Building blaze treated as suspicious by police

The blaze in Commercial Street, Macduff, is now being treated as suspicious.

Blaze: Derelict building. Fubar News
Blaze: Derelict building.

A fire at a derelict building in Aberdeenshire is being treated as suspicious by police.

Fire crews attended a blaze in Commercial Street, Macduff, around 2.45pm on Sunday, which was later extinguished with nobody injured.

However, officers have since confirmed a joint investigation is under way to establish the fire’s full circumstances, which they are currently treating as suspicious.

Detective Sergeant Gavin Fleming said: “Firstly I would like the thank members of the public for their patience and assistance so far and also to ask people to stay away from the area for now to allow emergency services and engineers to carry out the required work at the scene.

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“I’d like to speak to anyone who may have been in the Commercial Street area of Macduff around 2.45 pm on Sunday, March 22 and may have witnessed suspicious activity.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Police Scotland on 101.

Legendary Scots actor Sir Sean Connery dies aged 90

The Hollywood superstar died overnight in his sleep, while in the Bahamas.

Frazer Harrison via Getty Images

Legendary Scots actor Sir Sean Connery has died at the age of 90, his family has said.

The Hollywood star, from Fountainbridge in Edinburgh, was best known for his portrayal of James Bond. He was the first actor to bring the role to the big screen, debuting as 007 in 1962’s Dr. No.

He appeared in seven Bond films, including Goldfinger, Diamonds are Forever and Never Say Never Again.

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Bond: Sir Sean Connery poses next to an Aston Martin DB5 in a scene from Goldfinger.

Sir Sean’s other films included Highlander, The Rock, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and The Hunt for Red October.

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He also appeared as historical figures King Arthur and Richard the Lionheart during his illustrious career.

Throughout his career he won a number of awards, including an Oscar for his role in The Untouchables.

Sir Sean was knighted by the Queen at Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh in 2000.

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Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: Sir Sean’s career spanned decades.

Sir Sean died overnight in his sleep, while in the Bahamas. It is understood he had been unwell for some time.

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Jason Connery told the BBC his father “had many of his family who could be in the Bahamas around him” when he passed away.

He said: “We are all working at understanding this huge event as it only happened so recently, even though my dad has been unwell for some time.

“A sad day for all who knew and loved my dad and a sad loss for all people around the world who enjoyed the wonderful gift he had as an actor.”

United Artists via Getty Images
007: Jack Lord holds Sir Sean at gunpoint in a still from Dr. No.

Sir Sean’s agent, Nancy Seltzer, told STV News: “His wife Micheline and his two sons, Jason and Stephane, have confirmed that he died peacefully in his sleep surrounded by family. 

“There will be a private ceremony followed by a memorial yet to be planned once the virus has ended.”

Evan Agostini via Getty Images
New York: Sir Sean with wife Micheline and then-first minister Jack McConnell during the 2004 Tartan Week.

Paying tribute, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “I was heartbroken to learn this morning of the passing of Sir Sean Connery. Our nation today mourns one of her best loved sons.

“Sean was born into a working class Edinburgh family and through talent and sheer hard work, became a film icon and one of the world’s most accomplished actors

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“He will be remembered best as James Bond – for many, the classic 007 – but his roles were many and varied.

“Sean was a global legend but, first and foremost, he was a patriotic and proud Scot. His towering presence at the opening of the Scottish Parliament was a sign of his dedication to his country.

“He was a lifelong advocate of an independent Scotland and those of us who share that belief owe him a great debt of gratitude.

“It was a privilege to have known Sean. When I last spoke to him it was clear even then that his health was failing – but the voice, the spirit and the passion that we all loved so well were still there.

“I will miss him. Scotland will miss him. The world will miss him.

“My thoughts and condolences are with Micheline, his sons Jason and Stephane, his brother Neil and all the family.”


Obituary: Sir Sean Connery, the definitive James Bond

Remembering the extraordinary life of the legendary Scottish actor, who has died at the age of 90.

Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images
Sir Sean Connery in the 1964 Bond film Goldfinger.

He enjoyed a long and varied film career spanning 50 years, but Sir Sean Connery will undoubtedly be remembered as the first – and some say definitive – James Bond.

His performance in Dr No in 1962 set the jobbing actor and former milkman on a path that would lead to Hollywood stardom and all its trappings.

