Sturgeon: Ingesting disinfectant is a very, very bad idea

First Minister warned it would be 'extremely dangerous' after US president said 'it would be interesting to check' its success.

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Nicola Sturgeon has rebuked Donald Trump for suggesting disinfectant could be injected as a possible cure for coronavirus.

Scotland’s First Minister warned “it is a very, very bad idea and extremely dangerous” after the US president said “it would be interesting to check” whether it could combat the virus.

Reacting to his comments, Sturgeon said world leaders now have a “greater than ever” responsibility when giving advice and cautioned against repeating things they have “perhaps completely misunderstood”.

She said: “It is clearly not the case that ingesting disinfectant in any way shape or form is a good idea. It is a very, very bad idea and extremely dangerous.”

Coronavirus: Donald Trump said it ‘it would be interesting to check’ if disinfectant worked.
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Speaking at the Scottish Government’s daily coronavirus briefing, she said: “I’m really keen that we have an open discussion with the public and that politicians – unusually perhaps – are prepared to admit things they don’t know as well as share the thinking on the things that we do know and are trying to work through.

“But the responsibility on leaders is not to stand up at a public platform and repeat things that you have perhaps half heard and perhaps completely misunderstood, and present that to the public in a way that the public might act on and that could be dangerous.

“None of us are perfect. And we will all make mistakes in this but I think we all have to remember that very serious responsibility when we’re giving advice to the public. It must be good advice, informed by the best science.”

National clinical director Professor Jason Leitch expressed confidence in Scotland’s decision-makers and said he would never need to tell them that injecting or consuming disinfectant was a bad idea.

‘For surfaces’: Professor Jason Leitch was clear the substance ‘not for bodies’.
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“I can be absolutely certain that I don’t need to advise the present First Minister that injecting disinfectant into your body will be no help for coronavirus,” he said.

“I can categorically say – and it is genuinely a serious point at times of non-coronavirus and coronavirus – that disinfectant is for surfaces, not for bodies.”

Disinfectant manufacturer RB, the company behind the Dettol and Lysol brands, has similarly urged people not to try the method.

The company issued a statement, which said: “As a global leader in health and hygiene products, we must be clear that under no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body (through injection, ingestion or any other route).”

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Seven more deaths of people with coronavirus in Scotland

It's the highest number of fatalities in the country since June 17, while there are 640 new cases.

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Seven more people with coronavirus have died in Scotland, the highest daily total since June 17.

It takes the death toll among patients who died within 28 days of their coronavirus test to 2519.

Separate weekly figures from National Records of Scotland show that up to Sunday, September 27, a total of 4257 deaths have been registered where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.

They include those who died more than 28 days after testing positive for the virus, as well as those who were suspected to have it but were not tested.

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The country has confirmed 640 new Covid cases overnight, which amounts to 10.3% of newly-tested Scots, down from 11.5% and 806 cases on Tuesday.

Of those cases, 232 – more than a third – are in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board area, where a campus cluster at the University of Glasgow is ongoing.

There are 160 new infections in Lothian and 73 in Lanarkshire.

A total of 137 people around Scotland are in hospital being treated for coronavirus, which is a rise of 14 in 24 hours.

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Of these patients, 14 were in intensive care, down two from the revised figure of 16 the previous day.

Speaking at the daily Covid briefing, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said there were 94 new hospital admissions for the virus last week – up 60% from the figure of 58 the previous week.

This means “we could not afford complacency”, she told the briefing.

Focus shifts to flu as vaccination queues begin to form

This year those over 55 and frontline social care workers will also be offered the flu vaccination.

As the battle against Covid continues in to flu season, there is a growing worry of what might happen when the two viruses combine.

This year anyone over 55 along with frontline social care workers will be offered the flu vaccination in the bid to protect more people during the pandemic.

In Dundee, health workers are some of the first to get the flu jab. 

Peter Stonebridge, the medical director at NHS Tayside, said: “Obviously flu in itself is not very nice and actually has a significant detrimental affect on people and the second is obviously if you get flu and covid at the same time that might not go particularly well. 

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“It is very important that we stop as much of the flu aspects that we possibly can while we await a covid vaccine.”

Covid has been the focus for most of the NHS for months with another rise in Cases in recent weeks bringing fears it could be accelerated further if more people aren’t protected.

The Scottish Government insist there will be enough flu vaccine to last the season, but GP’s say that some will have to wait.

