents at Parker House are in quarantine. GOOGLE 2020

In Tayside, the health board is investigating a single positive case of Covid-19 and a “small number” of suspected cases linked to Parker House in Dundee, a private student accommodation.

Close contacts of the positive case – a student at Abertay University – are being contacted, however as a precaution to prevent the spread of the virus, all 500 residents staying at the halls have been told to quarantine until further contact tracing has been completed.

On Monday, the University of St Andrews confirmed more than 40 people are self-isolating after four students contacted the virus after a freshers’ week party.

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These new cases brought the total at the university to seven, after three were announced last week.

St Andrew’s University: The students were asked to stay indoors. GETTY IMAGES

In response to the initial outbreak, Principal Sally Mapstone asked students to stay within their households over the weekend and urged them “not to party, not to go to bars or restaurants, and to avoid mixing with any groups outside their own households”.

A number of students at Aberdeen University have also tested positive for Covid-19.

On Tuesday, all residents of Wavell House halls of residence within Hillhead Student Village were told to self-isolate for two weeks unless advised otherwise.

Edinburgh Napier University.
Edinburgh Napier University: A number of students have tested positive for Covid-19. SNS

In addition, it emerged last week that public health officials were investigating a coronavirus cluster at university student accommodation in Edinburgh.

NHS Lothian said a number of people had tested positive at Napier University’s Bainfield accommodation in the Fountainbridge area of the capital.

The health board is also aware of a student testing positive for the virus at Queen Margaret University’s halls of residence.

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The university said it was working closely with NHS Lothian’s health protection team and was following all national guidance.

At the Scottish Government’s Covid-19 briefing on Wednesday, students were given a strong warning against house parties.

National clinical director Jason Leitch said: “We need you not to have house parties, I could not be more clear.”

Sturgeon calls for four-nation talks to tighten lockdown

The First Minister has pointed to scientific opinion that bringing the virus back under control will require further measures.

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Sturgeon: Calling for further measures.

Nicola Sturgeon has written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling for urgent four-nation talks to tighten lockdown restrictions to tackle the spread of coronavirus.

The First Minister has pointed to scientific opinion that bringing the virus back under control will require measures beyond those announced so far.

She also highlighted that devolved administrations’ ability to take action is curtailed by a lack of financial levers to deliver economic support.

Sturgeon wrote: “The collective agreement yesterday of the four nations to drive Covid transmission to the lowest possible level and keep it there was particularly welcome.

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“However, I am sure you will agree that we must all now act in a manner that can achieve that objective.

“While all four governments announced new restrictions yesterday, there is clearly a significant strand of scientific opinion to the effect that bringing R back below 1 and the virus back under control will require measures beyond those which any of us have so far announced.

“In my view, there is considerable force in that opinion.

“It is also the case – and we know this from our experience earlier this year – that acting quickly and decisively against the virus is essential.

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“In other words, if we believe further action will be required there is nothing to be gained – and potentially much to be lost, including lives – from delay.

“Therefore, I am writing to request further four nations discussions on three inter-related questions.”

The topics highlighted by the First Minister include what further actions might be necessary, what support is required for affected sectors and what arrangements can be put in place to ensure that devolved administrations are not constrained in making what they judge to be essential public health decisions.


School to remain closed after staff members catch Covid

Sinclairtown Primary in Kirkcaldy was put on high alert after an individual linked to the school tested positive for Covid-19.

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Sinclairtown Primary: The school has been closed until Monday.

A Fife primary school will remain closed until next week after three staff members tested positive for coronavirus.

On Sunday, NHS Fife confirmed that an individual linked to Sinclairtown Primary School in Kirkcaldy was self-isolating at home after testing positive for Covid-19.

As a precaution, all pupils from class P1A, P4 and some children from P2 were ordered to stay off school from Monday and quarantine for two weeks.

However on Wednesday, all children at the primary were told not to attend following a “small number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 with links to the school”.

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The health board later confirmed three staff members were infected, and for staffing reasons the school building will remain closed until Monday.

The trio were said to be “experiencing mild symptoms” and are self-isolating at home with their household members.

NHS Fife said there is no evidence of transmission within the pupils at this stage, and based on the information available the health board believes the risk of transmission amongst the children “remains low”.

The pupils in P1A, P2 and P4 who were previously identified as potential contacts must continue to isolate at home as a precaution. Other pupils do not need to quarantine, but must not attend school.  

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Gordon Wardrope, Fife Council’s education manager, said: “As a result of positive cases of Covid-19 amongst school staff, all teaching staff at the school have been instructed to isolate pending further assessment by NHS Fife’s health protection team. This operational impact of this means we are unable to reopen the school before Monday, September 28.

