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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…

Children encouraged to swap high-sugar snacks for healthier options

January 17 2018

Sports stars are helping promote a healthy eating drive for school children. Called Eat Better Feel Better, the website relaunched by the Scottish Government provides parents with tips to make healthy choices easier for their children. The website shows how quick and cost-effective it can be to swap snacks that are higher in sugar and salt with more balanced options. Public Health Minister Aileen Campbell was joined by former footballer John Hughes, Scotland Rugby 7s captain Scott Riddell and Ross Gray, founder of Gold and Gray Soccer Academy, at Castleview Primary School in Edinburgh to promote the campaign. Public Health Minister @ClydesdAileen relaunches @scotgov's #EatBetterFeelBetter campaign with the help of Snack Heroes John Hughes, @riddell07 and @GoldandGraySA – and pupils from @Castleview_PS https://t.co/jx3N7TiA3H pic.twitter.com/YkVFS0BSen— Scot Gov Health (@scotgovhealth) January 17, 2018 Ms Campbell said: “Scottish parents can have incredibly busy schedules and that’s why Eat Better Feel Better aims to empower families with straightforward and affordable food and snack choices to help keep children happy and healthy. “It’s great to have these incredible sporting ambassadors come down today to spend time with the children and talk to them about the how our healthy snack heroes – like bananas, rice cakes or apple slices – can help to keep them energised.” John Hughes, a former defender for Falkirk, Celtic, Hibernian and Ayr United, said:  “As an ex-player, I know just how important it is to choose meals and snacks that are packed with goodness to keep you healthy and energised. “The easiest way is to start by opting for simple snacks like the Eat Better Feel Better snack heroes that you can quickly prepare or grab on the go – even the smallest of changes can make a really big difference”. (function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Graeme Murray, Press Association Scotland'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '6903790e-da17-44a4-8bc5-0a6668be4917'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:news,paservice:news:uk'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', null); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Children encouraged to swap high-sugar snacks for healthier options'});

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


Dundee water tests go swimmingly

September 2 2013

There were only two failures out of almost 3,500 tests of the quality of the public water supply in Dundee last year, the industry watchdog has revealed. The Drinking Water Quality Regulator for Scotland (DWQR), which is responsible for overseeing Scottish Water’s work in sourcing, treating and distributing supplies to consumers, has published data for 2012 showing 3,491 water samples were taken in the city. These were often from household taps to check for the presence of potentially harmful bacteria such as E coli and metals such as iron, lead and manganese. Only one of the 144 samples checked for coliform bacteria failed. The DWQR said: “They are common in the environment and do not necessarily indicate faecal contamination, but should not be present in the water supply as they are readily deactivated by chlorine, which is added in controlled amounts to all of Scottish Water’s supplies. “The greatest risk to public health is associated with the consumption of drinking water that is contaminated with faecal material. “Many raw water sources contain significant levels of bacteria, which serves to demonstrate the importance of adequate treatment, especially disinfection, in order to ensure our water is safe to drink.” The failed Dundee sample was among 61 found across Scotland during 2012. “Scottish Water has increased its efforts in investigating failures at consumers’ taps during the past year and this improved understanding of the root causes of microbiological failures needs to result in proactive action to reduce the number of samples containing coliforms,” the regulator said. There were 152 samples from the city’s water supply tested for iron, with a single failure that exceeded the limit of 200 microgrammes per litre. There are no health risks from such a failure. The DWQR said: “The most common cause of failures of the iron standard at consumer taps is corroding cast iron water mains.” The tests had no failures for aluminium, manganese or lead, or for E coli or chemicals called trihalomethanes. The colour, cloudiness and acidity of the test samples also met the required standards. The overall pass rate for the water samples from the city’s public supply was 99.94%.


