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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


Fife Council backs breastfeeding measures

April 4 2016

Politics may be a grown up business, but Fife Council is breaking down barriers leading to infants being breastfed during meetings. The full council agreed to moves to help young parents, and in particular women, trying to juggle political responsibilities with those of looking after children. The issue was raised by SNP councillor Fay Sinclair who is expecting her third child later this year and called for a more family friendly environment which would encourage more women to take an active part in frontline politics. Pointing out only 29% of Fife councillors were women, she asked the council to extend its staff policies to elected members to “improve conditions for all”. Agreeing with the sentiment, Labour councillor Linda Erskine expanded Ms Sinclair’s motion, adding that the council “pursue making breastfeeding the social norm and welcome any elected member who wishes to breastfeed her child in open council meetings”. Ms Sinclair said that looking across the chamber, women were very much under represented. And while it was “fantastic” women led three parties at Holyrood, there was still much work to be done in terms of gender equality. The biggest reason women give for not putting themselves forward in the political arena was childcare responsibilities. With no maternity leave for councillors, Ms Sinclair said she hoped to be able to bring her baby along with her so she can participate in council life. “My two sons are regular fixtures, and I have breastfed them at branch meetings without anyone batting an eyelid,” she said. Her motion was seconded by Councillor John Docherty who said mums should be able to breastfeed throughout council facilities, including the chamber. Mrs Erskine, who breastfed at a time when there was no legislation to support mothers “to do what comes naturally”, felt society had not moved on very far on the issue. “Fife Council wants to encourage inclusiveness,” adding if it is good enough for foreign parliaments to allow babies to be fed during meetings, “it is certainly good enough for Fife”. One concern of Conservative councillor Dave Dempsey was an impact on being able to hear what was being said if a young child started crying. Council leader David Ross said it was a strength if a council could be made up of different people from varying backgrounds, beliefs and views. Ms Sinclair and Mrs Erskine combined their plans which gained the unanimous backing of the 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.


Staff ‘concerns’ at Adam Smith College director’s return

February 22 2013

An executive director of Adam Smith College who was suspended and then dismissed last year amid allegations of bullying and harassment has still not returned to her desk despite being reinstated and eligible to return to the Fife college more than a week ago. Christine Sinclair was suspended in March 2012 as part of a college-wide investigation into allegations of bullying and harassment. The then principal Dr Craig Thomson and his wife and executive director Linda Thomson were also suspended. Mr Thomson subsequently resigned and Linda Thomson was dismissed. It is understood she had until a week past Friday to appeal her dismissal. In a document seen by The Courier, the internal disciplinary investigation into Ms Sinclair found that the allegations were substantiated and that they amounted to gross misconduct. As a result, she was dismissed. In line with the college’s procedures, Ms Sinclair appealed her dismissal and an appeal panel, comprising three board members, considered a fortnight ago. A document, seen by The Courier, confirms that the sanction was reduced from gross misconduct/dismissal to reinstatement and a final written warning. Ms Sinclair was due to return to work at the college on Monday last week. However, the college confirmed yesterday she had still not returned. It is understood the news of her reinstatement has been received negatively by staff and local trades unions, who have been briefed by Martin McGuire, interim principal. Subsequently, it’s understood the unions have written to express no confidence in the appeals process. It is understood a number of meetings have been held over the past fortnight. It is understood Mr McGuire has been actively trying to find a solution, balancing the impact of Ms Sinclair’s return on her personal and professional interests and the interests of the college. The college has not confirmed details of the case for reasons of confidentiality and said yesterday it had no further comment to make at this time. However, Mr McGuire confirmed last week that EIS and Unison had formally raised concerns on behalf of staff. He said in a statement: “Since I joined the college in October 2012, I have received outstanding support from staff and the trade unions. I have sought to work in partnership with them to help create an environment where staff feel valued and enjoy coming to work, and, I believe, we are making good progress towards this. “Local branch representatives of EIS and Unison formally raised concerns with me about a perceived risk to staff. I want to reassure both staff and the trade unions that it is my duty as interim principal to create a safe working environment for all. I will continue to work vigorously with all partners to ensure this is the case and would like to make it clear that bullying and harassment, in any form, will not be tolerated at the college.” Kirkcaldy MSP David Torrance said: “The recent decision by a few board members has resulted in a large number of college staff contacting my office once again in disbelief that an outcome such as this could have been reached. Many are stunned and distressed. “The decision by some board members has undermined all the good work previously and currently being done by the principal and his colleagues to create a safe, enjoyable and productive working environment.” An EIS spokesman said: “The EIS does not comment on any individual cases, including any relating to internal grievance or disciplinary matters. “Adam Smith College, in common with all educational establishments and other employers, is duty bound to provide an environment where all employees can be safe and secure in their workplace.” The Courier has made repeated attempts to contact Mrs Sinclair but she has not commented.


