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COVID-19

966 positive results were announced on Friday, representing 4.2% of the 26,867 people tested in the previous 24 hours. 41 new deaths were reported. The latest figures tell us that 965 people are in hospital with the virus and 65 in intensive care. 


Of yesterday's reported new cases, 258 were in the Greater Glasgow & Clyde area, 166 in Lanarkshire, 117 in Lothian, 98 in the Highland region, 69 in Ayrshire & Arran, 68 in Grampian, 66 in Tayside, 63 in Fife, 47  in the Forth Valley, 7 in the Borders, 7 in Dumfries & Galloway and none in Shetland, Orkney or the Western Isles.

 

5  tiers of measures, to be applied locally as befits, are in operation. Level 0 takes us back to what was previously Phase 3 while Level 4 is like the March lockdown, with all non-essential shops ordered to close. No area is at present designated as belonging in Level 0 but 11 councils in the Central Belt are in Level 4 for 3 weeks from Friday 20 November. During this period people are banned, by law, from travelling into and out of Level 4 areas for non-essential reasons.

People who are self-isolating can apply for a Government grant via their local authority. Businesses can also apply for grants and loans, and free meals will be available during school holidays to families who are entitled to them during term time.

There are signs that the measures being taken in Scotland are having an effect in slowing the rate of new infections, but we've been here before. Before we entered Phase 3 in August, the three-week average number of new cases in the country was 14.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The increase in infections continues. More than 50 million people have been infected throughout the world and over 1.25 million have died. Countries that loosened their lockdowns too soon are now re-imposing them and some are having their third or fourth major outbreaks.  I guarantee this isn't a hoax! 

Pfizer Inc. claims that its vaccine is effective in over 90% of cases.  If this is true it's very good news. Another company, Moderna, claims its vaccine is 94.5% effective.  At $40 per person the Pfizer vaccine will probably be too expensive for poor countries to afford so whether their citizens can be treated is currently unclear.

There have been 2 million confirmed cases in Africa but the actual number is unknown and the second wave has not yet begun.

Over 15 million have been infected in Europe, and more than 300,000 people have died with the virus.

A study carried out by the World Health Organisation has concluded that  Remdesivir is of little or no value in treating the coronavirus. Other supposed treatments that were also tested by the WHO appear to be totally ineffective.

Cases are spiralling beyond the capacity to cope in the rebel-held Idlib region in Syria. The same is true in Gaza, where the health system can't cope with the number of infections and people are forced to live so close to one another that social distancing is impossible. 

Over the weekend of 31 October/1 November the government in Slovakia carried out tests on most of the country's citizens. People who refused to be tested for Covid-19 were ordered into quarantine. Just over 1% tested positive.

In Sri Lanka Covid-19 infections in prisons are beyond control. 8 prisoners were killed in a riot at Mahara high-security gaol. 

The government in Colombia has announced that the number of infections in the country has exceeded 1 million.

After a sudden increase in infections in Switzerland,  the government made face coverings compulsory in all indoor spaces.

In Canada, Toronto has entered a 4 week lockdown.

Lockdown fatigue and lack of income appears to have led to businesses re-opening and a consequent increase in cases in Argentina

The virus affects animals as well as people, and the government in Denmark has ordered all mink in fur farms to be slaughtered in an attempt to prevent cross-contamination. Captive mink have also been infected in Lithuania, Ireland and Poland.

More than 9 million people have been infected in India since the virus was first diagnosed.

The Turkish government has banned people from smoking in public spaces because smokers were violating rules on face coverings. A 9 pm weekday curfew has been imposed as well as total lockdown at weekends.

In Sweden there's not been a lockdown and the government hasn't advised people to cover their noses and mouths. More Swedes died in the first half of 2020 than in any half year since 1869. While other countries began to suffer a second wave there was originally little evidence that this was happening in Sweden but now the number of infections there is increasing more quickly than in neighbouring countries. The upper limit for numbers of people allowed to congregate together has been reduced from 300 to 8. 

C-19 is but one of the causes of the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, along with war and famine.

The UN says that 818 million children are going to school with inadequate facilities for washing their hands during the crisis. 

Amnesty International estimates that the coronavirus has killed 7,000 health workers so far.

