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Nicola Sturgeon has urged the SNP candidates vying to succeed her as first minister to “protect the ingredients of success” – telling Sky News the leadership contest so far has been “a less than edifying process”. 

In a Beth Rigby interview due to air at 9pm on Sky News, Ms Sturgeon acknowledged the turmoil in her party following a dramatic weekend which saw her husband quit as chief executive amid a row about transparency.

But she said she did not regret her decision to stand down, saying after eight years as leader she had become so dominant in Scottish politics she was becoming a “barrier to succession”.

“I wouldn’t be standing down if I didn’t think that was necessary after 16 years in government, but also protecting the ingredients of our phenomenal electoral success,” Ms Sturgeon said.

Ms Sturgeon urged those vying to replace her “not to throw the baby out with the bathwater”, amid criticism of the candidates and a significant fall in paid-up support, with the loss of about 30,000 members since 2021.

“I’m not suggesting that this is not a difficult process and at times, it has been a less than edifying process,” she said.

“And what I’d say to all of those standing to succeed me as leader… is remember that I am standing down from a party that hasn’t lost an election in Scotland since 2010.

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“This is a moment for refresh, renewal, change, but let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. We have the trust of the people of Scotland and we’ve got to make sure we retain that trust.”

Sturgeon ‘has not been contacted by police over SNP probe’

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon with husband Peter Murrell as they cast their votes in the 2019 General Election at Broomhouse Park Community Hall in Glasgow.
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SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon with husband Peter Murrell

In one of her last interviews as the country’s leader, Ms Sturgeon also told Sky News she has not heard whether police want to interview her or her husband as part of a long-running probe into SNP finances.

Peter Murrell, who had been the party’s chief executive since 1999, quit on Saturday after claims he misled the press over membership numbers.

Asked if she had heard whether she or her husband will be interviewed by police, Ms Sturgeon responded: “No. I wouldn’t comment on any ongoing police investigation and I am not going to comment on this one.”

The SNP has previously denied any wrongdoing around party finances.

Sturgeon ‘doesn’t regret’ gender reforms

Ms Sturgeon insisted the probe did not play any part in her sudden resignation last month – saying it was a mix of personal and political reasons.

And she said she “doesn’t regret” pushing forward with her gender recognition bill – which critics have suggested is what brought her down.

“The threat to women are abusive and predatory men, not trans people. So I don’t regret taking on that issue,” she said.

“My regret is that I wasn’t able to take the debate and discourse around it, into a more rational place

“That’s part of what I’ve been saying here. Maybe I’ve been in politics too long now to be able to do that as effectively as I need to.”

The outgoing first minister added that she had received “more toxic abuse on this issue, much of it from women claiming to care about women’s rights and women’s safety than I have on probably any other issue”.

“I’ve never doubted I’m doing the right thing”

Reflecting on her last few weeks in office, Ms Sturgeon said she had “mixed emotions” but said “I’ve never doubted that I’m doing the right thing. And that’s in my core. I feel that in my gut”.

Asked if she could have stayed on until the next general election she replied: “Yeah, I could have done but at what cost to myself?”

She said that in politics “maybe because it’s tended to be more men than women doing it, there has been a tendency to cling on” and she did not want to do that.

“I think anybody should only ever do a job like this if you can give it everything and that’s not just 100% of your work – a job like this you should give everything of yourself. You’re never off duty.

“I’m not complaining about this, it is part and parcel of what the job is about. I can’t just open my door and go for a walk with a friend on a Saturday morning, I can’t just go for coffee.

“All the things people take for granted are not there for you. and I think there is only so long anybody can and should do that.”

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Donald Sutherland, Hunger Games and Kelly’s Heroes actor, dies

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Donald Sutherland, Hunger Games and Kelly's Heroes actor, dies

Donald Sutherland, who appeared in films including The Hunger Games and Kelly’s Heroes, has died at the age of 88.

His agency, CAA, said he died in Miami “after a long illness”.

The Canadian actor won an Emmy and a Golden Globe for his performance in the mini-series Citizen X.

In 2017, he received an honorary Oscar.

