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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...

Farming news

Aberdeen-Angus DNA test hailed by Victor Wallace

February 13 2015

The adoption of a new DNA test to authenticate the pedigree of all Aberdeen-Angus calves will put the breed in the vanguard of genomic technology, retiring Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Society president, Victor Wallace, told a packed annual at Stirling. The society has decided to collect blood samples using special ear tags which incorporate a small uniquely identified receptacle. As the tag is inserted soon after birth the small amount of displaced tissue and blood is captured ready for future DNA testing. Responding to criticism of the society’s decision to use only one company, Caisley, for the collection of samples, Mr Wallace insisted Caisley was the only ear tag company which had the technology to meet the society’s required specification. “We invited a number of ear tag companies to tender and some didn’t bother to reply while others couldn’t meet the spec,” said Mr Wallace. “It is a simple and inexpensive system which most breeders are finding easy to use.” The aim is to collect blood samples from all bull calves to enable the sire of all calves to be verified in the case of any uncertainty or dispute and to authenticate beef being sold as Aberdeen-Angus.” The move by the society has been welcomed by major supermarkets selling Aberdeen-Angus beef. Mr Wallace added: “This process was extensively and rigorously tested with management and council visits to the manufacturers in Germany and the completion of field trials. After this process it was brought back to council and unanimously approved. “Like all changes, there has been some resistance but I am convinced that putting the society in a position to be leading in genomic testing can only be a good one. “We should be leaders, not followers.” Mr Wallace admitted that a £34,000 re-branding exercise carried out over the past year, which included the dropping of the society’s long-established black, green and yellow colours, left room for “significant improvement”. The issue, particularly improvement to the website, would, he said, be addressed in the coming year. The decision to prop up the pension fund of chief executive, Ron McHattie, by £120,000 in four tranches was defended by new president, David Evans, who explained that it was a “catching up” operation as the funding of the pension had not been addressed for 11 years and annuity rates had halved in that time. Mr Evans, who works as a financial adviser, runs a 60-cow pedigree herd in Cleveland with his wife, Penny, and has been chairman of the society’s breed promotion committee. He is planning a series of open days throughout the country this year to promote the commercial attributes of the Aberdeen-Angus breed. “There is a huge and growing demand for certified Aberdeen-Angus beef with the active involvement of most of the leading supermarkets in the UK and registrations in the Herd Book are at a record level and continuing to increase,” said Mr Evans. “But we can’t stand still and it is important that the breed adopts all the latest technology to take the breed forward in the future.” New senior vice-president is Tom Arnott, Haymount, Kelso, while Alex Sanger, Prettycur, Montrose, was appointed junior vice-president.

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

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.

Politics

Labour’s Alex Rowley wins Cowdenbeath by-election

January 23 2014

Labour's Alex Rowley has won the Cowdenbeath by-election, securing a much-increased majority for his party. Mr Rowley claimed 55.8% of the votes, in an election with a low turnout of under 35%. The new Labour MSP received 11,192 votes, and a majority of 5,488. The seat was contested following the death of sitting MSP Helen Eadie in November. Mr Rowley praised his team for running a “first class” and “positive” campaign and paid tribute to his predecessor as Labour secured an 11.25% swing from the SNP. He said: “Everyone in Cowdenbeath constituency knew someone who had been helped by Helen Eadie over the years.”For further coverage, see Friday's CourierMr Rowley added that people had made clear their priorities were jobs and opportunities for young people. He stressed fighting the "bedroom tax" would be high on his agenda at Holyrood. The current Fife Council leader had confirmed that he would stand down if elected to Parliament. His SNP rival Natalia McGarry came second with 5,704 votes, and the Conservatives' Dave Dempsey was third with 1,893. UKIP's Denise Baykalbeat the Lib Dem candidate Jade Holden to claim fourth position. Full result: Alex Rowley (Lab) 11,192 (share 55.79%, +9.33%) Natalie McGarry (SNP) 5,704 (28.43%, -13.17%) Dave Dempsey (C) 1,893 (9.44%, +2.45%) Denise Baykal (UKIP) 610 (3.04%) Jade Holden (LD) 425 (2.12%, -1.77%) Stuart Graham (Victims) 187 (0.93%) James Trolland (SDA) 51 (0.25%) Lab maj 5,488 (27.36%) 11.25% swing SNP to Lab Electorate 57,687; Turnout 20,062 (34.78%, -12.51%)

