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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...

Perth & Kinross

MSP says pensioner’s four-month hip replacement wait is ‘unacceptable’

September 21 2015

A Perthshire MSP has labelled NHS Tayside waiting times unacceptable, after a Perth pensioner’s hip operation was delayed for four months. Joseph Webster, 77, has been forced into using a walking stick after his hip operation at Perth Royal Infirmary, which was scheduled to take place in May, was delayed until this Wednesday. His wife Helen has blasted the service he has received from NHS Tayside, after revealing he has not had any new blood tests or seen an anaesthetist since preparing for his original May 5 date. The couple have also been told Joseph must call NHS Tayside on Wednesday at 6.30am to make sure there is a bed available for him to finally have the operation. Helen said: “He was given an original date for surgery for May 5. That was a 12-week waiting list, which is seemingly the Government waiting time. This was cancelled until mid-July. It was again cancelled until October 19, which was 24 weeks from the original date. “After several phone calls and a letter of complaint, we were given a new date for September 23, which is still 20 weeks from the original date.” Mrs Webster received a letter claiming the delay had been due to an increase in acute medical admissions at NHS Tayside since January. Helen added: “I feel they should not be telling patients that it’s a 12-week wait when they know about this backlog. “In my opinion, if this is the backlog they’ve got, they’re never going to catch up and meet this 12-week target. “My husband will not be the only one and there could be some old people who have nobody to stick up for them on their behalf. I feel if this is the way they’re treating people, it’s wrong.” Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Liz Smith said: “The time Mr Webster has had to wait for his hip replacement operation is unacceptable. “I feel the experience Mr and Mrs Webster have faced has fallen well short of what patients should expect and has negatively impacted on Mr Webster’s health. “I have always sought to support my constituents in seeking treatment; however, these sorts of cases are becoming more and more common.” NHS Tayside general manager for access Alan Pattinson stated the health service could not comment on individual cases due to patient confidentiality. He said: “Currently we are experiencing high levels of demand across surgical services and we apologise for any delays this may cause some patients. “We have scheduled additional theatre sessions until the end of the year, to enable us to see patients that are waiting as quickly as possible.”


£10,400 award for woman who tripped on paving stone left faulty for over a year

May 15 2015

A woman has been awarded more than £10,000 after a fall caused by an uneven paving slab in Dundee city centre. Annie Webster, 60, won her case against Dundee City Council after the court ruled the authority failed to notice a defect on Dock Street for more than a year. She injured her right wrist in the accident, which took place in 2012. Sheriff Lorna Drummond ruled that the council should pay damages of £13,000 for the injury suffered as a result of its negligence. However, the award was reduced to £10,400 because it was ruled Ms Webster did not exercise “reasonable care and attention” herself. The court heard how on the afternoon of November 6 2012, Ms Webster had been in the street waiting for her ex-partner when she turned and tripped on a raised paving stone. The paving stone was loose and uneven, and was more than an inch (25mm) proud at its highest point. Dundee City Council roads maintenance inspects the road every four weeks, and records defects, including uneven footpaths of more than 20mm. Giving evidence to the hearing, the department’s area supervisor admitted that action should have been taken. The court heard the defect had been in the pavement for at least a year before Ms Webster fell and the area was inspected the day before the incident. Other witnesses included members of the council’s legal team and other Dock Street residents. Ms Webster’s solicitor, William Boyle, argued that there was an obvious danger in the paving being in that condition and that it had clearly deteriorated over a long period of time. Sheriff Drummond ruled that the council had a duty to take reasonable care to carry out inspections of public footpaths and that this did not happen on this occasion. However, she further ruled that by turning around immediately before she fell, Ms Webster had contributed to her own accident and was therefore liable for 20%.

Angus & The Mearns

Teenagers reported to Children’s Panel

January 30 2014

Two teenagers have been reported to the Children’s Panel following an alleged assault. Police confirmed two children were charged in relation to an incident at Webster’s High School, Kirriemuir, on January 20. Officers visited the school and confiscated two iPhones, footage from which was described by PC Gail Beattie as showing a “kangaroo court”. Video of the alleged attack, understood to have taken place at Kirrie Den, was downloaded by officers. PCs Beattie and Alan Bell addressed children at Webster’s High School this week, warning pupils of the consequences of such actions. They have vowed to get tough on those tempted to film similar incidents and have threatened Antisocial Behaviour Orders. PC Beattie said: “We have had a report today of another alleged assault which has been recorded, and are also investigating two trees which were cut down in Kirrie Den at the weekend by someone using a saw.”

