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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

Clackmannanshire diagnostic firm Omega Omega expects hike in profits

April 15 2014

Clackmannanshire diagnostic firm Omega yesterday said it expects to post a “significant” hike in pre-tax profits when it announces year-end results inJune. The group revealed how an 18% climb in revenues from its food intolerance business had helped offset falling income elsewhere while it continues in-the-field trials of what could prove to be a game-changing HIV test kit. Omega said it was readying itself to post revenues of £11.6m for the 12 months to the end of March, an increase of 3% overall. Pre-tax profit of £1.1m is anticipated, before deductions and exceptional costs. Much of the company’s update was focused on the potential of its Visitect CD4 HIV test, which is undergoing testing in India and Kenya. The highly-portable test which is backed by big name aid agencies and charity organisations can produce results inside 40 minutes and could benefit millions of people in rural areas away from more traditional, clinic-based testing services. Omega said 60 patient samples had so-far been run in India, with an additional 200 under testing in Kenya. Initial feedback from operators in the field confirms that the evaluations, which include testing of a smartphone reader in Kenya, are “progressing well”. It is expected that the initial studies will lead to the roll-out of validation efforts in other countries. Meanwhile, claim-support studies designed to allow the CE marking of the product have also begun. Omega said both strands remained “on-track” and stressed that it was seeking to market Visitect to aid and procurement agencies in advance of full commercialisation. “The board remains very confident that Visitect CD4 will deliver significant shareholder value,” the company added. Chief executive Andrew Shepherd said the company was pleased with its performance, which had been helped by a strong showing in Omega’s food testing arm during the second half of the year. “Trading in the second half of the year has been stronger than in the first half and has enabled the group to meet market expectation from the core business prior to a contribution from Visitect CD4,” the firm’s trading update said. “The performance of the food intolerance division has mitigated challenges in other parts of the business, and prospects for this division remain encouraging for the new financial year.” Mr Shepherd said profitability had increased “significantly ahead of the growth in revenue”. Progress is also being made on Omega’s IDS-iSYS allergy testing instrument, giving the firm “increased confidence” in its commercialisation efforts. House broker finnCapp said Omega, which is headquartered at Alva’s Hillfoots Business Park, had seen “fast progress”. “We see scope for a significant increase in our target price in response to further positive newsflow,” it added. In February, the group, which expects “substantial” demand for its HIV product, announced plans to build a second manufacturing plant in India. Its Alva facility is already capable of making around seven million test kits a year at full production.

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

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.


Dad of two jailed for trafficking foreign vice girls across Tayside and Fife

October 13 2015

A Brazilian dad-of-two who made more than £150,000 trafficking vice girls between flats in Scotland for prostitution has been jailed for three years. Jose Barbosa has admitted trafficking women and transferring criminal money. The 44-year-old was seen travelling between more than a dozen flats in Kirkcaldy, Perth, Stirling, Falkirk, Alva and Dundee. He used an alias, a Spanish ID card and a fake employers’ letter to rent out properties, which he would then sub-let to women who came from Brazil and Ecuador. Undercover police saw him travelling between flats in Kirkcaldy, Perth, Stirling, Falkirk, Alva and Dundee. Judge Lord Matthews told Barbosa: “You are a family man with no previous convictions and have pleaded guilty to serious offences involving the exploitation of women resulting in you obtaining a significant amount of money.” The court heard that Barbosa came to Britain after running up debts of £100,000 in Brazil when a car business failed. Advocate depute Mark McGuire, prosecuting, said a police probe was sparked by a tip-off in August 2013 that Barbosa, who lived in Kirkcaldy, was involved in organised prostitution. * For more on this story see Wednesday’s Courier try our digital edition.

Angus & The Mearns

Dangerous algae discovered at Keptie Pond

July 27 2015

Dangerous algae has appeared at an Angus beauty spot. High concentrations of blue algae have been found at Keptie Pond in Arbroath. Notices have been put up at the side to warn people to keep their pets to stay out of the water. An Angus Council spokesman said: “Recent sampling has identified high levels of blue-green algae and until the all clear is given we are asking visitors to avoid contact with the water and keep their pets away. “Contact can cause harmful effects such as rashes, vomiting, diarrhoea, muscle or joint pain and can be severe. “When in high concentrations in the water this naturally occurring algae can multiply to cause algal blooms which may then release toxins. “The behaviour of algae is erratic and the levels of its toxicity can fluctuate. It can appear one day, be dispersed by the wind and re-accumulate at any time.” Anyone with concerns is asked to contact the council’s ACCESSLine on 08452 777 778.

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

Angus & The Mearns

Contamination drilling test D-day for ancient well bid

January 12 2018

A contamination drilling test D-day is looming for an ancient well project in Angus. A drilling rig at Arbroath’s Keptie Pond will begin taking soil samples to test the suitability of the land. Keptie Friends want to bring the Nolt Loan well back into use to curb the unsightly algae problem which blights the pond every year. In 2017, the rim of the historic Nolt Loan Well, which at one time provided a piped water supply to the town, was located and exposed. The group hopes to have the well re-opened so an affordable supply of fresh spring water can be pumped into Keptie Pond. Roughly 1,300,000 gallons is required to raise water levels by a foot, and losses through evaporation and seepage, average out at 22,000 gallons daily. Volunteer George Park said: “To minimise haulage associated with the excavation work, it is planned to spread the soil on the adjacent park, so filling a noticeable dip. “Before soil can be spread on public property it is necessary to have the material tested for contamination, and in order to do that, a rig will be at the site to drill a hole in the middle of the well and obtain samples to a depth of approximately 50 feet. “Research, and common sense, used to locate the almost forgotten water supply, suggests in the strongest terms that the material in the well is the same material excavated from it, when the well was first formed but regulations and protocols do not make provision for the use of common sense, and sampling is essential to allow Angus Council to give the group the ‘green light’. “This is a fairly costly exercise, but something which must be done, if the group are to proceed further." Mr Park said Keptie Friends have entered 2018 optimistic this year will see the end of the problems of water shortage and poor water quality at Keptie Pond. A £60,000 funding campaign is being launched to bring the well back into use with a starting pot of £5,000 following Tesco Bags of Help money and a donation. The decaying vegetation, bird and fish droppings, and decomposing uneaten food cause the water to be nutrient enriched. Warm, nutrient enriched water provides ideal conditions for blue/green algae. Along with providing a water supply from the well, a re-circulation pump would also be installed and pipework, along with a compressor and oxygenation pipeline.

UK & World

Mesmerising video shows lava hitting the sea in Hawaii

February 2 2017

Footage has been captured of a bright orange “firehose” lava stream spouting out of a cliff on Hawaii’s coast – and it’s a truly awesome sight. The stream of molten rock comes from the Kilauea volcano and is pouring from a tube exposed after a 26-acre lava delta collapsed on New Year’s Eve. The red-hot lava is flowing from the Kamokuna ocean entry, exploding on impact with the cold sea water, and has been for some time. Footage captured in January shows the lava stream’s wide spray has become more narrow in recent days. (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 Edward Dracott'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', 'd541af68-277d-4d60-a9ac-776c2e3e8e63'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sci-tech,paservice:snappa,paservice:snappa:science'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story-enriched'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', 'paasset:video'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', null); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Awesome footage shows \'firehose\' lava stream pouring into the ocean off Hawaii'});

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.