His son, fellow actor Kiefer Sutherland, said “with a heavy heart” that his father had “passed away”.

“I personally think [he was] one of the most important actors in the history of film,” Kiefer Sutherland posted on X, adding that he was “never daunted by a role – good, bad or ugly”.

“He loved what he did and did what he loved, and one can never ask for more than that. A life well lived.”

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Sutherland with his son Kiefer. Pic: Reuters
Image:
Sutherland with his son Kiefer. Pic: Reuters

In the Hunger Games franchise, Donald Sutherland played President Snow alongside Jennifer Lawrence.

In Kelly’s Heroes he starred alongside Telly Savalas and Clint Eastwood as Sergeant Oddball – on a mission to steal gold from the Nazis.

“I love to work – I passionately love to work,” Sutherland told US talk show host Charlie Rose in 1998.

“I love to feel my hand fit into the glove of some other character. I feel a huge freedom – time stops for me. I’m not as crazy as I used to be, but I’m still a little crazy.”

Sutherland with Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence in 2015. Pic: AP
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Sutherland with Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence in 2015. Pic: AP

His “breakthrough performances” were in 1967 movie The Dirty Dozen and MASH, CAA said.

He also took parts in Robert Redford’s Ordinary People and Oliver Stone’s JFK.

He is survived by his wife Francine Racette, sons Roeg, Rossif, Angus, and Kiefer, daughter Rachel, and four grandchildren.

“A private celebration of his life will be held by the family,” CAA said.

Born in St John, New Brunswick, on the east coast of Canada in July 1935, he was the son of a salesman and a mathematics teacher.

He started university in Toronto as an engineering student but switched to English and started acting in college productions.

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Serbia threaten to pull out of Euro 2024 over Croatia and Albania chants

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Serbia threaten to pull out of Euro 2024 over Croatia and Albania chants

Serbia have threatened to pull its football team out of Euro 2024 if UEFA doesn’t punish Croatia and Albania for alleged hateful chants.

Jovan Surbatovic, general secretary of the Serbian football association, said they have made a formal complaint about “kill, kill, kill the Serb” chants during the 2-2 draw between Croatia and Albania on Wednesday.

He warned the team could pull out entirely if the European football governing body UEFA doesn’t act on their complaint.

“What happened is scandalous and we will ask UEFA for sanctions, even if it means not continuing the competition,” Mr Surbatovic said, according to Serbian broadcaster PTC.

“If UEFA doesn’t punish them, we will think about how to proceed.”

Serbia face Slovenia in Group C on Thursday, having lost to England 1-0 on Sunday.

England's Jude Bellingham in action with Serbia's Nikola Milenkovic. Pic: Reuters
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England’s Jude Bellingham in action with Serbia’s Nikola Milenkovic. Pic: Reuters

The Serbian FA was charged by UEFA for incidents during that game.

Supporters displayed a banner that “transmitted a provocative message unfit for a sports event” and threw objects inside the stadium, according to UEFA.

That charge came after the Kosovo Football Federation complained about “Serbian fans displaying political, chauvinistic, and racist messages against Kosovo”.

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Reuters news agency reported a group of Serbia fans chanted “Kosovo is the heart of Serbia” in central Munich’s Marienplatz on Thursday, ahead of their team’s game against Slovenia.

“We were punished for isolated cases and our fans behaved much better than the others,” Mr Surbatovic said.

“One fan was punished for racist insults and we don’t want it to be attributed to others. We Serbs are gentlemen and we have an open heart.”

UEFA has been approached for comment.

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Jay Slater: Photographs show Tenerife property where missing British teenager was last seen

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Jay Slater: Photographs show Tenerife property where missing British teenager was last seen

Photographs show the Tenerife property where British teenager Jay Slater is believed to have been last seen before he went missing on Monday.

A Snapchat video shared by the 19-year-old on Sunday night appears to show the property he visited in the northwestern mountain village of Masca after attending the NRG music festival.

Mr Slater, from Oswaldtwistle near Blackburn in Lancashire, was holidaying with friends on the island before he went missing.

