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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

Immigration fears raised in study

December 17 2013

Nearly three-quarters of people think the Government has failed to provide enough information on what will happen when restrictions to the UK Labour market are lifted for Romanians and Bulgarians, a survey has found. A broad study of Britons’ thoughts and feelings towards future Romanian and Bulgarian immigration revealed strong support for tough limits on access to benefits for new European migrants. A total of 80% of respondents to the survey by independent immigration think-tank British Future backed tougher measures. However, 77% said they would welcome migrants from Romania and Bulgaria who work hard and pay taxes, learn the language and become part of the community. British Future director Sunder Katwala said: “The timing of new EU migration from Romania and Bulgaria isn’t popular and people have worries about the pressures it may cause but they’re not prejudiced. “People want issues to be sorted out, not stirred up. If new arrivals make the effort to work hard, contribute and integrate into Britain, most people are broadly accepting.” Temporary curbs imposed on Romanians and Bulgarians in 2005 to protect the British labour market will be lifted on January 1. The Government has refused repeated demands to publish or commission estimates of the numbers expected to enter Britain in the face of unofficial research predicting as many as 50,000 people arriving from the eastern European countries each year. Leading politicians from Bulgaria and Romania have dismissed fears that the change in access restrictions will trigger a wave of immigration to the UK. The British Future survey found that 38% of people think the number of people coming from Romania and Bulgaria will be up to 50,000 in 2014, while 18% believe it will be between 50,000 and 100,000. A further 13% think the number could be up to 500,000. Mr Katwala went on: “The Government has said it’s too unpredictable to put a figure on how many people may come in 2014. “Our report examines how significant the public thinks migration from these countries might be. They don’t think millions from Romania and Bulgaria are about to up sticks, but they do think the numbers could be high enough to mean sensible plans should be in place.”

