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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...


Broughty Ferry Victoria Cross hero honoured in new book by Lord Ashcroft

November 9 2016

A Second World War hero from Dundee is featured in a new book about Britain’s Victoria Cross heroes. Wing Commander Hugh Gordon Malcolm, of Broughty Ferry, died aged 25 while leading a raid on the Chougui airfield in Tunisia on December 4, 1942. He was posthumously awarded the honour for his actions on a mission that he knew would lead to disaster. Malcolm’s exploits are featured in the new book Victoria Cross Heroes Volume II, launched yesterday by Biteback Publishing. The author of the book is Tory donor Lord Ashcroft KCMG PC, the businessman, philanthropist, author and pollster. This is the sixth book in his “Heroes” series and his new book is based on his personal collection of Victoria Crosses, now totalling 200, which includes Malcolm’s. Lord Ashcroft is donating royalties from the book to military charities. Born in Broughty Ferry on May 2, 1917, Hugh Malcom was the son of Kenneth Malcolm, a Dundee jute merchant, and his wife Majorie (née Smith). The young Malcolm was educated at Craigflower Preparatory School, Dunfermline, and Trinity College, Glenalmond, Perthshire (now Glenalmond College). After completing his schooling, he entered RAF College Cranwell, Lincolnshire, as a cadet in January 1936, where he graduated as a commissioned pilot in December 1937. On the day of his death in 1942, he and his colleagues from 326 Wing spent the morning bombing an airstrip used by the Germans. When they returned to refuel the crew received word that aerial support was needed in the area that had just been attacked. The Dundee man instructed 10 Blenheim bombers to get into the air but they were spotted by the Germans, who despatched 50 aircraft. The Allied planes were nearly all destroyed. Wing Cdr Malcolm’s was one of the last left flying before it too was shot down 15 miles from the target. Only the body of the navigator James Robb was recovered from the wreckage. The heat and risk from detonating ammunition meant that the remains of the others were never removed. Wing Cdr Malcolm was awarded the VC in 1943 for his decision to proceed with the attack despite knowing it would “court almost certain disaster.” *Victoria Cross Heroes Volume II by Michael Ashcroft is published by Biteback Publishing. For more information on the new book, visit: www.victoriacrossheroes2.com.  For more information on Lord Ashcroft’s work, visit: www.lordashcroft.com. Follow him on Twitter @LordAshcroft


Father of Fife victim wants justice to be legacy of New Zealand mine tragedy

April 19 2013

The father of New Zealand mine blast victim Malcolm Campbell said that the conviction of his son’s employer was “proof of their incompetence” as he called for further convictions to be pursued. Malcolm, 25, from St Andrews, died when a series of underground explosions ripped through the Pike River coal mine in November 2010. A judge convicted Pike River Coal of nine health and safety violations over the explosion that killed 29 miners, including Malcolm Campbell and Pete Rodger, 40, of Perth. Judge Jane Farish found that Pike River Coal failed to ensure the safety of its workers. The now-bankrupt company did not defend itself against the charges. An earlier government investigation found the company ignored 21 warnings that methane gas had accumulated to explosive levels in the mine, and that it was exposing miners to unacceptable risks as it strove to meet financial targets. The firm will be sentenced in July. Each of the charges comes with a maximum penalty of 250,000 New Zealand dollars (£138,000). Former chief executive Peter Whittall has pleaded not guilty to 12 charges. His case has yet to be heard. Last month Mr Campbell, of Cameron, near St Andrews, told The Courier the family had now all but given up on recovering Malcolm’s body. This came after taking part in a video link discussion over a plan to recover the remains of the 29 men. As The Courier broke the news to him about Pike River Coal being convicted, Mr Campbell said this just confirmed everything the family already thought. He said: “That just shows the incompetence of the firm and how they were supposed to look after the boys.” Mr Campbell said the family wanted justice to be the “legacy” of the tragedy and assurances that nothing like this could happen again.


