Rangers boycott social media over racism directed at players

The football club said players and management will boycott social media for one week in protest.

Protest: Players and management to boycott social media over racist comments. Bill Murray via SNS Group
Protest: Players and management to boycott social media over racist comments.

Rangers have announced they will boycott social media in protest of racist comments directed at players online. 

From 7pm on Thursday, players and management will take part in a one-week boycott to highlight the issue.

The club said the boycott is to “underline the ongoing concerns over a lack of accountability and responsibility from social media outlets.”

Rangers added that the club are “concerned with the daily racist abuse our players have to endure”.

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It comes as Rangers player Glen Kamara said he wished he had walked off the pitch after being racially abused by Slavia Prague’s Ondrej Kudela.

Rangers managing director, Stewart Robertson said: “We can confirm that as a board and as a club, we are fully behind our players and management on this issue.

“Furthermore, we have arranged to meet Facebook and Instagram to underline our growing concerns.

“Having spoken to a wide range of clubs across the United Kingdom, we know these concerns are shared by all clubs and it is fair to say everyone is losing patience with the lack of action from social media companies.

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“Rangers hope is that clear and direct action is taken from social media platforms. The basic verification of users, as part of the sign-up process, to any social media platform, will ensure that users are both identifiable and accountable for their actions and words. We will raise this next week in our scheduled meetings.

“Rangers has driven its flagship Everyone Anyone campaign forward rigorously, drawing praise and support from fellow clubs, governing bodies and politicians, and we will continue to stand firmly against all forms of discrimination. Enough is enough.

“We would hope that social media companies recognise the benefit of verified accounts. If they don’t, it is time for government to step in and legislate. As a club, we will continue to consider all options which increase pressure on social media platforms until they begin working proactively in the interests of wider society.

“The Rangers players and management will begin their boycott from today at 7pm for one week.”

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Police dog ‘found Emma Fauld’s body in remote forest’

Prosecutors allege Ross Willox, 41, murdered Emma Faulds, 39, at Fairfield Park in Monkton, Ayrshire, in 2019.

Police Scotland
Murder trial: Emma Faulds was found dead in June 2019.

A police officer told a murder trial how he found the body of missing 39-year-old Emma Faulds in a remote forest area.

Detective constable Ben Pacholek was giving evidence at the trial of Ross Willox who denies murdering Ms Faulds at his home at Fairfield Park, Monkton, Ayrshire, on April 28, 2019, by means unknown.

Prosecutors allege 41-year-old Willox dumped the youth worker’s naked body in Glentrool Forest, Dumfriesshire.

Dog handler DC Pacholek was part of a massive police operation that was involved in searching forest areas in Dumfriesshire for Emma who was reported missing on April 30, 2019.

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DC Pacholek said his dog Bear, who was specially trained to find dead bodies, began barking which indicated he had found something.

He took Bear back to the police van and then returned to the spot to investigate further after putting on sterile gloves.

Mr Kearney said: “What did you see”, and the officer replied: “A right foot.”

DC Pacholek said: “I lifted the vegetation to see if it was a body part or torso. I could see the lower portion of a naked body.”

Mr Kearney asked: “You had been searching for many days what did you think you and Bear had achieved,” and the officer, in a voice breaking with emotion, replied: “That we had done what we set out to do and we found her.”

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The prosecutor then said: “Emma Faulds,” and the police officer agreed.

The court heard that DC Pacholek reported the find to his superior officer and the site was cordoned off.

He and Bear joined the search on May 21, 2019 and by June 12, 2019 he estimated that he they had walked over 200 miles.

When asked by prosecutor Paul Kearney why that area in Glentrool Forest had been chosen to search DC Pacholek replied: “The accused had some involvement in working on a wind farm nearby.”

Mr Kearney said: “It was known that Ross Willox had previously worked on wind farms in the Galloway area,” and he replied: “Yes.”

The prosecutor then said: “Were the searches intelligence led and the policeman replied: “Absolutely.”

Defence QC Donald Findlay asked the officer: “Is there a wind farm anywhere near the deposition site,” and he replied: “No.”

When asked where the nearest wind farm to the stop where Emma’s body was found, he replied: “Less than ten miles away perhaps.”

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Willox denies all the charges against him.

