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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

Perthshire connection helps Russian war veterans to victory

April 16 2013

A group of Russian war veterans have won their latest battle with a little help from The Courier. The air force veterans marshalled the power of the press as they fought a rearguard action to save the Museum of the Transport Air Force Division at Vnukovo in Moscow from closure. The museum was created in the 1970s as a tribute to the heroism of pilots during the Second World War and houses a collection of more than 4,000 items of memorabilia, documents and military awards donated by the air force veterans and their families. The future of the museum came under threat after it was decided to close the municipal cultural centre where it is located for renovation. Incensed by the prospect of losing the museum, the families of the war heroes started a petition and held a protest at the local war memorial. They even enlisted the help of a modern aviation hero, pilot Evgeny Novoselov, who in 2010 made a miracle emergency landing of his aircraft, saving the lives of all 81 people on board, who wrote a letter of support to President Vladimir Putin. As part of their plan the veterans armed themselves with copies of articles from The Courier which told of a mysterious wartime mission by Soviet airmen to Perthshire which showed the amount of foreign interest in the veterans’ story and proved vital to their fight. News of the success came from Anna Belorusova, a Russian woman who has made a pilgrimage to Errol airfield to learn more about her heroic grandfather Peter Kolesnikov, who served with the squadron. “What became the turning point in sealing the museum’s future came from Scotland with the recent Courier articles disclosing the mystery wartime mission of the best airmen of the Vnukovo Transport Air Force Division at the RAF Errol base, as part of 305 RAF Squadron,” she said. “The Courier articles closing the gap in the division war history and confirming that the memory of the Russian airmen war time presence is still alive in Scotland, have given the second breath to the Vnukovo museum defenders. “The Scottish articles were seen and appreciated at the top Moscow offices and the happy ending came last week. It has been decided that the museum is to stay and to develop, for the 70th Victory Anniversary and further on. Elena Nikitina, the chief curator, said: “We are very grateful to the Scottish people for their friendly hospitality to our airmen in Errol during the war, which they had very fond memories of.”

UK & World

British pupils suspected of stealing items from Auschwitz

June 23 2015

Two British teenagers on a school trip who were suspected of stealing items that belonged to prisoners at Auschwitz are likely to be fined and released in the next 48 hours, Polish police said. The 17-year-old boys were spotted acting suspiciously on Monday afternoon at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in southern Poland, and are being held at the police headquarters in Oswiecim. The offence is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, but the police spokesman said they may go home "today or tomorrow" after paying a fine. The pair were found with a fragment of hair clippers, spoons, some buttons and two pieces of glass after they were apprehended in warehouse number five - known as Canada - where the belongings of the Auschwitz arrivals were seized during the Holocaust. Polish police said they were arrested for carrying out activities related to the misappropriation of objects that represent special cultural importance, to the detriment of the museum. A spokeswoman at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office said: "We are in contact with the Polish authorities and stand ready to provide consular assistance." The Holocaust Educational Trust's chief executive, Karen Pollock, said: "This is absolutely shocking and shows gross disregard to the memory of the Holocaust. Every single artefact found at Auschwitz-Birkenau tells a story of the more than a million people who were ruthlessly murdered by the Nazis there and this incident serves to show why our work is crucial now more than ever. "We have a duty to educate the next generation to prevent ignorance and hate, and in over 15 years of organising for thousands of British teenagers to visit Auschwitz-Birkenau, we have never known of such an incident. We would gladly work with these young boys to ensure they understand the implications of their actions although this is now a matter for the police." Visitors have tried to steal artefacts as souvenirs from the museum in the past. In 2010, a Swedish man was jailed for organising the theft of the Arbeit Macht Frei (Work Makes You Free) sign from the entry gate of Auschwitz. The Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum was founded in 1947 and has over 80,000 British visitors each year.

Local

Stirling is at the heart of Holocaust tributes

January 29 2014

Scotland’s national event to mark Holocaust Memorial Day was held in Stirling. The event at the university’s Macrobert Arts Centre was part of the UK national programme dedicated to rememberingvictims of the Holocaust, Nazi persecution and genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur. Speakers at the event included Arn Chorn Pond, who escaped from Cambodia after being held by the Khmer Rouge and is now a human rights activist; and Alfred Munzuer, who, as a Jewish child during the Holocaust, was separated from his family and kept in hiding by Indonesian neighbours in Holland. There was also a moving musical performance on the plight of the Roma people during the Holocaust, and a documentary featuring interviews with Holocaust survivors produced by educational charity From Yesterday for Tomorrow. Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop attended the event and said: “It’s an honour to have been part of Scotland’s national Holocaust Memorial Day event.” Stirling MP Anne McGuire marked the day by signing the Holocaust Educational Trust Book of Commitment in the House of Commons. “The book honours those who died during the Holocaust and the survivors who educate young people about what they endured,” she said. The MP also asked her constituents to mark the day “in whatever way they feel appropriate in this fight against prejudice and intolerance”.