Roles in Highlander, The Untouchables and Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade helped seal his position as one of Britain’s best-loved stars, and his brooding good looks and distinct Scottish brogue won him legions of fans worldwide.

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Sir Sean as Bond in the 1963 film From Russia with Love.

Connery never lost his much-imitated accent despite his many years living abroad. From his home in the Bahamas, he remained a fervent supporter of independence for Scotland.

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Thomas Sean Connery was born in Fountainbridge, Edinburgh, on August 25, 1930. The elder of two boys, he left school at an early age and took his first job as a milkman, complete with horse-drawn cart.

At 16, he enlisted in the Royal Navy but was discharged three years later on medical grounds after suffering with a stomach ulcer.

He has two tattoos from this time – one reading “Mum and Dad” and another “Scotland Forever”.

The keen bodybuilder then undertook a variety of jobs, including a stint as a bricklayer, a lifeguard and an artist’s model for the Edinburgh College of Art. Under the name Thom Connery, he was placed third in the tall man’s division (he was 6ft 2in) of the 1950 Mr Universe contest.

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The stage came calling when a friend suggested he try out for a production of South Pacific. He got a part in the sailors’ chorus and so began his acting career.

He was also a gifted footballer. While touring with the musical, he was offered a contract by former Manchester United manager Sir Matt Busby, who saw him play in a friendly against a local side.

His first major acting credit came in 1957 British gangster film No Road Back.

It was author Ian Fleming’s suave and sophisticated secret service agent that launched Connery to stardom.

Fleming was initially resistant to the idea of Connery playing his character. He thought the Scot was an “overgrown stuntman” who was not refined enough for the role.

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In a scene from the 1989 film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

He was later so impressed with his performance that he created a Scottish ancestry for the character in his subsequent books.

Connery played Bond in seven films – Dr No (1962), From Russia With Love (1963), Goldfinger (1964), Thunderball (1965), You Only Live Twice (1967), Diamonds Are Forever (1971) and Never Say Never Again (1983).

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He quit the role after You Only Live Twice, frustrated by the repetitive plots, but was enticed back after his successor George Lazenby failed to make the grade.

Most of his subsequent successes were as part of ensemble casts, in films such as The Man Who Would Be King, Murder On The Orient Express and A Bridge Too Far.

In the 1980s a slipping career was revived with The Untouchables (1987), with his role as a tough gangbusting Irish policeman winning him an Academy Award for best supporting actor. Future Oscar winners Morgan Freeman and Denzel Washington were also nominated in the category that year.

He is also fondly remembered for his part two years later as the father of Harrison Ford’s whip-cracking hero in Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade, the third instalment in the hugely popular franchise.

Connery could by now command massive fees and gained a reputation as a ruthless contract negotiator. He hated the idea of being manipulated by the film industry and was regularly embroiled in lawsuits.

In 1989, the US magazine People voted him Sexiest Man Alive, to which the 59-year-old replied: “Well, there aren’t many sexy dead men, are there?”

The 1990s brought performances in The Hunt For Red October (1990), Dragonheart (1996) and Entrapment, the 1999 love story/thriller with Catherine Zeta-Jones, which Connery also produced.

By now he was firmly regarded as an elder statesman of the film industry and in 2000 was knighted by the Queen – an honour said to have been delayed by his vocal support for the Scottish National Party (SNP).

Connery, once voted the “greatest living Scot”, received the American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006, when he confirmed his retirement from acting.

Throughout his career he remained relatively guarded about his private life but was forced to deny claims of domestic abuse made by his first wife, the Australian actress Diane Cilento, before her death in 2011.

He was plagued by criticism of remarks he allegedly made in a Vanity Fair interview in 1993 when he suggested there were women who “want a smack”.

Connery was reported as saying: “There are women who take it to the wire. That’s what they are looking for, the ultimate confrontation.”

Evan Agostini via Getty Images
Sir Sean with wife Micheline Roquebrune and then-First Minister Jack McConnell during the 2004 Tartan Week in New York.

He and Cilento were married for 11 years and had one son, the actor Jason Connery.

Connery is survived by Jason and his second wife, French artist Micheline Roquebrune, whom he married in 1975 and who regularly accompanied him on the red carpet.

In 2009, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Edinburgh Napier University for the achievements throughout his career.

