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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...

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

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

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.

Readers' letters

NHS data sharing the thin end of the wedge

March 5 2015

Sir, The Scottish Government wants to use the data that NHS Scotland has about me to give to all arms of government. Okay, I am a dissident, impervious to John Swinney’s charms and unlikely to sign a loyalty pledge to the SNP any time soon, but they want to use everyone else’s data too. The good news is that, as yet, they don’t want medical data. The bad news is that they want to share our details with an enormous list of quangos, charities and trusts within and outwith Scotland. Quite why my details should be shared seamlessly with the Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, the Hutton Institute and Quality Meat Scotland I cannot understand. Imagine the fuss if a hapless NHS employee left a laptop containing data in a taxi. The Government’s proposal amounts to a hundred laptops left in a hundred taxis. Once the principle goes there will be little to stop the regulations widening to include more recipients or widening the data type permitted. Poll tax refuseniks had only to disappear off the electoral register; soon you would need to avoid being born and/or having medical treatment in Scotland to escape the eye of official-dom. Until recently I can’t remember any fuss in the media about this but we really must send a message to the SNP that they needto desist. George Hayton. 6 Montgomery Way, Kinross. Blue badge charge . . . Sir, With reference to my recent letter concerning the proposed £20 charge by Fife Council I think Mr Richards (Letters, March 3), is missing my point. I am, like most other people, struggling with the increased cost of living and any extra expense is not welcomed but I would be able to do without many things before I could do without my blue badge. The charge will not be means tested nor is Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance or PIP as these benefits are to help with extra expenses disabled people have. For instance, many people who had polio have feet with a big difference in size eg one foot size four and one size seven, therefore they have to buy two pairs of shoes at a time. Fife Council will be only one of many councils charging for a blue badge and I suppose we can be thankful it has not happened sooner. However, maybe Fife Council could look at not charging people who do not qualify for the above benefits. M Gibb. 5 The Barns, Burntisland. Grateful for his skill Sir, Re your articles about Professor Eljamel. In the latter half of the 1990s, my late husband Allan, who had ongoing spinal problems, suffered a fall which left him partially paralysed and unable to walk. He was operated on by Mr Eljamel at the then Dundee Royal Infirmary. The operation was a success and as a result he had another 14 years or so of reasonable mobility. I will always be grateful to Mr Eljamel for his skill and care during that difficult time. Sheena Urquhart. 4 Gallowden Avenue, Arbroath. Train service is not ‘atrocious’ Sir, I must take issue with letter writer Mr Denis Taylor (March 3), when he describes the train service from Dundee to Edinburgh as atrocious. From the present Scotrail timetable it can be seen that there are 37 trains from Dundee to Edinburgh on weekdays and 17 on Sundays. In the opposite direction there are 34 trains on weekdays and 16 on Sundays. Journey times range from just over an hour to an hour and a half depending, of course, on the number of stations stopped at. Far from being atrocious the numbers and frequency of the service appear to be providing an excellent service. Iain Bell. 24 Victoria Street, Arbroath. ‘Full house’ at this church Sir, Re you’re headline and article “Minister: Lack of interest killing us” (February 28), had your writer attended the morning service at the Church of the Nazerene the previous Sunday, he would have been hard pushed to find a seat among the 250 available. In fact this church is in the process of increasing its seating capacity. I reckon this would have been true at the Baptist Church, the Christian Centre and any of the other evangelical churches in the area. So what makes the difference? I would suggest that these churches believe the bible to be the word of God, teach it as the word of God and the divine promise that “my word will not return to me void”, (ie empty/worthless) applies and the preached word has life-changing impact on the hearer. And then they come to church regularly to get fed on that word. Paul in his epistle to the church in Corinth, notes that: “If the trumpet gives an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself for the battle?” I think the problem with the Church of Scotland is that they fail to take an uncompromising, bible-based stand against anything; are all things to all men and crucially fail to preach the Gospel. As a 65-year-old who became a Christian when I responded to the message of the Gospel aged 15, I take no pleasure in virtually empty churches. May God in His mercy change it. John Napier. Redgorton, Perthshire.