Dundee

Conde Nast provides international recognition for Dundee’s renaissance

December 15 2017

One of the world's leading travel magazines has singled out Dundee as one of the main reaons to visit the UK in 2018. Condé Nast Travller magazine also includes an articled by Dundee-born comedian and writer Danny Wallace about the city's recent renaissance. Including the UK in its 10 destinations to watch in 2018, the magazine cites Dundee as  one of the main reasons to visit the UK, along with London and Bristol. It states: "A surprise entry this year: Dundee. Its soon-to-be-launched V&A Museum of Design, large populations of galleries and art students, and plum spot on the Firth of Tay make a strong case for a highland fling." * For more on this story — including why Dundee is no longer the butt of jokes for comedians — pick up Saturday's culturally cognisant Courier, also available as a digital edition.  

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

Politics

SNP and Conservatives launch Cowdenbeath campaigns

January 10 2014

Leaders of the SNP and Scottish Conservatives will formally launch their Cowdenbeath by-election campaigns today. Alex Salmond will be in Inverkeithing to promote his candidate, Natalie McGarry. He said: "The introduction of free school meals, extending childcare for households across Fife, and the continuation of the council tax freeze - these are the issues at the forefront of this by-election, which people can support by voting for the SNP and Natalie McGarry." Tory leader Ruth Davidson will be in Cowdenbeath with candidate Dave Dempsey, a Fife councillor. Mr Dempsey wants to promote the revitalisation of Cowdenbeath town centre. He said: "Times are tough for retailers and the SNP should be seeking to help them. Instead, the Scottish Government has hit the sector with a number of damaging policies like the retail levy and empty property tax. "The least it could do is come up with a fresh Town Centre Regeneration Fund - the type of investment that could really change Cowdenbeath's fortunes. "It's an extremely straightforward way to encourage growth, and make residents feel good about their own town centre." The by-election is being contested on January 23. It was called after the death of Labour MSP Helen Eadie in November.

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.

Politics

MP Natalie McGarry ‘absolutely fine’ after detention by Turkish special forces

February 25 2016

Fife-born MP Natalie McGarry was detained by Turkish special forces after “recording the sound of bombs falling”, her lawyer has claimed. Ms McGarry, who resigned the SNP whip at Westminster while police probe allegations about missing funds from the Women For Independence campaign group, was on a visit to the country with the GMB union when the drama unfolded. The Glasgow East representative was detained in the Sur district of Diyarbakir after security forces apparently spotted her with her mobile phone out. She later tweeted to confirm she had not come to any harm. She said: “Thank you for any concerns, but I am safe and absolutely fine.” Ms McGarry added: “I was not arrested, but answered some questions. I am absolutely fine and have no further comment.” The Inverkeithing born and raised politician is a pro-Kurdish campaigner who has been critical of the Turkish government. https://twitter.com/NatalieMcGarry/status/702871051613691904 Her solicitor, Aamer Anwar, said: “I can confirm that Natalie McGarry MP was questioned earlier on today, when she was recording the sound of bombs from the Turkish forces falling on the Kurdish area of Sur in Diyarbakir. "It appears that a member of the Turkish security forces became alarmed as Natalie had her mobile phone out near a security check point. "She was taken away for questioning and when it was explained that she was part of the GMB delegation and simply recording the sound of bombs falling, she was released. There will be no further statement and Natalie will be returning home soon." A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: “A British national was briefly detained and released in Diyarbakir, Turkey. Our embassy staff were in close contact with local authorities.” GMB said the trip was part of a campaign calling on the Turkish Government to release Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan on the 17th anniversary of his imprisonment. https://twitter.com/NatalieMcGarry/status/702883585427173376 The union’s international officer, Bert Schouwenburg, said: “As Abdullah Ocalan endures another year in captivity, the Turkish government are engaged in a largely unreported dirty war against the Kurdish population in the south of the country. “Hundreds of men, women and children have been killed and thousands of dwellings destroyed. “In spite of the genocidal assault by the Turkish state, from his prison cell Ocalan continues to advocate a peaceful and democratic solution to the Kurdish question. His freedom is, therefore, an essential prerequisite to a negotiated settlement and we call for his immediate release.”

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