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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...

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.

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

Perth & Kinross

Tributes paid to tragic Perth pensioner Billy Clark

July 25 2016

Tributes have been paid to a Perth pensioner, with some describing him as “a gentleman” and others saying he “always had a hello for you.” Although a body found in Perth on Sunday afternoon has to be formally identified, police have contacted the family of 71-year-old Billy Clark following the grim find. The sad news came after an extensive search was carried out for Mr Clark, who had been reported missing from the Muirhall Road area of Perth around 7.30pm on Saturday. Seven fire units arrived at Tay Street, Perth, on Sunday morning and spent nearly six hours searching the river for signs of Mr Clark. Police later confirmed a body had been found in the Perth area and that officers had told Mr Clark’s family of the find. As a result, scores of people have posted messages of condolence to his family on social media. Louise Smith, Mr Clark’s niece, said: “Heartbreaking. RIP Uncle Billy. My thoughts are with his family at this sad time.” And Kenny Tunn posted: “RIP Bill. Lovely man. Always had a hello for you.” And similar sentiments were expressed by Jamie Fairlie, who posted: “RIP. Thoughts are with his family – what a gentleman.” Other Perth residents expressed their sadness, with Debbie Smith commenting: “Thoughts are with the family and friends.” And Margaret Latto added: “So sad. Thoughts are with his family.” Jackie Unsworth posted: “So sorry to hear this sad news. My condolences to his family. RIP Billy.” * During the search of the Tay, firefighters identified a piece of metal they had concerns for and the bomb disposal squad were called. However, it turned out to be a simple metal pole.

Angus & The Mearns

Gingerbread tribute to the Wee Red Town

October 14 2013

When Libby Jones was invited by Bank Street Gallery owner Susie Clark to exhibit at her gallery in Kirriemuir, she became intrigued by the history of the town. As well as Kirriemuir’s most famous son and Peter Pan author JM Barrie, she discovered the town had also been home for a time to AC/DC singer Bon Scott, Victorian mountaineer Hugh Munro, and 19th century writer Violet Jacob. She found the town had been a hotbed of witchcraft in the 16th century and is also world famous for its gingerbread and decided to combine all these elements. Ms Jones went on to craft a boxed set of prints, which also doubles as a card game. She said: “This tongue-in-cheek edition of 10 boxes, of 20 cards per box, features Kirriemuir characters presented on a slice of gingerbread on a plate. I have also made a poster featuring all the 10 characters in the game.” Visitors can see images of Edinburgh Castle with fireworks, wildlife such as gannets, and artwork made after a visit to Antarctica. Londoner and master printmaker Ms Jones exhibited work from her sub-zero stay at a Discovery Point exhibition in Dundee last year. Children can see her work Cooking the Climate, a comment on global warming, which consists of a microwave oven and slideshow with rotating polar animals. There is also a fossilised mobile phone in a second installation, Fossils of the Anthropocene an exploration of the traces that might remain of civilisation in 50 million years’ time. She is also exhibiting a selection of her woodcuts, linocuts, collagraphs and screenprints at the gallery. The exhibition runs until November 8 and opening hours can be found on www.bankstreetgallery.org, or by telephoning 01575 570070.