Angry spat over future of Fife base RAF Leuchars

April 11 2011

A furious war of words has broken out in North East Fife, after Liberal Democrat candidate Iain Smith was accused of "blatant double standards." His SNP rival Rod Campbell hit out as the emotive issue of RAF Leuchars' future began to dominate the local campaign trail. Mr Campbell insisted the Lib Dem candidate had been "less than straight" with voters in a new campaign leaflet. "The latest Lib Dem leaflet tries to take credit for changes in taxation by reminding voters that the UK Government is a Tory/Lib Dem coalition," Mr Campbell said. "The changes in question were introduced by George Osborne in his recent Budget and Iain Smith seems happy in this case to be associated with the Conservatives in London. "However, right next to the article on taxation is one about the threat to RAF Leuchars. It posts Mr Smith as champion of the campaign to save the airbase. "Nowhere does this article recognise that it is the Lib Dem/Tory coalition that threatens Scottish defence facilities, not least RAF Leuchars. "When Iain Smith likes the actions of the London coalition, he claims credit for his party. "When it comes to RAF Leuchars, he pretends that he has nothing to do with Nick Clegg and the actions of the London government. However, Mr Smith was happy to laugh off the SNP missive. "This is typically laughable bluster from the SNP," he said. "Yes, thanks to the Liberal Democrats thousands of Fifers will pay no tax from this month and around 180,000 will have a tax cut and, yes, Sir Menzies Campbell MP and Ialong with members of the local community and the RAF Leuchars task forceare campaigning vigorously to save the base. "I am a campaigner for my community and RAF Leuchars is vital to our social fabric, local economy and defence of the UK. "The MoD have repeatedly said that no decisions have been made on the future of RAF bases, but that does not stop us from making the case for its retention. "Sadly, the SNP candidate has yet again undermined the efforts of those fighting hard to save the base."

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


Hopes raised for family of Fife man killed in New Zealand mining disaster

September 25 2017

Hopes have been heightened that the bodies of a Fife man and another from Perth killed in a mining disaster in New Zealand could finally be recovered, almost seven years on from the tragedy. Malcolm Campbell, 25, from St Andrews, was among 29 workers who died when gas explosions ripped through the Pike River mine in 2010, although their bodies have never been retrieved. Pete Rodger from Perth also lost his life in the disaster. Families of those who perished believe the outcome of New Zealand’s weekend general election mean manned re-entry of the Pike River drift is close, amid suggestions the formation of a government is not possible without the support of parties which have committed to manned re-entry. New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has previously insisted on re-entry into the mine. He has been left as kingmaker after the National party and Labour – which has also committed to re-entry – fell short of the number of seats needed to form a government. Coalition talks will continue this week but Malcolm’s father Malcolm Campbell Snr hopes Mr Peters will deliver on his promise to make Pike River a priority. “We were desperately hoping for a Labour win but we’re now kind of hoping that he (Peters) will come this way,” he said. “I’m hoping that his conscience means he’ll be true to his word, but we’ll just have to wait and see what happens. It’s been something we’ve been hoping for, and fighting for, for the last seven years. “It has been a rollercoaster of emotions for us and it’s just starting again. But I’m pretty certain that if Labour gets in then they are going to set up an agency to take over the mine and bring the boys home. “I was speaking to Tony Forster, who was the former New Zealand chief mines inspector, and he’s pretty confident that if Labour gets in they could be up the drift within the year.” Although the ruling National party won more seats, Labour leader Jacinda Ardern said she was feeling positive after the election stalemate and reiterated her desire to recover the miners’ bodies. “There are conversations to be had over the coming days and I intend to have them,” she said. “It seems clear to me though that Mr Peters in particular wants to take a bit of time. That’s something that I completely understand.” A member of the group Stand with Pike, Sonya Rockhouse, whose son Ben died in the mine, said of Mr Peters: "He's the one that months and months ago said that he will commit or that it will be his bottom line for any coalition, so regardless of who he decides to go with we're in a very good position."

Scottish League 1

Forfar boss Dick Campbell to make wholesale changes after disappointing defeat

March 14 2015

Forfar boss Dick Campbell has revealed he was so disgruntled with Tuesday night’s defeat in Peterhead that he will make no less than six changes to his starting line-up for today’s game against Stranraer. The veteran manager watched his side throw away a lead against the Blue Toon and then saw Stuart Malcolm sent off in the second half, with the defender receiving two red cards for violent conduct and then gesturing to the home fans as he left the field, with the 35-year-old now suspended for four games. The Loons had looked to have coped without him to secure a point at Balmoor when they equalised through Danny Denholm in the 82nd minute. However, Campbell was left “gutted” when Gary McDonald popped up with a late winner for Jim McInally’s side. The Station Park boss insists the manner of the defeat was simply not acceptable from his title-chasing squad and he will ring the changes at home today. He said: “I was bitterly disappointed with Tuesday night’s defeat. “We were all over Peterhead in the first half and could quite easily have been five up. “However, we conceded some bad goals and Malcolm’s sending off made it even more difficult for us. “Still, I thought we would hold on for at least a point so I was absolutely gutted when they netted their late winner. “Giving away that goal was simply not acceptable and I was very unhappy with the overall performance. “I would have been pleased to come down the road with a 2-2 draw but the defeat was just not good enough. “So I named my team on Thursday night and there will be no less than six changes for Saturday’s game against Stranraer. “It should be a good match between two sides who have been at the top of the table all season. “I think Stranraer have been the most consistent side in the division so it will be tough but I am looking for a big response from my own players after what happened at Peterhead.”


