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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

Dundee

Hensational idea chicken is footloose and fancy free after getting special pair of ‘shoes’

May 26 2015

A Dundee woman has hatched a plan to combat her chicken’s sore feet she has made the hen a pair of ‘shoes’. Lynn Watson, 47, has a 10-strong brood of hens, one of which is Duster, a five-year-old bluebell chicken who weighs a whopping 8lb. Duster hurt her feet after repeatedly jumping 2ft from her coop rather than using a ramp. The damage to her feet then led to Duster contracting a bacterial infection called bumblefoot, which, if left untreated, can prove fatal. It was only discovered by Lynn’s 11-year-old son Alexander Cragg when he was checking over Duster’s feet. After cutting off black calluses, the pair bandaged Duster’s feet. To ease the bird’s discomfort, Lynn came up with the idea of making her a pair of shoes which involved cutting up a pair of pink and green garden gloves. Pile ointment was even used to help lubricate the feet to slip on the shoes. Lynn, who lives just off the Kingsway, said: “We bandaged the feet initially and when she was going back outside we had to cover them. “Believe it or not, you can buy hand-made shoes, but I thought I would have a go myself and made them out of a pair of garden gloves. We cut off two of the fingers and cut the tops off three others and used Velcro to hold them together.” When Lynn took Duster to Tay Veterinary Centre, she was told they had done everything right, but the vet admitted he had never seen a chicken wearing shoes before. Lynn said: “He gave her some anti-biotics, said I’d already done everything else and then said ‘you’re very practical’. I think that may be a euphemism for ‘complete looney’.” However, Duster doesn’t appear to be a fan of the shoes. Lynn said: “Duster is sulking because she doesn’t like her shoes and can’t get them off. But they should be able to come off in a few days and she’ll make a full recovery.” Duster was rescued by Lynn a few years ago after serving her time in a battery farm and lives alongside nine other hens, including a bird with one eye called Cyclops. “We have 10 chickens and they’re really just pets to us,” said Lynn. “They are ex-battery hens and were made to lay lots of eggs, so we take them in and make sure they get to run around. “They’re quite funny to watch because they don’t know what anything is,” she said. “They’re used to being crammed in cages and then they come here and they just sit out in the rain thinking ‘what on earth is this falling on me?’”

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

Dundee

Promise of new consultation fails to satisfy Kemback Street Adult Resource Centre campaigners

February 19 2013

Campaigners fighting the closure of the Kemback Street Adult Resource Centre in Dundee say they are determined to continue their legal action against Dundee City Council, despite further consultation over the centre’s future. Following the Care Inspectorate report which criticised the council’s handling of the previous consultation process, legal aid was granted to the campaigners to take the council to court. Social work convener Ken Lynn then announced that further consultation has been recommended in a report to go before councillors on Monday. George Stewart of the Kemback Street Action Group said: “I think Ken Lynn’s statement is really rather simplified. If you’ve got flawed consultation, you’ve got flawed decisions. “Currently it is not our intention to abandon the application for a judicial review.” Dundee’s Labour group has accused the SNP administration of issuing a “watered-down” version of the Care Inspectorate’s report on the consultation. Group leader Kevin Keenan is demanding that councillors are given a copy of the full report ahead of the meeting. He said: “This report is an accurate illustration of how the SNP administration treated the families, carers and service users of the resource centre. “It is therefore regrettable that the SNP administration have issued a report as a watered-down version of the actual Care Inspectorate report. “The full report should be issued to every councillor to allow them the opportunity to reflect on how they voted, without giving any consideration for those affected by their actions.” He added: “This embarrassing report highlights the SNP administration’s unhealthy determination to railroad through the closure of Kemback Street.” Mr Keenan said that missing from the council report are an apology from Mr Lynn, his group and the council for the anxiety caused to the service users and their families, and an apology to the deputations who spoke in the city chambers previously. He added: “Councillor Ken Lynn has no real alternative but to consider his position. After this report, does he consider himself the best person to lead social care in our city?” Mr Keenan has also asked the SNP for full costings for the previous and forthcoming consultations, plus its position on the legal action looming and an estimated cost of defending it. “Given the Care Inspectorate report and the council’s recent track record with regards to legal challenges, the Labour group would suggest looking for an arbitrary settlement as quickly as possible.” The SNP group leader Ken Guild has reacted angrily to this, saying: “It is disappointing if not unexpected that Councillor Keenan is seeking to exploit the most vulnerable for political purposes. “The Care Inspectorate report did not touch on the arguments for or against the retention of Kemback Street but on technical aspects of the consultation process. “These remarks have been addressed in the council’s action plan in response to the report. “The future of Kemback Street is not a matter of finance but of suitable care provision. “I would remind Councillor Keenan that the SNP administration put an additional £4 million into the social work department at last week’s budget. Was any Labour administration able to make this claim?” However, Ken Lynn accepted that mistakes had been made and said he “regrets” that. “In an ideal world we’d always get it right but sometimes we don’t and on this occasion we haven’t,” he said. “I accept that is what has happened in relation to Kemback Street and the adequacy of the consultation process, and I regret that. “That’s why I am proposing that we re-run the process at the February 25 meeting of the social work and health committee with a report in March detailing the consultation procedure.”

