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Live blog: Breaking news, Wednesday 7 November

Alex Salmond is now Scotland's longest serving First Minister

Alex Salmond is now Scotland's longest serving First Minister

The latest updates from the Scotsman news desk throughout the day.

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5.00pm: Edinburgh’s saunas have won a key council decision with 11 premises in the capital granted licenses to carry on trading.

Objectors urged councillors on the licensing sub committee to reject them, arguing they were operating as brothels, which is illegal.

3.30pm: Concerns about the management of Scotland’s new tax collector have been raised at Holyrood as figures showed just 10 per cent of the body’s staff believing it deals well with change. Tory MSP Mary Scanlon said that a 2011 survey of staff at Registers of Scotland (RoS) points to a “very demoralised workforce” with nine in 10 workers having limited confidence in the organisation.

3.10pm: A letter revealing details of a secret plot to restore Mary, Queen of Scots to the throne in Scotland is to be sold at auction in London today. The 443-year-old letter warns then-monarch Elizabeth I of a plan by Thomas Howard, the 4th Duke of Norfolk, to marry Mary and resintall her in Scotland.

1.50pm: A police officer is to stand trial accused of seriously injuring a seven year girl by ploughing a marked police car into her as she crossed the road, a court heard today. Gary Johnston, a serving officer with Tayside Police, is accused of driving the Ford Focus police car dangerously while on duty on November 13 last year.

1.20pm: The deal to stage a referendum on Scottish independence should have given Scots the chance to vote for more powers for Holyrood and was struck after a “behind-closed-doors” pact between Westminster and Holyrood, a leading legal expert is to tell MSPs. The historic Edinburgh Agreement was signed by Alex Salmond and David Cameron last month. But it was disappointing as an “exercise in direct democracy” according to Professor Aileen McHarg of Strathclyde University, who says MSPs have “limited” powers to make any changes to the deal.

1.15pm: Owen Coyle has admitted he would welcome an approach to discuss the possibility of taking over as Scotland boss.

Glasgow-born Coyle has been out of work since he was sacked as Bolton manager in October but has been touted as a candidate to replace Craig Levein.

1.10pm: Tens of millions of pounds are to be spent on green energy projects to help heat homes across Scotland, the housing minister Margaret Burgess has announced today. The minister said that two pilot schemes in Glasgow and the Highlands will be the first to be benefit from the Warm Homes Fund, which will hand out £50 million. West Whitlawburn Housing Cooperative in Glasgow and West Highland Housing Association in Oban will both receive assistance for biomass heating schemes, helping more than 550 households to heat their homes more cost effectively.

12:40pm: David Maddox’s account of the atmosphere in London’s US embassy on election night.

12.25pm: Runaway teacher Jeremy Forrest could face underage sex charges over his eight days on the run in France with a 15-year-old schoolgirl.

The married 30-year-old was returned to Britain after police swooped on the fugitive pair in Bordeaux in September.

12.15pm: Police have released CCTV images of a man they want to speak to in connection to a serious assault in Edinburgh. The attack happened in Market Street, around 2am on Saturday, 8 July.

A 24-year-old man, who was walking towards Waverly Bridge when he was punched in the head, suffered a head injury and a dislocated shoulder.

11.55am: Patients will be able to see first-hand how their medical treatments will affect their body with the introduction of Scotland’s first virtual 3D surgical tool.

The high-tech device will also enable trainee doctors to practice surgical techniques on 3D models and animations.

11.50am: An independent Scotland would continue to have a major influence on the world stage Alex Salmond said today, insisting: “You don’t need Trident missiles to get people to listen”. The First Minister told church leaders today that small countries can produce fairer societies, but warned the UK is one of the most unequal in the world. He marked his 2002nd day in office, overtaking Jack McConnell as the longest serving First Minister, with a keynote speech at a Church of Scotland conference in Edinburgh.

11.40am: The bill for helping people on low and middle incomes defend themselves in criminal courts fell by 2.6 per cent to £157.2 million last year, new figures have revealed. However, the Scottish Legal Aid Board (Slab), which manages the budget for the Scottish Government, has admitted it faces a “substantial challenge” to make more savings in future.

11.30am: Residents on the small Scots island of Scalpay off Harris have voted to take over the running of the island. The current landlord, English businessman Fred Taylor, had offered inhabitants the Outer Hebridean island as a gift for free. After a vote at Scalpay Community Hall on Tuesday it was a clear result in favour of the takeover - with 197 for and just eight against.

11.20am: Energy giants SSE – who plan to invest £5-£10billion in the Highlands and Islands over the next decade – has struck a deal with Scotland’s newest university to boost local job opportunities. A “partnership agreement” signed with bosses at the University of Highlands and Islands will result in a range of developments, including a new apprenticeship programme to begin next month with around 30 trainees.

11.15am: Scotland’s economy remains stuck in recession, one of the country’s leading economic think-tanks declares today, in what it describes as a continuing “after-shock” of the 2008 financial crash. The country will largely miss out on the Olympic bounce which saw the UK economy as a whole record 1% growth in the third quarter of this year.

10.30am: A 31-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the death of a shopkeeper in Paisley. Javaid Ali, 48, was stabbed in his Sunshine Grocers shop in Green Road on June 15. He died in the town’s Royal Alexandra Hospital on June 29.

10.20am: A leading Scottish animal welfare charity today renewed its call for total ban on airguns after one cat was fatally wounded and another injured in separate “sickening” attacks in Stirling.

10:07am: Scotland’s first female police chief constable, Norma Graham, 49, now retired, is due to appear at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court today for a hearing ahead of trial, accused of causing a road crash by careless driving

9.35am: Alex Salmond is in his 2002nd day in office today overtaking Jack McConnell as longest serving First Minister. He will make a keynote speech at the Church of Scotland conference on policy and ethics.

 

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