SNP claim Cara Hilton’s former Fife Council seat from Labour

May 8 2015

The SNP has secured a further victory in Fife after snatching a seat from Labour in the Dunfermline South by-election. Candidate Fay Sinclair polled 5,899 votes to join fellow SNP councillor Brian Goodall, Lib Dem councillor Tony Martin and Labour member Billy Pollock to represent the ward which has a population of 22,441. Labour candidate Andrew Verrecchia took 3,185 votes, while Conservative David Ross secured 1,324 and James Calder from the Lib Dems took 1,041. A journalist and charity volunteer, Mrs Sinclair lives in the Duloch area of the town with her husband and two young sons. The 30-year-old replaces Labour MSP Cara Hilton MSP, who recently stepped down from her role as councillor. Mrs Sinclair’s appointment brings the total number of SNP councillors in Fife Council to 28. Labour still maintains a stronghold with 33 elected members. She said: “I would like to thank everyone who voted for me as well as all my supporters within the SNP who worked very hard to help with my campaign. “I would also like to thank my husband Richard who has shown ultimate patience and understanding throughout.” Mrs Sinclair said she intended to listen to her constituents, identify “the real issues” and proactively seek solutions to them. “Dunfermline South is my family’s home and through active membership of my local community council, involvement with my residents association, attending and organising local parent and toddler groups and simply being part of the daily school run, I am constantly discussing the issues that affect us all and working to make this area a better place to live and the best place for our children to grow up. “It is time people in Dunfermline South had a strong voice to stand up for our community on Fife Council. “As local councillor I will stand against cuts that harm our communities and support Fife families through maintaining the council tax freeze, ensuring the best education for our young people from nursery right through to high school and beyond, and fighting for jobs in the area.” Result: James Calder (Lib Dems) – 1,041 David Ross (Conservative) – 1,324 Fay Sinclair (SNP) – 5,899 Andrew Verrecchia (Labour) – 3,185 Turnout: 67.84%.

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 FC

VIDEO: Dundee v Celtic…Was this a dive from Celtic’s Scott Sinclair?

September 21 2017

Football fans on social media have accused Celtic ace Scott Sinclair of diving following the club’s League Cup clash with Dundee on Wednesday night. After making a brilliant run in the 23rd minute the winger went down in the box being brought down by Dark Blues defender Jack Hendry. One 🔥Two 🔥Three 🔥Four ⛔️ Scott Sinclair's mazy run gets better every time… Dundee vs. Celtic live on BT Sport 1 HD now. 📺 pic.twitter.com/yGqIXsAh6t — Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) September 20, 2017 However Dundee and Rangers fans took to social media to accuse the Celtic man of diving after slo-mo video footage of the clash between the two players emerged. Match referee John Beaton pointed straight to the spot with Sinclair giving the Hoops a lead through a penalty. Scott Sinclair @celticfc just dived v Dundee & got a penalty off John Beaton. Don't believe check the replay! There was no contact. pic.twitter.com/PFNiAT98ou — NaeBull (@NaeBull) September 20, 2017 Has #Sinclair landed yet? #Dive #Dundee #Celtic — Peter Shaw (@petershaw1979) September 20, 2017 🤔 Quality run from Scott Sinclair But 10/10 for that dive!https://t.co/jUdWNoztve — The Sportsman (@TheSportsman) September 20, 2017 https://twitter.com/Crashandburn39/status/910602202774933504?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.eveningtelegraph.co.uk%2Ffp%2Fvideo-dundee-rangers-fans-call-celtic-star-scott-sinclair-banned-diving-incident%2F https://twitter.com/rangerslad1983/status/910602478462398465 However others thought it was a definite foul. Definite pen in my book. — niall mackenzie (@derrymac) September 20, 2017 Stonewall penalty…but Michael Stewart seems to want it to be an indirect FK. He's also plying down an ankle breaking tackle on Ntcham. FFS — DavyBhoy (@KingsOfEurope67) September 20, 2017 Celtic won the game 4-0. What do you think? Was it a dive?

Angus & The Mearns

Woman was repeatedly punched and kicked in “excessive” assault

April 22 2016

An Arbroath woman who assaulted another woman in the town was sentenced to a community payback order at Forfar Sheriff Court. Carla Ann Sinclair, of Noran Avenue, admitted that on April 6 2014 at Noran Avenue and St Thomas Crescent in Arbroath she assaulted Heather Munro. The 30-year-old admitted that she jumped on her victim, causing her to fall to the ground before straddling her and repeatedly punching her to the head and kicking her on the body. Sinclair then ran after Munro and punched her on the head to her injury. She also admitted that on the same date that she behaved in a threatening or abusive manner which would cause fear or alarm by shouting and swearing and challenging the other woman to a fight. Depute fiscal Jill Drummond said Munro was left with a scrape to her right eyelid, cut to her nose and clumps of her hair missing as a result of the attack. Defence agent Nick Whelan said it was his client’s position that it was Munro who “started the violence”. “Sinclair’s position is that she was struck first but she accepts that she took it too far,” he said. He noted that the criminal justice social work report recommended Sinclair be placed on a high tariff structured deferred sentence, but Mr Whelan said his client felt her “lifestyle” was such that she would breach this order. He was able to persuade Sheriff Pino Di Emidio to instead give Sinclair hours of unpaid work. The sheriff imposed 60 hours of work, adding that Sinclair’s behaviour was “excessive”.