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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

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

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.

Dundee

Tributes to former newspaper editor Hugh Fraser

April 8 2016

Hugh Fraser a prominent figure in DC Thomson’s newspapers whose career spanned almost 50 years, has died at the age of 92. He was news editor of The Sunday Post for more than a decade before becoming editorial manager (newspapers), the post from which he retired in 1989. A former pupil of Harris Academy, he held the distinction of having been the Dundee school’s oldest known ex-captain. In that capacity, he had been invited to cut the ribbon at the ceremony later this year to mark the school’s reopening after its £31 million reconstruction. His son Garry said: “My father was very proud of his Harris connections and regarded it as a privilege to have been asked to take part in the reopening ceremony. “As well as the oldest known former captain of Harris, he was also one of its oldest former pupils. “It is a shame that he did not live to see the formal reopening of Harris. Our family are very grateful to the school for having asked him to such an important occasion.” As a journalist on a busy news desk, Mr Fraser’s judgment was valued by colleagues. He was also noted for his calm and unflappable manner, qualities he later brought to bear in his editorial management role. Joining DC Thomson in Dundee straight from Harris in 1941 at the age of 17, his first post was on the editorial staff of The Evening Telegraph where he became chief sub-editor. In 1969 he transferred to The Sunday Post as news editor and later became editorial manager with responsibilities across all of the company’s newspaper titles. During the Second World War he volunteered for RAF aircrew, trained in Canada and then flew Lancasters with Bomber Command, reaching the rank of warrant officer. After demob he returned to his interests at his old school and played for the former pupils’ football club. He was also secretary and president of the Harris FP tennis club. He was a life member at Alyth Golf Club where he played for more than 50 years and served as captain. Mr Fraser and wife Athena, who lived in the west end of Dundee, have two sons, Garry and Stuart.

Readers' letters

April 8: Lessons we can learn from River Tay beavers

April 8 2011

This morning's letters look at the River Tay beavers and wildlife management, taxation, fuel prices, and road safety in Fife. Lessons we can learn from River Tay beavers Sir,-I read with interest your article 'Call for halt to beaver damage' (April 6) regarding the acceleration of beaver damage on the lower River Earn, reported to Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) by an angler. As with other wildlife, most notably deer, whether the felled trees are viewed as damage or not is only really the concern of the landowner involved. SNH maintain that it is legal for landowners to kill or remove beavers if they deem it necessary so, officially, there is no problem here. If the landowner thinks he has a problem, SNH say he can do something about it. Others will dispute this and the legal position does require to be clarified. This is why the River Tay beavers are important. They will force us to address these issues much sooner than the official Scottish Government reintroduction of beavers into Argyll and everyone will benefit from that, whatever their views on beavers might be. There is little point in calling for a halt to the beaver damage as the Tay beavers do not read The Courier. What we need is a pragmatic approach from government to this issue which allows us to learn how these animals will interact with other land uses and provides landowners with a workable mechanism for dealing with problem situations. Ultimately, all our wildlife should be managed locally according to local circumstances and sensitivities, not by a centralised quango in Inverness. Scottish Natural Heritage are all over the place on this issue and do not have the answers. We will have to look elsewhere for those. Victor Clements.1 Crieff Road,Aberfeldy. Victorian species cull Sir,-I agree in part with Eric McVicar's letter (April 5) about culling non-indigenous species but he shows a severe lack of knowledge in some areas. For example, beavers are a native species, as are bears and wolves. The absence of these animals is solely down to Victorian bloodlust, which saw the eradication of a vast number of species worldwide simply to amuse bored aristocrats. This has left us with a red deer population held on estates causing genetic diversity issues and out of control numbers, due to the lack of natural predators. I believe he is referring to Japanese knotweed, not Japanese hogweed. If Mr McVicar is a teacher then I fear for his pupils as he seems to be giving out wrong information and failing to teach them to check their facts. (Mr) J. Phillip.3 Lyninghills,Forfar. March of indirect taxation Sir,-Your editorial (April 5) and related article on the launch of the Scottish Conservative election manifesto for Holyrood misses an important fact. The fees or graduate contribution to the sum of £4000 is for every year of study. Parents and students can do the maths. Common sense it may be for Conservatives but, for those affected, it will feel very much like indirect taxation much favoured, as many of your readers will recall, by the Conservative governments of the 1980s and 1990s. Iain Anderson.41 West End,St Monans. Motorists need fuel transparency Sir,-We were conned in the Budget last month. The petrol companies had predicted the one penny reduction and had already upped the price by three or four pence. So is it now possible for the UK Government to do two specific things to regain some credibility? First tell the fuel retailers to instantly removed the ridiculous 0.99 they tag on at the end of their main price and, second, make it a rule to give the displayed price per gallon and not per litre. After all, cars in particular are sold with predicted miles per gallon consumption (admittedly often optimistic) not miles per litre. And if motorists were to see immediately the true cost of fuel for their car, instead of ridiculously having to multiply the litre price by 4.546 to find out, they would most certainly be more cautious with their travels and work a lot harder at reducing petrol/diesel consumption. Having been conned a few weeks ago, vehicle owners are surely entitled to some honesty now. Ian Wheeler.Springfield,Cupar. Wind farm risk to road users Sir,-I feel compelled to reply to your article regarding Fife's fatal road crashes. With 10 out of 13 fatal crashes in 2010 happening on rural roads, the most common contributory factor given in your article was failure to observe the road properly. My concerns are related to the plans submitted to Fife Council for the giant wind turbines on Clatto Hill. The road that runs adjacent to the proposed site is the C30. This rural road demands your full attention and concentration while driving in either direction. With the road being narrow, it requires even medium-sized cars to slow down or pull in when passing. The road has several vertical crests and sharp vertical curvatures which would make the turbines appear suddenly then disappear just as quickly. As this road has seen many accidents over a number of years, this would surely add another driving distraction to an already dangerous road. Norman Moodie.Craigview,Clatto Farm,Cupar. 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.

