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Summary

  1. Parties clash on second referendum
  2. £500m drugs bust 'UK's biggest ever'
  3. Assisted dying bill 'flawed'
  4. Dead man cleared of attempted rape
  5. One week to go to election polling day

Live Reporting

By Thomas McGuigan, Jo Perry and Louise Sayers

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Goodnight

Louise Sayers

BBC Scotland news website

That's all from Scotland Live for today.

Join us again tomorrow from 07:00 for all the latest news, sport, weather and travel from around Scotland.

Who has backed a party in the election campaign?

With The Sun backing the Tories and its sister paper, The Scottish Sun, endorsing the SNP, we

take a look at what parties other newspapers have been getting behind.

The Sun newspaper group back rival parties
The Sun

Mirror - Labour

Express - owner Richard Desmond has given £1m to UKIP

Financial Times - has called for tactical voting to produce another coalition between the Conservatives and Lib Dems

And papers who have not declared...

Daily Mail - backed the Conservatives in 2010 - as did the Mail on Sunday

Telegraph - both daily and Sunday editions backed the Conservatives in 2010

The Guardian - backed the Liberal Democrats in 2010

Observer - backed the Liberal Democrats in 2010

The Times - backed the Conservatives in 2010

Independent on Sunday - said it is not advising readers how to vote in 2015

Police hunt two men over Stirling racist attack

Police are looking for two men who

launched a racist attack as part of a "crime spree" in Stirling city centre.

The attack took place in the area of Cowane Street and Wallace Street
Google

The duo approached three Nigerian students in Cowane Street on Saturday and shouted racial abuse at them, goaded them to fight, threw a pint glass and assaulted one of them.

Both men were between 20 and 22. One was 6ft tall and was wearing a red top, while the other was 5ft 8in tall and was wearing a white shirt and hoodie.

Probe into school abuse allegations

Allegations of physical abuse of children at an Aberdeenshire school for pupils with special needs

are being investigated by police.

Westfield School
BBC

The alleged incidents concern nursery and primary-aged children at Westfield School in Fraserburgh covering a period between 2013 and this year.

Three members of staff have been asked to stay away from the school during the investigation.

Aberdeenshire Council said it was "understandably a worrying time".

Man jailed over gun and drugs find

A man who was investigated over a shooting in Glasgow has been

jailed for firearms and drugs offences.

High Court in Glasgow
BBC

George Leighton, 23, from Shotts, North Lanarkshire, was held after the shooting of Darren Higgins in the Parkhead area on 23 January 2014.

His not guilty plea to the attempted murder was accepted, but Leighton admitted possessing a pistol, silencer, ammunition and heroin worth £69,000.

He was jailed for a total of seven years and eight months.

Showers turn to sun

BBC Scotland Weather

Latest

Any showers dying away with some fine evening sunshine. Dry, cold and clear tonight with a frost. Showers over Northern Isles moving into the north east by dawn. Around -2 to 2C.

Coming up on Reporting Scotland

With just a week left until polling day, we catch up with what Scotland's political parties have been saying today.

We'll also be speaking to the Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy in our studio in Glasgow.

Reporting Scotland
BBC

Watch on BBC One or online at 18:30

Man faces trial over flats murder

A man is to stand trial charged with

the murder of a man who was found dead in a close of flats in Glasgow.

Steven Larkin and flats at Stravanan Road
Google and BBC

George Smith, 54, is charged with killing 45-year-old Steven Larkin in the Castlemilk area on 7 December 2014.

He is alleged to have punched, kicked and stamped on Mr Larkin at a flat in Stravanan Road, dragged him outside and compressed his neck.

At the High Court in Glasgow, Mr Smith pleaded not guilty. Judge Lord Turnbull set a trial due to start in October.

FMQs: On the road to indyref two?

Brian Taylor

Political editor, Scotland

The general election campaign took centre stage in the penultimate First Minister's Questions in Holyrood.

Party leaders at FMQs
BBC

Labour and the Liberal Democrats called on the SNP to rule out another referendum, while Nicola Sturgeon argued that her party was fighting to make Scotland's voice heard.

The Conservatives said drastic action was needed to improve literacy and numeracy levels in Scotland's schools.

With one week to go until polling day, you can read my latest blog

here.