Local

Holocaust Memorial Day – ‘By remaining passive in the face of prejudice and discrimination, we accept and allow it’, warns Dundee-born ambassador

January 27 2016

Seventy-one years ago, the Red Army liberated the Nazis’ largest concentration camp at Auschwitz, near Krakow, in south-west Poland. It’s estimated the German Schutzstaffel (SS) systematically killed at least 960,000 of the 1.2 million Jews deported to the camp between 1942 and 1944. Other victims of the so-called ‘Final Solution’ included around 74,000 Poles, 21,000 Roma, 15,000 Soviet prisoners of war and at least 10,000 from other nationalities. It’s thought as many as 15,000 gay men were also among those who perished in concentration camps. History records that it was the largest mass murder in a single location in human history. Soviet soldiers who entered the gates on January 27, 1945, found grisly evidence of the horrors. In addition to 7000 starving prisoners found alive in the camp, they also found millions of items of clothing that once belonged to men, women and children who were sent there. Today, the Auschwitz museum - a UNESCO world heritage site since 1979 - holds many of these items including 6,350kg of human hair, more than 100,000 pairs of shoes, 12,000 kitchen utensils, 3,800 suitcases and 350 striped camp garments. Now, more than seven decades after the liberation of the camp, Holocaust Memorial Day 2016 will remember the estimated six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust and the others killed during Nazi persecution, as well as those lost in subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. ‘Don’t stand by’ is the theme of this year’s commemoration, and its aims are being supported by Dundee-born Holocaust Educational Trust ambassador Beth Sommerville. Three years ago, whilst in her sixth year at Grove Academy, Beth travelled to Auschwitz as part of the Holocaust Educational Trust’s (HET) annual Lessons from Auschwitz Project. For 16 years, the project has brought together senior pupils from schools across the country to visit the extermination camps and pass on lessons about their experiences in their schools and communities when they return home. It is based on the premise that “hearing is not like seeing”, as The Courier discovered when joining a similar trip with 200 senior pupils last October. Beth, who gave a moving reading outside the gas chambers when she visited in October 2012, has been motivated to keep supporting the work of the trust ever since. She said: “In the words of the Holocaust Memorial Day trust, the Holocaust and subsequent genocides took place because the local populations allowed insidious persecution to take root. Whilst some actively supported or facilitated state policies of persecution, the vast majority stood by silently at best, afraid to speak out; at worst, indifferent. Bystanders enabled the Holocaust, Nazi persecution and subsequent genocides.” Beth, 20, now in her third year of a psychology and sociology degree at Edinburgh University, added: “By remaining passive in the face of prejudice and discrimination, we accept and allow it. When we actively challenge it, we condemn it and hence condemn and aid in preventing the consequences that can arise from it.” After being selected to go on the 2012 trip with fellow sixth year pupil Connor Finlayson, part of the deal was to attend two half-day educational seminars. Once the main project was over, the young people became student ambassadors, challenged with the task of spreading the messages they have taken from their experiences around their local communities. The Grove duo went on to speak to groups including Monifieth Woman’s Group, and held assemblies in support of Holocaust Memorial Day, helping to promote ending prejudice and discrimination throughout the school community and beyond. In 2014, she also spent week in Washington DC at Georgetown University, where she studied in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Apart from the Auschwitz trip itself, Beth, said one of the most impactful experiences that lives on with her had been meeting Auschwitz survivor Zigi Shipper who was just 14 when he arrived at the camp. Zigi lived through the horrific conditions in the d ghetto from 1940 until 1944 when the ghetto was liquidated and he was transported in cattle trucks to Auschwitz-Birkenau where he was stripped, shaved and showered. He was later transported two weeks later to the Danzig concentration camp and eventually sent on a ‘death march’ to the German naval port of Neustadt with typhus and amazingly survived the illness after being liberated by the British army on May 3 1945. His inspiring words had the entire room captivated. His final message was “Whatever you do; you must not hate. You shouldn’t hate because hatred will do nothing for you. If anything you will be the one that will suffer.” Beth added: “It sounds clichd but hearing from Zigi changed my life. The things he said. The message he wanted to get across. What he went through was horrendous. But his was more a message of hope. Not to be consumed by hate. His words resonated throughout my day at Auschwitz and made my trip more emotive. “The message we tried to pass on to fellow pupils afterwards was to try and focus on humanity. That humans were involved whether perpetrators or victims. Even the smallest amount of prejudice and discrimination can develop and develop and lead to horrific genocide. We can prevent this happening by standing up against prejudice, at whatever level. The first step to understanding is to not leave prejudice unchecked. It’s very important to make people think especially when we turn on the news today and see stories about the rise of anti-Semitism and rise in Islamophobia. History has shown what can happen if prejudices are left unchecked.” Karen Pollock MBE, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said: “This year’s theme for Holocaust Memorial Day is ‘Don’t Stand By’, and we pledge today, together with the thousands of people we work with across the country to always stand up against those who would seek to deny, distort or simply even forget the Holocaust. As the eyewitnesses become fewer and frailer and less able to share their story, we use this opportunity today to reassure them: we will never allow the Holocaust to be forgotten.”

