Sturgeon due to give update on easing of restrictions

Nicola Sturgeon will give an update on the easing of coronavirus restrictions on Tuesday.

Restrictions: Nicola Sturgeon to give update on restrictions easing. Pool/Pool via Getty Images
Restrictions: Nicola Sturgeon to give update on restrictions easing.

The First Minister is due to give an update on the easing of restrictions in Scotland on Tuesday.

The Scottish Government had indicated it hoped to move all areas to the lowest level of restrictions – level zero – on June 28.

But a rise in case rates and hospital numbers, driven by the spread of the Delta variant of coronavirus that originated in India, may mean this is delayed.

Shetland, Orkney, the Western Isles and some of the smaller islands have been in level zero since June 5.

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The rest of Scotland is currently in either level one or two.

In level zero, up to eight people from four households can meet indoors, while up to ten people from four households can meet in an indoor public place like a cafe or restaurant.

Up to 200 people can also attend weddings and funerals.

Here is an overview of the latest coronavirus data likely to be used by the Scottish Government to inform its decision about easing restrictions.

Infection levels

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The proportion of people testing positive for coronavirus in Scotland has increased slightly in recent weeks.

Around one in 540 people in private households in Scotland had Covid-19 in the week to June 5 – up from one in 680 in the previous week, according to estimates published on Friday by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

It is the highest level since the week to April 10.

These figures are still very low compared with the peak of the second wave in January; the latest estimate of one in 540 people is the equivalent of 0.2% of the population, or 9,700 people: well below the 1.1%, or 55,700 people, estimated at the start of the year.

The ONS also describes the trend in Scotland as “uncertain”, and there is not yet enough evidence to describe the recent rise as part of a steady, long-term increase in infections.

Case rates

A total of 6211 new cases of coronavirus were recorded in Scotland in the seven days to June 10, according to Public Health Scotland.

This is the equivalent of 113.7 cases per 100,000 people – up from 88.4 one week earlier and the highest since February 7.

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Scotland also has the highest rate among the four nations of the UK.

Of the 32 local authority areas in Scotland, Dundee currently has the highest rate: 288.6, up week-on-week from 162.7

South Ayrshire has the second highest rate (227.3, up from 172.3), followed by Clackmannanshire (209.5, up from 151.3).

In all, 17 of the 32 local areas are now recording rates above 100 cases per 100,000 people.

And 23 of the 32 are currently recording a week-on-week increase.

Hospital cases

The number of Covid-19 hospital admissions and patients is increasing.

Some 158 patients with confirmed Covid-19 were admitted to hospitals in Scotland in the week ending June 8 – up from 137 in the previous week, and the highest since the week ending March 30.

A total of 128 people with recently confirmed Covid-19 were reported to be in hospital on June 14, up from 122 a week earlier.

The seven-day average for the number of patients in hospital currently stands at 127.

This is the highest since April 16.

Hospital activity remains well below the level seen at the height of the second wave, however.

Admissions peaked at 1391 in the week ending January 12, while the number of patients peaked at 2053 on January 22.

Variants

The Delta variant of Covid-19, which originated in India, is now the dominant form of coronavirus in Scotland, according to new findings from the University of Edinburgh’s Usher Institute.

Researchers analysed data from 5.4 million people for the period April 1 to June 6 and recorded 19,543 community cases and 377 admissions to hospital where a specific variant of Covid-19 was confirmed.

Of these totals, 7723 cases and 134 hospital admissions were found to have the Delta variant, which is believed to be about 60% more transmissible than the previously dominant Alpha variant that was first identified in Kent in England at the end of last year.

While vaccines were found to reduce the risk of being admitted to hospital, strong protective effects against the Delta variant were not seen until at least 28 days after the first vaccine dose.

In community cases at least two weeks after the second dose, the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was found to provide 79% protection against infection from the Delta variant, compared with 92% against the Alpha variant.

The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine offered 60% protection against infection with the Delta variant, compared with 73% for the Alpha variant.

