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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

Culinary dimension added to Perth Show

July 28 2016

For more than 150 years Perth Show has been a popular, once a year meeting point for the people of the city and the farming community. The show - now the third largest of its type in Scotland – remains as always a showcase for champion livestock but this year holds a much wider appeal for visitors. To be held on Friday and Saturday August 5 and 6 on the South Inch, throughout the two days, trade stands, sideshows, entertainment, activities, music and parades all add to the vibrancy of the show along with a new culinary direction. “For the first time, Perth Show is set to feature a cookery theatre and food and drink marquee,” said show secretary Neil Forbes. “This will bring a new and popular dimension to the visitor attraction. “Perth Show 2016 is also delighted to welcome Perthshire On A Plate (POAP) - a major food festival, celebrating the very best in local produce and culinary talent. “Organised by Perthshire Chamber of Commerce, the two-day festival will run as part of the show and feature celebrity and local chefs, demonstrations and tastings, book signings, food and drink related trade stands, fun-filled activities for ‘kitchen kids’ and a large dining area and pop-up restaurants in a double celebration of food and farming.” Heading the celebrity chef line-up are television favourite Rosemary Shrager (Friday) and spice king Tony Singh (Saturday), backed by a host of talented local chefs including Graeme Pallister (63 Tay Street) and Grant MacNicol (Fonab Castle). The cookery theatre, supported by Quality Meat Scotland, will also stage a fun cookery challenge between students from Perth College and the ladies of the SWI. A range of pop-up restaurants featuring taster dishes from some of the area’s best known eating places will allow visitors to sample local produce as they relax in the show’s new POAP dining area. “We’re trying to create a wide and varied programme of entertainment,” said Mr Forbes. “Late afternoon on Friday will see the It’s A Knockout  challenge with teams from businesses throughout Perth and Perthshire competing against each other. “And the first day’s programme will end with a beer, wine and spirit festival where teams can celebrate their achievements and visitors can sample a wide range of locally produced drinks.” This year will also see the reintroduction of showjumping at Perth Show on the Saturday afternoon.

Readers' letters

February 8: Perth Concert Hall audience lacked courtesy

February 8 2011

This morning our readers discuss audience courtesy, support for new nurses, the relative price of fuel, recent events at Abertay University and the need for a land tax. Perth Concert Hall audience lacked courtesy Sir, Last Friday evening my wife and I attended Perth Concert Hall to see Vampires Rock. The show was excellent, as usual. However, the antics of some members of the audience left much to be desired and indeed, detracted from the overall enjoyment of many. I refer to those people who arrived late, after the show had started, and inconvenienced others while they clambered through the rows to their seats. But even worse was that group who had very obviously been to the bar before the show started and who found it impossible to sit for 50 minutes without having to leave, presumably to empty their bladders. This happened all through the first half of the show and and then after the break again, after another visit to the bar. These people felt compelled to bring more drinks into the show after the break, usually one in each hand and both for themselves and the inevitable happened more toilet breaks and more inconvenience to many others. I have to say that such rude and inconsiderate behaviour is not peculiar to Perth Concert Hall, but surely people ought to show consideration to all the rest of the audience who have spent good money to enjoy the show. Tom McDonald.57 Durham Street,Monifieth. Support for new nurses Sir, Further to your article Scandal of jobless nursing graduate Sasha Munns (February 3) student nurses and newly qualified nurses should be reassured to know that the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) is working with the Scottish Government to develop a new one-year job guarantee scheme. This is because the existing scheme cannot meet the demand from the large number of people applying. This uncertainty is resulting in stress for newly qualified nurses and we are organising career workshops across the country. These workshops will give students and newly qualified nurse RCN members practical support and advice. I would urge all those newly qualified nurses who have not yet applied for the one-year job guarantee scheme to do so and would seek to reassure those who have applied of the Government's commitment to this scheme. Newly qualified nurses struggling to find jobs is just one of the many consequences of health boards' decisions to cut jobs. We will continue to press health boards such as NHS Tayside to make sure they have enough registered nurses to deliver high-quality patient care. Ellen Hudson.The Royal College of Nursing,42 South Oswald Road,Edinburgh. Were the old days so good? Sir, Your correspondent Ian Wheeler (February 5), who wrote about the price of fuel, does not tell us what he was earning in 1966. It was probably around £30 per week. So the £2.86 worth of petrol that took him from Manchester to Elgin was almost 10% of his gross weekly wage. And he says he got 40mpg out of a Morris Minor? Ah yes. The good old days. Malcolm Parkin.15 Gamekeepers Road,Kinnesswood,Kinross. Dispute brings Abertay disgrace Sir, I am dismayed by the news of the present turmoil surrounding the suspension of Abertay principal Professor Bernard King and vice-principal Nicholas Terry. As an ex-employee of the University of Abertay, and having held positions of head of the School of Construction and Environment and dean of the Faculty of Engineering, I had the pleasure of working with Professor King. This episode is providing the ideal backdrop for insincere, disloyal and disaffected individuals to surface and wash dirty linen. From my experience of being a member of the court I know that there always is an element of politicking and manoeuvringl, but I would never have dreamt of this kind of disgraceful behaviour of an academic body. In spite of having differing views on some decisions while I was at Abertay, as can be expected in any intellectual and academic environment, I have always admired the vision and stamina of Professor King in leading the university. Susanta Sarkar.Emeritus Professor of Civil Engineering University of Abertay Dundee,11 Church Street,Monifieth. Land tax can ease pressure Sir, I would like to remind your correspondents who have written about house prices and rents in St Andrews that it is not the value of the buildings that is at the core of the problem but the desirability of the land on which they stand. That land, whether created by a deity or the Big Bang, had no production cost and no invoices were issued at its initial occupation. It therefore has no capital value at all. What we call capital value is actually a chronological compression and expression of a site desirability factor by the rest of society. The site's desirability can be expressed more accurately by the potential annual rental value. Two identical properties in St Andrews owned by the same landlord should attract the same rent but if one stands in a rundown area and the other in a well- to-do suburb, it is the latter that attains the greater rent. This has nothing to do with the value of the bricks and mortar, just the land beneath. The pressure in the housing market could be alleviated, indeed obviated, alongside a rejuvenation of employment and business activity, by collecting an annual land rent charge to replace most other taxes including council tax. Ron Greer.Armoury House,Blair Atholl. Get involved: to have your say on these or any other topics, email your letter to letters@thecourier.co.uk or send to Letters Editor, The Courier, 80 Kingsway East, Dundee DD4 8SL.


