Man appears in court accused of murder of 61-year-old

Alan Ritchie, 61, died after being found seriously injured on March 10.

Court: Terence Morgan has been accused of murdering Alan Ritchie. Google 2020/Police Scotland
Court: Terence Morgan has been accused of murdering Alan Ritchie.

A man has appeared in court charged with murder in Glasgow.

Alan Ritchie was found seriously injured in a flat in Kennishead Avenue at around 10pm on Tuesday, March 10.

The 61-year-old died at the scene a short time later.

Terence Morgan, 31, from Glasgow, appeared at the city’s sheriff court on Tuesday.

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He made no plea and was remanded in custody pending a further court appearance.


Army to set up 80 coronavirus vaccine sites in Scotland

Defence secretary Ben Wallace confirmed the deployment of 98 soldiers over the next 28 days.

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Covid-19: Soldiers will help to identify and prepare vaccination centres.

The British Army will help set up 80 coronavirus vaccination centres throughout Scotland as part of the largest peacetime resilience operation carried out by the armed forces.

Defence secretary Ben Wallace confirmed the deployment of 98 soldiers over the next 28 days to identify and prepare suitable locations for NHS Scotland to administer the Covid-19 vaccine.

Soldiers will organise vaccine delivery to the sites, prepare storage for medicines and equipment, how to register and record patients as well as sorting car parking and traffic flow around the sites.

The troops, most of whom will be from the Leuchars-based Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, will then hand over the running of the sites to the health service.

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Wallace said: “The armed forces are operating across the length and breadth of the country, using their unique skill set to ensure the vaccine reaches the very fingertips of the United Kingdom.

“Our work supporting the new vaccine sites in Scotland complements the extensive preparation and planning the military are already conducting to support the vaccine rollout programme.

“Using the logistical expertise of military personnel, honed in war zones around the world, frees up NHS Scotland and local authorities to continue to focus on administering the initial 900,000 doses provided to Scotland by the UK Government in January.”

The 98 soldiers will be directed by 20 military personnel based in Stirling while a further 32 will offer support alongside the Scottish Government and Scotland’s health boards from St Andrews House in Edinburgh.

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Scottish secretary Alister Jack said: “For us all, vaccines are the light at the end of the tunnel.

“I’m very pleased that the expertise of the British armed forces is helping the Scottish Government get vaccines into arms as quickly as possible.

“The UK Government is supplying and paying for vaccines for the whole of the UK – it is now vital that these doses are administered as soon as possible.

“The UK Government is supporting all parts of the UK during the pandemic. That includes our unprecedented furlough scheme, delivering the bulk of daily testing in Scotland and providing the Scottish Government with an extra £8.6bn to support Scotland’s Covid response.”

Health secretary Matt Hancock said: “Our vaccination programme covers all parts of the UK and I’m proud the armed forces are supporting the largest rollout in our country’s history.

“We have already vaccinated more than 3.5 million people across the UK and this is rapidly increasing every day as more vaccine sites open, providing easier access for people.

“We are making strong progress on our commitment to offer vaccines to all of the most vulnerable people in the top four priority groups by the middle on February.”

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Scotland’s health secretary Jeane Freeman added: “This is the largest mass vaccination programme Scotland has ever undertaken and I am very grateful to the armed forces for their support to help us meet the significant logistical challenges involved, and ensure that by the time sufficient vaccination supplies are in place we have the facility to deliver around 400,000 doses per week by the end of February.

“Vaccination is a vital tool in our work to suppress the virus to the lowest possible level in Scotland but other measures including testing remain absolutely vital, which is why it is so essential people continue to follow the restrictions currently in place while vaccine delivery is rolled out across the country.”

Travel corridors close and negative test required before entry

All passengers arriving in Scotland from overseas are now required to self-isolate for ten days as new rules come into effect.

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UK travel corridors closed at 4am on Monday morning.

Passengers arriving in Scotland from overseas are now required to self-isolate for ten days.

All UK travel corridors, which allowed arrivals from some countries to avoid quarantine, were closed at 4am on Monday morning until further notice.

Passengers arriving in the country from outside the Common Travel Area by boat, train or plane must also have proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken no more than three days before the scheduled time of departure.

