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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...


Tributes paid to ‘brave’ MSP Brian Adam

May 3 2013

The late MSP Brian Adam has been praised by leaders from across the political divide for his contribution to Scottish politics and his bravery in the face of illness. Mr Adam, who was 64, died at home in Aberdeen last Thursday following a long battle with cancer. Party leaders and Holyrood’s presiding officer, Tricia Marwick, paid tribute to the SNP member for Aberdeen Donside during a special motion of condolence led by First Minister Alex Salmond. Mr Adam’s wife Dorothy,children Neil, Jamie, Sarah, David and Alan, and other family members attended ahead of his funeral, to be held in Aberdeen on Friday. Ms Marwick said: “Like many others in the chamber I treasured Brian Adam both as a friend and as a colleague. Brian was admired across the Parliament because of what lay at his core he was simply a good and decent man.”


MSP Brian Adam loses long battle with cancer aged 64

April 26 2013

Flags at the Scottish Parliament flew at half mast following the death of SNP MSP Brian Adam, 64, after a long battle with cancer. The First Minister and Presiding Officer led tributes to the trained biochemist, who worked at Glaxo in Montrose and served as a councillor before being elected to the first Scottish Parliament in 1999, representing North East Scotland. He won the constituency of Aberdeen North and successfully held it with an increased majority in 2007. In 2011, Mr Adam won the new seat of Aberdeen Donside following boundary changes to previous constituencies. He previously served as chief whip and minister for parliamentary business. A by-election will now be triggered by the father-of-five’s death. Mr Adam lived in Aberdeen with his wife Dorothy, with whom he had four sons, a daughter and two grandchildren. In a statement, Mr Adam’s family said: “Brian had a hard fought battle with cancer but passed away peacefully during the night at home. “We would like to thank Brian’s colleagues and constituents for their huge support over this challenging and sensitive period. “Funeral arrangements will be announced in the next few days.” First Minister Alex Salmond said: “Brian was an exceptional MSP and was one of the crucial people who as chief whip, sustained the minority government between 2007-2011. “I was delighted to see him serve as a minister in this Parliament.” Addressing MSPs, Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick said: “Our flags are already being flown at half mast. Parliament will debate a motion of condolence next week.”

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

Farming news

SNP handling of new beef scheme attacked

November 10 2016

The Scottish Government's own efficiency has been called into question over the handling of the new £45million Beef Efficiency Scheme (BES). An estimated 180,000 beef cows from 2000 Scottish farmers have been enrolled in the new five-year  scheme which aims to improve the efficiency and quality of the beef herd and help producers increase the genetic value of their stock. But months after signing up for the scheme, farmers are still waiting to be supplied with special tags to meet the rules which call for 'tissue tagging' of 20% of cattle. And now NFU Scotland's livestock chairman Charlie Adam says farmers' confidence in the scheme is being affected and has called for the rules to be adjusted. The union has also urged the Scottish Government to update all scheme applicants on progress with BES and let them know when the necessary tags will arrive. “If tag delays cannot be resolved in the immediate future, then the Scottish Government should recognise the problem and make the tissue tagging element voluntary for 2016. This will allow those who can take samples from the animals that they still own to do so,"  said Mr Adam. “Applicants to this important scheme, worth £45 million to the industry, have every right to know now, and in detail, what they are expected to do to fulfil their BES obligations and Scottish Government must get back on the front foot in delivering the scheme.” Mr Adam added that it was frustrating for the farmers who have already housed and handled their cattle for the winter as many of those animals were by now located in overwintering accommodation that can be some distance from home farms. Shadow Rural Economy secretary, Peter Chapman MSP claimed it was impossible for farmers to sell store cattle in the autumn sales until they were told which animals need tagged and were sent  the tags to do the job. He added: "This will create huge cash flow and logistic problems for farmers who normally sell calves at this time – this is the SNP letting farmers down yet again.” A Scottish Government spokesman said work was under way to rectify the problem and a timetable was expected by the end of the week. He added: "It is not necessary for farmers to hold off from selling their animals. "We will ensure that the sampling regime accommodates those farmers who have sold their calves and there will be no penalties for those whoo have. It may mean that some farmers will have a higher rate of sampling next year." nnicolson@thecourier.co.uk      


