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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...

Melbourne to host T20 finals in 2020

January 30 2018

The finals of the men’s and women’s World Twenty20 in 2020 will be held at the MCG.Cricket Australia has announced the hosts venues for the tournaments, with Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Geelong, Hobart, Perth and Sydney joining Melbourne on the list.The women’s competition takes place first, running from February 21 to March 8, with the men’s event starting on October 18 and closing on November 15.It is the first time both editions will be take place in the same country in the same year but as distinct tournaments.International Cricket Council chief executive David Richardson said: “I’d like to thank Cricket Australia and their partners in Government at all levels for their commitment to the ICC World T20 in 2020. “The ambition they have shown firstly in delivering stand-alone men’s and women’s events and then in the venue selection – that will, I hope, set a record for the biggest ever attendance at a women’s sporting event – is exciting for the sport. “Australia has a proven track record of delivering world-class events in world-class stadiums and we know we can rely on the fans to provide great support for all of the competing teams.”

Angus & The Mearns

Gingerbread tribute to the Wee Red Town

October 14 2013

When Libby Jones was invited by Bank Street Gallery owner Susie Clark to exhibit at her gallery in Kirriemuir, she became intrigued by the history of the town. As well as Kirriemuir’s most famous son and Peter Pan author JM Barrie, she discovered the town had also been home for a time to AC/DC singer Bon Scott, Victorian mountaineer Hugh Munro, and 19th century writer Violet Jacob. She found the town had been a hotbed of witchcraft in the 16th century and is also world famous for its gingerbread and decided to combine all these elements. Ms Jones went on to craft a boxed set of prints, which also doubles as a card game. She said: “This tongue-in-cheek edition of 10 boxes, of 20 cards per box, features Kirriemuir characters presented on a slice of gingerbread on a plate. I have also made a poster featuring all the 10 characters in the game.” Visitors can see images of Edinburgh Castle with fireworks, wildlife such as gannets, and artwork made after a visit to Antarctica. Londoner and master printmaker Ms Jones exhibited work from her sub-zero stay at a Discovery Point exhibition in Dundee last year. Children can see her work Cooking the Climate, a comment on global warming, which consists of a microwave oven and slideshow with rotating polar animals. There is also a fossilised mobile phone in a second installation, Fossils of the Anthropocene an exploration of the traces that might remain of civilisation in 50 million years’ time. She is also exhibiting a selection of her woodcuts, linocuts, collagraphs and screenprints at the gallery. The exhibition runs until November 8 and opening hours can be found on www.bankstreetgallery.org, or by telephoning 01575 570070.

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.

Politics

Budget 2015: Nicola Sturgeon dismisses living wage plan

July 8 2015

Nicola Sturgeon has dismissed Chancellor George Osborne's claim that he is giving Britain a pay rise with the introduction of a new "national living wage". In the first Conservative Budget for almost 20 years, Mr Osborne announced that from April next year all workers over the age of 25 will be entitled to £7.20 an hour - rising to £9 by 2020. The Chancellor hailed the measure as part of a new "higher-wage, lower-tax, lower-welfare" Britain. But the Scottish First Minister insisted the move does not amount to the introduction of a living wage, pointing out this is already set at £7.85 everywhere but London. She tweeted: "£7.20ph nxt yr & £9 by 2020 is increase in minimum wage (tho offset by cuts in tax credits) but it's not living wage - LW is already £7.85." Meanwhile, Susan McPhee, of Citizens Advice Scotland, said that, while it welcomes a move towards a living wage economy, "it looks like for most people this will not be enough to offset the impact of the wider cuts". Ms McPhee, head of policy at CAS, added: "We note too that the projected minimum wage rise to £7.20 next year still falls short of the Scottish living wage which is currently £7.85." Grahame Smith, general secretary of the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) ,was also critical, saying: "The Chancellor's so-called national living wage, pitched at £7.20 next year, will be nothing of the kind and is simply a cheap gimmick aimed at undermining the successful work we have undertaken to promote a meaningful living wage that genuinely helps people out of in-work poverty." As he unveiled the measure, Mr Osborne told MPs in the House of Commons: "Britain deserves a pay rise and Britain is getting a pay rise." Scottish Secretary David Mundell said afterwards that the "national living wage is an essential part of the move from a low-wage, high-tax, high-welfare society to a higher-wage, lower-tax, lower-welfare society". He added: "It ensures that work pays and reduces reliance on the State topping up wages through the benefits system." In the run-up to May's general election, the SNP backed an increase in the minimum wage to £8.70 an hour by 2020. Scottish Tory finance spokesman Murdo Fraser said: "Here we have a Conservative Government going much further to help working people in Scotland than the SNP ever would have. "It's humiliating for the Scottish Government to demand devolution of the minimum wage, only to set it at a lower rate than the rest of the UK. "That would have penalised low-paid workers north of the border, and provides more evidence of why Scotland is so much better off as part of the UK."

