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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.

Angus & The Mearns

Arbroath swimming pool set to re-open

December 17 2014

Arbroath swimming pool is set to re-open on Thursday morning. Angus Council closed the pool twice in November when traces of the diarrhoea bug cryptosporidium were found in the water. A full and independent assessment of the pool and the pool equipment has now been carried out and the council confirmed two water samples have been independently tested as clear. That will see the pool re-open at 8.30am. Council leisure officials have made a plea to follow simple rules to prevent any further risk of an outbreak of the painful bug. They have urged users not to swim if they have had diarrhoea in the last 14 days, to shower before using the pool, and to wash their hands after using the toilet. “If in doubt, stay out,” said a Council spokesperson. “Look out for the pool hygiene information at our pools, including specific information for parents of babies and toddlers.” Cryptosporidium is spread through contact with infected food, water and animals, including person-to-person spread. Outbreaks are commonly reported in association with animals and/or with private water supplies. The cryptosporidium bug can cause diarrhoea, vomiting, stomach cramps and a slight fever. Most cases are mild and improve without specific treatment. However, cryptosporidium infection can produce a severe illness in those whose immune systems are compromised.

Politics

Benefits cuts plan passes first hurdle

January 9 2013

The Government’s plan for a real-terms cut in working-age benefits has cleared its first Commons hurdle, after heated exchanges between coalition and Labour MPs. MPs voted by 324 to 268 to give the legislation a second reading but former Liberal Democrat minister Sarah Teather rebelled and warned attacks on the poor could lead to the “fragmentation” of society. Labour branded the plan a “strivers’ tax”, as 68% of households caught by the below-inflation rise in benefits were in work. But Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith accused Labour of tying working families into the benefits system and “buying votes” by increasing handouts. The Welfare Benefits Uprating Bill limits rises in most working-age benefits to 1% in 2014-15 and 2015-2016 instead of linking them to inflation. Similar measures for 2013-14 will be introduced separately. A Labour bid to block the Bill and insist on a “compulsory jobs guarantee” was defeated by 328 votes to 262. Mr Duncan Smith said that since the beginning of the recession incomes for those in work have risen by about 10% but for those on benefits they have risen by about 20%. He said: “What we are trying to do over the next few years is get that back to a fair settlement and then eventually it will go back on to inflation.” But shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne claimed the Bill was a “hit and run on working families” who were paying the price for the Chancellor’s economic failure. “Millionaires will have £107,000 more from next year to help them heat the swimming pool,” he said. “It’s not Britain’s millionaires who are picking up the tab, it is Britain’s working families. This bill is a strivers’ tax, pure and simple.” Labour former foreign secretary David Miliband described the bill as “rancid” and claimed it was motivated by party politics. Ms Teather, who lost her job as children and families minister last September, hit out at the way the arguments over the below-inflation rise had been characterised as a division between “shirkers and strivers.” In the Autumn Statement Mr Osborne said the measure was about “being fair to the person who leaves home every morning to go out to work and sees their neighbour still asleep, living a life on benefits”. But Ms Teather said: “A fissure already exists between the working and non-working poor. Hammering on that faultline with the language of shirkers and strivers will have long-term impacts on public attitudes, on attitudes of one neighbour against another.”

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

Fife

New Tay Bridgehead school solution to Madras College saga ‘not an option’

May 27 2016

A new secondary school for Fife’s Tay Bridgehead area has been ruled out by the region’s education spokesman. Conservative councillors proposed that two schools rather than one could be the solution to replacing St Andrews’ Madras College. However, executive spokesperson for education Councillor Bryan Poole said that both a second secondary school for pupils in the north of Fife and moving Madras College out of St Andrews were out of the question. He claimed St Andrews’ international reputation as a seat of learning would be damaged if a site to build a new school could not be found in the town. A long campaign for a Tay Bridghead secondary school fell when education chiefs concluded six years ago it was unfeasible due to an anticipated drop in pupil numbers. It was returned to the agenda by St Andrews Conservative councillor Dorothea Morrison after the local authority was sent back to the drawing board on the £42.7 million school by a Court of Session ruling. Mr Poole said: “Fife Council has been very clear that our aspiration is to build a replacement for Madras College in St Andrews and that has been the almost unanimous view of Fife councillors for several years.” He insisted the council would not go down the road of building two schools nor, as was also suggested, bussing pupils to Dundee He said: “As far as I’m aware none of the political groupings on Fife Council, with the exception of the Conservatives, has raised these as serious options and thus I’m working on the basis that Fife Council will not be pursuing those options. “St Andrews, as a town, has developed a worldwide reputation as a seat of learning over centuries and in St Andrews University it has a university with a reputation that is widely recognised as a seat of excellence with regard to education and research. “That hard earned but deserved reputation would be seriously tarnished, perhaps damaged forever, if we - Fife Council and the local community - can’t find a site in St Andrews that the majority of residents can accept.” The saga was debated as the council’s north east Fife area committee was briefed on the latest position. Head of education and children’s services Shelagh McLean said the council had previously decided the new school should be in St Andrews and although the education service’s requirements were to be reviewed no major changes were anticipated. She also insisted that alternative sites to Pipeland would be given serious consideration, following concerns raised by Councillor David MacDiarmid that the review would be a “paper exercise” and that proceeding with the same site would result in further court action. Mr MacDiarmid said: “It worries me that Fife Council is going to continue to stick its head in the sand and bash on with Pipeland regardless.” The council is to pursue its planning application for the school at Pipeland while conducting an appraisal of all the possible alternative sites.