Angus & The Mearns

Kirriemuir pupils strengthen Kenyan links

June 12 2013

An Angus high school is reaping the benefits of a global partnership with a school in Kenya. Two pupils and two teachers from Litein High School in the Rift Valley area of Kenya are visiting Webster’s High in Kirriemuir as part of a programme between the two schools established six years ago. Literature teacher David Koech and agriculture and biology teacher Eva Ntinyari arrived at the school on Friday, along with two pupils from Litein Alex Saitoti, 17, and Adrian Bandika, 14 who have been taking part in a variety of activities during their stay in a bid to find out about Scottish education and culture before returning home on Monday June 24. Later this year, pupils from Webster’s will replicate the journey after going through a rigorous selection process and will be joined by two members of staff. Principal teacher of pupil care and support Audrey Murray said that the partnership gives both institutions an opportunity to share vital information with each other. “Everything to do with the partnership is a shared project,” said Audrey. “We did a creative writing project where there was work done in Kenya and then there was responding work to that here. We also did a social education initiative and provided some education on HIV and Aids. “We also get to compare things like our carbon footprints and learn from the way they do things in Kenya. “By looking at the way others see and do things, it allows us to see things differently and with a new perspective.” While on the trip, Alex and Adrian have had the opportunity to sample days in the classroom at Webster’s and have taken part in several social and cultural events throughout the town. Adrian said that it was of great benefit to learn about different cultures. “I have really enjoyed meeting new people, socialising and making new friends. We are learning a lot,” he added. Alex echoed those sentiments and said: “It has been good to learn about different cultures and find out about the problems or tasks facing the school or pupils, which are the same we have.” The partnership was originally funded by the British Council but that support ceased last year. Since then, both schools have worked hard to fundraise to maintain the link, with pupils at Webster’s taking a leading role in arranging events to raise cash. Fellow principal teacher of pupil care and support Mary McGregor said: “It’s all part of our global vision as a school. We want to be outward looking and see the interlinking nature of the planet and we have learned so much from Litein. “The two pupils and teachers that are over have become very much part of the community already and they are staying in Kirriemuir as well as going to a number of events organised by the school and local rotary.” The school will be hosting a summer fair on Saturday to further boost the fundraising efforts of the project and staff thanked those who have lent their support to event. Alan Taylor, physics teacher at the school, said: “Webster’s High School would like to pay special thanks to the Rotary Club of Kirriemuir, who have generously donated funds to the link and donated prizes to be given out at the fair. “Thanks also go to Colin Smith for providing televisions for the Kenyan guests for the duration of their stay and to the Kirriemuir Co-op, who donated a welcome pack of provisions. “Thanks to all local businesses for donating raffle prizes and to stallholders who are taking part on Saturday.” The event will run from 10am to 2pm and entry will cost £2. Picture by Photos on Location

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.

UK & World

Social workers involved in St Helena child abuse inquiry take legal action

March 23 2018

Two social workers who say an inquiry report into allegations of child abuse on the British overseas territory of St Helena destroyed their professional reputations have taken legal action.Claire Gannon and Martin Warsama, who worked on St Helena and made cover-up allegations, have sued the Foreign Office and the senior barrister who led the inquiry.They say they “stand by the accuracy and honesty of their disclosures” and say conclusions were reached on the basis of an inquiry which was procedurally unfair.Lawyers representing ministers and inquiry chairman Sasha Wass QC dispute their claim and say the litigation should not proceed.A judge was on Friday considering issues in the case at a High Court hearing in London.Barrister Neil Sheldon, who is leading a legal team representing Foreign Office ministers, asked the judge, Master Victoria McCloud, to halt the litigation and dismiss the claim launched by Ms Gannon and Mr Warsama.The inquiry had been set up by ministers following corruption and cover-up allegations which had been raised in newspaper articles and leaked documents and made by Ms Gannon and Martin Warsama.An inquiry report published in December 2015 concluded that: St Helena did not “attract sex tourism”; said allegations that the island in the South Atlantic was a “paedophiles’ paradise” were not true; reported “no corruption at all”; and found no evidence of any attempt by the Foreign Office, the Department for International Development, the St Helena government or police to cover up child abuse.The report said: “We stress that there was no ‘cover-up’ as alleged by Ms Gannon and Mr Warsama, rather an ignorance of proper safeguarding procedure.”Nicholas Bowen QC, who represents Ms Gannon and Mr Warsama, told the judge the conclusions of the Wass Inquiry “destroyed” the professional reputations of his clients.He said the inquiry process was “procedurally” unfair and said Ms Gannon and Mr Warsama were entitled to “just satisfaction” for their loss.Ms Gannon and Mr Warsama say their claim should not be dismissed but say evidence should be analysed at a trial.