Robbers facing lengthy jail term after knifepoint raid of Dundee flat

November 28 2013

Two men burst into a flat, punched the occupier in the face and threatened him and his partner with a knife before robbing them of hundreds of pounds, Dundee Sheriff Court has heard. Derek Adam opened the door to the two men and was forced to hold a pillow in front of his face as they threatened to stab him and several other people and demanded money from him, before trashing the flat. Jamie Lee Ottaway, 31, and James Thomas Gallacher, 33, both prisoners at Perth, face lengthy spells in jail after Sheriff Kenneth McGowan deferred sentence, remanding both in custody. The court heard that the two burst into the flat at 58 Main Street, Dundee, on August 23 before assaulting Mr Adam and his partner. They admitted threatening them, brandishing a knife at them, threatening to stab them, damaging fixtures and fittings, and robbing them of a computer games console, two memory sticks, a mobile phone, a wallet and its contents, a lighter and a bag containing a sum of money amounting to £606. Gallacher also admitted that on August 22, at the Lily Walker Centre, Ann Street, he stole a bank card. Depute fiscal Trina Sinclair told the court that both men barged into the flat, forcing Mr Adam to retreat into a bedroom. They threatened him with a knife, shouting: “Where’s the money?” Gallacher was holding a knife with a black handle and a blade estimated to be around two to three inches long, Ms Sinclair said. “Mr Adam was screaming at the accused saying not to hurt him and he would get the money. Ottaway went into the living room and shouted: ‘This is a robbery. We’ll stick it in whoever we need to’.” She added that the accused then began trashing the living room and the kitchen, lunging at the witnesses, who were forced to take evasive action. Meanwhile Mr Adam had shown them a make-up bag containing more than £600 in cash. Ms Sinclair told the court that four witnesses were walking on Dens Road near Isla Street when Mr Adam’s girlfriend came up to them, extremely distressed, and telling them she had been robbed. They went back to the flat and the two robbers were seen leaving. Ottaway was holding the knife and telling the witnesses they “didn’t see anything”. He then offered cannabis to one of them, telling her not to go to the police. Ottaway and Gallacher were traced by officers in Alexander Street and, following a search, the cash and goods were recovered. Solicitor Brian Cooney said Ottaway understood the seriousness of the assault and called it a “complete act of madness”. He said he was completely drunk at the time and “regrets entirely what happened”. Doug McConnell, for Gallacher, said his client was realistic about what the sentence would be but said he was known to the complainers “to some extent”. He added that it was “not a house that was chosen randomly” by the accused as he had been there before in the company of a woman who was a drug abuser. “He had taken Valium on the day and felt he had been due money,” Mr McConnell said, adding, “but he admits he shouldn’t have gone there in the state he was in.” Sheriff McGowan told both accused: “This is a very serious robbery. You both have appalling records and I want to have some time to think about what sentence I will hand down to you.” He deferred sentence on both until December 4, remanding them in custody.

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.

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

‘Outsider’ artist Adam Christie’s profile set in stone

January 26 2016

A sculpture commemorating an “outsider artist” who spent 50 years in an Angus mental institution has been unveiled at the end of an eight-year project. Adam Christie from Shetland spent his adult life in Sunnyside Royal Hospital and was buried in a pauper’s grave at nearby Montrose in 1950. His resting place at Sleepyhillock Cemetery had been marked by a Historic Scotland plaque, with a counterpart unveiled in his birthplace of Cunningsburgh. The campaign to keep his name alive has culminated in the unveiling of a stone head by Arbroath sculptor Brian Wyllie. Facing towards Sunnyside and Shetland, the Christie study was based on a photograph in the book The Gentle Shetlander by Ken Keddie, which related the artist’s life at the institution. https://www.youtube.com/embed/Ns5kVSaHwfQ?rel=0 Christie was taken under the wing of celebrated Montrose sculptor William Lamb, but shunned sophisticated tools in favour of a six-inch nail and old file. “In 2014 we unveiled a plaque here and it was dedicated by Historic Scotland,” said project director Dave Ramsay. “It was always the idea we would finish this off with a sculpture that would commemorate Adam Christie, almost forever.” Aberdeenshire Deputy Provost Allison Grant and Angus Deputy Provost Alex King helped unveil the sculpture along with descendants of Christie from Shetland. Local music teacher Beth Wyllie performed a piece entitled Slow Air to Adam. Ms Wyllie said: “I was so delighted to be asked to contribute to this wonderful venture and feel honoured to have been able to play a small part in the creative process to celebrate the life of Adam Christie.” Mr Ramsay added: “I was looking for someone like Brian who could be creative and pay a fiddle tribute to Adam, as a fellow fiddler, to celebrate another of his talents. “I had outlined to Beth what I thought the piece should involve but the finished composition is way beyond my original expectations.” Following the memorial, Dr Cheryl McGeachan of Glasgow University gave a talk at the Park Hotel in town, on the links between mental illness and what is now termed outsider art.

