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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

Newly-released documents shine a light on UFO reports

March 5 2011

Previously secret government documents have revealed UFO sightings over Tayside and Fife. The Ministry of Defence records conclude there is no proof of invasion by little green men but they say it can’t be ruled out either. They show that a Dundee saucer-spotter reported red and white lights, followed by a solid beam of red light, coming through their curtains in August 2002. In another letter to the MoD, an unnamed woman from Cults, near Aberdeen, describes two mysterious “UFOs” she spotted while on courses in St Andrews. She claims to have seen one flying saucer in July 1997, but reported another sighting after returning to the same summer school the following year. The MoD looked into a case following an article in a national newspaper in 1996, only to discover lights over Balmoral were RAF Harrier jets from Leuchars. Other reports in 2002 and 2003 newly released from the National Archives show reports of a glowing white flashing light above St Andrews, a flashing “very bright” white ball in the skies over Leven, and an orange-red, cigar-shape over the Firth of Tay. Three drifting “hanging silver rods” were seen over Kirkcaldy in September 2002, while a jumbo jet-sized “changing shape” with blue, green and red pulsating lights was seen in Coaltown of Balgonie. A bright, oval object was also seen over Tibbermore and a bright, distant object, which moved from side to side, was seen at Dunkeld. The files are available to download for free for one month at nationalarchives.gov.uk/ufos.

Road tests

Audi Q2 puts quality over size

March 21 2018

Audi’s Q2 was one of the first premium compact SUVs on the market. It sits below the Q3, Q5 and the gigantic, seven seat Q7 in Audi’s ever growing range. Although it’s about the same size as the Nissan Juke or Volkswagen T-Roc, its price is comparable with the much larger Nissan X-Trail or Volkswagen Tiguan. Even a basic Q2 will set you back more than £21,000 and top whack is £38,000. Then there’s the options list which is extensive to say the least. My 2.0 automatic diesel Quattro S Line model had a base price of £30,745 but tipped the scales at just over £40,000 once a plethora of additions were totted up. Size isn’t everything, however. In recent years there’s been a trend of buyers wanting a car that’s of premium quality but compact enough to zip around town. It may be a step down in size but the Q2 doesn’t feel any less classy than the rest of Audi’s SUV range. The interior looks great and is user friendly in a way that more mainstream manufacturers have never been able to match. The simple rotary dial and shortcut buttons easily trounce touchscreen systems, making it a cinch to skim through the screen’s menus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eQ5p5Z7-Ek&list=PLUEXizskBf1nbeiD_LqfXXsKooLOsItB0 There’s a surprising amount of internal space too. I took three large adults from Dundee to Stirling and no one complained about feeling cramped. As long as you don’t have a tall passenger behind a tall driver you can easily fit four adults. At 405 litres the boot’s big too – that’s 50 litres more than a Nissan Juke can muster. Buyers can pick from 1.0 and 1.4 litre petrol engines or 1.6 and 2.0 litre TDIs. Most Q2s are front wheel drive but Audi’s Quattro system is standard on the 2.0 diesel, as is a seven-speed S Tronic gear box. On the road there’s a clear difference between this and SUVs by manufacturers like Nissan, Seat and Ford. Ride quality, while firm, is tremendously smooth. Refinement is excellent too, with road and tyre noise kept out of the cabin. It sits lower than the Q3 or Q5 and this improves handling, lending the Q2 an almost go-kart feel. On a trip out to Auchterhouse, with plenty of snow still on the ground, I was appreciative of the four-wheel drive as well. The Q2 is expensive – though there are some good finance deals out there – but you get what you pay for. Few cars this small feel as good as the Q2 does. Price: £30,745 0-62mph: 8.1 seconds Top speed: 131mph Economy: 58.9mpg CO2 emissions: 125g/km

UK & World

This student took his Tinder profile to the next level by turning it into a PowerPoint presentation

February 21 2018

Standing out from the crowd on Tinder can be tough, but with the help of Microsoft PowerPoint a British student has managed just that – and gone viral in the process.Sam Dixey, a 21-year-old studying at Leeds University, made a six-part slideshow entitled “Why you should swipe right” – using pictures and bullet points to shrewdly persuade potential dates to match with him on the dating app. The slideshow includes discussion of his social life and likes, such as “petting doggos” and “laser tag”, and “other notable qualities and skills” – such as being “not the worst at sex” and “generous when drunk”.It even has reviews mocked up from sources such as “Donald Trump”, “Leonardo Di Capri Sun” and “The Times Guide to Pancakes 2011”.Sam told the Press Association the six-slide presentation only took about 20 minutes to make and “started off as a joke”.However, since being posted to Twitter by fellow Tinder user Gracie Barrow, Sam’s slideshow has been shared tens of thousands of times across social media.So, it’s got the seal of approval form Gracie, but how has the slideshow fared on Tinder? “I’d have to say it has been pretty successful,” Sam said. “Definitely a clear correlation of matches and dates beforehand to afterwards.“Most of the responses tend to revolve around people saying ‘I couldn’t help swipe right 10/10’ but I’ve had some people go the extra mile and message me on Facebook.“Plus some people have recognised me outside, in the library and on dates.”A resounding success.

