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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...

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

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.

Angus & The Mearns

Parents pay tribute to ‘devoted’ son after Kirriemuir accident

May 23 2013

The parents of an Angus man who died after a road accident have paid tribute to their son. Roofer Euan Robertson, 42, died after his works van toppled on Lindsay Street, Kirriemuir, on Tuesday. Mr Robertson’s vehicle mounted a pavement and then collided with a wall and a hedge, a short distance from his home. His family spoke of their heartache of losing a “devoted son and brother”. Mr Robertson’s father Charles said the former Webster’s High pupil had been a roofer with Artisan Rooftech for 12 years. He said: “He always got good reports, good letters back to his boss. He was very pleasant. He left a job as he got it.” Mr Robertson’s mother Ada said: “He was just a fun-loving son, a devoted son and brother. We are just going to miss him so much. “He would help anybody. If he could not do them good he wouldn’t do them any harm. He was conscientious about his work. Nobody had a bad word to say about him.” Police are appealing for any witnesses to call 101 or speak to any officer.

Dundee

‘We’re just heartbroken’ former Dundee man Charlie Lamont dies after crash in Suffolk

November 21 2012

The sons of a Dundee man who died after his car crashed into a tree in a late-night crash have paid tribute to their ''fun-loving'' dad. Grandfather Charlie Lamont (pictured), who was 49, lay undiscovered for up to 10 hours by the busy A12 near Ipswich in Suffolk after the crash. The alarm was first raised by one of his friends when Charlie, who was originally from the Hilltown, failed to pick him up in Colchester at 8.20am on Sunday. It was not until 4pm that the 49-year-old was found by a tractor driver working in a field near the busy dual carriageway. Mr Lamont's sons Charles and Barry told of their loss. ''I just can't believe it's happened,'' Barry (21) said. ''We're just heartbroken.'' Charlie had lived in England for the last 10 years but Charles (24) said he always kept a connection with his home town. He said: ''He stayed in Clacton-on-Sea and he was working with Network Rail in maintenance but he loved Scotland and Dundee FC. ''He was always smiling, speaking about Scotland and his beloved Dundee. He's got two sons who supported United and he would say 'When are you going to support the real team?''' Charles's son Charlie was born six months ago and the proud grandfather had been up recently to visit the new arrival. Charles said: ''We still don't believe it's happened. He came up as soon as our wee one was born and Wednesday was the last time I spoke to him on FaceTime with the wee lad.'' Barry's partner is also pregnant and his dad had been looking forward to another little grandchild. ''We told him two or three weeks ago that my lass is pregnant and he was that happy,'' Barry said. Charlie was born in the Maryfield area of Dundee and attended Rosebank Primary School and then Morgan Academy. He went to work in John Menzies after school and after that he had various jobs on building sites, including work with Brown Construction. He had three sons Charles, Barry and Adam. A keen footballer, Charlie played for Riverside and Tayport until a foot injury ended his career in 1991. Police in England said his silver BMW 318i SE model had left the road, hit a tree and rolled on to its roof, landing in a field, between 6am and 9am on Sunday.

Motoring news

Join the queue for littlest Audi Q

November 9 2016

Audi’s relentless release of new models continues with the launch of its smallest SUV. The Q2 goes on sale in the UK next week with prices starting at £22,380. There’s an extensive selection of petrol and diesel power trains as well as the option of front or Quattro four-wheel drive. More models will be added to the range later on, including powerful SQ2 and RSQ2 versions. Aimed squarely at a younger audience, the Q2 has bolder, sharper lines and a different shape to Audi’s bigger SUVs, the Q3, Q5 and Q7. Although it’s clearly meant more for buzzing around cities than growling across farmland, cladding and skid plates lend it an aura of ruggedness. Audi is also offering a range of vibrant colours to deepen the Q2’s appeal to youthful buyers. The interior is as plush as you’d expect from Audi, justifying its price hike over similarly sized SUVs like the Nissan Juke and Honda HR-V. The materials are high quality – softtouch plastics, leather on higher spec cars and brushed aluminium trim elements all blended into a smart-looking package. As standard, drivers get a seven-inch infotainment screen on top of the dashboard. It’s operated through Audi’s rotary dial system that’s far more intuitive and easier to use when on the move than rivals’ touchscreen systems. Among the many options is Audi’s excellent Virtual Cockpit - a 12.3in screen that replaces the manual instruments behind the steering wheel. Overall, the Q2 is 4.7in shorter than the A3 hatchback, but Audi says there’s enough leg and headroom for two adult passengers in the back. Boot space comes in at 405 litres – 50 more than you’ll find in the A3 hatchback and rival Nissan Juke, although it trails the Mini Countryman by the same amount. To begin with, the only diesel option is a 1.6 litre with 114bhp, although a more powerful 184bhp 2.0 litre unit will be added to the range soon. Similarly, the petrol engine range is limited for now but will be expanded by the end of the year. The 1.4 litre, 148bhp unit offered now will be joined by 1.0 litre, 114bhp three cylinder turbo and 2.0 litre, 187bhp options – the latter coming with an S-Tronic automatic gearbox. When it arrives the 1.0 litre petrol version will be the cheapest model in the range with a price tag of £20,230. Courier Motoring has yet to get its hands on the car but early reviews have been very positive and Audi looks to have yet another winner on its hands. jmckeown@thecourier.co.uk

