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Police search for 14-year-old girl missing for five days

Jessica McMurray was last seen at McDonalds on Milton Road in Kirkintilloch on Sunday.

Search: Jessica McMurray
Search: Jessica McMurray

Police are searching for a 14-year-old girl who has been missing for five days.

Jessica McMurray was last seen at McDonalds on Milton Road in Kirkintilloch, East Dunbartonshire, on Sunday.

Concern is growing for the safety of the teenager, who is known to frequent Hamilton and Glasgow city centre.

Police have urged anyone who knows of her whereabouts to get in touch with them.

Jessica is described as white, 5ft in height and of a slim build with long brown hair.

When last seen, she was wearing a black jacket, grey North Face jumper and black leggings.

Inspector Martin McKendrick said: “As time goes by we are becoming increasingly concerned for Jessica’s safety.

“She is known to frequent the Hamilton and the city centre area of Glasgow.

“Our officers are carrying out a number of enquiries in a bid to trace her.

“If Jessica is reading this, I would ask her to please get in touch with police to let us know that she is safe.”

If you have any information contact police on 101.


Coronavirus: Scots travellers given self-isolation advice

New guidance affects people who have returned home since February 19 without symptoms.

Coronavirus was first detected in China but has spread widely in recent weeks.

Travellers who have returned to Scotland from coronavirus hotspots within the last week are being told to isolate themselves for up to 14 days.

New guidance affects people who have arrived back from Iran, parts of northern Italy and South Korea, and Hubei province in China since February 19.

They are being told to stay indoors and avoid contact with other people, even if they do not have symptoms, and phone their GP or NHS24 on 111 out of hours.

It comes after a hotel in Tenerife popular with Scots holidaymakers was locked down after a visiting Italian doctor tested positive for the disease.

For South Korea, anyone who visited the two cities at the centre of the outbreak, Daegu and Cheongdo, is advised to self-isolate for 14 days, even if they do not have symptoms.

For Iran, all returning travellers are requested to self-isolate, even if they do not have symptoms.

For northern Italy, all travellers returning from specific lockdown areas identified by the Italian government are advised to self-isolate.

Any other travellers returning from parts of Italy north of Pisa, Florence and Rimini in the past week are asked to monitor their health, and self-isolate if they develop symptoms.

Anyone who has travelled to the UK from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam is also now advised to monitor their health, and isolate themselves if they develop symptoms.

As of Tuesday afternoon, none of the 412 tests for coronavirus in Scotland have returned positive.

The new travel advice has been agreed by the four UK chief medical officers (CMOs).

Scotland’s chief medical officer Dr Catherine Calderwood said: “Scotland remains well-equipped to deal with any positive cases of coronavirus.

“While all tests here have so far been negative, we have established plans in place to ensure a rapid response in the event of a confirmed case.

“However, early detection of any positive cases will be vital, to contain the virus and stop it spreading.

“That’s why it’s vital people stay up to date with the latest health and travel advice, and take the same basic precautions they would to avoid colds or influenza, such as washing hands and covering their nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.”

Existing advice from the four UK CMOs remains in place for anyone who has travelled to the UK in the last 14 days from mainland China, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia or Macau to stay indoors and call NHS 24 (111) if they are experiencing cough or fever or shortness of breath, even if symptoms are mild.

Sturgeon chairs resilience meeting on coronavirus

Health minister Jeane Freeman attended and said those present are ‘expecting an outbreak’.

First Minister: Nicola Sturgeon chaired a resilience meeting.

Nicola Sturgeon has chaired a Scottish Government resilience meeting as preparations for a coronavirus outbreak in Scotland accelerate.

The First Minister led the meeting to discuss preparedness in Scotland, following outbreaks in northern Italy and elsewhere.

Health minister Jeane Freeman was among those in attendance and said those present are “expecting an outbreak and are working hard to ensure we have plans in place to contain it as best we can”.

