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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…


Dundee University research points to steroids as way of treating chronic rhinosinusitis

March 5 2011

A combination of oral and nasal steroids can significantly improve the treatment of chronic rhinosinusitis a common and often debilitating form of sinusitis and help avoid surgery, according to new research carried out at Dundee University. Chronic rhinosinusitis effects millions of people in the western world, with almost 15% of the European population estimated to suffer from the disease. This dual approach, which the study’s principal investigator likened to mowing the lawn before applying weedkiller, demonstrates that steroid pills followed by steroid drops and sprays can safely be used to treat CRN patients who present with nasal polyps. The study, led by Professor Brian Lipworth from Dundee’s Asthma and Allergy Research Group, worked with 60 adults who were referred for evaluation and treatment of CRN, a condition in which inflammation of the lining of the nose and sinuses causes nasal congestion, pressure, pain and loss of smell. In some patients, repeated episodes of inflammation due to infections, allergies or other reasons cause the lining of the sinuses to swell up into bags of fluid called polyps, which protrude into the nasal passages. Nasal steroid sprays are commonly used to treat CRN, but are ineffective if medium to large polyps are present. Many patients eventually undergo keyhole-type surgery to remove the polyps. Professor Lipworth said that the findings vindicated a regimen followed in Ninewells Hospital in recent years, which had successfully treated CRN patients with polyps, and which had reduced the instances of surgery. “The principal problem with nasal polyps is that the plumbing of the sinuses is jammed,” he explained. “An initial short course of oral steroids under supervision may help the nasal sprays to better penetrate into the sinus openings and this is what we have now proved in our study. “To give a crude analogy, the initial ‘mowing of the lawn’ with the oral steroid tablets is needed before the ‘weedkillers’, the nasal steroids, are sprayed. This can act as a ‘medical polypectomy’ and prevent unnecessary surgery a regimen which we call ‘Dundee Polyp Clear’.”

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

Academic dismisses Scottish Licensed Trade Association appeal on smoking ban

May 26 2011

A leading academic dismissed renewed calls for the Scottish Government to relax the smoking ban as “absolute nonsense”. Professor Brian Lipworth of Dundee University made the comment in response to the Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA), which wants ministers to adopt the same approach as many other European countries and allow smoking indoors under certain conditions. The trade body says 800 pubs have already closed their doors for good since the ban on smoking in public places came into force in 2006. They describe the law as “draconian” with only five out of 27 countries in the EU using similar legislation. Although the chief executive of the SLTA, Paul Waterson, believes there is no going back to the smoke-filled bars, he is keen to see a range of new measures considered such as creating special licences allowing smoking and designated rooms that could be used by smokers. But Professor Lipworth disagrees with the approach and warns any reversal of the current law would be a step in the wrong direction. “I believe it would undo a lot of good work already done,” said Professor Lipworth, who led a research project into the health implications of a smoking ban for bar workers shortly before it came into law. “To suggest a room within a pub that can restrict the exposure of smoke elsewhere is just not going to work.” The professor of allergy and pulmonology discovered through his own research that the health of bar workers improves where second-hand smoke is not present. He reckons that holding up other European countries as a template to copy is not a fair comparison and is under no illusions that UK residents are already enjoying secondary health benefits as a consequence of the ban.Knock-on health benefit”The likelihood is that some people who want to smoke in the pub but can’t will say, ‘Sod it I am not going to bother going out.’ They end up drinking less alcohol and, of course, save money.”I don’t believe the smoking ban is draconian. It has already resulted in health benefits for people.” Professor Lipworth believes there is little chance of the government reversing legislation. “I don’t think the Scottish Government are going to rewind the tape. It’s a long shot,” he said. Although the threat of would-be pub customers electing for a quiet night in is exactly what the licensed industry fears, for health experts this scenario is viewed as a positive step. NHS Tayside’s director of public health, Dr Drew Walker, says the health board is against any proposals to relax the smoking ban. He agrees that the UK as a whole has benefited from the ban, with less people admitted with smoking-related diseases. “NHS Tayside fully supports the existing ban,” said Dr Walker. “In our view, the ban on smoking in public places reinforces a culture of non-smoking in Scotland. Smoking is the biggest single cause of death and disease in Tayside and it’s a major priority for NHS Tayside to reduce the numbers of smokers.”Dutch exampleMany European countries operate a smoking ban in public places, such as in the Netherlands which went on to become the first to overturn the law late last year allowing small independent bars to allow smoking. Despite this landmark ruling Scott Clark, bar manager of Braes on the Perth Road in Dundee, is holding out little hope that a similar move would be seen in this country. “The smoking ban has been very popular with lots of people but there was a hard core at the time who did not want it,” he said. “I think smoking indoors is gone now and I can’t see the government changing that. “Just the other day I read that they want to go further and ban smoking outdoors in New York. I think that is a more likely direction we will go in.” At the Ladywell Tavern on the Victoria Road in Dundee, the new owners say they would welcome a change in policy. “I honestly believe that if a public house does not serve food then they should be allowed to let customers smoke,” said manager Kathie Berg. “I think it is up to the individual which pub they go to.”

