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Scots party in Munich ahead of Euro 2024’s opening game against Germany | World News

Even before Euro 2024 kicks off, Scotland fans think they have won something – the partying.

The bagpipes in Bavaria signalled the Tartan Army are back.

Thousands of Scots – many in kilts carrying crates of beer – packed into Munich’s Marienplatz on the eve of the curtain-raiser against Germany.

Not that you’d realise the hosts were at their own party, with few Germany shirts and flags in sight here.

Scotland fans in Munich ahead of tomorrow's match against Germany REUTERS/Leonhard Simon
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Pic: Reuters

But they were making the visitors feel welcome, particularly the placid police allowing beer to be downed through the centre late into the night.

This is the start of Germany’s biggest-ever policing deployment for a major sporting event.

But in Munich, officers kept their distance as melodies of “Flower of Scotland” and “We’ve got McGinn. Super John McGinn” boomed through the packed side-street of the main square.

Scotland fans in Munich ahead of tomorrow's match against Germany REUTERS/Leonhard Simon
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Pic: Reuters

The sound of glass crunching could be heard as midnight approached – the detritus of a day’s drinking.

Scots soaking in the atmosphere, drinking it all in.

It’s been 26 years – at the France 98 World Cup – since Scotsmen competed overseas at a major football tournament.

Scotland fans in Munich ahead of tomorrow's match against Germany REUTERS/Leonhard Simon
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Pic: Reuters

“It’s amazing – we see all the videos, we see everyone landing into Munich in their numbers,” Scotland captain Andy Robertson said last night.

“We made a big point, the manager, when he first came in, to try and get them back onside because the home support maybe nosedived a little bit because of performances on the pitch.

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John McGinn swaps the Highland Fling for the ‘Schuhplattler’ as Scotland prepare for the Euros.

“But the away support was always incredible. The away ends were always sold out and they always like a trip abroad.

“And there’s a lot of them over here and we hope to make them proud. We know all of them can’t get into the stadium, we wish they could, it would help us.”

Scotland fans in Munich ahead of tomorrow's match against Germany REUTERS/Leonhard Simon
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Pic: Reuters

After decades living in the shadow of England, the stage is Scotland’s before the Three Lions campaign begins on Sunday against Serbia.

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Poll reveals whether England fans are optimistic about Euros

Steve Clarke is the first manager of Scotland to secure consecutive qualification to European Championships.

The last one, held in 2021, was a more muted affair, with games only in Britain and pandemic-curtailed crowds.

Scotland lost both games at Hampden Park, but they did celebrate a draw against England at Wembley.

Scottish pipers walking from Odeonsplatz to Marienplatz, Munich.
Pic: PA
Image:
Pic: PA

So it doesn’t seem as daunting facing Germany at Bayern Munich’s stadium as Scotland try to make it out of the group stage for the first time at a major tournament.

But Germany haven’t won a knockout stage game since Euro 2016.

“One of the mantras we’ve always had is to respect everyone and fear no one,” Clarke said.

“So we come here with a lot of respect for the host nation. We know that they are a good team, but hopefully on the night we can show that we are a good team as well.”

Starmer’s decision over Diane Abbott is part of a wider strategy – but polling suggests trouble ahead | Politics News

Does Diane Abbott and the row over her future matter?

Keir Starmer clearly calculated not so much, although I’m told it blew up far more than the leader’s office expected, with the mess and delay a product of disagreements internally about what to do with her.

High-profile Labour politicians like Jess Phillips are now kicking off, and televised rallies in front of supporters in Hackney have undoubtedly obliterated the party’s attempts to get messages out on NHS waiting times.

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But does it move the dial politically – particularly when the party is 27 points ahead according to the latest Sky News/YouGov poll and Sir Keir is keen to do all he can to preserve relations with the Jewish community?

Possibly not in the first instance. But it may have secondary effects.

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Diane Abbott: ‘I’m banned from running for Labour’

Sir Keir is avowedly determined to present a “changed” Labour Party, away from the one that held Jeremy Corbyn in high esteem.

The decisions about Ms Abbott are part of that wider strategy. There are still parts of the party nostalgic for this era, however, and Sir Keir famously won the leadership trying to keep them onside.

But there’s a paradox in the polling that suggests trouble ahead. Yes, if the polls are to be believed (and many Tories don’t) Labour is on course for a decent majority and control of Number 10.

However, Sir Keir’s own ratings are – less than stellar.

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Poll: Labour surges to 27-point lead

The YouGov/Sky News poll asked this week whether voters thought he would be a good or bad prime minister. Almost half – 47% – said bad. The older the voter, the more pessimistic they are.

