Storm Ciara: Severe gale-force winds set to pummel Scotland

Various yellow weather warnings for wind, rain and snow have been put in place from Saturday until Tuesday.

Sea spray: Yellow weather warnings for wind, rain and snow have been put in place. Pixabay
Sea spray: Yellow weather warnings for wind, rain and snow have been put in place.

Storm Ciara is set to cause havoc this weekend as severe gale-force winds pummel the country.

Various yellow weather warnings for wind, rain and snow have been put in place from Saturday until Tuesday.

Strong winds will blow across Scotland from Saturday afternoon, while heavy rain is expected to hit Kelso in the Scottish Borders all the way to Dumfries on the west coast.

The Met Office is warning to expect travel delays by road, rail and ferry.

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On Saturday, a number of CalMac ferry crossings were cancelled.

At around 3pm, Traffic Scotland advised that the Dornoch Bridge and Tay Road Bridge had been closed to high-sided vehicles.

Double-decker buses have also been prohibited from travelling across the Forth Road Bridge.

The Met office also warned that short-term loss of power “is likely” and there is danger of flooding to homes and businesses.

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Some coastal routes and sea fronts could also be battered by spray and large waves.

On Monday, heavy snow and strong winds will combine to cause disruption. The warning has been put in place from Dumfries and Galloway up to Glasgow, Edinburgh, Perth and the Highlands.

As well as delays and cancellations to rail and air travel, road users could be in danger of becoming stranded.

STV meteorologist Sean Batty said: “While we’ve been enjoying a lovely quiet few days here in Scotland, a winter storm in the north east states of the US and eastern Canada has been dumping huge amounts of snow.

“It’s this weather system, which as of Friday lunchtime is just over 3000 miles to the west of us, which will cross the Atlantic on Saturday and rapidly deepen to become Storm Ciara.

“At this stage we’re still assessing the exact track of the storm system on Sunday, but at this stage it looks like the worst of the winds for us will be across central and southern parts of Scotland, although this could shift.”

Sean said to expect winds gusting 55-60mph. Gusts of 70mph could be experienced in the Inner Hebrides, coastal Argyll, Inverclyde and Ayrshire.

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He added: “We should also cater for a small risk of gusts up to 80mph in the most exposed parts of Argyll, Arran and Inner Hebrides.

“We’re also monitoring the possibility of something called a sting jet, which some models have suggested could occur.

“These have the potential to bring a short burst of even stronger winds to a small area, but are difficult to forecast at any great lead time, but it will be something watched for on Sunday.”

Sean warned that the snow and strong winds could lead to “considerable drifts”.

He said: “Snow will also be an issue in some areas after the passage of Ciara. By Tuesday morning there could be a few centimetres of snow above 150 metres and as much as 10cm above 300 metres.

“It’s likely the snow gates on some of the higher roads will be closed at times into early next week, especially in the west of the country.

“Details on this storm system could change at short notice and you should keep up to date throughout the weekend.”

Stay safe in a storm

Before the storm:

  • Secure loose objects such as ladders, garden furniture or anything else that could be blown into windows and other glazing and break them.
  • Close and securely fasten doors and windows, particularly those on the windward side of the house, and especially large doors such as those on garages.
  • Park vehicles in a garage, if available; otherwise keep them clear of buildings, trees, walls and fences.
  • Close and secure loft trapdoors with bolts.
  • If the house is fitted with storm shutters over the windows then ensure that these are closed and fastened.
  • If chimney stacks are tall and in poor condition, move beds away from areas directly below them.

During the storm:

  • Stay indoors as much as possible.
  • If you do go out, try not to walk or shelter close to buildings and trees.
  • Keep away from the sheltered side of boundary walls and fences – if these structures fail, they will collapse on this side.
  • Do not go outside to repair damage while the storm is in progress.
  • If possible, enter and leave your house through doors in the sheltered side, closing them behind you.
  • Open internal doors only as needed, and close them behind you.
  • Take care when driving on exposed routes such as bridges, or high open roads, delay your journey or find alternative routes if possible.
  • Slow down and be aware of side winds, particular care should be taken if you are towing or are a high-sided vehicle.
  • Do not drive unless your journey is really necessary.

After the storm:

  • Be careful not to touch any electrical/telephone cables that have been blown down or are still hanging.
  • Do not walk too close to walls, buildings and trees as they could have been weakened.
  • Make sure that any vulnerable neighbours or relatives are safe and help them make arrangements for any repairs.

‘Racist and sectarian’ singing at Orange marches condemned by police

Arrests made as chief superintendent says some participants intent on 'causing offence and stirring up hatred'.

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Outbreaks of “racist and sectarian singing” by people taking part in Orange Order processions through Glasgow have been condemned by police.

Officers made several arrests as thousands of people marched in the city on Saturday.

