News

 

 

 

COVID-19

1,456 positive tests were announced today, representing 11.4% of all people tested. There were also 15 recorded death. The figures are probably slightly higher than they should be because there have been administrative problems over the weekend that made Sunday's and yesterday's numbers artificially low, but they certainly keep us reminded that the virus is still here looking for prey, and finding lots of it. Before we moved into Phase 3 Scotland's 3 week average number of infections per day was 14. The latest figures tell us that 824 people are in hospital with the virus and 69 are in intensive care.

Of the day's numbers, 500 were in the Greater Glasgow & Clyde Health Area, 393 in Lanarkshire, 198 in Lothian, 116 in Ayrshire & Arran and 249 spread around the rest of the country.  

 

As in Phase 1, we are no longer allowed into each other's homes except in particular circumstances. All pubs in the central belt, where most of the infected folk stay, are to be closed till 26 October at the very earliest and next year's National 5 school exams have been called off. 

 

An analysis of recent figures showed that 43% of new infections were of teenagers in the 15 to 19 age group.

From 12 October people who are self-isolating can apply for a Government grant via their local authority. Business can also apply for grants and loans.

The media in Scotland continue to hold the First Minister personally responsible for every business that's worried about going into lockdown and to imply that she is acting out of spite rather than trying to protect the people and the NHS from the effects of the virus. In England she is routinely portrayed as a model of good sense and pragmatism in contrast to the  shambolic approach of Boris Johnson and his Cabinet.

 

Some folk seem to believe that their human rights are being stamped on if they can't go to the pub; last week Stephen Jardine on BBC radio cut off a phone-in contributor who compared Nicola Sturgeon to Hitler.  People who express such opinions are in a small minority but you'd not think so if you were to read or watch  the news.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The increase in infections continues. More than 40 million people have been infected throughout the world and over a 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! 

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.

6 weeks of tough lockdown measures have been announced by the government in Ireland

The French Government has ordered a 4 week curfew, beginning  on 17 October, in Paris and in 8 other large cities with increasing numbers of new cases.  The cities will be closed down from 9 pm to 6 am every night. 

There has been a sudden increase in infections in Switzerland, where the government has now made face coverings compulsory in all indoor spaces.

Wales is declared out of bounds to anyone from the areas in English tiers 2 and 3, and to folk from the Central Belt in Scotland.  From 23 October the whole of Wales will go into a 2 week lockdown.

In England the three tier plan seems to have fallen at the first hurdle. The Mayor of Greater Manchester is refusing to put the region in lockdown and he is supported by local politicians, including Tories. 

Iran is experiencing its third, and apparently most deadly, wave.

The Government in Spain had its emergency measures thrown out by the country's Supreme Court and so has declared a State of Emergency,  placing Madrid into partial lockdown. 

All bars, clubs and restaurants have been ordered to close in the Czech Republic.

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 a million mink in fur farms to be slaughtered in an attempt to prevent cross-contamination.

Research by the Indian Medical Council suggests that, rather than the official figure of a million infections, the true number of people smitten in India is more like 60 million. The official number of Covid-19 deaths in India is now over 100,000.

The Turkish government has admitted to under-estimating the number of Covid-19 cases in the country by not counting people who have the virus but are non-symptomatic.

Afghanistan's Health Minister says that around 31.5% of the country's people have been infected, including over half the citizens of Kabul. 

Djakarta has been ordered back into lockdown by the government in Indonesia. 

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 rising again.

There's no messing about in Vietnam.  When 3 residents in Da Nang were infected with C-19 the government told 80,000 tourists to leave the country immediately. 

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 8 million have been infected and nearly 218,000 people have died. Donald Trump has said that 99% of infections are harmless, but if I were to report every time Trump says something stupid there would be no more room on the page. Maths is obviously just one more subject he hasn't managed to master.

SCOTLAND

The Guardian reports on the civil case being brought by 21 men who were sexually abused as youngsters at Celtic FC Boys' Club.

 

The Fatal Accident Inquiry into the 2013 Super Puma helicopter crash that killed 4 people has concluded that the accident was mainly caused by pilot error. The pilot survived the crash but is too traumatised to have been able to give any evidence.

The Stop Climate Change Scotland coalition is calling on the Scottish government to increase its contribution to funds intended to help poorer countries make the transition to cleaner economies. 