Number of Fife nonagenarians more than doubles in a generation

February 13 2018

The number of Fifers aged over 90 has more than doubled in a generation, new figures have revealed. According to the region’s Department of Public Health annual report, the number of nonagenarians in Fife jumped from 1,021 in 1987 to 3,010 in 2016. The figure is expected to more than double again in the next 21 years to 8,487. NHS Fife director of public health Dr Margaret Hannah said the ageing population had brought with it an increase in age-related conditions such as dementia, presenting a challenge for the health service. “Older people are a valuable asset to our communities in Fife, providing skills and expertise from life experience and support as carers and volunteers,” she said. “But with an ageing population, age-related conditions such as dementia increase. “New responses to meet the needs of this population sustainably in the long term are needed.” The local trend is in line with the national picture where the number of people aged over 100 increased by 57% to 900 in the ten years to 2016. Dr Hannah said the proportion of working age adults had decreased during the same period. “It is well documented that there is an increasing proportion of older people in the Fife population,” she said. “Today 73,685 people in Fife are aged 65 and over. “This represents a fifth of the total population compared to 30 years ago when the figure was 15%.” She said the proportion was expected to increase to 28% in the next 23 years, when 107,993 people living in Fife will be aged over 65. More than half of those people will be aged 75 and over. Dr Hannah pointed to the Fife Shine Programme as a good example of how services can be transformed to work differently with older people and their families. The work aims to “help people thrive, not just survive” with long-term conditions and frailty and gives health workers the skills needed to help people make the best of their life circumstances. More than 500 staff have been introduced to the approach, helping 15,000 people a year across Fife. The result is improved outcomes for patients and fewer days in hospital. Dr Hannah added: “Understanding our population, its size and structure, patterns of births, deaths and diseases and determinants of health…provides the basis for improving health and wellbeing, reducing health inequalities and ensuring our services take account of the needs of the population.”


NHS Tayside chief’s £177,500 tops Scotland’s health board wages list

August 4 2016

An NHS Tayside chief topped Scotland’s first ever “Nanny State Rich List”, according to new figures. A report from public spending watchdog the TaxPayers Alliance shows Dr Drew Walker, Tayside’s director of public health, is paid more than any other NHS boss in Scotland. The group claim Dr Wilson is paid a yearly salary of £177,500 which is £5,000 more than the next highest paid staff member. Gathered as part of a wide-ranging analysis of NHS senior management pay, the figures also show NHS Fife director of public health Dr Edward Coyle earned £152,500 before retiring last September. Across the 11 Scottish health boards that responded to requests for data the wage bill for regional public health directors reached £1,808,460 in the year 2014/15. An NHS Tayside spokesperson said: “Public health plays a key role in improving the health and future of everyone in our community, delivering a wide range of activity from promoting and supporting individuals and families to live healthy lifestyles, through to undertaking important statutory roles around the detection and prevention of infection. “The director of public health is an NHS Board post required and supported by Scottish Government. “In common with all other NHS organisations, the grading and salaries applied to posts across NHS Tayside is in accordance with nationally determined processes, and at the direction of the Scottish Government.” TaxPayers Alliance chief executive Jonathan Isaby said: “The pernicious influence of the public health lobby has spread ever wider in recent years, with health quangocrats pushing for more regulations and higher taxes that hit families and businesses. “Not only do the patronising diktats and demands of these unaccountable quangos raise household bills, but taxpayers are also paying for the enormous remuneration packages of hundreds of meddling busybodies, many of whom have obscure job titles. “Instead of constantly capitulating to the High Priests of the Nanny State by introducing more rules and higher taxes, politicians should instead encourage education, physical activity in schools and more personal responsibility.” A spokesperson for NHS Fife confirmed Dr Coyle retired from his position in September 2015. His position was filled in November of last year by Dr Margaret Hannah. NHS Fife refused to confirm if Dr Hannah was on the same pay scale.

