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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...

Angus & The Mearns

Safety fears forced salmon fishing regulation breaches, court told

April 23 2015

Salmon fishing regulation breaches on the Angus and Aberdeenshire coasts were caused by safety fears, according to a fisheries boss. Usan Salmon Fisheries director George Pullar appeared at Forfar Sheriff Court and said his crews undertook great risks to comply with regulations, which ban fisheries from keeping “leader” nets at sea over weekends. Mr Pullar admitted the firm failed to bring nets in on a number of occasions, but told Sheriff Pino di Emidio that crews returned home because of rough seas. The 45-year-old said he and his co-director brother, David, run a business, the last of its kind on the east coast of Scotland, which he described as “a labour of love”. The firm previously admitted charges of fishing outwith weekly limits near Montrose in August 2013 and Gardenstown in August 2014. During a proof in mitigation, solicitor Hamish Watt brought a number of witnesses for the firm. George Pullar said he and his skippers were forced to stay home over the course of several weekends due to rough seas or bad forecasts, leaving the nets in place. “When you’re working at sea, you don’t get second chances,” he said. Witness Alan Third, 55, confirmed he had broken down on August 9 2013 off the Montrose coast, and was towed back by Mr Pullar, who himself broke down en route to remove leaders at Ethie Haven. Mr Pullar’s nephew Kevin Pullar, 22, said he was constantly mindful of forecasts and had responsibility as skipper for leaving leaders in over the weekends in question. Mr Watt produced two DVDs Kevin Pullar had taken, showing “swell” and rough sea conditions, which caused the skipper to return to shore instead of removing leader nets. The proof will continue on July 9, after which Sheriff Di Emidio will deliver sentence.

Dundee

Detectives continue hunt for Dundee sex attackers

September 11 2013

Detectives have been poring over CCTV footage in an attempt to establish the identity of two men who sexually assaulted a woman in the city centre on Sunday morning. The 20-year-old woman was left extemely distressed by the assault, which happened shortly after midnight on Saturday into Sunday in Pullar’s Close, off Meadowside. Police are concentrating their efforts on the area around Pullar’s Close, Murraygate and Cowgate, specifically in respect of pub and nightclub patrons who would have been in the area at the time. A spokesman said: “We have spoken to a number of people so far, but we are asking any revellers who were in nearby nightclubs or pubs, or were walking in the area around the time to get in touch with us as any information could prove crucial in our attempts to identify those men.” They are described as being in their early twenties, one was about 5ft 9in, of medium build, wearing jeans. The other was about 6ft, of medium build and had a Dundee accent. He had short brown or black spiky hair, with a slight fringe and was wearing a blue short-sleeved shirt with thin white or grey horizontal lines on it and dark jeans.

Angus & The Mearns

Angus fishery business hits out at ‘ill-informed interests’

January 15 2014

A family fishery business is again at odds with sporting interests after a call to return rod and net-caught salmon before mid-May. The Association of Salmon Fishery Boards’ suggestion ahead of the opening of the Tay season has been made in a fresh attempt to offer greater protection to breeding fish returning to spawn in Scottish rivers. However, George Pullar, director of the Scottish Wild Salmon Company based at Usan on the Angus coast, has accused “ill-informed interests” of unfairly castigating netting businesses. “Even through catch and release, killing of spring fish does occur by angling,” Mr Pullar said. “It is utter nonsense to suggest that hooking a fish and playing it until it is exhausted before landing, followed by resuscitating and then releasing the fish, has no profound negative effects upon wild salmon. “Scientific studies have indicated that there is a significant degree of mortality associated with this practice.” He added: “A total of 22,682 wild salmon were reported caught and killed in the rod and line fishery in the 2012 season by anglers. It stands to reason that a reasonable proportion of these will be spring fish. “In contrast, commercial netting in Scotland killed 16,230 salmon during the same season.” Mr Pullar’s firm also remains in talks with north-east fishery boards following last year’s Salmon Net Fishing Association of Scotland (SNFAS) reversal of a blanket voluntary policy of not beginning netting for the first six weeks of the season from this year. “For the last 14 years SNFAS members generally have abided by this voluntary policy without receiving compensation from angling proprietors who benefit directly from netting restraint,” Mr Pullar added. “The reversal of this policy has led to an outcry by the angling sector against netting, with claims that salmon netting interests are not conservation minded. “Let me be clear that I am speaking for my own company and not SNFAS generally, but we feel that this decision has been sensationalised and misrepresented by those who are determined to see the end of traditional salmon netting a unique niche Scottish industry. “While we have an existing agreement with the Esk board until 2015, we have approached both the Caithness and Deveron District Salmon Fishery Boards to discuss and agree a voluntary way forward, currently without success. “It is simply unacceptable and extremely draconian for ill-informed interests to castigate netting, calling for our legitimate legal rights to be trampled upon. “Fishing is a way of life for us. While salmon netting now accounts for a smaller proportion of salmon caught in Scotland than angling, we are justifiably proud of our rich rural heritage. “Scottish Wild Salmon (an EU-protected food name) is sold all over the world and should rightly continue to be recognised as one of Scotland’s finest exports.”