From the Newsroom

A news editor’s life

April 20 2013

It’s a funny old game, working in a newsroom. As a famous person nearly said. Possibly the highlight of my time as news editor of The Courier came just the other week courtesy of a phone call from a reporter colleague in our Perth office, where I used to ply my trade as an enthusiastic young seeker of truth, justice....and of course flower show nibs.The content of the phone call was quite remarkable and went along the following lines:Me: "Hello, newsdesk." (very professional).Reporter: "Hi Dave, we’ve just taken a call from a guy who knows you."Me:"Oh yes? Who was it?"Reporter: "Not sure, but he was an elderly chap who said: 'I met Dave Lord and shook his hand beside a Canadian lake as he played a flugelhorn while dressed as an Austrian'.”The rest of the call does not really merit the same level of detail but suffice to say this was, in common parlance, something of a show-stopper.For the record, the chap was somewhat confused and the events he recalled were clearly muddled. In fact he probably met me outside Greggs on the High Street (if at all).While this is not strictly typical of everyday goings-on in a newsroom it is worth mentioning. Largely because it is quite amusing. In fact, entirely because it is quite amusing.However, it is not all fun and games (honest).Should Margaret Thatcher’s death have been on the front page? Is the demise of Rangers FC a story for the news section or sport? How hard should we push for comments from a grieving family in the wake of a high-profile death?These are the kinds of decisions a news editor has to grapple with on a day-to-day basis. I don’t always get it right. And when that happens (and actually sometimes when I am pretty sure we have got it right) readers are not slow in letting us know.So when I get a phone call about playing a flugelhorn while dressed as an Austrian beside a Canadian lake it is a moment of (I like to think) richly deserved light relief.Photo courtesy of Flickr user Sadie Hernandez

Dundee

DUSA Media standing by ‘How to be an art student’ author

November 14 2013

A student magazine has come under fire for an article which describes art students in a derogatory way, branding them lazy, unwashed and untalented drug users. The supposedly humorous ‘How to be an art student’ feature has resulted in a furious online backlash after it was published in the Dundee University Students Association (DUSA) magazine, The Magdalen, and DUSA Media website. Written by student reporter Katie McIntyre herself an art student the article had a disclaimer stating it was intended as a joke, but its many offensive comments left some far from happy. The outrage reached beyond the university with some former teaching staff, graduates, and business owners expressing their disgust and claiming the piece devalues the renowned art school. Notable graduates of Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design (DJCAD) include international fashion designer Hayley Scanlan and 2010 Turner prize winner Susan Philipsz. University alumni and former DJCAD staff member Steven James Herd said the piece was “host to a series of ignorant, tactless and offensive remarks relating to a huge number of talented individuals.” Dylan Drummond, owner and director of Dundee production house Son of the Sea, accused the writer and editor of “cyber-bullying”, while Lauren McCorkindale, designer and maker at Starryeyed Crafts, added: “DUSA Media cannot be allowed to print stuff that alienates its students.” In a joint statement citing freedom of speech, the magazine’s editor-in-chief Danielle Ames and the manager of DUSA Media’s website, Felix Reimer, said they stood by the author, who had become a victim of online threats after the publication. They said: “Over the years, DUSA Media has covered many groups on campus in both serious and humorous ways. “We stand by our author, just as we have stood in the past with contributors across all our outlets who have expressed their views on a wide range of issues, and we will continue to do so in the future.” Iain MacKinnon, president of DUSA, said: “The editor of The Magdalen and the DUSA Media online manager, along with our other two media managers, have independent editorial control and we would not seek to censor them except in extreme cases. “Articles are not commissioned by DUSA, but rather suggested by students themselves. In this case, the author of the article is a DJCAD graphic design student who wished to write a self-deprecating humorous piece. “I have discussed this matter with all our media managers and I am sure they will take all feedback, both positive and negative, on board when publishing future content.” Dundee University declined to comment.