He appeared relaxed and in good health during his last public appearance, when he turned out to support fellow Scotsman Andy Murray at the US Open in September 2012.

The tennis star was shocked when Connery and Sir Alex Ferguson gatecrashed a post-match press conference in New York and posed for pictures with him and his mother Judy.

Matthew Stockman via Getty Images
Sir Sean was a big tennis fan and was often seen at Andy Murray matches.

As one of the most high-profile supporters of Scottish independence, many expected Connery to make an appearance on the campaign trail in the run-up to the historic vote on September 18, 2014.

His words were used to galvanise support at the launch of the Yes campaign two years previously, when the star declared in a message: “The people of Scotland are the best guardians of their own future.”

The death of the 90-year-old was confirmed by his family on Saturday.


‘Unforgettable’: Tributes flood in for Sir Sean Connery

The Hollywood star, who enjoyed a long and successful career, has died at the age of 90.

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Sir Sean Connery: Tributes pour in for legendary actor.

Tributes have poured in for legendary James Bond actor Sir Sean Connery, following his death at the age of 90.

The Hollywood star, who appeared in seven 007 films, enjoyed a long career on the silver screen.

Homage has been paid from all walks of life to the Scot, who was considered one of the best in his business and a true icon.

Bond producers Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli said in a statement: “We are devastated by the news of the passing of Sir Sean Connery.

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“He was and shall always be remembered as the original James Bond whose indelible entrance into cinema history began when he announced those unforgettable words – ‘The name’s Bond… James Bond’ – he revolutionised the world with his gritty and witty portrayal of the sexy and charismatic secret agent.

‘He is undoubtedly largely responsible for the success of the film series and we shall be forever grateful to him.’

Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, Bond producers

“He is undoubtedly largely responsible for the success of the film series and we shall be forever grateful to him.”

Sir Sean, born in Fountainbridge, Edinburgh, appeared in seven Bond films, including Goldfinger, Diamonds are Forever and Never Say Never Again.

His other films included Highlander, The Rock, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and The Hunt for Red October.

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Sir Sean’s wife Micheline and sons Jason and Stephane confirmed he died peacefully in his sleep overnight at his home in the Bahamas.

Jason said his father “had many of his family who could be in the Bahamas around him” when he died.

He said: “We are all working at understanding this huge event as it only happened so recently, even though my dad has been unwell for some time.

Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images
1964: Actor Sean Connery poses as James Bond next to his Aston Martin.

“A sad day for all who knew and loved my dad and a sad loss for all people around the world who enjoyed the wonderful gift he had as an actor.”

Current Bond actor Daniel Craig said Sir Sean ‘defined an era and a style’ in a statement.

He said: “It is with such sadness that I heard of the passing of one of the true greats of cinema.

“Sir Sean Connery will be remembered as Bond and so much more. He defined an era and a style.

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“The wit and charm he portrayed on screen could be measured in mega watts; he helped create the modern blockbuster.

“He will continue to influence actors and filmmakers alike for years to come.

“My thoughts are with his family and loved ones. Wherever he is, I hope there is a golf course.”

Tributes were also paid to the Scottish independence supporter by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

She said: “I was heartbroken to learn this morning of the passing of Sir Sean Connery. Our nation today mourns one of her best loved sons.

Hulton Archive via Getty Images
‘True great’: Sir Sean Connery as Bond in the 1963 film From Russia with Love.

“Sean was born into a working-class Edinburgh family and through talent and sheer hard work, became an international film icon and one of the world’s most accomplished actors.

“Sean will be remembered best as James Bond – the classic 007 – but his roles were many and varied. He was a global legend but, first and foremost, a patriotic and proud Scot – his towering presence at the opening of the Scottish Parliament and in 1999 showed his love for the country of his birth.”

She added: “It was a privilege to have known Sean. When I last spoke to him it was clear even then that his health was failing – but the voice, the spirit and the passion that we all loved so well were still there.”

United Artists via Getty Images
‘Stellar career’: Sir Sean Connery was an ‘international audience favourite’.

Edinburgh’s Lord Provost Frank Ross said the city “has lost one of its most world-renowned sons.”

He said the local lad, who started out as a milkman’s apprentice, forged “a stellar acting career”.

The Lord Provost added: “An international audience favourite, he shot to global fame as the original – and arguably the best – James Bond, the role for which he will most be remembered.