Dundee

Woman sexually assaulted by two men in Dundee city centre lane

September 10 2013

Police in Dundee have launched a major manhunt after two men sexually assaulted a woman in a secluded lane in the city centre at the weekend. The 20-year-old woman was confronted by the men in Pullar’s Close, off Meadowside, shortly after midnight into Sunday morning and assaulted. The two men then walked casually away down the lane into Murraygate leaving their victim “extremely distressed” by the attack. The woman then joined up with friends nearby and contacted police, who were quickly at the scene and cordoned off the pend. A spokesman said: “Police are carrying out inquiries after a 20-year-old woman was sexually assaulted in the city centre at the weekend. “The woman had been in Pullar’s Close a short distance in to the Meadowside entrance to the lane that runs to Murraygate shortly after midnight into Sunday when she was approached by two men who sexually assaulted her. “They then walked away towards Murraygate leaving her extremely distressed. Inquiries are now ongoing to establish the identity of the two men. “This includes door-to-door inquiries in the city centre area and a review of public and private CCTV, as well as any stills and footage from Dundee nightclubs. “Both men are said to be in their early twenties. One was about 5ft 9in tall, of medium build and wore jeans. “The other was about 6ft tall, of medium build and spoke with a Dundee accent. “He had short brown or black spiky hair, with a slight fringe and at the time was wearing a blue short-sleeved shirt with thin white or grey horizontal lines on it, as well as dark jeans. “Anyone who knows who these men are, or who has information that could assist Tayside Division’s inquiries, should call 101 or speak to any officer.”

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.

Angus & The Mearns

Angus firm Usan Salmon Fisheries told to expect fine for fishing law breaches

July 17 2015

An Angus sheriff has told Scotland’s largest salmon netting company it should expect to be fined for a series of breaches of fisheries legislation. Usan Salmon Fisheries Ltd has admitted nine charges in relation to failing to remove leaders, which help guide salmon into nets at sea, before the weekly close time at 6pm on Friday. Under the Salmon Fisheries Scotland Act the leaders can then be reinstated at 6am on Mondays. The firm admitted three breaches in Angus during August 2013, four breaches in Angus during July and August 2014 and two breaches in Aberdeenshire in August 2014. The company also admitted taking fish 45 minutes after the close time on July 25 at Boddin, near Montrose. A landmark proof of mitigation hearing previously heard evidence from director George Pullar that on each occasion leaders were not removed it was because of dangerous conditions. Summing up the defence’s position at Forfar Sheriff Court yesterday, solicitor Hamish Watt said the company faced a “conflict” between complying with the Salmon Fisheries Scotland Act and health and safety legislation. “They take the view that the health and safety legislation has to get priority,” he said. “They obviously want to do right by the Fisheries Act but nevertheless felt the duty to human life was of greater importance.” The court heard that when the company’s employees went back to nets which had been in operation over a weekend, they kept the fish that the nets contained. Mr Watt said it was impossible to calculate any gain the company could have made by the nets being in operation during the weekend and that the crown required to submit “better evidence than speculation” about how many fish might have been illegally caught. Sheriff Pino Di Emidio said the legislation dictates that if the company is unable to take the leader out before the close time then there is a responsibility to take it out at the earliest opportunity. “You have nine charges but in none of the charges is it suggested that the leaders were removed later,” the sheriff said. “That would have been a significant mitigating factor.” Mr Watt said the directors’ position was that during the weekends in question it wasn’t safe to go to sea. The sheriff said the evidence indicated that in one case the sea was calm at the leaders’ location but that it was the sea state at the company’s base at Usan which prevented the company’s boat being launched. He said the company’s decision to “operate to that extent from the one base” limited their mitigation. He also questioned why the company didn’t consider the removal of the leaders earlier in the week, stating that George Pullar’s evidence suggested this operation wasn’t considered until Friday mornings. Mr Watt replied: “They are clearly checking the weather all the time. Sometimes they will be caught out. They have to make a reasonable attempt to be commercially active.” Mr Watt added that Mr Pullar was working with the Scottish Government to try to have the legislation regarding the close time changed to companies having a kill licence. He invited the sheriff to admonish the company on all the charges relating to failing to remove the leaders. Procurator fiscal Tom Dysart of the Crown Office’s wildlife and environment unit said: “Part of the argument from the accused is that recent health and safety requirements prevent compliance with the weekly close time. “I submit that all of the evidence points to the company working in whatever way suits its commercial interests. “It’s incumbent on operators to comply with both sets of requirements even if that impacts on fishing opportunity.” Sheriff Di Emidio deferred sentence until August 20 for the firm’s accounts to be produced. He said: “There is a maximum penalty of £2,500 per offence. You can take it that I’m not going to admonish the company on all these charges.”