Families’ fight forces Pike River mining disaster review

April 13 2015

A Fife family have welcomed a new legal probe into the New Zealand mine disaster which claimed the life of their son. Malcolm Campbell, 25, died along with 28 of his colleagues when methane gas caused a series of explosions in the Pike River mine on South Island in November 2010. While the tragedy has brought improvements to the country’s health and safetylegislation, no one has been held accountable for the factors leading to the deaths. But now, with news that a judicial review is to be staged at last, Malcolm’s parents, Malcolm Sr and Jane, hope their questions may finally be answered. From his home near St Andrews,Malcolm Sr, 53, said: “What this means to us is that we can still hope someone could be held accountable for what happened to our boys. I still think there is a case there, even if they cannot get underground, they have the paperwork on how the mine was and how it was run.” Charges have been dropped against Pike River boss Mike Whittall, but now tireless campaigning from the grieving families has brought the chance for a review. Malcolm and Jane, who believe their visit to New Zealand to mark the fifthanniversary of the disaster may be their last, only want someone to be held accountable, for those responsible to acknowledge their mistakes, learn from them and apologise to the families. As the struggle goes on, he said thefamilies would continue to fight until every avenue is extinguished, and finally they get answers to all their questions. “We have dealt with the situation we will not get Malcolm home, we have dealt with the situation these things happened, but what goes around our head is that we feel the mine was so badly run. We cannot sit in limbo for the next five or 10 years. “We want an explanation and apology and then we can maybe move on.” He continued: “We have been asked how do we cope with it we cope with it by knowing the whole industry will be changed. That is a great legacy forMalcolm. “They have re-written the regulations over there and that is a tribute to the boys. “It will save lives. But it has been a big price to pay. Malcolm and the boys had to pay that price.” He added: "All we want is for someone to be held accountable. “That is all we are looking for them to acknowledge the mistakes made, and apologise to the families and learn from their mistakes. “We will not let it die we are not letting the boys go with no legacy."

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.


Hope fades of recovering New Zealand mine blast victim’s body

March 1 2013

The family of New Zealand mine blast victim Malcolm Campbell have finally given up hope that they will ever recover his body. Malcolm (25), from St Andrews, died when a series of underground explosions ripped through the Pike River coal mine in November 2010. On the second anniversary of the tragedy, his parents Malcolm and Jane, called for “definitive action” to recover his remains. They travelled to New Zealand for a memorial service held in honour of the 29 workers, who included Pete Rodger (40) from Perth. Independent experts had suggested it could still be possible to enter the collapsed mine to bring out the bodies. This gave the Campbell family renewed hope that their son’s body could be retrieved and repatriated. But, Mr Campbell, of Cameron, near St Andrews, told The Courier they had now all but given up on this after taking part in a video link discussion over a plan to recover the remains of the 29 men. A group of around 20 from Pike River families, Solid Energy, the Mines Rescue Trust and the Government’s High Hazard Unit heard from UK experts via a video stream. Mr Campbell said the New Zealand authorities had agreed to continue developing and assessing two potential methods of exploring the mine’s drift. The aim of this is to seek further health and safety evidence that might help in prosecutions against the mine’s owners. The attempted recovery of the drift was a “massive and expensive task” costing tens of millions of pounds. But Mr Campbell who has talked about being on a “rollercoaster of emotion” said it was clearly just too dangerous ever to attempt a recovery of the bodies. He said: “We were speaking to the experts yesterday and they were saying it was unlikely they will ever go back into the main mine because it’s filled with 100% methane gas. “They are going back into the drift to recover evidence, but they have no plan to go into the mine and are not going to get the bodies out. It’s just too dangerous. “There’s no way we would ever want any more lives to be put at risk in that mine anyway, so as far as we’re now concerned it’s about us seeking closure. We just have to accept that’s where his body will be staying.” Former Pike River Coal boss Peter Whittall has denied 12 charges of alleged health and safety failures over the disaster. He is due to stand trial on March 12. However, Mr Campbell believes other mine managers might yet be held liable and the evidential search at the drift could be crucial. Mr Campbell also remains hopeful that wider improvements to mine safety will result from the disaster, as New Zealand had one of the world’s worst mining safety records. A report into the tragedy uncovered a catalogue of failures by the mine owner and New Zealand Government. At the start of November the New Zealand Royal Commission concluded the blast was “preventable”. A statement on behalf of the Pike River drift exploration working group said a constructive meeting had been held. It had been agreed to continue developing and assessing two potential methods of exploring the mine’s drift. Nicholas Davidson QC represents some of the Pike families at the meeting and said a deadline can’t be set just yet. Family spokesman Bernie Monk said it will be an ongoing discussion, and they are not expecting a decision for months.