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

Sport

Miocic and Cormier to headline UFC 226 in heavyweight championship match-up

January 27 2018

Champions Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier are to headline UFC 226 in Las Vegas later this year in a heavyweight bout. Last week, Miocic (18-2) became the first heavyweight to defend his belt three times after seeing off Francis Ngannou at UFC 220. On the same bill, Cormier (20-1) defended his UFC light-heavyweight title with a domination of Switzerland’s Volkan Oezdemir. Now, UFC revealed on its website that Cormier will step up a weight class to take on the heavyweight champion on July 7. All roads lead to Las Vegas! @StipeMiocicUFC & @DC_MMA to coach #TUF27, will face off at #UFC226 for the HW strap! 📰 https://t.co/YSnabHhdls pic.twitter.com/OZ7MGbBk0d— UFC (@ufc) January 27, 2018 On Twitter, Cormier posted a picture of himself in response to his bid to become a two-division UFC champion, saying: “let’s go!!!!!!” MMA fans reacted to the match-up with excitement, with one Twitter user saying: “So excited for this fight. Favor DC he is better in all areas except knock out power”, and another predicting: “DC will find out quick how strong Stipe is. He won’t be able to take him down, then Stipe’s pace will take over. 4th round TKO for Stipe.” The 7th annual UFC International Fight Week (July 3-7) at UFC 226 takes place at the T-Mobile Arena. (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 Press Association Sport Staff'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '4a83080c-cf36-428e-a113-13cf17f67df6'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:uk,paservice:sport:world'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:ufc'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Miocic and Cormier to headline UFC 226 in heavyweight championship match-up'});

Stipe Miocic makes history as he digs deep to beat Francis Ngannou

January 21 2018

Stipe Miocic became the first heavyweight to defend his belt three times after seeing off Francis Ngannou at UFC 220. Miocic, 35, has held the UFC heavyweight title since May 2016 and had already seen off the challenges of Alistair Overeem and Junior dos Santos. Ngannou had stopped all of his previous opponents at UFC – but had never gone past the second round – and Miocic’s experience and stamina showed in Boston. HISTORY IN BOSTON!@StipeMiocicUFC becomes the first HW to successfully defend the belt three consecutive times. #UFC220 pic.twitter.com/PwFUg7meTD— UFC (@ufc) January 21, 2018 The Cameroonian-Frenchman came out strong in the early exchanges, but Miocic held firm and dished out punishment of his own. Ngannou began to tire in the third after Miocic pinned him to the cage and landed some knee shots. Punishing. @StipeMiocicUFC #UFC220 pic.twitter.com/otMnkQo7tI— UFC (@ufc) January 21, 2018 There was no knockout, but Miocic had landed 100 more strikes than his opponent and won by unanimous decision 50-44. On the same bill, Daniel Cormier (20-1) defended his UFC light-heavyweight title with a domination of Switzerland’s Volkan Oezdemir (16-1). Thank you That was amazing. wanna dedicate that to the 1’s who matter most. I love you Salina, Daniel and Marquita. And to all my family and fans. I love you @zinkinsportsmanagement all my partners and coaches @americankickboxingacademy I thank you all. #weareaka #andnewagain DC pic.twitter.com/w7jt02OXt5— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) January 21, 2018 Cormier, 38, was reinstated as champion after Jon Jones failed a drug test following their rematch last year, and the fight was stopped two minutes in the second round after Cormier had Oezdemir pinned and struck blows into his face for a TKO win by punches. (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 Press Association Sport Staff'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', 'ff2fd32f-5b8d-4689-ab31-0f1aa2e4cbc5'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:uk'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:ufc'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Stipe Miocic makes history as he digs deep to beat Francis Ngannou'});

