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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...

Farming news

Aberdeen-Angus DNA test hailed by Victor Wallace

February 13 2015

The adoption of a new DNA test to authenticate the pedigree of all Aberdeen-Angus calves will put the breed in the vanguard of genomic technology, retiring Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Society president, Victor Wallace, told a packed annual at Stirling. The society has decided to collect blood samples using special ear tags which incorporate a small uniquely identified receptacle. As the tag is inserted soon after birth the small amount of displaced tissue and blood is captured ready for future DNA testing. Responding to criticism of the society’s decision to use only one company, Caisley, for the collection of samples, Mr Wallace insisted Caisley was the only ear tag company which had the technology to meet the society’s required specification. “We invited a number of ear tag companies to tender and some didn’t bother to reply while others couldn’t meet the spec,” said Mr Wallace. “It is a simple and inexpensive system which most breeders are finding easy to use.” The aim is to collect blood samples from all bull calves to enable the sire of all calves to be verified in the case of any uncertainty or dispute and to authenticate beef being sold as Aberdeen-Angus.” The move by the society has been welcomed by major supermarkets selling Aberdeen-Angus beef. Mr Wallace added: “This process was extensively and rigorously tested with management and council visits to the manufacturers in Germany and the completion of field trials. After this process it was brought back to council and unanimously approved. “Like all changes, there has been some resistance but I am convinced that putting the society in a position to be leading in genomic testing can only be a good one. “We should be leaders, not followers.” Mr Wallace admitted that a £34,000 re-branding exercise carried out over the past year, which included the dropping of the society’s long-established black, green and yellow colours, left room for “significant improvement”. The issue, particularly improvement to the website, would, he said, be addressed in the coming year. The decision to prop up the pension fund of chief executive, Ron McHattie, by £120,000 in four tranches was defended by new president, David Evans, who explained that it was a “catching up” operation as the funding of the pension had not been addressed for 11 years and annuity rates had halved in that time. Mr Evans, who works as a financial adviser, runs a 60-cow pedigree herd in Cleveland with his wife, Penny, and has been chairman of the society’s breed promotion committee. He is planning a series of open days throughout the country this year to promote the commercial attributes of the Aberdeen-Angus breed. “There is a huge and growing demand for certified Aberdeen-Angus beef with the active involvement of most of the leading supermarkets in the UK and registrations in the Herd Book are at a record level and continuing to increase,” said Mr Evans. “But we can’t stand still and it is important that the breed adopts all the latest technology to take the breed forward in the future.” New senior vice-president is Tom Arnott, Haymount, Kelso, while Alex Sanger, Prettycur, Montrose, was appointed junior vice-president.


MasterChef star Gregg Wallace is on the lamb during ‘whistle-stop’ tour

August 6 2015

TV chef Gregg Wallace has visited Dundee ahead of his appearance at next month’s Flower and Food Festival. The MasterChef favourite visited iconic city butcher shop Yorkes to help launch a new campaign to promote Scotch Lamb. Gregg famous for his sweet tooth and love of hearty portions is on a “whistle-stop tour” of the area, which will include linking up with former MasterChef champ, Arbroath’s Jamie Scott. Although the kitchen king admitted he had known little about Tayside before arriving, he said he has been very impressed by the quality of the area’s farming as well as its food. Fresh from wrestling a sheep on a local farm a tussle he insists he won Gregg said: “I haven’t seen much of Dundee yet, if I’m honest. “My first stop is the beautiful butchers shop and, I must say, it’s of serious quality. I’d be very happy if there was one of these round the corner from me. “I’m on a bit of a whistle-stop tour of Dundee. I’ve learned about the farming. I’m here to talk to the butcher to find out about the cuts and, after this I’m being reunited with a professional former MasterChef winner Jamie to do some cooking. “We’re taking the whole step-by-step journey of the husbandry of the sheep, the care and welfare of the sheep, as well as different cuts and ways to cook lamb. “Scotch Lamb has a very good reputation throughout the UK and abroad. This is a beautiful part of the world and there is a serious commitment to providing quality food here. It’s actually taken me by surprise. I had no idea the level of care and welfare taken.” Carol McLaren from Quality Meats Scotland said she hopes Gregg’s intervention will help boost the popularity of Scotch Lamb among Scots. She said: “Gregg is a huge lamb fan it’s his favourite food. However, he’s never been on a sheep farm in his life. “To get him on to a farm was a real coup and he’ll take that knowledge with him for the rest of his career. “Scots don’t eat anywhere near as much lamb as people do south of the border, so we need consumers to know about the quality of Scotch Lamb.” Dundee City Council environment convener Craig Melville said “I am delighted to welcome Gregg Wallace to Dundee this week, where he will get to sample some excellent food.”