Angus & The Mearns

U-turn over controversial South Esk salmon fishing extension

February 5 2013

A controversial Scottish Government decision to extend salmon netting in the South Esk area has been reversed. However Scotland’s largest salmon netting company, which has been at the centre of the issue, said it has “no issues” and “fully accepts” the U-turn. In August, ministers granted Usan Salmon Fisheries Ltd a three-year licence to net salmon at its coastal stations south of Montrose for two weeks in September. This has now been revoked. One of the firm’s directors, George Pullar, told The Courier: “We fully accept the decision of the Scottish Government to revoke the licence on the basis that the research was no longer required as part of the South Esk Project. “We understood that the nature of the licence was that it could be revoked at any time and, therefore, have no issues with the decision.” The extension was to compensate the fishery for disruption caused by Marine Scotland Science’s access “to fish and genetic samples during the commercial fishery season” for tagging research. As the netting season ends on August 31 the government’s decision came in for criticism from anglers and from some conservation bodies. The Esk District Salmon Fisheries Board sought a judicial review of the decision to grant the licence, due to be heard this month. Former board chairman Hughie Campbell Adamson was head of the body when the review was sought. He said: “The Scottish Government’s capitulation, together with its undertaking to pay the board’s costs, vindicates entirely the EDSFB’s decision to go for judicial review. “I hope that we can all now move on and never again allow politics and prejudice to jeopardise wild salmon conservation. “The latter must take priority whether it is in the context of salmon netting on the east coast or the unsustainable increase in salmon farming on the west coast. “I would especially like to thank the Salmon and Trout Association (Scotland) and the Dee District Salmon Fishery Board for their invaluable support.” The River South Esk is a Special Area of Conservation for Atlantic salmon. Conservationists argue the district’s netting operations are closely linked to salmon numbers, not only in the South and North Esks but also in the Tay. Esk Rivers and Fisheries Trust chairman Tom Sampson said: “The Government’s reversal of its decision is indeed welcome. “No increased exploitation of salmon, in the context of today’s limited marine survival levels, can be justified.”

Angus & The Mearns

Usan Salmon Fisheries director accuses Esk board of having ‘a malicious fixation with driving us out of business’

August 15 2012

The director of Angus-based Usan Salmon Fisheries has hit back after the company found itself drawn into a political row. George Pullar accused the Esk District Salmon Fishery Board of having a ''malicious fixation'' with driving his firm out of business. Mr Pullar was speaking to The Courier after the fishery board condemned the Scottish Government's decision to give Usan an additional 14 days to catch fish. Hugh Campbell Adamson, chairman of the fishery board, said extending the season was ''recklessly irresponsible'' and described the move as making ''no sense at all'' in terms of conservation. Usan Salmon Fisheries will be allowed to net salmon between September 1 and 14, after the end of the statutory netting season on August 31, for three years from 2012. The reason for the extension had been stated as ''to compensate the fishery for disruption'' caused by Marine Scotland Science having ''access to fish and genetic samples during the commercial fishery season'' for tagging research purposes. Mr Pullar said: ''We are disgusted and outraged at the latest statement issued by the Esk Board. This represents the latest in a long line of baseless persecutory attacks on our long-established Scottish business. ''It is quite clear that after eight years of haphazard mismanagement by the Esk Board, the Scottish Government has stepped in to introduce a science-based programme to explore salmon stock status within the district and address knowledge gaps, where these exist. ''We welcome that and believe all of those involved in the management of wild salmon should regard this as positive. ''Rather than acting objectively and considering all pertinent factors, the extent of the Esk Board's suggestions for action appears to be to limit the operation of our legal net fishery, stemming from a malicious fixation with driving us out of business.'' Mr Campbell Adamson said the government is allowing Usan to kill up to 1,000 more salmon with a potential gross value of some £50,000. He said: ''Scottish Government's approach to salmon conservation is woefully inconsistent. It regularly exhorts fishery boards and anglers to reduce exploitation through catch and release. ''This advice is being heeded on the River South Esk, where in 2011 anglers caught just 672 salmon, of which well over half were safely released back into the water. ''In contrast, Usan's nets in the South Esk district killed 6,500 salmon last year. It beggars belief that the netting season is now being lengthened.'' However, Mr Pullar said both the Esk Board and the angling lobby have run a concerted campaign over many years aimed at destroying their business and the reputation of legal coastal salmon netting in Scotland. He added: ''We have a proven track record of proactively engaging in salmon conservation measures where these are necessary.'' A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said it was fully committed to salmon conservation. She said no licence would have been granted had there been evidence it would have a detrimental impact on stocks.

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

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