Sturgeon’s speech in full as new restrictions revealed

The First Minister has announced new measures aimed at preventing a second wave.

Sturgeon: New restrictions for Scots.
Sturgeon: New restrictions for Scots.

Nicola Sturgeon has announced a new raft of restrictions for Scotland in a bid to halt the spread of coronavirus.

Speaking in Holyrood on Tuesday the First Minister revealed new measures including those effecting pub closing times and household gatherings.

It comes as a further 383 confirmed cases of the virus were confirmed.

Here is her speech in full:

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Sturgeon: “Thank you Presiding Officer.

“I want to update the chamber on additional restrictions that the Scottish Government believes are now necessary to get COVID back under control as we enter winter.

“I will also set out why these measures are essential, and the principles and priorities that have guided our decisions.

“First, though, let me provide a summary of today’s statistics.

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“Since yesterday, an additional 383 cases of COVID have been confirmed.

“That represents 7.6% of people newly tested, and takes the total number of cases to 25,009.

“A total of 73 patients are currently in hospital with confirmed COVID, which is the same as yesterday.

“And 10 people are in intensive care which is two more than yesterday.

“I am also sorry to report that in the past 24 hours, one further death has been registered of a patient who had tested positive.

“The total number of deaths in Scotland under that measurement is now 2,506.

“That reminds us of the impact of COVID. These deaths are not just statistics – they are of real people whose loss is a source of heartbreak and my condolences go to everyone who has lost a loved one to this illness.

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“Today’s figures reflect the course the virus has taken in recent weeks.

“In mid-July, we were recording an average of nine new cases every day.

“Around four weeks later, that had risen to an average of 52 a day.

“Three weeks after that, it was 102.

“And as of today the average daily number of cases is 285.

“We have also seen an increase in the percentage of tests coming back positive. In late August, that percentage was consistently below 1%.

“Today it is over 7%.

“The R number is above 1 again, possibly as high as 1.4.

“Now it is worth stressing that this growth in cases – because of the collective sacrifices we all made to drive infection levels down over the summer period – is from a low base.

“It is also, at this stage, far less rapid than it was in March.

“But it is rising, faster than we can be comfortable with and we cannot let it continue unchecked.

“And while in recent weeks, the biggest number of new cases has been in people under the age of 40, we now see an increase amongst the older population too.

“And unsurprisingly, in light of that, hospital and intensive care admissions and also deaths are starting to rise as well. All of this underlines what, for me, is, and always has been, a key point, We cannot and must not be complacent about COVID.

“It kills too many old and vulnerable people. And for younger, healthier people, while the risks of dying from it are much lower – though not non-existent – it can still result in long term, serious health problems.

“That’s why action to bring it back under control is necessary – and to bring the R number down again, the action we take now must go beyond the step we announced almost two weeks ago to restrict indoor and outdoor gatherings to six people from two households.

“Over the weekend and in the course of yesterday the Scottish Government considered a range of options. On Saturday, I had a discussion with other devolved administrations, and I spoke to the Prime Minister yesterday.

“I also took part in this morning’s COBR meeting. I’m pleased to say that at that meeting, all four UK governments committed to suppressing the virus to the lowest possible level and keeping it there.

“Our challenge in the weeks to come is to ensure our actions are commensurate with this objective.

“Following on from the COBR meeting, measures to further control the virus were agreed at the Scottish Government Cabinet.

“I can confirm that we will introduce measures on hospitality similar to those outlined for England by the Prime Minister a short while ago – and thereby align as far as possible with the rest of the U.K.

“However, the advice given to the Cabinet by the Chief Medical Officer and the National Clinical Director is that this on its own will not be sufficient to bring the R number down.

“They stress that we must act, not just quickly and decisively, but also on a scale significant enough to have an impact on the spread of the virus.

“And they advise that we must take account of the fact that household interaction is a key driver of transmission.

“To that end, we intend – as Northern Ireland did yesterday – to also introduce nationwide additional restrictions on household gatherings, similar to those already in place in the West of Scotland.

“I will say more about the detail of these measures shortly and, of course, full details will also be published on the Scottish Government’s website.

“But first let me be clear about the priorities that have guided our decisions.

“And it is essential that we do think in terms of priorities. Faced with a global pandemic of an infectious and dangerous virus, it is not possible to do everything and it is not possible, unfortunately, to live our lives completely normally.

“No country is able to do that just now. So instead we have to decide what matters most to us and make trade-offs elsewhere to make those things possible.

“Of course, the most important priority for all of us is saving lives and protecting health. But there are other priorities too.

“Firstly, we are determined to keep schools open and young people in education. That is vital to the health, wellbeing and future prospects of every young person across our country.