Farming news

SNP handling of new beef scheme attacked

November 10 2016

The Scottish Government's own efficiency has been called into question over the handling of the new £45million Beef Efficiency Scheme (BES). An estimated 180,000 beef cows from 2000 Scottish farmers have been enrolled in the new five-year  scheme which aims to improve the efficiency and quality of the beef herd and help producers increase the genetic value of their stock. But months after signing up for the scheme, farmers are still waiting to be supplied with special tags to meet the rules which call for 'tissue tagging' of 20% of cattle. And now NFU Scotland's livestock chairman Charlie Adam says farmers' confidence in the scheme is being affected and has called for the rules to be adjusted. The union has also urged the Scottish Government to update all scheme applicants on progress with BES and let them know when the necessary tags will arrive. “If tag delays cannot be resolved in the immediate future, then the Scottish Government should recognise the problem and make the tissue tagging element voluntary for 2016. This will allow those who can take samples from the animals that they still own to do so,"  said Mr Adam. “Applicants to this important scheme, worth £45 million to the industry, have every right to know now, and in detail, what they are expected to do to fulfil their BES obligations and Scottish Government must get back on the front foot in delivering the scheme.” Mr Adam added that it was frustrating for the farmers who have already housed and handled their cattle for the winter as many of those animals were by now located in overwintering accommodation that can be some distance from home farms. Shadow Rural Economy secretary, Peter Chapman MSP claimed it was impossible for farmers to sell store cattle in the autumn sales until they were told which animals need tagged and were sent  the tags to do the job. He added: "This will create huge cash flow and logistic problems for farmers who normally sell calves at this time – this is the SNP letting farmers down yet again.” A Scottish Government spokesman said work was under way to rectify the problem and a timetable was expected by the end of the week. He added: "It is not necessary for farmers to hold off from selling their animals. "We will ensure that the sampling regime accommodates those farmers who have sold their calves and there will be no penalties for those whoo have. It may mean that some farmers will have a higher rate of sampling next year." nnicolson@thecourier.co.uk      

Dundee

Footballer rape claim: Court hears woman did not know she had met David Goodwillie

October 25 2016

A woman who is suing two former Dundee United footballers she claims raped her was unaware of who one of them was when she was told by police that they had a DNA finding for him, a court has been told. The accuser was medically examined after police were contacted in January in 2011 and samples were sent for analysis. Detective Sergeant Rebecca Gregson, 36, said: "I am aware the complainer was told about a DNA hit on January 17." She continued: "From what I can remember she was still unaware who that particular male was and was quite adamant that how his DNA was there was confusing. She couldn't understand." Simon Di Rollo QC, for the woman, said police were able to identify the male and the officer said: "Yes, it was David Goodwillie's semen." The former Scotland striker is being sued along with ex-United teammate David Robertson in the action. Mr Di Rollo said: "In her evidence to us she said at one point 'I have never met David Goodwillie'. Is that consistent with what she was saying to you when you were informing her of this?." The detective replied: "Yes." DS Gregson said that at one point police carried out a "cognitive interview" with the woman and explained it was a technique in which the interviewee was taken back to the actual incident to relive it. She agreed there was a gap in her memory in terms of what had happened to her. Mr Di Rollo asked her if the memory was recovered and she said: "No." She said Goodwillie was interviewed but gave a "no comment interview". The 30-year woman is suing Goodwillie and Robertson after raising a £500,000 damages claim at the Court of Session in Edinburgh. It is alleged both men raped the 30-year-old woman in the early hours of January 2 at a flat in Armadale, in West Lothian, following a night out. It is claimed that she was incapable of giving free agreement at the time when intercourse took place. Goodwillie, who is now with Plymouth Argyle, and Robertson, of Bathgate, deny the allegation and maintain that intercourse was consensual. Neither was prosecuted. They claim that CCTV footage shows the woman was capable of walking, holding a conversation and using her mobile phone. DS Gregson agreed that Goodwillie was charged and a report was sent to Crown Office against him alone. Mr Di Rollo said Robertson subsequently gave a statement to detectives in July in the course of which he indicated that he too had had sexual intercourse with the woman. The detective sergeant agreed that up until that point there was no evidence about that. Mr Di Rollo said: "He had, of course, been told he would not be prosecuted in respect of this matter." DS Gregson said: "I believe so." The senior counsel said that a decision was subsequently made by Crown Office that no proceedings were to be taken and she said: "Yes." Anne Marie McKay told the court that she had gone out with friends on the evening of January 1 and went to the Glenmavis Tavern, in Bathgate, also known as Smiths. She said she had never seen the woman in the bar before but knew her through work. She said she was at the bar when the woman fell over into her side. She had later seen her making her way to the public bar. Ms McKay (47) said she was "quite drunk" and added: "Her eyes were quite glazed over and her words weren't like making sense." She later saw her again outside the pub. She said: "She was kind of staggering about and she only had one shoe on." "I called over to her was she OK and where was her shoe. She said that's what she was doing — trying to find her shoe," she said. Ms McKay agreed with Roddy McIlvride QC, for Robertson, that the woman was wearing very high-heeled shoes that night. But she said of the initial incident in the pub: "She was standing still next to me and had come over this way so she wasn't walking." The hearing before Lord Armstrong continues.