Kirk raises new fears over gay marriage

April 28 2015

The Church of Scotland has raised new concerns that ministers could be sued for refusing to marry gay couples. In a report due to be considered by the general assembly next month, officials have warned the organisation could be “vulnerable to legal challenge”. This is due to possible discrimination under the European Convention on Human Rights. The report by the church’s Legal Questions Committee (LQC) says: “The scheme enables bodies such as the Church of Scotland and individual celebrants to be authorised to conduct different-sex marriages while at the same time refraining from seeking authorisation to conduct same-sex marriages. This legal structure may be argued to be discriminatory contrary to Articles 12 and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights.” There are suggestions the church could potentially pull out of solemnising all marriages but the report argues this would “rob ministers of one significant and evangelical opportunity” as marriages are an “important aspect of their ministry”. Concerns were also raised that any legal challenges could cause “financial” and “reputational” damages to the church. The Scottish Government says it protects those who do not wish to conduct ceremonies. But the LQC argues that if a legal challenge was successful, it would be repealed and likely replaced with a system where those who wish to carry out different-sex marriages must also oversee same-sex marriages.

Motoring news

Audi showcases raft of new cars

June 29 2016

Audi threw everything it had at the Goodwood Festival of Speed last weekend, with no fewer than nine upcoming models making their UK debuts. One of the most interesting – and affordable – was the new Q2. Audi’s smallest crossover yet, it’ll sit underneath the Q3, Q5 and big ole Q7. It will be available as a front wheel drive or with Audi’s Quattro four-wheel drive system. Under the skin there’s a choice of three TFSI petrol and three TDI diesels, with Audi’s 1.0 litre three-cylinder petrol offering 114bhp, the 1.4 litre four-cylinder sitting below the 187bhp 2,.0 litre TFSI. Diesel options are the 1.6 litre TDI with 114bhp and a pair of 2.0 litre TDIs with 148bhp or 187bhp. It goes on sale later this summer with a starting price expected to be in the region of £20,000. At the other end of the price scale is the R8 V10 Spyder. The 553bhp supercar comes a year after the second generation coupe R8 was released. Audi reckons the new Spyder is 50 per cent stiffer than the last Spyder, and its canvas roof stows beneath a massive rear deck, able to open or close at speeds up to 31mph in 20 seconds. Fuel economy “improves” to just over 24mpg thanks to a new coasting function that idles the engine when it’s not needed. Expect it to cost around £130,000. In between those two extremes are a plethora of other upcoming Audis, including the new S5 Coupe, and the Audi TT RS which first revealed a year ago is hardly new but apparently it had never been seen in the UK before. A couple of Q7s were also at Goodwood, including the Q7 e-tron plug-in hybrid, which returns a claimed 156mpg, and the SQ7 – a diesel with 429bhp. There was also the refreshed A3 range. Audi’s upmarket Golf rival has been given a styling refresh along with a few new engine options. Following a trend for downsizing, there’s a 1.0 litre three -cylinder petrol unit, while a powerful 2.0 petrol engine also joins the range.


Glenrothes DJ reverend to audition for X Factor

December 21 2016

A Glenrothes DJ turned reverend is hoping X Factor judges will be singing from the same hymn sheet when he auditions for the show. Reverend Scott McCrum from Christ's Kirk got as far as an audition with the talent show's producers at his last attempt and is planning to try again in 2017. Rev McCrum, whose varied jobs outside the clergy include being a DJ and hair transplant consultant, said: "I had some videos online and I got quite a lot of good feedback. I sent them to X Factor for a laugh and I got called down to Manchester. "I really wasn't expecting that and wasn't prepared for it. I definitely didn't do my best so I'm going to go back next year and have another crack at it." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0QeRYr-kOs Rev McCrum was caught on camera demonstrating Psalm 23 because he records services for sheltered housing residents who are unable to make it to church. The enterprising minister, who runs a company providing light and sound systems, has also been trying to attract more young people to the church. A hall at Christ's Kirk has been kitted out with disco lights and each weekend a bouncy castle and play equipment is laid out for "Funday" school. He added: "I start every sermon with a joke to get people laughing. Usually, you get to the sermon and a lot of people drift off." But there is also a serious side to Rev McCrum's work. He set up the church's Depression and Anxiety Support Group after struggling with his own mental health. "I wanted to set up a group to serve other people who have this problem and this has proved to be something people needed," said Rev McCrum. "I chose to 'come out' about my depression when I was still a full time DJ after two 20-year-olds in one of the towns I regularly played in committed suicide within a few months of each other. "I decided that depression was actually nothing to be ashamed of and so people needed to be willing to stand up to the stigma that prevented people seeking help." Church projects were recently boosted by a visit from Fife crime writer Val McDermid. Ms McDermid spoke at the church last month, with the event helping to raise more than £2,000.

