Eight-year-old girl gives Sturgeon day off in garden briefing

Little Isabella updated the Scottish people on the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic from her back garden.

Facebook / Mariann Hay

An eight-year-old girl decided to give the First Minister a day off and address the nation from her garden.

Little Isabella, dressed in a coordinated suit, hilariously speaks to the Scottish people to update them on the spread of the coronavirus in her very own daily briefing.

Isabella’s mum, Mariann Hay from Port Glasgow, said her daughter wanted to give Nicola Sturgeon a break and spoke to the nation on her behalf.

Over 40s next in line for Covid vaccines in Scotland

Jabbing groups by age is the fastest way to cut deaths and serious illness, advisers say.

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People aged 40-49 will be prioritised next for a Covid-19 vaccine, with scientific advisers saying the move will “provide the greatest benefit in the shortest time”.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) had considered whether groups such as teachers and police officers should be vaccinated next.

But it concluded that the most effective way to prevent death and hospital admission is to carry on prioritising people by age.

The Scottish Government said it would accept the JCVI advice.


Advisers said modelling studies for phase two of the vaccination programme also indicate that the speed of vaccine deployment is the most important factor in helping prevent severe illness and death.

This means that in phase two, priority will be given in the following order:

  • All those aged 40-49
  • All those aged 30-39
  • All those aged 18-29

These groups will be vaccinated once all those in phase one (the over-50s and most vulnerable) have received a jab.

Health secretary Jeane Freeman said: “All four UK nations will follow the recommended approach for phase two of the vaccine rollout, subject to the final advice given by the independent expert committee.


“Each government remains focused on the target to offer a first vaccination to all those in the phase one priority groups by the middle of April and the remainder of the adult population by the end of July subject to the availability of supplies.

“The vaccination programme is one of three key ways we are working to beat this virus, along with our expanded testing programme to identify cases and break chains of transmission and the important lockdown restrictions everyone in Scotland must follow.

“All these measures work to greatest effect when they work together.”

Professor Wei Shen Lim, Covid-19 chair for the JCVI, told a briefing that age “remains a dominant factor – it is still one of the most important causes of severe disease, even in those aged 50 years and below”.

He said that even within different occupational groups, it is older people who are more at risk than those who are younger.

In a statement, he added: “Vaccinations stop people from dying and the current strategy is to prioritise those who are more likely to have severe outcomes and die from Covid-19.

“The evidence is clear that the risk of hospitalisation and death increases with age.


“The vaccination programme is a huge success and continuing the age-based rollout will provide the greatest benefit in the shortest time, including to those in occupations at a higher risk of exposure.”

Salmond tells MSPs ‘Scotland’s leadership has failed’

Former first minister is facing questions about his allegations that Nicola Sturgeon misled Parliament.

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Alex Salmond has started giving evidence to MSPs seeking to discover what went wrong with the Scottish Government’s handling of harassment complaints against him.

The former first minister is answering questions about his allegations that First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has misled parliament and breached the ministerial code.

He opened by claiming there had been a “calculated and deliberate suppression of key evidence” to the committee.

Salmond insisted the “failures of leadership are many and obvious”.


But he said no-ne had “taken responsibility”, adding there had been no resignations or sackings.

“The government acted illegally but somehow nobody is to blame,” he added.

Meanwhile, he claimed the committee he was appearing before had been asked to do its job “with both hands tied behind its back and a blindfold on”.

He added: “Scotland hasn’t failed, its leadership has failed.


“The importance of this inquiry is for each and everyone of us to help put this right.”

Salmond pulled out of a scheduled evidence session on Wednesday after the Scottish Parliament belatedly redacted his written submission the day before he was due to appear, but he offered to attend on Friday instead.

In his written submission, Salmond named people he claims were involved in a “malicious and concerted” attempt to see him removed from public life, and described the Crown Office – the body responsible for prosecuting crimes in Scotland – as “simply not fit for purpose”.

