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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...

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.

Design

Delving into Dundee’s archives

March 11 2017

Art and design lie at the heart of the creative industries in Dundee, industries which have often been inspired by the leisure pursuits and interests of Dundee’s population. These interconnections are clearly shown in the Archives of the University of Dundee; art and design is woven through many of the collections. This article features a few items which highlight the diversity of design related material held in the Archives. Dundee Art Society started out as the Graphic Arts Association in 1890, changing its name in 1904.  From the outset the group welcomed both professional and amateur artists as well as art patrons and lovers. As the Art College in Dundee grew, many of the staff joined the Society and used its platform to exhibit their art and network with other artists. The striking design for the cover of the centennial exhibition catalogue produced in 1990 echoes to the artistic trends of the early twentieth century. The longevity of the society reflects the continuing desire of artists within the community to join together, curate exhibitions and share their passion for art. Many of these artists had connections with the Dundee Institute of Art and Technology which was dissolved in 1975 to create Dundee College of Technology and Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art. The Art College remained independent until 1994 when it became a full part of the University of Dundee. All of these bodies are represented in the exhibition material, posters, photographs and student guides in the Archives.  Furthermore, alumnus of the College have contributed to our on-going Oral History Project. Former textile students, Pauline Hann and Sheila Mortlock, were interviewed to capture the personal stories of their time at the College, their career paths and interests. Hann and Mortlock were founding members of Embryo – Dundee Creative Embroiderers, formed in 1980, which developed from the frustration felt by numerous students at the lack of opportunities to exhibit contemporary embroidery within Scotland. The remit of the group was to promote the highest standards of workmanship, achieving this by restricting membership to graduates and undergraduates of Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art. Embryo actively promoted their work through various exhibitions not only in Scotland but across the UK, eventually joining forces with two other textile groups to form Edge – Textile Artists Scotland. Edge is still going strong and attracting new members from a broader background albeit with a recognised education in textiles. The Archive’s Embryo collection includes exhibition publicity material, photographs and correspondence. Textile samples can be found in other collections, such as The Wilson Bros Ltd collection who were taken over by Pringle of Inverness. The pattern books of the woollen and cloth products they manufactured from 1927 to 1967 are fascinating. They show the changing trends in pattern and colour combinations and how design comes in and out of fashion over the decades. Other samples in the Archives show how design blended with the mass production of durable textiles as seen in the printed designs on linen which form part of the D. J. MacDonald collection. Using only two colours, the rising sun motif for the MacDonald company is bold and graphic whereas the design for Louise, seller of lingerie and hosiery has a more delicate touch with the female form and the name of the brand printed in signature style picked out in red. Jute and linen bags adorned with colourful printed designs are still popular today. Textile design in the city is thriving. Local fashion designer, Hayley Scanlan, studied textile design at DJCAD. Her oral history recording in the Archives tells of her desire to remain rooted in the city despite her burgeoning international career. Proud of her Dundonian heritage, Hayley’s designs are influenced by the changing city and she will soon open her first shop a stones throw from DJCAD where her talents were honed. Records held in the Archive are accessible to everyone. For further information about the Archives and its collections see www.dundee.ac.uk/archives   Sharon Kelly is assistant archivist at Dundee University's Archives Services 