Behind the scenes

Preparations are underway for tonight's

Election 2015: Ask Nicola Sturgeon programme at 21:30 on BBC One Scotland.

Behind the scenes at BBC Scotland
BBC

Don't forget to tune in. Ask Nicola Sturgeon will begin directly after the Question Time Election Leaders Special.

It all kicks off again...

BBC Sport

Scotland

Scotland's new football season will start on 25 July with

the first round of the Petrofac Training Cup.

The Premiership will begin the following weekend.

Football key dates
SNS

The fixture lists for the league season are expected to be announced in June.

Anger at 'lack of causeway work'

Islanders have

voiced frustration over what they see as a lack of action to improve a causeway where five members of the same family died in 2005.

Archie and Murdina MacPherson
Archie and Murdina MacPherson
Archie and Murdina MacPherson were killed along with their children and Mrs MacPherson's father

The MacPherson family died as they drove between South Uist and Benbecula while trying to escape the worst of a severe winter storm.

Calls for improvements were made at a public meeting on Wednesday night.

But Western Isles Council said islanders may have to campaign to raise the £20m needed to fund the work.

Baby who died in Culloden named

A baby whose death in Inverness at the weekend was

described as "unexplained" has been named by police.

Abel Stewart MacDonald was three-months-old.

Abel Stewart MacDonald
Police Handout

MacLean Court in Culloden was cordoned off by police until Tuesday following what officers said was a sudden death at 12:55 on Saturday.

Police Scotland said the cause of the baby boy's death remained unexplained, but it was not believed to be suspicious.

Guidetti given warning over 'offensive comment'

BBC Sport

Scotland

Celtic striker John Guidetti

has been found guilty and given a warning by the Scottish FA for making an "offensive comment" in a television interview.

Celtic striker John Guidetti
SNS

The Swede sang a song on a Dutch TV channel which appeared to make fun of rivals Rangers. During the broadcast he repeated a chant sung about him by supporters.

Celtic had expressed their disappointment when the SFA announced the player was to be investigated.

The SFA's compliance officer asserted that the 23-year-old broke disciplinary rule 73 by making a "comment of an offensive nature".

Fabrizio Gianni's fashion in Falkirk

VIDEO: The work of renowned Italian fashion photographer Fabrizio Gianni is to go on display in his home town of Falkirk.

Italian fashion photographer Fabrizio Gianni
BBC

A new exhibition of his work for fashion magazines such as Italian Elle, Italian and French Vogue, GQ, Harper's, Bazaar and Figaro opens in the town on Friday.

BBC Scotland's Julie Peacock has been to meet him.

Watch here.

Man jailed over 90mph police chase

A man who

led police on a 90mph chase down the A90 Dundee to Perth road has been jailed for 11 months.

Dundee Sheriff Court
BBC

Miguel Cover and two other men had gone on trial at Dundee Sheriff Court accused of driving around Dundee trying to lure a series of women into a car.

A sheriff ruled the three men had no case to answer in relation to those charges, but jailed Cover after he admitted driving dangerously during the chase.

Cover, 32, was also banned from driving for 18 months.

Collision on A75

Two women have been left trapped in a car after colliding with a lorry on the A75 Stranraer to Glenluce road this afternoon.

They are not thought to be seriously injured.

The road has been closed in both directions east of Castle Kennedy, while police and ambulance crews work at the scene.

There is a local diversion but expect some delays.

'Flora MacDonald portrait' for display

What has been described as a previously unknown 18th-century painting of Flora MacDonald is to be

loaned to a museum in North Carolina.

Painting thought to be of Flora Macdonald
Mike Merritt

An art enthusiast who bought the painting in Florida has agreed that it go on public display at a museum in Cape Fear.

MacDonald famously helped Bonnie Prince Charlie evade capture after his defeat at the Battle of Culloden in 1746.

Coming up at 16:00

Newsdrive

BBC Radio Scotland

Join Bill Whiteford for all the latest news, sport, travel and weather.

On tonight's programme;

  • More on the rescue of a 15-year-old boy, trapped in the rubble of Nepal's earthquake for five days
  • The record-breaking seizure of Class A drugs from a tug boat searched at Aberdeen Harbour
  • And does Orkney deserve to be known as the most romantic place in the UK

Listen live

here

Leaders' Q&A

@BBCPolitics

After #bbcqt #GE2015 leaders' special, watch Q&As with leaders of SNP, UKIP & Plaid Cymru http://bbc.co.uk/electionlive

BBC politics
BBC

Dead man cleared of attempted rape

A man who was convicted of attempting to rape a female doctor

has been cleared of the crime six months after his death.

