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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

Readers' letters

March 27: We should put ‘faith’ in scientific advances and professional healthcare

March 27 2012

Today's letters to The Courier. Sir, - John Miller's article on Friday, March 23 ('The whole nation united in prayer') suggests the tragic collapse of Bolton footballer Fabrice Muamba has "thrust the concept of prayer and its effectiveness on the minds of the British people". I do, of course, wish Mr Muamba a full and speedy recovery, but I think that if this happens then it will be down to his underlying fitness, the timely, professional treatment he received on the pitch, and the care he has been receiving in hospital. Credit should be given to the good men and women who dedicate themselves to helping people who have suffered such unfortunate accidents and to those who determine the best methods of assisting their recovery. Whilst I am sure some people may attain some level of personal comfort from the act of praying, or even that it may help some people to know that they are being prayed for, I am not persuaded prayer is effective in achieving physical outcomes through the intercession of a deity. Mr Millar suggests some historical events have been influenced by prayer, but it is easy to find examples, even quite recently, where prayer has been publicly invoked and the desired result has not been achieved. For example, in Texas last year there were a huge number of wildfires (some might say of biblical proportions) and the Governor of Texas invoked a prayer rally to ask for rain, then prayed, publicly and often. There followed a rainless spring and summer. July was the hottest month in recorded Texas history and most of Texas suffered "extreme or exceptional" drought. Later in office he asked 30,000 evangelical followers to pray for an economic recovery. This didn't happen either. Perhaps Governor Perry wasn't doing it right, or perhaps there is a much simpler explanation. I suggest we should put our "faith" in scientific advances and professional healthcare. Norry Passway.29 Albany Road,Dundee. Choose prayer over CPR? Sir, - How the likes of John Miller's article commands column space is beyond me. No one should be in any doubt that the reason a young footballer is showing encouraging signs of recovery is down in part (a very large part) to the skill, knowledge and professionalism of the medical professionals who have attended him since those horrific scenes the other evening. To suggest any thing else is, frankly, offensive. Imagine if those attending in the very first moments of his collapse had chosen prayer over CPR! I doubt if Mr Miller would be enlightening us then on the power of prayer. N. Austin.10 Shepherd Lane,Arbroath. Real miracle of Dunkirk Sir, - I would like to make a few comments concerning John Miller's article on prayer. I certainly have no wish to make light of belief in prayer, but the miracle of Dunkirk was most definitely down to the men of 51st Highland Division, who held back the German forces. Many paid with their lives and many more were marched into prison camps to be starved and worked to death. That any men survived was a miracle. And to think they are almost airbrushed from history each time the British public are reminded of the miracle of Dunkirk. Margaret Borland.57 Rodd Road,Dundee. A question of principle Sir, - The Rev John Cameron targets his ironic barbs superbly (Letters, March 24), but the 'granny tax' raises a separate question of principle. Why, purely due to our age, should pensioners like me enjoy a higher tax-free allowance than the working population, many with young families and on average incomes little more than mine? Churchill's original justification for age allowances in 1925 surely no longer exists. Pensioners do not pay NIC (effectively another income tax of about 10%), or their previous pension contributions, or travel-to-work costs; and many will no longer be in the 40% tax bracket. The combined effect for those in some final-salary schemes can leave them with net disposable incomes almost unchanged from their employment. Many pensioners much wealthier than he or I can limit their taxable income to £25,000 for example if they have substantial ISAs to draw down, while others choose to work. Why should these groups benefit even more than younger workers? The coalition should have announced in June 2010 an early move to incorporating tax-free cash benefits like the fuel allowance into the taxable state pension; linking or even equalising that pension and a single tax-free allowance with the minimum wage for 18-20 year-olds (£10,000); amalgamating income tax and NIC; and improving the progressive tax structure. John Birkett.12 Horseleys Park,St Andrews. Bridging gap in knowledge Sir, - Reading Ken Guild's remarks about "another bridge falling down" I presumed he was referring to the Tay Bridge disaster, implying it was caused by the use of Scottish steel. In that case, may I inform him that the bridge was constructed from cast and wrought iron rather than from steel? The first major bridge to be constructed from Scottish (and Welsh) steel was the Forth Bridge which, as far as I know, is still standing. (Mrs) JE McFarlane.41 Highfield Place,Birkhill. Closures will be a nightmare Sir, - On the subject of public toilet closures in Fife, my daughter took my granddaughter to the West Sands play area in St Andrews recently. Soon after they arrived, my granddaughter needed the toilet. The toilets there were closed. My daughter had to drive up to South Street in order to use the toilet there. It cost her £1 to park and 30p to use the toilet. Luckily she found a parking place, but that might not be possible in the holiday season. Public toilet closures will be a nightmare for the elderly and people with children. Mrs Margaret Duncan.32 Pickford Crescent,Cellardyke. 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. Letters should be accompanied by an address and a daytime telephone number.