In the USA over 9 million have been infected and more than 250,000 people have died.

While infections are rising in Japan, many more people there are dying from suicide than from Covid-19.

SCOTLAND 

 

A World War 2 German mine has been discovered - and blown up - after 80 years in the Firth of Clyde.

 

Lucky folk in Fife will be the first in the world to be given hydrogen boilers for cooking and heating.

In Tayside, trials are taking place using a pill containing a tiny camera to perform the job normally done during a colonoscopy

Scottish households whose children are entitled to free school meals will be entitled to a £100 grant this month. Health and Care workers are to recieve a special £500 each as a gesture of gratitude for their hard work and selflessness. 

The independent public enquiry into the death of Sheku Bayoh in Kirkcaldy Police Station in 2015 has begun. 

 

Covid-19 restrctions have not been able to prevent trafficking of women and girls into Scotland this year. 

 

Grouse shooters will need to obtain licences following a measure adopted by the Scottish government. 

 

Free period products will be made available to all of Scotland's women and girls who need them.

The Scottish government has accepted the UK's plan to allow additional people to meet up from 23 to 27 December, but with evident reluctance. The advice to stay in our own homes remains the same. 

Statistics for 2019, revealed by National Records of Scotland, tell us that alcohol-related deaths declined significantly but that suicides and accidental deaths increased and so did the the difference in life expectancy between the most and least deprived parts of the country. 

 

Scotland's Lord Justice General has refused to release documents that would have been helpful to the family of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, who are pursuing an appeal against his conviction for causing the Lockerbie disaster.

Part of the Duke of Buccleuch's grouse shooting estate has been bought by the community in Langholm, who plan to put it to much better use. The Scottish Land Fund has, however, rejected an application for £1.5 million from people in Wanlockhead, who are also hoping to buy an area of land from the Buccleuch estate. 

Three Scottish police forces are to give their officers Naloxone nasal spray to carry, to be used as emergency treatment for drug overdoses. 

It's no longer legal in Scotland for parents to hit their children.

Scottish miners who were convicted of offences arising out of the 1984/5 strike are to be collectively pardoned

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE WORLD

It's over for Donald Trump. He has lost the US Election and Joe Biden will become President in January. Let the celebrations begin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By 5 December Biden's lead in the popular vote had reached approximately 7 million.

 

The UN states that the number of people requiring humanitarian aid has increased this year by 40%. 

Non-animal meat. grown from chicken cells in a laboratory without causing any pollution, is now on sale to consumers in SIngapore.

In Iran, the execution of Swedish professor Ahmadreza Djilali  has apparently been postponed. He has been found guilty of spying but says that, in fact, he refused to spy for Iran and his death sentence is in consequence to that refusal. 

The House of Lords Conduct Committee has recommended that Ken Maginnis, who sits as an independent Ulster Unionist, be suspended for 18 months for bullying behaviour, aggravated by homophobic insults aimed at an MP who was a witness against him.

Claims by Bangladesh that Rohingya refugees have moved of their own volition to an island in the Bay of Bengal deserve to be taken with a pinch of salt. The island is regulary flooded and only emerged from the sea 20 years ago, and several Rohingya people have told aid workers that they were forced to go there against their will.

After terrorists carried out a massacre in a schoolyard in Ethiopia, the Ethiopian Army was sent into the region of Tigray. Air strikes also took place on the order of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, the winner of the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize. In a significant escalation, rockets were fired from Tigray at Asmara, the capital city of Eritrea, while several people were killed in the West of the country when gunmen attacked passengers on a bus. The UN describes the situation as a full-scale humanitarian crisis, and, as usual, it's civilians who bear the brunt.

In Russia, a man suspected of being the "Volga Maniac" has confessed to murdering 26 women.

Billions of people in the most deprived parts of the world are suffering from a lack of clean water. 

In Northern Nigeria more than 100 farm labourers have been rounded up and murdered by Boko Haram terrorists. Also in Nigeria, it's reported that police and soldiers opened fire on demonstrators in Lagos on 20 October, and that several people were shot dead. CNN has been investigating and considers the claims of a massacre having taken place to be true.

