Sturgeon: I’ll be relieved to have my say at Salmond inquiry

Both Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond will speak to a Holyrood inquiry into the handling of harassment complaints.

Sturgeon: Served as Salmond's deputy for seven years (file pic). SWNS
Sturgeon: Served as Salmond's deputy for seven years (file pic).

Nicola Sturgeon has said she will feel a “sense of relief” when she finally gets to speak about the breakdown in her relationship with Alex Salmond.

A rift developed between the First Minister and her predecessor Salmond after allegations of sexual harassment were made against him.

Both will give evidence to an Holyrood committee set up to examine how the Scottish Government handled the initial harassment claims.

Salmond launched a legal battle against Sturgeon’s administration over the way it dealt with the allegations and the Court of Session ruled in his favour in January 2019.

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The court ordered the Scottish Government to pay Salmond more than £500,000 in legal costs, ruling its conduct had been “unlawful” and “tainted with apparent bias”.

Salmond was cleared of all criminal charges against him in a High Court case earlier this year.

Sturgeon, who served as his deputy for seven years, likened the breakdown in their relationship to the grieving process.

Speaking on the The Ladder programme on Times Radio, she said: “Imagine how it would feel, you know, for any reason and whatever the circumstances, if somebody that has been one of the biggest presences in your life, outside my own family, my husband, probably the most significant adult in my life for all of my adult life… and then imagine that they’re not in that role anymore.

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“And it’s difficult. I’ve not been able to talk about this because of the criminal trial and then when the criminal trial ended, I was immersed, as I still am, in Covid.

“I will get the opportunity to talk about that in the parliamentary inquiries that are to come.

“While I wouldn’t say I relish that prospect at all, there will to some extent be a sense of relief at just being able to have my say and put my side across and then let people make up their own minds.”

Speaking about the change in relationship with the man who was her mentor, Sturgeon added: “There is a sense of something that I suppose is not a million miles from a grieving process, but you know, we all go through difficult things and we have to cope with them.”

She went on to say she believes Scotland will become independent “sooner rather than later”, adding that will see the country become “an equal partner” with the rest of the UK.

Scotland’s five-tier coronavirus alert system revealed

Different parts of Scotland to be given their own level of restrictions under the plans.

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A proposed five-tier system of measures for dealing with coronavirus in Scotland has been revealed.

The plan – set to come into force on November 2 – ranges from life being “closest to normal” without a vaccine at level zero to almost a full lockdown at level four, when non-essential shops would close.

Level two will be similar to current rules outside central Scotland, with level three likened to those inside the central belt, where pubs and restaurants are closed.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said there were no plans to close schools, even under the strictest measures.

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Council areas in Scotland will each be given their own alert rating, with restrictions designed to match the risk of Covid spreading locally.

However, the whole country could be placed in the same level if necessary, Sturgeon said at her daily briefing, where she also revealed the week’s death toll from Covid-19 had reached 94.

The new system of restrictions has been anticipated since a similar three-tiered system was introduced in England by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

MSPs will vote on whether to adopt the new the proposal next week.

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Earlier this month, temporary restrictions were brought in across Scotland and, although initially set to end on October 25, these were extended until the new tiered system comes into effect.

Since October 9, bars and licensed restaurants in five health board areas – Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Arran, Lothian and Forth Valley – have been forced to close for all but takeaways.

Pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes elsewhere in Scotland are only allowed to serve indoor customers between 6am and 6pm with a ban on alcohol inside, although alcoholic drinks can be served until 10pm in outdoor areas.

The hospitality industry has launched legal action to challenge the restrictions, which it says will cost jobs and force businesses to close permanently.

Indoor meetings with other households are also currently banned across Scotland.

Level by level at-a-glance

Zero

  • Most businesses can open
  • Eight people from three households are able to meet indoors
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One

  • Indoor visits restricted to six people from two households

Two

  • Limits on when pubs and restaurants can open
  • No indoor socialising
  • Six people from two households will be able to meet outdoors

Three

  • Closure of pubs, although restaurants can open in some circumstances

Four

  • Closure of non-essential shops

At a glance: Scotland’s new coronavirus levels system

The Scottish Government's new strategic framework for tackling the spread of Covid-19 has five tiers.

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has outlined a new system for dealing with coronavirus.

It involves five levels, zero to four, and will come into effect on November 2, pending parliamentary approval of the framework on Tuesday.