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

Murder accused viewed images of acid victims days before attack, court told

May 4 2018

A fashion student has claimed it was just “bad luck” that she threw acid over her former partner within days of viewing articles about victims of such attacks.Berlinah Wallace, 48, is charged with murdering Mark van Dongen by leaving him with such catastrophic injuries that he was granted euthanasia and died in Belgium.Wallace insists she believed she was throwing a glass of water over Mr van Dongen, an 29-year-old engineer, as he lay in bed at her flat in Westbury Park, Bristol, in September 2015.Mr van Dongen was left paralysed, scarred, had his lower left leg amputated and lost the sight in his left eye, as well as most of the sight in his right eye, following the incident. Before his death in January 2017, Mr van Dongen told police he woke at 3am on September 23 to hear Wallace laugh and tell him: “If I can’t have you, no-one else can” before throwing the acid.In cross-examination of Wallace at Bristol Crown Court, Adam Vaitilingam QC read out a number of articles – later recovered after being deleted from her browsing history – that were visited by the fashion student.On September 13, Wallace searched for advice on how to get back with an ex-boyfriend but the following day asked Google “can I die from drink sulphuric acid”.Wallace told the court that she had not read any of the articles and was only interesting in viewing images of acid attack victims.“What was so interesting to you about pictures of people who had acid thrown in their faces,” Mr Vaitilingam asked.Wallace replied: “Just curiosity.”Mr Vaitilingam told Wallace: “You were obsessed with these sites about people having sulphuric acid thrown in their faces.”Wallace said: “No. I don’t remember looking at these articles.”Mr Vaitilingam asked: “Is it just a coincidence that within a few days of reading these sites or looking at these pictures, you yourself have thrown sulphuric acid in Mark’s face?”Wallace replied: “Yes. It is just a coincidence – bad luck.” She described Mr van Dongen as “my best friend, my family” and said she missed him after he left her for his new girlfriend, Violet Farquharson.During a police interview, Wallace claimed that Mr van Dongen must have placed the acid in her glass and left it by the side of the bed for her to drink.Wallace, from South Africa, said she did not drink from her glass and instead threw it over Mr van Dongen when he pulled on her underwear during an argument.Mr Vaitilingam read part of one of the articles visited by Wallace in September 2015.“It is a story about a man tricking his partner into drinking sulphuric acid,” he told Wallace.“Is it what gave you the idea for your defence in this case – I’m going to say that Mark tried to trick me and put it in my glass for me to drink?“That’s what gave you the idea. (You thought) ‘No-one will know it’s a story I read because I’ve deleted it from my internet history.”Wallace replied: “That’s not true. Because I never read the story. Like I said, I was only clicking on images.“I never read any articles because I was not interested in reading them.”When asked why Mr van Dongen would want to kill Wallace, the defendant told the court that she had “said nasty things to him”.Mr Vaitilingam pointed out that on September 21, Mr van Dongen refused to give Wallace money to pay for a flight home.“If Mark had wanted to be rid of you, was there something stopping him buying you a plane ticket to South Africa and waving you goodbye?” Mr Vaitilingam asked.Wallace replied: “Well he didn’t want me to go. It is so unfair to make me think what Mark was thinking in this moment.”In text messages, Mr van Dongen said he would financially provide for Wallace through the remainder of her studies.But after he asked Wallace not to contact him, she told him she would no longer go to university and wanted to go home.Mr Vaitilingam told Wallace: “You were emotionally blackmailing Mark by telling him how devastated you were and how you couldn’t finish your course and how you were going to go back to South Africa.”The defendant replied: “I find what you are saying really unkind. You have no idea how I was really feeling at the time.“That’s a really unkind thing to say. I couldn’t take the stress anymore. He was my family. I felt alone and I just wanted to go home.”Mr van Dongen returned to Wallace following her message and arrived at her home at 10pm on September 22.Neighbours called 999 just before 3am after hearing him screaming in pain in the street outside.Wallace denied that she had told Mr van Dongen: “If I can’t have you, no-one else can”.She wept and cried “no” when Mr Vaitilingam asked if she was aiming at her former partner’s face when she threw the liquid over him.“I didn’t mean to hurt him,” she wept. “I didn’t mean to hurt Mark.”The defendant, of Ladysmith Road, Bristol, denies charges of murder and throwing a corrosive substance with intent.The trial continues next week.