UK politics

High Court rules Brexit must win Parliament’s approval

November 3 2016

Campaigners have won their High Court battle over Theresa May's decision to use the royal prerogative in her Brexit strategy. In one of the most important constitutional cases in generations, three senior judges ruled the Prime Minister does not have power to use the prerogative to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty to start the UK's exit from the European Union - without the prior authority of Parliament. The ruling against the Government was made by Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas, sitting with two other senior judges in London. Unless overturned on appeal at the Supreme Court, the ruling threatens to plunge the Government's plans for Brexit into disarray as the process will have to be subject to full parliamentary control. Government lawyers had argued that prerogative powers were a legitimate way to give effect "to the will of the people" who voted by a clear majority to leave the European Union in the June referendum. But the Lord Chief Justice declared: "The Government does not have power under the Crown's prerogative to give notice pursuant to Article 50 for the UK to withdraw from the European Union." The Government has been given the go-ahead to appeal against the ruling at the Supreme Court but made no immediate announcement about whether it will. International Trade Secretary Liam Fox told the House of Commons that the Government was "disappointed" at the High Court ruling, but remained "determined to respect the result of the referendum". The ruling was welcomed by opponents of a "hard Brexit". Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said the Government must now lay out its negotiating position in Parliament, while Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon described the finding as "significant indeed". But Ukip leader Nigel Farage said he feared that "a betrayal may now be near at hand", warning he had "a distinct feeling" that the political classes "do not accept the June 23 referendum result". "I now fear that every attempt will be made to block or delay the triggering of Article 50," said Mr Farage. "If this is so, they have no idea of the level of public anger they will provoke." The judge - sitting with the Master of the Rolls, Sir Terence Etherton, and Lord Justice Sales - emphasised to a packed court that he was deciding "a pure question of law". He added: "The court is not concerned with and does not express any view about the merits of leaving the European Union: that is a political issue." Mrs May announced at the Conservative Party conference that she intends giving an Article 50 notification by the end of March 2017. Her opponents were "concerned citizens" drawn from all walks of life, with the lead challenge brought by investment fund manager and philanthropist Gina Miller. Outside the Royal Courts of Justice Ms Miller was greeted by rounds of applause. She said she hoped the Government would now "make the wise decision of not appealing".   Pound rises on news The pound rose sharply following the High Court decision. The ruling saw sterling shoot past $1.24, up nearly 1% on the day. Neil Wilson, markets analyst at ETX Capital, said: "Most MPs are natural Remainers, although they would face intense pressure from constituents to deliver the referendum mandate."

Music

Michael Marra remembered with new bench at Niel Gow Oak

March 25 2013

A wooden bench commemorating a fiddle legend has been unveiled by the widow of a Dundee musician. To mark the start of the Niel Gow Scottish Fiddle Festival at the weekend, the Forestry Commission Scotland installed a new bench dedicated to Gow on the banks of the Tay at Inver, near Dunkeld. It is sited at Niel Gow’s Oak, where he is said to have composed many of his finest tunes, and replaces the original bench that was damaged in a storm. The new bench bears a line from a song by singer-songwriter Michael Marra, who died last year, and was unveiled by his widow Peggy. https://www.youtube.com/embed/wi4ewo3X_cc?rel=0 Peter Fullarton of the commission’s team in Tay District said: “Niel Gow was a weaver’s son who taught himself to play the fiddle but he was widely considered the best fiddle player in Perthshire. “He was in high demand all over the country so it’s probably safe to say he was the most famous fiddler in Scotland at that time. “Now that we’ve replaced the bench, anyone who visits the area has the opportunity to enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the setting and maybe get a taste of the inspiration that helped Gow to create so many memorable tunes.” The replacement bench has been carved by Nigel Ross and the inscription carved by Andy McFetters. The inscription a line from Marra’s song Niel Gow’s Apprentice reads: “I’ll sit beneath the fiddle tree, with the ghost of Niel Gow next to me.”