“Second, we must restart as many previously paused NHS services as possible, so that more people can get the non-COVID treatment that they need. Our NHS must be equipped this winter to care for those who have COVID – and it will be.

“But it must be there for people with heart disease, cancer and other illnesses too.

“And, third, we must protect people’s jobs and livelihoods – that means keeping businesses open and trading as normally as is feasible.

To achieve all of that, we must stop the virus from spiralling out of control and we can only do that if we accept restrictions in other aspects of our lives.

“Now the more positive news is that because we did drive COVID down to low levels over the summer, and because we now have Test & Protect in place and functioning well, the restrictions can be more targeted than was the case earlier in the year.

“The measures I am announcing today are tough – I am not going to pretend otherwise – but they do not represent a full scale lockdown of the kind imposed in March.

“Indeed, on the contrary, today’s measures are an attempt to avoid the need for another lockdown.

“I also want to address talk that there has been in recent days about restrictions being needed for six months or more.

“It is certainly the case, that until scientific developments such as a vaccine change the game in the battle against COVID, it will have a continuing impact on our lives.

“But that doesn’t necessarily mean that all of the new restrictions I am announcing today will be in place for six months.

“By acting early and substantially, our hope is that these new measures will be in place for a shorter period than would be the case if we waited longer to act.

“In the first instance, we will review these measures in three weeks – although given the nature of this virus, it is important to be clear that they may be needed for longer than that.

“So let me set out the package of measures that we hope can bring COVID back under control.

“I will focus first on those areas where we intend to reinforce existing guidance and provide better support for compliance.

“Firstly, everyone who can work from home, should work from home.  

“That has, of course, been the Scottish Government advice throughout, but we are reinforcing and underlining it today.

“To employers, if you have encouraged workers back to the office who could be working from home, please rethink that now.

“We know not everyone wants to work from home – and we know it has an impact on our town and city centres – but with the virus on the rise again, home working limits the numbers of people on public transport and limits the numbers of people gathering together for lengthy prolonged periods indoors. That is why it is so important.

“Now we want employers to comply with this advice voluntarily as indeed the vast majority do. But we want to be clear today that if necessary we will put a legal duty on businesses to allow home working where possible.

“Second, we intend in the coming days, through media and social media, to reinforce the central importance of the FACTS advice – face coverings, avoiding crowded places, cleaning hands and hard surfaces, keeping two metres distance and self-isolating and booking a test if you have symptoms.

“At the start of the pandemic, compliance with basic hygiene measures  was very strong.

“That really does make a difference – we know that – and it is just as important now, perhaps even more so, as it was back then.

“So I am asking everyone today to make a conscious and renewed effort to comply with all of this advice.

“And third – and related to that last point – we will introduce a package of support for people who are asked to self-isolate.

“Self-isolation of people with symptoms awaiting a test, people who test positive and household and other close contacts of such people is  absolutely essential to helping break the chains of transmission.

“But we know self-isolation is hard. It asks a lot of people and, for some, the financial implications make it even more difficult, perhaps even impossible.

“So we intend, firstly, to raise awareness of the importance of self-isolation and what it entails. I believe that ensuring people fully understand why we are asking them to do difficult things and exactly what it is they need to do is the first crucial step to ensuring compliance.

“Next, we are working with local authorities to ensure that when someone is asked by Test & Protect to self-isolate, they will be contacted proactively and offered essential practical support – for example help with delivery of food and other essentials.

“And, most importantly, we will introduce financial support of £500 for those on low incomes. More detail of this scheme will be published shortly.

“As I said yesterday, we will keep issues of enforcement for non-compliance with self-isolation under review.

“However, our judgment at this stage – particularly given the spirit of solidarity that is so essential in this fight against COVID – is that supporting people to do the right thing is much more effective than threatening harsh punishment if they can’t.

“Presiding Officer,

“Let me turn now to the new restrictions that we consider are necessary to bring the virus back under control.

“First, as I indicated earlier, we will introduce a strict nationwide curfew for pubs, bars and restaurants. From Friday, pubs, bars and restaurants will be required to close at 10pm.

“Now, people sometimes ask me why we don’t just close pubs again altogether – and I understand that sentiment.

“The answer – to be frank – is that we are seeking to find a balance between action to suppress the virus and the protection of people’s jobs and livelihoods.

“If the Scottish Government had greater powers to borrow money, or the ability to extend the Job Retention Scheme, for example, it is possible that we could reach a different balance of judgment on some of these issues.

“But we don’t. So this decision today means that we can reduce the amount of time people are able to spend in licensed premises, thereby curtailing the spread of the virus, while still allowing businesses to trade and provide jobs.

“This is the best balance we can strike for now. But I want to be clear with the hospitality trade about this.