Sturgeon said on Friday the central belt is currently living with the equivalent of level three restrictions in the new system and the rest of the country is living with restrictions that are the equivalent of level two.

The FM also said a final decision on where each local authority area will be placed in the new framework has not yet been made.

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Level zero will represent the closest to normal the country can get without effective treatment or a vaccine, whereas level four will be much closer to the full lockdown restrictions seen from the end of March.

The Scottish Government framework can be viewed here and at a glance below:

LEVEL ZERO:

Socialising – Eight people from three households can meet indoors. Fifteen people from five households can meet outdoors.

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Hospitality – Pubs, restaurants and cafes are open and can sell alcohol indoors and outdoors. But restrictions on opening hours may apply.

Accommodation – Hotels, B&Bs and self-catering accommodation such as caravans and campsites are permitted to open.

Travel – No non-essential travel to/from areas of Scotland that are in level three or higher. International quarantine regulations apply.

Transport – Avoid car sharing with people outside extended household wherever possible. Face masks on public transport.

Retail and close contact services – Shops and close contact services – such as hairdressers, barbers, tailors and beauticians are open.

Public buildings – Buildings such as libraries and museums are open.

Stadia and events – Outdoor events are permitted and spectators allowed in football stadiums with restricted numbers. Indoor events can go ahead with restricted numbers.

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Weddings, civil partnerships and funerals – All allowed but with a 50 person limit.

Places of worship – Open but restricted to 50 people.

Leisure and Entertainment – Open with the exception of adult entertainment and nightclubs.

Workplaces – Open but working from home is the default option.

Schools – Open with standard protective measures in place.

LEVEL ONE:

Socialising – Six people from two households can meet indoors and outdoors.

Hospitality – Pubs, restaurants and cafes are open and can sell alcohol indoors and outdoors. But restrictions on opening hours may apply.

Accommodation – Hotels, B&Bs and self-catering accommodation such as caravans and campsites are permitted to open.

Travel – No non-essential travel to/from areas of Scotland that are in level three or higher. International quarantine regulations apply.

Transport – Avoid car sharing with people outside extended household wherever possible. Face masks on public transport.

Retail and close contact services – Shops and close contact services – such as hairdressers, barbers, tailors and beauticians are open.

Public buildings – Buildings such as libraries and museums are open.

Stadia and events – Outdoor events are permitted and spectators allowed in football stadiums with restricted numbers. Indoor events can go ahead with restricted numbers.

Weddings, civil partnerships and funerals – All allowed but with a 20 person limit.

Places of worship – Open but restricted to 50 people.

Leisure and Entertainment – Open with the exception of adult entertainment and nightclubs.

Workplaces – Open but working from home is the default option.

Schools – Open with standard protective measures in place.

LEVEL TWO:

Socialising – People cannot socialise indoors with another household. Six people from two households can meet outdoors and in hospitality settings.

Hospitality – Pubs, restaurants and cafes are open. Alcohol can be sold outdoors but only with a main meal indoors. Restrictions on opening hours may apply.

Accommodation – Hotels, B&Bs and self-catering accommodation such as caravans and campsites are permitted to open. Level 2 hospitality rules apply.

Travel – No non-essential travel to/from areas of Scotland that are in level three or higher. International quarantine regulations apply.

Transport – Avoid car sharing with people outside extended household wherever possible. Face masks on public transport.

Retail and close contact services – Shops and close contact services – such as hairdressers, barbers, tailors and beauticians – open but mobile close contact services not permitted.

Public buildings – Buildings such as libraries and museums are open with protective measures in place.

Stadia and events – Only drive-in events permitted. Stadiums closed to spectators.

Weddings, civil partnerships and funerals – All allowed but with a 20 person limit.

Places of worship – Open but restricted to 50 people.

Leisure and Entertainment – Cinemas and amusement arcades can open. The following venues must close: soft play, funfairs, indoor bowling, theatres, snooker/pool halls, music venues, casinos, bingo halls, nightclubs and adult entertainment

Workplaces – Open but working from home is the default option.

Schools – Open with standard protective measures in place.

LEVEL THREE:

Socialising – People cannot socialise indoors. Six people from two households can meet outdoors and in hospitality settings.

Hospitality – Pubs, restaurants and cafes cannot sell alcohol indoors or outdoors. Restrictions on opening hours for eating out may apply.