Abertay troubles go on as three members resign from university court

April 19 2011

Abertay University in Dundee has been plunged into further crisis after three members of its university court including Tayside Police Chief Constable Justine Curran resigned. The shock resignations follow the suspensions of university principal Professor Bernard King in March and vice-principal Professor Nicholas Terry in January. Professor Terry has since been reinstated as acting principal while Professor King is taking his case to an employment tribunal, claiming the university has broken a pledge to extend his contract. The university has not released any information on the reason for either of the suspensions. Bernadette Malone, chief executive of Perth and Kinross Council, and Sylvia Halkerston, from food company Macphie, have also resigned from the university court. Neither they nor Ms Curran would explain why they resigned during a meeting of the court on Saturday, with Ms Curran and Ms Malone merely confirming their respective positions. The university could not confirm that an email from a group calling itself the Bernard King Support Group might have been connected to the resignations. The email, addressed to the chair of the university court from a woman named Lauren De Vries, and also sent to The Courier, said the "BK Support Group write to inform you of our vote of no confidence in you as chairman of court of Abertay and our vote of no confidence in the senior management team you have installed." The email also called for the immediate resignation of court chairman Nigel Hawkins, although it did not name him, and the entire senior management team, along with the immediate reinstatement of Professor King as principal. It made reference to "secret meetings" held by members of the senior management team. The court, which is responsible for the university's finances and administration, is made up of 25 staff and lay members. Lay members are recruited to the court from industry and commerce, while others are included for their experience in the community. An Abertay University spokesman said, "I can confirm that three members of the university court have intimated their intention to resign from court, although the university has not yet received confirmation in writing. "Internal procedures to resolve the current situation are continuing and we will not comment further until those procedures have been completed."Unknown nameOf the email, the spokesman said that while he could confirm a paper copy arrived on Monday morning addressed to the chair of court, the university has no knowledge of the group it mentions other than what is contained within the email. He added, "There is no one on the staff with the name that's at the foot of the email. We have no comment to make on the contents of the email." A Tayside Police spokesman said, "Chief Constable Curran has resigned from the university court with immediate effect." A Perth and Kinross Council spokeswoman said, "Bernadette Malone is no longer a member of the University of Abertay court." Sylvia Halkerston said, "I can confirm that, as of Saturday, I have decided that I am no longer a member of the court."

