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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...


Vaccine offered to people in contact with Fife Ebola nurse Pauline Cafferkey

October 12 2015

All of the people deemed to have been in close contact with Ebola nurse Pauline Cafferkey have been identified and offered an experimental vaccine, NHS Scotland has confirmed. Ms Cafferkey, 39, who lives in Cambuslang in South Lanarkshire but is originally from Fife, remains in an isolation unit at the Royal Free Hospital in London after tests indicated the Ebola virus is still present in her body several months after she first contracted the virus in December 2014. A total of 58 close contacts have been confirmed, believed to be a mixture of healthcare workers and Ms Cafferkey’s friends, family and community contacts, and an expert group managing Ms Cafferkey’s case agreed that anybody who has had direct contact with any bodily fluids would be offered vaccination as a precautionary measure. Forty of the 58 close contacts were offered the vaccine in line with criteria set out by the expert group, with 25 of them accepting the vaccine. NHS Scotland said the other 15 had either declined the vaccine or were unable to receive it due to existing medical conditions, A spokesperson said: “The rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine offered is currently being trialled in collaboration with the World Health Organisation and has been tested in over 7,000 people during the recent outbreak of Ebola virus infection in Guinea. “It is an unlicensed vaccine, currently being trialled. “It is known from the existing clinical trials of this vaccine that some one in four recipients are expected to experience a rise in body temperature. “Therefore, if anyone who has been vaccinated experiences a raised temperature they will undergo a precautionary Ebola blood test. “All blood test samples for Ebola in Scotland are tested at the Scottish National Viral Haemorrhagic Fever Test Centre in Edinburgh. “All 58 close contacts are being closely monitored. “This includes a period of 21 days since their last exposure where they will have their temperature taken twice daily, restrictions placed on travel and, in the case of healthcare workers they have been asked not to have direct patient contact during this period. “The 25 who were vaccinated will undergo additional monitoring because the vaccine is still being evaluated.” The spokesperson once again stressed that there is no risk to the general public. “Ebola is not spread through ordinary social contact, such as shaking hands or sitting next to someone,” the spokesperson continued. “Nor is it spread through airborne particles.”

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

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.

Angus & The Mearns

Kirriemuir vet warns of deadly dog bug

August 26 2013

Dog owners have been urged to be vigilant after the reappearance of a deadly canine disease. The warning has come from vet Gavin Durston, of Kirriemuir practice Thrums Veterinary Group, after the dangerous Parvovirus claimed the life of a pup from one local litter. The virus has also been detected in a couple of adult dogs and the vet group partner said it is a condition that could easily get out of control if dog owners ignore advice to ensure their pets are vaccinated against it. “This is a potentially fatal disease in dogs which causes bloody vomiting and diarrhoea,” said Mr Durston, whose group also operates from Forfar and Blairgowrie. “Untreated, it is usually fatal but even with the best and most intensive of treatment, not all dogs will survive. We had an outbreak among several pups and unfortunately one died but the rest came through it. “It’s a nasty disease and, potentially, a dog can die in 24 to 36 hours. Some dogs, if they are lucky, can recover in five or six days but for others it can be several weeks and leave long-term damage.” He continued: “Prevention is much easier than cure. We have a vaccine which is very effective and we are very keen to get as many dogs vaccinated as possible. “When you don’t see any difference in an animal from one week to the next, we can understand why a vaccination reminder might be forgotten but this means when the disease gets into an area, it can quite easily become endemic and lead to a lot of suffering.” Mr Durston added: “We are keen to encourage all pups to get vaccinated and, as importantly, get those older dogs whose vaccine has lapsed to start the vaccine course again. “We have a vaccine amnesty running now, which allows the vaccine course to start again at a reduced price. We are also trying to get the word out to the general public that this is a significant risk to their dog so that they can take the simple precaution of getting their dog’s vaccination up to date.”

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


Flu vaccine criticised as St Cyrus dogs fall ill

August 7 2010

The owner of the biggest dog boarding kennels in the Mearns has rubbished a vaccine used to prevent the canine version of flu after an outbreak that has seen treated animals suffer serious symptoms. The Moorie kennels at St Cyrus has had 25 cases of kennel cough in an outbreak of the disease, 19 of which had been vaccinated before arrival. Worse still, Andy Ritchie claims, the vaccinated dogs are the ones to suffer worst from the disease, taking over a week to recover and one almost dying. He said, "The first sign at all we had of kennel cough was after a dog came in that had been vaccinated. "We've kept a diary to monitor what has been going on and have found the vaccinated dogs have been hit hardest. They've been taking four to eight days to recover, and some have really been quite poorly. "By rights these are the dogs that should be safe but they are coming down the hardest. "Most of the dogs that haven't been vaccinated have either been totally unaffected or have only had slight symptoms and have taken just a day or so to get better." He raised the issue at a local veterinary practice meeting where an adviser to the vaccine manufacturer was present, and says he was promised an investigation. "He wasn't happy when I related my experience," said Mr Ritchie. "But he did say they would investigate, and through my vet a swab kit would be dispatched to get the dogs tested. He said the samples would be taken on Monday but this is now Friday and nothing has arrived. "I've been involved with dogs all my life and as far as I am concerned this vaccine isn't necessary and it certainly isn't effective." His view is let nature take its course, at least if a dog is young and healthy. "Once it recovers it will be immune and never again be affected. I have never known a dog catch kennel cough twice. "I have four dogs which have never had it but their mother did and it seems she passed on the immunity." He argues garlic is nature's cure and, by contrast with the £50 vaccine, is very effective. He said, "Kennel cough closes down the dog's airways and it overheats. Garlic given in large doses does an excellent job of clearing the airways." He added, "We always see an epidemic in the summer. That's because owners are going on holiday and will have their pets vaccinated before coming into kennels. But in my view it's just a money spinner for the manufacturing company." Local vet Bill Robson countered that the vaccine might not be effective in 10% of cases but overall it prevented a lot of disease or modified the disease to a less serious level where it was contracted. He said the disease had changed in the past two years to becoming more widespread all year round and less associated with dogs coming out of kennels. "Around 70% of the cases we are now seeing are dogs that have never been in a boarding kennel. The disease is caused either by a bacteria or virus. These account for 90% of cases. "But the other 10% of cases are not associated with either and can't be prevented. Also the vaccine is not effective where a dog is already infected and is a carrier. A dog can carry the disease for up to three months and show no symptoms." He said studies also showed immunity after contracting the disease only lasted around six weeks, and not a lifetime. John Helps, veterinary manager for manufacturer Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health, said, "One of the problems of kennel cough is that it is a syndrome rather than a single disease. In the same way as the common cold in people can be caused by a range of different viruses, respiratory disease in dogs can be caused by several different micro-organisms. "But the vaccine, Nobivac KC, provides the broadest and most durable protection currently available in the UK. "In order to licence any veterinary medicinal product, including vaccines, extensive safety and efficacy trials are required. "Experts recommend vaccinating all dogs at risk and some veterinary surgeons routinely vaccinate all dogs as their standard recommendation because of the highly contagious and ubiquitous nature of the syndrome."