The trial before judge Lord Mulholland continues.


Bay City Rollers star Les McKeown dies suddenly aged 65

The Edinburgh-born singer died suddenly at his home on Tuesday.

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Bay City Rollers: Les McKeown has died suddenly at home.

Singer Les McKeown of Bay City Rollers fame has died aged 65.

The Edinburgh-born star’s wife and daughter told fans he died suddenly at his home on Tuesday.

In a statement released on his Facebook page on Thursday, his family wrote: “It is with profound sadness that we announce the death of our beloved husband and father Leslie Richard McKeown.

“Leslie died suddenly at home on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. We are currently making arrangements for his funeral.

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The Bay City Rollers in 1978.
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“We thank you and ask for privacy after the shock of our profound loss. Thank you. Keiko and Jubei McKeown.”

He was the lead singer of the tartan-clad pop-band during their most successful era in the mid-70s when they found worldwide fame with hits such as Shang-A-Lang and Saturday Night.

After hearing the news, Bay City Rollers guitarist Stuart ‘Woody’ Wood told the Daily Record: “I am upset and shocked to hear this very sad news.

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“Les and I had our differences over the years but even though we had disagreements we are sending our heartfelt condolences to Peko wife and his son Jubie and all the Bay City Rollers Fans. It’s a sad day in Bay City Roller history.

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“He was a great performer on stage and he was full of energy. I was roadying when Les first came into the band and I saw his first gig when he took over from Nobby Clark and injected new life into the band.”

Scottish songwriter John McLaughlin wrote: “Devastated that Les McKeown, the iconic frontman of the #BayCityRollers has sadly passed away.

“Les became a a good friend over the last few years and was truly great fun to be around. I will miss him. My thoughts are with Peko and the family at this sad time.”

The Rollers had a massive teen following and sold more than 100 million records, and in the press were heralded as “biggest group since the Beatles”.

The news comes three-years after the death of bandmate Alan Longmuir who died aged 70 in the summer of 2018.

Alongside McKeown and Longmuir, the classic line-up also included guitarists Eric Faulkner and Stuart Wood, with Longmuir’s younger brother Derek on drums.

McKeown, Longmuir and Wood reunited for a comeback tour in 2015 with tickets selling out in minutes.

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Judy Murray was among those paying tribute.

Posting on Twitter alongside a picture of her with McKeown she wrote “Bye bye baby”.

And Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh wrote “RIP Les” with a picture of McKeown in his Bay City Rollers heyday.


Rangers fail in appeal over Covid-19 rule-breakers

A disciplinary panel has dismissed the Ibrox club's appeal after a lengthy hearing.

Teenage defender Nathan Patterson was among the players who broke the rules.

Rangers have failed in their appeal against bans imposed on five players who broke Covid-19 regulations, with a disciplinary panel upholding the original six-game suspensions.

First-team trio Bongani Zungu, Nathan Patterson and Calvin Bassey, plus academy youngsters Brian Kinnear and Dapo Mebude, who is on loan at Queen of the South, were all charged with flouting lockdown regulations in February.

An independent disciplinary panel handed down six-game bans for each player, with four games to be served immediately and two matches suspended.

Rangers filed an appeal that was heard by a new panel. The governing body announced on Thursday that the appeals had been dismissed and the original sanctions re-imposed.

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A brief statement on the Rangers website read: “Rangers notes the outcome of today’s appeal.

“We remain disappointed in the result. Furthermore, we believe this outcome highlights the inconsistency of decision making in the Scottish FA’s disciplinary process.

“We are cognisant that the approach taken by other football associations across Europe has no resemblance to that of the Scottish FA. We urge the Scottish FA to be open minded to learn from other football authorities.”

Rangers accepted seven-game bans handed to attacker Jordan Jones and defender George Edmundson by the SFA for Covid-19 related breaches last year but manager Steven Gerrard insisted that the details of the two cases were different.

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Speaking as Rangers confirmed they would appeal the punishment, the Ibrox manager said: “I think everyone assumes because of what happened to Jordan Jones and George Edmundson that everything is the same, which isn’t the case.

“We think it’s a little bit out of sync in terms of what went on.

“We don’t think everything is being taken into consideration, when you’re talking about the boys in terms of of their age and how damaging it can be for them in their careers moving forward now.

