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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…

Other sports

F1: Fernando Alonso hails his ‘perfect Sunday’ after win in China

April 15 2013

Fernando Alonso was left hailing “a perfect Sunday” even if confusion often reigned in the land of Confucius. Alonso was flawless in the Chinese Grand Prix, three weeks after crashing out of the Malaysian Grand Prix with a front-wing failure following an opening-lap collision with Sebastian Vettel. The race at the Shanghai International Circuit was always going to boil down to which car/driver/team combination could execute the ideal strategy given the number of variables on offer at the start. There was exciting uncertainty as to who would emerge the winner but as the event unfolded and the lead consistently changed hands following an overwhelming number of pit stops, for the average viewer there must have been bewilderment as to what was going on at times. There were no doubts about Alonso’s performance, however, en route to the 31st victory of his Formula One career, equalling Nigel Mansell’s feat and hauling the Spaniard up to fourth on the all-time winners’ list. “It was definitely a fantastic race for us from start to end, without big problems with the car a perfect Sunday,” said double world champion Alonso who won in China in 2005. “The team did a perfect job with the set-up of the car for qualifying and the race, with perfect pit-stop times and the way they were executed. “The victory is a good reward for the team, and well deserved after the disappointment in Malaysia. It feels great.” Kimi Raikkonen finished second with Lewis Hamilton third in his Mercedes. Lotus driver Raikkonen was hindered in his bid for a win by a minor collision with Perez that affected his front wing. Raikkonen is now three points behind championship leader Vettel, who had to settle for fourth, just 0.2 seconds adrift of Mercedes driver Hamilton. Alonso has closed to within nine points of Vettel, with Hamilton 12 behind the reigning three-times world champion. Behind Vettel, Button finished a creditable fifth given the ongoing limitations of his McLaren. The Briton was followed by Ferrari’s Felipe Massa, Daniel Ricciardo in his Toro Rosso, Di Resta, Lotus’ Romain Grosjean and Hulkenberg in 10th, with Marussia’s Max Chilton 17th. Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez, who rear-ended Sutil on lap 16 that forced both into retirement, has been handed a five-place grid penalty for next Sunday’s race in Bahrain. Red Bull’s Mark Webber will serve a three-place penalty for running into Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne, forcing a pit stop which saw him retire a lap later after the right-rear wheel came off.

Fife

Fife veteran receives Malaysian campaign medal after 50 years

October 1 2012

When he attends the annual Remembrance Day service, old salt James Wells proudly wears the campaign medals he was awarded for serving in Malaya in the late 1950s and early 1960s. However, this year the 72-year-old former Royal Navy engineer from Glenrothes will have another medal to wear, courtesy of the Malaysian Government. They struck the Pingat Jasa Malaysia (PJM) award in 2005 for presentation to British veterans and others who served in operation, but for six years the wearing of it was not endorsed. However, a few days before Remembrance Sunday last year, it was announced Her Majesty the Queen had granted permission for British and Commonwealth veterans to wear it. Mr Wells, who served aboard HMS Whitby in Malaysia between 1962 and 1964, said: ”I will be proud to wear it alongside my other medals and thank the Malaysian Government for their kind gesture.” He was congratulated by Glenrothes and Central Fife MP Lindsay Roy, who said: ”It is fitting those who served in Malaysia have been given this permission.”