“Sir Sean won a huge local fan base for putting Edinburgh firmly on the map and in 1991 he was awarded Freedom of the City, the most prestigious honour bestowed by the council.

“The day he accepted the award from Lord Provost at the Usher Hall was a huge occasion in the capital, with thousands lining the streets to catch a glimpse of him.

“On behalf of the city, I want to convey heartfelt sympathies and condolences to Sir Sean’s family and friends.”

Words were also shared by those he inspired, such as actor Hugh Jackman, who said: “I grew up idolising Sean Connery. A legend on screen, and off. Rest In Peace.”

Game Of Thrones star Liam Cunningham shared a photo of himself and Sir Sean, adding: “This man was really good to me. They say don’t meet your heroes. He exceeded all expectations. RIP Sean.”

Throughout his career, Sir Sean won a number of awards, including an Oscar for his role in The Untouchables.

He was knighted by the Queen at Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh in 2000.

Star Trek actor George Takei said describe him as “a movie legend, even far into his golden years.”

He added: “Our strongest Bonds were formed by him, and he was untouchable. He passed today at age 90, a suave hero to the end.”

Dame Shirley Bassey, who sung the themes to three Bond films including Goldfinger, said Sir Sean was “a wonderful person”.

She tweeted: “I’m incredibly saddened to hear of Sean’s passing. My thoughts are with his family. He was a wonderful person, a true gentleman and we will be forever connected by Bond.

“When we were younger I used to cheer Sean on from the sidelines whilst he played football in his team, The Showbiz 11! Well, I will always be there to cheer you on Sean! Forever in our hearts and may you rest in peace.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger added: “Sean Connery was a legend, one of the greatest actors of all time.

“He provided endless entertainment for all of us & inspiration for me.

“I’m not just saying that because he was a bodybuilder who placed in the Mr. Universe contest! He was an icon. My thoughts are with his family.”

Pinewood Studios, home of the Bond film franchise, said in a statement: “We are extremely saddened to hear of the passing of the legendary Sir Sean Connery.

“Memories of this outstanding actor and his unforgettable embodiment of superspy James Bond will forever be cherished at Pinewood.”

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Fang-tastic: ‘Little horrors’ all dressed up for Halloween

From witches and skeletons to killer clowns and gargoyles, here’s a selection of some of our favourite costumes.

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Twins: Cheryl Woods sent us this super snap of Daniel and Caleb enjoying their first Halloween.

Halloween is here and families across Scotland have been sharing their ‘spooky snaps’.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Scottish Government has explicitly advised against trick or treating – or guising – as it “brings an additional and avoidable risk of spreading the virus”.

“Going door to door, passing sweets, touching items others have touched – all of that gives Covid the opportunity to spread,” said First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

However, ‘little horrors’ across the country have not let that ruin their fun and have been dressing up in celebration.

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From witches and skeletons to killer clowns and gargoyles, here’s a selection of some of our favourite costumes.

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Let’s boo-gie: From prized pumpkins to Edward Scissorhands.
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Cleaning up: Siobhan Smith’s six-year-old daughter Caoimhe dressed up as a bin lorry driver.
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So ghoul: Jen Craig’s daughter Abigail turned her wheelchair into an X-wing starfighter.
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No tricks, just treats: Absolutely fa-boo-lous.
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Boo-tiful: If you’ve got it, haunt it.
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Cutest pumpkin in the patch: Ten-month-old Janna Brown.
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Spooktacular: It’s the season of the witch.
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Double, double, toil and trouble: Looking fang-tastic.

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Former Hearts and Rangers defender Marius Zaliukas dies aged 36

The Lithuanian defender was a Scottish Cup winner with Hearts in 2012.

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Zaliukas captained Hearts ottish Cup winner

Marius Zaliukas, who captained Hearts and played for Rangers, has died at the age of 36.

The Lithuanian international defender’s wife Nora Žaliūkė announced the news on social media on Saturday. Zaliukas had been fighting illness.

“He will rest peacefully in eternal silence,” she wrote. “The heart of Marius Zaliukas stopped beating today.”

Zaliukas moved to Scottish football in 2006, joining Hearts on loan initially, and became a mainstay in the Tynecastle club’s defence. He became club captain and lifted the Scottish Cup in 2012 after a 5-1 win over city rivals Hibernian that is considered one of the club’s most memorable games.