Crowds lined streets in the city centre for the marches, including on George Street and West George Street, and there was a large police presence at Glasgow Green where members of the parades gathered in the afternoon.

This year marks the 200th anniversary of Orange parades in the city and follows the cancellation of the biggest annual event – commemorating the Battle of the Boyne – the past two years as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Chief superintendent Mark Sutherland, divisional commander for Greater Glasgow, said some participants were intent on “causing offence and stirring up hatred by singing unacceptable sectarian and racist songs”.

He said: “We are aware that on a number of occasions today there have been outbreaks of racist and sectarian singing by some of those attending to support the Orange Order processions, this is utterly unacceptable and we completely condemn this behaviour.

“Where possible, we are seeking to take action against those intent on causing harm and dividing our communities, we have already made arrests in connection with various offences and will continue to do so where required. With large crowds gathering today, our main priority has been public safety and to ensure minimum disruption to the wider public.

“Once again, we see a number of people intent in causing offence and stirring up hatred by singing unacceptable sectarian and racist songs, I want to again condemn this behaviour in the strongest possible terms.

“It is clear that sectarianism remains a serious, ongoing problem in Scotland and whilst policing has an important role in tackling this type of behaviour, this is a collective problem and needs to be addressed in a collective, collaborative manner.”

Earlier this week, Glasgow’s police chief warned the force will not tolerate “offensive behaviour, including hate crimes, drunkenness and disorder” and urged the “large majority” who behave in the “right way” to influence those around them.

Jim McHarg, Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland, told STV News: “As per normal, our members behave in the right manner and always have done and always will do.

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“Everyone in the parade shows respect to every part of the community and all we ask for is the people who come along to support understand that, and indeed the people who object to our existence – that they respect us.”

But the Church of Scotland took to Twitter as the marches took place to condemn anti-Catholic bigotry.

It said: “The Church of Scotland opposes anti-Catholic bigotry and sectarianism. We have a very close working relationship with the Roman Catholic Church.

“Over the years we have worked together to tackle sectarianism and support one another.

“We speak to leaders in the Roman Catholic Church every week and greatly appreciate the friendship that exists between our churches and our communities.”

Up to 800 police officers were deployed to manage Saturday’s event, which saw marches proceed through the city centre and past Catholic churches.

Following an assault on a Catholic priest in July 2018, marches were re-routed to avoid passing St Alphonsus church on London Road in 2019.

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Members of Call It Out, a campaign group that opposes anti-Irish and anti-Catholic bigotry, were spotted holding “peaceful vigils” outside churches on the routes.

A spokeswoman for the group said: “We are calling on all Glasgow citizens, trade unionists, anti-racists, equality campaigners and those opposed to egregious manifestations of anti-Catholic hatred to join us in peaceful protest in response to the imposition of these marches by anti-Catholic organisations.”

Man dies in paragliding crash as woman suffers serious injuries

The 54-year-old lost his life in the collision near Loch Na Gainmhich by the A894 shortly before 4:45pm on Saturday.

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Man dies in paragliding incident.

A man has died following a paragliding crash in the Highlands.

The 54-year-old lost his life in the collision near Loch Na Gainmhich by the A894 shortly before 4:45pm on Saturday.

Police also confirmed a woman has been left seriously injured as a result of the crash.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “We can confirm that a 54-year-old man has died and a woman has been seriously injured following a collision involving two paramotors yesterday afternoon.

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“Police were informed about the incident near Loch Na Gainmhich by the A894 shortly before 4:45pm and enquiries to establish the full circumstances are ongoing.

“The next of kin of those involved have been informed.”


Glasgow’s Cop26 ‘will go ahead in person despite Covid pressures’

Cop26 president Alok Sharma has said he is confident the conference will go ahead despite rising Covid cases in Scotland.

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Sharma said he is confident the talks will go ahead as planned.

Cop26 president Alok Sharma has said he is confident the Glasgow conference will go ahead in person despite rising Covid cases in Scotland.

Less than a month before the environmental conference is due to take place, the Scottish Government has officially requested help from the army to support Scotland’s ambulance service amid deteriorating response times.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the crisis in the ambulance service is “largely caused by Covid pressure”.

Sharma told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show that he is confident the talks will go ahead as planned.

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“I am confident that we are going to have a physical Cop26, we are planning for that,” he said.

“What’s vitally important is that the people who are coming are safe but also that the people of Glasgow are safe.”

He added: “I am confident it’s going to be a safe event.”

Delegates attending the conference who have not yet received their Covid jabs have also been offered to be vaccinated, Sharma added.

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When pressed about how he is going to handle the thousands of activists planning to protest during Cop26, Sharma said: “People have the right to protest, but they should do it in a way that shouldn’t disrupt other people’s lives.”


Why has your shopping been getting more expensive?

Economics commentator tells Scotland Tonight why the cost of living has surged over the past year.

