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Aberdeen FC hopeful for 'thousands of fans'

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Aberdeen are "increasingly hopeful" that 7,500 fans may be allowed at games at Pittodrie by the end of September.

The Scottish Premiership clubs were briefed by national clinical director Jason Leitch on Wednesday, ahead of the scheduled 1 August start to the season.

And Aberdeen chairman Dave Cormack believes clubs may now only have "a few games behind closed doors - four home games takes us through September".

Council approves millions of pounds in cuts

Aberdeen City Council HQ

Councillors in Aberdeen have approved millions of pounds in cuts as part of an emergency budget in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

About £9.5m of departmental savings will have to be found as part of a package of measures.

The financial strategy approved by the urgent business committee will also see up to £14.6m earmarked for expanded childcare provision being redirected.

The council said it would try to limit the impact on frontline services.

Read more here.

The Class of 2020: 'I thought this was the year my life would start'
The coronavirus has left many young people in limbo as they prepare to further their education or find a job.

Virtual Piper Alpha service effort being finalised

Piper Alpha memorial

Efforts are being finalised to mark the anniversary of the Piper Alpha disaster virtually due to Covid-19 restrictions.

A service to remember the 167 men who died in the 1988 North Sea tragedy cannot take place on the scale normally seen.

Instead, on 6 July, people can watch a service online.

Photos and messages for inclusion can be sent by noon on Friday. More information is available on the Pound for Piper Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/PoundforPiper/

ScotRail to provide free face masks at 18 stations on Monday

A ScotRail train at Glasgow central station
PA Media

ScotRail will provide face masks for free at more than a dozen stations on Monday as coverings become mandatory on public transport.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced on Thursday that from 22 June passengers would be required to cover their faces on all forms of public transport, apart from children under five and people with certain medical conditions.

To help people comply, railway operator ScotRail said face masks will be available free of charge at 18 of its busiest stations for a limited period but asked passengers to bring their own if possible.

The stations include Queen Street, Central, Exhibition Centre, Hyndland and Argyle Street in Glasgow and Haymarket and Waverley in Edinburgh.

The others are Inverness, Aberdeen, Johnstone, Ayr, Paisley Gilmour Street, Linlithgow, Falkirk High, Bathgate, Airdrie, Dalmuir and Motherwell.

Aberdeen family get green light to end Nepal lockdown

A family from Aberdeen have been told they can continue their round-the-world trip after having to spend three months in lockdown in a remote town in Nepal.

Kris and Julie Smith and their two children - nine-year-old Erihn and four-year-old Jacob - can now resume their journey to Everest Base Camp.

They left Aberdeen in almost exactly a year ago to fulfil a "big crazy dream" of travelling around the globe.

However, coronavirus lockdown measures came into force in March.

Since then, they have been in a hotel next to an airport runway in Lukla - a small town in the Solukhumbu region - thousands of miles from home.

Read more.

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Lockdown peace tempts otter to eat at harbour side

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An otter gave an unexpected demonstration of its fish-eating abilities at Aberdeen Harbour on Wednesday morning.

The otter was spotted at the quayside by Ricky Greenhowe of Aberdeen Harbour Tours and he was quick to film the experience.

“It has become quite a regular visitor”, he said. “It’s been getting braver in the last couple of weeks.

“It had caught the fish itself. We were close - within about 3ft – and it was not caring. It certainly lifts the doom and gloom.”

Helicopter firm consults over job losses

CHC helicopter

Helicopter firm CHC is consulting with staff and unions over job losses.

CHC said about 47 UK posts could be affected, with about half of those based in Aberdeen.

Mark Abbey, regional director for Europe, Middle East and Africa, said: "This has been an incredibly difficult decision but it is necessary for us to respond to challenging market conditions."

The posts involved include engineering and flight personnel.

Aberdeen family's unexpected Nepal stay

Ben Philip

BBC Scotland

Smith family
Smith family

An Aberdeen family on a round-the-world trip have now spent three months in lockdown in Nepal.

Kris and Julie Smith and their children - nine-year old Erihn and four-year-old Jacob - left Aberdeen in June last year to fulfil a "big crazy dream" of travelling around the globe.

However, coronavirus lockdown measures came into force in March.

They have been in Lukla - a small town in the Solukhumbu region - thousands of miles from home - since then.

Read more here.

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Petition calls for Aberdeen city centre roads re-think

Business owners in Aberdeen say pedestrianisation measures designed to encourage shoppers back into the city centre could actually have a devastating impact on trade.

A number of temporary road closures have been put in place aimed at helping people stay socially distant, including a section of Union Street, Chapel Street, Rose Street and Thistle Street.

Aberdeen City Council says the changes will allow people to move safely around, to help start its social and economic recovery.

However a petition calling for a re-think has gathered more than 1,000 signatures.

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Scottish government stays committed to Aberdeen Harbour expansion

Aberdeen harbour
Aberdeen Harbour Board

Adele Merson from the Evening Express points out that a new business park adjacent to Aberdeen South Harbour was part of the £62m Energy Transition Fund announced earlier by the first minister.

Ms Merson wonders if, following the announcement this week that the main contractor has pulled out of the Aberdeen Harbour expansion project, leaving one third of the work unfinished, the Scottish government is still committed to the project and prepared to give the harbour board assistance in completing it.

Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop replies: "The Aberdeen Harbour expansion is really important as part of that infrastructure response in the north east, and obviously there is concern about what's happened, but we absolutely stand by our support for the Aberdeen Harbour expansion and I hope the announcement we made today gives confidence to all those involved in the work around that.

"I know it's a challenge right now, but I'm sure they can achieve another contractor in terms of doing that work."