Fife

Vintage vehicle fans get on the buses

May 20 2013

Fifers took a trip down memory lane on Sunday. It was a day of nostalgia as the Scottish Vintage Bus Museum organised journeys in buses from days gone by. The Lathalmond-based museum’s bus running day put on free vintage bus services from its re-created bus station to and from Dunfermline. Drivers, conductors and inspectors in period costume also took part in round trips from the museum to Kelty and Saline using buses from the museum’s collection. Organiser Gordon McGregor said: “We have nearly 200 buses here and these represent a living history of buses over the past 80 years or so.” Photo by David Wardle

Angus & The Mearns

Dundee pupils to unveil Broughty Ferry memorial to victims of Holocaust

January 23 2015

Two pupils will unveil a permanent Dundee memorial to Holocaust victims after a life-changing trip to the Auschwitz death camp. Rachel Lonie and Natalia Wojda from Grove Academy in Broughty Ferry will unveil the plaque on Tuesday at a ceremony with civic leaders to coincide with Holocaust Memorial Day. The sixth year pupils, who are both 17, embarked on a campaign to raise money for the memorial and keep alive the memory of what happened in Auschwitz. Rachel said: “In September we travelled as part of the Lessons from Auschwitz programme to the death camp in Poland. “We could not fathom the horrific acts that had taken place there. From then we wanted to do our part in conveying the contemporary relevance of the Holocaust within our school and community.” Rachel and Natalia took the idea of creating a memorial to victims of the Holocaust and genocide to Dundee City Council. Council leader Ken Guild immediately got behind the campaign and it was decided that Windmill Gardens in Broughty Ferry would be the ideal location. Once permission was granted the pupils organised multiple bake sales and a raffle at the school which raised more than £300. Natalia said: “We are currently planning assemblies and activities within our school focusing on the contemporary relevance of the Holocaust. “We are the voice of humanity and it is particularly important that young people take an interest to continue to keep the memory alive for another 70 years.”

Angus & The Mearns

Much-loved photographer Jim Ratcliffe’s life through a lens on show at Signal Tower

March 12 2016

The work of well-known Arbroath photographer Jim Ratcliffe will be the subject of a special display next week. Mr Ratcliffe, who died aged 78 in January, donated more than 75,000 negatives to the Signal Tower Museum’s archives in 2015. On Tuesday at 2pm, Fiona Scharlau, Angus Archives manager, is hosting a Jim Ratcliffe Collection drop-in at the visitor attraction. Visitors will have an opportunity to view a slideshow of photographs taken by Mr Ratcliffe in Arbroath during the 1970s. People are asked to come along and help identify people and places which were captured by Mr Ratcliffe’s lens. The freelance photographer operated in Arbroath since the 1960s and catalogued every picture taken in that time.