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

Road tests

Audi Q2 puts quality over size

March 21 2018

Audi’s Q2 was one of the first premium compact SUVs on the market. It sits below the Q3, Q5 and the gigantic, seven seat Q7 in Audi’s ever growing range. Although it’s about the same size as the Nissan Juke or Volkswagen T-Roc, its price is comparable with the much larger Nissan X-Trail or Volkswagen Tiguan. Even a basic Q2 will set you back more than £21,000 and top whack is £38,000. Then there’s the options list which is extensive to say the least. My 2.0 automatic diesel Quattro S Line model had a base price of £30,745 but tipped the scales at just over £40,000 once a plethora of additions were totted up. Size isn’t everything, however. In recent years there’s been a trend of buyers wanting a car that’s of premium quality but compact enough to zip around town. It may be a step down in size but the Q2 doesn’t feel any less classy than the rest of Audi’s SUV range. The interior looks great and is user friendly in a way that more mainstream manufacturers have never been able to match. The simple rotary dial and shortcut buttons easily trounce touchscreen systems, making it a cinch to skim through the screen’s menus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eQ5p5Z7-Ek&list=PLUEXizskBf1nbeiD_LqfXXsKooLOsItB0 There’s a surprising amount of internal space too. I took three large adults from Dundee to Stirling and no one complained about feeling cramped. As long as you don’t have a tall passenger behind a tall driver you can easily fit four adults. At 405 litres the boot’s big too – that’s 50 litres more than a Nissan Juke can muster. Buyers can pick from 1.0 and 1.4 litre petrol engines or 1.6 and 2.0 litre TDIs. Most Q2s are front wheel drive but Audi’s Quattro system is standard on the 2.0 diesel, as is a seven-speed S Tronic gear box. On the road there’s a clear difference between this and SUVs by manufacturers like Nissan, Seat and Ford. Ride quality, while firm, is tremendously smooth. Refinement is excellent too, with road and tyre noise kept out of the cabin. It sits lower than the Q3 or Q5 and this improves handling, lending the Q2 an almost go-kart feel. On a trip out to Auchterhouse, with plenty of snow still on the ground, I was appreciative of the four-wheel drive as well. The Q2 is expensive – though there are some good finance deals out there – but you get what you pay for. Few cars this small feel as good as the Q2 does. Price: £30,745 0-62mph: 8.1 seconds Top speed: 131mph Economy: 58.9mpg CO2 emissions: 125g/km

Angus & The Mearns

Shared headship move to be permanent in Kirriemuir

February 27 2017

Two Angus schools will continue to share a head teacher on a permanent basis — despite staff and parents voicing concerns. Councillors on the children and learning committee confirmed the shared headship as a permanent appointment after the results of a formal consultation were disclosed. The committee was told focus groups responded positively but this contrasted with the parent questionnaire where 60% were not in favour of the shared campus model at Webster’s High and Southmuir Primary in Kirriemuir while 67% of staff were also against the change in school leadership being made permanent. However, only 27 families from a possible 921 responded to the questionnaire and the feedback rate was also low among staff with only 55 of 156 employees returning the questionnaire. The questionnaire for pupils supported the views of the focus groups with 76% (136 children) of respondents in favour of the shared campus model continuing on a permanent basis. Convener Sheena Welsh said the pupils were very happy with the arrangement and the head teacher was very keen to continue with the current arrangement. She said the parent council was happy, the parents who came to the meetings were very happy and there had only been “a very small negative response”. She recommended that a permanent appointment was made and her comments were echoed by Kirriemuir councillor Ronnie Proctor who said the children, staff and parents “all see the benefits of this”. Councillors agreed to make the arrangement permanent at Webster’s and Southmuir which are both situated in a shared plot. Webster’s has had two head teachers within the past ten years period while Southmuir has had three substantive head teachers and three acting head teachers. In September 2015, the substantive head teacher, who had been in post at Southmuir for two years, successfully secured a post with another local authority. Discussions were held with the outgoing head teacher at Southmuir and the current head teacher at Webster’s and it was felt that Webster’s and Southmuir might provide an opportunity for the development of a shared campus model. The head teacher at Webster’s took on the temporary additional role of acting head teacher at Southmuir in October 2015 and will now continue in that campus headship role. Pauline Stephen, Head of Schools and Learning, said: “The children and young people of Webster’s High School and Southmuir Primary School are largely in favour of making the joint campus a permanent arrangement. “Staff and parents who responded to the survey, are less optimistic about this change although the data gathered from both groups was small. “There is therefore no clear shared view about the future of the campus headship.” The management structures within the acting Campus Headship model results in an overall saving of £5,214.