“We’re getting the most vulnerable done first, so for example we’ll be setting off to do our patients in care homes very shortly, but you are someone who is 55 and in good health and would not normally get the flu jab but this year we are recommending that you do, you will wait a little bit longer,” said Dr Alasdair Forbes of the Royal College of GPs Scotland.

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But a shortage globally might mean those paying privately may miss out – Boots has already suspended its online bookings.

Experts here will no doubt be looking at what has been happening during flu seasons in other parts of the world. 

In Australia where flu hits between around April and October there have been just over 21,000 lab confirmed cases so far this year – by this time in 2019 it was just under 290,000 cases

In other southern hemisphere countries like South Africa there have also be reports of far fewer cases.

That is because social distancing and lockdowns have been in place making it hard for all viruses, not just Covid to spread.


Tackling Edinburgh housing crisis crucial to reducing poverty

Report says one in three families in the city living below the poverty line are only in that position due to their housing costs.

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More than 77,000 Edinburgh residents live in poverty.

The “single most important” part of reducing poverty in Edinburgh is tackling the housing crisis, according to a new report.

The Edinburgh Poverty Commission (EPC) released their report on Wednesday, which found that almost one in three families in the city living below the poverty line are only in that position due to their housing costs.

This compares with one in eight households who are in poverty across the country as a whole.

More than 77,000 Edinburgh residents live in poverty – about 15% of the total population, including one in every five children.

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Dr James McCormick, chairman of the EPC, said that the housing crisis was a “distinctively Edinburgh challenge, because so many families are only dragged below the poverty line by an unaffordable rent”.

He added that a big chunk of the city’s poverty issues could be solved if the housing profile was expanded.

The report called for 20,000 more affordable homes to be built in Edinburgh over the next decade.

Dr McCormick, who is also associate director for Scotland at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said: “If you’re working you should not be poor – it’s as simple as that.

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“The single most important part is solving Edinburgh’s housing crisis.”

However, Dr McCormick believes that private landlords also have a part to play, saying: “People are being housed in quite high cost private rented accommodation.

“What’s really helpful is when some of those homes are brought into the private leasing pool for the city, so landlords get a three-year deal they get security of income and some degree of predictability about costs.

“The private rented sector has a crucial long-term role to play in the city.

“What we’re saying is too many families are there long term when they can’t afford to be.

“They’re constrained not through choice, and so if people can move over time into lower cost tenancies that goers a very long way to bring down housing costs sustainably.

“The other thing it does importantly is it improves work incentives.

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“If you’re facing a very expensive rent and the jobs available to you are minimum wage or just above, then even with universal credit improving tapers, it will often not be worth your while taking that job, when you factor in child care costs.

“So secure tenancies, lower rents are good, not just for housing, but for work.”

Dr McCormick said that he would be against exploring rent control in the city, saying: “I think we’re not persuaded by the case for some of the things that have been tried in other counties because they tend to have a detrimental effect if we’re not careful on supply of housing.”

Cammy Day, Labour depute leader of Edinburgh City Council, added that the council had also been pushing for regulation on short term let, Air BnB style accommodation in the city.

He said: “It’s an absolute disgrace that on an average day in Edinburgh we’ve got 500 people in temporary accommodation yet hundreds of houses lying empty for probably 75% of the year, only being used for Festival times.”

He added that the council had been pushing the government for rent pressure zones to be brought in, to “curtail some of the ridiculous rents in the capital city”.

However, Mr Day added: “It’s not proven successful entirely yet but I hope we’re still on that path, to get as many tools the city can to stop rogue landlords and stop high private rents being the reason why somebody can’t have a safe and warm family home to live in.”

Shell to slash up to 9000 jobs after collapse in demand

The oil giant said the cuts will be fully implemented by the end of 2022.

Shell: Plans to cut thousands of jobs.

Shell has said it plans to cut between 7000 and 9000 jobs worldwide following a collapse in demand for oil amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The oil giant has said the cuts will be fully implemented by the end of 2022.

The company also told investors this includes around 1500 employees who have agreed to take voluntary redundancy this year.

Shell said the job cuts are part of a major cost-cutting programme after the business was hit by the slump in demand for oil and a subsequent dive in prices.

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Ben van Beurden, chief executive of Royal Dutch Shell, said: “We have to be a simpler, more streamlined, more competitive organisation that is more nimble and able to respond to customers.