Her comments came after Scotland’s chief medical officer said people could be banned from gathering in large numbers to contain the spread of the virus, known as Covid-19, if it hits Scotland.

As of Tuesday afternoon, 412 people had been tested for the virus in Scotland, and all returned negative results.

Across the UK, 13 people have been confirmed to have the virus from 6795 patients tested.

Ms Freeman said: “Though the risk to individuals remains low, and all test results have come back negative so far, the chief medical officer has advised that it is highly likely that we will see a positive case in Scotland as coronavirus continues to spread.

“We are expecting an outbreak and are working hard to ensure we have plans in place to contain it as best we can. The NHS and Health Protection Scotland have an established plan to respond to anyone who becomes unwell.

“Scotland is well-prepared for a significant outbreak of coronavirus but there is currently no treatment or vaccine. Therefore, preventing the spread of any outbreak will be vital, and the Scottish Government is working closely with NHS Scotland and Health Protection Scotland to ensure this.

“We have a proven track record of dealing with challenging health issues and have public health and infectious disease experts working intensively on these issues.

“The public also has a vital role to play in helping us contain any outbreak by following the latest health and travel advice, and following basic hygiene precautions, such as washing hands and covering their nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.”

Scotland’s chief medical officer Catherine Calderwood said the Government and NHS were working on “containment first” and then – if coronavirus was discovered in this country – a range of measures to try to limit the number of people infected.

“If we do have a cluster, as has happened in Italy, then we move into delaying the spread,” she said.

“Delaying the spread would mean some of the measures that have happened already in Italy – stopping people coming together in large groups so that one or a few individuals do not spread to many, many more around them.”

In Italy, Serie A football matches are being played behind closed doors, church services in the affected regions have been cancelled and Milan’s famous opera house, La Scala, has temporarily shut.

China’s outbreak could hit its peak by the end of February, Dr Calderwood suggested, but a European outbreak could last “several months”.

She added: “We have been planning now for many weeks for the inevitability of any case in Scotland and that preparedness has started with our NHS, but we now have stepped up our Scottish Government resilience unit so that we have plans put in place for across all of our country beyond our healthcare system.”

On Tuesday morning, the UK’s health secretary Matt Hancock said official advice has been changed to say those who have been to northern Italy – north of Pisa – should self-isolate if they have flu-like symptoms.

In Italy, 229 people have tested positive for the virus and seven have died, with police manning checkpoints around a dozen quarantined northern towns.

Health regulations in Scotland have been updated, requiring doctors to inform health boards about any cases of the disease.


Warning as snow showers get set to sweep into Scotland

A yellow weather warning has been put in place between 8pm on Tuesday and 10am on Wednesday.

Pixabay
Snow: The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning.

Wintry showers are expected to sweep into Scotland.

A yellow weather warning has been put in place between 8pm on Tuesday and 10am on Wednesday.

The Met Office said the snow and icy stretches will likely bring travel disruption.

Those heading out on foot are also being warned to beware of untreated roads, pavements and cycle paths.

The warning has been issued across the west coast of the country, right up to the Highlands and Shetland Islands.

STV meteorologist Sean Batty said: “We’ve had a real wintry mix over the last couple of days with rain, sleet, snow and hail, although the main settling snow has been at higher levels.

“On Wednesday there is an increased risk that low level areas could see some lying snow as even colder air comes in from the west.

“On Tuesday afternoon a line of showers started developing a few hundred miles to our west within that colder pool of air and is on track to drift into western parts of the country early Wednesday.

“This is likely to fall as sleet and wet snow across the Hebrides and west coast, but turn more to snow at lower levels across mainland Argyll, Highlands, Renfrewshire, Dunbartonshire, Ayrshire and around Glasgow.”

There’s a risk of a few centimetres lying to low levels, and this will fall before or around the morning travel period which could have an impact.

Tyndrum, Drumclog, Eaglesham, East Kilbride and New Cumnock could get several centimetres of snow.