Motoring news

Form an orderly Q for Audi SUV

August 10 2016

First there was the Q7. Then the Q5 and Q3. All have been a phenomenal success for Audi. I’d be surprised if that script changes when the Q2 arrives in November. Audi’s baby SUV is available to order now with prices starting at £22,380. Can’t quite stretch to that? Don’t worry, an entry level three-cylinder 1.0 litre version will be available later this year with a cover tag of £20,230. From launch, there are three trim levels available for the Q2 called SE, Sport and S Line. The range-topping Edition #1 model will be available to order from next month priced from £31,170. While the entry-level 113bhp 1.0-litre unit isn’t available right away, engines you can order now include a 113bhp 1.6-litre diesel and 148bhp 1.4-litre petrol unit, both with manual or S tronic automatic transmissions. Also joining the Q2 line-up from September is the 2.0-litre TDI diesel with 148bhp or 187bhp. This unit comes with optional Quattro all-wheel drive. A 2.0 litre petrol with Quattro and S tronic joins the range next year. Standard equipment for the new Audi Q2 includes a multimedia infotainment system with rotary/push-button controls, supported with sat-nav. Audi’s smartphone-friendly interface, 16in alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity and heated and electric mirrors are all also standard for the Audi. Along with the optional Audi virtual cockpit and the head-up display, the driver assistance systems for the Audi Q2 also come from the larger Audi models – including the Audi pre sense front with pedestrian recognition that is standard. The system recognises critical situations with other vehicles as well as pedestrians crossing in front of the vehicle, and if necessary it can initiate hard braking – to a standstill at low speeds. Other systems in the line-up include adaptive cruise control with Stop & Go function, traffic jam assist, the lane-departure warning system Audi side assist, the lane-keeping assistant Audi active lane assist, traffic sign recognition and rear cross-traffic assist.

Fife

The truth is out there UFOs spotted over Fife

August 5 2010

A close encounter of the fourth kind alien abduction took place in Fife, according to claims made in hundreds of Ministry of Defence files detailing UFO sightings across the UK that have been released. The documents, released by the National Archives, reveal that UFOs were taken seriously enough to be discussed by the Joint Intelligence Committee in 1957. However, by the end of the Cold War, the MoD no longer took sightings of flying saucers seriously and in 1997 it was regarded as solely a public relations issue. Among hundreds of sightings, UFO crashes and other close encounters, the files also contain details of other phenomena that landed on the MoD’s UFO desk before it was closed last year. Although areas such as Falkirk remain Scottish hotspots for sightings of the unexplained, the files also include a detailed account of a claimed abduction near Falkland. In September 1996 two women were driving home at around 8pm when they noticed bright lights in the sky above them and saw a large triangular craft, around 80 yards across, with a large dome on top of it. The craft shot into the sky at the sound of another, conventional aircraft approaching but the women returned to the same spot later that evening. This time they saw a blue glow in the field, and saw dozens of small figures in the fields.’Aliens’ carrying boxesScared by what they were seeing, the women returned home and returned later with a male companion. This time they could see the “aliens” were carrying small boxes, and described several transparent capsules containing some very thin “small beings.” Then a craft like a “cocoon” shot towards them, stopping only four feet in front of them. They ran back to their car and drove home, but later claimed to experience flashbacks that revealed they had been taken on board the craft. One of the women claimed, “I could not move. They were doing things to me. “They did not hurt me so I felt happy.” Later they claimed they could still see small aliens in their home and that they remained under psychic attack.’Predicted’ UFO sightingsAnother man claims he predicted the wave of UFOs in Fife that autumn and that he notified the police and then-MP Henry McLeish about the anticipated increase in extra-terrestrial activity. Dr David Clarke, author of The UFO Files and senior lecturer in journalism at Sheffield Hallam University, said, “These papers demonstrate how far official policy towards UFOs changed after the Cold War. “In 1957, some officials were so concerned by a spate of incidents involving UFOs the subject was placed on the agenda of the Joint Intelligence Committee. “But by the 50th anniversary of the ‘flying saucer’ mystery in 1997 the MoD was no longer interested in UFOs as a defence problem but as a purely public relations issue. “This inevitably led to the closure of the MoD’s public UFO hotline at the end of 2009.” There is also a report of a “psychic premonition” of a terrorist attack on an RAF base in 1990 while there are details of mountain rescue team that was called to investigate a “crashed UFO” in the Berwyn Mountains in Wales in 1974. The files include an account of a wartime meeting attended by Winston Churchill in which he allegedly discussed a UFO encounter with RAF bombers. They also show 1996 was the peak year for UFO sightings. More than 600 incidents were logged.The X-Files to blame?Dr Clarke said, “These files reveal that, before the collapse of the USSR in 1991, RAF aircraft were scrambled on average 200 times a year to investigate unidentified objects on radar the majority of these turned out to be Soviet reconnaissance aircraft. “However, between 1991 and 1996, no scrambles were recorded.” He added, “In contrast, during the same five-year period, the MoD received almost 1200 reports of sightings from members of the public, most of which were filed away. “In 1996 alone, there were more than 600 reports, 343 letters from the public and 22 inquiries from MPs, perhaps related to the popularity of TV shows such as The X-Files at the time.” There are 18 files in total, released as part of a three-year project between the National Archives and the MoD. The files are made up of more than 5000 pages of UFO reports, letters and drawings drawn from correspondence with the public and questions raised in parliament. All of the files are available to download for a month from the National Archives’ website.

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.

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