Dundee father who attacked man outside primary school facing jail

April 26 2016

A man who viciously assaulted his ex’s fiancé as they dropped off his daughter for her first ever day of school has been told he faces jail. Mark Gorthy knocked Scott Wallace unconscious on the doorstep of Dundee’s Camperdown Primary School on the first day of term on August 18 last year. Mr Wallace - the now fiancé of Gorthy’s ex-partner Tracey Duncan - was pushing a buggy with a six-month-old baby inside when Gorthy attacked at the school. Gorthy had turned up at the school to join Miss Duncan in seeing off the estranged couple’s five-year-old daughter. But he flipped when he saw that Mr Wallace was also present. Dundee Sheriff Court was shown CCTV footage of the vicious assault - showing Gorthy smashing Wallace to the ground, knocking him out cold, just five feet from the entrance. Gorthy is then seen to stamp on Mr Wallace’s head before he is tackled by bystanders. Gorthy, 31, of Anton Drive, Dundee, pled guilty on indictment to a charge of assault to severe injury, disfigurement and impairment. Sheriff Lorna Drummond QC deferred sentence for reports and warned Gorthy that he could be sent to prison.

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.


Conde Nast provides international recognition for Dundee’s renaissance

December 15 2017

One of the world's leading travel magazines has singled out Dundee as one of the main reaons to visit the UK in 2018. Condé Nast Travller magazine also includes an articled by Dundee-born comedian and writer Danny Wallace about the city's recent renaissance. Including the UK in its 10 destinations to watch in 2018, the magazine cites Dundee as  one of the main reasons to visit the UK, along with London and Bristol. It states: "A surprise entry this year: Dundee. Its soon-to-be-launched V&A Museum of Design, large populations of galleries and art students, and plum spot on the Firth of Tay make a strong case for a highland fling." * For more on this story — including why Dundee is no longer the butt of jokes for comedians — pick up Saturday's culturally cognisant Courier, also available as a digital edition.  

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


The best Scottish footballers according to Fifa 18 revealed: Dundee FC and Saints stars snubbed

September 26 2017

Dundee FC and St Johnstone players have failed to make it into Fifa 18's list of top 50 Scottish players. The highest ranked Scot has been revealed as Matt Phillips with Tom Cairney at number two and Celtic's Scott Brown third on the list. Fifa 18's full list of player ratings has been revealed ahead of the hugely anticipated game's release on Friday. The highest ranked Dundee FC Scotsman is Paul McGowan, who comes in at 67 with an overall player rating of 68. As only Scottish Premiership teams feature in the game, no Dundee United players are on the list. Given an overall player rating of 68, the top Saint Johnstone Scot is Steven MacLean at 63rd on the list. However Charlie Adam, who hails from Fintry and spent his youth career with the Dark Blues, is listed as Scotland's 13th best player. And Laurencekirk-born Ryan Guald, who plays for Portugal's CD Aves, is listed as the country's 24th top footballer. Aberdeen FC star Graeme Shinnie is the Dons' top Scot at 35th. Five Celtic stars feature in the top 20 Scottish players list, but only one Rangers player made the same cut in Graham Dorrans. West Brom's Phillips has been given an overall rating of 77 - with his pace listed as 87, his dribbling skills at 77 and his shooting prowess 71. Fulham's Cairney is also given an overall 77 while Scotland captain Brown is rated as 76. Stoke's Darren Fletcher is number four with a 76 rating, West Brom's Robert Snodgrass fifth at 76, and West Brom's James Morrison is sixth also at 76. James McArthur of Crystal Palace is seventh with a 75 overall score, Newcastle's Matt Ritchie is eighth with the same rating, Celtic's Stuart Armstrong is ninth also at 75. Hoops striker Leigh Griffiths is tenth also with an overall rating of 75. We've listed Fifa 18's top 50 Scottish players below:   Matt Phillips Tom Cairney Scott Brown Darren Fletcher Robert Snodgrass James Morrison James McArthur Matt Ritchie Stuart Armstrong Leigh Griffiths Andy Robertson Kieran Tierney Charlie Adam James Forrest Ross McCormack Steven Naismith Liam Bridcutt Graham Dorrans Kevin McDonald Barry Bannan Jordan Rhodes Grant Hanley Ryan Fraser Ryan Guald Callum McGregor Kenny Miller Christophe Berra Russell Martin Phil Bardsley Lee Wallace Steven Fletcher George Boyd Chris Martin Ryan Jack Graeme Shinnie Alan Hutton Ross Wallace Craig Bryson Paul Gallagher Ikechi Anya Charlie Mulgrew Barry Douglas Kenny McLean Barrie McKay Steven Whittaker Johnny Russell Ali Crawford Jay Fulton Stephen Kingsley Oliver Burke