Ian Shaw
copyline scotland

A jury found Ian Shaw, 60, of Inverness, guilty by a majority verdict following a four-day trial in 2013.

Mr Shaw, who denied carrying out the attack in January 2012, was sentenced to 18 months in prison.

He was later freed pending an appeal. It has now emerged that the Crown will not oppose the appeal.

Drugs seizure 'UK's biggest'

VIDEO:

Watch Steven Duff's report from Aberdeen Harbour where £500m worth of cocaine has been found.

Steven Duff reports from Aberdeen drugs haul
BBC

About three tonnes of the Class A drug was found on the Hamal after it was intercepted in the North Sea.

The nine-man crew have appeared in court charged with drug trafficking offences.

Western with Scottish twist

Steven McKenzie

BBC Scotland Highlands and Islands reporter

A new Western will show America's Wild West from a Scottish perspective.

Slow West
A24/lionsgate films

Slow West stars Australian actor Kodi Smit-McPhee as a young Scots aristocrat who goes to America to find his lost sweetheart, a crofter's daughter.

Michael Fassbender, a star of the X-Men films and new movie adaption of Shakespeare's Macbeth, also stars.

Due for release in cinemas later this year,

Slow West was written and directed by John Maclean, who was a member of Scots group The Beta Band.

Parties clash over second referendum

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has told MSPs at Holyrood that "

nobody was proposing" a second independence referendum.

Her response came during questioning from Labour's Kezia Dugdale and the Liberal Democrat's Willie Rennie.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson described as a "scandal" new figures showing a drop in literacy levels in Scotland's schools.

First Minister's Questions took place a week before UK voters go to the polls to choose their next MP.

Nicola Sturgeon
Reuters

The half-hour weekly question and answer session began with Ms Dugdale accusing the SNP of being obsessed with the constitution.

She called on Ms Sturgeon to repeat her assertion that last year's referendum - in which 55% of voters in Scotland rejected independence - was a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity".

However, Ms Sturgeon said that if the people of Scotland wanted a referendum to be a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity", that is what it would be.

Thought for the day

@BBCGen2015

Generation 2015

BBC

Our Scottish guys are doing a regular Thought for the Day on

@BBCRadioScot's #callkaye - they're
here - worth a look.

'Unexploded mine' causes shutdown

A stretch of coastline was sealed off in North Ayrshire following concerns that an

unexploded mine had washed up.

Ardrossan Coastguard Rescue Team
Ardrossan Coastguard Rescue Team

The object at Ardrossan was reported to the town's coastguard rescue team just before 15:00 on Wednesday.

The area was cordoned off and contact made with Explosive Ordnance Disposal at the Clyde naval base.

Experts confirmed it was a practice mine used during training exercises and did not contain any explosives and posed no danger to the public.

Who's standing?

Election 2015

Who is standing for election in your constituency?

BBC website screen shot
BBC

Punch in your postcode

here to find out.

Boyce and Curran win County deals

Martin Dowden

BBC Scotland

Ross County have

extended the contracts of strike pairing Liam Boyce, 24, and Craig Curran, 25, until summer 2017.

Ross County striker Liam Boyce
SNS Group Bill Murray

They have been integral to County's recovery, helping lift the club off the bottom of the Scottish Premiership and up to 10th place.

Youth team striker Kyle Macleod, 19, has also committed for the same period.

Manager Jim McIntyre said: "Liam and Craig have been in great form in the first team and local lad Kyle has shown a lot of promise."

Man's body found in Fraserburgh

The body of a man has been

found near a North-East leisure centre.

Police jacket
BBC

The discovery was made in Fraserburgh at about 08:45 on North Links.

Police Scotland said the death was being treated as 'unexplained'.

Luxury hotel plan for former hostel

The prospective new owners of Carbisdale Castle in Sutherland have revealed plans to spend £6.5m on turning it into a luxury hotel.

Sotheby's Hotel
Sotheby's

A former stately home, the property was a youth hostel until four years ago when it was closed because of the high cost of repairing water damage.

A company called Carbisdale Castle Ltd is in the process of buying the building near Ardgay.