Sir Keir is starting from a low base – not as bad as Rishi Sunak, but still bad. By contrast, only 33% said they thought he’d be good.

That level of enthusiasm suggests Sir Keir may not enjoy much of a public opinion honeymoon, just at a point where he is likely to have to start by making difficult decisions, most notably on raising taxes.

One of the themes of this election has been the party’s clarity that while it will promise not to raise income tax, national insurance and corporation tax, no such bar exists on other taxes.

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With rules to restrain borrowing lifted from the Tories and unsustainably tight Whitehall spending plans, something has to give.

Judging by the first week of the campaign, that seems to be tax – a subject the Tories are likely to dwell on in the coming days.

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If he is suddenly unpopular, Sir Keir needs an army of supporters to insulate him.

But some of those are the supporters who are unhappy with his treatment of Ms Abbott.

This row might not matter that much now or in this campaign, but if the bonds between leader and party are easily frayed then there’s trouble ahead.

Rishi Sunak could tell him that.

Former Post Office boss Paula Vennells hands over 50 new documents ahead of scandal inquiry appearance | UK News

The Post Office scandal inquiry has said it will “urgently” review dozens of new documents it has received from former chief executive Paula Vennells.

The inquiry heard her legal team had conducted further searches ahead of her appearance next week and found 50 additional documents that had previously not been shared.

A spokesperson for the inquiry told Sky News: “Lead counsel to the inquiry Jason Beer KC confirmed this morning that the document was received by the inquiry at 11:17pm last night.

“The inquiry expects to receive further documents from Ms Vennells today, which it will review urgently.”

Mr Beer has previously raised questions about the necessity of receiving documents quickly – and reminded witnesses he “will not hesitate” to call them back to the inquiry if required.

It came as Ms Vennells‘s former colleague Alisdair Cameron, the Post Office’s former chief financial officer, faced questions on Friday about what he knew about the scandal.

He began his session with an apology to the sub-postmasters affected.

Screen grab taken from the Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry of Alisdair Cameron, chief financial officer and former interim chief executive of Post Office Ltd, giving evidence to the inquiry at Aldwych House, central London, as part of phases five and six of the probe, which is looking at governance, redress and how the Post Office and others responded to the scandal. Picture date: Friday May 17, 2024.
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Alisdair Cameron gave evidence to the inquiry on Friday. Pic: PA

Mr Cameron was also quizzed on a document he had written titled “what went wrong” in November 2020 for current chief executive Nick Read.

The ex-senior executive wrote: “We should have been tackling these issues 10 years ago.

“However, I do not believe that an earlier settlement was practically possible because the serious claimants believed there had been a miscarriage of justice and required recognition and an apology as much as they wanted money.

“Paula did not believe there had been a miscarriage and could not have got there emotionally.

“She seemed clear in her conviction from the day I joined that nothing had gone wrong and it was very clearly stated in my very first board meeting. She never, in my observation, deviated from that or seemed to particularly doubt that.”

Mr Beer asked: “So she was unwavering in her conviction that there had been no miscarriages of justice?”

Mr Cameron replied: “As far as I was concerned, yes.”

He said he had concluded that the Post Office had a “victim mentality” and its defence of the faulty accounting software was a “waste of public money”.

Read more:
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Mr Cameron also noted that the business was criticised for being “over-reliant on Horizon when we knew its weaknesses” and that the original prosecutions of sub-postmasters were a “deliberate miscarriage of justice”.

The final criticism was that the company should have “apologised and moved on years ago” and that defending itself had led to a “waste of public money and a postponement of justice”.

In the 2020 document, which was shown to the inquiry, Mr Cameron wrote: “At the heart of everything, the original sin of Post Office – and this may go back a very long time – is that: our culture, self-absorbed and defensive, stopped us from dealing with postmasters in a straightforward and acceptable way.”

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Sub-postmaster cases may be ‘tainted’

More than 700 sub-postmasters were prosecuted by the Post Office and handed criminal convictions between 1999 and 2015 as Fujitsu’s faulty Horizon system made it appear as though money was missing at their branches.

Hundreds of sub-postmasters are still awaiting full compensation despite the government announcing those who have had convictions quashed are eligible for £600,000 payouts.

UK weather: Temperatures set to reach around 23C with ‘more settled’ week ahead | UK News

Temperatures in the UK could reach around 23C this week as forecasters predict a brighter week ahead.

Sunny spells will develop across the day for many parts of the UK on Tuesday.

Once the showers from the bank holiday weekend ease it is likely to remain dry in most areas away from Scotland and northern England.

Get the latest Sky News forecast for your area

Conditions will improve across the country as the week progresses and it will begin to feel increasingly warm – though some areas of northern Scotland could still see some showers.

