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Motoring news

Audi’s new Q cars

April 12 2017

Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space...


Al-Maktoum College’s future questioned after Aberdeen University move

May 9 2012

The troubled Al-Maktoum College of Higher Education in Dundee faces a summer of discontent after it was revealed its validation contract with Aberdeen University is not being renewed, meaning the college will not be able to recruit any new students for next year's courses. News of the ending of the collaboration, on September 30, came after it was confirmed that a series of four separate employment tribunal cases involving former employees among them former principal Professor Malory Nye will start next week. Professor Nye is claiming unfair dismissal through unlawful racial and religious discrimination and his wife Isobel is also taking the college to a tribunal. Two other women are also due to appear at the tribunals, which will run through to late July. The ending of the three-year arrangement between Aberdeen University and the Al-Maktoum College, which this week celebrates its 10th anniversary, was confirmed by the university, while the Dundee establishment remained tight-lipped on its future arrangements. A university spokesman said: ''The university regularly reviews its current collaborative agreements and their alignment with the university's future strategic priorities. ''In this context, the university management group agreed that it would not be able to support continuing validation of research and taught degree provision at the Al-Maktoum Institute after September 30 2012 when the existing agreement comes to an end. ''The Al-Maktoum Institute was notified of this decision in June 2011 and since then the university has been working with Al-Maktoum colleagues to ensure that the interests of students are safeguarded during this transition period.'' The news was initially broken by Professor Malory Nye who told The Courier no new validation partner is in line to take over the arrangement, meaning no students will be able to earn post-graduate or masters degrees or PhDs. Aberdeen University had been its validation partner since 2004, when the college's first partner Abertay University pulled out of the deal. The Al-Maktoum College of Further Education was officially opened in its Blackness Road building on May 6 2002, when its patron, the late Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al-Maktoum of Dubai, visited Dundee with a high-level delegation. Continued... Professor Nye said during the last 10 years the college has made a significant contribution to Dundee as a centre of learning, as a place that has drawn international students from across the globe and in particular through its twice yearly programmes for female students from the UAE and Qatar. The professor was principal for four of those 10 years and before that worked in other senior roles at the college. He said he remained proud of what the college had achieved under his leadership and still believes in the college's stated values of multiculturalism and building bridges between people from across the world. ''The Al-Maktoum College could be much more than it currently is and could and should be putting Dundee on the map for the right reasons,'' he said. ''Unfortunately this is not the case.'' He said the college had dismissed five members of staff, mainly women who had been complaining about the college's management. ''To add to this, the college face the next academic year unable to take on any new students their validation from the University of Aberdeen comes to an end in September and no new university partner will be in place for the new year. ''The obvious question is what has gone wrong with the Al-Maktoum College? Why at a time when they should be celebrating their achievements over 10 busy years, they are instead facing public exposure? ''The failure has been the lack of corporate governance of the college this has been left to a small board of directors (trustees) that have only two effective members, the College Chancellor Lord Elder (who Professor Nye had called on to resign in January), and the Dubai-based chairman Mirza al-Sayegh.'' He said neither of the board members had spent much time on college affairs recently. A college spokesman said: ''At forthcoming Employment Tribunal cases, the Al-Maktoum College will vigorously defend its reputation as a centre of excellence within the higher education sector and the good name it has established over the last 10 years here in Dundee, nationally and internationally. ''In the run-up to the tribunals we have been determined to conduct ourselves with dignity and to make sure internal matters relating to our former employees have been handled strictly in private, out of respect for them.'' He added: ''Discussions about a validation agreement for college programmes are a confidential business matter and while they continue we are not in a position to discuss them further.''