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

Readers' letters

September 23: Name new Perth bridge after famous angler

September 23 2010

Today our correspondents suggest a name for a new bridge and discuss tax breaks for the computer game industry, green energy, religion and schools. Name new Perth bridge after famous angler Sir, One of your readers suggested that a bridge over the River Tay at Perth, intended for pedestrians and cyclists, was a waste of money. How very Scottish. The cost of £1.38 million appears a good investment given that Scotland is often seen as the sick man of Europe with high death rates from heart disease and strokes. Anything that enables us to improve our lifestyle by reducing the burden on our health services must be money well spent and the council should be applauded. As concerns a name for this landmark, might I suggest Ballantyne’s Bridge after Miss Georgina Ballantyne, who will forever be linked with the river having caught a Tay salmon in 1922 weighing 64lbs – a UK record for a salmon landed by rod and line. Kenneth G. N. Stewart.Landalla,Florence Place,Perth. Throwing good money after bad Sir, I am not sure if Steve Bargeton was being tongue-in-cheek in his recent diary column (September 18) but his opinion on the computer games industry was neatly juxtaposed with an article on the opposite page about the collapse of Dundee firm Realtime Worlds. Your political editor says that providing £40 million of tax breaks per year to the sector would provide the public purse with a net gain of £400 million in tax receipts and create 3500 graduate-level jobs and presumably solve world poverty and reverse global warming at the same time. If only life was that simple. The figures provided sound like typical industry/ political spiel. Meanwhile, back in the real(time) world, your other article quoted an industry expert as saying that the firm’s pivotal APB game attracted sales of only one ninth of that necessary for its survival. It seems unlikely that tax breaks would have somehow enhanced the game sufficiently to increase its sales nine-fold. As history has shown time and time again, throwing public funds at fundamentally uncompetitive products and businesses is just taxpayers’ money down the drain. Of course, taxpayer-funded assistance and a favourable regulatory environment can help industry in appropriate circumstances but the Scottish political mindset seems dominated by the need to find a deserving home for as much public money as possible – and there’s always a queue of willing recipients, whether in the private or public sector. And while the bills for the profligacy have to be paid eventually, both Labour and the SNP seem preoccupied with trying to deny their part in the spending spree, while the Tories and Lib Dems are being accused of threatening the economic recovery by being over-zealous in trying to turn off the tap. Stuart Winton.Hilltown,Dundee. Fantasy of green future Sir, The articles covering the views of the MSPs Jim Mather and Murdo Fraser on wind farms (September 20) are yet another reminder of the dangers of expanding onshore wind production in Scotland. Murdo Fraser is correct in pointing out the adverse effects on our landscape and hence tourism but the concept of visual amenity is subjective and personal. What is more objective and less arguable is the cost of installing the infrastructure and the vast amount of subsidies and incentives given to landowners and developers, relative to the amount of dependable electricity actually produced by wind turbines. Jim Mather and the Scottish Government have long known that wind farms are very poor sources of dependable power, frequently producing less than one per cent of UK supply. He and they also know that Scotland only produces around one-fifth of one per cent of the world’s carbon emission “problem.” As Energy Minister, Jim Mather owes us all an explanation of why he and his colleagues expect consumers to pay high prices to solve a “problem” that scarcely exists, using a system that scarcely works and at prices more and more people will scarcely be able to afford. It is time the fairy tale of wind power was ended. Ron Greer.Armoury House,Blair Atholl. Two-fronted attack on church Sir, Ian Wheeler asks if the threat of Islam is uniting Catholics and Protestants in the fight for survival (September 21). Let us hope so. Islam has powerful non-Muslim players in the field if you count the secular, the atheist and the left-liberal neo-Marxists, all with their own particular reasons for supporting Islam. The average British secularist disputes any religion but more so Christianity. The average militant atheist attacks the Christian God but, when challenged similarly to treat the Islamic God, refrains, claiming all religions are the same. The neo-Marxists are the most dangerous. Their liberal organisations support Islam in its anti-Christian and anti-capitalist stance which makes them useful in the fight to establish a “progressive” society. Andrew Lawson.9 MacLaren Gardens,Dundee. Educational poverty trap Sir, David Robertson’s suggestions that the way to improve school performance in Dundee is to have more religion in them is simplistic and laughable. He erroneously states that schools in Scotland which are not Catholic are Christian. Presumably he means Protestant. I have never come across a school in Scotland which describes itself as Protestant. They are non-denominational. The solution to the gap between the children living in poverty and those who are not is a redistribution of wealth. We do not need to scare children into obedience by telling them untruths about eternity in hell. Alan Hinnrichs.2 Gillespie Terrace,Dundee. Get involved: to have your say on these or any other topics, email your letter to letters@thecourier.co.uk or send to Letters Editor, The Courier, 80 Kingsway East, Dundee DD4 8SL.


Fourth Fife patient diagnosed with new strain of C diff

June 13 2013

A new strain of clostridium difficile that was linked to the deaths of three hospital patients in Fife has given rise to a fourth case. NHS Fife have confirmed that a fourth C diff sample has tested positive for the new 332 ribotype. The sample relates to a patient who was treated for C diff infection in April. The patient has recovered fully and has since been discharged home. No other cases of C diff infection with the ribotype 332 have been identified. Dr Gordon Birnie, medical director for the operational division, said: “A routine laboratory look-back exercise has been undertaken in Fife following identification of the new sub-strain, which has involved the testing of all C difficile samples not already ribotyped. “Results from this testing show that only one further sample tested positive for the 332 ribotype, bringing the total number of cases in Fife to four. “This new strain does not change the existing level of risk to the public from C difficile infection and there are no additional precautions or areas of concern.” Last month NHS Fife defended its decision not to go public about a new strain of clostridium difficile linked to the deaths of three hospital patients. The health board said it stalled on confirming rumours that Fife hospitals were at the centre of an outbreak because relatives had to be prepared for the media interest that would follow. The board’s reluctance to release information, or identify the hospitals where the cases occurred, was questioned by Professor Hugh Pennington. He warned that lack of transparency could damage public confidence. News of the new strain of C diff only emerged last month after Health Protection Scotland reported there had been two linked deaths at a Scottish hospital in December and January, and a third death at another hospital within the same NHS board last month. It was the first time the strain, called ribotype 332, had been reported anywhere in the world. NHS Fife later confirmed it was the board in question but did not identify which hospitals had been involved. It refuses to do so on grounds of patient confidentiality.