The closure comes as a ban on travellers from South America and Portugal came into force on Friday over concerns about a new variant of coronavirus identified in Brazil.

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Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said: “International travel has played a key role in previous waves of coronavirus and is a significant risk to our efforts to suppress the virus to the lowest possible level.

“It is crucial we take the right steps to prevent importing new strains that can increase transmission or undermine the vaccine in Scotland. 

“Travel into or out of Scotland is currently illegal and that will remain the case while we work to suppress the new strain of Covid-19. It remains the case that any travel must be for an essential reason.”

Travellers will need to present proof of a negative test result to their carrier on boarding, while the UK Border Force will conduct spot checks on arrivals.

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New arrivals who flout the rules will face a minimum £500 fine while the operator who transported them will also be fined.

There are limited exemptions, including hauliers, young children, train crew and people arriving from countries which do not have the infrastructure for testing.

New £1500 grant for taxi and private hire drivers affected by Covid

Scotland’s local authorities will directly approach an estimated 38,000 drivers inviting them to claim the funding.

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Funding: A new grant will be launched this week for taxi and private hire drivers.

A new grant will be launched this week for taxi and private hire drivers affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Scotland’s local authorities will directly approach an estimated 38,000 drivers inviting them to claim the £1500 funding to help with their fixed costs.

Drivers must be licensed for the period October 9, 2020 to at least January 31 this year to be eligible.

The grant comes on top of support from other funding for loss of income available from the Scottish Government’s Covid-19 Public Transport Mitigation Fund and the UK Government’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

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Finance secretary Kate Forbes said: “We know how difficult this pandemic has been for taxi drivers and their families.

“They’ve truly gone the extra mile, continuing to provide a vital service for key workers and vulnerable individuals throughout the lockdown and beyond.

“Following the introduction of tighter regulations at Christmas, I have trebled the budget originally announced for this fund to £57m, enough to provide grants of £1500 to all of Scotland’s 38,000 taxi and private hire drivers.

“It will help to support the taxi trade by augmenting existing support and assisting drivers in meeting fixed costs including licence plate fees, rental fees and insurance payments for taxis not on the road.”


Two specialist sight loss care homes at risk of closure

Sight Scotland are proposing to close Jenny's Well in Paisley and Braeside House in Edinburgh.

© Google Maps 2020
Braeside House in Edinburgh.

Two specialist care homes that support people with sight loss are set to shut, with bosses citing “unsustainable financial losses”.

Sight Scotland chiefs have said they are proposing to close Jenny’s Well, a state-of-the-art care home in Paisley, as well as the charity’s other home – Braeside House in Edinburgh.

It is understood dozens of jobs are now under threat and staff are currently going through a consultation process.

Jenny’s Well opened its doors in 2017 and was built alongside the Hawkhead Centre for visually impaired veterans as part of a £17m groundbreaking project.

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But Sight Scotland has been forced to delve into the charity’s own reserves to keep the specialist facility going during the coronavirus pandemic.

During 2019/20, the Hawkhead Road home reported a deficit of £730,000, and bosses have now been told there is little chance of transforming its fortunes following the devastating impact of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Mark O’Donnell, chief executive of Sight Scotland, said: “It is with great sadness we have announced we are proposing to potentially close our two care homes for older people, Jenny’s Well in Paisley and Braeside House in Edinburgh.

“An increasingly difficult financial environment for care homes has meant we have had to subsidise heavily our older people’s care homes from our charitable reserves to a level that is no longer sustainable.

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“Jenny’s Well reported a financial deficit of £730,000 for the year ending 2019/20. The pandemic has thrown these issues into sharp relief. 

“We have sought independent expert advice from different sources, all of which has sadly concluded there is little realistic prospect of turning this around.

“We are engaging in a consultation process with affected staff and will be supporting the residents and their families in their transition to alternative care arrangements. 

“We will continue to provide care to residents until alternative provision has been identified for them, and we will be working closely with health and social care partnerships during this process.”

