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SFA: Morelos gesture was dealt with after Celtic game

The governing body has revealed that the Rangers striker was reported for additional misconduct.

Morelos was sent off during Rangers ' win at Celtic Park. SNS
Morelos was sent off during Rangers ' win at Celtic Park.

Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos will not face further action over the gesture he made during his side’s 2-1 win over Celtic, with the Scottish FA revealing the incident was dealt with on the day of the game.

Morelos was sent off after picking up a second yellow card late in the game and while leaving the pitch he made a gesture to the Celtic fans, drawing his hand across his neck.

Some interpreted the gesture as a ‘throat-slitting’ mime and called for the Scottish FA to take retrospective action. Rangers said in a statement that it was “used commonly throughout South America to indicate quite simply that something – in this case, the match – is finished”.

It has now been revealed that match referee Kevin Clancy dealt with the incident after the final whistle, cautioning the player for additional misconduct.

Morelos will sit out Rangers’ next three games, beginning with the match against Stranraer on Friday evening. He is suspended for that Scottish Cup tie because of his disciplinary record in the competition last season.

The prolific striker will then miss the Premiership match against Hearts as the ban for his sending-off against Celtic, and then serve an additional match suspension against St Mirren because he had previously been sent off against Motherwell earlier in December.

Coronavirus: Scottish schools issued with NHS guidelines

NHS Scotland has issued guidelines to schools across the country over the COVID-19 outbreak.

Coronavirus: Guidelines issued to schools.

Schools have been told there is “no need to close” if any pupils or staff are showing symptoms of coronavirus.

Preparations are being stepped up across Scotland as more and more positive cases are declared in mainland Europe and the rest of the UK.

Steps which should be taken in schools to avoid the virus spreading have now been released by NHS Scotland.

The advice details how teachers and staff can best deal with the issue and what measures to take to avoid it spreading among pupils and relatives at home.

Schools have been advised to contact their local health protection team for advice if anyone is showing symptoms before issuing any wider communications while also bearing in mind the confidentiality of the person who is unwell.

There is no further action school staff should take until the test results are known, and then the individual will be given advice on if and when they should return.

However if any child, pupil, student or staff member within the institution is diagnosed with COVID-19 then further action will be taken to identify anyone who had been in close contact .

Anyone thought to have been in contact with someone showing symptoms who has since been diagnosed will be asked to self-isolate at home.

Who is considered a ‘contact’?

  • Any child, pupil, student or staff member in close face-to-face or touching contact with the patient;
  • Those working alongside them within two metres for 15 minutes or longer;
  • Anyone who has talked to them or has been coughed;
  • Anyone who has cleaned up any bodily fluids of the individual;
  • Close friendship groups and any child, pupil, student or staff member living in the same household as a confirmed case.

Any pupil, student or staff member who has visited any of the worst affected or category 1 risk areas since February 19, but who are not showing symptoms, should isolate themselves for around 14 days.

Further information and advice issued to schools by NHS Scotland over the coronavirus scare can be found here.

Van driver’s dangerous manoeuvre killed pensioner in storm

Andrew McKinley, 26, from Kilmarnock, caused the death of Jean Shearer, 70, by dangerous driving.

High Court: Andrew McKinley has been jailed for five years.

A van driver who killed a pensioner in a head-on crash after a dangerous overtaking manoeuvre in a storm has been jailed for five years.

Andrew McKinley, 26, from Kilmarnock, was convicted at the High Court in Glasgow of causing the death of Jean Shearer, 70, who was a passenger in her husband Walter’s Smart car in December 31, 2017, by dangerous driving.

Mr Shearer, 80, was also seriously hurt in the collision which took place around 11am on the A737 near Dalry, Ayrshire.

The Shearers were on their way to to visit their daughter, when McKinley’s Peugeot van struck them.

Storm Dylan was raging at the time and there was surface water on the road.

When McKinley pulled out to overtake his van aqua planed. He lost control and ended up on the wrong side of the road.

His van ploughed into the Smart car being driven by Mr Shearer. Mrs Shearer died seven days later in Crosshouse Hospital, Irvine.

Judge Johanna Johnson banned McKinley from driving for seven years on Thursday and told him: “You were aware of those conditions and you engaged in a course of dangerous driving through Dalry and overtook the car and drove at an extensive speed.

“Your actions have devastated a whole family and there is no sentence this court could ever impose that would reduce in any way the grief and loss felt by the Shearer family.”

“Jean was a lovely person and beautiful lady. She would help other people.”

Walter Shearer, Jean’s husband

Outside court Jean’s husband Walter blasted the jail term as “totally inadequate”.

An emotional Mr Shearer paid tribute to his wife, saying: “I’m first and foremost disappointed at the sentence – it was inadequate and doesn’t compare to the damage and death that he caused through dangerous driving.