The property where Mr Slater is believed to have been last seen
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The property where Jay Slater is believed to have been last seen

His friend Lucy Law told Wednesday’s UK Tonight programme on Sky News that she spoke to Mr Slater on the phone at about 8.15am local time on Monday.

During the short phone call, he told her he had missed a bus trying to get back to his holiday accommodation so was attempting to walk instead – a journey that would take 11 hours.

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Missing British teen’s friend speaks to Sky News

She said he told her he had “cut his leg on a cactus“, didn’t know where he was and his mobile phone battery was down to 1%.

Ms Law also said Mr Slater told her he “needed a drink”.

He was able to send her his last live location which showed as the Rural de Teno Park – a mountainous area popular with hikers – before his phone cut out.

Ms Law said Mr Slater, an apprentice bricklayer, is “not a stupid boy” and would have flagged down any passing car or spoken to a passerby.

Soon after Mr Slater went missing, an American woman offered to drive Ms Law up into the mountains.

There was “literally no sign of him anywhere”, she said. “We drove around all day.”

Ms Law added that they “managed to find the house” where Mr Slater was last seen.

She continued: “I knocked on the door and there were two people there.”

Image:
The property where Jay Slater is believed to have been last seen

They told Ms Law that Mr Slater had gone out for a cigarette before going back in and saying he wanted to go home.

“They told me he’d spoken to the next door neighbours and they’d told him there was a bus every 10 minutes back down to Los Cristianos.

“The bus stop was right next to the house. So obviously if he’d gone to get the bus he wouldn’t have got lost because it [the stop] was visible from the front door.”

Tenerife map for Jay Slater story
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Jay Slater’s phone’s last live location was Rural de Teno Park. The search has also focused on Los Cristianos

The teenager was wearing a T-shirt and shorts and was without food and water, she added.

“It’s very warm in the day and very cold at night,” Ms Law said.

“So in the day he’s going to be really warm without a drink, and then at night he’s going to be very cold without any suitable clothing.”

Read more:
Today is a ‘key day’ in search – local journalist says
Former Coronation Street star prays for his safe return

Jay Slater. Pic: Lucy Law
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Pic: Lucy Law

Pic: Reuters
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A rescue team searches the Masca ravine. Pic: Reuters

Earlier, she told the Manchester Evening News someone Mr Slater had met on the night out had driven him back to their apartment in a hire car without him realising how far away it was.

“He’s ended up out in the middle of nowhere. Jay was obviously thinking he would be able to get home from there,” she told the newspaper.

‘A living nightmare’

Mr Slater’s mother Debbie Duncan, who flew to the island and has joined mountain rescuers and the local civil guard in the search for her son, has called his disappearance “an absolute living nightmare”.

Search teams refocused their efforts on Thursday in the north of Tenerife, where Rural de Teno Park is located, after discounting a potential lead in the south of the island, the BBC reported.

Meanwhile, a Tenerife-based journalist said today is a “key day” in the search for Mr Slater.

Clio O’Flynn told Sky News: “If he’s taken shelter, the hope is he’s waiting for help to come along,”

She added: “The problem will be ‘does he have a phone signal? Will people be able to locate him? Can he hear their cries?'”

Police officers search for a missing  Masca ravine on the island of Tenerife.
Pic: Reuters
Image:
Police officers search the Masca ravine. Pic: Reuters

Ms O’Flynn said the search had been “very intense” with teams using all the resources at their disposal, including “mountain specialists, search dogs, drones and helicopters” and are “taking suggestions from his family, so it’s very coordinated”.

The area where he is believed to have gone missing is a “dry, arid, part of the island”, and, given its volcanic origins, has “ravines and gullies”, Ms O’Flynn said.

She warned there are “no lakes, rivers or streams, so it would be quite hard for him to access fresh water”.

Temperatures have been about 26C (79F), she said, but warned that “if you’re lost, 25C is very hot”.

A UK Foreign Office spokesperson said: “We are supporting the family of a British man who has been reported missing in Spain and are in contact with the local authorities.”

The Spanish Civil Guard told UK media they are “doing everything possible” to find Mr Slater.

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