Sean added: “Very little should make it into the middle of the country and the east as it will break up and become much more showery. The main risk of travel issues will be on roads like the A82, M77, A737, A70 and A76.

“A further spell of sleet and snow will affect the same areas mid-afternoon, and again has the potential to cause a few travel problems, especially those at higher levels.

“The wintry weather will ease on Thursday with milder air and rain arriving on Friday.

“The milder conditions will be fleeting though with colder air returning for the weekend with further spells of rain, sleet and snow, once again mainly focused on the west.”

Keeping yourself warm at home

  • Keep your hands and face warm – if they get cold they can trigger a rise in blood pressure which puts you at increased risk of a heart attack.
  • Remember that several thin layers of clothing will keep you warmer than one thick layer, as the layers trap warm air.
  • Wear warm clothes in bed. When very cold, wear thermal underwear, bed socks and even a hat – a lot of heat is lost through your head.

Keep warm to keep well

  • It’s important to stay active as this generates heat and helps to keep you warm.
  • Try to keep moving when you’re indoors, and don’t sit still for more than an hour.
  • If walking is difficult, you can do chair-based exercises. Even simply moving your arms and legs and wiggling your toes will get your circulation going.

Eating well in winter

  • Try to eat at least one hot meal each day and have hot drinks during the day.
  • Include a good range of foods in your diet and aim for five portions of fruit and vegetables each day, so that you’re getting plenty of nutrients and vitamins.
  • Remember that frozen vegetables are just as good as fresh.
  • If you’re worried about a poor appetite, speak to your GP.
  • Have a hot drink before bed and keep one in a flask by your bedside.

For more information, go to ageuk.org.uk/spreadthewarmth or call Age UK Advice on 0800 169 6565.

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Murder trial hears of ‘scene of carnage’ in flat

Keith Rizzo, 23, is accused of killing Neomi Smith at her flat in Brechin last summer.

Court: Keith Rizzo has been accused of murdering Neomi Smith.

A woman was found stricken in her flat amid a “scene of carnage” the night she was allegedly killed by her boyfriend.

A neighbour of Neomi Smith told how he tried to save her life after discovering her lying blood-stained in her kitchen with a knife nearby.

Stephen Alexander had gone there after the 23-year-old’s “distressed” partner Keith Rizzo banged on his door for help.

Jurors heard Rizzo claimed to the 59-year-old that Miss Smith had been in a row with someone while he was in the shower at her home.

The 23-year-old ex-farmer denies murdering Miss Smith at her flat in Brechin, Angus, last June 9.

Mr Alexander recalled hearing a “rather disturbing” noise coming from Miss Smith’s home upstairs around midnight.

The High Court in Glasgow heard he was just about to call police when Rizzo turned up at his door.

The witness said: “He was in a state of panic and distress. He was worried about Neomi. There was no response from her.”

Mr Alexander dialled 999 as both men went upstairs. Rizzo told him Miss Smith was in the kitchen.

Mr Alexander then explained: “I entered. I saw a scene of carnage. There was glass and debris all over the kitchen.

“It looked as though a battle had taken place. There were bottles of sauce, fruit and vegetables amongst the broken glass.

“There was a knife at Neomi’s left leg. She was lying on her front between the fridge and the tumble dryer.”

Mr Alexander checked for a pulse, but could not detect one.

As he spoke to the 999 operator, he then began carrying out CPR on Miss Smith.

Mr Alexander remembered there being blood on her head and upper body.

The witness told jurors: “He [Rizzo] was asking me was I getting a response. He just seemed to me to be in a total panic.”

Prosecutor Duncan McPhie asked: “Did he say what had happened?”

Mr Alexander responded: “He informed me that Neomi had been in the kitchen arguing with someone while he was in the shower.”

Rizzo apparently did not state who his partner had been rowing with.

Both men went outside awaiting emergency crews.