Professor Aziz Sheikh, director of the Usher Institute and EAVE II study lead, said the Delta variant is “unfortunately associated with increased risk of hospitalisation from Covid-19.”

“Whilst possibly not as effective as against other variants, two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines still offer substantial protection against the risk of infection and hospitalisation.

“It is therefore really important that, when offered second doses, people take these up, both to protect themselves, and to reduce household and community transmission.”

Vaccinations

Some 3.5 million first doses of Covid-19 vaccine have now been delivered in Scotland – the equivalent of 79.3% of the adult population.

A further 2.4 million second doses have also been given, meaning 55.2% of people aged 18 and over are likely to be fully vaccinated.

Vaccine take-up varies among different age groups, however.

The latest available breakdown from Public Health Scotland, showing vaccinations up to June 13, shows 94.6% of people aged 80 and over have had both doses of vaccine – suggesting 5.4%, or around one in 20, are not yet fully vaccinated.

Some 98.6% of 75 to 79-year-olds are estimated to be fully vaccinated, along with 99.6% of people aged 70 to 74, 96.9% of people aged 65 to 69 and 95.9% of those aged 60 to 64.

But so far only 83.1% of 55 to 59-year-olds have had both doses, as well as 66.2% of 50 to 54-year-olds.

All people in Scotland over the age of 40 are now being urged to have their second Covid-19 jab as soon as possible, with the Scottish Government saying anyone in that age group who has a scheduled appointment more than eight weeks after their first dose should seek an earlier slot.

Just 31.8% of people aged 40 to 49 are currently estimated to be fully vaccinated.


No return of Covid restrictions as NHS ‘faces more pressure than ever’

The First Minister was giving an update on the state of the pandemic in Scotland in Holyrood on Tuesday afternoon.

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There will be no immediate return of Covid restrictions despite health care being under more pressure than ever, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

The First Minister was giving an update on the state of the pandemic in Scotland in Holyrood on Tuesday afternoon.

She said that the health and social care sector was “arguably under more pressure now than at any stage of the pandemic” with NHS boards across the country in high alert.

NHS Lanarkshire has confirmed it is at the highest risk level (black) due to “critical occupancy levels”.

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The health board along with NHS Borders and NHS Grampian has called in the British Military to ease pressure on services.

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Nicola Sturgeon at Holyrood on Tuesday.

Sturgeon said that the Cabinet had agreed not to make any changes to current coronavirus mitigations but that the situation “remains fragile”.

She warned that pressures on the NHS and social care were likely to increase in the coming months.

The prospect of healthcare workers facing another winter under a state of emergency is “exceptionally frightening”, representatives said this month.

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Sturgeon said: “Across the country, hospitals are at, or close to, capacity.

“The social care system is also under pressure and reporting an increase in the number of people requiring care packages.

“These pressures are, of course, likely to intensify during the winter.”

The First Minister announced an investment of £482m in the NHS and care sector.

More than £120m of the funding will go towards bolstering Test and Protect with another £130m supporting the vaccination programme – 87% of all those over-18 fully vaccinated in Scotland.

On Sunday, October 31, the UN climate summit officially begins with 30,000 delegates expected to visit Glasgow along with thousands more protestors and activists.

Professor Devi Sridhar, who sits on the Scottish Government’s Covid-19 advisory group, said coronavirus restrictions may have to be reimposed in the aftermath of the climate conference.

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Prof Sridhar’s comments echoed those of another Scottish Government adviser, Professor Linda Bauld, who said last week that holding the large-scale event was “risky”.

But health secretary Humza Yousaf previously said he believed the government could take the necessary steps to counter a potential spike caused by COP26.


Tributes paid to former Rangers and Scotland manager Walter Smith

Figures from across the football world and beyond have expressed their sadness.

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Tributes have been paid to Scottish managerial great Walter Smith, who has died at the age of 73.