“You’re talking about one of the brightest prospects ever, in terms of right-back. This kid’s going to play for Scotland and all of a sudden the SFA want to ban him for that long. I don’t get it but we’ll see what happens moving forward.”

Rangers, who have won their first Scottish Premiership title in ten years, have three league fixtures remaining, and play in the Scottish Cup quarter-finals against St Johnstone this weekend.


Public warned over dangerous attempts to ‘rescue’ wildlife

Charity says animals are often taken away from their mothers after people wrongly assume they've been abandoned.

STV News

An animal welfare charity has reminded the public not to attempt to ‘rescue’ wildlife as coronavirus restrictions ease across Scotland.

The Scottish SPCA warned all to often animals are brought to their centres through good intentions because a passer-by wrongly assume they’ve been abandoned.

A litter of fox cubs is currently among 20 young animals being cared for at the National Wildlife Rescue Centre.

Staff say they should be with their mother in the wild but were brought to the charity by a well-meaning member of the public who mistakenly thought they’d been left for good.

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Steven Gray, Wildlife manager Scottish SPCA said: “Often mothers leave cubs while they’re moving between nests.”

The animal welfare charity sees a large increase in reports of wildlife in need every Spring.

The Fishcross facility is only designed to take up to 6000 animals a year, in 2019 it had over 11,000.

With more people expected to holiday in the Scottish countryside due to the easing of restrictions, there’s a concern this year could be their busiest ever.

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Mr Gray added: “What you should do if in doubt is to wait and watch the animals first and if you are concerned, to call the Scottish SPCA animal helpline first, by limiting the number animals brought here, it’s hoped staff can devote their time to those in genuine need.”


Man appears in court over crash which killed teenage cyclist

A 16-year-old from Grangemouth was riding his bike on November 6 last year when he was hit by a car.

© Google Maps 2020
Jabbar, of Falkirk, was bailed as the case was committed for further examination at Falkirk Sheriff Court.

A man has appeared in court over a crash which killed a 16-year-old cyclist.

Sami Jabbar, 28, made no plea after appearing at Falkirk Sheriff Court on Thursday charged with causing death by dangerous driving, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service said.

The teenager, from Grangemouth, was riding his bike on Polmont Road on November 6 last year when he was hit by a silver Mercedes. He died at the scene.

Jabbar, of Falkirk, was bailed as the case was committed for further examination.


Police ‘told of death plot against Trainspotting actor’

Bradley Welsh, 48, was fatally shot at his flat in the west end of Edinburgh in 2019.

Ross Parker via SNS Group
Murder trial: Bradley Welsh was fatally shot in 2019.

Police were warned of plans to murder a man who appeared in the Trainspotting sequel T2 in the month before his death, a court has heard.

Bradley Welsh, 48, was fatally shot at his flat in the west end of Edinburgh on April 17, 2019.

Sean Orman, 30, has pleaded not guilty to all 15 charges against him, including murder, attempted murder, firearms and drugs offences, and is on trial at the High Court in Edinburgh.

Dean White told the court in evidence on Thursday that he had seen the accused at his brother Robert’s home in Duddingston Row with a man known as Peem in March 2019. He said they were speaking about carrying out an attack on a man and his son in the Oxgangs area for money.

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He said the accused then claimed he was due to murder Mr Welsh, who ran a boxing gym, for £10,000, which prompted the witness to alert Police Scotland around March 18.

Mr White said: “He brought a wad of cash out and it was like thousands and he had told us that he had seriously assaulted someone in Oxgangs and the guy that he’d assaulted got in the way and that he seriously assaulted his son as well.”

The witness then told the court Orman had claimed to have been paid by Dode Baigrie to carry out the attack.

Mr White added: “He said that his next hit he was getting £10,000 to kill Bradley Welsh.

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“I went to the police and reported this before it happened.”

The 49-year-old added he had seen Orman at his brother’s property on several subsequent occasions.

He said the accused had turned up there with an “old-styled” shotgun which he was showing off and misfired into the floor of the property.

Mr White said he then told officers about the incident and that they may be able to recover a bullet.

Richard Goddard QC, advocate depute, asked how he had felt about the events in his brother’s property.