“Jean was a lovely person and beautiful lady. She would help other people.

“Five years in my opinion is totally inadequate and it should be longer and I like to think we could appeal it.

“It is only the Crown that can appeal it and not the victims which doesn’t make it a level playing field – it’s unfair.”

The court heard that the cause of Mrs Shearer’s death was broncho-pneumonia and chest injuries due to road traffic collision.

Her husband suffered fractured ribs, and a broken leg. He did not give evidence as he has no memory of the crash.

McKinley sobbed and said “I’m sorry” to the Shearer family who were in the public gallery as he was led to custody.

He was previously convicted in December 2013 of careless driving and in February 2014 for dangerous driving and banned for two years.

Gunman pointed loaded pistol at club bouncers in busy street

Francis Smith admitted having a gun outside Nico's in Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow.

Francis Smith was caught on camera pointing a gun at two men outside Nico's in Sauchiehall Street..

A gunman admitted pointing a loaded pistol at two bouncers in a busy Glasgow street.

At the High Court in Glasgow, 32-year-old Francis Smith pleaded guilty to pulling the weapon – a Slovakian manufactured Grand Power self-loading pistol – on Benjamin Bibby and Stewart Edwards at Nico’s in Sauchiehall Street on December 21, last year.

He also admitted two contraventions of the firearms act.

Prosecutor Angela Gray told the court that minutes earlier there was an incident in which Smith was allegedly assaulted outside the bar.

She said: “The accused shouted ‘I’m going to get a gun and shoot you’. The threat was not taken seriously.”

The court was shown a video of Smith, who was wearing a red baseball cap,  returning minutes later armed with a gun.

He had grabbed the handgun which he kept wrapped in a towel in a chest of drawers in his room at the Blue Triangle accommodation in nearby Holland Street, Glasgow and headed back to the bar.

Ms Gray said: “Given that it was the week of Christmas, Sauchiehall Street was busy with pedestrians.

“As the accused approached Nico’s bar he was holding the handgun.

“Someone in the vicinity shouted ‘gun’ as a warning. With his arm outstretched the accused pointed the handgun towards Mr Bibby and Mr Edwards.

“Benjamin Bibby immediately approached the accused and began to wrestle the handgun from him. He was assisted by Mr Edwards and another door steward.

“The accused was disarmed and restrained on the ground until police arrived.”

Police searched Smith’s room and found a single bulleted cartridge on the floor, five cartridges in a money tin and a further five inside a knotted latex glove.

When the gun was pointed at two bouncers there was a live cartridge in the magazine and when it was first examined by firearms officers the safety catch was off.

The gun was found to be in good working order and capable of discharging bulleted cartridges.

Ms Gray added: “All the bulleted cartridges recovered from the accused’s address were also apparently live and suitable for use with the handgun.”

Smith has no criminal convictions of note. His record relates only to drinking alcohol in a public place.

Defence QC John Scullion said: “Given the circumstances a custodial sentence is inevitable.”

Judge Sean Murphy QC deferred sentence on Smith until next month for background reports and remanded him in custody.

School safety certificate missing amid carbon monoxide leak

Balmuildy Primary School was evacuated last week and closed for several days.

Google 2020
Balmuildy Primary: The school was evacuated as a precaution.

A council has admitted being unable to find a school’s gas safety certificate after children had to be evacuated over a carbon monoxide leak.

Emergency services were alerted to the hazard at Balmuildy Primary School in Bishopbriggs last Thursday.

East Dunbartonshire Council has now reported itself to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after being unable to locate the paperwork for an inspection that took place in May 2019.

Thomas Glen, depute chief executive for place, neighbourhood and corporate assets, said: “The council’s gas safety inspections are carried out by independent third party contractors.

“The council is currently liaising with the relevant contractor with a view to securing a copy.

“However, as a result of being unable to locate a copy internally, further investigations are ongoing and the council has today made contact with the Health and Safety Executive given the seriousness of this matter.”

The school remained closed while an investigation into leak was carried out.

It was deemed safe and reopened on Tuesday, however several parents have voiced concerns that their children continue to experience dizziness, nausea and vomiting.

One mum told STV News she collected her son “immediately” and will continue to keep him off school until further information comes to light.

Another mum said she is awaiting the results of water tests before she allows her two children to return.

Ann Davie, depute chief executive for education, people and business, said carbon monoxide monitors have been operating since Saturday and have shown no traces of the gas.

She said: “We are aware that some children were reporting that they had felt unwell on Tuesday, but there have been no reports of sickness in school since then.

“Myself and other senior officers have visited the school daily since it reopened and are working with the headteacher and school staff to provide reassurance and support to the school community.

“The council has given a commitment to review our policy on carbon monoxide monitors in schools. Current regulations require schools built after 2013 to have CO monitors fitted but this does not apply to older buildings.