UK & World

PM’s former Oxford college launches inquiry into sexual harassment claims

April 12 2018

An independent inquiry is being launched into allegations of misconduct and sexual harassment at the Prime Minister’s former Oxford college.St Hugh’s has confirmed that its governing body commissioned the investigation following claims about the behaviour of a now-deceased Fellow.It is understood the Fellow is Professor David Robertson, who died in August last year.The inquiry was set up after author Mel McGrath wrote an article on the website The Pool, accusing Professor Robertson of “doing a Weinstein on me” – a reference to Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein – when she was an undergraduate in the 1980s.The inquiry will be chaired by Alison Levitt QC, who carried out a review into the crimes of the late Jimmy Savile and who has been tipped to become the new director of public prosecutions.Ms McGrath wrote: “David, who was my tutor, held tutorials in his flat on college grounds and had an uncanny knack for scheduling a shower, at whatever time of day, just before I arrived.“He’d open the door – as if innocently – dressed in his bathrobe and, one time, in a tiny towel.“For the next hour I would have to undergo the humiliating experience of reading my essay, on which I had laboured hard and with serious intent, while David sat opposite, half-naked and man spreading, often smelling of alcohol and sipping from a mug of what was never tea or coffee.”Ms McGrath was also critical of St Hugh’s, saying that if the authorities at the time had not heard the rumours about Prof Robertson’s alleged behaviour “they couldn’t have been listening very hard”.The college confirmed that an investigation had been launched and released its terms of reference, but a spokeswoman said it would be inappropriate to comment until the investigation was complete.The terms of reference given to Ms Levitt read: “The College has recently received allegations of historic misconduct and sexual harassment about a now deceased Fellow from two former students.“The College requests you to carry out an independent investigation about these allegations and whether the circumstances of these or of similar allegations were known to the members of governing body or management staff of the College.“If so, to report on the adequacy and appropriateness of the College’s responses and any action taken in respect of such allegations or circumstances, with any recommendations for action.”St Hugh’s was founded in 1886 “to open up the opportunities of an Oxford education to poorer women”. It accepted its first male students in 1987.Former students include the Prime Minister Theresa May, Burmese politician Aung San Suu Kyi, Amal Clooney and suffragette Emily Davison.

Dundee

The Scaffies clean up at Dundee Rep

April 30 2015

Following on from his hugely successful play The Berries, Gary Robertson’s The Scaffies is a grittier, if no less affectionate, trip back in time. Set in 1978, the Dundee Rep production follows a group of binmen on their booze-for-breakfast-fuelled adventures through the work canteen, pub and the city’s streets. This is a confident production from a strong ensemble cast, with special praise for Robertson as Tam and Scott Petrie as Andy the gaffer, who remarkably makes his acting debut here. Veterans Eddie and Frankie share eye-watering tales from the war, while new recruit Donnie tries to extol the virtues of punk to his sceptical workmates as the Winter of Discontent looms. Throw in some absolute filth from long-suffering colleague Gerry and his fellow scaffies and you have another instant Dundee theatre favourite, that’s sure to enjoy repeated runs like its predecessor. Robertson’s oary dialect script crackles throughout, with nods to city landmarks and not-for-the-faint-hearted anecdotes drawing huge laughs from the sell-out crowd. Heading down the stairs after the curtain closed, one audience member turned to another and said: “That was bra’, was it?”. After an evening in the company of Tam and co, I couldn’t have summed it up better.

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