Malaysia approves new search for missing MH370 plane

January 6 2018

The Malaysian government has approved a new attempt to find the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in the Indian Ocean. A US-based company dispatched a search vessel to look for debris in the southern Indian Ocean earlier this week, three-and-a-half years after the Boeing 777 disappeared on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 227 passengers and 12 crew. Malaysia, China and Australia called off the 1,046-day official search last year without solving the mystery. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau’s final report on the search conceded that authorities were no closer to knowing the reasons for the plane’s disappearance, or its exact location. Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said on Saturday that the government remained committed to continuing with the search. “The basis of the offer from Ocean Infinity is based on ‘no cure, no fee,’” he said. It means that payment will be made only if the company finds the wreckage. “That means they are willing to search the area of 25,000 square kilometres pointed out by the expert group near the Australian waters,” he added. However, he said: “I don’t want to give too much hope… to the (next of kin).” Ocean Infinity said in this week’s statement that the vessel, which left the South African port of Durban on Tuesday, was taking advantage of favourable weather to move towards “the vicinity of the possible search zone”. (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 Associated Press'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '1bb692cc-96e7-4a69-939c-b5c399f466d2'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:news,paservice:news:world'); 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': 'Malaysia approves new search for missing MH370 plane'});

Commonwealth can be ‘pivotal’ in solving global issues, Prince of Wales says

November 3 2017

The Commonwealth can play a “pivotal” role in tackling global challenges, the Prince of Wales has said in the keynote speech of his south-east Asia tour. Charles highlighted how the family of nations could draw on its “wide range of national contexts, experiences, traditions” in finding a solution to the major issues, as he addressed Malaysian leaders with the Duchess of Cornwall. Today was TRH's first full day in #Malaysia, where The Prince gave a speech at a Gala Dinner. Here is a round up:https://t.co/VkS8JqYYjV pic.twitter.com/XvYQ0706El— Clarence House (@ClarenceHouse) November 3, 2017 In his speech he highlighted problems such as climate change, overpopulation in cities and the threat to the world’s oceans. His comments made at a Kuala Lumpur gala dinner celebrating 60 years of UK-Malaysian diplomatic relations, are a statement of his belief in the Commonwealth – Britain’s former empire – which have been a fundamental part of the Queen’s public life. When Charles becomes King it is thought he will not automatically follow the Queen and become head of the Commonwealth, as it is ultimately up to the 52 nation’s heads of government to decide what they want to do with the symbolic non-hereditary post. HRH gave a speech at a Gala Dinner to celebrate 60 years of UK-Malaysia diplomatic ties #RoyalVisitMY➡️ https://t.co/lq1rGlJqZo pic.twitter.com/VT0FPXprkG— Clarence House (@ClarenceHouse) November 3, 2017 But with the next Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting being staged in London next April, the heir to the throne is likely to play an important role supporting the Queen and his speech has highlighted his strong commitment institution. In contrast to the serious points about the future of the planet, earlier the Prince was photographed emerging from a replica of Doctor Who’s Tardis when he visited a co-working space aimed at supporting start up companies in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur. Prince of Wales steps out of a Tardis, but luckily there wasn't a Dalek in sight, during a visit to a Kuala Lumpur work space for start-ups pic.twitter.com/heABU5Ut4j— PA Royal Reporters (@PARoyal) November 3, 2017 He emerged from the famous Time Lord’s time machine and joked with the waiting photographers before meeting young entrepreneurs, established business leaders and tech-savvy school children. Speaking at an exclusive hotel to Malaysia’s rulers including the head of state, prime minister and leading Malaysians from all walks of life, Charles said of the problems he highlighted: “For the resolution of all these issues, the Commonwealth should, and does, have a pivotal role to play. “Representing a third of the world’s population and a fifth of its land-mass, it can draw on a uniquely wide range of national contexts, experiences, traditions and, above all, professional associations – something, of course, which makes the Commonwealth unlike anything else in the world – for the solutions that we all so desperately need now.” (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', '81c234d2-7992-41e3-ace1-f3c764784f02'); 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': 'Commonwealth can be u2018pivotalu2019 in solving global issues, Prince of Wales says'});

