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What we learned this week about Sherlock actor, stranded whales and Sunak’s apology

As temperatures soared across Europe, the United States and Asia, the language remained hot between SNP politicians.

Shell HQ in Aberdeen
Shell's former HQ in Aberdeen is poised for demolition. Image: Kami Thomson/DC Thomson.

It was hailed as a symbol of the north-east’s booming oil and gas explosion when it was opened by Margaret Thatcher in Aberdeen in the 1970s.

However, the former Shell HQ in Altens, which was once described as the energy giant’s “nerve centre”, is now being primed for destruction, following the company’s relocation to the Silver Fin complex on Union Street in 2021.

Documents stated: “Shell is proposing to demolish the buildings [which are spread across the 30-acre site], because their age, construction and floor plates do not lend themselves to an efficient or sustainable future use.”

It’s estimated the process could take about a year.

Caught red-handed

A bumbling thief was caught red-handed after breaking into a Spar store just yards from a police station in Aberdeen.

An officer in Mastrick heard the alarm going off at the nearby shop on Greenfern Road and went to investigate. After making the seconds-long journey to the store, officers saw Stephen Leader, 27, brazenly wandering around inside the premises.

He was sent to prison for 48 days.

Bearing up to a (Dr) Strange meeting

Bear Grylls surprises Benedict Cumberbatch with nuclear submarine off the coast of Skye Pic: National Geographic.

Bear Grylls surprised Sherlock actor Benedict Cumberbatch by giving him a lift in a nuclear submarine off the coast of Skye.

Their TV adventure began when a helicopter dropped the duo in a field on the island, and they hiked for miles to locate caches filled with critical supplies for their journey.

For the show’s finale, they were taken off the island on a British Royal Navy flagship Astute class nuclear submarine.

Not even Holmes would have seen that coming.

Kids launch vessels on smaller scale

Model ships constructed by two young Aberdeenshire brothers have been launched on what is planned to be an epic journey around the South Pole.

The mission to circumnavigate Antarctica, started by Turriff siblings, Harry and Ollie Ferguson, respectively aged 11 and 13, is believed to be a world first.

The enterprising schoolboys built one-metre replicas of two scientific vessels and it is estimated the journey of more than 12,500 miles could take up to two years.

Sunak’s sorry for historic prejudice

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak apologised for the past treatment of gay service personnel. Pic: GeoffPugh.

Rishi Sunak apologised for the historical treatment of LGBT veterans who were sacked or forced out of the military for being gay until as recently as 2000.

The PM called the ban an “appalling failure” of the British state and added: “Many endured the most horrific sexual abuse and violence, homophobic bullying and harassment, all while bravely serving this country.”

Olympian Dame Kelly Holmes, who served in the army and came out as gay last year, called the publication of the report a “historic moment.”

Fergus sings the blues on killer road

Fergus Ewing sparked fresh controversy when he said that Humza Yousaf would need to “consider his position” if he fails to make serious progress on dualling the A9.

The increasingly outspoken SNP stalwart argued that his party would not “deserve to continue to be in government” if work was not carried out on the notorious road.

He said: “For me, this is a matter of honour. I will not stand here in a year’s time and continue to support this government unless they deliver – and deliver quickly.”

Pilot whale tragedy sparks sadness

Conservation experts believe the 55-strong pod became stranded as a female tried to give birth. Image: BDMLR.

More than 50 pilot whales died after becoming beached in the Outer Hebrides.

Rescue teams were called to Traigh Mhor, on Lewis, and discovered of the marime mammals stranded on the shore. Police, fire and British Divers Marine Life Rescue personnel battled for more than eight hours to try and refloat the surviving creatures.

Yet, despite their best efforts, only one whale was successfully refloated, and scientists are now trying to investigate why the tragic incident occurred.

Weather records spark concerns

Extreme temperatures swept parts of the globe this week with the mercury soaring over 50C (122F) in parts of the United States and China.

Death Valley in California hit 53.9C (128F) on Sunday. The hottest-ever temperature reliably recorded on Earth was 56.7C.

Meanwhile, China provisionally broke its record for all-time highest temperature a day later when it recorded 52.2C (126F) in its western Xinjiang region.

Punk poet gets recognition

John Cooper Clarke, renowned punk poet, has been recognised in his home community.

Punk poet John Cooper Clarke has been honoured with the Freedom of Salford, the city where he was born and raised.

Clarke, also known as the “Bard of Salford” was given the award for his extraordinary contribution to the world of poetry and his commitment to the arts.

His work is now on the national curriculum for schools and he has toured with major artists including the Sex Pistols, The Fall, Joy Division and New Order.

Kylie’s digital tour date in Aberdeen

Kylie Minogue will do the locomotion for a new musical featuring the songs of Stock Aitken Waterman, which propelled her to chart success in the late 1980s.

The Australian singer, who is currently enjoying a summer hit with Padam Padam, will “digitally appear” throughout the tour of the show, playing what is described as “a specially created character unique to the musical”.

It will open at the Manchester Opera House in November before embarking on a tour scheduled to end in Aberdeen on May 4.