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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

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.


Man jailed for stealing designer shirt from Dundee shop two days after appearing in court

April 21 2014

A Dundee man who stole a designer shirt only two days after appearing in court was sentenced to six months in prison. Steven Greig, 36, also attempted to make off with another two high-end items worth £774 from Threads on Commercial Street. Appearing at the city’s sheriff court on Saturday, Greig, of Adamson Court, admitted that on Thursday he stole a designer shirt costing £250. He also admitted removing the security tags and price labels from a Stone Island jacket and Stone Island shirt and attempting to steal them. Depute fiscal Isma Muktar said: “Around 4.50pm a member of staff at the store saw the accused. “The member of staff entered the second room area to speak with the male and he noticed a grey Stone Island jacket on the floor. “The accused said someone had dropped it. The member of staff hung it up and want to serve another customer.” Ms Muktar said the shop assistant thought it was strange the item had just been dropped as the second room housed the more expensive merchandise. Greig then left and the staff member found the labels had been ripped off the jacket and a shirt. He reviewed CCTV footage and contacted the police who were dealing with other matters. Ms Muktar said: “Around 6pm, the member of staff saw the accused standing outside Waterstones. He phoned the police on his mobile and began following the accused.” Police then traced Greig in Meadowside. He was searched and officers found two labels in his backpack and the £250 Stone Island shirt. Greig’s solicitor Jim Laverty said his client had left court on Tuesday with instructions to report to the social work offices. He said he had been on remand and had taken up residence with his wife but the family had not been in receipt of benefits. Mr Laverty said: “He came upon the idea of shoplifting to, in effect, put food on the table.” Sheriff Richard Macfarlane sentenced Greig to six months in prison.

UK & World

Pilot pleads not guilty over Shoreham Airshow manslaughter charges

May 15 2018

A pilot whose plane crashed during the 2015 Shoreham Airshow, killing 11 men, has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter.Andrew Hill, 54, faces trial on 11 charges of manslaughter by gross negligence and one of recklessly or negligently endangering an aircraft under air navigation laws.The defendant, who is on bail, pleaded not guilty to all the charges relating to the crash on August 22, 2015.He wore a grey suit and blue tie for his appearance at the Old Bailey before Judge Richard Marks QC.The judge set a trial for January 14 2019 and confirmed the case would be heard by a High Court judge.The trial is expected to go on for up to seven weeks.The victims were Maurice Rex Abrahams, Dylan Archer, Anthony David Brightwell, Matthew James Grimstone, Matthew Wesley Jones, James Graham Mallinson, Mark Alexander Reeves, Jacob Henry Schilt, Richard Jonathan Smith, Mark James Trussler and Daniele Gaetano Polito.Hill, of Sandon, Hertfordshire, is accused of “recklessly or negligently” endangering a Hawker Hunter G-BXFI or any person on that aircraft contrary to Article 137 of the Air Navigation Order 2009.Judge Marks ordered a pre-trial review at the Old Bailey on a date to be arranged at the end of October.Hill remains on unconditional bail.

UK & World

Corbyn says no excuse for anti-Semitism and praises bravery of abused MPs

April 18 2018

Jeremy Corbyn has said there can be “no excuse” for abuse as he praised the bravery of MPs who spoke out about the anti-Semitic attacks they have suffered.A series of Labour MPs spoke in the Commons about the abuse they had received from people who purported to be supporters of Mr Corbyn.In an emotional Commons debate, Luciana Berger said Labour must expel those with anti-Semitic views, and criticised people who attacked her for speaking out on the issue while claiming to be both party members and supporters of the #JC4PM – Jeremy Corbyn for prime minister – campaign.A standing ovation – in defiance of parliamentary convention – followed Ruth Smeeth’s speech, in which the Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent North read a sample of the abuse aimed at her and insisted: “Enough really is enough.”Labour former minister Dame Margaret Hodge was applauded after a speech in which she said it felt as if her party hasd “given permission for anti-Semitism to go unchallenged”, while John Mann said he had been targeted by campaign group Momentum for showing solidarity with Jewish Labour members – with his wife “threatened with rape” by a “leftist anti-Semite”.Mr Corbyn responded to the debate on Twitter, saying the “harrowing experiences” shared in the Commons showed the “urgent need to eradicate anti-Semitism from politics and society”.But he made no explicit reference to the concerns raised by Labour MPs about problems within the party.He said: “I pay tribute to MPs who spoke in yesterday’s anti-Semitism debate, whose harrowing experiences remind us of the urgent need to eradicate anti-Semitism from politics and society.“There is no excuse for abuse of any kind, and I want to thank them for their bravery in speaking out.”During Tuesday’s debate, Ms Berger (Liverpool Wavertree) and other MPs backed calls to expel Ken Livingstone from the Labour Party, with former minister Ian Austin saying the ex-London mayor had been “comparing, claiming that Hitler was a Zionist” – labelling this as anti-Semitism “pure and simple”.Ms Berger was also applauded by MPs from all sides after she detailed the anti-Semitic abuse she has faced, which she said began when she was 19 and described her as a “dirty Zionist pig”.Following Ms Berger’s speech, Ms Smeeth (Stoke-on-Trent North) could be seen crying and was comforted by party colleague Wes Streeting (Ilford North).In her own speech, Ms Smeeth read out abuse before saying: “I stand here today to say that we will not be bullied out of political engagement, we are going nowhere and we stand and will keep fighting until the evils of anti-Semitism have been removed from our society.”Mr Corbyn was in the Commons for large parts of the debate, with Communities Secretary Sajid Javid accusing the Labour leader of a “deeply worrying lack of leadership and moral clarity” on anti-Semitism.