“It will generally be a lot more settled this week,” said Met Office meteorologist Ellie Glaisyer.

“It will start to feel much more pleasant with temperatures on Tuesday likely to reach the very early twenties in the south, and then later on in the week, we could see temperatures of around 22C to 23C, while the north is likely to reach temperatures in the high teens.”

Ms Glaisyer said an area of high pressure will start to build and move across the UK from Wednesday, potentially bringing more settled, warmer, and drier weather.

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It comes after the UK experienced a mix of rain and sunny spells over the bank holiday weekend.

The Met Office issued yellow weather warnings for parts of England, Wales and southern Scotland on Monday as it warned thunderstorms and heavy downpours could cause flooding and travel disruption.

The two warnings expired at 9pm on Monday evening, as showers began to ease across the UK.

Taylor Swift Eras tour course offered by college for parents and carers ahead of sold-out Edinburgh shows | UK News

A Scottish college is offering a course on Taylor Swift to educate parents and carers accompanying children to the US singer’s sold-out The Eras Tour.

More than 2.9 million fans attempted to secure tickets for the tour, and her sold-out concerts at Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh are set to be watched live by 215,000 people.

Swift, 34, will perform in Edinburgh on 7, 8 and 9 June, with the crowd numbers expected to beat Harry Styles’ record in 2023 for the biggest show in Scotland.

Glasgow Clyde College (GCC) has launched a masterclass aimed at teaching parents and plus-ones about the set list and Swift’s evolving wardrobe and hairstyles.

It will cover crowd chants as well as her previous work, including albums Fearless and Folklore.

The free session is designed to help non-Swifties to get “up to speed” so they fully appreciate “iconic” moments in the set.

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Robert Anderson, curriculum assistant principal at GCC, said: “Taylor mania doesn’t seem to be slowing any time soon, and we expect it’ll reach its peak here in Scotland in June.

“We understand that not everyone will be up to speed on all things Taylor and might not get the full Eras experience.

“That’s why we created this masterclass – to prepare those who’ll be heading along to the gig with their superfan kids, friends or partners to ensure they have just as memorable a time.

“Taylor’s gigs are known for being so well crafted, and unless you’re a fan yourself, you might miss some of the iconic moments.

“Our expert will take you through everything you need to know – leaving you a Swiftie in no time.”

The one-off course, which is free, will take place from 6pm to 7.30pm on 7 May in the Innovation Centre at GCC’s Langside Campus.

Fasting students kept on track with PE lessons ahead of Ramadan | UK News

PE lessons designed for students who are fasting are being incorporated across thousands of schools, the author of the guidance has told Sky News.

The advice includes practical adaptations for physical activities such as lower-intensity training and focusing on technique.

Dr Irfan Khawaja, who developed the guidance at Birmingham City University, told Sky News it helps keep students choosing to fast on track with PE lessons.

Dr Irfan Khawaja
Image:
Dr Irfan Khawaja

“When you’re fasting, you’re nil by mouth from dawn until sunset, that’s a long period of time. However, if you choose the types of activities that you do carefully, then there’s no reason why you cannot sustain a healthy and active lifestyle,” he told Sky News.

“That might mean that you lower the intensity activities, it might mean that you lower the number of reps that you do when you go to the gym or you do less cardio, whatever that might be.”

Dr Khawaja says the guidance is already set to be used in at least 2,500 schools and is especially useful to Muslim students fasting during Ramadan.

In 2024, Ramadan is due to start from 11 March and could last until 8 April. It is a period of spiritual reflection, self-improvement and heightened devotion and worship.

Fasting, where no food or drink can be consumed, begins at dawn and ends at sunset and is obligatory for all adult Muslims who are not acutely ill.

Ramadan falls on different dates every year and is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar.

Read more: Why do Muslims fast during Ramadan?

PE lesson at school

“From an Islamic perspective you are encouraged to continue to lead a normal and healthy lifestyle throughout Ramadan and fasting itself is part of wider health regimes anyway,” Dr Khawaja told Sky News.

Hall Green Secondary School in Birmingham has incorporated the guidance ahead of Ramadan starting.

Emma Smith, PE teacher at Hall Green Secondary School in Birmingham
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PE teacher Emma Smith

PE teacher Emma Smith says it helps keep students safe.

She said it means “their parents are going to be sending their children in even if they’re fasting, knowing that our department is going to do something to support them, to make sure they can still access the full part of the curriculum without needing to worry they’re going to work too hard”.

Fasting, and some forms of intermittent fasting, is a popular health and fitness trend even outside of Ramadan.

The Muslim Council of Britain has called on the government to roll Dr Khawaja’s guidance out nationally to set a standard across all schools.