Smith, who won 21 domestic trophies as Rangers manager, and also had time in charge of Scotland and Everton, was one of the nation’s most successful managers, and figures from across sport and beyond expressed their sadness at his passing.

Ally McCoist, who played under Smith before working as a coach alongside him at Ibrox and with the Scotland national team, said he had lost “a second father”.

He told talkSPORT: “He means everything to a lot of folk. He was my boss, my coach, my second father and then turned into one of my best friends.

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“The loss is absolutely incredible.

“The good thing is he’s not in pain. I went to see Walter recently, I spoke to him at the weekend and we knew that it would be a matter of time. But it still does not take away the pain and the grief.

“I could sit here and tell you about Walter Smith until the cows come home, but what I will say he was the best husband, father, friend, everything you want from a man.

“I can’t tell you how devastated I am.”

Craig Williamson via SNS Group
Glasgow: Tributes outside Ibrox Stadium.
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Rangers chairman Douglas Park said the club had lost a major figure.

He said: “It is almost impossible to encapsulate what Walter meant to every one of us at Rangers. He embodied everything that a Ranger should be. His character and leadership was second to none, and will live long in the memory of everyone he worked with during his two terms as first team manager.

“I spoke with Walter as recently as last weekend. Even when he was battling illness, he was still able to provide advice and support. For that, I am personally grateful. I know that he continued also to maintain dialogue with senior members of staff, including our manager, Steven Gerrard.

“Walter will be sorely missed by all of us at Rangers.”

Political figures also paid tribute to Smith.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted:  “Very sad to hear of the death of former Rangers and Scotland manager, Walter Smith – he was a true football great.

“My condolences to his family, friends and colleagues across the world of football.”

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Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar posted a tribute to Smith on Twitter, which read: “So sorry to hear of the death of Walter Smith – a true football legend.

“He was a huge figure, especially in Glasgow, when I was growing up.

“He was loved by many and respected by all. My thoughts are with his wife, family and friends at this sad time.” 

Scotland captain Andy Robertson tweeted that it was “heartbreaking to lose another great of Scottish football”, adding: “A man of wisdom, dignity and integrity whose legacy will live on. May he rest in peace.”

Scottish Professional Football League chief executive Neil Doncaster and chairman Murdoch MacLennan paid tribute to a man who won ten league titles in his time at Rangers.

Doncaster said: “This is terrible news for Walter’s family and friends, and also for everyone associated with Scottish football.

“Walter was a true giant of the game with an unparalleled reputation for integrity and character.

“It was a great privilege to have met with him many times in the Blue Room at Ibrox and at grounds the length and breadth of the country during his long and illustrious career with Rangers.

“It was therefore no surprise to find, during his time on the Rangers board, that his contributions to our various discussions were hugely insightful, cogent and grounded in common sense for the betterment of the wider game.

“He will be sadly, sadly missed. but his achievements across the decades – from his time with Dundee United, Scotland, and, of course, Rangers serve as a fitting legacy for one of the true giants of our game.”

MacLennan said: “Walter Smith represented all that was good about our game.

“He was universally admired and respected, and with very good reason.

“His career ranks among the greatest ever in Scottish football’s long and illustrious history. Of course, Rangers fans hold him in the utmost regard for his long and proud association with their club, but Scottish football in its widest sense owes Walter an enormous debt of gratitude.”

UEFA and FIFA also sent their thoughts and prayers to Smith’s loved ones. Along with a crying face and a broken heart emoji, UEFA tweeted: “We are very sad to hear of the passing of Walter Smith.

“Our thoughts are with all his friends and family.”

While FIFA posted: “Very sad news from Scotland. Our thoughts and prayers are with Walter Smith’s loved ones.”

Former Scotland and Rangers manager Alex McLeish said he was devastated by the news, and added: ” My thoughts are with Walter’s wife Ethel, his sons Neil and Steven and the whole family.