“We are beginning a programme to install monitors in all schools and hope that this will provide some reassurance for everyone working and learning there.

“Given the situation at Balmuildy Primary School we are of course ensuring that documentation is in place in all schools.”

Polar Bear Day: Hamish and mum celebrate with icy treats

The two-year-old bear can be seen frolicking in the snow at the Highland Wildlife Park.

The Highland Wildlife Park has shared footage of Hamish and his mum enjoying icy treats to celebrate International Polar Bear Day.

The two-year-old bear can be seen frolicking in the snow with his snack in the adorable clips.

The pair are part of the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP), which is working to safeguard the vulnerable species from extinction.

Keith Gilchrist, animal collection manager said: “A critical part of our role as a wildlife conservation charity is education.

“Hamish, and the rest of our bears, have made a tremendous impression on our visitors.

“They help to highlight the threats many species face in the wild and the changes we can undertake to really make a difference.”

How much is your council tax going up by this year?

Councils around Scotland are setting their budgets and council tax rates ahead of the new financial year.

Local authorities around Scotland are setting their budgets and council tax rates ahead of the start of a new financial year in April.

The Scottish Government allows councils to increase council tax annually by up to 3% – but this is in addition to inflation, meaning the actual maximum increase of council tax is just shy of 5%.

Councils can choose to increase their levies by the maximum amount or by less.

Depending on which council area you live in, and what council tax band your property is in, you could find your annual bill rising by as little as around £35, or potentially as much as £190.

What have local authorities in your area decided to do?

We’ll be updating this story on a rolling basis as councils across the country agree their budgets.

Council tax rates

Aberdeen City Council: To set rates on Tuesday, March 3

Aberdeenshire Council: 4.84% increase

Angus Council: To set rates on Thursday, February 27

Argyll and Bute Council: To set rates on Thursday, February 27

Clackmannanshire Council: 3% increase

Dumfries and Galloway Council: 4.84% increase

East Ayrshire Council: To set rates on Thursday, March 5

East Dunbartonshire Council: 3.95% increase

East Lothian Council: To set rates on Tuesday, March 3

East Renfrewshire Council: 4.84% increase

Edinburgh City Council: 4.79% increase

Falkirk Council: 4.84% increase

Fife Council: 4.84% increase

Glasgow City Council: 4.64% increase

Highland Council: To set rates on Thursday, March 5

Inverclyde Council: 3% increase

Midlothian Council: 4.84% increase

Moray Council: To set rates on Tuesday, March 3

Na h-Eileanan Siar (Western Isles): 4.84% increase

North Ayrshire Council: To set rates on Thursday, March 5

North Lanarkshire Council: 4.84% increase

Orkney Islands Council: To set rates on Tuesday, March 3

Perth and Kinross Council: To set rates on Friday, March 6

Renfrewshire Council: Budget meeting date not confirmed

Scottish Borders Council: 4.8% increase

Shetland Islands Council: 4.84% increase

South Ayrshire Council: To set rates on Thursday, March 5

South Lanarkshire Council: 3% increase

Stirling Council: 4.84% increase

West Dunbartonshire Council: To set rates on Wednesday, March 4

West Lothian Council: To set rates on Friday, February 28.

Laser beam shone at plane near airport sparks investigation

A laser beam was shone at a passenger aircraft in Aberdeen on Tuesday.

Aberdeen Airport: Police investigating incident.

Police are investigating after a laser was shone at a passenger plane approaching Aberdeen Airport.

The incident took place at around 9.45pm on Tuesday when the beam was directed at the aircraft from the Bridge of Don area.

Officers investigating say the “extremely reckless” act could have had “serious consequences” if it had distracted the pilot.

Inspector Hamish King at Aberdeen Airport said:The use of a laser in this manner is extremely reckless and could have serious consequences if a pilot was distracted or momentarily blinded by such a device. 

“I would urge anyone in possession of these types of device not to misuse them in this manner and would remind people that reports such as this are taken very seriously by Police Scotland and the Scottish Courts Service. 

“I would urge anyone who may have any information regarding this incident to contact police on the 101.”

I was raped, my husband was murdered and I feel so alone

Scottish charity SCIAF's Wee Box appeal aims to fund projects helping to rebuild lives in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The nine men who raped Angela and murdered her husband continue to walk free.

The rebels knew they were HIV positive when they subjected her to the sexual assault.

Now ill, Angela has been shunned by her community and tells me: “My heart hurts because I feel alone.”

I met Angela in a village close to the Congolese border which she says reminds her of the happy and peaceful life she once enjoyed with her family.

The night that all came to an end was six years ago. Every horrific detail is etched in her mind and has left her children traumatised.

They saw everything.

