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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...


Kinnaird Estate table sells for £185,000 at auction

July 2 2010

An Irish table from Kinnaird Estate in Perthshire made £185,000 or £232,250 with auction premium a record price for an Irish table. The mahogany table dates from 1750 and was brought to Kinnaird by Lady Jean Ward, the wife of Sir John Ward, second son of William Ward, Viscount Ednam and 1st Earl of Dudley. Lady Jean Ward was the daughter of Whitelaw Reid, the American ambassador to the Court of St James's from 1905-1912. Lee Young, specialist at Lyon & Turnbull, said the table had been bought by an anonymous buyer but added that it will be going overseas. Other items from Kinnaird sold at Lyon & Turnbull included a painting which fetched £64,000. The 1767 work by Dominic Serres was thought to be of the British fleet off Portsmouth. But Elena Ratcheva, head of paintings research, found it is a lost work and one of 12 by the artist depicting the campaign to win Havana during the seven years war in 1762.

UK & World

Social workers involved in St Helena child abuse inquiry take legal action

March 23 2018

Two social workers who say an inquiry report into allegations of child abuse on the British overseas territory of St Helena destroyed their professional reputations have taken legal action.Claire Gannon and Martin Warsama, who worked on St Helena and made cover-up allegations, have sued the Foreign Office and the senior barrister who led the inquiry.They say they “stand by the accuracy and honesty of their disclosures” and say conclusions were reached on the basis of an inquiry which was procedurally unfair.Lawyers representing ministers and inquiry chairman Sasha Wass QC dispute their claim and say the litigation should not proceed.A judge was on Friday considering issues in the case at a High Court hearing in London.Barrister Neil Sheldon, who is leading a legal team representing Foreign Office ministers, asked the judge, Master Victoria McCloud, to halt the litigation and dismiss the claim launched by Ms Gannon and Mr Warsama.The inquiry had been set up by ministers following corruption and cover-up allegations which had been raised in newspaper articles and leaked documents and made by Ms Gannon and Martin Warsama.An inquiry report published in December 2015 concluded that: St Helena did not “attract sex tourism”; said allegations that the island in the South Atlantic was a “paedophiles’ paradise” were not true; reported “no corruption at all”; and found no evidence of any attempt by the Foreign Office, the Department for International Development, the St Helena government or police to cover up child abuse.The report said: “We stress that there was no ‘cover-up’ as alleged by Ms Gannon and Mr Warsama, rather an ignorance of proper safeguarding procedure.”Nicholas Bowen QC, who represents Ms Gannon and Mr Warsama, told the judge the conclusions of the Wass Inquiry “destroyed” the professional reputations of his clients.He said the inquiry process was “procedurally” unfair and said Ms Gannon and Mr Warsama were entitled to “just satisfaction” for their loss.Ms Gannon and Mr Warsama say their claim should not be dismissed but say evidence should be analysed at a trial.

Perth & Kinross

‘Brightest colours’ for Elena Baltacha funeral

May 15 2014

Mourners at the funeral of tennis ace Elena Baltacha have been asked to wear the “brightest colours”. Before she succumbed to liver cancer, the former British No 1 decided that those attending the service should not wear black. The Ukraine-born sportswoman who grew up in Tayside was diagnosed with the disease in January and died on May 4 aged 30. A former Perth High School pupil, her family moved to the city after her father, Sergei, signed for St Johnstone. A spokeswoman for the family said the funeral, to be held in St John’s Church, Ipswich, on Monday, is being carried out “according to Elena’s wishes”. She said: “Mourners have been asked to wear their brightest colours as Elena did not want everyone in black.” After retiring, Baltacha opened the Elena Baltacha Academy of Tennis, which helps children to learn and play the sport. A collection will be held at the funeral for the academy and a cancer charity she supported. A spokeswoman for the family said: “In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Rally For Bally.” Rally For Bally is a charity tournament to be held on June 15 in memory of Bally, as she was affectionately known. Andy Murray, Martina Navratilova and Tim Henman will be among the players who will turn out to raise funds. To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/rallyforbally or text EBAL60 £5 to 70070.