“Walter was a great mentor to me in my coaching career and someone I learned a great deal from, but more importantly, he was a great friend and I always looked forward to being in his company.

“He is a true legend of the football world.”

Graeme Souness and Sir David Murray, who took Smith to Ibrox in 1987, released a joint statement, saying that the former manager would go down in history as a Rangers great.

“Scottish football has lost one of its finest,” they said. “Even in the proud history of Glasgow Rangers, Walter Smith stands out as a colossus. He will never be forgotten.

“His 21 titles and trophies between 1991 and 2011 not only earned respect in the Scottish and British game but across the entire footballing world.

“The Rangers family has lost someone very special.

“Walter had a profound effect on both of our lives – certainly as a manager and a leader and a wise and trusted adviser but always as a close and treasured friend. He made time for so many people.

“Both of us had spoken to him privately over the past few weeks. The topic rarely strayed from football. Our thoughts are with Ethel, Steven, Neil and their families.”

Rangers’ rivals Celtic sent their condolences.

A tweet read: “Celtic Football Club expresses its deepest sympathies following the sad news that former Rangers and Scotland manager, Walter Smith, has passed away.

“Walter was a tremendous servant to Scottish football and everyone at Celtic FC sends their heartfelt condolences.”

Aberdeen captain Scott Brown, who played against Smith’s Rangers many times while Celtic skipper, said: “It’s so sad.

“Walter was a fantastic man and he was the one who gave me my first Scotland cap many years ago.

“I worked with him very closely with Scotland and I’ve got huge respect for him, especially what he did with Tommy Burns as well, carrying his coffin.

“He tried to bridge the gap between the two clubs which was fantastic at the time.

“Every time I met Walter he had so much time for every single person.”

Clubs across the league added to the tributes, with Motherwell manager Graham Alexander saying he owed Smith a debt of gratitude from his time as a Scotland player.

“It’s terrible news,” Alexander said.

“I just have fantastic memories of the man. He sent me a great message when I came up here to work at Motherwell, a fantastic man to think of me at that time.

“I owe the resurgence of my Scotland career to him and I had without doubt my best spell of my Scotland career playing under Walter.

“A brilliant man first and foremost from my experience of how he was on the human side, how he treated everybody, and I mean everybody, not just the players but absolutely everyone who had the pleasure of being in his company.

“To play under him was an absolute privilege. Actually just getting picked by Walter, I thought I had won already because it was an achievement just to get picked by him.”

Hearts manager Robbie Neilson shared his memories of Smith, saying he learned a lot from him.

He said: “Walter was a giant of the game, someone who gave me my debut for as well Scotland so something I’ll always be indebted to him for.

“Probably other than Sir Alex Ferguson, he’s the top coach or manager that Scotland’s ever produced. To think going back to the 80s with Dundee United and then Rangers, Man United and Scotland. Working at the highest level for 40-odd years.

“He was a huge person not just within the Scottish game, but the British game, the world game.

“Walter was involved with UEFA and FIFA and doing the Pro Licence courses, going to speak to all the young coaches coming through, myself included and he was just somebody that always had time for the coaches.

“He understood the ins and the outs and the pressure that comes with it. He was always brilliant with me whenever I met him.”

He added: “Firstly, it was brilliant when you met him and he knew your name.

“He was always so down to earth. He would come over and give you five or ten minutes and always knew what was going on with your team, how they were doing and what their form was.

“It was an inspiration for me as well whenever I’ll meet other coaches, I’ll keep an eye out on what they’re doing so when you bump into them you can say ‘oh, your team did this.’

“It’s a real sad day for Scottish football.

“It was brilliant(playing under him). He called a spade a  spade. You knew where you stood with him. He could be quiet, he could be loud, he had all the things you need to be as a top manager. I learned a lot from Walter.”


Obituary: Ex-Rangers and Scotland manager Walter Smith

Walter Smith was one of the most successful Scottish football managers of all time.

SNS Group

Walter Smith, the former Scotland and Rangers boss and one of the most successful managers in Scottish football history, has died aged 73.