“We appreciate this will create some anxiety, however, parents and carers should be assured that the safety of our pupils and staff remains our number one priority and we are continuing to follow public health advice around any actions required.”  

comprehensive list of questions and answers has been created for parents. A local online support hub has also been set up to provide information on testing for Covid-19 and updates on the pandemic.

Dr Lorna Watson, a consultant in public health medicine with NHS Fife, said: “NHS Fife’s health protection team is working closely with our colleagues at Fife Council’s education department to identify any close contacts of the positive cases in order to prevent onward spread of the virus. 

“Contact tracing is a tried and tested method of reducing the spread of communicable viruses such as Covid-19 and has been used successfully over recent weeks and months to prevent other large-scale clusters of the virus from developing.”

To book a coronavirus test, click here or call 0800 028 2816.

Number of lone child asylum seekers in Scotland doubles

Figures from the Scottish Guardianship Service show it helped 165 children and young people last year.

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Scotland: The number of child asylum seekers has doubled.

The number of lone children seeking asylum in Scotland more than doubled last year, a charity has said.

Figures from the Scottish Guardianship Service show it helped 165 children and young people who arrived in Scotland in 2019, up from 81 the previous year.

The Scottish Guardianship Service, which is run by Aberlour Children’s Charity and the Scottish Refugee Council, supports children and young people aged 18 and under who arrive in Scotland alone and separated from their families.

Almost half of the young people (45%) have been trafficked and exploited in industries such as cannabis cultivation and nail bars or for sexual exploitation.

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Over the last 10 years, the service has helped more than 700 young people from 38 countries and, to mark its 10th anniversary, is launching a new short film this week to explain some of the particular difficulties facing unaccompanied young asylum seekers.

Sabir Zazai, chief executive of the Scottish Refugee Council, said: “Children can become separated from their families as a result of war, terrorism and other conflicts.

“This shatters their lives and we see the impact of this every day.

“Many of the young people we support have been trafficked, others have lost everyone they had, and all have been through situations that no child should have to deal with. Now they are alone in a new country.

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“This is too much for a child to cope with without the support of a dedicated guardian.

“Our guardians at the Scottish Guardianship Service recognise that these traumatised young people are more than statistics, they are kids with hopes and dreams.

“Alongside Aberlour, we have worked over the last 10 years to offer a helping hand to young people seeking protection in Scotland.”

The service provides each young person with a trusted professional who provides long-term support through the legal and immigration processes.

It also helps to provide a sense of community, introducing young people to others their age who have been through similar experiences.

SallyAnn Kelly, chief executive of Aberlour, said: “The children and young people we help in the Scottish Guardianship Service have been through unimaginable traumas.

“Alone in a new country, they face language and cultural barriers, hostility and complex bureaucracy.

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“This is where our guardians come in, building relationships with the young people to help them through this extremely difficult period in their lives.

“We are proud of what our young people and our team have achieved over the past 10 years. At a time when the world is so hostile towards people seeking safety, the knowledge that we have helped so many young people to heal, to feel empowered and to achieve their dreams is a huge victory.

“There is, however, so much more to do. The Scottish Guardianship Service is striving to provide more secure and fulfilling futures for the growing number of unaccompanied young people needing the service.

“Let us hope for a future that will see all those forced from their own homes to seek sanctuary afforded safe passage and a welcome shaped by compassion and kindness.”


UK gin industry ‘under threat’ from invasive plant disease

The Phytophthora austrocedri pathogen has been found to be spreading through juniper trees.

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Gin: Industry under threat.

An invasive plant disease is posing a threat to the UK’s gin industry, according to new research.

The Phytophthora austrocedri pathogen has been found to be spreading through juniper trees in Scotland, which produces 70% of the spirit across the four nations.

Experts at the Plant Health Centre, including Professor Fiona Burnett from Scotland’s Rural College, warn other spirits such as whisky could also be hit by disease.

Prof Burnett said: “Plant Health Week is a chance to flag that everyone can play their part in protecting Scotland’s plant health assets.

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“Whisky is equally at risk to gin through barley diseases which slash crop yields.

“But the principles of best plant health practice such as sourcing seed and plants with care and avoiding moving problems inadvertently in soil apply equally to field crops and the plants in our moorlands, gardens, forests and fields.”

The pathogen has entered Britain through the plant trade and may have got into juniper woodlands through well-intentioned planting schemes.

It lives in the soil and spreads in both soil and water, infecting juniper roots and killing large numbers of trees, especially on wet sites.

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Although gin – an industry worth £3.2bn to the UK economy – can be produced from spirits derived from a wider choice of grains or even potatoes, it relies on juniper berries for its traditional and distinctive flavour.