Accommodation – Hotels, B&Bs and self-catering accommodation such as caravans and campsites are permitted to open. The guidance encourages non-essential use by locals only – not for tourists.

Travel – No non-essential travel into our out of the level three area. International quarantine regulations apply.

Transport – Avoid car sharing with people outside extended household wherever possible. Avoid non-essential use of public transport. Face coverings compulsory.

Retail and close contact services – Shops and close contact services – such as hairdressers, barbers, tailors and beauticians are open but may be subject to additional measures. Mobile close contact services not permitted.

Public buildings – Buildings such as libraries and museums are open with protective measures in place.

Stadia and events – No indoor or outdoor events permitted. Stadiums closed to spectators.

Weddings, civil partnerships and funerals – All allowed but with a 20 person limit.

Places of worship – Open but restricted to 50 people.

Leisure and Entertainment – All venues closed.

Workplaces – Open but working from home is the default option.

Schools – Open with standard protective measures in place.

LEVEL FOUR:

Socialising – People cannot socialise indoors. Six people from two households can meet outdoors.

Hospitality – Pubs, restaurants and cafes must close.

Accommodation – Hotels, B&Bs and self-catering accommodation not open for tourists. Work-related essential use only.

Travel – No non-essential travel into or out of the level 4 area. If necessary, limits on travel distance, or a requirement to stay at home.

Transport – Avoid car sharing with people outside extended household wherever possible. No use of public transport, except for essential purposes. Face coverings compulsory

Retail and close contact services – Shops and close contact services – such as hairdressers, barbers, tailors and beauticians – must close. Mobile close contact services not permitted

Public buildings – Buildings such as libraries and museums are closed.

Stadia and events – No indoor or outdoor events permitted. Stadiums closed to spectators.

Weddings, civil partnerships and funerals – A maximum of five people allowed at weddings (six where an interpreter is required). Funerals and wakes subject to 20 person limit.

Places of worship – Open but restricted to 20 people.

Leisure and Entertainment – All venues closed.

Workplaces – Only essential indoor workplaces can open along with outdoor workplaces in sectors such as construction and engineering.

Schools – Open with standard protective measures in place.

Coronavirus: 18 more deaths and 1401 new cases in Scotland

The First Minister confirmed the latest figures at the daily briefing.

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Another 18 people with coronavirus have died in Scotland as the country recorded 1401 new cases.

The latest figures were revealed by the First Minister at the daily briefing.

The death toll under this measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – has risen to 2688.

Of the new cases recorded, 493 were in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, 413 in Lanarkshire, 169 in Lothian and 117 in Ayrshire and Arran.

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There are currently 975 patients in hospital, who are confirmed to have the virus, 41 more than on Thursday.

Of these, 76 people are being treated in intensive care.

Activist charged by police at drug consumption van

Peter Krykant, 43, has been charged in connection with an offence under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

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Police: Officers have charged a man.

An activist has been charged by police after officers attended at a drug consumption van in Glasgow.

Peter Krykant, 43, is campaigning for a change in the law, claiming the current legislation forces addicts to inject in unsafe conditions in filthy alleyways.

He has now been charged after police attended a drug consumption van in Parnie Street on Friday morning.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “A 43-year-old man has been charged in connection with an offence under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 on Parnie Street in Glasgow during the morning of Friday, October 23.

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“A report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal in due course.”


Visiting restrictions to come into force at three hospitals

NHS Tayside has put restrictions in place at Perth Royal Infirmary, Ninewells Hospital and Strathcaro Hospital.

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Perth Royal Infirmary: Visiting restrictions will come into force on Monday.

New visiting restrictions will come into force at three hospitals across Tayside on Monday.

The health board said its clinical and public health teams made the “difficult decision” in order to curb the spread of coronavirus and protect vulnerable patients.

All wards at Perth Royal Infirmary will be restricted to visitors, along with all adult wards at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee. The surgical unit wards at Strathcaro Hospital near Brechin have also been restricted.

Claire Pearce, NHS Tayside’s director of nursing and midwifery, said: “We understand that suspending visiting will impact on families and patients and we know that not being able to visit family members whilst they are in hospital is distressing for many people. 

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“However it is vital that we keep our patients, staff and the public safe. We hope everyone understands that we have made this difficult decision for these reasons.”  

Four wards across Tayside already have restricted visiting due to outbreaks of Covid-19.