Story by local democracy reporter Stephanie Brawn

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Jobs and exports ‘grow in Scotland’s pharmaceutical sector’

Figures from the University of Strathclyde’s Fraser of Allander Institute report suggest the industry is worth £1.8bn.

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Report: Pharmaceutical industry worth £1.8bn.

Employment and exports have continued to grow in Scotland’s pharmaceutical sector, according to a new report.

Figures from the University of Strathclyde’s Fraser of Allander Institute report suggest the industry is worth £1.8bn, almost 6% higher than when the last major review took place in 2017.

It indicates the industry now exports £575m worth of manufactured goods, up from the £550m also reported in 2017.

Across Scotland there are currently around 5600 people directly employed by pharmaceutical companies with the majority of jobs in North Ayrshire, the Highlands and Dundee.

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The annual average salary of £35,600 is described by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) Scotland as “significantly higher than Scotland’s annual median income of £24,486”.

It also marks a 9% increase on the 5130 full-time equivalent employees reported in 2018.

Alison Culpan, ABPI Scotland director, said: “In a year that has seen our companies stepping up and starting to lead us out of the pandemic with the vital vaccines we need, I am proud that the pharmaceutical industry continues to thrive in Scotland.

“Scotland’s industry is stronger today than it was three years ago with more people employed in good jobs, more being spent on research and development, and exports topping half a billion pounds.

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“It is important that the Scottish Government is ambitious and works with us to nurture and promote a sector which is not only exporting Scottish excellence around the world but delivering for the health of people here in Scotland.”

Mairi Spowage, Fraser of Allander Institute deputy director, also said: “Our economic analysis shows that the industry continues to grow in Scotland with direct employment, exports and GVA increasing.

“The contribution of the sector extends beyond the activities of pharmaceutical companies themselves, with their output supporting employment and income right across the country including areas of historically high unemployment and deprivation.”

Coronavirus: 1341 new cases as hospital patients rise overnight

According to NHS boards across Scotland, 1918 people are currently in hospital with confirmed or suspected Covid-19.

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Covid-19: The fight to stop the spread of the deadly virus goes on.

More people are now in hospital with coronavirus than at any time during the pandemic despite new infections falling to the lowest level in almost three weeks.

A further 1341 cases of coronavirus have been recorded in Scotland over the past 24 hours, the Scottish Government confirmed.

The number of new infections is 412 below the 1753 announced on Saturday and is the lowest since December 28 – although there tend to be fewer cases recorded at the weekend.

There have been no further deaths reported.

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Total confirmed cases of the virus has risen to 162,333 since the start of the pandemic.

The daily test positivity rate is 9.5%, up from the 8.4% reported on Saturday.

Of the new cases reported on Sunday, 412 are in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde region, 226 are in Lanarkshire, 131 are in Grampian, 125 are in Ayrshire and Arran, and 123 are in Lothian.

The rest of the cases are spread out across seven other health board areas.

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The number of patients with recently confirmed coronavirus continues to reach record levels – increasing daily since Christmas Day, when there were 973 people in hospital.

According to NHS boards across Scotland, 1918 people are currently in hospital with confirmed or suspected Covid-19 – an increase of 55 overnight. Out of those, 147 patients are in intensive care.

The death toll of those who had tested positive stands at 5305, however weekly figures on suspected Covid-19 deaths recorded by National Records of Scotland suggest the most up-to-date total is at least 7074.


Plans for new £33.8m leisure-led development revealed

The proposal includes retail, a hotel, cabins and a museum telling the story of transport and vehicles over the last century.

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Development: A proposal of application notice has been submitted to Perth and Kinross Council.

Plans for a new £33.8m leisure-led development in Perthshire have been revealed.

The West Kinfauns proposal from Morris Leslie Ltd aims to include retail, a four-star hotel, lodge-style cabins and a museum telling the story of transport and vehicles over the last century.

A proposal of application notice has been submitted to Perth and Kinross Council with an online community consultation to be held on Tuesday, March 16 between 3pm and 7pm.

The development would incorporate a park and ride also planned for the site, which already has planning consent, if progressed by the local authority.

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Morris Leslie, chairman of the plant machinery company which has its headquarters in the area, said: “This exciting £33.8m development provides the perfect opportunity to maximise the potential of the location and draw tourism to the area on a local and national basis.