Hero police officers sign up to become stem cell donors

May 2 2018

More than 500 recruits at the Police Scotland training college have signed up to become life-saving stem cell donors. The groundbreaking partnership between the police and blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan was launched at Tulliallan in September 2016. It was hoped that special recruitment events would share the work the charity does while encouraging more police officers, particularly men, to get involved. Anyone aged between 16 and 30 can sign up with Anthony Nolan but young men are particularly in demand as they make up just 17% of potential donors. More than half of the new recruits who have joined from Police Scotland are male, which is helping to make the register more representative. Anthony Nolan’s Chief Executive Henny Braund said: “We are delighted that our partnership with Police Scotland has already resulted in more than 500 probationers joining the Anthony Nolan register. “Anyone who signs up as a stem cell donor has the potential to save the life of someone with blood cancer, so it’s vital that people have the chance to hear about it and sign up. “Joining the register is simple – just fill in a form and provide a cheek swab. “If you are a match for someone and go on to donate, 90% of people will donate through their blood in a straightforward outpatient procedure.” https://www.thecourier.co.uk/fp/news/local/fife/315737/two-donors-found-lochgelly-youngster-ava-stark/ Superintendent Chris Stones of Police Scotland said: “The partnership represents a fantastic opportunity for Police Scotland student Constables to volunteer to join the Anthony Nolan register in order to give someone in need the chance of life.   “We are delighted to work with Anthony Nolan, raising the awareness of the amazing work they do, and hope that this milestone is just the first of many.” Anthony Nolan helped save the life of Lochgelly youngster Ava Stark after she was diagnosed with inherited bone marrow failure in 2016. The charity helped her find a match on the bone marrow register and she successfully underwent her transplant in December that year. To find out more, please visit: www.anthonynolan.org

St Johnstone

Posh chief’s launches Twitter tirade at St Johnstone

August 22 2013

There looks to be little or no chance of St Johnstone striker Stevie May moving to Peterborough United after the Posh chairman launched a Twitter tirade at the Perth club. The English League One club have matched Saints’ valuation of the Scotland under-21 international, Darragh McAnthony has claimed, but their attempt to pay up in instalments has scuppered the deal. McAnthony took to social media to explain why the proposed transfer has stalled, and ended up bickering with Saints fans. And he also took aim at Saints manager Tommy Wright in his online rant. He wrote: “How many press articles has the St Johnstone manager done about S May & us.” McAnthony went on: “Enough already as its getting silly. So some facts as revealed by him, yes we put bids in for said player. “They rejected them, sent us their terms, we met all terms bar how they want money paid. They want it all in this budget year. “We never do our business that way as we have told them & have % rules etc to work within. “Posh will not be changing final offer made last week & no amount of press articles will make a difference. “And as for the ‘No disrespect, he might get a bigger club looking at him’ comment, I hope that works out for them & their club.” Saints chairman Steve Brown said: “I don’t think I’ll bother commenting on something someone is saying about us on Twitter. “We conduct our business a bit more professionally than that.”

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


Hunt for transplant donor for Fife boy with rare blood disorder

March 25 2017

An urgent appeal has been launched for a stem cell donor for a 10-year-old Fife boy with a life-threatening blood disorder. Jay Dalrymple developed aplastic anaemia after suffering from stomach aches and jaundice in November last year due to a hepatitis infection. The Kirkcaldy youngster’s family have urged people to sign up to the Anthony Nolan register in the hope that they could be a match. Their plea comes just months after four-year-old Ava Stark, of Lochgelly, received a bone marrow transplant following a high-profile hunt for a match. Jay has to go to hospital twice a week for blood and platelet transfusions. Unless he receives a transplant within 12 months he will need to go on to medication which carries the risk of him developing leukaemia. His older sister Kerrie Stark has launched a social media campaign to spread the word about Jay’s appeal. She said: “Jay’s just a 10-year-old boy, he was perfectly health until November and now, all of a sudden, he can’t do normal things like going to school or playing outside. “If anybody was willing to sign up it would mean everything, it could save his life. “It would mean everything to get him back.” Jay’s mother Lynn McDuff thought he had a simple cold when his school rang one day last autumn to tell her he was feeling unwell. But family life was turned upside down when they discovered it was something much more serious, an extremely rare disorder in which the body does not produce enough red blood cells. Star Wars fan Jay spent Christmas in the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh before he was diagnosed and has been unable to attend school since, as his low red blood count means he has little energy. None of Jay’s three sisters and brother is a suitable donor and Jay’s best chance of a cure is a stem cell transplant from an unrelated donor. Jay’s family are raising funds for Anthony Nolan by holding an event at Kinglassie Miners Welfare Institute on May 13. Funds are also being raised to help the family during his treatment and for a holiday when he recovers by Kinglassie woman Catherine Sala-Murray, whose Facebook page is Kats Mission. Plea for donors Amy Bartlett of the Anthony Nolan register said signing as a potential donor is straight-forward. She said: “Joining the register couldn’t be easier. “Just fill in your details on the Anthony Nolan website and we will send you a spit kit through the post to collect a saliva sample. “If you’re lucky enough to be a match for someone, 90% of people will donate in a straightforward outpatient procedure similar to giving blood.”   The Anthony Nolan website is at www.anthonynolan.org.