Sturgeon has insisted there is “not a shred of evidence” that there was a conspiracy against Salmond, and she has denied lying to parliament. She is scheduled to appear before the committee next Wednesday.

The committee was set up to examine the Scottish Government’s botched investigation of sexual harassment allegations against Salmond.

He successfully challenged the lawfulness of the investigation at the Court of Session – Scotland’s highest civil court – and it was found to be “tainted by apparent bias” because the investigating officer had prior contact with two of the women who made complaints. He was subsequently awarded a £512,250 payout.

Salmond was later acquitted of 13 charges of sexual assault in a criminal trial.


He had been due to appear before the committee on Wednesday before the Crown Office wrote to the parliament and purportedly raised concerns about possible contempt of court linked to his written submission.

The Scottish Parliament’s Corporate Body agreed to remove Salmond’s written submission on Tuesday and replace it with a redacted version with five sections censored – prompting his lawyers to warn there was a “material risk” if he appeared to give oral evidence as planned on Wednesday.

Salmond’s lawyer David McKie wrote: “Our client’s submission was carefully reviewed by us and by counsel before submission.

“There is no legal basis for the redactions that we are aware of which you now propose having gone through that extremely careful exercise.”

Mr McKie described the decision to subsequently redact evidence as a “significant surprise and concern”, and said: “We therefore require to see urgently the legal basis for the proposed redactions in order that we can properly advise our client and make further representations.”

On Tuesday evening, Salmond’s legal team said it was “clearly impossible” for him to give evidence under oath the next day given the circumstances.

As well as inviting him to appear on Friday during a meeting of the committee on Wednesday, the MSPs voted in favour of approaching the High Court “as a matter of urgency” for specific guidance on how Lady Dorrian’s anonymity order from Mr Salmond’s criminal trial applies to the publication of his written evidence to the inquiry.

It also voted to recall Lord Advocate James Wolffe to face more questions, as well as agreeing to order the Crown Office to release further documents to the committee.

A Scottish Parliament spokeswoman said: “There was unanimous agreement in the committee that it wants to hear from Alex Salmond.

“His evidence has always been an important part of the committee’s work and as such the committee agreed that it would invite Mr Salmond to give evidence in person on Friday.

“The First Minister will then give evidence as the final witness to the inquiry on Wednesday.

“The committee remains determined to complete its task set by the Parliament and today agreed further actions in order to help them complete this work.”

Teenagers who died in crash between motorcycle and van named

Derek Paton, 19, and Leon Fitzpatrick, 18, both from Wishaw, suffered fatal injuries in the crash on Thursday.

Police Scotland
Teenagers: Derek Paton and Leon Fitzpatrick.

Two teenagers who died following a crash in North Lanarkshire have been named.

Derek Paton, 19, and Leon Fitzpatrick, 18, both from Wishaw, died after a crash involving a van and an off-road motorcycle on Thursday.

The incident took place at around 4.30pm near the town’s Waverley Drive.

Derek, who was pronounced dead at the scene, was the rider and Leon a pillion passenger in the motorcycle.


The 18-year-old was taken to Wishaw General Hospital where he later died from his injuries.

A 34-year-old man, the driver of the white Volkswagen Crafter van, also suffered minor injuries.

Police say enquires are ongoing into the incident and asked anyone with information can call them on 101.

Coronavirus: Further 27 deaths and 581 new cases in 24 hours

During Friday’s coronavirus briefing, Jeane Freeman said the total number of deaths now stands at 7111.

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Coronavirus: Further 27 deaths and 581 new cases reported.

A further 27 people have died from coronavirus in the past 24 hours, the health secretary has said. 

During Friday’s coronavirus briefing, Jeane Freeman said the total number of deaths of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days now stands at 7111.

There have been 581 new cases reported, which bring the total number of positive cases in Scotland to 200,987.

The daily test positivity rate is 3.3%, down from 3.7% the previous day.


Meanwhile 924 patients are currently in hospital with coronavirus, a decrease of 43, with 80 of those in intensive care, a fall of nine from Thursday. 