 

Good news for Livingston, where 24/7 children's treatment has been restored, after 3 years, at St John's Hospital.

 

A £10.000 reward has been offered to try to bring about an end to a series of fire bomb attacks in Greenock.

Arguably, Scotland needs another luxury golf resort like a fish needs a bicycle, but Aberdeenshire Council has, nevertheless, given permission for Trump International to desecrate yet more of the county in spite of objections from environmentalists.

11 residents of a care home in East Whitburn have now died with the coronavirus. 

 

Margaret Ferrier, SNP MP for Rutherglen & Hamilton West, is still trying to dig her way out of the hole she created for herself by her failure to self-isolate when suffering from symptoms of what turned out to be Covid-19, and has refused to resign her seat in spite of being asked to do so by the First Minister and being suspended from the Party. Ms Ferrier didn't break English law as it stood at the time but the police in England have now passed the case on to the Scottish force since she may have transgressed in Scotland. 

 

56 years after the Beeching Axe fell, Kintore Station is open again, with trains taking passengers to Inverness and Aberdeen.

East Dunbartonshire MP Amy Callaghan has left hospital 4 months after suffering a brain aneurysm. Her previously lush hair is a lot shorter than when she was admitted, which isn't surprising after 2 emergency operations.

The perils and misery of involvement in street drugs are exemplified by the sentencing of a man from East Kilbride to a 9 year prison sentence. He had become addicted to cocaine, and turned to dealing in order to try to pay off his debts

A MORI/STV opinion poll indicates that independence is more popular among people in Scotland than ever before.

 

The Isle of Insch is in private hands again after being sold by National Trust Scotland. 

A sectarian bigot who threw fireworks at a parade containing rival sectarian bigots has been sent to prison for 16 months.

 

Lincolnshire farmer Nigel Wright, who travelled to Lockerbie to contaminate Tesco's baby food in a blackmail attempt, has been sent to prison for 11 years. He was given another 3 years for threatening to kill the wife and daughter of a driver after a road incident. 

 

The Cairngorm Mountain Centre has a £20 million investment from the Government to help it re-open and become a year-round attraction.

The West of Scotland MPA, the largest marine protection area in Europe, is now established.

 

The English government's Internal Market Bill has been rejected at Holyrood by 90 votes to 28. The SNP were joined in their opposition by Labour, Liberal and Green MSPs.

The man who attacked two elderly people and killed another during a psychotic episode in Elgin last year has been ordered to be detained at Carstairs Hospital indefinitely.

The Scottish Conservatives have announced that they are now in favour of free university tuition.

Data released by SEPA shows that Ineos is Scotland's top polluter. Their power stations emit twice as much filth as anyone else and Grangemouth is the town that is most affected. The single most polluting facility in the country is the SSE-operated gas-fired power station at Peterhead. 

Plans mooted by the English government to send asylum seekers to a remote Scottish island have failed to impress other parties, and Douglas Ross doesn't think much of the idea either.

 

The Office for Nuclear Regulation has given permission for Hunterston no. 4 reactor to be operated for another 6 months in spite of cracks in the building. The same decision was taken with number 3 reactor a few weeks ago.

Emergency funding for the Glasgow subway and Edinburgh trams ran out at the end of September. To help stave off closure a  package of government support worth £4 million was announced on 13 October. 

 

Levels of reported crime in Scotland remained comparatively low in 2019/20 but there were nearly 1700 recorded offences under the new Domestic Abuse Act

Scotland has the lowest life expectancy in Western Europe, and Glasgow has the lowest in Scotland. 

The land that was used for building Dounreay Atomic Facility will be safe to use again, but not before 2333. In the 1980s Margaret Thatcher was keen to make Dounreay a midden for nuclear waste from around the world, but the disaster at Chernobyl changed people's minds about the industry's safety and saved Caithness from hosting a huge nuclear dump. 

It's a sad farewell to Kerr's miniature railway in Arbroath.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE WORLD

The US Election has begun. Millions of folk have voted already, and really early voters never got the chance to take into account the New York Times' revelations about Donald Trump's tax avoidance and debts. The NYT states that, according to its source, self-proclaimed billionaire Trump paid only $750 in income tax in both 2016 and 2017, and that in 10 of 17 years he paid no income tax at all. In 2018 he announced that he had made profits in excess of $400 million but the accounts revealed to the NYT indicate that his businesses actually made losses of over $47 million.