Queen says King is ‘fine’ and ‘looking forward to getting back to work’ ahead of prostate treatment | UK News

Queen Camilla has said the King is “fine” and is “looking forward to getting back to work” as he awaits treatment for an enlarged prostate.

Buckingham Palace announced yesterday the King is set to attend hospital for the treatment next week.

The palace has postponed his engagements in the meantime.

It is not known exactly what procedure the King, who is 75, requires, but the palace said he will need “a short period of recuperation”.

He is at his private home Birkhall in Aberdeenshire, where he is preparing for the procedure.

The Queen has been visiting the Aberdeen Art Gallery, and was asked about the King by the Lord Provost.

She replied: “He’s fine, thank you very much. Looking forward to getting back to work.”

It comes as the Prince of Wales visited his wife Kate in hospital while she recovers from abdominal surgery.

William was seen leaving the private London Clinic at around 12.35pm on Thursday.

The Prince of Wales (left) drives away from the London Clinic, in central London, where the Princess of Wales is recovering after undergoing successful abdominal surgery. She was admitted to The London Clinic on Tuesday for the planned procedure. Picture date: Thursday January 18, 2024.
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The Prince of Wales leaving the London Clinic

The princess was admitted on Tuesday for the successful, planned procedure but is expected to stay in hospital for 10 to 14 days before returning to her Adelaide Cottage home in Windsor.

Sky News understands the planned surgery was routine.

Kensington Palace refused to confirm what Kate was being treated for but said the condition was non-cancerous.

This breaking news story is being updated and more details will be published shortly.

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Charlotte Brown: Father urges daughter’s killer Jack Shepherd to reveal ‘truth’ about speedboat death ahead of prison release | UK News

A grieving father has pleaded with his daughter’s killer to reveal the truth about her speedboat death on the eve of his prison release.

Graham Brown has never believed Jack Shepherd‘s story that his daughter Charlotte had taken the controls of the vessel shortly before it crashed.

Mr Brown, 60, told Sky News: “Shepherd has never said what really happened that night. And what he has said conflicts with what we know did happen and what came out in the trial.

Jack Shepherd is due to appear in court on Monday
Image:
Jack Shepherd

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June 2019: ‘He has shown no remorse’

“The pure fact that he took my daughter out on a dodgy speedboat at 10 o’clock at night, without lifejackets, on a very dangerous stretch of the River Thames and accelerated up to 30 knots, and then to turn around and say, it was her fault…”

Shepherd, 35, is expected to be freed automatically from jail next month after completing half of his 10-year sentence for Charlotte’s manslaughter and a separate, unrelated assault in a pub.

He has said in the past he did not believe he bore responsibility for Charlotte’s death in December 2015, claiming it was “ultimately her action” that caused the tragedy.

Mr Brown said: “My daughter would not have been driving that boat. In my own mind, I’m fairly confident that she thought it was just going to meander, turn around, and go back.

“She would have had no idea what he was going to do. She would have been absolutely terrified.”

Charlotte, 24, had met Shepherd on a dating app and he had wined and dined her at a Shard restaurant near London Bridge before taking her for a late-night ride along the Thames on his defective speedboat in December 2015.

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January 2019: Shepherd – I was shouting ‘help her’

It was their first date.

The speeding boat hit a submerged tree, overturned and flung them both into the water.

They were rescued, but Charlotte was unconscious and later died, while Shepherd survived.

Shepherd, a serial womaniser who had given rides to other women, told police they had drunk champagne and Charlotte had taken over the controls just before the collision near Wandsworth Bridge.

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Graham Brown in 2019: ‘He won’t accept responsibility’

After being charged with manslaughter by gross negligence, Shepherd fled the UK for Georgia, the former soviet state, but was sentenced in his absence to six years in jail.

He gave himself up to authorities in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, in January 2019 and was extradited and jailed at the Old Bailey in April that year for another four years for an attack on a pub barman in Devon.

File photo dated 20/07/2018 of the family of Charlotte Brown (left to right) father Graham Brown, sister Katie and mother Roz Wicken. Web developer Jack Shepherd has been found guilty of killing her in a speedboat accident on the Thames. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday July 26, 2018. Jack Shepherd had been trying to impress 24-year-old Charlotte Brown after meeting her on dating website OkCupid. But their champagne-fuelled first date ended in tragedy when his boat capsized and she
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The family of Charlotte Brown at court. File pic

Mr Brown, the father of three daughters, said he had no wish to speak to Shepherd on his release, but hoped he would offer a full explanation for what happened on the night Charlotte died.

He said: “I wish he would just be able to tell the truth and state clearly what happened. I feel that he will never do that.”