The number of people who have been given their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine now stands at 1,542,929, an increase of 26,949 from the day before.

Additionally, 65,340 people have received their second dose of the vaccine in Scotland.

The day nine children were taken from families on Orkney

Nine children aged between eight and 15-years-old were taken from their homes on the island 30 years ago.

STV News

Nine children aged between eight and 15 years old were taken from their homes during dawn raids on Orkney 30 years ago.

This Saturday marks three decades since they were separated from their families on the island of South Ronaldsay and taken to the mainland for questioning amid allegations of ritual Satanic abuse.

The story caused headlines around the world, leading to a major inquiry and reform of Scotland’s child protection system.

The children came from four different families. They were taken to the mainland and separated from their parents for questioning.

Finally, after five weeks, they were flown home when a sheriff dismissed the claims as “completely unfounded”. The allegations and the evidence were never tested in court.

To this day, the case has left scars on Orkney and the social work sector.

A public inquiry under Lord Clyde made almost 200 recommendations, which included the interviewing of children and the training of social workers.

Dr Sarah Nelson of Edinburgh University is an expert on what happened on Orkney.

She believes the case has had a negative effect on trying to identify victims of child sexual abuse.

“The myths that grew up around it had a hugely intimidating effect on child protection staff, so that even in the rare cases where children need to be taken into care it’s become much more difficult.”

But Alison Bavidge, the National Director of the British Association of Social Workers, believes there is far more protection now.

She said: “There is a much more sophisticated approach. It’s much better known across the key agencies and there are means of us working much better together.”

Changes include legislation and guidance, as well as child protection now being considered a specialisation in social work.

The Scottish Government has also just completed a major Care Review and plans to become the first country in the UK to incorporate the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child into domestic law.

On Orkney last year, the Care Inspectorate identified major weaknesses in child protection and care.

In a statement to STV News 30 years since the scandal, Orkney Islands Council said: “Many lessons were learned from Lord Clyde’s inquiry into the 1991 Orkney case.


“The inquiry led to significant changes in child protection legislation and practice in Scotland.

“As a result, child protection processes today are very different to those of 30 years ago. The priority and focus for all the agencies involved is to support families, helping them to look after children safely in their own homes wherever possible.”

Scotland national children’s charity Children 1st declined to comment when asked.

So too did the Children’s Commissioner for Scotland and Maree Todd, the Children’s Minister in the Scottish Government.

None of the families involved wanted to speak on camera. But after 30 years one did say they hope their experience will never be repeated.

‘Predatory’ rapist jailed for sex attacks on two women

A judge called the 25-year-old 'predatory and disgraceful'.

© Google Maps 2020
Rapist: Czlapski jailed for eight years.

A man who was convicted of raping two women in attacks 12 months apart has been jailed for eight years.

At the High Court in Glasgow Bartosz Czlapski, 25, was told by judge Lord Weir that his conduct was “predatory and disgraceful.”

He added: “You are assessed as at significant risk of re-offending.”

Czlapski raped his first victim at a party at a house in Coatbridge on June 26, 2018.


His victim was initially asleep and under the influence of drugs and unable to give consent.

The second attack occurred Coatbridge town centre on June 15 last year. His victim, who had been for a night out with friends, became separated from them.

She was drunk and disorientated when she met Czlapski, a complete stranger.

He was captured on CCTV sexual assaulting her. He then raped her out of camera shot.


Lord Weir told Czlapski: “She was drunk, lost and disorientated. She might have expected help, but she encountered you..”

Czlapski was convicted of the rapes after trial and continues to maintain his innocence.

Defence counsel Rhonda Anderson said: “His offending is related to drug abuse which heightened after he lost his job. It is his desire to return to Poland after serving his sentence,.

“He recognises he has to take steps to address his behaviour.”

Czlapski was placed on the sex offenders’ register.

Rangers to face Slavia Prague in Europa League last 16

Steven Gerrard's side face a trip to the Czech Republic.