Angus & The Mearns

Montrose murder trial: Victim’s blood found in ex-boyfriend’s flat

December 14 2016

Blood matching Montrose mum Kimberley MacKenzie's was found throughout her ex-boyfriend's flat, a jury has heard. Forensic biologist Jacqueline Sharp told Glasgow High Court a total of 45 blood spots were found at the Market Street property of murder accused Steven Jackson. Miss MacKenzie's blood was also found on one of his shoes. Ms Sharp said spots of blood were found on a sofa and armchair in the living room, as well as on a glass table and skirting board. More samples were taken from the hallway and bathroom. Asked by Advocate Depute Ashley Edwards if blood found at the bathroom door could have been caused by an injured person being carried into the room, Ms Sharp said: "Yes, that would be one explanation." Under cross examination by Donald Findlay QC, representing Jackson, she also accepted there could be "thousands" of reasons. Miss Sharp said that some of the blood found in the flat had been diluted or smeared as if the area had been washed or cleaned. Jackson, 40, and co-accused Michelle Higgins 29, deny murdering and dismembering Miss MacKenzie. They face further allegations that they disposed of Miss MacKenzie's body parts in bins and cleaned the flat and bath with bleach and caustic soda. The court has heard the 37-year-old died at the flat in October, last year. Forensic scientist Barry Mitchell said traces of DNA matching Jackson were found on the handle of the suitcase which held Miss MacKenzie's severed head and thighs. Traces of Miss MacKenzie's blood were also found on one of Jackson's shoes. Mr Mitchell said the chances of the blood being anyone else's were one in more than a billion. The court heard more of Miss MacKenzie's blood was found on Higgins' mobile phone, underneath its outer casing. DNA and blood matching Miss MacKenzie were also found on a claw hammer found in Jackson's living room. The jury was also told Jackson had texted Miss MacKenzie on October 17 — 10 days before she died. He wrote: "I'm with Mishy now and it would be easier if you stop coming. Please. I really want to make a go of it with her." Miss MacKenzie replied: "Yeah, no probs. I'm sorry I've made things difficult 4 u. What happens when you get gear again. Will still sell me? x" Dr Robert Cumming, who examined Higgins while she was in police custody, told the court she had the initials SJ "carved" on her leg. The trial before Lady Rae continues.

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.

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

Dundee United

Dundee United 0 Inverness 2: Tangerines booed off after dismal home defeat

October 21 2017

Dundee United slumped to their second successive Championship defeat after being comprehensively beaten by Inverness at Tannadice. Caley who started the day second bottom of the league table, opened the scoring through Iain Vigurs and then added a second before half-time thanks to Connor Bell. Caley were by far the better side and fully deserved their victory while there were few in a tangerine shirt deserving of pass marks. Dundee United boss Ray McKinnon made two changes from the side that lost 2-0 at Livingston last week with Sam Stanton and Lewis Toshney coming in for Billy King and the injured Jordie Briels. There was a welcome return to the bench for Tam Scobbie and Scott Fraser. Former United defender Coll Donaldson was in the Inverness starting line-up along with ex-Dundee striker John Baird. The Highland outfit had a gilt-edged opportunity in just the fifth minute when Liam Polworth swung a free-kick in from the right with Carl Tremarco finding space and time in the home box but he directed his header straight at Tangerines keeper Harry Lewis. The United defence was posted missing in action again shortly after when Polworth flighted a corner in from the right with Baird having a free header which he sent over the bar. McKinnon’s men had their first chance of the match in the 17th minute. James Keatings was brought crashing down in a challenge by Brad McKay who earned himself a booking from ref Willie Collum. Keatings picked himself up and hit a superb 20-yard free-kick which Inverness keeper Mark Ridgers acrobatically palmed away for a corner. However, it was Caley who took the lead in the 28th minute. Polworth again sent a corner in from the right with Willo Flood attempting to head clear. Unfortunately, he only found Vigurs who hit a rising shot from just inside the box past Lewis with what looked like the help of a deflection off a home defender. The Tangerines almost replied instantly when Scott McDonald hit a snap shot inside the Inverness penalty area but Ridgers produced a superb save to deny the striker. Things then went from bad to worse for the Tangerines in the 37th minute when Caley doubled their advantage. Polworth sent Jake Mulraney scampering down the right with a great pass and he hit the byeline before cutting the ball across goal to Bell at the back post for a simple tap-in. Caley had another great chance to extend their lead even further in the 56th minute when Tremarco again found space in the Tangerines’ box but Lewis made a vital block to keep out his shot. On the hour mark, McKinnon withdrew Paul McMullan for Stewart Murdoch with defender Mark Durnan being pressed into service as a centre-forward. However, Caley continued to look comfortable in defence and dangerous on the break and successfully saw out the game to take all three points with the final whistle being greeted with a deafening barrage of boos from the home support.