Smith’s career in professional football spanned 45 years, taking him to international level and cementing a position among the elite of the club game.

As manager of Rangers over two spells, he won ten league titles, five Scottish Cups, six League Cups and guided his side to the UEFA Cup final in 2008.

Smith was also awarded an OBE in 1997 for his services to association football.

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Born in Lanark in 1948, his football career started in earnest when the defender signed for Dundee United in 1966 after a spell in Junior football. Smith played for the Tannadice club over two spells, and also had two years at Dumbarton, the highlight being a Scottish Cup final appearance in 1974.

By the time he hung up his boots in 1980, Smith had already begun a coaching career that would far surpass the success of his playing days.

Starting out at Dundee United under the guidance of Jim McLean, the young coach combined his duties at Tannadice while working with Scotland’s Under-18 team. He was alongside Andy Roxburgh when Scotland won the European Youth Championship in 1982, the country’s first international title at any level.

His growing reputation as a coach grew and he was appointed manager of Scotland’s Under-21 side, and then acted as Sir Alex Ferguson’s right-hand man at the World Cup in Mexico in 1986.

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That year brought another pivotal moment in Smith’s career, when he moved to Ibrox to become assistant manager at the club he supported as a child. Acting as assistant to Graeme Souness, he was a central figure in a dramatic and impactful time at the club and in Scottish football as Rangers brought in high-profile players from England and targeted success at home and abroad.

Smith was alongside Souness as Rangers won three league titles and four Scottish Cups and, when Souness suddenly left Glasgow to return to Liverpool in 1991, the Ibrox club made the decision to elevate the assistant to the top job. It would prove to be a move that delivered one of the most successful spells in the club’s history.

Under ambitious owner David Murray, Rangers spent big and won big. Smith signed a number of the best players from across Scotland and supplemented them with stars from across Europe, including Alexei Mikhailichenko, Brian Laudrup, Basile Boli and Paul Gascoigne.

Rangers had won the previous two titles under Souness, and Smith delivered seven more, dominating the domestic game as Rangers equalled rivals Celtic’s record of nine successive league trophies. Three Scottish Cup wins and three League Cup wins in that time added to the trophy haul, but Smith’s tenure was also marked by some big moments in European football, including a run in the 1992-93 Champions League that saw them beat English champions Leeds United and go unbeaten in the group stage, missing out on a place in the final by a single point.

Smith stepped down in 1998, his final season seeing Celtic win the league title on a dramatic final day, and Rangers lose to Hearts in the Scottish Cup final.

He returned to management shortly after his Ibrox departure, succeeding Howard Kendall at Goodison Park. Though his four years in charge didn’t bring success, Smith was a steady hand at the wheel as spending at Everton was restricted while rival clubs splashed the cash.

After leaving the Toffees, Smith had a brief spell at Manchester United, reuniting with Alex Ferguson as assistant at Old Trafford, but he was soon to return to front-line management.

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Scotland needed a change of direction after the tumultuous Berti Vogts era and Smith answered the call, taking the manager’s job in 2004. Though the team missed out on qualification for the 2006 World Cup, the Scot brought marked improvement to the side and a climb up the world rankings was proof of his success.

Smith and Scotland were part-way through the Euro 2008 qualifiers when Rangers asked him to return to the club in January 2007 after Paul Le Guen left Ibrox.

The second spell at Rangers saw Smith underline his iconic status with the Rangers support. Three further league titles, three League Cups and three Scottish Cups added to his formidable trophy haul, but a European run against the odds was the highlight in 2008.

Smith’s side began the season in the Champions League but could only finish third in a group that pitted them against Barcelona, Lyon and Stuttgart. That brought the consolation prize of a place in the knockout stage of the UEFA Cup and Rangers took on that challenge and excelled.

A disciplined side with a miserly defence saw off Panathinaikos, Werder Bremen, Sporting Lisbon and Frioentina, conceding only one goal along the way, to reach the final.