 

The first candidates' debate went exactly as had been widely predicted, with Trump attempting to win arguments by refusing to let Biden speak without interrupting him and ignoring the moderator's attempts to limit him to the agreed time. He made a number of unsubstantiated claims and implied that the moderator was biased against him. His call to right wing street hooligans calling themselves Proud Boys to stand by was interpreted by them as a message of support.

The world has been saved from a repeat performance. After becoming infected with Covid-19 Trump left hospital and rather than going into quarantine he was immediately back campaigning. He  refused to take part in a virtual debate and so the second slanging match was called off, but a third is still scheduled.

 

In another dog-whistle to racist voters Trump announced plans to further reduce the number of refugees allowed to enter the USA next year. This follows his command that anti-racist training for government workers should be stopped.

 

A reporter from Fox News has said she backs up people who say that Trump referred to dead US soldiers as suckers and losers.

A new book by Michael Cohen, who was sent to gaol for lying on Trump's behalf about the hush money given to Stormy Daniels, says that Trump is a racist and that he hired an actor that looked like Barack Obama so he could sack him on camera, and also says Trump calls all countries run by black people shitholes.

Journalist Bob Woodward, famous for his investigation of  Watergate in 1972, has shared a recording of Trump admitting, in March, that he was deliberately not telling people in the USA about the serious nature of the coronavirus.

Trump has refused to guarantee that he will hand over power if he loses the Election.

Millions of dollars have been collected to pay off fines for people in Florida who would otherwise be banned from voting. In Arizona electoral rules that reduced the number of votes deemed acceptable in the last 3 Elections, discriminating against minority citizens, are to remain in place.

Reuters reported that a fake news website based in Russia was trying to manipulate the result of the Election by spreading disinformation in the USA, and that the same people also interfered before the Election in 2016.

Election Day is 3 November, but the final result might not be known for another couple of weeks because of the different states' deadlines for counting postal votes.

Amnesty International reports that cluster bombs have been deployed in the escalating war between the forces of Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Kharabak region. The fighting has caused yet another refugee crisis as civilians attempt to flee to safety, while those who stay live in constant fear. Two temporary ceasefires have been violated so many times they might as well never have been announced, with civilians still being maimed and killed by bombs.

Danish murderer Peter Madsen, who killed and dismembered journalist Kim Wall after inviting her onto his submarine in 2017, escaped from prison on 20 October but was immediately surrounded by armed police and re-captured. 

The EU is resolved to make itself carbon neutral by 2050. Horses were spotted casually strolling through open stable doors in Brussels as the news was announced. 

A project manager who worked on the refurbishment of Grenfell Tower, which included cladding the block in highly-inflammable material, has told the Inquiry that she threw her notes away a year after the disaster. 

Early results indicate a big win for the Movement for Socialism in Bolivia's General Election.

Ersin Tatar, the candidate favoured by President Erdogan of Turkey, has won the General Election in Northern Cyprus, a country recognised by itself and Turkey but by nobody else.

In Santiago, demonstrations to mark a year of street protest began good-naturedly, but later in the day vandalism and looting broke out and a historic church was burned down. A referendum on a new constitution in Chile will take place next week.

The Labour Party is the clear winner of the General Election in New Zealand, with Jacinda Ardern returning as Prime Minister.

Her opponent accepted defeat with a quarter of the votes yet to be counted. The new government will be the first in decades to hold an absolute majority without any need for a coalition partner. 

Al-Jazeera reports that in Cambodia the ruling People's Party makes sure it remains in government by banning the main opposition and putting its members in prison. 

In Texas, the CEO of a tech company has been charged with hiding $2 billion from tax inspectors. 

A teacher who showed cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad to his class in France was stabbed to death and beheaded by an 18 year old man who was then killed, in turn, by a police marksman. French police are checking social media posts and are arresting people suspected of calling for the teacher, Samuel Paty, to be murdered. The government has ordered a mosque to close down for 6 months as punishment for its part in fomenting hatred against M. Paty.

The English government has rejected a request from Marcus Rashford to pay the equivalent of the cost of free school meals to poor families at half term and Christmas. The young footballer immediately created a petition to try to change minds, as he did during the summer break, and achieved 100,000 signatures in the first 10 hours.

