Sturgeon: It’s hard not to conclude Trump is racist

The FM was asked in a radio interview about the US president's handling of George Floyd's death.

Nicola Sturgeon has said “sometimes it’s hard not to conclude” Donald Trump is racist after being asked about his handling of George Floyd’s death.

Mr Floyd died after a white officer held him down by pressing a knee into his neck in Minneapolis on May 25, sparking days of protest in the US and around the world.

The US president has faced fierce criticism over his response, pressing state governors to take a more forceful approach against protesters.

In a special interview airing across the Hits Radio Network on Friday morning, the First Minister was asked if Mr Trump was a racist.

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She responded: “I think sometimes it’s hard to not conclude that, and what I always say when I’m asked questions that that is I can’t see inside his head.

“I’ve been asked that question before about comments Boris Johnson made about Muslims and ‘do I think he’s a racist’.

“It’s not an unwillingness to confront the issue, it’s I don’t know what goes on inside Donald Trump’s head – maybe that’s a good thing.

“But I do know that the language you use and how you express yourself matters and if you don’t want to be accused of racism then don’t use racist language.”

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Sturgeon continued: “Don’t sound as if you are equating people who protest against racism with people who take to the streets in order to try to perpetrate racist values and attitudes.

“We’ve all got to take a responsibility for that.

“I think at moments like this, whether it’s America or any other country, you need a leader – difficult though it is and none of us are perfect in any of these situations – that tries to bring people together and heal divides and address underlying issues and not one that seems to want to further polarise and provoke and force people into on two different sides.

“I don’t know, I say this with with no malice or relish. I don’t know whether Donald Trump is capable of that kind of leadership, but if there’s ever a moment for him to prove that he is then surely that moment is now.”

She also said the president was “displaying a lack of leadership, perhaps, a lack of moral leadership” and that he should address the causes of the protests rather than “attacking those who are protesting”.

The First Minister conceded that no country was without racism including Scotland where she highlighted no woman from an ethnic minority has been elected to the Scottish Parliament.

Peaceful protests over Mr Floyd’s death took place across Scotland on Wednesday night, with more action planned over the weekend including a rally in Edinburgh.

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Sturgeon said: “However legitimate I think it is to be critical of Donald Trump’s leadership we should also be looking at ourselves in the mirror because there is no country nor society, and I include Scotland in this, that is immune from racism or doesn’t still have issues of racial injustice and inequality.

“This is a moment where, yes, we want to put pressure on Donald Trump, but we should also be looking within ourselves and what more we need to do.

“I sit as First Minister in a parliament that is still in its 21 years of existence had too few people elected to it from our ethnic minority communities, it’s never had an ethnic minority woman elected to it.

“We have too few people from our minority ethnic community communities employed in the Scottish civil service for example we know that many of our BAME communities suffer, economic and social inequality and injustice so we all have work to do here.”

Swimmer Duncan Scott makes history at Tokyo Olympics

The Scot is the first British athlete to win four medals at a single Olympics.

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Superstars: Luke Greenbank, Duncan Scott, James Guy and Adam Peaty.

Swimmer Duncan Scott is the first British athlete to win four medals at a single Olympics.

While Scott made history, Adam Peaty and James Guy were unable to collect their third golds of Tokyo 2020 after the United States secured top spot in the men’s 4×100m medley relay.

Peaty said the “pain” he feels at settling for silver shows how much progress Great Britain has made in the pool in the last decade.

It took a world record time to beat the 2019 world championship-winning Team GB quartet of Luke Greenbank, Peaty, Guy and Scott as the Americans clocked 3:26.78 seconds at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.

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Britain finished 0.73secs adrift at 3:27:51 in a new European record time as they claimed a record eighth swimming medal – four golds, three silvers and a bronze – beating their previous best haul from the 1908 London Games.

They were unable to win a race at London 2012 while Peaty was their only gold medallist at Rio four years later, so the 26-year-old from Uttoxeter admitted to feeling bittersweet by the result of the final swimming event in Japan.