UK & World

Scottish veterans receive Pingat Jasa Malaysia medals

October 17 2010

Hundreds of Scottish veterans of an oft-forgotten war have at last been recognised almost half a century after the brutal conflict ended. Troops who served with the British Army in Malaysia between 1957 and 1966 were honoured during a poignant ceremony in Perth on Wednesday. More than 100,000 troops served in the war-torn far eastern country fighting rebel forces in the bloody battle for independence. Over 2000 lives were lost. In 2005 the Malaysian government approached the Foreign and Commonwealth Office seeking approval for its plans to present the Pingat Jasa Malaysia Medal to all who took part in the dangerous operation. A year later permission was granted and the UK Government decreed the medal should be worn “during the celebration of Malaysian independence.” The daunting task of distributing more than 28,000 medals across the length and breadth of the country fell to just three couples. Mike and Bev Warren, both 66 and from Blackpool, dedicated themselves to contacting the 600 eligible Scots in a task that took four years. All that hard work came to fruition on Wednesday as survivors and relatives were invited to a ceremony at the Salutation Hotel in Perth. A member of the National Malaya and Borneo Veterans’ Association himself, Mr Warren spent a number of years serving in the country with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. “It has taken a huge amount of effort to ensure all soldiers get the recognition they deserve but it has been worth it,” he said. “Many old friends who have not seen each other for 50 years are being reunited in Perth. “The widows and children of those who are no longer with us are also attending to receive recognition on their behalf.” Mr Warren was delighted to be able to raise the profile of the conflict. “Conditions in Malaysia during that time were terrible but it is a war few people know about,” he said. With hundreds of Scots eligible, Mr Warren explained why Perth was chosen as the most suitable venue. “People were planning to travel from as far as Dumfries and John O’Groats so we needed a good central location,” he said. The event was also attended by several diplomats and dignitaries, among them Brigadier General Othman Jamal, defence attache with the Malaysian Embassy.

UK & World

Malaysia intercepts boat carrying Rohingya refugees

April 3 2018

Malaysian authorities have intercepted a boat carrying 56 people believed to be Muslim Rohingya refugees who fled from Burma, and brought the vessel and its passengers to shore.The navy chief, Admiral Ahmad Kamarulzaman Ahmad Badaruddin, said the boat was intercepted after it entered Malaysian waters and was moored off the northern resort island of Langkawi.On Sunday the boat had stopped temporarily in southern Thailand, where it underwent repairs and was resupplied with fuel and food before being sent on its way to Malaysia, as its passengers reportedly desired.About 700,000 Rohingya have fled western Burma’s Rakhine state to neighbouring Bangladesh in the past seven months to escape a brutal counterinsurgency campaign by Burma’s army. Rohingya, treated as undesirables in predominantly Buddhist Burma, used to flee by sea by the thousands each year until security in Burma was tightened after an upsurge of refugees in 2015 caused regional concern.The navy chief said that all of the boat’s passengers were safe but tired and hungry, and were given food and water. The boat and its passengers will be handed over to immigration authorities, he said.Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency chief Zulkifili Abu Bakar said the refugees comprised 19 women, 17 men, 12 boys and eight girls. They appeared weak and their boat was in bad condition, he said.Mr Zulkifili said the refugees would be handed over to immigration authorities for humanitarian reasons, an indirect indication that they will be allowed to stay rather than sent back to sea. The issue of whether to allow them to stay is a sensitive one, because of fears it might encourage a new wave of boat people.However, an expert on the plight of the Rohingya said the appearance this week of the boat – the first known case this year – does not portend a new exodus by sea.Chris Lewa of the Arakan Project, an independent research and advocacy group, said that the safe time for such journeys is about to pass, as the annual monsoon season normally starts in April. Tight security by Burmese officials also makes departures difficult, though it would not be surprising if a handful of more boats were seen in the near future, she said.Thailand has an official policy of pushing back boat people from its shores, so most Rohingya prefer to head to Malaysia, whose dominant Malay Muslim population makes it a more sympathetic destination. There have also been many cases of Rohingya landing in Thailand being taken by human traffickers and forced into near-slavery, held for ransom or otherwise abused.Ahmad Tarmizi Sulaiman, the vice president of the Malaysian Consultative Council for Islamic Organisation, said the group received a call from the coast guard to provide assistance to the refugees on Tuesday.He said his organisation was asked to help due to its record of providing medical treatment and basic necessities such as food and clothing to previous Rohingya refugees.