Rugby

Scotland 34 Romania 24: Danielli to the rescue for stuttering Scots

September 10 2011

Captain Alastair Kellock says Scotland have to improve if they are to make a significant impression at the World Cup after Romania gave them a real scare in their opening Pool B clash in Invercargill. Mike Blair and Joe Ansbro scored first-half tries but victory in the World Cup Pool B clash was only secure when Simon Danielli touched down after 75 and 78 minutes, the second securing a bonus point. Chris Paterson kicked 14 points. Romania continually spoiled the Scots' attacking endeavour and their forward pack caused Andy Robinson's men no end of trouble. They sensed an upset and a first win over Scotland in 20 years with prop Mihaita Lazar touching down after 40 minutes following a rolling maul which was just reward for his team's forward effort. And The Oaks went in front for the first time in the game after 68 minutes when number eight Daniel Carpo broke off a scrum to score. But Scotland finally wore down their opponents and Danielli ran over for two tries. Scotland have reached at least the quarter-finals in each of their previous six tournament appearances but Kellock knows there is work to do after a stuttering display. He said: "Our finishing at times was outstanding and I thought our back three were outstanding we didn't give them very much good ball.For Steve Scott's analysis of Scotland's performance, and more World Cup news, see Monday's Courier"But we are disappointed with some aspects of our game. We were in a tough situation with about 10-15 minutes to go and, credit to us, we dug it out. "But we made a lot of errors in the middle 40 minutes and we've got to cut them out simple things and simple things are generally easy to fix." Wednesday's opposition Georgia not to mention Pool B rivals Argentina and England will be relishing taking on Scotland's pack, which was arguably at full strength at Rugby Park Stadium. Kellock led a forward eight which included hooker Ross Ford, who was winning his 50th cap. Blair and Ruaridh Jackson began at half-back, with the responsibility of releasing a back division which included Sean Lamont at centre and full-back Paterson, who became the first Scot to appear in four World Cups. Scotland, who had the majority of the support at the World Cup's most southerly destination, started strongly. Lamont made a 50-metre break from the kick-off and Paterson punished a Romania offside with the opening penalty. Continued... Scotland continued to run the ball and Danielli came in off his left wing before feeding Blair to go through and score after eight minutes. Paterson fluffed the conversion from in front of the posts as the ball toppled off the tee as he approached it. Romania fly-half Marin Dumbrava missed a penalty from wide on the left before a successful attempt from the right after 11 minutes. Danielli spurned a golden opportunity before Ansbro cut through poor Romania defence after Max Evans' neat pass for a 21st-minute score which Paterson converted. Dumbrava kicked his second penalty before missing another after Romania's pack had rumbled half the length of the field in just a few moves, causing concern for Scotland. Paterson added his second penalty to relieve the pressure, which grew in first-half stoppage time as Romania received the reward their forwards' performance deserved when a rolling maul was finished by Lazar. Dumbrava missed the conversion and Scotland were relieved to hold a seven-point half-time lead. Paterson missed one attempt at goal in the blustery conditions before kicking another penalty early in the second period. The 10-point advantage was short-lived, though, as Tiberius Dimofte kicked a Romania penalty. Romania full-back Iulian Dumitras missed a drop-goal attempt before they spread the ball wide, running Scotland ragged. Dimofte ensured Romania emerged with some points when slotting a penalty. Romania won another penalty in front of the posts as Scotland desperately defended their try line. Dimofte reduced the deficit to four points - and soon after they were in front after further forward pressure. Romania drove on at a five-metre scrum and Dan Parks and Lamont were unable to halt number eight Carpo, the television match official ruling the score to count. Dimofte converted to make it 24-21 to the underdogs. However, Scotland levelled the scores as a result of further Romanian indiscipline, Paterson kicking a penalty. And Andy Robinson's men went in front again as Evans switched the play and Richie Vernon broke down the left wing, finding Danielli to race over after 75 minutes. Danielli scored another three minutes later, touching down in the left corner despite a scrappy build-up to secure a bonus-point win amid much relief. With Georgia up next, Kellock knows his team need a solid effort for 80 minutes. The 31-year-old Glasgow Warriors lock said: "There's a lot of work to do." Scotland continued to run the ball and Danielli came in off his left wing before feeding Blair to go through and score after eight minutes. Paterson fluffed the conversion from in front of the posts as the ball toppled off the tee as he approached it. Romania fly-half Marin Dumbrava missed a penalty from wide on the left before a successful attempt from the right after 11 minutes. Danielli spurned a golden opportunity before Ansbro cut through poor Romania defence after Max Evans' neat pass for a 21st-minute score which Paterson converted. Dumbrava kicked his second penalty before missing another after Romania's pack had rumbled half the length of the field in just a few moves, causing concern for Scotland. Paterson added his second penalty to relieve the pressure, which grew in first-half stoppage time as Romania received the reward their forwards' performance deserved when a rolling maul was finished by Lazar. Dumbrava missed the conversion and Scotland were relieved to hold a seven-point half-time lead. Paterson missed one attempt at goal in the blustery conditions before kicking another penalty early in the second period. The 10-point advantage was short-lived, though, as Tiberius Dimofte kicked a Romania penalty. Romania full-back Iulian Dumitras missed a drop-goal attempt before they spread the ball wide, running Scotland ragged. Dimofte ensured Romania emerged with some points when slotting a penalty. Romania won another penalty in front of the posts as Scotland desperately defended their try line. Dimofte reduced the deficit to four points - and soon after they were in front after further forward pressure. Romania drove on at a five-metre scrum and Dan Parks and Lamont were unable to halt number eight Carpo, the television match official ruling the score to count. Dimofte converted to make it 24-21 to the underdogs. However, Scotland levelled the scores as a result of further Romanian indiscipline, Paterson kicking a penalty. And Andy Robinson's men went in front again as Evans switched the play and Richie Vernon broke down the left wing, finding Danielli to race over after 75 minutes. Danielli scored another three minutes later, touching down in the left corner despite a scrappy build-up to secure a bonus-point win amid much relief. With Georgia up next, Kellock knows his team need a solid effort for 80 minutes. The 31-year-old Glasgow Warriors lock said: "There's a lot of work to do."

Fife

Romania has ‘deep mistrust of the UK’, says exiled St Andrews cartoonist

June 27 2016

A St Andrews cartoonist, now living in Bucharest, Romania, has told of the “deep mistrust” Romania has for the UK. Peter Herron, 41, a former pupil of Langlands Primary School and Madras College, moved to Romania two years ago with his partner, safe in the knowledge that Romania had just been welcomed into the European family. “All that has changed,” said Peter, a former St Andrews restaurateur, whose great great-great uncle was 1902 Open Championship winner Sandy Herd. “My commissions come from all across Europe including the UK and the money I earn allows me a comfortable life here in Bucharest. “But now the pound has in one day turned from the most stable currency in the world to free falling into uncertainty. “The validity of my passport is now in question and most importantly I am unsure of the Romanian government’s stance on my living here. “Important questions expats need answers to are not even on the table. “Romania is an inclusive and open society and as a Scotsman I have only ever been welcomed but they have an intrinsic mistrust of the UK as historically they have been viewed as the poor gypsy country swarming to the UK to steal directly from their pockets. Looked down upon from the nose of a country who still think they are at the centre of an empire. “The projected 30,000 per year flooding the UK from Romania never materialised as the feeling here is why abandon their home to move to a country where they, despite their education or qualifications, will be given instant second class citizen status and viewed with suspicion and contempt. The wave of racist comments washing over social media since the result has just confirmed this is the likely welcome Romanians, who just want to work to support their families, will receive.” For Brexit reaction from other EU citizens living in Tayside and Fife, see Tuesday's Courier. malexander@thecourier.co.uk