Politicians join forces in bid to discover if UK can change mind over Brexit

November 30 2017

Green MSPs have united with MEPs from Labour and the SNP in a bid to discover if the UK can legally change its mind on Brexit and stay part of the European Union. The four politicians – Greens Andy Wightman and Ross Greer, together with the SNP’s Alyn Smith and David Martin of Labour – are seeking to find out if the UK can unilaterally revoke the Article 50 letter. That was submitted by Theresa May in March this year, formally marking the start of Britain’s two-year withdrawal process from the EU. But the four politicians are seeking to petition the Court of Session in Edinburgh, urging judges there to refer the matter on to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. A crowdfunding appeal has been launched to cover the legal costs, with the group seeking to raise £50,000 by December 29. Within 12 hours of the appeal going live, they had raised almost £10,000. In a letter sent to Brexit Secretary David Davis and Lord Keen QC, the Advocate General for Scotland, the politicians insist that the UK Government’s interpretation of Article 50 is “wrong as a matter of law”. It argues that if Article 50 is “properly interpreted as a matter of EU law and public international law, the Article 50 notification by any member state may in fact unilaterally be withdrawn by the member state at any point within the two year period”. Jo Maugham QC, a leading lawyer involved in the case said the “key thing to recognise is contrary to what Theresa May said the die was not cast on March 29 2017” when the UK’s Article 50 letter was submitted. He told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland the case was seeking to make clear that the UK does not require the consent of the other 27 European member states to pull out of the Brexit process. Mr Maugham said: “We seek to say that Article 50 can be revoked, the notice can be withdrawn, without needing permission. “That’s a question that only the Court of Justice in Luxembourg can answer and so this group of cross party MSPs and MEPs have got together to bring a case in the court of session to seek to persuade that court to refer this questions to Luxembourg.” He added: “The question of whether it can be unilaterally revoked is not one that has a definitive answer and it won’t have a definitive answer until the Court of Justice, which is the only decision maker, speaks upon that question.” The lawyer also stated the Brexit referendum in June 2016 was only an advisory vote, and the UK Parliament did not need to be bound by the result of the ballot.

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.

Dundee

City centre councillor craves “buzzing night time economy”

March 11 2017

A city centre councillor said Dundee’s nightlife needs to improve before the opening of the city’s V&A museum. Maryfield representative Lynne Short said tourists need more options than Dundee city centre currently has to offer. While she concedes new developments are on the way, Ms Short said more steps need to be taken to create a city centre with “a buzzing night time economy that is not led by alcohol”. Ms Short said: “Dundee’s night time economy can’t just be led by alcohol, it needs to be leisure as well as eateries.Trying to get something to eat at 10 o’clock at night shouldn’t be a problem. “There are serviced apartments being created at Lower Dens and people staying there will maybe walk into town and wonder where they will find places to eat. “This is something which is very much on the radar. There are definitely things happening. Dundee needs to have a buzzing night time economy.” Working in partnership with retailers and figures from Dundee’s eagerly-anticipated Waterfront project holds the key to injecting new life into Dundee’s evening economy, according to Ms Short. She explained: “Meetings I’ve had are partnerships with business and design for business, which is the V&A. “We’re looking at issues which are issues for every single city centre in Scotland and trying to find a design-based solution. “We’re asking what are the barriers and how can we use design to see how we can change things.” With the V&A due to open in 2018, Dundee City Council administration leader Councillor Ken Guild has spoken of his excitement. Mr Guild said: “There was a terrific feeling of excitement when the outline of the building emerged from the support scaffolding. This latest development will allow everyone to see the final stages of this fantastic building taking shape. “This unique structure has already made a tremendous physical impact from both sides of the Tay and these images have been transmitted worldwide. “The aspirational V&A Dundee project is designed to provide the city and Scotland with a world-class museum, which will help to provide jobs and wider economic benefits.”  

Dundee

Dundee City Council election results — The more things change, the more they stay the same in Ward 5: Maryfield

May 5 2017

For residents of Maryfield it was a definite case of the more things change, the more they stay the same. The ward returned two SNP councillors and one Labour councillor, just as it did five years ago. Ken Lynn was elected on the first round of counting for the SNP after securing 1,240 first preference votes. Labour’s Georgia Cruikshank and the SNP’s Lynne Short were elected after five rounds of counting. Ms Short originally won her seat in a by-election following the resignation of Craig Melville and said: “This is my first election as I was elected at a by-election. “Hopefully it means people think I’m doing a good job.”   Result Blain Jenny Marion Margaret Scottish Liberal Democrats 168 Clancy James Scottish Conservative and Unionist 722 Cruickshank Georgia Scottish Labour Party 885 Fairweather Stuart Dundee Against Cuts – TUSC 250 Lynn Ken Scottish National Party (SNP) 1240 McKaig Robbie Scottish Liberal Democrats 48 Short Lynne Scottish National Party (SNP) 782

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