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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.

Dundee

Matthew Pope trial hears of bloodied body found in Lochee flat

January 21 2014

A police officer found a blood-stained body covered in pieces of furniture on the floor of a Dundee flat, a murder trial in Aberdeen has been told. The officer told of the grim discovery on the first day of the trial of Matthew Pope, 22, who is accused of battering 29-year-old Michael Given to death with a piece of wood and a television set last July. Sergeant Martin Jenkins said he and a colleague were called to Elders Court in Lochee after a report a resident had been threatening a neighbour. Sgt Jenkins said he had gone to the flat at around 12.35am but there was no answer. He noticed the front door of the opposite flat was ajar and had a bloodied handprint on it, and there was no answer when he knocked. Asked by prosecutor Douglas Fairley QC to describe the scene inside the flat, Sgt Jenkins replied: “There was a male lying face down on the floor with broken furniture on his back and legs. A flatscreen TV was lying on his legs. The man’s face was resting on what appeared to be a pool of blood.” The officer said the man was “cold to the touch” with no signs of life. The trial also heard from Elders Court caretaker Rowena McIntosh, 45, who was on duty that evening. She said Ryan Crighton, who lived opposite Michael Given, had approached her and Paul Taylor in the Elders Court concierge office around 10.40pm. Ms McIntosh said he appeared “agitated, frightened, angry and restless” and said Mr Given had been threatening him. She said Mr Crighton had called the police from the office and they told him to stay there until they arrived. The trial was shown CCTV footage from 11.46pm of a man wearing a red top that both the prosecution and defence agreed was Matthew Pope entering the building. The caretakers had subsequently investigated a “commotion” and found Matthew Pope, Ryan Crighton, a girl with red hair and another man on the third floor. She said Pope was “very angry” and Ryan Crighton was trying to calm him down. Ms McIntosh said: “Matthew ran back up the stairs and Ryan followed him. We heard a door bang and they ran back down the stairs. Matthew’s head was cut.” Pope is accused of murdering Mr Given on July 20 or 21 last year by punching, kicking and stamping repeatedly on his head and body, striking him with a piece of wood with nails protruding from it, striking him with a television and inflicting blunt-force injuries to him. He is accused of attempting to defeat the ends of justice by removing blood-stained clothing and disposing of evidence in a bin. He faces three other charges assaulting Mr Given by inflicting blunt force injuries, adopting an aggressive and threatening manner towards Paul Taylor, Rowena McIntosh and Douglas McIntyre and assaulting a man in Victoria Road, Dundee on February 10 last year. He denies all charges. The trial before Lord Armstrong continues.

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'});

Scottish Championship

Raith Rovers ask SFA to investigate Rangers player’s recall

September 3 2015

Raith Rovers have requested that the SFA compliance officer Tony McGlennan investigates whether Rangers broke the governing body’s rules by bringing Ryan Hardie back early from Scotland Under-19 duty ahead of Saturday’s clash between the two Championship sides at Ibrox. The Kirkcaldy club say that Rangers assistant manager David Weir helped secure the player’s release before the Under-19s face Bulgaria tomorrow night. While Hardie will now be available to play at Ibrox, Raith will be without on-loan Dundee striker Craig Wighton who has remained with the squad. In a statement, the club said: “Ahead of Saturday’s Ladbrokes Championship match versus Rangers at Ibrox, Raith Rovers FC has today asked the Scottish FA’s Compliance Officer to consider whether he agrees that Rangers FC, through David Weir, have breached SFA Articles and Rules by requesting and securing the early release of its player Ryan Hardie from international duty with Scotland Under-19s in Bulgaria, for the sole reason that he is then available to play against Raith Rovers. “Raith Rovers FC also has an important player in the same Under-19 squad, 1st team regular Craig Wighton. Craig remains in Bulgaria and available for selection for Friday evening’s national representative match. “He will fly home with the rest of the squad on Saturday afternoon. We are delighted that Craig is receiving international recognition, and whilst we are without his services for the crucial match with Rangers, our loss is Scotland’s gain. “Naturally we are concerned that if there is any breach of Article 82.1 and Rules 56 & 57, this would in these circumstances result in an unfairness in terms of players available for selection for Saturday’s match, which is to our disadvantage.” Scottish FA Article 82.1 states: “If any player selected to attend any international or other match arranged by the Scottish FA refuses without good and sufficient cause to comply with the arrangements for playing in such match or fails to attend such match, the Judicial Panel may find him to have been in breach of this Article 82.1, and any club or official or Team Official or other member of Team Staff who may be found to have encouraged or instigated or caused such player so to refuse shall likewise be deemed to be in breach of this Article 82.1 and the provisions of Article 95 shall apply.”

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.