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

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.

Perth & Kinross

Culinary dimension added to Perth Show

July 28 2016

For more than 150 years Perth Show has been a popular, once a year meeting point for the people of the city and the farming community. The show – now the third largest of its type in Scotland – remains as always a showcase for champion livestock but this year holds a much wider appeal for visitors. To be held on Friday and Saturday August 5 and 6 on the South Inch, throughout the two days, trade stands, sideshows, entertainment, activities, music and parades all add to the vibrancy of the show along with a new culinary direction. “For the first time, Perth Show is set to feature a cookery theatre and food and drink marquee,” said show secretary Neil Forbes. “This will bring a new and popular dimension to the visitor attraction. “Perth Show 2016 is also delighted to welcome Perthshire On A Plate (POAP) – a major food festival, celebrating the very best in local produce and culinary talent. “Organised by Perthshire Chamber of Commerce, the two-day festival will run as part of the show and feature celebrity and local chefs, demonstrations and tastings, book signings, food and drink related trade stands, fun-filled activities for ‘kitchen kids’ and a large dining area and pop-up restaurants in a double celebration of food and farming.” Heading the celebrity chef line-up are television favourite Rosemary Shrager (Friday) and spice king Tony Singh (Saturday), backed by a host of talented local chefs including Graeme Pallister (63 Tay Street) and Grant MacNicol (Fonab Castle). The cookery theatre, supported by Quality Meat Scotland, will also stage a fun cookery challenge between students from Perth College and the ladies of the SWI. A range of pop-up restaurants featuring taster dishes from some of the area’s best known eating places will allow visitors to sample local produce as they relax in the show’s new POAP dining area. “We’re trying to create a wide and varied programme of entertainment,” said Mr Forbes. “Late afternoon on Friday will see the It’s A Knockout  challenge with teams from businesses throughout Perth and Perthshire competing against each other. “And the first day’s programme will end with a beer, wine and spirit festival where teams can celebrate their achievements and visitors can sample a wide range of locally produced drinks.” This year will also see the reintroduction of showjumping at Perth Show on the Saturday afternoon.


Missing Fife man failed to turn up for shift despite being seen outside Rosyth Dockyards

February 26 2014

Police Scotland is appealing for information to help trace a man reported missing in Fife. Brian Binnie from the Valleyfield area was last seen at around 7.15am on Monday near to Rosyth Dockyards where he works. However, the 50-year-old did not attend for his shift and has not been seen or heard from since. Officers are now trying to establish Brian’s whereabouts and would urge anyone who can assist with their enquiries to come forward. He is described as white, 5ft 8in, with a medium to stout build, short greying hair and a tanned complexion. He was last seen wearing blue overalls, work boots and a yellow hi-viz jacket. However, he may have since changed his clothing. Sergeant Tony Rogers said: “Brian’s family and friends are growing increasingly concerned for his wellbeing and are keen to ensure he is safe and well. “Anyone with information that can help us trace him is asked to contact police immediately. “In addition, I would also request that Brian make contact with police to let us know he is safe and well.” Anyone with information can contact Police Scotland on 101.

Perth & Kinross

Injured jockey Brian Toomey showing signs of improvement

July 23 2013

Injured jockey Brian Toomey is able to move his limbs and is breathing without a ventilator, his mother has revealed. Conditional rider Toomey, 24, was left with serious head injuries after falling from Solway Dandy at Perth Racecourse on July 4. He had surgery to reduce swelling and pressure on his brain and was initially in an induced coma in the intensive care ward at Ninewells Hospital, Dundee. His mother Marian said: “Brian is able to move all four limbs and is no longer reliant on a respirator but his breathing is being assisted by a tracheotomy.” She added: “Brian’s family and girlfriend, Amy Ryan, would once again like to thank everyone for their continued support and all the cards and messages they have received.”