Health authorities issue advice to limit spread of flu

January 5 2011

As thousands of pupils return to school this week, parents are being advised what to do to try to prevent the spread of flu. Amid rising numbers of people being diagnosed with seasonal flu, Scotland's chief medical officer has downplayed fears that a return to school after the festive break will prompt a widespread outbreak of flu. Dr Harry Burns' message to parents is "be alert, not alarmed," urging parents to encourage children to follow basic hygiene steps. Dr Burns is asking parents to ensure children understand the importance of covering their mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing, binning the tissue and washing their hands thoroughly. He also reminds parents to have high-risk-group children vaccinated as a priority. "I want to encourage them to be alert, not alarmed about flu," he said. "We are experiencing the normal seasonal flu outbreak. No need for alarm, but parents should remain vigilant. "There are steps all parents and carers can take to help protect their child. Vaccination is the most important way for those at greater risk to protect themselves, so parents should ensure that if they or their children are in an at-risk group they have taken up the offer of flu vaccination. "It is important children understand the importance of covering their mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing, putting the tissue in the bin and then thoroughly washing their hands. "Seasonal flu will cause mild illness that can safely be managed at home for the vast majority of patients. If parents are worried about their child's flu, they should contact their GP, their out-of-hours service or NHS 24. "Following these simple steps can help minimise the risk of catching flu, so I'd urge parents to go through them with their children before they return to school." Every year in Scotland a million doses of seasonal flu vaccine are made available to those over 65 and people of any age at risk of complications as a result of flu. A group that advises governments across the UK on vaccination doesn't recommend flu vaccination routinely for children. Only those children with a medical condition that puts them at risk will be offered the vaccine and will be notified by their own GP practice.


Two more die in Scotland after contracting swine flu

December 31 2010

Two people have died after contracting swine flu in Scotland over the last week. Statistics released by Health Protection Scotland revealed 12 people suffering from the deadly H1N1 virus were taken into intensive care over the past seven days. The two fatalities bring the total number of Scottish victims to four since winter began, while 23 people have required treatment in intensive care. Since October, 39 people across the UK have died from flu with 36 of those cases involving the swine variant of the disease. In the last 11 weeks there have been 360 laboratory-confirmed cases of flu, with 237 of these testing positive for swine flu. Despite the rising death toll the number of people contacting their GP because of flu-like symptoms has only just reached levels doctors expect to see at this time of year. Health secretary Nicola Sturgeon said, "We are seeing the number of people consulting their GP with a flu-like illness starting to increase, but not yet above the levels that would be expected at this time of year." She added that the highest rates were amongst those aged under five. Ms Sturgeon said, "The majority of healthy children experience mild symptoms from flu and current expert advice is that they do not need to be vaccinated. "Children with an underlying health condition, such as asthma, should get the vaccine."Increase in vaccinationsNearly half (48.4%) of those under 65 who are eligible for the flu vaccine have received it, while nearly three-quarters (71.5%) of those over 65 have received the jag. More expectant mothers have come forward to be vaccinated, with 27% of pregnant women who are not in any other risk category for the flu having come forward up from last week's figure of 19%. Ms Sturgeon said, "I am pleased to see the number of pregnant women receiving the vaccination has increased dramatically in the last week. "I would continue to encourage all pregnant women who have not had the jab to come forward for this safe and effective vaccine as uptake needs to be as high as possible to minimise readily preventable illness in both mother and child. "Unfortunately, we have seen a further two people die due to seasonal flu. "I continue to urge those eligible to come forward and accept the vaccination. This is the best way to protect yourself against the virus." Dr Dean Marshall, chairman of the British Medical Association's Scottish GP committee, said, "Although recent figures show that the number of people with flu is up from last week, thankfully the number of eligible people receiving the vaccine has also increased." He added, "Doctors across Scotland are all working hard to ensure those at high risk are protected by the vaccine. "My advice for people who have the flu is to stay at home, drink plenty of fluids and rest. Call your surgery or NHS24 if you have any concerns." Swine flu killed 69 Scots in 2009.

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.