Al-Maktoum Institute considers seminar to examine events in Middle East

February 26 2011

The Al-Maktoum Institute is planning to hold a seminar to discuss events in the Middle East. Principal Professor Malory Nye said events in the region were moving too fast to be easily grasped. The news came as the Blackness Road institute, which specialises in Arab and Islamic studies, this week said farewell to a group of female students from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar. The ceremony was at Marryat Hall and marked the departure of the 50 students, who are heading home after an educational tour. During their four-week stay they visited the Scottish Parliament, the House of Lords and Aberdeen University, which validates the institute's postgraduate qualifications. The students are the largest group of visitors to take part in the academic programme, designed to advance their understanding of Scotland and the challenges of global dialogue and exchange. Al-Maktoum has welcomed more than 400 students on the programme over the past eight years, and the latest trip is reckoned to have boosted the local economy by around £200,000. Professor Nye said, "The Al-Maktoum Institute is playing a significant and ongoing role in working with young women regarded as potential leaders in their society. Their nations' leaders are encouraging and developing an increasing role for women in today's UAE and Qatar-in government, the law and politics. "Our programmes are proving to be hugely successful and we are delighted this group is the latest to be heading home with fond memories of Dundee and Scotland." Guests at a farewell ceremony included the UAE's ambassador to the UK, Abdul Rahman Ghanim Al-Mutaiwee, and the chairman of the institute's board, Mirza Al-Sayegh. Professor Nye said the institute was on course to achieve university college status within the next decade and was looking forward to doubling the number of courses it teaches hopefully attracting more students in the process.

This student took his Tinder profile to the next level by turning it into a PowerPoint presentation

February 21 2018

Standing out from the crowd on Tinder can be tough, but with the help of Microsoft PowerPoint a British student has managed just that – and gone viral in the process.Sam Dixey, a 21-year-old studying at Leeds University, made a six-part slideshow entitled “Why you should swipe right” – using pictures and bullet points to shrewdly persuade potential dates to match with him on the dating app. The slideshow includes discussion of his social life and likes, such as “petting doggos” and “laser tag”, and “other notable qualities and skills” – such as being “not the worst at sex” and “generous when drunk”.It even has reviews mocked up from sources such as “Donald Trump”, “Leonardo Di Capri Sun” and “The Times Guide to Pancakes 2011”.Sam told the Press Association the six-slide presentation only took about 20 minutes to make and “started off as a joke”.However, since being posted to Twitter by fellow Tinder user Gracie Barrow, Sam’s slideshow has been shared tens of thousands of times across social media.So, it’s got the seal of approval form Gracie, but how has the slideshow fared on Tinder? “I’d have to say it has been pretty successful,” Sam said. “Definitely a clear correlation of matches and dates beforehand to afterwards.“Most of the responses tend to revolve around people saying ‘I couldn’t help swipe right 10/10’ but I’ve had some people go the extra mile and message me on Facebook.“Plus some people have recognised me outside, in the library and on dates.”A resounding success.

Motoring news

Join the queue for littlest Audi Q

November 9 2016

Audi’s relentless release of new models continues with the launch of its smallest SUV. The Q2 goes on sale in the UK next week with prices starting at £22,380. There’s an extensive selection of petrol and diesel power trains as well as the option of front or Quattro four-wheel drive. More models will be added to the range later on, including powerful SQ2 and RSQ2 versions. Aimed squarely at a younger audience, the Q2 has bolder, sharper lines and a different shape to Audi’s bigger SUVs, the Q3, Q5 and Q7. Although it’s clearly meant more for buzzing around cities than growling across farmland, cladding and skid plates lend it an aura of ruggedness. Audi is also offering a range of vibrant colours to deepen the Q2’s appeal to youthful buyers. The interior is as plush as you’d expect from Audi, justifying its price hike over similarly sized SUVs like the Nissan Juke and Honda HR-V. The materials are high quality – softtouch plastics, leather on higher spec cars and brushed aluminium trim elements all blended into a smart-looking package. As standard, drivers get a seven-inch infotainment screen on top of the dashboard. It’s operated through Audi’s rotary dial system that’s far more intuitive and easier to use when on the move than rivals’ touchscreen systems. Among the many options is Audi’s excellent Virtual Cockpit - a 12.3in screen that replaces the manual instruments behind the steering wheel. Overall, the Q2 is 4.7in shorter than the A3 hatchback, but Audi says there’s enough leg and headroom for two adult passengers in the back. Boot space comes in at 405 litres – 50 more than you’ll find in the A3 hatchback and rival Nissan Juke, although it trails the Mini Countryman by the same amount. To begin with, the only diesel option is a 1.6 litre with 114bhp, although a more powerful 184bhp 2.0 litre unit will be added to the range soon. Similarly, the petrol engine range is limited for now but will be expanded by the end of the year. The 1.4 litre, 148bhp unit offered now will be joined by 1.0 litre, 114bhp three cylinder turbo and 2.0 litre, 187bhp options – the latter coming with an S-Tronic automatic gearbox. When it arrives the 1.0 litre petrol version will be the cheapest model in the range with a price tag of £20,230. Courier Motoring has yet to get its hands on the car but early reviews have been very positive and Audi looks to have yet another winner on its hands. jmckeown@thecourier.co.uk