Readers' letters

October 11: We will still require back-up power stations

October 11 2011

Today's letters to The Courier. We will still require back-up power stationsSir, €” The letter (October 7) by the Friends of the Earth chief executive Stan Blackley does not agree with the proposed coal-fired power station at Hunterston. In his opinion, the increased wealth of renewable energy sources will be more than adequate to meet Scotland's future electricity requirements. I am sure that many of the public, not forgetting the benefit of employment, would be more assured to have a relevant back-up of energy if the "wealth of eventual renewable energy sources" fails to adequately meet requirements. Perhaps Mr Blackley could challenge policies in various countries in order to obtain their support against coal-fired power stations. The response would be interesting. Harry Lawrie. 35 Abbots Mill, Kirkcaldy.Public not asked to choose nameSir, €” Your headline writer has done your readers a disservice by failing to check the facts about the naming of the new sports and leisure centre in Glenrothes (October 6). Fife Council did not at any time "ask the public to choose the name" of the new facility. The Glenrothes Area Committee, including Councillor Kay Morrison, unanimously agreed in May that the purpose of the survey was "to help gauge the views of the public on potential names for the new facility". If Councillor Morrison had wanted the results to be binding on the council, regardless of how many or how few people took part, she should have asked for this in May. She didn't. Your report also failed to mention the important fact that although every household in Fife was invited to take part in the survey, and although it was also promoted for over two months in the current FIPRE centre, in local libraries and online, only 174 people actually took part. Compare this to the thousands who made their views known when the late Michael Woods blew the whistle on a suggestion that Fife Institute could be closed down and sold off for housing, and it's easy to "gauge the views of the public". They're relieved that the institute is not being lost, they're delighted that the current administration is replacing it with a brand new facility, and they don't really mind what it's called. We have a long tradition in Scotland of naming important public buildings in memory of individuals who played a major role in having them built. Councillor Michael Woods played a huge role in making sure the current FIPRE site becomes a new sports and leisure centre. (Cllr) Peter Grant.Glenrothes West and Kinglassie. More to it than paying off debtSir, €” It is more than a tad worrying that the Tory Prime Minister David Cameron's grasp of economics is no better than your average mug punter putting all his money on a three-legged nag. Any successful economy depends on the free flow of money and not simply paying off all our debts. It is equally worrying that David Cameron should publicly give support to the Home Secretary Theresa May for uttering untruths about the Human Rights Act whilst chastising the Justice Secretary Ken Clarke. Malcolm McCandless.40 Muirfield Crescent,Dundee.Gas cloud risk not worth runningSir, €” It was with a sense of relief I read that the proposed carbon capture programme for Longannet may not go ahead. The prospect of 500 new jobs seems to have obscured the possible long term risks. The technology, as I understand it, involves storing liquid carbon dioxide at around 800psi in empty oil and gas caverns under the North Sea. Presumably we have to store this liquid forever in increasing quantities. Your report quotes a figure of 70 million tonnes by 2024. What happens if we get a leak? It is maybe unlikely, but the events I am thinking about are comparatively common: failure of a pipeline, an accident at a wellhead, an earth tremor or a volcanic eruption. Plus of course, an act of terrorism. Whilst carbon dioxide is harmless in very low concentrations, say 1-10 parts per million, it rapidly becomes highly toxic as concentrations increase. If 10% of these 70 million tonnes leaked out it would produce a cloud of carbon dioxide about the size of the UK. Of course it wouldn't be pure carbon dioxide it would be mixed with the atmosphere. However, even if it was considerably diluted it would still be an appalling danger. Bob Drysdale.Millfield Star,Glenrothes.Exploitation in sex industrySir, €” In your article about the lap dancing club bid (October 7) the Rev James Auld is reported to have said that he, "has no problem with the venture, providing workers do not feel exploited". It does not necessarily follow, however, that a person isn't being exploited just because they don't feel exploited. It is usually people who, for whatever reason, don't feel it who are exploited. If, as Dundee Women's Aid suggests, women in the sex industry are being exploited (and there is ample evidence) then it is worse, not better, that they don't feel that exploitation. So the Rev Auld ought to have a problem with this venture. Clare McGraw.12a Castle Terrace,Broughty Ferry. 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.

Perth & Kinross

Culinary dimension added to Perth Show

July 28 2016

For more than 150 years Perth Show has been a popular, once a year meeting point for the people of the city and the farming community. The show - now the third largest of its type in Scotland – remains as always a showcase for champion livestock but this year holds a much wider appeal for visitors. To be held on Friday and Saturday August 5 and 6 on the South Inch, throughout the two days, trade stands, sideshows, entertainment, activities, music and parades all add to the vibrancy of the show along with a new culinary direction. “For the first time, Perth Show is set to feature a cookery theatre and food and drink marquee,” said show secretary Neil Forbes. “This will bring a new and popular dimension to the visitor attraction. “Perth Show 2016 is also delighted to welcome Perthshire On A Plate (POAP) - a major food festival, celebrating the very best in local produce and culinary talent. “Organised by Perthshire Chamber of Commerce, the two-day festival will run as part of the show and feature celebrity and local chefs, demonstrations and tastings, book signings, food and drink related trade stands, fun-filled activities for ‘kitchen kids’ and a large dining area and pop-up restaurants in a double celebration of food and farming.” Heading the celebrity chef line-up are television favourite Rosemary Shrager (Friday) and spice king Tony Singh (Saturday), backed by a host of talented local chefs including Graeme Pallister (63 Tay Street) and Grant MacNicol (Fonab Castle). The cookery theatre, supported by Quality Meat Scotland, will also stage a fun cookery challenge between students from Perth College and the ladies of the SWI. A range of pop-up restaurants featuring taster dishes from some of the area’s best known eating places will allow visitors to sample local produce as they relax in the show’s new POAP dining area. “We’re trying to create a wide and varied programme of entertainment,” said Mr Forbes. “Late afternoon on Friday will see the It’s A Knockout  challenge with teams from businesses throughout Perth and Perthshire competing against each other. “And the first day’s programme will end with a beer, wine and spirit festival where teams can celebrate their achievements and visitors can sample a wide range of locally produced drinks.” This year will also see the reintroduction of showjumping at Perth Show on the Saturday afternoon.

