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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…

Business news

Concern over pensions

October 14 2013

A major new report into the UK’s pensions industry has found that just a third of savers are set to reach their retirement income targets. The report commissioned by US-based insurance giant MetLife and carried out by independent expert Dr Ros Altman found the current UK pension savings system was outmoded and “not fit for purpose”. The research found that millions of people saving for pensions were being “exposed to risks they do not understand” by paying into non-guaranteed schemes, and only 33% were likely to save enough to reach the income target for their retiral. Dr Altmann said: “New thinking on both pensions and retirement is urgently required, and those who want the best chance of better incomes will need to plan carefully for the future.”

Obituaries

Actress Karen Black dies aged 74

August 10 2013

Karen Black, the prolific actress who appeared in more than 100 movies and starred in such counterculture favourites as Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces and Nashville, has died. Her husband, Stephen Eckelberry, says she died on Wednesday from complications from cancer. She was 74. Known for her full lips and thick, wavy hair that seemed to change colour from film to film, Black often portrayed women who were quirky, troubled or threatened. Her breakthrough was as a prostitute who takes LSD with Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda in 1969’s Easy Rider, the hippy classic that helped get her the role of Rayette Dipesto, a waitress who dates an upper-class dropout played by Jack Nicholson in 1970’s Five Easy Pieces. That performance won her an Oscar nomination and Golden Globe Award. She would recall that playing Rayette really was acting the well-read, cerebral Black, raised in a comfortable Chicago suburb, had little in common with her relatively simple-minded character. In 1971, Black starred with Nicholson again in Drive, He Said, which Nicholson also directed. Over the next few years, she worked with leading actors and directors including Richard Benjamin (Portnoy’s Complaint), Robert Redford and Mia Farrow (The Great Gatsby) and Charlton Heston (Airport 1975). She was nominated for a Grammy Award after writing and performing songs for Nashville, in which she played a country singer in Robert Altman’s 1975 ensemble epic. Black also starred as a jewel thief in Alfred Hitchcock’s last movie, Family Plot, in 1976. The actress would claim her career as an A-list actress was ruined by The Day Of The Locust, a troubled 1975 production of the Nathanael West novel that brought her a Golden Globe nomination but left Black struggling to find quality roles. By the end of the 70s, she was appearing in television and in low-budget productions.

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

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

Motoring news

Form an orderly Q for Audi SUV

August 10 2016

First there was the Q7. Then the Q5 and Q3. All have been a phenomenal success for Audi. I’d be surprised if that script changes when the Q2 arrives in November. Audi’s baby SUV is available to order now with prices starting at £22,380. Can’t quite stretch to that? Don’t worry, an entry level three-cylinder 1.0 litre version will be available later this year with a cover tag of £20,230. From launch, there are three trim levels available for the Q2 called SE, Sport and S Line. The range-topping Edition #1 model will be available to order from next month priced from £31,170. While the entry-level 113bhp 1.0-litre unit isn’t available right away, engines you can order now include a 113bhp 1.6-litre diesel and 148bhp 1.4-litre petrol unit, both with manual or S tronic automatic transmissions. Also joining the Q2 line-up from September is the 2.0-litre TDI diesel with 148bhp or 187bhp. This unit comes with optional Quattro all-wheel drive. A 2.0 litre petrol with Quattro and S tronic joins the range next year. Standard equipment for the new Audi Q2 includes a multimedia infotainment system with rotary/push-button controls, supported with sat-nav. Audi’s smartphone-friendly interface, 16in alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity and heated and electric mirrors are all also standard for the Audi. Along with the optional Audi virtual cockpit and the head-up display, the driver assistance systems for the Audi Q2 also come from the larger Audi models – including the Audi pre sense front with pedestrian recognition that is standard. The system recognises critical situations with other vehicles as well as pedestrians crossing in front of the vehicle, and if necessary it can initiate hard braking – to a standstill at low speeds. Other systems in the line-up include adaptive cruise control with Stop & Go function, traffic jam assist, the lane-departure warning system Audi side assist, the lane-keeping assistant Audi active lane assist, traffic sign recognition and rear cross-traffic assist.