The Democratic Republic of Congo is among the poorest countries in the world. It’s been ravaged by civil war and lawlessness. Where there is conflict, sexual violence has followed. An estimated four in ten women and girls in the province of South Kivu have experienced some form of abuse.

Scottish charity SCIAF’s Wee Box appeal this year aims to fund projects to help those affected rebuild their lives. Its work will be highlighted on Scotland Tonight at 7.30pm on Thursday on STV.

Angela was pregnant with her fourth child when an armed group stormed her village at night. They broke into her home and demanded money.

They pulled her children from their beds and forced them to watch the attack on their parents.

Angela says: “There were nine men and they were wearing soldiers’ uniforms. My husband was working but he didn’t have this money so, one-by-one, they raped me. “

The group then murdered her husband. It was three months before Angela could reach a hospital, where she was given her HIV diagnosis.

“The neighbours, my family, all of them have rejected me because I am ill,” she says. “My children have problems too. At school, others don’t play with them as they say they will contaminate them

Therese runs a centre which provides practical and trauma counselling for survivors and champions women’s rights. Photo: Simon Murphy.

Standing beside Angela as we speak is a woman – a constant support – who understands the pain of being silenced by her community. Terese runs the Olame centre which provides practical and trauma counselling for survivors and champions women’s rights.

The counsellor is driven by her own experiences. She was abused as a child and forbidden to tell anyone, even her own mother, about what happened.

Terese says: “When I meet these women, I compare their stories to mine. I say I can do something to help them.”

I also met Sylvia, who squeals and claps her hands as she’s shown her picture on the side of Sciaf’s Wee Box.

The grandmother’s smile fades as she tells of her four-year ordeal at the hands of rebels. Rocking back and forth in her chair – it’s clear in her mind – she’s back in the forest. To survive, Sylvia was forced to marry one of the rebels who murdered her baby and killed many in her village.

Sylvia was forced to marry one of the rebels who murdered her baby and killed many in her village. Photo: Simon Murphy

When she finally managed to escape, it took her a month to walk home. To avoid being captured again, she slept in the trees. She returned to her village and her husband, but was rejected for being pregnant.

With support from Scottish donations to SCIAF, Sylvia’s life is now very different. She grows food and is able to sell her produce. With her profits, she proudly tells me she could pay for her children to go to school.

“I do not even have the possibility to dream,” are the heartbreaking words I hear from 19-year-old Volonte. She reaches for her bag to show me a photograph of her son.

Her voice falters as she explains this was not the life she had planned. Her family had fled their rural village for the safety of the town.

Volonte said her future was taken away from her the day she was raped and became pregnant. Photo: Simon Murphy

Volonte wanted to study, to be – in her own words – a “respected and an honourable person”.

The teenager says this future was taken from her on the day she was raped and became pregnant. When her family found out, they went to the town’s police station but officers demanded money. Volonte was then able to access free legal help from AJV, a partner of SCIAF, and her attacker is now behind bars.

Lawyers say achieving justice is difficult but with SCIAF’s help, they are improving lives. Doctors and counsellors also speak of the same pride and frustration as they work with limited means to repair broken bodies and minds.

Angela, meanwhile, admits her fragile health is a constant worry. As we say our goodbyes, she makes one last plea: “Please don’t forget I exist.”

Find out more about SCIAF’s work on Scotland Tonight at 7.30pm on Thursday on STV.

UK Government hosts second Glasgow drugs event in two days

The event will bring together drug recovery experts the day after a similar Scottish Government and council event.

Scotland is in the grip of a drugs crisis, with a record number of deaths caused by substance abuse.

The UK Government will host a drugs summit in Glasgow – a day after the Scottish Government and council held a similar event at the same venue.

The event will bring together drug recovery experts, health professionals, government ministers and senior police officers from across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre.

They will discuss how to work together to best prevent drug-related deaths, which reached 4265 across the UK in 2018, with 1187 of those happening in Scotland.

Kit Malthouse, a UK Government minister who will chair the event, previously said the summit “will bring us together to tackle the issue of drug misuse”.

He added: “We must have firm enforcement action and do all we can on prevention, recovery and treatment too.”

Around 350 delegates attended the Scottish Government and Glasgow City Council event on Wednesday, which local authority leader Susan Aitken described as a “landmark event”.

Much of the discussion focused on safer consumption rooms, which the Home Office has previously refused to allow in Glasgow – where the city’s health board accounts for a third of Scotland’s deaths in 2018.

Scottish Government public health minister Joe FitzPatrick said at the conference he wanted Scotland’s experience to feed into the UK Government’s event.

He said on Wednesday: “What matters is saving lives and I will work with anyone to achieve that.

“Tomorrow the UK Government will be hosting a summit in this same building – I want to be able to bring Scotland’s experience directly to that meeting.”

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