Readers' letters

So many near misses approaching bridge

April 15 2013

Sir, I sincerely hope that when the roadworks are complete at Dundee’s waterfront there is a totally separate lane leading on to the Tay Road Bridge. Last Monday I was heading home to Tayport along Riverside Drive only to be stopped at the Tesco entrance at exactly 5pm. I was in the correct lane unlike so many who chanced their luck in the left-hand lane, only to later indicate and push their car into the right-hand lane. So many near misses. Because of this it took me and everyone else in the correct lane 28 minutes to reach the Tay Road Bridge access. No mention was made of this on the Radio Tay jambuster line. When I eventually got home I searched my phone book and checked online for their number to alert them to the congestion. Couldn’t find it anywhere. Why not display it on the billboards? Goodness knows there are plenty of them en route! So, come on, traffic controllers and pushy drivers get your act together! Anne H F Lowe. 13 Nelson Street, Tayport. Biomass makes no sense Sir, Recent Courier reports relating to the proposed biomass plant in Dundee have focused on the health impact associated with emissions of nitrogen dioxide but what is never mentioned is the increase in local carbon dioxide emissions. No new coal-fired generation facility would be allowed in Scotland without carbon emission mitigation and yet people seem to be sleep walking into supporting a so-called biomass (wood burning) facility which also emits significant quantities of carbon dioxide. Both coal and wood-burning involve the oxidation of carbon to form carbon dioxide. In fact, a wood-burning generator emits almost 25% more carbon dioxide per kWh of electricity generated than a coal-fired generator would. In effect, Dundee would be importing carbon emissions from the countries from which the wood will be sourced. This makes no sense when we are ravaging our countryside with ever more wind turbines in an effort to reduce Scotland’s carbon emissions. Dr G M Lindsay. Whinfield Gardens, Kinross. Figures are dwarfed Sir, I wish to congratulate Steve Flynn on his excellent letter (Courier, April 11) on the inequalities of present government legislation. While most people do not wish to see illegal benefit claims made, these are dwarfed by tax dodging from the well-off and by reduced taxes, again, to people who are much more than comfortably off. Another group of people Mr Flynn does not mention are the directors of banks who, through inefficiency and cavalier decisions have cost the taxpayer billions of pounds yet, many are still being paid large bonuses and pensions. I am sure that the amounts of illegal benefit claims pale into insignificance when compared to these latter items. John Baston. 9a Seabourne Gardens, Broughty Ferry. It is a time to show respect Sir, Why should anyone want to organise a street party to celebrate the demise of a former prime minister? The only appropriate time to organise such a gathering was surely when that person left office(in the case of Mrs Thatcher, over 22 years ago). But dancing on the grave, so to speak, of the former leader is not just distasteful it is perverse. It doesn’t matter whether it is in the Durham coalfields, the republican streets of Belfast and Londonderry, or the centre of Glasgow or Brixton. Events like these don’t just diminish our reputation for tolerance, they undermine the whole texture of political debate and democracy. Respect for your opponents in time of personal difficulty and death is simple good manners and humanity. Nobody contests that Mrs Thatcher was a controversial figure. But the plain fact is that her attitudes and beliefs (honestly held and worthy of respect at a time of her passing), were subject to the test of the ballot box. For good or ill she was successful on three occasions. In the end it was her own MPs and Cabinet who prompted her resignation in November 1990. Bob Taylor.24 Shiel Court,Glenrothes.Remarks show a lack of classSir, I write with reference to your article featuring Labour councillor Tom Adams and entitled, A dram to toast the lady’s demise.I found the tone of the article to be in incredibly poor taste and I am very uncomfortable with the pleasure Mr Adams appears to derive from the death of an 87-year-old frail lady with Alzheimer’s. Mr Adams, of course, makes no mention of the fact that Harold Wilson closed three times as many coal mines as Margaret Thatcher ever did. Nor does he appear to apportion any responsibility for his plight as a young man to the militant NUM leader Arthur Scargill. Most of those in his party seem to accept that Mr Scargill and his fellow militants played a major role in the failure of the mining industry. That aside, his comments, coming from an elected member of Fife Council regarding Mrs Thatcher’s death are disgraceful and show a distinct lack of class. Allan D S Smith. 10 Balgonie Place, Markinch.