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.

Scottish League 2

Queen’s Park 3 East Fife 0: Naysmith says players ‘let themselves down’

October 27 2014

East Fife player-manager Gary Naysmith said his players had let themselves down in their 3-0 defeat to Queen’s Park. The Fifers had taken plaudits for their performance during the week as they competed well against Rangers in the Pterofac Training Cup before going down 2-0. But, having taken the praise for that showing, the Methil gaffer said it was only fair they stood up to criticism following their Excelsior Stadium no-show. Naysmith said: “I don’t publicly criticise the players but they know that’s not good enough. Over the last two or three games it hasn’t been good enough in the league. “We got credit following the Rangers game but there was no expectation on them so it’s easy to go and want the ball and do different stuff. “The league is our bread and butter and that’s what I told the players. “There was no ranting or raving after the game, I just told the players they’d let themselves down. Not so much let me down, but let themselves down because we’re better than we showed.” Queen’s should have been a goal up within the first five minutes when Shaun Rooney’s pass split the Fife defence and found Ross McPherson. The striker burst in on goal but his strike was saved by Jordan Millar. The hosts had taken the game to the Fifers and took a deserved lead from the penalty spot. Shaun Fraser was brought down inside the box by Jonathan Page and the Queen’s striker picked himself up to take the kick himself, firing high into Miller’s top corner. Fife striker Ross Campbell was unlucky to see his effort cleared off the line by Rooney shortly before the break. The home side doubled their advantage in style soon after when Ciaran McElroy wasn’t shut down on the edge of the box and fired past Millar. In 80 minutes Darren Millar’s free-kick found its way in at the front post to make it 3-0.

UK politics

Nigel Farage says British judges are ‘difficult to trust’

November 6 2016

Judges are so ingrained in the pro-EU elite in British society that it is difficult to trust them, Nigel Farage has claimed. UKIP’s interim leader took aim at the High Court justices for ruling that parliamentary approval is needed to trigger Article 50, the mechanism for leaving the EU. Mr Farage also warned that the public will vent their anger on the streets of Britain if the vote to leave the EU is not respected. The MEP told the Andrew Marr Show: “I am afraid that the reach of the European Union into the upper echelons of society in this country makes it quite difficult to trust the judges.” He criticised Lord Chief Justice John Thomas for not stepping aside for Thursday’s decision given his role in a body that sought to further integrate EU laws domestically. “If they are activists pushing for politically European integration they should not be making these judgments,” Mr Farage added. He said he “completely understands” newspaper coverage after the High Court ruling which referred to judges as “enemies of the people”. The former City worker said: “Believe you me, if the people of this country think that are going to be cheated, they are going to be betrayed, then we are going to see political anger, the likes of which none of us in our lifetimes have ever witnessed in this country. “Those newspaper headlines are reflecting that.” Asked if there was a real danger of disturbances on the street, Mr Farage said: “Yeah I think that’s right.”