The health board said the virus is “circulating widely in the community”, with the current incidence rate within Dundee higher than some of the local authorities in the central belt that are under enhanced restrictions.

NHS Tayside said there are almost 50 patients with confirmed coronavirus in its hospitals, along with a number of suspected cases.

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Despite the restrictions, visiting can continue in specific circumstances, for example for patients receiving end-of-life care. 

The public can continue to visit:

  • Tayside Children’s Hospital.
  • Maternity and neonatal wards. Partners can continue to attend for births, scans and antenatal appointments.
  • Mental health facilities, including Carseview Centre.
  • Community hospitals.

Anyone with a question about visiting should contact the senior charge nurse in the ward to discuss their individual situation.  

Ms Pearce added: “In order to manage the number of patients with the virus, we are using our three acute hospitals flexibly with patients and staff moving between the sites. 

“This means that we must restrict visiting in all three sites to help further reduce the number of people coming into our hospitals each day and help limit the spread of coronavirus. 

“We will continue to offer virtual visiting for patients using telephones, tablets and laptops to allow people to keep in touch with their loved ones.” 

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Hospital: The fight to stop the spread of the deadly virus goes on.

Meanwhile, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) is calling on the public to heed current guidelines to minimise the number of new hospital admissions following a surge in coronavirus case numbers.

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There are currently more than 500 patients in hospital across the region with the virus.

The health board has now implemented red, amber and green patient pathways across its sites to separate Covid from non-Covid patients to minimise the spread of the virus.

There are currently 20 red wards which are exclusively treating patients with Covid-19. 

Dr Scott Davidson, deputy medical director for acute services at NHSGGC, said: “Numbers are continuing to rise across Scotland, and Greater Glasgow and Clyde has been the worst affected region in the country. 

“It is absolutely critical the public follows the guidelines to ensure that our staff are able to continue effectively managing and treating both Covid and non-Covid patients.

“During this time we are maintaining a programme of elective surgery but this also means that we are currently looking after more patients than ever before, so while the numbers of Covid-19 patients may not yet have reached March’s peak levels, there is as much pressure on our staff across services.

“We would like to remind the public of the current policies in relation to using health services, as minimising unnecessary footfall plays a huge role in preventing the spread of the virus, and allows our staff to focus on delivering the best care possible.”

Health service guidance

  • Attend hospital appointments alone unless you fall into one of the specific support categories
  • Please only use emergency departments in an emergency.
  • Community assessment centres are there to provide support to those with Covid-19 symptoms.
  • Community health practices and pharmacies are still available alongside out-of-hours services, which you can access by calling 111.

FACTS guidance:

F – Face coverings. These should be used in shops and on public transport.

A – Avoid crowded places.

C – Clean your hands frequently, using water and soap whenever possible.

T – Two metres – observe physical distancing.

S – Self-isolate and book a test if you are suffering from Covid-19 symptoms.

For more information, click here.

 


Family of murder victim: ‘Life will never be the same’

A 43-year-old man has now been charged over the death of Daniel Greer, 33, from North Lanarkshire.

Police Scotland via Facebook / Ross MacDonald via SNS Group
Murder: Officers have arrested and charged a suspect.

The family of a North Lanarkshire man who was murdered in his own home has said “life will never be the same” without him.

The body of Daniel Greer, 33, was discovered within his house in Rankin Crescent, in the village of Greengairs, at around 12.55pm on Monday.

In a statement, his family said: “He was a much loved member of our family and he will be sadly missed.

“My darling boy Daniel, life will never be the same without you.

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“We will always love you.”

On Friday morning, police confirmed a 43-year-old man had been arrested in connection with the death. The force later confirmed the suspect has now been charged.

He is due to appear at Airdrie Sheriff Court on Monday and a report will be sent to the Procurator Fiscal.

Detective superintendent Kevin Jamieson said: “I’d like to thank the local people in the Greengairs and Airdrie communities for their assistance during this inquiry and to assure them that a significant police presence will remain in the area at this time.”


Brown leads Scotland to resounding victory over Georgia

Gregor Townsend’s side returned to action at Murrayfield with an eight-try 48-7 victory.

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Champ: Scotland's Fraser Brown fends off Beka Saghinadze.

Fraser Brown scored two tries on his first appearance as Scotland captain as Gregor Townsend’s side returned to action with an eight-try 48-7 victory over Georgia.

With Stuart Hogg aiming to complete a trophy double with new European champions Exeter, Brown was handed the armband on his 51st international appearance and marked the occasion by crossing twice after lineout mauls.