Rizzo then shouted towards people leaving a nearby bar that his “girlfriend had been stabbed”.

Miss Smith’s friend, Kayleigh Cameron, earlier told how the pair had been out at a bar in Brechin on June 8.

Rizzo had also been at the pub. The court previously heard how he appeared “angry” at Miss Smith dancing with another man.

Miss Cameron recalled a number of conversations she had with Miss Smith that night.

The 19-year-old witness said her “upset” friend claimed Rizzo had been “belittling” her.

The young women later chatted again outside the bar.

Miss Cameron said: “She confided in me that he had abused her – that he had hit her before.

“This was news to me. She said she had been pushed up against a wall and knocked unconscious by him.

“She was scared and wanted to go home, but if she left him, he would hit her again as he had not hesitated to do it before.”

A former partner of Rizzo later alleged he had been “manipulative and controlling” as well as “blackmailing” her.

She had been in a relationship with Rizzo from July 2018 for a number of months.

Mr McPhie asked the 18-year-old: “With regards the blackmailing, what can you tell us?”

The witness replied: “We broke up a few times. Every time we did, he would not stop harassing me on social media.

“When I would not go to see him, he would threaten to post private photos of me over the internet if I did not talk to him.”

The prosecutor went on: “What was the nature of these pictures?”

The teenager replied: “They were nude.”

Rizzo denies the accusations.

The trial, before Lady Rae, continues.


MSPs endorse Bill to make period products free to all

Monica Lennon's Bill to make sanitary products freely available to all passes first stage unanimously.

Vote: Legislation is aimed at tackling period poverty.

A Bill to make period products universally free in Scotland has been backed in principle by MSPs.

Holyrood voted by 112 to zero to back the legislation at stage one, which would see Scotland become the first country in the world to make products like tampons and sanitary pads freely available to all.

The Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill, introduced by Scottish Labour MSP Monica Lennon, will now progress to stage two.

It comes after a U-turn by the Scottish Government, which announced last week it would back the legislation, aimed at tackling period poverty, at the first stage of voting.

However, ministers have said they still have “concerns” about the proposals and will be working with Lennon to produce more “robust” figures about the costs.

The Labour politician had originally estimated the changes – which would introduce a legal right of access to period products – would cost £9.7m a year.

The Scottish Government estimated the annual bill would be substantially higher at £24m.

One SNP MSP, James Dornan, abstained in the vote, but the rest of the government and SNP backbenches endorsed the Bill at stage one.

Ahead of the debate, groups that have supported the legislation, including Girlguiding Scotland and the trade union Unite, staged a rally outside Holyrood.

Commenting after the vote, Lennon said: “This is an amazing victory for everyone who has campaigned for free universal access to period products and who has convinced the Scottish Government to back this ground-breaking Bill.

“Scotland has already taken important steps towards improving access to period products and tackling stigma but legislation will guarantee rights, ensure that current initiatives continue in future on a universal basis, and will help us achieve period dignity for all.

“MSPs backing the principles of this pioneering legislation at the first stage is a huge step forward, and I hope that all parties will continue to listen to those who would benefit from the Bill as it continues to proceed through parliament.”

Bird observatory to rise from the ashes after fire

The Fair Isle Bird Observatory (FIBO) went up in flames last March.

ICA
Blaze: The building went up in flames last year.

A world-renowned bird observatory on a remote Shetland island is set to rise from the ashes.

The Fair Isle Bird Observatory (FIBO) went up in flames last March.

No one was injured in the blaze, but the building, which offered accommodation to visitors to the island, was completely destroyed.

Glasgow-based architects ICA has now submitted a planning application for a new observatory and guesthouse ahead of its projected completion by summer 2021.

Fair Isle: ICA has submitted a planning application.

The accommodation will include 25 guestrooms, a warden’s house, staff quarters and front-and-back-of-house areas.

Revealing the first images, Steven Byrne, project lead architect, said: “I am delighted that the planning application has now been submitted for the vastly important FIBO on Fair Isle.