St Johnstone

Motherwell 3 St Johnstone 2: Lomas says Saints deserved more

January 21 2013

ST JOHNSTONE manager Steve Lomas felt his team should have had a late penalty at Motherwell, which could have completed a remarkable Fir Park comeback. After falling behind to a Michael Higdon hat-trick two in the first half and one midway through the second the Perth side dragged themselves back into the game with goals from Nigel Hasselbaink and Liam Craig. Lomas believed his Dutch substitute should have been awarded a spot-kick when he was trying to get a shot away in the second last minute of the match but he wasn’t, his effort was saved, and the match ended 3-2 to the home team. Lomas said: “The boys are feeling frustrated because they thought it was a penalty. “I don’t know who the Motherwell boy was, but he’s got his arms round Nigel’s waist and hampered his shot. “He still got a shot, but he was trying to break free when he hit it.” It was a day of mixed emotions for Lomas, who watched his team defend poorly for Higdon’s first-half double but then launch a spirited fightback. He admitted: “Some of the defending wasn’t great. I felt we were the team who got into the final third more and were creating more chances, but the difference was Michael Higdon. Their conversion rate was higher than ours. “But I have to say I’m proud of my boys for keeping going and when we got two goals quickly I was thinking ‘here we go’, but we couldn’t quite get the equaliser.” Saints were dealt another blow with the news that a late injury to substitute Gary Miller is thought to be an ankle break. Lomas said: “It was an honest challenge but unfortunately it looks like it might be a broken ankle, which is desperately disappointing for the boy.” Motherwell boss Stuart McCall acknowledged that he could see the three points slipping away from his team. “I’m definitely relieved,” he said. “Credit to St Johnstone for having a right go, and if it wasn’t for our keeper saving from Nigel Hasselbaink late on it would have been a draw. “Both teams had a lot of strikers on the pitch so it was always likely there would be goals. We didn’t play to our best but you’ve got to be happy with three goals and three points.”

Dundee

Courier proves Seville’s claim as Spain’s oldest football club

February 7 2013

A 123-year-old page of The Courier is to hang in the offices of the Spanish Football Association after it was revealed that, thanks to an article in the paper that day, Sevilla FC can officially claim to be Spain’s oldest club. The Courier revealed in September that the discovery of the club being founded 15 years earlier than previously thought was due to the story on page four of the paper from March 17 1890, which details how a group of young British, mainly Scottish, men met in a pub in Seville on January 25 that year to celebrate Burns Night. Along with some Spanish friends, they decided to form the country’s first official football club, and, word having reached back to Dundee, The Courier carried an article documenting the club’s act of constitution. As a result, current members of the club say the article can be considered the founding document of Sevilla FC. The president of Sevilla FC, Jos Mara del Nido, was presented with a copy of the page, certified by the British Newspaper Archive, by the club’s history department on January 25, 123 years after the club’s formation. Another print of the page will be presented by the club to the Spanish FA. Grant Millar, marketing executive of Dundee online company brightsolid, which hosts the online version of the British Newspaper Archive, was told of the presentations by Spanish researcher Javier Terenti. Javier said: “The page in question contains a treasure for the history of Spanish football, since it is an article that describes in detail how the club was founded 15 years earlier than it was thought, thus being Spain’s oldest football club. “The article that is extremely rich in detail shows how the club’s founding date was not a coincidence. “Everything suggests that that Saturday 25 January, 123 years ago, a group of young British, mainly Scots, along with other young men of Spanish origin, met at one of the cafes in the city and celebrated Burns Night with the excuse of founding the first football club in Spain. “Among the most prominent Scots was the club’s first president, EF Johnston, and first captain, Hugo MacColl, who later, upon returning to the UK, became chairman of Sunderland Burns Club. “The discovery of the club’s Act of Constitution within an old edition of the Dundee Courier has been published not only in Spain but also in several important newspapers outside the country.” Mr Carlos Romero, director of the club’s history department, said: “It’s a beautiful article that chronicles the adventures of those first ‘Sevillistas’, in which the following paragraph appears: ‘Some six weeks ago a few enthusiastic young residents of British origin met in one of the cafs for the purpose of considering a proposal that we should start an athletic association, the want of exercise being greatly felt by the majority of us, who are chiefly engaged in mercantile pursuits. After a deal of talk and a limited consumption of small beer, the “Club de Football de Sevilla” was duly formed and office bearers elected.” Mr Miller added: “The reason why this important report was published in the Dundee Courier is probably due to the fact that, at that time, tonnes and tonnes of Seville oranges were loaded on steamships, travelling from Seville to Dundee for the manufacture of the city’s famous marmalade. “However, this connection between Seville and Dundee could even go further if we take into account that two of the members of the Sevilla Football Club at that time, D Thomson and Robert Thomson, could have been related to DC Thomson, founders of the Dundee Courier.”

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