Angus & The Mearns

Hollywood couple find their own sleepy hollow in Angus

January 3 2013

IT HAS emerged that Angus is familiar territory for A-list couple Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter. The famous pair caused a Hogmanay stir in Forfar when they arrived at the town’s Lochside Leisure Centre for a five-a-side kickabout, delighting staff by posing for a photograph. Film director Burton (54) also signed one local’s Batman T-shirt as a memento of his successes with the movies starring Michael Keaton as the Caped Crusader. Their impromptu Angus appearance quickly saw social media sites awash with comments about the visit as fans of the Edward Scissorhands director and his partner, who was awarded the CBE in the New Year Honours, reacted to the news. The Belmont Arms Hotel near Meigle was another spot the duo dropped in on during what has been one of their regular visits to the county over many years, through 46-year-old Ms Bonham Carter’s family friendship with the Earl and Countess of Airlie, of Cortachy Castle. Lady Airlie said Harry Potter star Bonham Carter’s mother, Elena, and late father, Raymond, were longstanding and very close friends. Lord Airlie is godfather to Ms Bonham Carter’s brother, Tom, and the late Mr Bonham Carter was godfather to one of the Ogilvy family children. gbrown@thecourier.co.uk

Perth & Kinross

Andy Murray backs Elena Baltacha in cancer fight

March 10 2014

Wimbledon champion Andy Murray has pledged his support for Elena Baltacha in her fight against liver cancer. The Dunblane star spoke of his shock and the “unfairness” of life following the diagnosis of the 30-year-old who grew up in Perth when her father Sergei played for St Johnstone. “It does put things into perspective,” said Murray. “People are asking me ‘oh, you’ve dropped down one place in the rankings’ and it’s like, well, it doesn’t really matter that much at the end of the day. “It’s obviously your health that is the most important thing and it’s in situations like this when you start to realise that and respect that because life is very unfair. “You wouldn’t expect that to happen to someone who is so young and healthy. She’s worked hard her whole life she’s an athlete, she’s done all the right thingsit sucks.” Baltacha, Britain’s former No 1 tennis player, announced last week that she was undergoing treatment and “fighting this illness with everything I have”. Last year the tennis world rallied round Ross Hutchins as he battled Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and the stars have agreed to repeat the Rally Against Cancer charity gala match at Queen’s Club. “I’m sure this year when we do the Rally Against Cancer at Queen’s, that’s something that would definitely be great to get Elena involved in at an early stage,” Murray said. “I believe that helped Ross a little bit as well so maybe that would be a nice thing to do. “If there’s anything I could do, I’m sure any of the guys on tour, the girls, if there’s anything we could do that could help, we would do it.” Elena, who only retired last year, has had a long-standing liver condition and experts believe the cancer may be due to a combination of the illness and exposure to the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. She was born in the Ukraine which could have had a bearing according to Professor Karol Sikora, an oncologist who advises the Ukrainian government. He said: “It is possible there is a relationship between the radiation from Chernobyl and Elena’s cancer. Exposure to radiation increases the risk of malignancies. “She has said she has an auto-immune liver condition, sclerosing cholangitis. This, along with the increased exposure to radiation, may have caused liver cancer to develop.”

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


Police appeal for missing Methil woman

August 5 2016

Police are attempting to trace an Italian woman who has been reported missing from Methil. Elena Caramelli was last seen in the Morningside Road area of Edinburgh on Tuesday morning. The 32-year-old has not contacted family or friends since and police  are concerned for her safety. She is described as 5ft 9ins tall with short blonde hair, green eyes and a medium build. She was last seen wearing a red t-shirt, black three-quarter-length trousers, gold sandals and was carrying a large blue travel bag. Sergeant Neil Johnston from Levenmouth Police Station said: “Elena has been living in Scotland for the past two years and regularly speaks with family back in Italy. "When she failed to make contact with them they raised the alarm and we’re now pursuing various lines of inquiry to locate her. “Anyone who believes they may have seen Elena since Tuesday morning, or knows where we can find her should contact police immediately. “I would also ask Elena to get in touch so we can confirm she is safe and well.” Anybody with information can contact Police Scotland on 101.  

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.

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