It said the planned 21-bedroom hotel could create jobs for up to 90 people.

Police investigate 'shocking' racial abuse

Police in Hawick have appealed for witnesses after a 21-year-old man

suffered "shocking" racial abuse while walking on Hawick's High Street.

The incident happened at about 23:00 on Wednesday.

Hawich high street
Walter Baxter

The suspect is described as white, in his late teens or early 20s, and between 5ft 7 and 6ft tall, with red/blonde short hair, and a stocky build. He was wearing a red/orange coloured hoodie.

Your views - Phone box

via Facebook

Lynda Petrie: There is one near my home, and my children 4 and 6 have no idea what it is. When I explained they were shocked that you would even need to use a payphone, ever.

Alison Jones: As an overseas visitor, I tried using one in London earlier this year when I had no mobile credit and couldn't find free wifi... didn't work and stank like a toilet.

Shirley Graham: About 2001. Ran out of credit on my phone; I remember balking at a call costing 30p. No idea how much it costs now.

Animal ban for live bait snake owner

A man has been banned from keeping animals over the

appalling treatment of mice, rats and rabbits which he intended to feed to his pet snakes.

Scottish SPCA
Scottish SPCA

Steven Riddell, 43, was found with 130 small animals stored in cages in a greenhouse at his home in Erskine, Renfrewshire, in April last year.

Paisley Sheriff Court heard many were dead or dying, starving, dehydrated and stuck in their own faeces.

Riddell admitted breaching the Animal Health & Welfare (Scotland) Act.

Man fined for statue decapitation

A man who

pulled the head off a statue of the Duke of Wellington has been ordered to pay £465 towards repairs.

Liam McEwan
Central Scotland News

Liam McEwen decapitated the Iron Duke on Falkirk's Newmarket Street after clambering onto the statue during a drunken night out in July last year.

The 26-year-old later handed himself in to police and pleaded guilty to vandalising the statue.

McEwen, from Falkirk, was fined £465 in compensation for repairs to the statue, which were carried out by a local company.

Murderer ordered to pay compensation

A man who murdered a pensioner in her Perthshire home has been

ordered to pay more than £80,000 compensation to the woman's son.

Janet Methven
Other

William Kean is serving a life sentence for killing 80-year-old Jenny Methven.

Her son David sued for distress caused by his mother's death in February 2012.

A judge at the Court of Session has ruled Kean should pay out just over £86,000.

Paper mill workers meet unions

Hundreds of workers from Tullis Russell paper mill in Fife have been taking part in an emergency meeting with unions to discuss their future.

Tullis Russell paper mill, Markinch
James Allan

The Markinch-based company went into administration on Monday with the loss of 325 jobs.

Despite being 70% employee-owned, staff were given no warning about the situation.

A Scottish government taskforce is meeting later to discuss what support it can give to the workforce.

Reporting Scotland

@kkabdn

Kevin Keane

BBC Scotland reporter

The latest on the £500m cocaine haul from a tug boat off Aberdeen with

@duff_steven on Reporting Scotland at 1330.

Watch

here.

Queens fans to pay for play-off ties

Queen of the South have confirmed

they will charge season ticket holders for any home Premiership play-off matches.

The Dumfries club said it had "always expected" season ticket holders would pay, as they did last year.

Queen of the South match
SNS

A statement said they were "conscious of the debate" between some of their play-off rivals and the SPFL over charging season ticket holders for the games.

Lorry overturns at seafront

A driver has escaped injury after the lorry he was driving

came off the road and overturned on to rocks at the seafront in North Ayrshire.

Lorry comes off road in Skelmorlie
Paul Tipping

Police Scotland said officers received reports that the vehicle had came off the shore road at Skelmorlie at about 13:40 on Wednesday.

A spokesman said there were no reports of anyone being injured.

Rise in airport passenger numbers

@BBCDouglasF

Douglas Fraser

Business/economy editor, Scotland

Highlands and Islands Airports, owned by the Scottish government has seen a 8.7% rise in passenger numbers - up 314, 000 between January and March.

Wick John O'Groats reported an extra 25,000 passengers during the first quarter, while Inverness saw the biggest upsurge.

Numbers were down at Barra, Campbeltown, Kirkwall and Tiree - reportedly in part because of weather-related cancellations at the start of the year.