“Well-connected to the surrounding road network, including the A90, this premium destination will provide a gateway to Perth, to the surrounding area and beyond.

“The proposed scheme is of a scale that can support additional development and is ideally placed in terms of transport connection.

“It is also in a beautiful location with wonderful views.”

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As part of the plans, the hotel from “an internationally recognised brand” would include 120-150 guest rooms over four storeys with views of the River Tay.

Perth and Kinross Council leader Murray Lyle said: “This leisure-led development has the potential to make an exciting contribution to the local economy.

“These plans, although at an early stage, are a significant vote of confidence in Perth and Kinross and our ambitious plans for the area, which include the redevelopment of Perth City Hall to house the Stone of Destiny and the creation of the Cross Tay Link Road.”


Body found in park in search for missing 16-year-old boy

A search was launched for Santino Hogan after he failed to return home on Friday night.

Police Scotland
Police: Santino Hogan disappeared on Friday night.

A body has been found in the search for a missing 16-year-old boy in Perthshire.

Santino Hogan, known as Sonny, was last seen leaving his house in Main Street, Glenfarg, at around 6pm on Friday.

Specialist officers and police dogs joined in the search on Sunday.

At around 2pm, a body was found in a park in Glenfarg.

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Formal identification is yet to take place, however it is believed to be the teenager. His family has been made aware.

The death is not being treated as suspicious.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Around 2pm on Sunday, January 17, the body of a male was found in a park in Glenfarg.

“The death is not being treated as suspicious and a report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.

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“Formal identification is yet to take place however it is believed to be 16-year-old Santino Hogan who had been reported missing from his home in Glenfarg. 

“His family have been made aware.”


Monica Lennon joins Anas Sarwar in Scottish Labour leadership race

The central Scotland MSP and party health spokeswoman hopes to succeed Richard Leonard.

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Scottish Labour: Monica Lennon hopes to succeed Richard Leonard as the party's leader.

Monica Lennon has confirmed her bid to succeed Richard Leonard as the next Scottish Labour leader, joining Anas Sarwar in the race.

The central Scotland MSP and party health spokeswoman is vying to replace Leonard, who announced on Thursday he would step down from the role he has held since 2017.

It triggers a contest after Sarwar, Scottish Labour’s constitution spokesman, announced his intention to run again having lost out to Leonard for leadership last time around.

Lennon said: “Following extensive discussions with party members, I have decided to put my name forward to lead the Scottish Labour Party.

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“This is an important time for our country and it is vital that Scottish Labour continues to play a positive and constructive role during the pandemic response.

“The Scottish Parliament election will be a key moment in our democracy, when we decide what a Covid-19 recovery should look like.

“Scottish Labour Party members deserve to have their say about the best way to take forward our vision for a fairer and more equal Scotland.”

Sarwar set out his stall to replace Leonard on Saturday, saying the country “needs political leadership that will bring people together” and that he wants “to rebuild Scottish Labour, and then rebuild Scotland”.

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In a column for the Observer online, the Glasgow MSP wrote: “Over the past few years, I have gained a new perspective on our politics and realised that the things we argue about mean little to people’s lives.

“We spend too much time highlighting our differences, rather than focusing on what unites us.

“I firmly believe we cannot go back to society as it was before the pandemic – insecure work, hollowed-out public services, an underfunded health service, and the constant focus on another independence referendum when there’s far more important things we need to be dealing with.

“Scottish Labour can compete again if we offer a positive alternative – a plan to heal our wounds, to reunite our people and to rebuild our country.”

On Saturday, the party’s executive agreed to a condensed timescale for any contest with the Holyrood elections less than four months away.

The last Scottish Labour leadership contest in 2017 – when Leonard defeated Sarwar – took two-and-a-half months.

A deadline of midnight on Sunday was set for candidates to declare their intention to run and they require support from at least four of the party’s MSPs or its sole Scottish MP by midday on the following Tuesday to be formally nominated.

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Party members and affiliated supporters will be able to cast their votes from February 9 until ballots close on February 26 with the new leader to be announced the following day.


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