“To be more nimble, we have to remove a certain amount of organisational complexity.”

He said the company is looking at a raft of other areas where it can cut costs, such as travel, its use of contractors and virtual working.

Mr Van Beurden said the pandemic has shown the company it can adapt to working in new ways but stressed that “a large part of the cost saving for Shell will come from having fewer people”.

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In June, rival BP said it was cutting around 10,000 jobs from its workforce to cope with the impact of the virus.

Shell said it expects that cost-cutting measures will secure annual cost savings of between two billion dollars and $2.5bn (£1.5bn-£1.9bn) by 2022.

This will also partially contribute to a previously announced reduction in the company’s operating costs by $3bn to $4bn (£2.3bn-£3.1bn) by the first quarter of 2021.

Shell also told investors on Wednesday that it expects third-quarter production to be between 2.15 million and 2.25 million barrels of oil equivalent a day.

Daily production levels have been impacted by between 60,000 and 70,000 barrels due to hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico.

For the past 50 years, Shell have been a dominant force in the North Sea with a workforce of around 1,500 in Aberdeen.

As one of the largest oil and gas operators, it’s presence has been a prominent one in the sector

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Around 39% of all oil and gas sector jobs in the UK are in Scotland.

The Shearwater platform, which Shell calls it’s jewel in the crown of the Central North Sea, produces thousands of barrels a day alongside other platforms.


Soldiers parachuted into power lines during bungled jump

The duo's parachutes got caught in the cables during a night-time training mission over Cupar in Fife last month.

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High-voltage: Two soldiers parachuted into power lines during a training mission.

Two soldiers cheated death when their parachutes got caught in high-voltage power lines during a bungled jump.

The duo collided with the cables during a night-time training mission over Cupar in Fife last month.

Fortunately the pair escaped uninjured, but briefly wiped out the electricity supply to around 480 nearby homes.

ScottishPower said it was alerted to two failures on the network within the space of an hour at around 10pm on August 31, which were “restored within a matter of seconds”.

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The incident happened on the outskirts of the town, around seven miles from the military base at Leuchars.

A spokesperson from the MoD said: “We are aware of an accident in the Cupar area involving military personnel last month.

“No personnel were injured. As an investigation is ongoing it would be inappropriate to offer additional comment.”


MPs back controversial UK Internal Market Bill at Westminster

MPs voted 340 to 256 in favour of the Brexit legislation, which enables the UK to break international law.

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UK Internal Market Bill cleared the House of Commons on Tuesday night.

Boris Johnson’s controversial Brexit legislation, enabling the UK to break international law, has cleared the House of Commons.

MPs voted 340 to 256, majority 84, in favour of the United Kingdom Internal Market Bill at third reading, despite warnings that the “law-breaking” legislation threatens the Union and the country’s global reputation.

Ministers have defended powers contained in the legislation, which gives them the opportunity to override the Brexit divorce deal.

They argue such powers are needed to protect the relationship between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, amid concerns in Westminster that Brussels could seek to disrupt food goods travelling from Britain to Northern Ireland as part of trade talks.

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The Government was forced to compromise earlier in the Bill’s passage in the face of a Tory backbench rebellion, which resulted in changes to give MPs a vote before ministers can use the powers which would breach the Withdrawal Agreement brokered with Brussels last year.

The Bill also contains powers which enable Westminster to provide financial assistance for economic development, infrastructure, cultural activities and education purposes across the country.

Opposition MPs have warned it will give the UK Government the chance to stray into matters which are devolved in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, branding it an “attack” on devolution.

Speaking at third reading, Business Secretary Alok Sharma told MPs: “Our approach will give businesses the regulatory clarity and certainty they want.

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“It will ensure the cost of doing business in the UK stays as low as possible, and it’ll do so without damaging and costly regulatory barriers emerging between the different parts of the United Kingdom.”

Mr Sharma accused SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford of wanting to be “shackled to the European Union forever”, to which Mr Blackford replied: “You’re talking nonsense.”

Addressing the controversial elements of the Internal Market Bill which enable the UK to override the Withdrawal Agreement, Mr Sharma said: “The reason we have taken powers to ensure that in the event we do not reach an agreement with our EU friends on how to implement the (Northern Ireland Protocol) is so we’re able to deliver on our promises in our manifesto and the command paper.

“This is a legal safety net that clarifies our position on the Northern Ireland Protocol for protecting our union, businesses and jobs.”