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The defender played more than 200 games for Hearts before moving to Leeds United in 2013. However, he returned to Scottish football the following year, joining Rangers and spending a year at Ibrox.

Zaliukas made 25 appearances for the Lithuanian national team, scoring once.

A statement on on the website of the Lithuanian football federation said: “Marius Žaliūkas, a long-term defender of the national team and the legendary Lithuanian footballer, went on eternal rest. The footballer was just 36 years old.

“Marius Žaliūkas represented the Lithuanian national team from 2006 to 2016 and managed to score one goal. Marius inspired countless young footballers, and his contribution to Lithuanian football will never be forgotten.

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“During his excellent career, the player represented FBK Kaunas, Kauno Inkaro, Šilutė, Edinburgh Hearts, Glasgow Rangers, Leeds United and Vilnius Žalgiris clubs. 

“On behalf of the Lithuanian football community, we express our deepest condolences to Marius’ family.”


Building collapses and roads closed as winds and rain sweep in

The Met Office has issued yellow weather warnings throughout the weekend as Storm Aiden moves in from the west.

BEAR NW Trunk Roads via Twitter
Flooded: The A83 Rest and Be Thankful and Old Military Road have been closed.

A building has collapsed and roads have flooded as strong winds and heavy rain sweep in across parts of Scotland.

The Met Office has issued yellow weather warnings throughout the weekend as Storm Aiden moves in from the west.

On Saturday morning, Argyll and Bute Council warned that a building had collapsed in Helensburgh.

The A814 East Clyde Street, between Sinclair Street and Maitland Street, has now been cordoned off with diversions put in place.

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There have been no reports of any injuries.

Meanwhile, a key route through Argyll has been closed due to flooding.

The A83 Rest and Be Thankful has been closed alongside its diversion route, Old Military Road (OMR).

Motorists now face a 60-mile diversion.

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A spokesperson from BEAR NW Trunk Roads said: “The OMR local diversion route is currently closed due to flooding from the river in the area. 

“Teams are investigating the situation to ensure the OMR opens as quickly as possible. 

“In the meantime, traffic is being diverted via the A82/A85 and A819.”

Police have also warned about flooding in Dunoon and the surrounding areas.

A force spokesperson from the Argyll and West Dunbartonshire division warned that the A815 was particularly affected with the additional hazard of leaves hiding the “true depth of any water”.

Motorists have been urged to take extra time for journeys and to drive to the conditions “not the speed limit”.

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ScotRail: A train was brought to a stop due to a trampoline.

A runaway trampoline brought a ScotRail train to a stop near Queens Park in Glasgow on Saturday afternoon.

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A spokesperson said services would be temporarily suspended while workers removed it from the railway line.

Meanwhile, due to waves crashing over the sea wall in Saltcoats, North Ayrshire, Network Rail Scotland has had to switch off the overhead lines as the spray was tripping the power supply.

A diesel train has now been put into service to keep passengers moving through the area.

A number of bridge restrictions have also been put in place due to high winds.

Due to the high winds, Itison has cancelled Saturday night’s GlasGLOW event at Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens.

Heavy rain is expected to batter parts of Scotland until 7pm on Saturday. A yellow weather warning has been put in place across Argyll and Bute, Ayrshire, Dumfries and Galloway, Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Stirlingshire, Clackmannanshire, Perthshire, and parts of Aberdeenshire and western Highlands.

Strong winds are also expected to sweep in until 9pm on Saturday. Areas across the west coast, including the Hebrides, are expected to be worst hit.

On Sunday, a wind warning across the Hebrides and western Highlands has been put in place between 12pm and 9pm.

Scots have been warned to prepare for power cuts, flooding and problems with public transport.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) has issued a number of flood alerts.

Mark Franklin, Sepa’s flood duty manager, said: “Heavy rain and strong winds are expected across much of Scotland on Saturday and Sunday.

“Flooding impacts from rivers and surface water are possible across much of the south west and west of Scotland, including Argyll, much of central Scotland and extending across Tayside into Angus and Aberdeenshire. 

“Impacts may include flooding of land and roads, disruption to travel and difficult driving conditions.

“There may also be disruption from spray and waves overtopping today along the Solway coast, west coast, the Caithness, Sutherland and Moray coastlines and around the Orkney and Shetland Islands.