Mr White said: “Extremely nervous and I went straight to the police station and told them exactly what happened in my brother’s house.

“I told them what their plans were, that they were going to get Bradley Welsh and this was a month before the guy got murdered.”

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The court has previously heard of alleged attacks on David McMillan, 50, and his son David, 25, at their home at Pitcairn Grove, Edinburgh, on March 13.

Orman is also accused of driving at speeds up to 123mph on the Edinburgh bypass on April 22 2019 – where the limit is 70mph – and failing to stop for uniformed police officers.

He faces an accusation of having driven on the opposing side of the carriageway of Clovenstone Road “in excess of 92mph”, where the limit is 30mph.

Another charge alleges he drove without insurance and was in possession of the class A drug diamorphine and class C drug diazepam.

The trial, before judge Lord Beckett, continues.


Coronavirus: Three more deaths as cases rise by 231 overnight

The Scottish Government also confirmed that 2,755,175 Scots have received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.

Peter-gamal via Pixabay
Coronavirus: Daily figures in Scotland.

A further three people have died in Scotland after being diagnosed with coronavirus.

A total of 231 new cases have been recorded with a daily test positivity rate of 1.1% down from 1.3% on Wednesday.

The death toll of those who tested positive currently stands at 7646, however weekly figures on suspected Covid-19 deaths recorded by National Records of Scotland suggest the most up-to-date total is now more than 10,000.

A total of 93 people are in hospital across the country with 12 in intensive care.

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A total of 2,755,175 people have received the first dose of the Covid vaccination and 898,231 have received their second dose.

On Wednesday, the NRS revealed the number of weekly deaths linked to coronavirus were at their lowest level since early October.

Pete Whitehouse, director of Statistical Services, said: “This week shows another welcome reduction in the number of weekly deaths, but with over 10,000 people in Scotland dying with this virus, these figures represent heartbreak and loss for families across the country.

“Deaths from all causes are broadly in line with the five-year average. Twenty-four excess deaths were registered this week, which was 2% above the average for this time of year.”


World’s most powerful tidal turbine launches in Dundee

The 680 tonne structure will harness the strong tidal current to generate enough energy to power up to 2000 homes.

Orbital Marine Power via Orbital Marine Power

The world’s most powerful tidal turbine has been launched in Dundee.

The 680-tonne structure is being towed to Orkney where it will harness the strong tidal current to generate enough energy to power up to 2000 homes.

The 2MW tidal turbine, the Orbital O2, was transferred from the quayside in Dundee into the River Tay using a submersible barge.

Speaking of the launch, Orbital’s CEO, Andrew Scott, said: “This is a huge milestone for Orbital; the O2 is a remarkable example of British cleantech innovation and the build we have completed here is an inspiring display of what a UK supply chain can achieve if given the opportunity – even under the extraordinary pressures of a pandemic.”

Orbital Marine Power via Orbital Marine Power
It will harness the strong tidal current to generate enough energy to power up to 2000 homes.
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The O2 turbine started construction in the second half of 2019 and reflects approximately 80% UK supply content.

From Scottish steel work from Motherwell, which was fabricated in Cupar through to anchors from Wales and blades from the south of England; the build of the O2 is estimated to have supported over 80 jobs within the UK economy.

The launch of the O2 marks the first vessel launch from Dundee since ship building ended over forty years ago.

O2 has the ability to generate enough clean, predictable electricity to meet the demand of around 2000 UK homes and offset approximately 2200 tonnes of CO2 production per year.

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Chris Smith, MD of TEXO Group commented: “The O2 programme has given us a significant opportunity to demonstrate our multi-disciplinary capabilities, and our proactive approach to working collaboratively with clients.

“We firmly believe that the transition to a net zero environment will deliver a range of opportunities to the UK’s engineering and fabrication sectors and we are very proud to see Orbital’s O2 turbine launched today.”

Also speaking of the launch, John Alexander, Leader of Dundee City Council said: “I’m very proud of the role that Dundee has played in helping to deliver this pioneering tidal turbine and congratulate the team at Orbital Marine and TEXO for their incredible efforts during the hardest year in recent memory.

Orbital Marine Power via Orbital Marine Power
The turbine transferred from the quayside in Dundee into the River Tay using a submersible barge.