Shadow business secretary Ed Miliband said Labour supported the principle of the internal market, but opposed the “law-breaking” Bill.

He told the Commons: “On devolution, we on this side believe deeply in our Union but the strength of our Union relies on sharing power not centralising it, and this Bill does not learn that lesson.

“It makes the choice to impose the rule that the lowest regulatory standard in one Parliament must be the standard for all without a proper voice for the devolved administrations.”

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Mr Miliband said he fears the Bill will “strengthen the hand of those who want to break up the UK”.

He also said: “On international law, nobody should be in any doubt the damage already done by this Bill.

“This law-breaking Bill has been noticed around the world.”

Mr Miliband highlighted reservations from US president Donald Trump’s Northern Ireland envoy, Mick Mulvaney, adding: “When the Trump administration starts expressing concern about your adherence to international agreements and the rule of law, you know you are in trouble.

“That is how bad this Bill is.”

Earlier in the debate, SNP MP Mhairi Black (Paisley and Renfrewshire South) also said: “This Bill explicitly gives any minister of the Crown permission to run riot with the very assets of Scotland that our Scottish Parliament has protected.”

Independence, she said, “is the only option left for Scotland”, adding: “This is a union that England dominates. The only reason there isn’t an English Parliament is because the people in Westminster view this place as the English Parliament, and we can’t afford to be naive. The only way to protect our Parliament is to become independent.”

She added: “It took us 300 years to get our Scottish Parliament and 20 years for this place to put a bulldozer right through it.”

The Bill will undergo further scrutiny in the Lords at a later date.

Campaign launched to support Subway as funding ends

Funding package shared between the Glasgow Subway and Edinburgh’s tram network set to expire.

Glasgow Subway has seen a huge drop in passengers during pandemic.

The Scottish Greens have launched a campaign to protect Glasgow’s Subway system as emergency funding comes to an end.

In July, the Scottish Government announced a £9 million funding package to be shared between the Subway and Edinburgh’s tram network.

However, funding was only due to last until the end of September and will expire after Wednesday.

The Greens have now launched a campaign to protect the Subway, which the party say lost £4.5 million between April and June due to the coronavirus lockdown imposed in March.

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By March 30, the system had already seen a 97% drop in passengers, according to some reports.

Greens co-leader and Glasgow MSP Patrick Harvie said: “The fact that Glasgow’s iconic and vital Subway faces an uncertain future is a serious dereliction of duty by the Transport Secretary Michael Matheson.

“The ‘clockwork orange’ is such an important part of life in Glasgow, where over half of residents don’t own a car. Public transport needs to be the priority, not an afterthought.

“Cutting services at any time would be wrong but forcing more people onto fewer trains in the middle of a pandemic would also be unacceptable on public health grounds.”

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The news comes as emergency measures to support Scotrail and the Caledonian Sleeper were announced earlier this month in the form of emergency measures agreements, which will last until January.

Mr Harvie added: “We’ve seen support for private train operators extended until January.

“Instead of only bailing out the private sector, it’s time for the Scottish Government to value the public sector in order to build a fairer and greener recovery.”

Assistant chief executive of SPT – the body which runs the subway network – Valerie Davidson said that no extra funding would result in cuts to other services.

She said: “SPT provided and continues to do so, key transport links during the pandemic when other operators were reducing services.

“It was reported to our partnership meeting on September 18 that discussions continued with Transport Scotland to secure financial assistance in line with other transport operators.

“At the time of writing, no formal response to this request has been received and without additional financial support, it will be necessary to reduce other expenditure, including tendered bus services costs, to lessen the anticipated deficit arising from the reduction in patronage levels and income.

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“The SPT Chair, councillor Dr Martin Bartos, at the request of all partnership members, is raising this directly with the Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Michael Matheson.”

Government urged to help struggling Scottish football clubs

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard calls for aid fund to help clubs deal with the loss of ticket income during pandemic.

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Scottish football matches are currently being played behind closed doors.

The Scottish Government is being urged to set up a new football aid fund to help struggling clubs deal with the loss of ticket income during the coronavirus pandemic.

With matches in the Scottish Premiership being played behind closed doors, and with the lower leagues not having returned yet, Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard demanded action.

He said the lack of fans in games was a “devastating blow” to clubs’ incomes – warning some could even go bust as a result.