UK & World

Column on Nice Attack journalist wearing hijab sparks 300 complaints

July 19 2016

The press regulator has received more than 300 complaints about remarks by The Sun columnist Kelvin MacKenzie criticising Channel 4 News for using a journalist wearing a hijab to present a report on the Nice massacre. The Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso) said the complaints, which still have to be assessed, have related to accuracy, harassment and discrimination. Mr MacKenzie, a former editor of the newspaper, had questioned whether it was right that Fatima Manji, a journalist who wears the traditional Muslim head covering, should have been allowed to appear on screen during Friday's Channel 4 News programme. Stating that he could "hardly believe my eyes" Mr MacKenzie asked in his Monday column: "Was it appropriate for her to be on camera when there had been yet another shocking slaughter by a Muslim?" French-Tunisian father-of-three Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel drove a hired lorry through crowds gathered on the the Promenade des Anglais in Nice to celebrate Bastille Day on Thursday. He killed 84 people and injured dozens more before he was shot dead by police. In a statement Channel 4 News said: "The comments published in The Sun today by Mr MacKenzie are offensive, completely unacceptable, and arguably tantamount to inciting religious and even racial hatred. "It is wrong to suggest that a qualified journalist should be barred from reporting on a particular story or present on a specific day because of their faith. "Fatima Manji is an award-winning journalist. We are proud that she is part of our team and will receive, as ever, our full support in the wake of his comments." Former Conservative Party chairman and foreign minister Baroness Warsi wrote to The Sun's editor in chief Tony Gallagher, branding it a "divisive column". In the letter, which she shared on Twitter, Baroness Warsi wrote: "Just as politicians should carry the responsibility for xenophobic and toxic campaigning that divides communities so journalists should be held accountable for 'shock jock' writing which simply perpetuates stereotypes, demonises and attempts to hold a whole community accountable for the actions of an individual." A spokesman for The Sun said it was making "no comment" on the issue. The newspaper published an online article by Muslim writer Anila Baig. She reflected on Mr MacKenzie's article which suggested the broadcaster had been deliberately provocative in putting Ms Manji in front of the camera on the day of the Nice attack. Ms Baig described Ms Manji as "a professional who has been working for the programme for four years, not someone dragged in off the street just because she's wearing a scarf on her head". Her article states: "The fact that Fatima can present a news bulletin and also wears a headscarf shows how great Britain is."

Dundee

Former People’s Journal editor Bob Paterson

July 6 2016

The funeral of former People's Journal editor Robert Paterson took place at Dundee Crematorium on Wednesday. Mr Paterson, known as Bob, was 93. Born and raised in Dundee, Mr Paterson attended Harris Academy. He joined the editorial staff of DC Thomson and Co Ltd's boys' papers after leaving and school and was chief sub-editor of The Wizard and The Rover when he enlisted in The Black Watch in 1942. Mr Paterson was seconded to the Leicestershire Regiment, then posted to the Bangalore Officers' Training School, gaining his commission in the Indian Army. After serving in India, he spent three years in Iran and Iraq, based for much of the time at Khorramshahr. After demob he returned to Dundee and resumed work on The Wizard before transferring to The People's Journal in 1947. In 1973 he was appointed deputy editor and then, four years later, editor. While editor, he led the successful campaign for a whole body scanner at Ninewells hospital. He also edited The Dundee Extra. Mr Paterson retired in 1988. Predeceased by his wife Odette, he is survived by his children Yvonne and Rod and three grandchildren.

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