“Notwithstanding the economic implications, further restrictions, including possible closure, will be unavoidable – locally or nationally – if the rules within pubs and restaurants on hygiene, face coverings, table service, maximum numbers in groups, and the distance between them are not fully complied with.

“I want to thank those businesses, I believe the majority, that are making huge efforts to ensure compliance.

“However, to ensure that this is the case for all, we will be providing resources for additional Environmental Health Officers and asking local authorities to significantly step up inspection and enforcement.

“Let me turn now to the most difficult part of today’s announcement – further restrictions on household gatherings.

“We know from the data available to us through Test & Protect that a high proportion of new cases come from social interactions between different households in our homes.

“We also know from Test & Protect – and perhaps more so from our own experiences – that it is much more difficult to maintain physical distance – and have, for example, good ventilation – inside our own homes.

“We also know that when the virus infects one person in a household it is highly likely to affect others in the same household. It will also infect people visiting that household, who will in turn take it back to their households.

“Therefore, difficult though this is, any serious effort to reduce the R number below 1, which must be our objective, must take account of this key driver of transmission and it must seek to break that driver of transmission.

“So after careful consideration, we have decided that from tomorrow, to be reviewed every three weeks, and with exceptions that I will come on to, visiting other households will not be permitted.

“To be clear, this extends the restriction that has been in place across the West of Scotland for the past three weeks to all of Scotland. Regulations giving effect to this change will come into force on Friday, but I am asking people to comply from tomorrow.

“One of the reasons we have decided to do this is that our early data suggests this restriction is starting to slow the increase of cases in the West of Scotland.

“So if we take the difficult decision to extend it nationwide now, in an early and preventative way, we hope it will help to bring the R number down and the virus back under control.

“There will be exceptions for those living alone, or alone with children, who form extended households; for couples in non-cohabiting relationships; for the provision of informal childcare by, for example, grandparents; and for tradespeople.

“But for everyone else visiting each other’s houses will, for now, not be permitted.

“These new restrictions apply to people’s homes – in other words, to private indoor spaces.

“Rules for meeting other people in public indoor spaces that are subject to strict regulation and guidance, remain the same – you can meet with one other household only and in groups of no more than six people.

“As I said earlier, we will be working with local authorities to strengthen inspection and enforcement in indoor public places and enforcement action, including closure if necessary, will be taken against shops, pubs, restaurants or other premises that do not ensure compliance.

“You can also continue to meet with one other household in groups of up to six people outdoors, including in private gardens.

“Outdoors, though, we intend to exempt children under 12 – both from the limit of six and the limit of two households. There will be no limits on the ability of children under 12 to play together outdoors.

“And young people aged 12 to 18 will be exempt from the two household limit – they will be able to meet together outdoors in groups of up to six, though we will need to monitor this carefully and let me stress that this is outdoors only.

“And let me say to teenagers in particular – I know how miserable this is for you and I am so grateful for your patience. We are trying to give you as much flexibility as we can at this vitally important time of your lives. In return, please work with us and do your best to stick to the rules, for everyone’s sake.

“Presiding Officer,

“The last new restriction I want to cover today relates to travelling by car. It may seem minor but it is important.

“We know, again from Test & Protect data, that sharing car journeys presents a significant risk of transmission.

“We are therefore advising against car sharing with people outside your own household.

“Finally, I think it’s important that I indicate today, in light of the current situation, that the route map changes with an indicative date of 5 October are unlikely now to go ahead on that timescale.

“Presiding Officer

“I also want to touch briefly today on an issue that has been the subject of media speculation in recent days – namely the possibility of a so called circuit breaker, timed to coincide with the October school break, and during which people would be given much more comprehensive advice to stay at home.

“The Scottish Government has not made any decision at this stage to implement such a policy – however, we are actively keeping it under review.

“What I would say to people now is this. Please think of the October break as an opportunity to further limit social interaction, particularly indoors.

“And, given that this is a global pandemic, please do not book travel overseas for the October break if it is not essential.

“Finally, I want to say a few words to people who were shielding earlier in the year. I know you will all be feeling particularly anxious.

“However the best way to keep you safe is by reducing the spread of the virus in our communities – which is what today’s measures are all about.

“The steps I have outlined today will help keep you safe, so please follow the guidance for the general population with great care.

“And if you haven’t signed up for our text alert service, please do so.

“Fundamentally, I want to assure you that your safety is uppermost in our minds.

“But we do not believe that asking you to return to shielding is the best way to secure it, given the impact it would have on your mental and physical health. In our view, all of us acting together collectively to reduce the spread of the virus is a better way to keep you safe.

“Presiding Officer,

“These are the changes we are making now. I can’t and will not rule out the need to make more – nationally or locally – in the weeks to come.

“Suppressing the virus and getting R below 1 again is essential and we will act in a way that can achieve that.