Republicans celebrate major tax law victory ahead of vote

December 19 2017

Republican legislators are celebrating ahead of a major vote on the most sweeping overhaul of the nation’s tax laws in more than three decades. House speaker Paul Ryan dismissed criticism of the widely unpopular package and insisted “results are what’s going to make this popular”. We came here to do big things—to tackle our problems before they tackle us. #TaxReform is going to make such a positive difference for Americans from all walks of life. pic.twitter.com/WSFA2jj6WO— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) December 19, 2017 Their long-sought political goal within grasp, Republicans are set to catapult the 1.5 trillion dollar (£1.2 trillion) tax legislation through the House, rolling over a dozen party defectors from high-tax states. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate would vote on Tuesday evening, sending the legislation to President Donald Trump. Congratulations to Paul Ryan, Kevin McCarthy, Kevin Brady, Steve Scalise, Cathy McMorris Rodgers and all great House Republicans who voted in favor of cutting your taxes!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 19, 2017 “When we get this done, when people see their withholding improving, when they see jobs occurring, when they see bigger paychecks, a fairer tax system, a simpler tax code, that’s what’s going to produce the results,” said Mr Ryan. The bill provides steep tax cuts to businesses and wealthy families, and more modest cuts to middle and low-income families. It scales back a popular deduction for state and local taxes, repeals a key tenet of Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act and allows drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Republicans acknowledged they still have to convince many Americans of the benefits of the bill, which polls poorly. Many voters in surveys see the legislation as a boost to the wealthy, such as Mr Trump and his family, and only a minor gain for the middle class. A man holds up an effigy of Donald Trump during a protest against the tax overhaul plan in front of the New York Stock Exchange (Mark Lennihan/AP) The complex legislation blends elements of separate House and Senate bills that were recently passed. It permanently slashes the tax rate for corporations from 35% to 21%. The tax cuts for individuals are temporary, expiring in 2026. It doubles the standard deduction used by about two-thirds of US households, to 24,000 dollars (£20,000) for married couples, also ending in eight years. Under #TaxCutsandJobsAct a married couple earning $100,000 per year ($60,000 from wages, $25,000 from their non-corporate business, and $15,000 in business income) will receive a tax cut of $2,603.50, a reduction of nearly 24 percent.— Senator John Cornyn (@JohnCornyn) December 19, 2017 The 1,000 dollars (£846) per-child tax credit doubles to 2,000 dollars (£1,692), with up to 1,400 dollars (£1,184) available in refunds for families who owe little or no taxes. Parents would have to provide children’s social security numbers to receive the child credit, a measure intended to deny the credit to people who are in the US illegally. The legislation also repeals an important part of the health care law — the requirement that all Americans carry health insurance or face a penalty — as the Republicans look to unravel a law it failed to repeal and replace in the summer. The package represents the first major legislative achievement for the Republicans after nearly a full year in control of Congress and the White House. (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'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', 'a38349da-07b8-4bae-9c2f-cf7090682a29'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:news,paservice:news:world'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story-enriched'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', 'paasset:social'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', null); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Republicans celebrate major tax law victory ahead of vote'});

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

Dundee

Elders Court murder trial hears blood spots matching DNA of accused were found on door

January 29 2014

Blood matching the DNA profile of a Dundee murder accused was found on the front door of his alleged victim’s flat, a trial has heard. A police forensic scientist said the likelihood of it coming from anyone other than Matthew Pope was more than one in a billion. The trial in Aberdeen heard a pair of jeans soaked in blood matching alleged victim Michael Given’s DNA were also found in Pope’s girlfriend’s flat. Pope, 22, denies murdering Mr Given at his home in Lochee’s Elders Court on July 21 last year by punching, kicking and stamping repeatedly on his head and body and striking him with a piece of wood. A charge alleging Pope attempted to defeat the ends of justice by concealing and destroying evidence by hiding clothing and a piece of wood was dropped by prosecutors on Wednesday. During the final day of Crown evidence, police forensic scientist Fariha Abidi, 41, told the jury she had examined items and blood patterns in Mr Given’s sixth-floor flat and its surroundings. These included a fingerprint in blood matching Mr Given’s DNA and a blood swab matching Pope’s on the outer door of the flat. Ms Abidi had also tested fingernail swabs taken from Pope on July 21. She said: “One swab was blood-stained with a mixed DNA profile of two individuals. Matthew Pope and Michael Given could produce such a DNA profile.” Ms Abidi said jeans recovered from Pope’s girlfriend Melissa McKay’s second-floor Elders Court flat had saturated blood staining matching Mr Given’s profile in the knee area, indicating possible contact with “a large volume of blood”. Referring to blood found on Mr Given’s living-room wall, Douglas Fairley QC, prosecuting, asked: “Could it be consistent with a kick into wet blood at that level or a stamp into the source of blood or striking with an implement or weapon? “Yes,” she replied. Ms Abidi said a small spot of blood matching the DNA profile of Ryan Crighton was found on the living-room wall but that its age could not be determined. Cross-examined by defence QC Brian McConnachie, Ms Abidi agreed that no DNA matching Mr Pope’s profile had been found on two pieces of broken wood found in Mr Given’s flat and a communal bin. Pope denies murder and has lodged special defences of incrimination against Ryan Crighton and Aaron McHugh and a special defence of self defence against Michael Given. The trial continues.

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