“I don’t want to take anything away from the American team,” Peaty said.

“They stepped up big time. They knew they had to step up big time. It’s an Olympic silver, people would die for that.

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“We will enjoy it but there is a little bit of pain there. Maybe you need that. Maybe you need that going to Paris (2024).

“Ten years ago we were happy making finals. We aren’t happy making finals any more.

“We are happy doing silver and medalling – that’s the culture that is different now – and that’s part of our success. We are aiming for gold, we are aiming to be the best in the world and dominate the world.

“By the time Paris comes around we are going to develop. A lot of teams are going to look at us. We are always looking for gold and for world records, I’m incredibly proud to be part of this team – it’s history-making.”

Peaty swam the fastest breaststroke split ever in 56.53s to vault Britain from seventh after the backstroke to first by the halfway point, but the vaunted Caeleb Dressel seized the initiative with the best-ever butterfly leg.

Dressel, who bagged his fifth gold of these Games in this race, put in a time of 49.03s to set the stage for Zach Apple to complete the job, with Scott unable to make any inroads in the last freestyle leg.

Dressel, said: “I was telling Adam that I think they bring out the best in us, it’s so fun racing with those guys because you don’t know what you’re going to get. There’s no guaranteed winner.”

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Scott has won gold in the men’s 4x200m freestyle relay and silver in the solo event, as well as finishing runner-up in the 200m individual medley, and it was another second spot on the podium as he made British history on Sunday.

He said: “It’s not really hit me what’s happened. Each race I’ve tried to park when it’s done and look forward to the next one. It was important I didn’t bring in any disappointment or get too excited about what’s happened.

“I think the relay culture in Britain is great. There are great medal opportunities. I’ve got to give a massive credit to my teammates.”

A period of rest and recovery now awaits. Asked how they will unwind, Guy joked “a burger and some chips will do me” while Peaty offered a more sobering reflection at how important time away from the pressures of the sport is.

He said: “You’ve got to celebrate, it’s been hard for everyone. We’re not allowed to touch the water for a month now because it is going to be a war of attrition over the next three years.

“You’re seeing it in all sports now. You’re seeing it with Simone Biles, with Ben Stokes, mental health matters and it is about getting the balance right at that elite level. We love to celebrate, and why shouldn’t we?”

Ben Proud earlier finished fifth in the men’s 50m freestyle final won by Dressel in an Olympic record time of 21.07s, while Daniel Jervis also placed fifth in a 1500m freestyle race where Robert Finke of the USA triumphed in 14:39.65.

Commenting on Scott’s historic win, Mel Young, chair of sportscotland, said: “What a sensational result.

“Duncan Scott is now one of the most decorated British Olympians of all time having won four medals in Tokyo – an unparalleled achievement in modern history. He has made the entire country proud.

“His achievements will take a while to sink in but what is clear is this did not happen overnight.

“Duncan is one of the most dedicated athletes around and has put so much hard work into his training along with his coach, his wider support team and everyone at both Scottish Swimming and British Swimming.

“He deserves all the success and praise he is now rightfully receiving.”


Opposition call for Holyrood statement on drug deaths

Figures released on Friday showed that 1,339 people died from drugs in 2020.

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Holyrood: Opposition parties call for statement.

Scotland’s two main opposition parties have called for an urgent statement on drug deaths in Holyrood.

Figures released on Friday showed that 1,339 people died from drugs in 2020 – a new record high.

The rate was three-and-a-half times higher than the rest of the UK and the highest in Europe, while the statistics also showed the least affluent were 18 times more likely to die from drugs than their more well off counterparts.

Both the Scottish Conservatives and Scottish Labour have called for a ministerial statement on the deaths in parliament.

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The decision to recall parliament, which is currently in recess, is one for Presiding Officer Alison Johnstone, although virtual meetings have been scheduled to update MSPs on Covid-19 restrictions – with one such session due on Tuesday.