In a blog for Plant Health Week, Prof Burnett, along with Sarah Green from Forest Research and Professor Sarah Gurr from the University of Exeter, also highlights the threats faced by the Scotch whisky industry from diseases such as Ramularia, which can slash barley yields.

Researchers in Scotland have found some junipers are resistant to the disease and it is hoped natural regeneration will allow juniper populations to recover over time.

Science is also helping to identify sites that are less vulnerable to the pathogen and which can be targeted for conservation and protection.

Members of the public can also take simple steps to help protect the gin industry.

These include cleaning soil from boots, bike tyres and dog paws before and after visiting forests, moors and woodlands to prevent disease spreading to new sites.


Scotland records highest ever number of new coronavirus cases

Another two people have died with the virus in Scotland while 486 new infections have been confirmed.

University of Glasgow

Scotland has recorded 486 new cases of coronavirus overnight, the highest figure on record.

Speaking at the Scottish Government’s Wednesday Covid-19 briefing, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also confirmed two further deaths of patients with the virus.

She said while the number of new infections is the highest it has been during the pandemic, this is partly down to much greater levels of testing now.

The 486 new cases – of which nearly half, 224, are in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde area – amount to 7.8% of newly-tested Scots.

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The First Minister said this is partly down to a “significant” outbreak at the University of Glasgow.

It comes after a ban on visiting other households was extended from seven council areas in the west of Scotland to the entire country.

The new restrictions also include a 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants, which has been replicated in the rest of the UK.

Sturgeon noted it is six months to do the day since the full-scale national lockdown to tackle coronavirus was imposed across Britain.

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She said she understood if people felt “down-hearted” about fresh restrictions on our lives and the rise in cases but insisted the country is in a better position than it was in the spring.

The two people with coronavirus who have died takes the total so far this week to three.

Separate figures by National Records of Scotland which count all deaths where Covid-19 was cited as a leading or contributory cause show 11 fatalities in the week ending September 20 involving the virus.

While the Scottish Government’s daily statistics only count people who died within 28 days of their positive coronavirus test, the NRS include those who died after that 28-day period and those who were suspected of having Covid without being tested.

Of the 11 deaths registered with NRS last week, eight occurred in hospitals and three happened in care homes.

On the Scottish Government’s metric, confirmed coronavirus deaths now stand at 2508.

But using both sets of figures suggests the most up-to-date death toll in Scotland is 4250.

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There are now 83 people in hospital with coronavirus, a rise of ten in 24 hours.

Of those, ten patients are being treated with intensive care, which is unchanged.

The First Minister indicated her government was “hamstrung” by the UK Government from imposing tougher restrictions that could have been placed on hospitality in Tuesday’s announcement due to a lack of financial powers to support the sector without UK help.

Among key concerns, she said, was the lack of a extension or replacement for the furlough scheme, due to expire in October, which has supported hundreds of thousands of Scottish jobs in recent months.

The First Minister said she would be writing to the Prime Minister on the issue asking for an extension of the scheme or an extension of powers to the devolved administrations.

She said: “We mustn’t be hamstrung in essential public health decisions by the lack of necessary economic mitigations.

“All four UK nations agreed a joint statement to the effect that we would focus our efforts ‘on suppressing the virus to the lowest possible level and keeping it there’ and that is really positive.

“It puts aside forever the idea that we can just let this virus run, because we know it does real damage in lives and in health.”

Sturgeon added: “There is an argument… that all of us across the UK should actually be doing even more right now and there is a danger that what starts to hold us back is not the public health analysis but financial limitations.”

Two significant coronavirus clusters at University of Glasgow

At least 124 students have tested positive for Covid-19 and more than 600 are self-isolating across the university's residencies.

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Coronaviurs clusters are being investigated at the University of Glasgow.

At least 124 students have tested positive for coronavirus at the University of Glasgow.

The total number of Covid-19 cases is expected to be much higher as the university, located in the West End of the city, is dealing with “two significant clusters”.

More than 600 students are self-isolating across all the university’s residencies.

A spokesman for the University of Glasgow said: “We are aware of two significant clusters of positive cases of Covid-19 in our Murano Street and Cairncross residences, which we believe were largely due to social activity around September 12-14, the start of freshers’ week.

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“We are working closely with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s public health team to manage these.

“The total number of reported cases since the start of term is 124 but the actual number is likely to be higher.

“We are not aware of any students who have had to receive hospital treatment.”

The news comes after the Scottish Government issued a warning to students not to have house parties.

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and National Clinical Director Jason Leitch have urged students to make sacrifices during the country’s fight against coronavirus.

It comes as hundreds of students have been told to self-isolate amid suspected outbreaks at a number of universities across Scotland.

Hundreds of students have been ordered to self-isolate following a suspected Covid-19 outbreak at halls of residence in Dundee.