Business news

Scots firms ready to grab opportunities at Mobile World Congress

February 25 2012

Four digital media firms from Tayside and Fife will be thrust into the limelight next week at the world's largest trade event for mobile and wireless technology. A contingent of 21 Scottish companies are attending the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona a show that attracts more than 60,000 delegates including representatives of the world's leading technology firms with the support of Scottish Development International. Developers Outplay Entertainment, TAG Games and Yoyo Games of Dundee will all be showcasing their latest developments along with Dunfermline-based Zendit, a company which provides a platform for multi-channel internet applications. Yoyo Games founder Sandy Duncan, a former vice-president of XBOX Europe who worked with Microsoft for 17 years, said it was essential that Scotland's digital gaming talent found the global recognition it deserves. He said his company had picked up work at a recent trade fair in Hamburg and he was flying out to the Games Developer Conference in San Francisco immediately after the Spanish conference where Yoyo was to be an exhibitor for the first time. He said: ''The best-kept secret within the games industry is how prominent the games industry is within Scotland. I met with a guy this week who sold his company to AOL (America Online) for £100m and he asked what we were doing in Dundee. ''I had to explain to him that Dundee was full of games people. Conferences help to explain to people that Scotland is pretty much the centre of British games industry.'' Among the major companies that will be at MWC next week are Qualcomm Ventures, HTC, Nokia, Orange, Microsoft and Intel Capital. SDI chief executive Anne MacColl said: ''We know the skills, innovation and expertise Scotland has in mobile technology are world-leading. ''The Mobile World Congress is an unparalleled opportunity for our companies to showcase their products and innovations to a global audience. ''The agility of our companies in this sector, their knowledge of the market and creativity and innovation, means they are ideally placed to maximise the global opportunities that this event represents to create new connections and develop new deals.'' The Scottish companies will also link with members of the GlobalScot network from companies such as Juniper Networks, Panasonic and Telefonica 02 Europe who will be on hand to provide advice, support and connections. Alasdair Gunn, project director for Scottish Enterprise's Interactive Scotland, said: ''The transformations created by social media, mobile commerce and social gaming are disrupting traditional mobile and internet business models as well as creating a wealth of new business opportunities. ''Scottish Digital Media and Creative companies have recognised that this presents exciting new market opportunities for their business and it's great to see the global interest Scottish companies are receiving from many of the world's leading players.'' Photo PA

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

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.”

Man bailed in M20 murder probe

February 23 2018

A man who was arrested on suspicion of murder after the body of a woman was found on the M20 has been released on bail.The body was discovered by police on the London-bound carriageway near Ashford at 6.05pm on Tuesday. The road was closed between junctions 9 and 10 for nearly 24 hours while the scene was investigated.Officers appealed for the driver of a silver Nissan Qashqai to come forward and a man handed himself in at a police station on Wednesday evening, Kent Police said.On Friday morning the force said the man had been released on bail until March 15.The circumstances surrounding the death of the 32-year-old from Kent remain a mystery and detectives are continuing to investigate.A post-mortem is expected to take place at midday on Friday.Police are still appealing for drivers who were on the road at the time to check their vehicles for signs of a collision, and for anyone with dash cam footage or who saw a Nissan Qashqai with the registration KY15 WWX at the time of the incident to come forward.

M20 body identified as man arrested in murder probe

February 22 2018

Police have identified the body found on the M20 as a 32-year-old woman from Kent.A man arrested on suspicion of murder remains in custody, Kent Police said on Thursday afternoon.Officers discovered the body on the London-bound carriageway near Ashford at 6.05pm on Tuesday. The road was closed between junctions 9 and 10 for nearly 24 hours while the scene was investigated.Officers initially appealed for the driver of a silver Nissan Qashqai to come forward and a man handed himself in at a police station on Wednesday evening.The incident caused hours of delays with between six and seven miles of queues stretching back to junction 11 and a diversion was in place.The road reopened shortly before 3pm on Wednesday.An accountant from Ashford told Press Association of his shock at the scene he saw while driving on to the coastbound stretch of motorway at about 6.20pm on Tuesday while emergency services were on the opposite side of the road.The 21-year-old, who asked not to be named, said: “As I entered the motorway I expected to see a crash, when I suddenly realised that it wasn’t and unfortunately it appeared to be a body lying in the central lane with police and ambulance staff around it.“Because of the torches being shone by police (I could see) it appeared that the body had been struck by vehicles.“It was very shocking. It is not a sight I would want anyone to witness.“My condolences are with the family of the deceased.”Police are still appealing for drivers who were on the road at the time to check their vehicles for signs of a collision, and for anyone with dash cam footage or who saw the Nissan Qashqai with the registration KY15 WWX at the time of the incident to come forward.

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