Tory health spokeswoman Annie Wells said: “We have called for a ministerial statement because, despite the latest heartbreaking drug statistics, the SNP government have offered no extra support, no new ideas, no new solutions to this crisis.”

The Tories have introduced a Bill at Holyrood aimed at ensuring people struggling with addiction have the right to the treatment they request.

The Tory MSP added: “The SNP are out of touch with the needs of people on the front line of this crisis. People in our communities don’t need more warm words and empty platitudes, they need action.

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“On Tuesday, we hope the government will have the decency to explain why they are stalling on backing our Right to Recovery Bill proposal, which would guarantee everyone who needs addiction treatment can get it.”

Wells also took aim at drugs minister Angela Constance, who attended a vigil set up by a drugs campaign group for those who had lost their lives.

In her speech at the vigil, Constance referenced the Deacon Blue song Dignity and promised to “climb the mountain and turn the tide” of drug deaths, without pledging any specific action, prompting one of the organisers, campaigner Annmarie Ward, to tell her “talk is cheap”.

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar has also called for First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to take “personal responsibility” for the deaths.

He said: “The First Minister, who admits she took her eye off the ball on this crisis, must update the Scottish Parliament on what they are now doing to save lives.

“It is not enough for the Government to express regret at these heartbreaking figures – they must be a call to action.

“Every year we get devastating figures, every year they get worse and every year we hear regret from the Government.

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“We have the same drug laws as the rest of the UK but three-and-a-half times the rate of drugs deaths.

“Apologising or expressing regret just isn’t good enough.

“The First Minister should put all her political energy into solving this crisis – after 15 years in Government it is a test she must pass.

“If she fails to make progress she should make way for someone who will.”


Woman raped in city lane in early morning sex attack

The 29-year-old was attacked in the early hours of Sunday.

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Lane: Woman attacked in Edinburgh.

Police are investigating after a woman was raped in a city lane.

The 29-year-old was attacked in Edinburgh in the early hours of Sunday morning.

She was at the Union Street end of Broughton Street Lane when the serious sexual assault took place.

A full investigation is now under way as police appeal for anyone with any information regarding the incident to contact them.

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A spokesperson for the force said: “We received a report of a serious sexual assault against a 29-year-old woman at the junction of Broughton Street Lane and Union Street, Edinburgh.

“The incident was reported around 8.45am on Sunday, August 1, and is believed to have happened in the early hours of Sunday morning.

“Enquiries are at an early stage and ongoing. Anyone with information should contact Police Scotland on 101.”


UK blames Iran for drone attack that killed Briton in Oman

Dominic Raab said the Government believed the drone attack on the oil tanker off the coast of Oman was 'deliberate and targeted'.

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Westminster: Government blame Iran for fatal drone attack.

The UK has said it is “highly likely” Iran carried out an “unlawful and callous attack” on a ship in the Middle East which left a Briton dead.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the Government believed the drone attack on the oil tanker off the coast of Oman was “deliberate, targeted, and a clear violation of international law by Iran”.

The strike on the tanker, Mercer Street, on Thursday night was the first known fatal attack after years of assaults on commercial shipping in the region linked to tensions with Iran over its tattered nuclear deal.

British maritime security firm Ambrey said the attack, which saw a hole blasted through the vessel’s bridge, killed one of its employees aboard.

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Iran denied responsibility after Israel’s prime minister directly blamed it for the attack, but Raab said the UK Government backed Naftali Bennett’s claim.

“The UK condemns the unlawful and callous attack committed on a merchant vessel off the coast of Oman, which killed a British and a Romanian national,” said the Cabinet minister.

“Our thoughts are with the friends and family of those killed in the incident.

“We believe this attack was deliberate, targeted, and a clear violation of international law by Iran.

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“UK assessments have concluded that it is highly likely that Iran attacked the MV Mercer Street in international waters off Oman on July 29 using one or more unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

“Iran must end such attacks, and vessels must be allowed to navigate freely in accordance with international law.

“The UK is working with our international partners on a concerted response to this unacceptable attack.”

