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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

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.

Ryan Giggs and estranged wife Stacey settle cash fight in special hearing

December 1 2017

Former Manchester United footballer Ryan Giggs and his estranged wife Stacey settled a fight over cash after taking part in a special behind-closed-doors divorce court hearing. They reached agreement after appearing at a “financial dispute resolution” – FDR – hearing at the Family Division of High Court in London. The hearing was presided over by Mr Justice Mostyn, a High Court judge who specialises in family litigation, on Thursday. Judges overseeing such hearings offer guidance, in the hope that disputes can be resolved, rather that make decisions. Lawyers said the divorcing couple remained “firm friends” (PA) Barristers and solicitors appear with clients but court rules mean that neither journalists nor members of the public can attend. Lawyers representing both Giggs and Mrs Giggs announced a settlement following Thursday’s hearing and said the “FDR process” had helped the pair reach agreement. Another judge had previously overseen preliminary hearings in the dispute. “Ryan and Stacey Giggs are pleased to say that with the assistance of the court-driven FDR process they have managed to reach a financial settlement in their divorce,” said solicitors Katie McCann, who represents Giggs and is based at law firm Kuits, and James Brown, who represents Mrs Giggs at law firm Hall Brown. “This concludes the divorce proceedings and they will not be making any further comment.” Lawyers said the terms of the settlement were confidential but added Giggs and Mrs Giggs were leaving “this chapter of their lives” as “firm friends”. In August a family court judge had signalled the end of the Giggs’ 10-year marriage. Judge Yvonne Gibson had granted a decree nisi at a family court hearing in London. A law firm has explained how financial dispute resolution hearings operate in an article on its website. Lawyers at the JMW law firm said an “FDR” hearing was “special”. “It is a court hearing, presided over by a judge but rather than making decisions about the outcome of the case, the judge instead offers guidance as to the range of likely settlements that might be imposed if the case were to go all the way and end in a final hearing,” says the article. “The judge should have been given comprehensive information about the family finances and details of each party’s… offers. “He or she will listen to each party’s legal representative (or the parties themselves if they are self-represented), consider their assessment of the facts of the case and the reasoning behind their (offers). “The judge will then offer guidance as to what might happen if the case were decided at a final hearing. “This is only an opinion but it is the opinion of someone who deals with (and decides) similar cases all the time.” (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 PA Reporters'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '73e8d658-78fc-4257-9e8d-c4282b05887e'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:news,paservice:news:uk'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story-enriched'); 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': 'Ryan Giggs and estranged wife Stacey settle cash fight in special hearing'});

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.


Dundee City Council will have to cut another £3.4m

December 22 2011

Dundee City Council has said it will have to cut £3.4 million from next year’s budget. The savings are needed to ensure it can meet the Scottish Government’s demand to freeze council tax. The council’s SNP administration and senior officers have until the budget meeting on February 9 to decide where the axe will fall. But opposition parties have already criticised ministers for failing to give the city the money it needs and called for education services in particular to be protected from the impact of the cuts. A report by finance director Marjory Stewart shows the revenue grant the council will receive for 2012/13 is £1.4 million less than it got for the current financial year. That fall of 0.45% compares to an average increase of 0.34% for local authorities across Scotland. She explained that the government used a ”series of complicated calculations” to allocate funds and these were heavily influenced by population data when deciding on the spending needs of individual local authorities. Dundee’s provisional budget is £360.3 million, of which £45 million will be raised by council tax. Ms Stewart said: ”Based on current assumptions, the council would require to identify budget savings totalling £3.4 million in order to achieve a council tax freeze in 2012/13.” Not raising council tax was a key election pledge for the SNP. Ministers made it clear that any local authority which did not agree to do so would face severe financial penalties. In Dundee’s case, it would have had its grant cut by £19.2 million. The impact that would have had on jobs and services already under pressure after a near-£15 million budget cut this year made such a move untenable, especially with local government elections due in May. The council has also had to agree to maintain teacher numbers in line with its pupil population, secure places for all probationers who need one under the teacher induction scheme and pass on to the joint board that oversees Tayside Police enough money to maintain police officer numbers. Ms Stewart added that the council is still examining the details of the grant settlement and ”refining the assumptions and figures” in the provisional budget. There have been cost pressures in several areas, especially social work, but these have been partly offset by savings, such as the impact of voluntary redundancies and early retirements. A council spokesman said: ”The settlement is better than had been anticipated in the council’s financial modelling. ”Together with ongoing efficiencies delivered by the Changing for the Future programme during the year, the savings figure of £3.4 million is less than the £9.9 million that had been projected. ”The council’s senior management team will now work up proposals to make savings that can be brought before councillors.” Labour group leader Kevin Keenan said: ”It’s never good news but we could well have been looking at having to cut a great deal more.” He noted the council would have been facing ”severe” cuts from the Scottish Government if it did not agree to freeze council tax. Nobody was comfortable with the idea of raising council tax, he said. ”But people will start to realise that the services they once had are no longer there and they will have to consider whether that was the best choice at the time.” Mr Keenan said he wanted education to be protected from the latest round of cuts as it had taken a ”heavy hit” this year and there was a need to support educational attainment.. He said nursery education also needed to be looked at as his group felt there was under-provision in the city at present. Liberal Democrat group leader Fraser Macpherson said: ”I would take issue with the claim that the grant settlement is better than anticipated. ”Anyone looking objectively at the actual settlements announced by the SNP government for each authority can see that Dundee has a cash terms cut when other councils have seen a cash terms increase. ”The SNP government has badly let down Dundee in terms of its disappointing settlement for Dundee City Council.”