NHS Tayside’s health protection team is investigating a single positive case of Covid-19 and a “small number” of suspected cases linked to Parker House in Dundee, a private student accommodation.

Close contacts of the positive case – a student at Abertay University – are being contacted.

Meanwhile, a number of students at Aberdeen University have also tested positive for Covid-19.

All residents of Wavell House halls of residence within Hillhead Student Village have been told to self-isolate for two weeks unless advised otherwise.

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It also emerged last week that public health officials were investigating a coronavirus cluster at university student accommodation in Edinburgh.

NHS Lothian said a number of people had tested positive at Napier University’s Bainfield accommodation in the Fountainbridge area of the capital.

Cancer wards at children’s hospital closed until next May

Health secretary informs MSPs and MPs of 'significant delays' to wards 2A and 2B due to coronavirus pandemic.

SNS
Reopening of cancer wards further delayed due to Covid-19.

The reopening of two cancer wards at a Glasgow hospital has been further delayed until next May.

Health secretary Jeane Freeman has written to local MSPs and MPs to inform them of ‘significant delays’ to restoring wards 2A and 2B at the Royal Hospital for Children (RHC).

They were closed in September 2018 for a ventilation system upgrade after three patients contracted infections.

Ms Freeman stated in her letter that the coronavirus pandemic had resulted in “significant challenges with supply chains and the continued effects of social distancing during construction works”.

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She said the Scottish Government is still awaiting the finalised programme, but that NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board is now expecting work to be “complete in May 2021”.

The RHC is part of the £842m Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) campus.

Patients on wards 2A and 2B at the RHC were transferred to the QEUH following the infection outbreak, which was linked to water-borne bacteria.

“This is about rebuilding confidence and restoring trust, which has been shattered following a series of cover-ups and mismanagement by health board chiefs.”

Anas Sarwar, Labour MSP for Glasgow


Anas Sarwar, Labour MSP for Glasgow, said the new delay is disappointing for patients and their families.

He said: “The Scottish Government is right to demand assurances from the health board, which must urgently work towards re-opening the wards safely and swiftly.

“This is about rebuilding confidence and restoring trust, which has been shattered following a series of cover-ups and mismanagement by health board chiefs.

“It is vital that families are kept fully informed throughout the process.”

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Earlier this year, Ms Freeman placed NHSGGC under increased scrutiny over ongoing issues relating to infection prevention, management and control at the QEUH and the RHC.

“Unfortunately, the schedule for the works has been impacted by Covid-19 restrictions.”

Statement from National Health Service Greater Glasgow and Clyde

A statement from NHSGGC said: “We continue to work to complete the significant programme of works within Wards 2A and 2B to deliver what will be one of the safest environments within the UK and ensure we are taking every possible measure to reduce the likelihood of infection for patients treated in the unit.    

“Unfortunately, the schedule for the works has been impacted by Covid-19 restrictions.

“Based on Scottish Government guidance for the construction sector and social distancing, current forecasts suggest the works will be completed in May 2021 although this may, of course, be impacted further by the ongoing response to the pandemic.” 

University students warned to pull the plug on house parties

The First Minister and national clinical director urge students to make sacrifices in the fight against Covid-19.

Students have been warned not to have house parties as the Scottish Government issued an appeal to universities.

The First Minister and national clinical director have urged students to make sacrifices during the country’s the fight against coronavirus.

It comes as hundreds of students have been told to self-isolate amid suspected outbreaks at a number of universities.

Professor Jason Leitch said: “We need you not to have house parties. I could not be any clearer.

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“By all means socialise in licensed hospitality venues, where a maximum of six people from two households can meet, but no meeting up in other people’s homes or in your shared student accommodation.

“The new rules coming into force today state that you must not meet people from other households in your home or in another person’s home socially, unless they are in your extended household, and a maximum of six people from two households can meet in outdoor spaces.

“This applies to you as it applies to the rest of us. Parties are not allowed, I’m sorry and I hope they come back soon.”

Nicola Sturgeon said that that “tough guidance” was in place but discussions were ongoing about what may be needed going forward.

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Appealing to students, she said: “If you are asked to self-isolate, and I know many of you are already in that position, it is really important that you follow that advice.”

She added: “From me, for now, please know that we appreciate the sacrifices you’re making at this really important stage of your lives.

“It’s not yesterday that I was at university, but I still remember what an important stage of life it is and nobody wants you to be living under these restrictions, but it is important that you take care not put yourselves at risk and obviously not to inadvertently put other people at risk.

“What we’re asking you to do now is for the collective good of everyone but we do appreciate your sacrifices and thank you for it.”

Students were also reminded that if they have been asked to self-isolate, they should do so for the full 14 days.


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