A day after Bangladesh's government made rape a capital offence, 5 men have been sentenced to death for raping a teenage girl in 2012.

A Greek Court has officially declared the neo-fascist Golden Dawn to be a criminal organisation and convicted 7 of its leaders for directing its murderous activities. Six former politicians were sentenced to 13 years in prison, and the other received a life sentence for the killing of singer Pavlos Fyssas.

In Thailand the government has banned gatherings of more than 4 people and sent in riot police to enforce the new rule. Pro-democracy protesters are campaigning against the power and privileges of the Thai monarchy. Thousands are, nevertheless, continuing with street protests and wearing macs to protect themselves against water cannon attack.

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.

People have been protesting against police violence in Nigeria for the last 2 weeks. The fearsome Special Anti-Robbery Squad has been disbanded but many Nigerians fear that its replacement will be just as bad.

European meat producers are lobbying the EU to ban the term "veggie burger." 

Political parties in Kashmir have created an alliance to campaign for the restoration of the autonomy that was taken away by the Indian government last year.

Greenhouse gas emissions fell by an unprecedented amount in the first half of the year because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Thousands of newly born seals have been found dead on the sea shore in Namibia. 

The leader of People's Party Our Slovakia has been sentenced to 4 years and 4 months in prison for deliberate use of Nazi symbolism.  

According to a UN investigation, natural disasters have almost doubled in the last 20 years and climate change is the main driving force behind the increase. Climate change is also the number 1 suspect in the death of more than half the coral in the Great Barrier Reef over the last 30 years.

Floods have caused devastation to lives and homes in Vietnam and Cambodia. 9 members of a rescue team were, themselves, killed by a landslide while trying to save buried workers. 22 soldiers are missing after another landslide buried their barracks in mud and earth. Millions of people have been affected, and animals and crops drowned and/or washed away.

There is a political crisis in Kyrgyzstan, where the opposition refuses to accept the validity of the official Election result and is claiming to have taken over the government. The Prime Minister and Cabinet have now resigned en bloc. The President Sooronboy Jeenbekov appointed one of his billies as the new PM and had the opposition leader sent back to prison. The President has now, himself, resigned.

Huge numbers of sea animals have died in poisonous water around the Kamchatka peninsula in Russia.

Six right wing extremists have been arrested and charged with a plot to kidnap Michigan's governor, Gretchen Whitmer 

While Covid-19 has been killing people another mysterious disease has been attacking and devastating the Italian fruit crop.

25 civilians attempting to return to their homes have been massacred by terrorists in Burkina Faso.

According to Amnesty International, fighting in Capo Delgado, Mozambique, has led to more than 2,000 deaths and a humanitarian crisis over the last 3 years

 

130,000 Rohingya people, who have been neither convicted or accused of any crime, are detained in dirty camps with insufficient food and shelter in Myanmar. Two men who deserted from the Myanmar army have told how they were ordered to commit war crimes against the Rohingya community. 

Regardless of the ongoing peace talks between the Government and the Taliban in Afghanistan, bombings and shootings continue to cause death and mayhem and thousands of people have fled their homes. 12 more civilians have reportedly been killed this weekend by a car bomb in Feroz Koh.

The UN reports that there were 42 massacres in the first 9 months of the year in Colombia. Some were caused by fighting between the Army and FARC guerrillas but others were carried out by gangsters.

Data and imagery from space indicate a huge rise in destruction caused by fires in the Amazon forest this year.

Several women in DR Congo allege that during the Ebola crisis they were sexually exploited by men working for the World Health Organisation and other NGOs.

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

2000 people in Ethiopia have been charged with crimes following violence that broke out after a singer was killed by the police in June. Four suspects have been arrested and charged with the murder of Haacaaluu Hundeessaa that was the catalyst for the riots. 

In Sudan the government and a number of rebel groups have signed a peace treaty after decades of fighting.

A study has discovered that 48% of arms in the Middle East and North Africa came from the United States. Meanwhile the UN says that the war in Yemen is being fought with weapons from the USA, UK and Iran. Bears shat in the woods when they heard the news. The UK is the second largest arms dealer in the world.

 

From now on, the UK Government will be known by the Scots Ee as the English Government. The 4 countries are all going our own separate ways and it wouldn't be sensible to pretend otherwise.

Please click the links for details on the stories below.

This site was designed with the
.com
website builder. Create your website today.
Start Now