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.


City council needs to save £6.5 million

January 11 2013

DUNDEE CITY Council will have to find savings of £6.5 million to ensure council tax rates remain frozen for the next year. The figure is set out in a report to be presented to councillors next week. Corporate services director Marjory Stewart said savings totalling £2.8m have already been taken into account in drawing up a provisional budget for 2013-14. This includes the effect of voluntary redundancies and early retirements approved last year, along with the decision not to fill vacancies in certain departments. There have also been savings in the cost of running the council’s fleet of vehicles and its energy, water and phone costs. The biggest source of funding for local authorities is the Scottish Government. All 32 councils have been told by ministers they will only get their full grant if they do not raise the council tax and maintain teacher numbers, including offering places to probationer teachers. Ms Stewart’s report warns: “In the event that the council does not agree to the full package of measures related to the local government finance settlement then the loss of grant would be circa £2.8m.” The estimate for total spending for 2013-14 is £346.5m, rising only slightly to £346.8m the following year, on the assumption that more than £45m will be raised in council tax each year. Ms Stewart said senior council officers have spent months preparing the provisional budget. She added: “Based on current assumptions, the council would require to identify budget savings totalling £6.5m in order to achieve a council tax freeze in 2013-14.” A special meeting of the policy and resources committee will be held on February 14 to set the council tax for 2013-14. A separate report shows that the council’s revenue budget was £1m overspent at the end of November, largely owing to greater than expected costs in social work. Officers are trying to put spending back on track by the end of the financial year. grsmith@thecourier.co.uk

Angus & The Mearns

Angus councillor inspired by great-granny’s essay on the suffragists

February 9 2018

An Angus councillor has unearthed a fascinating insight into men’s views on the suffragists as the nation commemorated the centenary of some women winning the right to vote. Brenda Durno, SNP member for Arbroath and East Lunan, has been so inspired by an essay written by her great-grandmother in 1904, she is hoping to donate it to a museum in the north east. The amusing reflection was written in the Doric language by Isabella Moir, a 12-year-old pupil at Belhelvie School in Aberdeenshire. She was the eldest of 10 children and had two sisters and seven brothers. Councillor Durno said: “The celebration for the 100 years since women won the right to vote made me think of the essay. “My great grandmother was born in September 1892 and died in May 1992. “She latterly lived in Potterton with my aunt and uncle who ran the shop there and I found the essay when she died.” Mrs Durno chose to enter local politics in the footstep of her father, the SNP councillor Alex Shand, but admitted her great-grandmother was a Liberal supporter. “She was right into politics and was a great friend of Lord Tweedsmuir – the SNP wasn’t around then.” The essay relates to a conversation between a brother and sister as he reads a newspaper article on ‘The Suffragists’. As he works his way through the article, his views become apparent. He berates the efforts of the “limmers of suffragists” claiming “weemans place is at hame” It reads: “They canna mak an men their men’s sarks, keep a clean fireside an have a vote. “Gie then an inch an they wid tak an ill (mile).” The essay goes on to say there a was a time when women were happy “tae tak the chance o’ the first man that socht them, an thankful tae leave the voting an the rulin o the nation tae him”. It was on February 6, 1918 that women aged over 30, those who owned property or had a university education were granted the right to vote through the Representation of the People Act. Mrs Durno is hoping to donate the essay to a museum which specialises in the Doric and would welcome suggestions as to who to contact.