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

Dundee man acquitted of £30,000 benefit fraud

February 6 2013

A Dundee man has been acquitted of an alleged £30,000 benefit fraud, despite investigators telling the court the claimant had admitted to them that he had lied on claim forms. Dundee Sheriff Court had also heard that much of the evidence against him had previously been agreed between the Crown and the defence. Robert Robertson Folan Clark (67), of St Clement Place, was cleared by Sheriff Anwar of claiming a total of £30,964.23 after his defence agent argued he had not been identified in court as the same person who was interviewed by Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and council staff. In addition, there was only evidence from one witness that Clark’s identity had been established at the time he was interviewed by him in relation to his claims. Upholding the submission by solicitor David Duncan on Tuesday, Sheriff Anwar said she had no alternative but to acquit Clark. Clark had denied that on various dates between March 31 2005 and March 31 2010, at 58 Clement Park Place, he obtained benefit of £1,951.62 to which he was not entitled, obtained pension credit amounting to £25,445.41 by fraud and £3,567.20 in council tax benefit, which he was not entitled to. Fraud investigator Bruce Walker of DWP told the court Clark had confirmed to him that he had lied on his claim forms. The court heard it was a matter of agreement that Clark had an excess of capital in his bank account that he had not declared. Mr Walker said: “He said it was money for his two sons from his late wife.” The witness also agreed a suggestion by depute fiscal, Laura Bruce, that the money had been in his account before Clark’s wife had died in 2006. The court heard Clark told them that £40,000 had been laid aside for his sons. Asked why excess funds were in his account, Mr Walker said Clark “couldn’t answer other than to say the information was false initially.” Dundee City Council benefits investigations officer Michelle Fleming told the court that, along with Mr Walker, they interviewed Clark on December 13 2010. The court heard he claimed he had just returned from working in Germany in 1999 and various documents relating to council tax benefit, housing benefit and pension credit claims had been signed by Clark. Ms Fleming told the court: “Mr Clark confirmed that he signed the forms. He provided the answers for the questions he was asked when filling out the forms.” The court heard Clark had told the investigators he wasn’t sure about his late wife’s finances when they came back from Germany and was “surprised” by the amount of money she had. Ms Fleming agreed Clark had savings “in excess of proscribed limits” and said he had told Mr Walker he had no extra income coming in, but later in the conversation he admitted he had pension coming in from NCR and Germany. “He said he had done wrong,” she added. At the conclusion of the Crown case, Mr Duncan submitted that the only evidence in the case that could be relied on was the joint agreement as Clark had not been identified in court as the person who had been interviewed by the investigating officers. Sheriff Anward upheld the submission, saying: “There is no evidence that the person before me was the same person who was interviewed. With the greatest of regret, given the seriousness of the charges faced by Mr Clark, I find him not guilty of all three charges.” awilson@thecourier.co.uk

Scotland

Glasgow bin lorry crash inquiry hears of ‘significant shortcomings’ in recruitment procedures

August 3 2015

An inquiry in to a bin lorry crash which claimed the lives of six people has heard claims there were "significant shortcomings" in the council's recruitment procedures at the time the driver got his first job at the authority. Harry Clarke, 58, was driving the council truck in Glasgow city centre on December 22 last year when it went out of control, with witnesses reporting that he appeared to lose consciousness at the wheel. A fatal accident inquiry looking in to the tragedy has already heard that Mr Clarke had a history of health issues including fainting, dizziness and stress dating back to the 1970s. And it has been told that he did not disclose his medical history when completing a health questionnaire as part of his job application to be a school bus driver for Glasgow City Council in 2010. Dorothy Bain QC, representing the family of one of the crash victims, questioned Geraldine Ham, a human resources manager at the council, as the inquiry entered its third week. Talking the witness through various employment documents, the lawyer put it to her: "At the stage that Mr Clarke was employed by the council to transport children with special needs, we can see significant shortcomings in the council process for recruitment." Ms Ham said the local authority tried to ensure that the necessary employment processes were in place. Ms Bain said the inquiry has seen that where Mr Clarke "doesn't tell the council the truth, the recruitment process was not adequate in order to prevent his employment". The witness agreed. The QC went on: "For that reason you would agree, I presume, that the recruitment process wasn't adequate?" Ms Ham responded: "There's room for improvement, yes." She also agreed that Mr Clarke would not have been given the job if the council had received full disclosure of his medical history. Erin McQuade, 18, and her grandparents Jack Sweeney, 68, and Lorraine Sweeney, 69, from Dumbarton, West Dunbartonshire, died from multiple injuries after being hit by the truck. Stephenie Tait, 29, and Jacqueline Morton, 51, both from Glasgow, and Gillian Ewing, 52, from Edinburgh, were also killed as the lorry travelled out of control along Queen Street and towards George Square before crashing in to the side of the Millennium Hotel. The Crown Office ordered a fatal accident inquiry (FAI) into the crash after prosecutors ruled there was no evidence to warrant criminal proceedings.

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