To tackle this he said a “generous system of grants” should be in place, calling on ministers to set up a Scottish football aid fund “without delay”.

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Non-league, semi-professional and community clubs should be prioritised for funding, but Labour believes professional clubs could be eligible for assistance – particularly to help with community outreach projects.

Mr Leonard said: “The absence of crowds is a devastating blow to the incomes and even survival hopes of many clubs, the length and breadth of Scotland.

“Losing the all-important ticket money, matchday programme sales and income from pre-match and half-time refreshments will continue to bite in the weeks and months ahead.

“There’s a particularly grave danger for smaller clubs, which are reliant on these vital matchday income streams from crowds of supporters for their very survival.”

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Mr Leonard warned community work done by clubs across Scotland could be put in jeopardy without support.

He said: “Not only are many of these clubs historically the lifeblood of Scottish football in terms of producing some of the nation’s greatest ever players, they are also a vital part of the social fabric of our communities.

“Our football clubs play a leading role in running food banks for those in need, promoting the game in deprived communities, as well as countless charity work.

“Yet, much of this vital work could be in peril due to the Covid pandemic.”

The Scottish Labour leader added: “No-one wants to see football clubs go bust, but that is exactly the danger facing our beautiful game unless a generous system of grants is put in place.

“There should also be fans representation on the boards of clubs to help deliver this.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We recognise this has been an enormously challenging time for football and we appreciate the support of supporters, clubs and football authorities over the past months to help us tackle the virus.

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“Minister for Sport Joe FitzPatrick has written to his UK counterpart Nigel Huddlestone seeking an urgent meeting to discuss financial recovery support for sport, and the Scottish Government will continue to work closely with the governing bodies of Scottish football to ensure its long-term sustainability.

“This sport has a significant economic impact, but importantly also brings enjoyment to the many people who watch and play, and we don’t want supporters to be delayed in returning to stadiums for any longer than is absolutely necessary.

“However, as the First Minister has said, the virus has not gone away and we all need to keep working to protect the NHS and public services, and help keep people safe.

“If cases continue to rise, be in no doubt, there will be further deaths due to Covid-19.”

Engineering job cuts a ‘hammer blow’ for East Ayrshire

German-owned firm Mahle says it will make 45 workers redundant at the plant it operates in Kilmarnock.

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Mahle plans to cut 45 jobs in Kilmarnock.

A trade union says the move by a German engineering firm to cut jobs at its plant in East Ayrshire is a “hammer blow” for the area.

Mahle, which makes engine components, says it will make 45 workers redundant at the plant it operates in Kilmarnock, as part of a wider global restructuring.

The company announced in mid-September that it was planning to reduce its workforce by 7600 people in response to the industry collapse caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Job losses are expected to begin by the end of October with the remainder in the New Year, officials said.

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Europe accounts for around 3,700 of the job losses, of which 2,000 are in Germany, with the rest across Europe.

Unite regional industrial officer Paul Bennett said: “The announcement by Mahle Engine Systems that around a quarter of the jobs are to go at its Kilmarnock plant is a hammer blow.

“Unite has been in ongoing talks with Mahle to prevent compulsory redundancies after the parent company said that it was cutting around 3,700 jobs in Europe.

“We continue to do everything possible to stop the 42 job cuts in Kilmarnock and Unite is calling on government at all levels to support us in this fight.

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“Thousands of highly-skilled Scottish manufacturing jobs and those supported in the supply-chain are on the brink of being lost forever.”

Mahle has cited a weakening of the global demand in passenger car and truck sales, with vehicle markets not expected to recover for some years, as the primary cause for the massive job cuts.

On September 18, Unite Scotland and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wrote to Boris Johnson, calling for urgent intervention by the UK Government, to preserve the aerospace jobs.

They called for the immediate establishment of a UK aerospace taskforce in order that government, business and trade unions collectively work together to support businesses, workers and communities.

A spokesperson for Mahle said: “We confirm that Mahle has identified an overcapacity of around 45 jobs for the Kilmarnock site.

“The exact timing forms part of our discussions with the relevant employee representatives, which are now commencing.

“The identified adjustment needs are based on the structural and strategic requirements Mahle is addressing as part of the restructuring process of the Group, particularly in the context of the technological transformation of the automotive industry, and of our forecasts for the market developments in the coming years.

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“With this in mind, we have performed a very thorough review of all our regions, business areas, and locations in recent months.”

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