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The cost of living surged 3.2% over the past year – the sharpest increase since records began in 1997.

Economics commentator Maurice Smith appeared on STV current affairs show Scotland Tonight to explain why prices have gone up and what it means for you.

Here’s what he had to say.

Scotland Tonight: A lot of this inflation rise has been put down to last summer’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme, hasn’t it?

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Maurice Smith: It has and if you compare prices a year ago, when they were effectively being subsidised in restaurants and bars by the Treasury in an attempt to revive the industry, of course prices today, with no subsidy, are going to be a lot higher.

It’s not the only reason for inflation being at the level it is today, but it’s quite a strong reason and it’s certainly the main reason related to the pandemic.

ST: What are the other reasons?

MS: Generally we’re seeing almost a perfect storm of price rises and energy price rises that haven’t fully taken effect yet.

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The rising cost of fuel – we’ve heard a lot recently about the recovery in the oil price – means higher prices for petrol and diesel at the pump, and food prices generally are also rising.

The main reason in the restaurant trade for increases is that food prices and wage costs are both on the increase.

ST: Is your shopping going to get more and more expensive in the coming weeks and months?

MS: In the short to medium term, we’re going to feel that pain when we’re shopping or when we’re paying household bills and so on.

Because these rises are coming, they haven’t taken full effect yet, especially in the energy sector. So, yes, certainly over the coming months into the winter we can expect prices to rise and the reasons for those rises aren’t going to go away quickly.

ST: What do you think inflation is going to look like towards the end of this year?

MS: The general sort of prognosis is that inflation will continue to rise. It could even reach 4% by the end of the calendar year.

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The predictions are, and the UK Government will be hoping these hold true, that we will turn a corner during 2022, and that some of the causes of the price rises, such as uncertainty and food supply, will diminish, and therefore inflation will get back to what we know as normal.

We have lived with low inflation for many years now and low interest rates, and it’s been very good and stable, but the combination of Brexit, Covid and other factors has really created the perfect storm.

ST: Will this affect interest rates?

MS: I wouldn’t expect it to affect interest rates right now. If we had inflation continuing to press for quarter after quarter, then you would see great pressure on the Bank of England to push up interest rates.

We’ve been very fortunate in that interest rates have been so low for so long that it would take only a small increase perhaps to tackle the inflation problem, but it’s always a concern to the bank, who don’t want to push up interest rates too high.


Bat signal lights up Glasgow to celebrate Dark Knight on Batman Day

The stunt took place in the city's George Square on Saturday night as well as several other locations across the UK.

Press Release via Stratus Imagery
The stunt took place in the city's George Square on Saturday night.

The Dark Knight has returned to Glasgow to light up the City Chambers with the Bat signal in honour of Batman Day 2021.

The stunt took place in the city’s George Square on Saturday night as well as several other locations across the UK.

Carl Taylor via Carl Taylor
Bat signal in Glasgow on Saturday.

The signal also appeared on the Odeon Luxe in London’s Leicester Square as well as the DC inspired restaurant Park Row. It also lit up St George’s Hall in Liverpool. 

The locations were chosen for their Batman connections – all three cities have all been used as prominent filming locations for the much anticipated movie The Batman, which will be released in 2022.

Press Release via Stratus Imagery
It also lit up St George’s Hall in Liverpool.
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Glasgow was also used as a filming location for The Flash – also set for a 2022 release – which sees Michael Keaton reprise his role as the Defender of Gotham.

Lucky fans who followed the signal received copies of Batman:The World Comic or a Batman Anthology DVD collection.


Man in hospital after electric scooter struck by car in hit and run

Police are appealing for information following the crash which took place on Gorgie Road at around 8.20pm on Saturday.

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The male rider of the electric scooter was taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

A man has been taken to hospital after his electric scooter was struck by a car in a hit and run in Edinburgh.

Police are appealing for information following the crash which took place on Gorgie Road at around 8.20pm on Saturday.

The male rider of the electric scooter was taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary for treatment.

The car involved failed to stop at the scene and officers are appealing for witnesses or any information to help trace it.

Detectives are describing the car as being blue or silver in colour.

Constable Neill Sage, from the Edinburgh Road Policing Unit, said: “We are carrying out extensive enquiries to establish the full circumstances of this incident and are keen to trace the driver of the car involved.

“If you witnessed the crash, or have any possible dashcam footage from the Gorgie Road area last night, please call police on 101, quoting incident 3709.”


Man charged after disturbance in restaurant leads to hospital death

The 44-year-old was taken to Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy after a disturbance at a premises in Inverkeithing.

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A 26-year-old has been arrested and charged in connection with the death.

A man has been charged in connection with the death of a man who was injured in a Fife restaurant.

Police Scotland said officers were called after a 44-year-old man was seriously injured at the premises on Inverkeithing’s High Street on Friday afternoon.