UK & World

US Holocaust Museum revokes prize for Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi

March 8 2018

The United States Holocaust Museum is revoking a major human rights award given to Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma’s civilian leader.The museum says she has failed to respond adequately to the mass killings of Burma’s Muslim Rohingya minority.The museum announced that the Elie Wiesel Award given to Ms Suu Kyi in 2012 would be rescinded.The move is just the latest in a series of blows to Ms Suu Kyi’s international reputation, which has plummeted over the Rohingya massacres.In response to the museum’s action, a spokesman for Ms Suu Kyi said the decision appeared to be based on “the wrong information” and that it made the Burmese government “very disappointed and sad”.Ms Suu Kyi was a Mandela-like figure in Burma who spent years under house arrest for opposing the country’s military dictatorship.She became an international rallying point and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991.Her party won a landslide victory in 2015 and she assumed the newly created post of state counsellor, although the military still retains significant political and economic power.Hopes had been high for Ms Suu Kyi to make the transition from revered opposition figure to reformist political leader, given her long campaign for democracy.Instead, human rights advocates consider her a disappointment, particularly in her response to the Rohingya killings.The Holocaust Museum has embraced the plight of the Rohingya in recent years, and published a report in November that concluded there was “mounting evidence of genocide” committed by both the military and armed Buddhist extremists. In a letter to Ms Suu Kyi, the museum accused her government of obstructing United Nations investigators and promoting “hateful rhetoric” against the Rohingya community, even as it acknowledged she has little influence over the military.The museum had hoped Ms Suu Kyi “would have done something to condemn and stop the military’s brutal campaign and to express solidarity with the targeted Rohingya population”, the letter stated.“The severity of the atrocities in recent months demand that you use your moral authority to address this situation.”Ms Suu Kyi does not oversee her country’s military or its security operations that set off the exodus of Rohingya refugees, but three former fellow Nobel Peace laureates last month accused her and the army of committing genocide in northern Rakhine state.They said that as the country’s leader she cannot avoid responsibility.Her government has defended the military operation in the north and has embraced the prosecution of journalists along with other attempts to suppress and discredit the media. Zaw Htay, Ms Suu Kyi’s spokesman said in response to a request for comment: “Burma has always been supportive of the Holocaust Museum’s principles and activities and the purposes of the museum.“But now, now the latest situation in Rakhine state, we see that the museum has no balanced perceptions on us.”He added: “We assume that the decision of revoking the award is also based on of the wrong information they have received.“The Burma government is very disappointed and sad on the decision made by the Museum.“And this decision will not have any effect on the support from Burma’s people to the state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi.”

Controversy over Corbyn’s Holocaust memorial message

January 26 2018

Campaigners against anti-Semitism have called on Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to apologise after he wrote a message for Holocaust Memorial Day which did not mention the Jews.Writing in a Holocaust Educational Trust memorial book ahead of service in Westminster on Thursday, Mr Corbyn said that “the millions who died” should never be forgotten.The Campaign Against Anti-Semitism said his failure to specifically mention the Jewish people was “appalling”, while the Jewish Leadership Council said it displayed “a complete lack of sensitivity”.But Labour insisted that it was clear that Mr Corbyn was referring to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust.A longer message from the Labour leader, printed in a booklet for the service, referred by name to Jewish Holocaust victims, including Anne Frank, as “our Jewish brothers and sisters”.In the HET memorial book, Mr Corbyn wrote: “We should never forget the Holocaust: The millions who died, the millions displaced and cruel hurt their descendants have suffered.“We should understand the way fascism arose in Germany and the circumstances that gave space for the Nazis to grow.“At this, and at all other times, we should reflect and make sure succeeding generations understand the power of words.“Their power to do immense good and inspire; and their power to promote hate and division.“Let us use their power to educate, to inspire, but above all to build values of trust and respect.”His message sparked controversy on social media, with some Twitter users comparing it to US President Donald Trump’s failure to mention the Jews in his Holocaust Memorial Day message in 2017.Simon Johnson, chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council, said: “It is hard to believe anybody can neglect to mention Jews when writing a Holocaust Memorial Day Message, let alone the leader of the opposition.“Mr Corbyn displays a complete lack of sensitivity to those who survived the atrocities of the Holocaust and its impact on the Jewish community.”And a spokesman for the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism described it as “a disgraceful forgetting at a ceremony purposed for remembering”, adding; “We call on Mr Corbyn to apologise and issue a new statement.”Jonathan Greenblatt, of the US-based Anti-Defamation League, said: “To omit any reference to Jews or anti-Semitism in your Holocaust remembrance statement is offensive to us and the millions murdered. Nazi ideology was rooted in hate and anti-Semitism. We can never forget that.”A Labour source said: “Jeremy was clearly referring to the millions of Jewish victims of the Holocaust and their descendants.”

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