Britain’s stance was supported by the US, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken stating he was “confident that Iran conducted this attack”.

Labour shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy has urged the Prime Minister to “make it clear” to the incoming Iran president – Ebrahim Raisi, a hard-line protege of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei – that the killing of a British national will “carry costs”.

The Mercer Street is managed by London-based Zodiac Maritime, part of Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer’s Zodiac Group.

The Foreign Office said the drone assault followed similar attacks on three other Israeli-linked ships in the region since February.

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Officials said that in the summer of 2019 Iran was also “almost certainly responsible” for attacks on two vessels in the Gulf of Oman.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh, responding to Israel’s accusations, described the allegation that Iran carried out the attack as “baseless”.

The Mercer Street, empty of cargo, had been on its way from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, to Fujairah, United Arab Emirates, at the time of the attack, Zodiac Maritime said.

The attack targeted the tanker just north east of the Omani island of Masirah, 185 miles south east of Oman’s capital Muscat.

The American nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and the guided missile destroyer USS Mitscher were escorting the Mercer Street as it headed to a safe port, the US navy’s Middle East-based 5th Fleet said in a statement on Saturday.

It said navy explosive experts believed a drone attacked the vessel.

The drone attack blasted a hole through the top of the oil tanker’s bridge, where the captain and crew command the vessel, a US official said.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity as an investigation into the attack was still ongoing.

Zodiac Maritime said the Mercer Street’s owners are Japanese, without naming them.

Shipping authority Lloyd’s List identified the vessel’s ultimate owner as Taihei Kaiun, which belongs to Tokyo-based Nippon Yusen Group.


Coronavirus: Three deaths and 1034 new cases reported

A total of 422 people were in hospital on Saturday with recently confirmed Covid-19.

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

A further three deaths and 1034 new cases of coronavirus have been recorded in Scotland overnight, according to official figures.

The daily test positivity rate is 5.4%, up from the 4.9% reported on Saturday.

Of the new cases reported on Sunday, 279 are in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde region, 164 are in Lothian, 159 are in Lanarkshire, and 115 are in Grampian.

The rest of the cases are spread out across nine other health board areas.

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A total of 422 people were in hospital on Saturday with recently confirmed Covid-19, 23 fewer than the day before. Out of those, 62 patients are in intensive care.

The lab-confirmed death toll of those who tested positive within the previous 28 days currently stands at 7942, however figures including suspected Covid-19 deaths recorded by National Records of Scotland suggest the most up-to-date total is now at least 10,324.

It was also confirmed that 4,011,060 Scots have received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, an increase of 1449 from the day before.

A total of 3,197,899 people have received their second dose, a rise of 17,739.


Protesters stage climate camp calling for chemical plant closure

Climate Camp Scotland organised the two-day protest.

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Climate Camp: More than 150 at protest.

More than 150 people have taken part in a protest camp outside a chemical plant in Fife calling for it to be shut down.

Climate Camp Scotland organised the two-day protest at the Mossmorran site near Cowdenbeath over the weekend.

They want the plant to be closed and for a just transition away from fossil fuels to provide green jobs for affected workers.

The protest follows community campaigns against flaring at the plant, which recently reopened following a £140 million upgrade aimed at cutting flaring.

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Bryce Goodall, a campaigner with local pressure group Actions Speak Louder than Words, was among those taking part.

He said: “The Mossmorran Action Weekend has been truly incredible.

“We have united people in our local community, from across Scotland, and internationally in solidarity and support for climate justice.

“This weekend we listened to community concerns and empowered and skilled up our movement ready to mobilise further in achieving a just transition for the workers and communities around Mossmorran and internationally.”

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Mim Black, an activist with Climate Camp Scotland, said: “Protest and dissent is vital to democracy, to challenging power and making the world a better place.

“After over a year in lockdown, the climate crisis has only gotten more drastic. This weekend was an opportunity to regroup and get ready for a huge year of climate action, because those in power seem unable or unwilling to do what is right.”