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


Professor Bernard King retires from Abertay University

July 2 2011

Suspended Abertay University principal and vice-chancellor Professor Bernard King has retired from the university with immediate effect. Professor King, who was suspended from his post in February after which he took the university to an employment tribunal has apparently given up his attempt to be reinstated to the high-profile post. The shock move, revealed in a leaked email from an Abertay staff source, took place on Friday. Professor King's retiral follows a period of huge turmoil for Abertay, after six months of claim and counter-claim by various parties since both Professor King and his deputy, Professor Nicholas Terry were suspended. Professor Terry was mysteriously suspended on January 21, but was reinstated as acting principal and vice-chancellor shortly after Professor King's suspension from his £222,000-a-year post. Professor King has subsequently taken the university to an employment tribunal, claiming the university had reneged on a promise to extend his contract, however no public hearing has yet taken place. Professor King had intended to break the news of his retiral to all staff at an official briefing next week. However, following the leaked email, which had apparently mistakenly gone out to a small group of staff, the court decided to alert the entire staff of the new twist. Following the leak, Professor Nicholas Terry decided to inform all members of staff of the latest development. He wrote: "Dear Colleague, "As you know, the Chair of Court and I will be giving an address to all staff next Wednesday, at which our intention is to bring you up to date with regard to the current governance issues with which the university is dealing and also to give further details of our recently-approved Strategic Plan 2011-15 and related plans. "One of the matters we wished to report to you face-to-face at next week's address was that Professor Bernard King has now retired from the university (effective from today, 1 July). "However, earlier today we became aware that an email to this effect had gone out to one group of staff last night. "While the email is accurate, it is regrettable that it was sent out without the knowledge of either the chair or myself: it was most certainly not our intention for such a significant piece of news to be released to staff piecemeal. "I have therefore taken the decision to email you all as soon as possible, conscious that a Friday afternoon is not the most satisfactory timing for such communication, to confirm what some staff already know. "The address to all staff next Wednesday afternoon will still go ahead and the chair and I will endeavour to provide more context and detail for you on this matter, as well as on the future plans and prospects of the university." The Abertay source said it was hoped Professor King's move would bring to an end the political in-fighting which has dogged the university since the start of the year. During that period, three prominent members of the university court, Tayside Police Chief Constable Justine Curran, chief executive of Perth and Kinross Council Bernadette Malone and Sylvia Halkerston, from food company Macphie, resigned from the court, while a pressure group calling itself the Bernard King Support Group pushed for a vote of no confidence in Professor Terry and called for the immediate reinstatement of Professor King and the resignation of the entire senior management team. However, it's believed Professor King's employment tribunal action has not been dismissed and may still proceed. A clue to that effect might be contained in the statement from a spokesman for Abertay University who declined to comment further. He said, "Professor Bernard King has retired from his post as principal and vice-chancellor of the University of Abertay, Dundee. There are a number of outstanding issues relating to Professor King's employment that remain to be resolved. "Because of these factors, we will not comment further at this time." There was no further information on whether Professor Terry will now be officially appointed as principal and vice-chancellor of Abertay.

Scottish League 2

East Fife 3 East Stirlingshire 1: Naysmith’s heart-to-heart with striker pays dividends

September 1 2014

East Fife boss Gary Naysmith revealed that a heart-to-heart with Kevin Smith helped the Fife forward turn in a man-of-the-match performance against East Stirling. The Fife striker had admitted to the Methil boss that his form had been out of sorts but he bounced back in some style on Saturday. Smith grabbed the Fifers’ second goal of the game as they cruised to a 3-1 win at Bayview to secure their first points of the new season. Naysmith heaped praise on the impact that Smith had on the game. He said: “I thought Kevin Smith was different class. He’s a strong boy and really looks after himself. “I’m glad for him because I spoke with him after the Albion Rovers game. I was a bit worried because he hadn’t really been playing as well as I know he can. “I asked him if everything was OK off the field but he was honest enough to say ‘gaffer I’ve just been terrible’. “He said he’d work hard to put it right and did that.” The Fifers dominated what was a pretty scrappy opening to the game before taking a deserved lead. Scott Smith’s corner wasn’t cleared and the ball fell kindly for Jon McShane. The striker took a touch before firing past Richard Barnard. It should have been 2-0 just a few minutes later when McShane turned provider for Smith. But six yards from goal the striker turned his shot over the bar. Smith made up for his miss, though, when he created space for himself on the edge of the area and fired a shot towards goal which caught a deflection and looped over Bernard. Youngster David Maskrey pounced on a loose ball to fire home the third his first senior goal before Jordan Tapping headed home a consolation for Craig Tully’s side.