He was taken by ambulance to the Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy where he died a short time later.

A 26-year-old man has now been arrested and charged in connection with the death.

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He is due to appear at Dunfermline Sheriff Court on Monday.

Police said they are not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident.


Truss defends ‘hard-headed’ security pact with US and Australia

The UK's new foreign secretary said said the agreement showed Britain’s readiness to be 'hard-headed' in defence of its interests.

UK Government via Website
Truss was the big winner in Boris Johnson's Cabinet reshuffle.

The UK’s new foreign secretary Liz Truss has launched a strong defence of the security pact with the US and Australia amid a deepening diplomatic row with France.

Truss said the agreement – which will see the UK and US co-operate to develop a new fleet of nuclear-powered submarines for the Australian navy – showed Britain’s readiness to be “hard-headed” in defence of its interests.

The deal has infuriated Paris after the Australians announced they were pulling out of a £30bn agreement with the French to supply it with less-capable conventionally-powered diesel-electric vessels.

Writing in The Sunday Telegraph, Truss, who was the big winner in Boris Johnson’s Cabinet reshuffle, made no mention of the the diplomatic stand-off with the French.

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Earlier, however, a French minister scornfully referred to the UK as the “junior partner” in the trilateral agreement – known as Aukus- and accused it of returning to hide in the “American lap”.

In her article, Truss said the agreement, widely seen as a counter to increasing Chinese military assertiveness in the region, underlined the UK’s commitment to the Indo-Pacific.

She said Britain would always be a “fierce champion” of freedom and free enterprise around the world.

“But freedoms need to be defended, so we are also building strong security ties around the world,” she wrote.

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“That is why last week the Prime Minister announced, alongside our friends President Biden and Prime Minister Morrison, the creation of a new security partnership called Aukus.

“It shows our readiness to be hard-headed in defending our interests and challenging unfair practices and malign acts.”

President Emmanuel Macron reacted to the pact by ordering the recall of the French ambassadors to Washington and Canberra – a move virtually unprecedented among such close allies.

There was, was however, no similar order to return to Paris for the French envoy to London.

But in a series of acid-tongued interviews with French television, Europe Minister Clement Beaune suggested it was because the UK was the “junior partner” which had accepted its “vassalisation” by the US.

“Our British friends explained to us they were leaving the EU to create Global Britain. We can see that this is a return into the American lap and a form of accepted vassalisation,” he said.

“The UK is clearly trying to find its feet, perhaps there was a lack of thought about the strategic future. Today they are hiding in the American fold. I hope that will not be their policy for the decades to come.”

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He later added: “We see through this partnership, this strategic alliance and after the Kabul crisis, that Global Britain seems to be more about a US junior partner than working with different allies.”

In the Commons on Thursday, Boris Johnson sought to smooth over the differences, insisting relations with France remained “rock solid” while Downing Street described Paris as “a close ally and friend” of the UK.

Nevertheless, the Prime Minister also made clear he expected the agreement to bring “hundreds” of highly-skilled jobs to Britain – jobs which may well have otherwise gone to France.

The French were reportedly furious they had not only lost the contract, but were given just a few hours’ notice of the new agreement ahead of what are expected to be a tough election year for Macron.

French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said it was a “stab in the back” and constituted “unacceptable behaviour between allies and partners”.

In an interview with France 2 television, Mr Le Drian accused Australia and the US of “duplicity, disdain and lies” and said the recalling of France’s ambassadors “signifies the force of the crisis today”.

He said allies “don’t treat each other with such brutality, such unpredictability, a major partner like France … So there really is a crisis”.

The pact between the UK, US and Australia has been widely seen as an attempt to counter the growing military assertiveness of China in the Indo-Pacific region.

Beijing swiftly denounced the initiative as “extremely irresponsible” and a threat to regional peace and stability.

Johnson, however, said it was not intended as an “adversarial” move against China or any other power.


Scotland records another 27 Covid deaths and 6116 new cases

Scottish Government daily figures show almost 100 people are receiving intensive care in hospital.

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Coronavirus: Another 27 deaths have been recorded in past 24 hours.

A total of 27 new coronavirus-linked deaths have been recorded in Scotland, according to the latest Government figures.

The data shows a total of 6116 people tested positive for the virus in the last 48 hours.

The Scottish Government said Saturday’s case numbers may be higher than normal due to a backlog of data being processed following technical issues at Public Health Scotland on Thursday.

The latest figures mean the daily positivity rate currently stands at 9.0%.

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The death toll under the daily measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – is now 8,376.

A total of 99 people were in intensive care on Friday with recently confirmed Covid-19, up 12 from the day before, and 1052 Covid patients were in hospital overall, 15 more than the previous day.

So far, 4,151,735 people have received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccination and 3,802,183 have received their second dose.

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