6.7 million Syrian refugees are facing winter without sufficient blankets and shelter to keep them warm, and 9.3 million don't have enough food.

An epidemic of avian flu is spreading rapidly across Europe, and has arrived in Yorkshire.

 

In Cambodia the ruling People's Party makes sure it remains in government by banning the main opposition and putting its members in prison. On 26 November the mass trial began of 130 members of the National Rescue Party who are accused of treason.

People are increasingly suffering from the effects of war and famine in Burkina Faso.

337 people have been sentenced to life in prison in Turkey over the failed coup of 2016.

Opponents of the Westminster government's decision to cut foreign aid include Foreign Office minister Elizabeth Sugg, who has resigned in protest.

Baka people in the Congo Basin have reported being tortured by agents of the WWF, whose brief is to prevent poaching. 

Former President of France Nicolas Sarkozy has gone on trial to face accusations of corruption.

References to the Holocaust have been bandied about in Pakistan and Germany, to the disgust of those who are being compared to Nazis. 

Rebellion is in the air in storm-hit, debt-ridden Guatemala.

 

The Brereton Report has concluded that members of the Australian Defence Force murdered 39 Afghan citizens in non-combat circumstances during the years 2007 to 2013.

Dinosaurs have invaded the streets of Bangkok in protest at the authoritarian regime and the power of the Thai monarchy.

Oxfam says that G20 countries have sold $17 billion worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia since the bombardment of Yemen began in 2015 and that this figure is 3 times higher than the amount of humanitarian aid that has been allocated to relieve the plight of Yemeni citizens. 

The website of French radio station RFI  accidentally published the obituaries of 100 people who are still alive, including Clint Eastwood, Brigitte Bardot and Pele. This is the third time Bernard Tapie's death has been announced but he's still not taken the hint. In Australia a TV station has apologised after wrongly killing off Bob Dylan.

The French government's plan to make identifying police officers on the internet a criminal offence is even less popular with the public after films emerged of policemen beating up a black person and violently removing refugees from a square in Paris. 

Armenians who had been occupying Nagorno-Karabakh have  burned their houses down, prior to vacating the region as part of the agreement to end the war with Azerbaijan. The Azerbaijani government has announced that the conflict killed 2,783 of their soldiers.

A spokesman for the UN World Food Programme says that 80% of people in Yemen are suffering from the effects of hunger because of the blockade by a Saudi-led coalition. This is not a natural disaster but an entirely man-made one.

The Climate Observatory reports that, in the first year of the Bolsonaro presidency in Brazil, carbon dioxide emissions increased by 9.6% as a consequence of deforestation,

In Los Angeles a man has been freed early from his 505 year sentence for money laundering. 

 

Belarus, where thousands of people march every weekend against the tyrannical rule of President Alexander Lukashenko, has opened its first nuclear power plant only 40 miles away from Vilnius, the capital city of Lithuania. 

In Afghanistan, bombings and shootings continue to cause death and mayhem and thousands of people have fled their homes. In Jalalabad people were so desperate to obtain visas to go to Pakistan that several people were killed in a crush outside the consulate. According to the UN 5,939 Afghan civilians died in violence in the first 9 months of this year. 

In France the government has announced that 76 mosques whose members are suspected of fomenting sectarian hatred are to be inspected, following the murder in October of teacher Samuel PatyIn some Islamic countries there has been a boycott of French goods in protest at President Macron's public condemnation of acts of religious-based violence. 

People have been celebrating in Chile​ after the result of their referendum was a clear preference for a new citizens' charter, to replace the existing constitution which dates  back to the Pinochet dictatorship of the 1970s. The referendum took place after a year of street protests in Santiago.

The UN World Food Programme estimates that 7 million people  died from hunger in the first 9 months of this year, and that the outlook for the near future is even worse.

Official harrassment and the freezing of its bank account have forced Amnesty International to suspend its work in India.

An Australian pilgrim in Saudi Arabia has been found guilty of blasphemy and sentenced to a year in prison and 500 lashes.

Also in Saudi, women's rights campaigner Loujain al-Hathloul, who has been held prisoner since May 2018, is to be tried in a court used for the adjudication of terror-related crimes. 

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