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.

Angus & The Mearns

Promoter would love to sign, seal and deliver Stevie Wonder for MoFest

May 27 2016

Concert promoter Les Kidger has spoken of his dream of one day bringing Stevie Wonder to Montrose Music Festival. Mr Kidger is already halfway to ticking off his musical bucket list after signing up Bryan Adams for the town’s East Links in August. As the stage gets set for this year’s MoFest, the LCC Live director admits signing up the Motown legend is highly unlikely but added: “Stranger things have happened.” The partnership between the organisers of MoFest and LCC Live has proved fruitful once again with Jools Holland performing with his band tonight and Canadian rocker Adams performing a one-off show on August 7. Mr Kidger said: “I’ve always wanted to promote two acts - Bryan Adams and Stevie Wonder. “I’d tried to get Bryan Adams for five years before we got him. “Once he plays here that will take us to another league - he’s a world-class artist. “To land Bryan Adams was a major coup for us. “The other name on the bucket list is Stevie Wonder. “I don’t think we’ll be able to get him to Montrose but that’s the dream.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmKshpLXnxE Mr Kidger said this year’s line-up is the best there has ever been. He said Jools Holland and his band will make for an “outstanding” night on the East Links. “We’ve worked with him previously and it’s one of the shows we love putting on,” said Mr Kidger. “Outdoors he is fantastic and to have 28 people on stage is something else. “He’s an act I love to watch and I’m also looking forward to seeing Red Sky July.” The band includes husband and wife duo Ally McErlaine, guitarist in 15 million-selling band Texas, and Shelly Poole, previously one half of million-selling duo Alisha’s Attic. “Texas are definitely on my MoFest wish list so I’m hoping Ally will put in a good word for us,” said Mr Kidger. “We’re already thinking ahead to next year although we realise it will be incredibly difficult to get bigger than Jools Holland and Bryan Adams. “But we absolutely love it up here and the welcome we receive really makes us want to bring big acts up here.” Jools and his band perform tonight for what is the only ticketed show during the Montrose Music Festival weekend.

Dundee

Elders Court murder trial hears blood spots matching DNA of accused were found on door

January 29 2014

Blood matching the DNA profile of a Dundee murder accused was found on the front door of his alleged victim’s flat, a trial has heard. A police forensic scientist said the likelihood of it coming from anyone other than Matthew Pope was more than one in a billion. The trial in Aberdeen heard a pair of jeans soaked in blood matching alleged victim Michael Given’s DNA were also found in Pope’s girlfriend’s flat. Pope, 22, denies murdering Mr Given at his home in Lochee’s Elders Court on July 21 last year by punching, kicking and stamping repeatedly on his head and body and striking him with a piece of wood. A charge alleging Pope attempted to defeat the ends of justice by concealing and destroying evidence by hiding clothing and a piece of wood was dropped by prosecutors on Wednesday. During the final day of Crown evidence, police forensic scientist Fariha Abidi, 41, told the jury she had examined items and blood patterns in Mr Given’s sixth-floor flat and its surroundings. These included a fingerprint in blood matching Mr Given’s DNA and a blood swab matching Pope’s on the outer door of the flat. Ms Abidi had also tested fingernail swabs taken from Pope on July 21. She said: “One swab was blood-stained with a mixed DNA profile of two individuals. Matthew Pope and Michael Given could produce such a DNA profile.” Ms Abidi said jeans recovered from Pope’s girlfriend Melissa McKay’s second-floor Elders Court flat had saturated blood staining matching Mr Given’s profile in the knee area, indicating possible contact with “a large volume of blood”. Referring to blood found on Mr Given’s living-room wall, Douglas Fairley QC, prosecuting, asked: “Could it be consistent with a kick into wet blood at that level or a stamp into the source of blood or striking with an implement or weapon? “Yes,” she replied. Ms Abidi said a small spot of blood matching the DNA profile of Ryan Crighton was found on the living-room wall but that its age could not be determined. Cross-examined by defence QC Brian McConnachie, Ms Abidi agreed that no DNA matching Mr Pope’s profile had been found on two pieces of broken wood found in Mr Given’s flat and a communal bin. Pope denies murder and has lodged special defences of incrimination against Ryan Crighton and Aaron McHugh and a special defence of self defence against Michael Given. The trial continues.

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