Al-Maktoum College in link-up with Lancaster University

July 31 2013

Al-Maktoum College is hoping to get back on track thanks to a tie-up with an English university. It has been without higher education students since a contract that saw its degrees validated by Aberdeen University ran out last year. The college, which was founded in 2001 and is supported by the deputy ruler of Dubai, offers Masters and PhD courses focusing on Islamic and Arab issues. Management have been trying to find a new academic partner and discussions with Lancaster University now seem set to lead to a deal that will see it validate four new Masters courses. A spokesman for Al-Maktoum said: “We are set to offer major new teaching programmes as we move forward in our second decade in Dundee. “A total of 140 students have graduated to date from the college, a remarkable achievement given our relatively short history. We now look forward to welcoming new post-graduate students.” The link with Lancaster comes after a difficult time for the college, including an unsuccessful claim of unfair dismissal by its former principal Professor Malory Nye. An employment tribunal rejected his contention that he had been sacked from his £67,000-a-year job for being a white Christian. However, Aberdeen University’s decision not to renew its three-year degree validation contract was a more serious threat to the college’s long-term survival. An inspector from the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education visited in May. His report explained that all students enrolled on higher education programmes at the college had been transferred to Aberdeen University and at the time of the visit the college had no higher education students. However, the inspector was hopeful about the potential deal with Lancaster, saying: “The college has chosen to seek partnership with an awarding institution with considerable expertise in subjects offered by the college. “Both institutions share a vision of a politics, philosophy and religion learning and teaching approach, rather than the traditional divinity approach of the previous awarding body.” The Al-Maktoum spokesman said the college was also planning to launch diploma and certificate courses, covering Arabic and various aspects of Islamic studies, with the approval of the Scottish Qualifications Authority. “These carefully-crafted programmes are due to get under way shortly,” he said. “The college is confident they will prove as popular as the community classes we have been running successfully for several years.” In addition to the academic developments, the college is also looking forward to undisclosed financial support thanks to Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, deputy ruler of Dubai, minister of finance for the United Arab Emirates and patron of the Al-Maktoum Foundation. The spokesman said: “The college highly appreciates the foundation’s and its patron’s generosity to support the college’s purely scientific, intellectual and non-faith-based activities to promote the cross-cultural understanding of Islam and Muslims in conjunction with members of other religions and none in such a crucial time. “This is an extremely interesting time for the college, representing in many ways a new phase for us here in Dundee. “We are determined to run contemporary post-graduate programmes along with diploma courses that we believe will prove dynamic and helpful in terms of academic back-up to our post-graduate students.”