UK & World

Alert over swollen rivers in France after heavy rain

January 24 2018

Train services have been disrupted and soldiers are preparing to assist as rivers across France continue to swell following heavy rain. Meteo France, the national weather agency, said 23 departments remain on orange alert, the second highest level of vigilance, and urged people to limit their journeys and to be on the alert. The weather has improved in large parts of the country, but more rain is expected on Thursday. A flooded in Paris (AP) In the south-eastern Paris suburb of Villeneuve-Saint-Georges, which is crossed by both the Seine and its Yerres tributary, local mayor Sylvie Altman said soldiers will be deployed to help evacuate the population. Police forces and the fire brigade are already on site, patrolling flooded streets on small boats. Ms Altman told France Info radio that water levels are expected to keep rising until Friday. “We should get military trucks to help us evacuate and make people move along,” she said. The Seine River has overflowed its banks, prompting authorities to close several roads and cancel boat cruises (AP) West of Paris, the Seine River burst its banks in some spots and spread to almost twice its usual breadth between the towns of Saint-Germain-en-Laye and Le Pecq. The area is well downstream from Paris. Forecasters said the Seine levels should keep rising until the weekend. The river is expected to reach a peak last reached in June 2016, when authorities were forced to close several Parisian monuments including the Louvre museum. Roads along the shores of the Seine remained closed on Wednesday as well as seven train stations alongside the river. (function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Associated Press Reporters'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '726b3779-98dd-40d5-85ee-cf6bbca87981'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:news,paservice:news:world'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', null); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Alert over swollen rivers in France after heavy rain'});

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.

Theatre

Woman swaps nine-to-five for musical role

April 13 2010

In a case of fantasy mimicking life or perhaps vice versa Dundee woman Gemma Duffy has swapped her day job as a clerical assistant with Dundee City Council and karaoke forays for a starring role on the stage. Joining a cast which includes some well-known faces including Sarah Jane Buckley (Hollyoaks’ Kathy Barnes), John Altman (EastEnders’ Nasty Nick) and former boyband heart-throb Antony Costa from Blue Gemma (23) debuted at the Webster Memorial Theatre, Arbroath, in comedy musical Pop Star after winning a competition supported by Tay FM. Written by Dave Simpson and directed by Stephen Leatherland, Pop Star is billed as a feel-good comedy musical that takes a hilarious look at the phenomena of talent and reality shows. The show follows six wannabe popstars prepared to do virtually anything to hit the big time, features almost 30 songs from the performers including Gemma and the audience can see what goes on when the cameras are off. Gemma, who lives in Pitfour Street with her partner Steve McDonald, admitted she was nervous about her stage debut, but said, “I’m determined to make the most of my chance, and who knows, this could be my chance to launch my own showbiz career. “I heard about the competition on the radio and had already pretty much decided to put myself forward when my mum Karen phoned and told me I just had to.” Gemma and her fellow stars are in action Monday and Tuesday night, after which the production heads for Dumfries and another local star will have their chance to shine.

John McCain loses thousands of Twitter followers after asking people to help him reach three million

December 5 2017

US senator John McCain’s number of Twitter followers took a hit after he asked for help reaching the three million mark. McCain was 74 followers from three million on Monday, so he tweeted his followers asking them to “spread the word” to help him “reach this big milestone”. We're only 74 Twitter followers away from 3M – spread the word & help us reach this big milestone!— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) December 4, 2017 The simple request didn’t receive the reaction he hoped, however. Voters frustrated with the politician decided to give McCain the opposite of what he asked for: fewer followers. The hashtag #UnfollowMcCain was mobilised to encourage other users to unfollow the Republican Party veteran, and was tweeted by more than 700 people, according to hashtag analyser Keyhole. A few of the those sharing the hashtag commented on McCain’s yes vote to the Republicans’ controversial tax bill. Show @SenJohnMcCain what you think of his vote on the tax bill. #UnfollowMcCain https://t.co/B2pwScVwko— Mouthy Bitch (@SheilaToomey) December 4, 2017I'm UNFOLLOWING you senator for being selfish and voting for the tax bill. It's the most UN-American bill in a very long time. Shame! #UnfollowMcCain! https://t.co/ok3AzhbtOm— (((Asbjorn NØrup))) (@Stigr3) December 5, 2017You lost more than 20k followers today @SenJohnMcCain. Instead of begging ppl to follow you, do the right thing and reject the tax bill.Ppl with cancer – less fortunate than you – will lose healthcare. Plus $1.4 trillion added to the deficit. Be an American hero. Not a villain. https://t.co/CsrAtRsThx— Kimberley Johnson (@AuthorKimberley) December 5, 2017 As of Tuesday afternoon, McCain’s followers stood at 2.98 million. (function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Taylor Heyman'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', 'b416538e-f683-4630-92f3-7c018661ab78'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:viral,paservice:viral:news'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story-enriched'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', null); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'John McCain loses thousands of Twitter followers after asking people to help him reach three million'});

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