“Indeed, we intend to publish soon an overall strategic approach to escalation in areas with particularly high rates of  transmission.

“However, I am acutely aware that the restrictions I have announced today will not be welcome.

“But it is our judgment they are absolutely essential.

“Inevitably, some will think they go too far and others will think they don’t go far enough.

“But we have tried to get the balance as right as possible – and to act urgently and in a substantial and preventative way now to try to get the situation under control quickly.

“We judge that this will give us the best chance of avoiding tougher or longer lasting measures later.

“But I know that doesn’t make this any easier.

“Many people, me included, will find not being able to have family and friends in our own homes really difficult – especially as the weather gets colder.

“But today’s measures – although tough – are not a lockdown. They are carefully targeted at key sources of transmission. And we believe they can make a significant difference, while keeping our schools, public services and as many businesses as possible open.

“However the success of these measures depends on all of us.

“The decisions that we all make as individuals in the weeks ahead, will determine whether they work, and how quickly they can be lifted.

“That fact isn’t just a reminder of the responsibilities we all owe to each other – it is also a reminder that we are not powerless against this virus.

“None of us can guarantee that we won’t get it, or pass it on. But we can all make choices that significantly reduce our own risk, and help keep our communities safer.

“So please, make those choices. Stick with this.

“Please don’t meet people in their homes or your home – because that is where the virus often spreads.

“Limit how often you meet up with people in public places – and abide by the rules in force there.

“Work from home if you can.

“Follow the advice on self-isolation if you have symptoms, test positive, or are a contact of someone with the virus.

“Download the Protect Scotland app.

“And when you do meet other people, remember FACTS at all times.

“Face coverings

“Avoid crowded places.

“Clean your hands and surfaces.

“Keep a two metre distance from other households.

“And self-isolate and book a test if you have symptoms.

“Keeping to all these rules isn’t easy – but they remain the best way for all of us to protect ourselves, each other, the NHS and ultimately save lives.

“Presiding Officer,

“All of this is incredibly tough – and six months on, it only gets tougher.

“But we should never forget that humanity has come through even bigger challenges than this one – and it did so without the benefits of modern technology that allow us to stay connected while physically apart.

“And though it doesn’t feel like this now, this pandemic will pass.

“It won’t last forever and one day, hopefully soon, we will be looking back on it, not living through it.

“So though we are all struggling with this – and believe me, we are all struggling – let’s pull together.

“Let’s keep going, try to keep smiling, keep hoping and keep looking out for each other. Be strong, be kind and let’s continue to act out of love and solidarity.

“I will never be able to thank all of you enough for the sacrifices you have made so far. And I am sorry to have to ask for more.

“But if we stick with it – and if we stick together – I do know we will get through this.”


Legendary Scots actor Sir Sean Connery dies aged 90

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

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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.”

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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.”

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.


Sturgeon calls for clarity over furlough extension

The scheme has been extended for a month as England enters a four-week lockdown.

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Coronavirus: Calls for clarity over furlough scheme.

The First Minister has called for clarity surrounding the furlough scheme, as the UK Government extended it for a month.

The payment of 80% of workers’ wages has been restored until December after a four-week lockdown, from November 5 until December 2, was announced south of the border.

However, Nicola Sturgeon wants to know whether the UK-wide extension is available to devolved administrations for November only or on a more flexible basis.

Additionally, she will be looking to clarify whether it is only accessible to Scotland if the country has a full lockdown at the same time as England.

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In Scotland, a new five-tier system of restrictions will come into effect on Monday.

Sturgeon said expects to have further discussions with the UK Government about additional support in the coming days.

Responding to Boris Johnson’s announcement, she said: “We will carefully consider the impact of today’s announcement in England – however, we will continue to take decisions that reflect circumstances in Scotland.

“We expect to have further discussion in the coming days about the scope of additional financial support being made available.

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“A crucial point for us is whether support on the scale announced for English businesses is available for Scottish businesses now or if we needed to impose further restrictions later — or if it is only available if Scotland has a full lockdown at the same time as a lockdown in England.

“However, notwithstanding the above, today’s developments should be a reminder to people across Scotland of the need to follow the rules and not to put their own twist on them.

“It is important we all comply with the rules in our area if we are to successfully suppress the virus, protect the NHS and keep as many businesses and services open.

“People across Scotland have faced significant restrictions since late September as we work to stop the increase in Covid cases across the country. Prevalence of the virus is currently lower in Scotland than in other parts of the UK and there are some signs that those earlier restrictions may be starting to slow the rate of increase.”

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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‘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.

Clive Brunskill via Getty Images
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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Former Hearts and Rangers defender Marius Zaliukas dies aged 36

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

Alan Harvey via SNS Group
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.

Vicki Smith via Getty Images
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.

Craig Williamson via SNS Group
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.


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