Politics

Britain reassured over ‘Romanian invasion’

February 26 2013

Britain can be “rest assured” that Romanians will not rush to Britain when access restrictions are lifted at the end of the year, the country’s prime minister has said. Victor Ponta said he was “rather perplexed” by the recent uproar regarding the “imminent Romanian invasion of the UK”. The premier’s comments come after migration campaigners claimed that as many as 250,000 Romanians and Bulgarians are set to arrive in Britain. Temporary curbs were imposed on both countries in 2005 to protect the British labour market, but they expire at the end of December and cannot be extended. Mr Ponta said: “Our people are, by far, our most valuable, cherished and significant resource. And we will do our utmost to keep them in the country. “For all the work that is to be done in this country we need every brain and every pair of hands available. “This is why Britain can rest assured: Romania needs its workers. They will not rush to Britain come January 1 2014. They will be busy developing their own country.” The UK Government has been accused of stoking fears by refusing to provide an estimate of the number of immigrants likely from Romania and Bulgaria. Mr Ponta said he wants Romania to cease being an “emigration country” and has set in motion policies aimed at stimulating growth. Unemployment is below the EU average and public sector wages have returned to their pre-austerity level, he said. “If the immigration process continues, which is highly unlikely, it will definitely not focus on the UK,” he said.

Scotland

Scottish users flag up St Andrew’s Day problem on Facebook

November 30 2015

Scottish Facebook users were left baffled when the site offered them the chance to mark St Andrew's Day on their profile - with the flag of Romania. St Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland and Romania - as well as other countries including Greece and Poland. But some users in Scotland shared their frustration on Twitter, saying they were only given the option of the blue, yellow and red Romanian flag instead of the blue and white Saltire. The problem seemed to be fixed later on Monday, with an option to share Scotland's national flag made available. https://twitter.com/TheLastGoodGirl/status/671230888051646465 One user posted on Twitter: "For some reason if you share the "happy St Andrew's day" thing on Facebook it comes up with a Romanian flag? Eh?" And another confused Scot wrote: "Can anyone tell me what tricolour flag is coming up on @facebook's St Andrews Day greeting. Certainly not Scotland's (or Russia)." But later, Laura Lambert tweeted: "After lots of criticism this morning Facebook has replaced Romanian flag with a saltire for St Andrew's Day statuses #betterlatethannever."

UK & World

Romanian is second most common non-British nationality in UK

May 24 2018

Romanian has become the second most common non-British nationality in the UK, figures show.The number of Romanian nationals living in the UK in 2017 was estimated to be 411,000 – a jump of 25% on the previous year, and the largest increase for any country.Polish remains the most common non-British nationality, with an estimated one million in the UK.Romania has overtaken the Republic of Ireland and India to move from fourth to second place in the list.Some 350,000 Irish nationals lived in the UK in 2017, while there were 346,000 Indians.The figures, from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), show the total number of non-British nationals living in the UK in 2017 was 6.2 million, up 4% on 2016’s total of six million.This is a smaller rise than that recorded between 2015 and 2016, when the number rose by 8%.Nicola White of the ONS migration statistics division said: “Non-UK born and non-British populations continued to increase in 2017, as more people continued to come to the UK to live than move to live abroad for a year or more.“Poland-born residents and Polish nationals were the most common populations from outside the UK. However, the largest increases in population were seen from those born in Romania and those with Romanian nationality.”The figures show that 3.8 million (61%) of the 6.2 million non-British nationals living in the UK in 2017 held EU nationality.This is roughly the same proportion as 2016 (60%).London had the largest proportion of non-British nationals in 2017, with the highest numbers in the local authorities of Newham (38%), Westminster (36%) and Brent (34%).The ONS data is based on a survey of households and does not cover most people living in communal establishments, some NHS accommodation, or students living in halls of residence who have non-UK resident parents.Separate figures show the number of people living in the UK who were not born in this country – which is different to non-British nationals – increased from 9.2 million in 2016 to 9.4 million in 2017, up 3%.