Georgia could not handle the driving maul and Hamish Watson and Stuart McInally both went over from the same source.

Darcy Graham had opened the scoring early on and the Scotland backs weighed in as the game opened up in the latter stages.

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Graham grabbed a late second after his fellow Edinburgh winger, Duhan Van Der Merwe, grabbed a try on his Scotland debut before Blair Kinghorn got in on the act.

Van Der Merwe’s fellow South African, Oli Kebble, also won his first cap after coming off the bench with Finn Russell, making his 50th Scotland appearance and his first this year after losing his place following a disciplinary issue prior to the Guinness Six Nations.

Scotland were on the front foot immediately as they warmed up for next weekend’s Six Nations finale in Wales, and there were little over two minutes gone when Graham produced a dummy after his own tap penalty which made space for him to claim his sixth try on his 11th international outing.

The home side remained on top without making the most of their possession but their forwards ensured Townsend’s team went into half-time with a commanding lead thanks to two tries in five minutes following lineout mauls.

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Hooker Brown joined the back of the maul after his own throw and got the final touch as the Georgian pack were driven back in the 26th minute. Rory Sutherland then fed Watson to go over on the left wing.

Scotland were confined to a 17-0 half-time lead after failing to convince French referee Alexandre Ruiz that they had got the crucial touch after forcing the Georgian defence back over their own line again.

Cornell Du Preez, who was on for the injured Matt Fagerson, emerged from a pile of bodies claiming a try but television footage could not clear up who grounded the ball.

Georgia got off the mark inside five minutes of the restart after quickly turning a scrum from almost 40 metres out into a try. Scrum-half Vasil Lobzhanidze’s pass to Akaki Tabutsadze looked forward but Scott Cummings had got a fingertip to it which ensured the winger’s score counted.

Scotland responded immediately as Brown produced a carbon copy of his first-half try.

Scotland made four changes with Kebble and Russell among those coming on and McInally replacing Brown before emulating his fellow hooker with another try from the lineout maul.

Russell gave Scotland a new edge and the game opened up for Scotland’s backs in the latter stages.

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The Racing 92 fly-half fed Van Der Merwe with a close-range pass for the wide man to run through a huge gap in the 70th minute, and Graham went over after another lineout five minutes later.

Kinghorn scored in the final moments after following up on his own kick forward.


Scotland triumph over Albania in bid to reach Euros

Shelley Kerr’s team won 3-0 at Tynecastle Park in Edinburgh on Friday night.

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Winners: Scotland triumphed over Albania on Friday night.

Scotland have triumphed over Albania in their bid to reach the European Championships.

Shelley Kerr’s team won 3-0 at Tynecastle Park in Edinburgh on Friday night.

Captain Rachel Corsie headed home the first goal at 37mins.

Caroline Weir netted the final two, the first at 75mins and the second from the penalty spot in stoppage time.

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It was the team’s first international game since a 2-1 win over Northern Ireland in the Pinatar Cup tournament in March.

They will now continue their UEFA Women’s Championship campaign by travelling to Helsinki to take on group leaders Finland on Tuesday.

Scotland currently sit second in Group E, with three wins from three.


St Mirren’s match against Hamilton postponed after Covid outbreak

St Mirren don't have enough players to fulfill Saturday's fixture.

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St Mirren have been hit with another series of positive tests,

The SPFL have confirmed that St Mirren’s Premiership match against Hamilton on Saturday has been postponed as a result of the Paisley club’s latest coronavirus outbreak.

The club says a number of positive cases have been discovered to add to several players already self-isolating.

That has left St Mirren without enough players to fulfil the fixture, meaning they miss their second consecutive game after the match against Motherwell was called off last weekend.

A statement from the SPFL read: “Tomorrow’s Scottish Premiership match between St Mirren and Hamilton Academical has been postponed after St Mirren informed the SPFL that they could not fulfil the fixture.

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“St Mirren have informed the SPFL that, due to a number of positive tests for Covid-19 amongst their playing squad and coaching staff, and a number of other players who are isolating, they have only eleven registered fit players available for tomorrow’s game against Hamilton Academical – and that, as a result, St Mirren are unable to fulfil tomorrow’s fixture.

“As a result, and in line with standard procedure, the SPFL have postponed the fixture pending the ongoing investigation into the events at St Mirren.”


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