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Rangers are eyeing a place in the quarter-finals.

Rangers have been drawn to face Slavia Prague in the last 16 of the Europa League.

The sides were paired together at the draw at UEFA headquarters on Friday.

The tie is their reward for overcoming Royal Antwerp in the last 32. Two goal-laden games against the Belgians saw Steven Gerrard’s side win 9-5 on aggregate.

The first leg will be played in Prague on 11 March, and the second leg will be played a week later in Glasgow.


Slavia qualified for the last 16 by knocking out Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester City. After drawing 0-0 at home, Jindřich Trpišovský’s side were 2-0 winners at the King Power Stadium on Thursday.

Rangers reached the last 16 of the competition last season but were knocked out by Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen.

This year, the Ibrox side came through three rounds of qualifying, beating Galatasaray at the play-off stage, before topping a group including Benfica, Standard Liege and Lech Poznan to reach the knockout rounds.

Scottish Tories ‘will have voice on PM’s union committee’

Douglas Ross has insisted he will be able to input into the new Cabinet committee to make the case for the union.

STV News
Douglas Ross has insisted he will be able to input into the new Cabinet committee.

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross has insisted he will be able to input into the new Cabinet committee set up by the Prime Minister to make the case for the union.

Ross welcomed the establishment of such an “extremely high level committee within Government” after the “troubles” experienced by the Tories’ Union unit

The committee was set up by Boris Johnson after Oliver Lewis left his position as head of Downing Street’s Union unit last week.

Mr Lewis, a veteran of the Brexit Vote Leave campaign, had been in the job for less than a fortnight and had replaced former Scottish MP Luke Graham.

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The committee was set up by Boris Johnson.

Ross will not be on the new committee – which will include the PM, chancellor Rishi Sunak, cabinet office minister Michael Gove and the secretaries of state of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

But he insisted: “I will be feeding into that and the Scottish Conservative voice will undoubtedly be heard.”

Speaking about the Union unit, he said: “You can’t hide that there has been troubles in that unit, but the Prime Minister has acted quite decisively to then move to this Cabinet committee.”

He said the arrangement of the Cabinet committee was similar to one which operated during the Brexit negotiations.


“I am sure with the Prime Minister chairing that and with senior members of the Cabinet as committee members, that will work very well,” Ross added.

Crime fell 38% after first lockdown, survey suggests

A stay at home order was first imposed in Scotland on March 23 last year.

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New research shows crime in Scotland fell by 38% after the start of the first lockdown.

Crime in Scotland fell by 38% after the start of the first lockdown last year, a report suggests.

The UK was placed in lockdown on March 23 as coronavirus began to take hold, with schools and shops closed and a stay at home order put in place.

A survey by the Scottish Government involving 2654 Scots asked if they had been the victim of crime between September 2019 and September 2020.

According to a report published alongside the survey, an estimated 61% (269,000) of recorded crimes occurred before lockdown, compared to 39% (176,000) after – with both periods being relatively the same length.


Justice secretary Humza Yousaf said: “The report suggests that the number of crimes experienced by adults in Scotland fell by around 35% following the start of the first UK lockdown, providing another indication of the profound impact the pandemic and actions taken to stop the virus’s spread has had on Scotland’s population and society.”

Just 9% of those asked said they had been the victim of a crime over the year from September 2019, with 6% saying it happened once and 3% being targeted twice or more.

However, those who were the victims of two or more crimes also accounted for 61% of all crimes, the study said.

The survey also asked for views on policing during the period, with 60% saying they believe officers were doing a “good” or “excellent” job and 74% are satisfied with how the police have done during the pandemic.


Yousaf added: “The findings in relation to public support for policing during the pandemic underlines how well-served Scotland is by its police service.

“The police are carrying out a difficult job in challenging times, keeping people safe, and it is important that they have the support of the communities they serve.”

Two-thirds (67%) of the crimes committed against those asked in the survey were property offences, while 33% were violent crimes.

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