“Orbital Marine’s incredible piece of engineering will play a pivotal role in showcasing this technology and helping Scotland to achieve its ambition in tackling the climate emergency, further propelling Dundee into a city which is transforming itself into a hub for renewables and innovation.”

The O2 turbine has a 74m long hull structure with twin 1MW power generating nacelles at the end of retractable leg structures designed to give low-cost access to all major components for through life servicing. 10m blades give the O2 more than 600m2 of swept area to capture flowing tidal energy.

The floating structure is held on station with a four-point mooring system where each mooring chain has the capacity to lift more than 50 double decker buses.

The O2 has been designed so that installation of the turbine, and all its associated moorings, can be carried out by low-cost work vessels and servicing can be carried out by RIB vessels – minimising downtime and lowering construction and operational costs.

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Electricity is transferred from the turbine via a dynamic cable to the seabed and a static cable along the seabed to the local onshore electricity network.

It’s hoped this turbine will be the first of many to be manufactured in Scotland and a potential catalyst to export the technology around the world.


Sarwar hails Labour manifesto as ‘route map to better times’

Sarwar said he wants to ensure the SNP’s delayed pledge for 1140 hours of free childcare is delivered this year.

Fraser Bremner via Getty Images
Sarwar: Launching Holyrood manifesto.

Building a recovery from Covid must be the next Scottish Parliament’s “collective national mission”, Anas Sarwar said as he launched Labour’s manifesto for the Holyrood election.

He said the policy document is not just a party manifesto, but a “recovery plan for our country”.

Sarwar, who has been Scottish Labour leader for less than two months, said he is “calling time on the old politics” and its focus on the constitution and independence.

Instead, he said he proposes a “route map back to stronger and better times for our country”.

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Labour has set out “five distinct recovery plans” covering jobs, the NHS, education, the climate, and communities.

To help children who have seen their education disrupted by school closures during the pandemic, Labour wants a personalised plan to be drawn up for every youngster, based on both an education and mental health assessment.

For younger children, the party proposes to offer 50 hours a week free early years education.

The party also plans to abolish council tax and replace it with a “fairer alternative based on property values and ability to pay”.

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Sarwar has ruled out raising income tax for Scots earning less than £100,000 a year.

His party believes its proposals can be paid for with cash coming to Scotland to help deal with the pandemic – which should be £4.2bn next year – and the borrowing powers the Scottish Government already has.

Speaking as he launched the manifesto, Sarwar stressed the focus for Scotland must be on rebuilding in the wake of the virus – not on arguments over independence.

He said: “This isn’t an ordinary type of election, it is a pandemic election and too many of the other politicians and too many of the other political parties want to take us back to the old arguments.

“Well today I’m calling time on the old politics.

“I don’t want us to come through that collective trauma of Covid and go back to those old arguments.

“Imagine what we could achieve if we focused on what unites us a country, not what divides us.

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“Imagine what we could achieve if we put aside those things we disagree on and focused on the things we agree on.

“Imagine if we obsessed about education in the next Parliament, imagine if we obsessed about the NHS in the next Parliament, imagine if we obsessed about jobs and economy in the next Parliament, imagine if we obsessed about eradicating child poverty, imagine if we obsessed about challenging the climate emergency. Just imagine the kind of Scotland we could build together.

“I want to work with you, my fellow Scots, so we can come through this crisis and build a stronger, fairer, more equal, more just, greener Scotland together.

“That’s why this recovery plan’s focus is on a jobs recovery, an NHS recovery, an education recovery, a communities recovery and a climate recovery.

“This isn’t a manifesto, this is a route map back to stronger and better times for our country.”

He urged voters to support Labour in both the constituency and regional list sections of the ballot, saying the list vote will be crucial in determining the priorities of the next Parliament.

Rather than having “politicians both from the SNP and the Tories who want to play up the division in our country for their own interest, not in the national interest”, Sarwar insisted the recovery from the pandemic “must be our collective national mission”.

He continued: “Covid has changed the world, Covid has changed Scotland, and the idea that we shouldn’t have to change our politics too or change the way we behave with each other is simply not acceptable.

“I want to change our politics. I didn’t come into this to have more of the same.

“I’m not standing in this election campaign because I want to fight with other politicians, I’m standing in this campaign because I want to change the country I love.”

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