At the showpiece match in Manchester, Smith’s side came up against Zenti St Petersburg, but fell short in a 2-0 defeat.

Smith retired in 2011, having amassed 21 domestic trophies as Rangers manager, second only to Bill Struth in terms of silverware at Ibrox and with his prominent place in the club’s history books assured.

He later had brief spells as a director and chairman at the club but also offered guidance and advice to those who came after him as Rangers boss.

Rangers chairman Douglas Park said on Tuesday: “It is almost impossible to encapsulate what Walter meant to every one of us at Rangers. He embodied everything that a Ranger should be. His character and leadership was second to none, and will live long in the memory of everyone he worked with during his two terms as first-team manager.”


Queen will miss COP26 climate conference on doctors’ orders

The monarch has said she is 'disappointed' that she will no longer attend the climate event in Glasgow.

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Queen: The monarch has been advised to rest.

The Queen has pulled out of hosting a major reception for world leaders at the COP26 climate change summit, Buckingham Palace has confirmed.

The 95-year-old monarch was due to travel to Scotland for the high-profile engagement on Monday November 1.

A palace spokesman said: “Following advice to rest, The Queen has been undertaking light duties at Windsor Castle.

“Her Majesty has regretfully decided that she will no longer travel to Glasgow to attend the evening reception of COP26 on Monday, 1st November.

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“Her Majesty is disappointed not to attend the reception but will deliver an address to the assembled delegates via a recorded video message.”

The head of state faced preliminary tests in hospital on October 20 during her first overnight stay at a medical facility in eight years.

She has been resting following medical advice to cancel her two-day trip to Northern Ireland.

But she returned to work on Tuesday, carrying out virtual audiences from Windsor Castle – her first official engagements in seven days since she was ordered to rest by doctors.


Forbes ‘sincerely hopes’ strike can be averted in council pay dispute

The finance secretary said she would continue to encourage both sides to reach a deal to avoid industrial action.

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Forbes: Finance secretary hopes workers can reach a deal.

The finance secretary says it is her “sincere hope” that strikes can be averted in the dispute over council workers’ pay, but said the matter is between local authorities and unions.

Kate Forbes said she would continue to encourage both sides to reach a deal to avoid industrial action in more than half of Scotland’s councils.

Workers in a number of different professions are set to strike during the COP26 summit, which takes place in Glasgow in November.

School cleaning, catering, refuse and recycling workers are among those who could strike.

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At the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday, Forbes responded to an urgent question from Scottish Labour MSP Mark Griffin.

He asked what the Scottish Government was doing to help agree a pay deal acceptable to workers.

Griffin said: “Over half of local government workers earn below £25,000 a year and the current offer doesn’t even bring the lowest paid up to £10 per hour.”

He said the Scottish Government had intervened in pay negotiations for NHS workers and teacher despite not being their direct employers.

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Forbes said the local government pay negotiations were between Cosla and the trade unions.

She said: “We have continued to do everything that we can to ensure that there is a fair settlement for local authorities despite the challenges of the pandemic and the constrained fiscal position.

“I will continue to engage and would hope that progress can be made to avert industrial action but also to ensure that there is a fair pay deal.”

Griffin then said the industrial action in November could be the beginning of a “long winter” of school closures and disruption to waste and recycling services.

Forbes said frontline workers were “critically important”, saying the Scottish public sector pay deal was “far fairer” than south of the border.

She said: “I sincerely hope that a resolution is found through the SJC (Scottish Joint Council), which is obviously based on negotiations between the trade unions and Cosla.”


Cleansing workers welcome support from ‘inspirational’ Greta Thunberg

The GMB trade union has welcomed the teenage activist's support for striking workers.

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Cleansing workers who are due to strike in Glasgow next month have welcomed support from Greta Thunberg and hailed the teenage activist’s words as “inspirational”.