Readers' letters

Wrong to involve Pope in Falklands dialogue

March 21 2013

Sir, A lot has been written and said recently about Pope Francis, the Catholic Church and the need for humility. So I was concerned to see that Argentinian President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner wants him to use his influence to promote dialogue over the Falkland Islands (Courier, March 19). The timing is unfortunate. In the same week that the new pontiff was elected by an obscure and secretive process, another vote was taking place in the south Atlantic. The islanders voted overwhelmingly in a referendum to remain a British overseas territory. Although the church has nearly a billion followers worldwide, that does not mean that they want to see the Vatican involved in international politics. In fact they are probably more concerned about how Pope Francis can help restore the church’s credibility in the wake of the child abuse scandals. He has started on the right note by trying to promote an image of a quiet, simple lifestyle which tends to shun pomp and grandeur. He would do well also to concentrate not just on making the institution and its clergy more accountable for their behaviour, he could insist that it adopts a less strident tone on private sexual morality and a more positive one in helping people seek consolation, encouragement and inspiration through religious belief. Bob Taylor. 24 Shiel Court, Glenrothes. Survey was misleading Sir, I read with astonishment the article in The Courier March 19, that according to a recent survey the majority of Scots are in favour of wind farms. I then discovered that a very small percentage of people were asked (the figure quoted was more than a thousand). I do not consider this number represents anywhere even close to a majority of the Scottish population. Do the people who are doing this have an ulterior motive for trying to persuade everyone to believe this survey? I would suggest that hydro power would be a cheaper method both for the environment and the population. June Reid. 12 Findhorn Street, Dundee. Nothing to do councillors? Sir, Whether it has been done with the best of intentions or not (Burger vans could face council ban, Courier, March 18), it seems that we really are living in a nanny state. Banning these vans may hinder kids from getting what they want to eat, but it won’t succeed in making them eat healthy options. I find it slightly scary that councillors have the power to ban this and that, without even considering that they may be destroying someone’s livelihood. I have no personal axe to grind, but it worries me that some of my tax money may be used to fight any legal challenge that this will, in all likelihood, involve. At a time of austerity and local cuts, shocking road surfaces and job losses, do the good councillors not have better things to do with their time? John Strachan. 23 Beechwood Avenue, Glenrothes. Bellringers and beavers Sir, I agree with David Gibbon, (letters, March, 19), when he states: “You should be ringing church bells for the return of beavers 400 years after they were hunted to extinction.” I wonder who the “You” is that he refers to? The editor in person, or the readership in general? Alas, without proper bellringing training, none of this will be possible and until then the beavers will have to make do with a less satisfactory welcome. As a bellringer, I would hope that unlike the beavers we will not be hunted to extinction and that the ancient art of bellringing will continue to provide a celebratory noise for years to come. This will only happen if sufficient numbers are available to maintain the sound of church bells which, I am sure, nobody would wish to disappear. Whereas there is no current danger of extinction, recruits are always welcome at all bell towers, and anyone wishing to “have a go” may contact me at the address below. Accordingly may I respectfully suggest the “You” to whom Mr Gibbon refers could be himself, thus ensuring the beavers do receive the welcome they deserve. Ronald Oliver. 4 Lethnot Street, Broughty Ferry, Dundee. Remove perk Sir, I read The Courier article on the loss of parking for PRI staff (Perth nurses’ safety fears, March 19), and noted it is shift staff who will be penalised the most with the loss of parking facilities. I bet the managers will still have their reserved bays. No doubt they will have set hours, mostly between 9am and 5pm, probably, and never start at 8am or finish after 10pm. Let them lose their perk of reserved parking and allocate the freed-up spaces to the shift staff. Alastair Mclean. 4 Fletcher Place , Crieff. Price too high Sir, Just for the avoidance of doubt, a nation’s possession of weapons of mass destruction does not in any way justify the invasion of it. And the death of one innocent child was too high a price to pay to get Saddam Hussein. I have no idea why 10 years later we are still entertaining the lies with any sort of serious examination. David McEwan Hill. Dalinlongart, Sandbank, Argyll.