Angus & The Mearns

Hedzup Ian’s Romanian mercy mission in tribute to motorcycling heroes

October 24 2016

An Angus youth project worker has left Scotland with a shipment for strife-torn Romania in tribute to motorcycling legends. Ian Pert founded Hedzup Racing in 2009 as a diversionary project for teenagers from Angus schools, immersing them in the experience of running a motorcycle race team. The team has has gone from strength to strength, racing on Scottish tracks as well as enjoying forays to the Manx GP on the Isle of Man. Mr Pert was struck by the plight of Romanian civilians trapped without basic supplies as the country continues its struggle through decades of poverty and he decided to join the Van Trip For Billy, named in honour of Manx racer Billy Redmayne, who died this year. Ian, Jim Hunter and Ronnie Russell have all experienced the thrill of racing the legendary Mountain Course on the Isle of Man and have embarked on the Romanian effort to both help the people there and as a tribute to road racers including Irish legend Joey Dunlop, and Angus star Andy Lawson, who tragically lost his life in the 2015 Ulster Grand Prix. “The people these supplies have been collected for are not migrants, or refugees. These are the people of Romania who stay and have nothing,” said Ian of the nine-day trip. “We’ve got a van from the Isle of Man, a company called Ocean Drive have given it to us for nothing. “We’re taking along food, clothing, toiletries, toys for the kids. “We’re hoping to get across with warm clothes and essential supplies before the winter properly kicks in.” Mr Pert said he was inspired to commence the humanitarian journey by Joey Dunlop, one of motorcycling’s greatest champions. World champion and multiple TT winner Joey Dunlop was awarded the OBE for his humanitarian work for children in Romanian orphanages, to which he made frequent trips delivered clothing and food. Ian added: “It’s also a tribute to all the guys we’ve lost, like Andy Lawson.” Ian said he was able to get a head start in collecting for the trip by a donation of items from Discover Opportunities of Dundee, and he paid tribute to the team spirit of the Hedzup youngsters. “The Hedzup kids have been very helpful in getting this organised,” he added. “They can’t go at the moment because we’re not sure about the safety but that’s something we might do in future.” Additional funds raised will go to support the Billy Redmayne memorial fund, set up in the wake of the 25-year-old's death following an accident at the Oliver's Mount Scarborough Spring Cup in April. Support can be given via www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/vantripforbilly.

UK & World

First plane from Romania just a ‘snapshot’ of future, says MP

January 2 2014

The first Romanians and Bulgarians with unrestricted access to the UK labour market have begun to arrive, despite last-ditch efforts to prevent a feared wave of fresh immigration. Romanians landing at Luton Airport were greeted by Home Affairs Select Committee chairman Keith Vaz, who said those arriving provided just a “snapshot” of those expected to come to the country over the coming months. The 180-seat aircraft from Tirgu Mures only had 140 passengers on board, he said, most of whom already live and work in the UK. “Just on the conversations we’ve had with people who have come here, a lot of them are returning people. They already work in Britain and they’re coming back after a holiday, so they’re not people coming here for the first time,” Mr Vaz said. “We’ve seen no evidence of people who have rushed out and bought tickets in order to arrive because it’s the first of January. “We’d be surprised if they did so. This is, after all, only a snapshot. “But we do need to resolve this issue in the future and it’s an issue for the whole of the EU to resolve so we don’t get these kinds of dramas at the end.” Mr Vaz criticised the “panic measures” ahead of the temporary curbs imposed in 2005 on citizens of Romania and Bulgaria being lifted. Ninety senior Conservatives attempted to block the move in a letter to Prime Minister David Cameron, arguing he could invoke a clause in EU law to keep the borders shut. However, ministers denied such a move would be feasible. Most of the Romanians arriving on the 7.40am flight already worked in the UK but Victor Spiresau was coming to the country for the first time. The 30-year-old, who said he earned 10 euros a day working in construction at home, said he hoped to make 10 euros an hour here but was not planning on settling. “I don’t come to rob your country. I come to work and then go home,” he said. “Here you pay a lot; in Romania it’s very cheap.” Mr Spiresau said he already has work lined up washing cars in London.

Perth & Kinross

Police caught trio in van with stolen scrap metal

January 31 2014

A Romanian man caught with £500-worth of stolen scrap metal has been ordered to carry out unpaid work. Cristian Mitroi admitted taking the metal from a yard on Auchterarder’s Abbey Road on March 1 last year. The 26-year-old was found with two other men in a Ford Transit van which had numerous bags of scrap in the rear. At Perth Sheriff Court, Sheriff Janys Scott ordered him to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work. Depute fiscal Stuart Richardson said Mitroi had been apprehended by officers patrolling the area in the early hours of the morning. He said: “The premises is a storage yard on the outskirts of Auchterarder where plant machinery and also a quantity of scrap metal is kept. “The owner of the premises had secured it upon leaving. “At about 4.30am two police officers came across a Ford Transit containing three gentlemen. They checked the van, where they discovered 15 bags of assorted scrap metal. The owner valued it at £500.” Solicitor Mark Alder, defending, said Mitroi, of Clarance Avenue, Birmingham, had moved to the UK in search of work. However, he was unable to secure a job and did not have the funds to return to Romania, leading him to steal the scrap. He said he has since settled in England and is self-employed in the joinery trade.

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