The 18-year-old Swede revealed on Monday that she would be joining a protest march through the city on November 6 and called on the striking workers to “join us”.

Trade union GMB, which represents the council workers, have returned the message and said climate justice and social justice is “when no one is left behind”.

Speaking to STV News, GMB’s Chris Mitchell said: “I thought it was absolutely fantastic, so much so we have sent a message back this morning in solidarity and camaraderie.

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“Her words where fantastic. A climate justice and social justice is when no one is left behind and to invite us to the rally at George Square, I think is absolutely inspirational.

“Not just that but to march down to George Square in camaraderie and solidarity, and you know what, we all stand together as one.”

Thunberg will speak at the rally that will go from Kelvingrove Park to George Square as world leaders gather in the city for COP26.

And Mr Mitchell says he has been inspired by the last four weeks, as he helped launch a giant inflatable rat in protests against Glasgow City Council.

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He said: “At the end of the day everyone has a right to make a stance.

“I think with Greta she perceives that and we do the exact same thing. We like to stick up for our members and I think what has been happening over the past four weeks has been absolutely inspirational.

“We have been touring depots, gathering support and gathering momentum, and I have never seen so much people stand shoulder to shoulder. And if you look at it, climate change, climate emergency, we deal with recycling in the city, we want a cleaner and sustainable future for the city and cleansing is part of that.

“Cleansing workers have been the fabric of society for years and I think during Covid it just showed the importance of the role that these workers play.”

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Cash reward in hunt for firebomb culprits who struck councillor’s home

Graeme Campbell's South Lanarkshire house has been hit with repeated attacks over the last three years.

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Councillor Graeme Campbell's home was targetted in May 2019.

A £3000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest of those involved in a series of firebombing attacks at the home of a South Lanarkshire councillor.

Graeme Campbell’s property has been the target of three incidents in the past three years.

In the early hours of May 20, 2019, Campbell, his wife Fiona, a teaching assistant, and their then 18-year-old son were asleep when their home and car Fortrose Gardens, Strathaven, were petrol bombed during the night.

The family were woken when a passer-by knocked on their door to tell him their car was on fire after an explosion.

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The blaze spread to the house, destroying parts of the property as well as their neighbour’s home.

About 15 months later, on August 16, 2020, the couple were woken when a man smashed a ground floor window at 3am.

CCTV footage shows the man getting out of a car before wiping a corrosive substance onto BMWs belonging to the councillor and his wife.

The latest incident happened around midnight on Friday, June 18 this year when emergency services were called the Campbells’ home after two cars were set on fire and the blaze spread to the house.

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It is understood that the suspects may have sustained burn injuries and it is likely there will be people in the community who are aware of their involvement.

Some of the damage suffered to windows and cars in 2020.

This time, Campbell said, the family lost nearly everything with their kitchen and bedroom destroyed.

“The attack on our home in June 2021 left Fiona and I homeless for nearly three months and now living in an undisclosed location; in fear of our lives and trying to get our house re-built,” he said.

“As soon as the work is complete, we plan to sell and move on. I cannot begin to tell you the absolute pit of despair we found ourselves in being [refused] again, again, and again when it came to trying to rent a temporary place to live.”

Campbell announced he would not be standing for re-election in May 2022 having serviced as the South Lanarkshire member for Avondale and Stonehouse since 2007.

Police Scotland
Police have released CCTV images of a man they want to trace in relation to the 2021 attack.

Crimestoppers is offering a reward of up to £3000 for anonymous information the charity exclusively receives – via its website or by phone on 0800 555 111 – that leads to the conviction of the person or people responsible for the series of attacks.

Angela Parker, Scotland manager for the charity, said: “Our charity believes in safe communities and these attacks on a family home have caused great distress to those involved and also to people living in the wider area.

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“We need to have whoever is involved held to account. If you know who was involved, you can tell us completely anonymously by calling our charity’s Contact Centre which is open 24/7… or you can use our easy and secure anonymous online form.