Plans: The project is expected to be complete by summer 2021.

“I am privileged to work on such a unique project.”

Fair Isle – located between the Shetland mainland and Orkney – is the most remote inhabited island in the UK.

The observatory – with panoramic views out to the North Sea – has gathered bird census data since opening in 1948.

Island: The observatory has gathered bird census data since 1948.

Mr Byrne added: “The nature of the Fair Isle project includes a community aspect, meaning that it will have a significant positive impact to the island as a whole. This makes it a real joy to be involved in.”

Lord Steel’s career tainted by decades-old misjudgements

The Westminster inquiry into child sexual abuse show Steel's conduct was symptomatic of politicians of the day.

Chris McAndrew
Inquiry: Lord Steel (left) and the late Cyril Smith (right).

In the twilight of his career, Lord Steel of Aikwood cuts the very embodiment of an establishment figure – member of the House of Lords, former presiding officer of the Scottish Parliament, elder Liberal Democrat statesman.

Today’s announcement serves as a warning that misjudgements made decades ago can haunt well after lofty status is conferred. Even by the norms of the time, his inaction in relation to the late Cyril Smith beggars belief from a politician who was so usually sure-footed.

Perhaps the sheer disgust at what he was hearing back in the 1970s impaired his judgement? Whatever the explanation, he is paying a price that will serve as the final line in any review of his career.

He wasn’t always an establishment figure and it would be unfair in reviewing a life of public service if conclusions aren’t tempered by an acknowledgement of his courage.

After he won the Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles by-election, he piloted the Abortion Bill through the House of Commons. It was a fundamental piece of social reform and one that did not chime in every corner of the more socially conservative Britain of the time.

Nor was this Borders MP playing to electoral self-interest when his passionate anti-apartheid views extended to rugby boycotts in South Africa. He could have sown the seeds of electoral defeat in the rugby-daft towns he represented but principle trumped expediency.

And he took the Liberals into a pact with the minority Labour government in 1977, giving them a sniff of power. A sniff was all they got, as Steel was no match for the wily Jim Callaghan although the experience was a portent for the kind of cooperative politics he championed with Roy Jenkins after the SDP was formed in 1981.

Closer to home, he was a co-chair of the Scottish Constitutional Convention and played a key role in the establishing of a parliament he would go on to preside over. Yes, Steel’s contribution should not be lost in the events chronicled in this report, which leads to the question: what was he thinking?

Many of the figures discussed in this report are dead, so in a very real sense, Steel represents the key casualty. But as the report makes clear, the culture that seemed to keep law enforcement out of allegations surfacing in the body politic was not confined to the Liberal Party. Steel’s misjudgements are not isolated, rather they were symptomatic of politicians who managed issues primarily for the reputation of the party.

Steel’s conduct has echoes in the behaviour of others. Harold MacMillan was keen to keep Lord Boothby’s association with the Kray twins out of the news since it would have exposed a senior Conservative engaging in homosexual activity that was criminal at the time.

Harold Wilson, the Labour leader, was equally keen to keep this out of the public gaze since exposure of Boothby would have led to the unmasking of Tom Driberg, as a man whose tastes were as voracious as they were illegal.

This all happened around the time of the Profumo affair, where again we learn that throwing immature working-class women to the wolves was a price worth paying to contain the embarassment to the government of the day.

Yes, David Steel’s misjudgements were replicated all over Westminster.

What is astonishing is that scandal was greater in the parliamentary Liberal party than any other. Cyril Smith is widely regarded as a paedophile. The party leader Jeremy Thorpe stood trial on charges of conspiracy to murder. Peter Bessell attempted to compromise the Labour Home Secretary Frank Soskice into helping Thorpe escape the lethal nuisance that was Norman Scott. Clement Freud is alleged to have been a rapist. All of this in a small party is truly gobsmacking. Wormwood Scrubs, not a Commons Committee room, would appear to have been a more appropriate venue for party meetings.