Motoring news

Audi showcases raft of new cars

June 29 2016

Audi threw everything it had at the Goodwood Festival of Speed last weekend, with no fewer than nine upcoming models making their UK debuts. One of the most interesting – and affordable – was the new Q2. Audi’s smallest crossover yet, it’ll sit underneath the Q3, Q5 and big ole Q7. It will be available as a front wheel drive or with Audi’s Quattro four-wheel drive system. Under the skin there’s a choice of three TFSI petrol and three TDI diesels, with Audi’s 1.0 litre three-cylinder petrol offering 114bhp, the 1.4 litre four-cylinder sitting below the 187bhp 2,.0 litre TFSI. Diesel options are the 1.6 litre TDI with 114bhp and a pair of 2.0 litre TDIs with 148bhp or 187bhp. It goes on sale later this summer with a starting price expected to be in the region of £20,000. At the other end of the price scale is the R8 V10 Spyder. The 553bhp supercar comes a year after the second generation coupe R8 was released. Audi reckons the new Spyder is 50 per cent stiffer than the last Spyder, and its canvas roof stows beneath a massive rear deck, able to open or close at speeds up to 31mph in 20 seconds. Fuel economy “improves” to just over 24mpg thanks to a new coasting function that idles the engine when it’s not needed. Expect it to cost around £130,000. In between those two extremes are a plethora of other upcoming Audis, including the new S5 Coupe, and the Audi TT RS which first revealed a year ago is hardly new but apparently it had never been seen in the UK before. A couple of Q7s were also at Goodwood, including the Q7 e-tron plug-in hybrid, which returns a claimed 156mpg, and the SQ7 – a diesel with 429bhp. There was also the refreshed A3 range. Audi’s upmarket Golf rival has been given a styling refresh along with a few new engine options. Following a trend for downsizing, there’s a 1.0 litre three -cylinder petrol unit, while a powerful 2.0 petrol engine also joins the range.

Motoring news

Form an orderly Q for Audi SUV

August 10 2016

First there was the Q7. Then the Q5 and Q3. All have been a phenomenal success for Audi. I’d be surprised if that script changes when the Q2 arrives in November. Audi’s baby SUV is available to order now with prices starting at £22,380. Can’t quite stretch to that? Don’t worry, an entry level three-cylinder 1.0 litre version will be available later this year with a cover tag of £20,230. From launch, there are three trim levels available for the Q2 called SE, Sport and S Line. The range-topping Edition #1 model will be available to order from next month priced from £31,170. While the entry-level 113bhp 1.0-litre unit isn’t available right away, engines you can order now include a 113bhp 1.6-litre diesel and 148bhp 1.4-litre petrol unit, both with manual or S tronic automatic transmissions. Also joining the Q2 line-up from September is the 2.0-litre TDI diesel with 148bhp or 187bhp. This unit comes with optional Quattro all-wheel drive. A 2.0 litre petrol with Quattro and S tronic joins the range next year. Standard equipment for the new Audi Q2 includes a multimedia infotainment system with rotary/push-button controls, supported with sat-nav. Audi’s smartphone-friendly interface, 16in alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity and heated and electric mirrors are all also standard for the Audi. Along with the optional Audi virtual cockpit and the head-up display, the driver assistance systems for the Audi Q2 also come from the larger Audi models – including the Audi pre sense front with pedestrian recognition that is standard. The system recognises critical situations with other vehicles as well as pedestrians crossing in front of the vehicle, and if necessary it can initiate hard braking – to a standstill at low speeds. Other systems in the line-up include adaptive cruise control with Stop & Go function, traffic jam assist, the lane-departure warning system Audi side assist, the lane-keeping assistant Audi active lane assist, traffic sign recognition and rear cross-traffic assist.