Perth & Kinross

Perth care home ordered to pay £7,200 in compensation to ex-employee

February 12 2014

A Perth care home has unfairly dismissed a former employee and been ordered to pay her more than £7,200 in compensation. An employment tribunal upheld the claim of Caroline MacDonald of St John Street against Lorraine Caddell of St Johnstoun’s Nursing Home, Barossa Place. Tribunal judge Ian McFatridge ruled that Ms MacDonald’s dismissal was both substantively and procedurally unfair. Evidence was led of clashes between Ms MacDonald and her colleagues, with the claimant’s alleged inappropriate and derogatory comments getting her into trouble. In May 2012 she received a written warning despite arguing that other members of staff did not understand her sense of humour and that her comments had been taken out of context. In February 2013 she was suspended after more complaints and called to a disciplinary hearing at which she was given a final written warning. Ms Caddell felt Ms MacDonald had behaved herself during the six months after the first warning but when that period elapsed she reverted to her previous behaviour. In June that year Ms MacDonald had an argument with two colleagues after which three letters of complaint about her were sent to Ms Caddell. The owner called her to a meeting, saying “right Caroline... here we go again.” Ms MacDonald was not advised it was to be a disciplinary meeting, not given notice of the allegations against her and not given copies of the letters of complaint. Ms Caddell told her two of the complaints were from members of staff and the third related to the way she had allegedly conducted herself in regard to a resident’s family. Ms MacDonald tried to explain but believed Ms Caddell was not prepared to listen. Ms Caddell then stated she had had enough and that Ms MacDonald was dismissed. Ms MacDonald went to a solicitor who wrote to Ms Caddell asking for an appeal but Ms Caddell replied that Ms MacDonald did not have the right to appeal her dismissal.

Perth & Kinross

Mod sees entrants come from all over Scotland to celebrate Gaelic

June 15 2015

The Perthshire and Angus Provincial Mod has been hailed a “huge success”, attracting over 500 entries from across Scotland. “The high standards of Gaelic across the board are a credit to the teachers who supported it,” said Gilliain MacDonald, treasurer and interim secretary of the Mod. The event was held at the Breadalbane Community Campus, Aberfeldy, on Friday and Saturday and competitors came from as far afield as Mull and the Isle of Lewis. The first day included a number of fringe events for children including drama workshops run by Seis nan Gaidhael, Celtic brooch making with Crieff-based artist June McEwan and a drama competition. On Saturday five senior choirs took to the stage and Provost Liz Grant presented the prizes. Former Mod convener William MacKay was given a long service presentation to mark his retiral from the committee.

Obituaries

Politician Flora MacDonald

July 27 2015

Canadian politician Flora MacDonald has died aged 89. Ms MacDonald was born of Scottish stock in North Sydney, Nova Scotia, the daughter of Mary Isabel Royle and George Frederick MacDonald. She worked in administration for the Progressive Conservative Party for several years prior to becoming involved in electoral politics. In 1959 she was working as a secretary in the office of Canadian Prime Minister John Diefenbaker. She was first elected to the House of Commons in the 1972 general election as the Progressive Conservative (PC) member of Parliament for the riding (constituency) of Kingston and the Islands. She remained in Parliament until her defeat in the 1988 election. At the 1976 PC leadership convention Ms MacDonald became the second woman to mount a serious campaign for the leadership of one of Canada’s major parties. However, she fared worse than expected, winning just 214 votes in the first ballot despite having more than 300 pledged delegates in her camp. This led pundits to coin the phrase the Flora Syndrome for the phenomenon of a politician’s promised support failing to materialise. It was thought to be a result of sexism. In 1979 when Joe Clark became prime minister he made Ms MacDonald the first female secretary of state for external Affairs in Canadian history and one of the first female foreign ministers anywhere in the world. After losing her seat in 1988 Ms MacDonald devoted her time to international humanitarian work. She served as president of the World Federalist Movement (Canada) and was bestowed with many honours including the Order of Canada as an officer in 1992 and as a companion in 1998. In October 2007 she was one of five people named to the Order of Nova Scotia but she could not attend the ceremony as she was doing volunteer work in Tibet at the time. Canadian weekly news magazine Maclean’s gave her a lifetime achievement award in November 2014.

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