Jim McGovern praises work of former Abertay University principal Professor Bernard King

July 28 2011

The efforts of retired Abertay University principal Professor Bernard King to promote the computer games industry in Dundee have been praised by a city MP. Labour's Jim McGovern has been campaigning for the sector to be granted tax breaks by the UK Government to help it maintain its international competitiveness. He said, "Professor King has done a tremendous amount of good for Abertay and for Dundee. "I am particularly grateful for Professor King's work to develop and promote the computer games industry. He has led the way in seeing such an important part of Dundee's economy grow over the last decade." Mr McGovern said the professor would be "greatly missed," but he believed the university would continue to benefit from the foundations he laid during his 19 years in charge. The departure of the principal came following the settlement of a long-running dispute which had seen him suspended from his post in January. One senior professor said he was not convinced that a "viable, long-term vision" for the university now existed. He added, "The settlement is unsatisfactory because, as in the last eight months, none of the major professors at Abertay has been consulted and asked for input before a decision was reached. "I think that it is very revealing in this respect that all of this activity is occurring in the middle of the summer, when most faculty members are away or focusing on their research."

UK & World

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.


Abertay accuses group of ‘distorting facts’ with university court claims

April 22 2011

"Selling off" Abertay University's share of the flagship SIMBIOS centre to Dundee University is among moves being discussed at "secret meetings" of Abertay University Court members, it has been claimed. The Bernard King Support Group, set up after the former Abertay principal's suspension in March, allege a number of moves including switching computing courses to Dundee University or Dundee College have been debated "behind closed doors". They believe this could lead to the "collapse" of Abertay as a university in its own right. The Scottish Informatics, Mathematics, Biology and Statistics Centre (SIMBIOS) is a joint venture by the two universities, covering a broad range of research. The campaigners said talks have already taken place which could lead to redundancies, Abertay "collapsing" and staff leaving for other institutions, which the campaigners added may have been instrumental in leading to this week's resignations of three court members, including Chief Constable Justine Curran. Abertay dismissed the claims, saying "informal discussions" are about "collaborations" with Dundee University and Dundee College, encouraged by the Scottish Funding Council. Bernard King Support Group member Susanta Sarkar, formerly a member of the Abertay Court and ex-engineering faculty dean, told The Courier he believed it was "the operation of the court, the way they do business at the moment which, to put it bluntly, is disgusting, that led to these people resigning. "They are all respectable people and out of respect they didn't say much about it, but I think they found it necessary not to be part of the way things are happening." Another member of the group said, "The university can't comment on why the court members left, but they are telling people on the quiet that it's Professor King's fault. Those who have left have felt very vulnerable themselves all women of course. "What is left in general is a bunch of old retired males, out of touch with business and reality of university life. "One resigning member of court stated she was leaving due to poor practices by court and bad management of the situation.'Collaborations'"The secret discussions about selling off parts of Abertay include SIMBIOS being given to Dundee University. The chair of court keeps stating that there is no truth to the claim, but talks have taken place already... "It is expected that Abertay will eventually be called Abertay Campus, and part of something else, not a university in its own right." An Abertay spokesman said, "There are absolutely no plans to sell off any parts of Abertay University. The informal discussions that have taken place with Dundee University and Dundee College are about possible collaborations that could be of mutual benefit. "In the current climate of reduced public expenditure, it makes good sense for institutions to explore the potential efficiencies that collaboration could offer, and in fact the Scottish Funding Council is encouraging colleges and universities throughout the country to do just that. "They have established a new 'Invest to Save' fund designed to support this, and it is possible that we and our partners in Dundee might consider a joint bid to the fund, should a mutually acceptable proposal emerge. "Meanwhile, we have almost finalised our new strategic plan for 2011-2015, which contains a specific commitment to Abertay 'continuing as a vibrant and independent university.' "The plan also contains proposals for several strategic investments worth more than £4 million over the next few years aimed at expanding the academic capability of the institution. "The acting principal is planning to tour the university's academic departments and support services over the next two weeks to talk about these exciting new opportunities in more detail." The spokesman added, "It's a great shame that someone should, for their own ends, distort the facts so much and risk unnecessarily worrying our hard-working and committed staff and students."