Business news

Prestigious BP oil contract for Dundee project management training company

June 7 2017

Dundee-headquartered training provider 20/20 Business Insight has won a prestigious contract with one of the world’s leading oil and gas companies. The Broughty Ferry-based company, which also has offices in Aberdeen, London and the USA, has been awarded preferred supplier status under a master contract by BP for providing project management training globally. Ironically, the prestigious account has been won after 20/20 stepped away from its previous focus almost entirely on the oil and gas sector – adding BP to a diverse client portfolio that now includes Wood Group, Centrica, Balfour Beatty, British Aerospace, Hinckley Point, Network Rail, Diageo and Wm Grant. Chief executive officer Tony Marks, who said the new status came off the back of recent big contract wins within the nuclear power industry, added: “20|20 are delighted to have been awarded preferred supplier status under a master contract by BP for providing project management training globally. “It’s a great team performance in demonstrating our international capability and upstream oil industry experience to win this prestigious account.” 20|20 Business Insight, which employs 26 staff and had revenues of £2.84 million last year, is a full service, project management, business and leadership training and consulting company who deliver training courses and consulting services throughout the world. It is the largest independent provider of project management training courses in the UK. The consulting team work with companies to analyse competence baselines and deliver maturity assessments, design bespoke and accredited training programmes, create handbooks and manuals, implement project management procedures and protocols and then measure and report effectiveness. Mr Marks said that crucially, they had the ability to deliver internationally-accredited training and consulting anywhere in the world, primarily in oil and gas, engineering and construction, utilities, nuclear, food and drink However, despite an international outlook, they remained proud to be rooted in Dundee. “We are big fans of Dundee and supporters of the Tay Cities Deal to bring jobs, including de-commissioning, to Dundee,” he added. “When we started in 2003, we were almost exclusively in the oil and gas sector before diversifying into other sectors. We were lucky because two years ago the oil and gas sector started to decline, and accounts for around 10% of the work we do now.” Mr Marks has been involved in business for 27 years and has seen four or five cycles based on the oil barrel price changing. During that period, the level of business has come back smaller each time. “So it’s quite interesting we are back in the oil and gas sector now,” he added. He said the BP deal had been going on behind the scenes for nine months and “should mean quite a jump in business for us.” He added: “It’s not a guarantee of any level of work. But the revenue should be significant and comes off the back of other big contract wins.”


Tribunal finds former Al-Maktoum College principal tried to ‘rewrite history’

April 26 2013

The former principal of the Al-Maktoum College of Higher Education, Dr Mallory Nye, has been severely criticised by an employment tribunal judge who has accused him of “attempting to rewrite history”. The tribunal panel also ruled that the evidence given at the tribunal by Dr Nye and his wife Isabel Campbell-Nye was neither credible nor reliable. In a written judgment obtained by The Courier, Alan Strain said: “All of the respondents, 25 witnesses were credible, straightforward and reliable.” However, Mr Strain added: “Dr Nye presented his evidence in such a way as to suggest to the tribunal that he was attempting to rewrite history; twist comments and interpret statements and documentation in any way which would assist his case.” His evidence was also considered “entirely contrived”. Mr Strain added: “It appeared to the tribunal that anybody who was not for Dr Nye or Mrs Campbell-Nye was depicted as being biased and part of some conspiracy against them.” He continued: “Mrs Campbell-Nye, in keeping with the tribunal’s view of Dr Nye, was also not a credible nor reliable witness. She was prepared to modify her evidence according to whatever version she thought was to her advantage.” The Nyes had taken the college to the tribunal claiming unfair dismissal on the grounds of race, sex and religion and alleging there had been serious problems in the running of the institution. Mr Strain ruled that there was no breach of contract and Chancellor Lord Elder had legitimate grounds for suspending the principal, and he was not unfairly dismissed. The panel found there was a “irretrievable breakdown in relations” and the dismissal action was “procedurally and substantively fair”. Last night, the couple completely rejected the tribunal decision, calling it an “irrational conclusion” and say they may decide to appeal the judgment. Their statement said: “We have only received the written judgment today, so we have not had the chance to read through it properly. When we have done, we will be happy to give our considered responses and take further legal action, such as an appeal. “The tribunal decision has been lifted directly from the Al-Maktoum College’s version of events and their own witnesses even contradicted each other. We simply cannot understand how Judge Strain came to this irrational conclusion. “This whole experience has had a terrible impact on us both physically and mentally. First our treatment by the Al-Maktoum College, and then going through the tribunal to get to this. “The written judgment of Judge Strain and the tribunal is a victory for every single workplace bully, every company that feels they can behave however they like because they have money, power and expensive lawyers behind them. “The tribunal heard very explicit evidence of such bullying and harassment by senior managers of the Al-Maktoum against Mrs Campbell-Nye and other female members of staff, and have chosen to ignore it. “What upsets us greatly is that it has been perpetrated by people who should know better and who as educators and politicians seek to earn our respect. Although this is a very personal disappointment for both of us, it is also an attack on all employees’ rights to be protected from bullies.” A spokesman for the Al-Maktoum College said: “The college welcomes the judgment of the employment tribunal. The ruling makes it clear that the college at no time engaged in any discriminatory activities or took any decisions based on grounds of race, sex or religion. We are now keen to move on.”