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

Fife

Soldier of forgotten Malaysian conflict honoured

May 14 2011

A Fife veteran of a forgotten war has been recognised almost 45 years after the conflict ended. David Goddard, who served with the 1st Battalion Scots Guards in Malaysia between 1964 and 1967, was honoured at a ceremony in Edinburgh. The 64-year-old, from Chance Inn near Cupar, was among more than 100,000 troops sent to the country to fight rebel forces during the battle for independence. More than 2000 lives were lost. The Malaysian government approached the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 2005 seeking approval for its plans to present the Pingat Jasa Malaysia (PJM) medal to all who took part in the operation. Permission was granted and the UK Government decreed that the medal should be worn “during the celebration of Malaysian independence.” Mr Goddard spoke of his “pride” following the recognition. “I was absolutely thrilled to get the medal,” he told The Courier. “It was a very proud moment… I think it was very thoughtful of the Malaysian government to remember us in this way.” During the ceremony, Mr Goddard was able to rub shoulders with many other veterans of the conflict something that meant a lot to him. “Everybody had a smile on their face, we were all just so chuffed to be remembered,” he said. Although the skirmish ended 44 years ago, Mr Goddard remembers it well. “I found the jungle itself to be fine once you were actually in it,” he said. “However, I remember once being sent to ride shotgun on a convoy delivering supplies from Borneo. “I was sat on the back of this three tonne truck with my weapon and … everywhere I looked I could see potential places from which to ambush us. “This journey wound through the jungle … and by the end of it I think all my hair had turned white,” he joked. “It was an extremely scary trip.” As he relaxed at home with his new medal, Mr Goddard paid special tribute to Mike and Bev Warren, who dedicated themselves to finding the 600 Scots who qualify for the medal. Mr and Mrs Warren have spent more than four years tracking down veterans, but the couple said they were happy to be able to raise awareness of the conflict. A member of the National Malaya and Borneo Veterans’ Association himself, Mr Warren spent a number of years serving in the country with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. “Conditions in Malaysia during that time were terrible, but it is a war few people know about,” he said. “These people really deserve to be recognised for the role they played.” The PJM is awarded for “distinguished chivalry, gallantry, sacrifice or loyalty” in upholding Malaysian sovereignty. It is awarded to British veterans and others who served in operations between August 1957 and August 1966.

Other sports

Paul Di Resta confident of successful F1 season

April 3 2013

Paul Di Resta faces Formula One’s next double header in an upbeat mood despite the misery suffered in Malaysia recently. Following a promising start in the opening grand prix in Australia, where Di Resta and team-mate Adrian Sutil finished eighth and seventh respectively, the wheels almost came off quite literally a week later in Sepang. Problems with Force India’s new captive wheel-nut system forced both Di Resta and Sutil to retire when another double points finish was potentially on the cards. Ahead of the upcoming grands prix in China and Bahrain, Di Resta sees no reason why the Silverstone-based team cannot again force their way into the top 10 in qualifying and then press the frontrunners in both races. “The next two races can’t really come quick enough,” said Di Resta. “Despite what happened in Malaysia we took very good positives from the weekend through our performance, so I’m looking forward to China and Bahrain. “I’d like to think we’d have some more knowledge on our car to make it quicker, although China is a different philosophy compared to what we have experienced so far this season. But we had a good car there two years ago, and there is no reason why we can’t go there and repeat that. “As for Bahrain, that is probably one of the strongest grands prix we had last year, and with the climate similar there as to Malaysia with the heat, I’m confident.” Although the team failed to collect any points in Malaysia, what has so far been proven is that Force India are quite comfortably top-10 material. And Di Resta would like to think Force India will again have their noses in front of the McLarens at the next two races. “We’ve proven where we are at the moment, but whether we will be in that position after the next two will be hard,” added Di Resta. “I’ve a lot of respect for what McLaren do. Although they are struggling at the moment, they can develop. Our performance so far has been far better than people expected.”

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