In quitting, Lord Steel has done himself a favour and the Lib Dems can breathe a sigh of relief that a potentially damaging story has been dealt with without it looking to have any long-term ramifications.

‘The rows of sleeping bags on the streets … they are people’

Rough sleeper Kerry Anne Meiklem attended special event designed to help homeless people in Fife.

Life has thrown major challenges in the direction of Kerry Anne Meiklem.

She’s spent time in prison, while heroin addiction has robbed her of many things.

Now on methadone and trying to get her life together, the 29-year-old continues to face homelessness.

“I’ve had to sleep rough on and off since I was 16,” Kerry Anne says during a visit to the Kirkcaldy Kitchen, which provides hot food and drink to those in need.

“Last year, I was living in Fife, but then thought it would be good to go to Glasgow to live. But I ended up having nowhere to go and had to spend three weeks over Christmas and New Year on the streets.

“Those rows of sleeping bags you see on the news … they are people, I was one of them.”

The pop-up event at the King’s Theatre in Kirkcaldy also saw haircuts, hand massages and other support offered to homeless people.

Organised by the Co-operative Venture group, run by ENABLE Scotland and the Co-operative College, the group is made up of 16-30 year-olds with learning difficulties, disabilities and autism and aims to help them into education, volunteering, training and employment.

Around 30 homeless people gathered to use the services on offer during the three-hour session.

“I got the chance to get something to eat and got a hand massage which I really enjoyed,” says Kerry Anne.

“I got to speak to other people and it made a big difference to me. It made me so glad I came back to Fife. I’d just like to thank everyone, especially the young people for what they did for us, it is so nice to know they care.”

Liam Flinn, ENABLE Scotland/Co-operative College project coordinator, said their initial idea was for a pop-up shop, but as interest and support came in from the local community, the event grew.

“It has been amazing for them to bring their ideas to life,” he says. “It’s given them a focus and shows they can make a difference.”


NHS temporarily suspends out of hours care at five centres

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said a GP shortage meant the service had become ‘unsustainable’.

Glasgow: The Queen Elizabeth University Hospital is among those affected.

A Scottish health board has temporarily suspended out of hours services at five centres amid a GP shortage.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) said the service has become “unsustainable” and the move is the “only option” to be able to keep providing out of hours care in the short term.

Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Gartnavel Royal Hospital and Easterhouse Health Centre are among those affected.

The remaining two are Greenock Health Centre and the town’s Inverclyde Royal Hospital.

The health board said the temporary arrangement will come into force immediately and means out of hours overnight services will be delivered from centres at Stobhill, Victoria, Royal Alexandra and Vale of Leven hospitals during the week.

These centres will also be open during the evenings and weekends, with the exception of the Vale of Leven.

Key considerations in choosing the four core sites were said to be attendance figures, site access and capacity.

The GP home visiting service is unaffected.

NHSGGC said fewer GPs are available to work out of hours following “significant challenges” caused by national changes to pensions as well as “local operational issues”, leading to short notice centre suspensions.

A recruitment campaign for GPs and other medics is under way in a bid to provide a long-term solution to the out of hours problems.

Other measures being implemented include a review of GP pay scales and increased use of technology.

Kerri Neylon, NHSGGC primary care lead GP, said: “A number of contributory factors mean the current out of hours service has become unsustainable.

“Temporary consolidation of services is the only option which will enable us to continue providing this crucial service in the immediate future.

“This formalises the ad hoc arrangement which has increasingly become the norm in recent months and provides patients and staff with certainty and reliability.

“We are absolutely committed to delivering a long-term sustainable, safe and reliable out of hours service to patients across Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

“The long-term delivery model, which uses new technology, alongside smarter recruitment is demonstrably the best way to meet demand.

“We are working to implement those changes as quickly as possible and we are acutely aware of the need to do so. There will be regular updates on progress.”


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