Operators of the Fife Ethylene Plant (FEP), ExxonMobil, said in a statement: “ExxonMobil believes that climate change risks warrant action and it’s going to take all of us – business, governments and consumers – to make meaningful progress.

“Our focus includes reducing our emissions, helping consumers reduce their emissions, and developing lower-emission energy solutions, including energy efficiency initiatives, biofuels, flare reduction and carbon capture and storage (CCS).”

Their spokesman said the firm is “committed to making our operations much quieter and less visible through significant investment at FEP”, including the recent upgrade.

He added: “The Mossmorran facility is integral to Scotland’s energy supply, meeting the needs of communities nationwide.

“Furthermore, FEP directly supports the manufacturing supply chain for important products such as medical supplies, electric vehicle parts and food packaging.”


Former diplomat hands himself in to police ahead of sentence

A court ruled Craig Murray’s blog posts could have identified the accusers of Alex Salmond.

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Murray: Jailed over contempt of court.

Former British ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray has handed himself in to police in Edinburgh as he is set to begin an eight-month prison sentence.

Murray, who has become a blogger and pro-independence campaigner in recent years, was judged to have been in contempt of court over blogs he wrote during the trial of former first minister Alex Salmond.

The 62-year-old’s offending blog posts contained details which, if pieced together, could lead readers to identify women who made allegations against Salmond, who was acquitted of all 13 charges including sexual assault and attempted rape in March last year.

The former diplomat arrived at St Leonard’s police station in Edinburgh on Sunday morning to hand himself in and was joined by family and supporters.

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Murray drank from what appeared to be a bottle of champagne and thanked the crowd for their attendance, one video on social media showed, before embracing his wife Nadira and five-month-old son Oscar.

At a virtual sentencing in May, Lady Dorrian said Murray knew there were court orders giving the women anonymity and he was “relishing” the potential disclosure of their identities.

Lady Dorrian said Murray deliberately risked what is known as “jigsaw identification”, saying: “It appears from the posts and articles that he was in fact relishing the task he set himself, which was essentially to allow the identities of complainers to be discerned – which he thought was in the public interest – in a way which did not attract sanction.”


Cyclist seriously injured after bike collides with car

The 60-year-old was taken to hospital for treatment.

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Injured: Cyclist struck by car.

A cyclist has been left seriously injured after a crash in Fife.

The incident took place at Preston Roundabout on the A92 when the 60-year-old’s bicycle collided with a car at around 11.55am on Sunday.

Emergency services attended and the injured man was taken to Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy for treatment.

The road was closed for around an hour and a half following the crash and an investigation is now ongoing.

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Police Constable Colin Jeffrey said: “We are appealing for anyone who was driving in the area at the time who may have seen the crash, or may have dash-cam footage, to get in touch with us.

“The area would have been busy at the time of the incident and we want to establish exactly what happened here.”

Anyone with any information should contact Police via 101.


Man dead after being hit by car as A90 closed for ten hours

The fatal collision, involving a Volkswagen Golf, happened near Boddam, Aberdeenshire, at around 12.05am on Saturday.

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Police: Officers are appealing for witnesses to get in touch.

A man has died after being struck by a car on the A90 in Aberdeenshire.

The fatal collision, involving a white Volkswagen Golf, happened near Boddam at around 12.05am on Saturday.

Emergency services attended, however the 31-year-old pedestrian was pronounced dead at the scene. His next of kin have been informed.

A stretch of the A90 was closed in both directions for around ten hours for investigation works.

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Road policing sergeant Craig McNeill said: “Our thoughts are very much with the man’s family at this incredibly difficult time.

“Enquiries are ongoing to establish the full circumstances of the collision.

“I would urge anyone who may have witnessed the crash but has not yet spoken to police to come forward.

“I am particularly keen to speak to anyone who was on the A90 between Peterhead and Longhaven with a dashcam that saw the white VW Golf or male pedestrian prior to the crash as they could help with our investigation.”

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If you have any information, call 101.


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