“Flood alerts have been issued and people living, working and travelling in affected areas are advised to take extra care and ensure they have signed up to Floodline.”


Coronavirus: 24 more dead as cases surge by 1101 overnight

More than 1000 people are currently receiving treatment in hospital for Covid-19.

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Covid-19: The fight to stop the spread of the deadly virus goes on.

A further 24 people have died in Scotland after being diagnosed with coronavirus, the Scottish Government has confirmed.

Total confirmed cases of the virus has risen to 63,913 – a jump of 1101 in the past 24 hours.

The official death toll in Scotland now stands at 2843, however weekly figures on suspected Covid-19 deaths recorded by National Records of Scotland suggest the most up-to-date total is more than 4400.

Of the new cases reported on Saturday, 374 are in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde region, 317 are in Lanarkshire, 121 are in Lothian, and 84 are in Ayrshire and Arran.

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The remaining cases are spread across eight other health board areas.

According to management information reported by NHS boards across Scotland, 1149 people are in hospital with confirmed or suspected Covid-19. Out of those, 80 patients are in intensive care.

Scotland beat Wales 14-10 in Six Nations closer

Scotland came out on top in tough conditions in Llanelli.

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Ali Price (L) and Jamie Ritchie celebrate Scotland winning a penalty.

Scotland have won in Wales for the first time in 18 years with a hard-fought 14-10 victory in Llanelli.

The national team were trailing 7-6 at half-time but fought back to win their last match in this year’s Six Nations.

Scotland went in front after 10 minutes when Finn Russell scored on his return to the side.

Wales then went in front with the first try when prop Rhys Carre went over after a Scotland mistake when Fraser Brown overthrew a lineout close to his own try line.

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Russell was forced off injury shortly afterwards and was replaced by Adam Hastings, who kicked a penalty to make it 7-6 at the break.

Scotland took the lead again in the second half through a driving lineout from Stuart McInally but Hastings missed the conversion.

Leigh Halfpenny brought Wales within a point and, after Hastings became the second fly-half to go off injured, Scotland found themselves up against it.

A strong finish kept the hosts at bay and Stuart Hogg’s late penalty won the Doddie Weir Cup.


Nicola Sturgeon urges Scots to avoid travel to England

The First Minister has asked people not to travel to or from England unless it is for 'essential purposes'.

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First Minister: Nicola Sturgeon asks people not to travel to or from England unless 'essential'.

The First Minister has urged Scots not to travel to or from England unless it is for “essential purposes”.

Nicola Sturgeon made the plea amid reports Prime Minister Boris Johnson is considering a second lockdown south of the border.

She said her government will “take account of any developments in England” but base decisions on circumstances in Scotland.

Sturgeon also said the prevalence of coronavirus is lower in Scotland than in other parts of the UK, after stricter measures were introduced north of the border in September.

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The restrictions saw Scots banned from going into other people’s homes and the Scottish Government also acted to close bars and restaurants across the central belt in early October.

Five-level coronavirus alert system to begin on Monday Read now

A new five-level system of restrictions for tackling coronavirus will come into force in Scotland on Monday, which will see travel restrictions imposed on many Scots.

In level level three areas – the second highest tier in the new system – people are urged not to go outside of their own local authority area.

In a series of tweets urging people to stick to the new rules, Sturgeon also said people are being asked not to travel to or from England.

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The First Minister said: “People should not travel to or from level three areas in Scotland and for now, we are asking people not to travel to or from England at all, except for essential purposes.”

On speculation surrounding a lockdown in England, she said: “Prevalence of the virus is currently lower in Scotland than in other parts of the UK and there are early signs that the tough restrictions in place since we moved quickly in late September have started to slow the rate of increase.

“We will base decisions on circumstances here – though what happens just across our border is clearly not irrelevant to our considerations.

“In coming days the Scottish Government will consider data on the spread of the virus, as we always do, and take account of any developments in England.”

Sturgeon said the Scottish Government would have to consider if “any financial support will be available now as a result of steps in England, which would not be guaranteed to Scotland later”.

But she added: “Most importantly, we urge everyone to comply with current restrictions, including on travel.

“Above all, we will do our best – in difficult circumstances – to arrive at the best and most rational decisions we can, with the priority of protecting health and lives.

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“And we will set out any decisions to the Scottish people and the Scottish Parliament in as managed a way as possible.”


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