“Please do the right thing. You’ll be following hundreds of thousands of Scots who have trusted our charity with their anonymous information since we began in the late 1980s.

“Whilst being independent of the police, we support the public to speak up by passing on anonymous information we receive that helps keep people and communities safe from harm.”


Airbnb host banned after hiking delegate’s COP26 room by £2000

Tan Copsey said his Airbnb host tried to charge him an extra £70 a night for his stay during the climate conference.

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Airbnb: Host attempted to charge delegate extra £70 per night during COP26.

An Airbnb host has been banned from taking bookings during COP26 after attempting to hike a delegate’s room rate by £2000.

Tan Copsey, a senior director at Climate Nexus, had booked accommodation in Glasgow for the UN Climate Conference in advance, however the host later contacted him saying he had “missed out on a great deal of money”.

He then asked Mr Copsey for an extra £70 per night during his stay in the city. 

Airbnb said it has “zero tolerance for this behaviour” and the host has been banned from taking bookings during the conference, which runs from October 31 to November 12. 

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In correspondence posted on Twitter by Mr Copsey, the host said: “I have been made aware that over the course of your stay the average room price has gone up 400% in my area.

“It troubles me that I have missed out on a great deal of money due to your early booking. 

“I feel an additional payment of £70 per night would be a reasonable adjustment in this case.”

The host then goes on to claim that “inferior lodgings” would cost the delegate £400 per night. 

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The booking was then cancelled by the host, claiming he had given Mr Copsey the “opportunity to agree to pay an additional fee to reflect the market price for short term lets during COP26 in Glasgow”.  

Mr Copsey posted the correspondence on his Twitter page, adding he was having “a great time” trying to secure accommodation during COP26.

He later tweeted he would be “fine” for accommodation during the climate conference. 

An Airbnb spokesperson said: ”We have zero tolerance for this behaviour and have taken action against the Host and blocked them from accepting other bookings during this period. 

“The guest has been refunded in full and we have offered support in helping them find alternative accommodation.”

The company added that it would be donating service fees for stays in Glasgow during COP26 to Zero Waste Scotland.

Mr Copsey has been contacted for comment.


Edinburgh bookshop owner hailed as ‘hero’ by Tom Hanks

Tom Hodges received a typewritten letter from the Hollywood superstar praising their work.

Contributed via Tom Hodges
Tom Hodges shares a passion for typewriters with Tom Hanks.

The owner of an Edinburgh bookshop has been hailed a ‘hero’ by Hollywood actor Tom Hanks over their passion for typewriters.

Tom Hodges, who runs Typewronger Books in the capital, typewrote a letter to Hanks in the summer.

They were amazed when the double Oscar-winning Hanks wrote back in a letter praising their work and passion for the craft of typewriting.

Tom said: “It was a warm and lovely message that really brightened up my week. I was about a third of the way through his reply when I realised it was him.

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“I had read on various forums that Tom Hanks does reply to people who write to him from a typewriter. He is a famous collector of typewriters.”

Tom said they had invited Hanks to attend the National Museum of Scotland’s typewriting exhibition in Edinburgh.

They said: “I have an exhibition on at the moment and figured there would be a good chance of a response if I typewrote to him.

“He called me his hero a couple of times, which is not very good for my ego and it will be harder for me to get through narrow doorways now.

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“I have seen a couple of his films but my main interest lies in the fact that he does so much to promote typewriters and promoting it as a physical culture, that is the main thing.”

Hodges was also impressed that Hanks uses ‘x’ to rectify mistakes, rather than using TipEx.

Contributed via Tom Hodges
Tom Hodges received typewritten letter from Tom Hanks.

“Typewriter makers hate Tip-Ex, we want it banned,” they said.

Hanks’ letter was typed on paper from the set of his latest film – the upcoming biographical musical drama about Elvis Presley directed by Baz Luhrmann.

“He (Hanks) wants to see typewriters make a comeback and they are making a comeback.”


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