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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

Jaguar launches baby E-Pace SUV

July 19 2017

Hot on the heels of the remarkable F-Pace, Jaguar has launched its second SUV. The E-Pace is a smaller five-seater designed to take on the Audi Q3 and Q5, BMW X3, Volvo’s upcoming XC60, and its own stablemate the Range Rover Evoque. Jaguar held the most literal car launch I’ve ever witness, hiring stunt driver Terry Jones to put the car through a barrel roll at an event in London – and bagging a Guinness world record in the process. Not many owners are likely to require their E-Pace to be capable of such displays of aerial tomfoolery but it’s very impressive nonetheless. Of more practical value is the knowledge the car should, Jaguar hopes, be on sale before the end of this year with a starting price tag of £28,500. All but entry level models will come with four-wheel drive as standard and there’s a wealth of technology and driver features to tempt people away from their German marques and into buying British. Jaguar is positioning the E-Pace as a much more sports-orientated model than its larger sister with drivers able to set up their own personalised throttle, steering and transmission settings. The engine line-up will include a 300PS petrol unit producing a 0-60mph time of under six seconds. Five powertrains will be offered in the E-Pace, across three petrol and two diesel engines. All are Ingenium units built at Jaguar Land Rover’s plant in the West Midlands – the E-Pace will be the first Jaguar with a totally Ingenium engine line-up. The E-Pace itself, however, will be built not in Britain but in Austria. Such is the wave of popularity Jaguar Land Rover is riding now that its British manufacturing facilities are operating at close to full capacity. Its exterior design is bolder than that of the F-Pace and said to be evolved directly from the F-Type sports car. Jaguar is also promising the very latest connectivity for E-Pace owners. The car’s 4G wi-fi hotspot will provide content streaming through up to eight devices simultaneously, while a Touch Pro infotainment system will allow occupants to access their favourite smart device apps through the car. The E-Pace is built on the same platform as the Range Rover Evoque and so is a similar size. It’s 4,395mm long and 1,984mm wide, slightly larger than the 4,370mm x 1,900mm Evoque. Jaguar says it will seat five in comfort, with generous rear legroom. The E-Pace has exceptional boot space compared with the Evoque: 577 litres with the rear seats up, compared with just 420 litres for the Range Rover. Despite its name, there isn’t an electric model in the E-Pace line up. That honour is reserved for the I-Pace, which is due to go on sale next year, and looks so impressive it ought to have Tesla trembling.

Perth & Kinross

Simple Minds added to BBC’s live music extravaganza at Scone Palace

February 2 2018

Simple Minds will play Scone Palace in Perthshire as part of a sensational summer of live music. The Scottish rock icons have been added to BBC Music Biggest Weekend’s expanding line-up. The event, on May 25 and 26, will be headlined by former Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher and classical music star Nigel Kennedy. (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = 'https://connect.facebook.net/en_GB/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.12'; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk')); We're thrilled to announce that Simple Minds Official have joined our #BiggestWeekend line up! 🙌🏻Get ready Perth, this is set to be a performance you will never forget 😎 Posted by BBC Music on Friday, 2 February 2018 The festival is expected to deliver a major economic boost to the area. Simple Minds will play on Saturday, May 26 – the same day as Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. The announcement comes just days after US superstar Lionel Richie revealed plans for a major outdoor concert at Perth’s McDiarmid Stadium. Tickets for the June 3 show, Richie’s only Scottish date on his upcoming UK tour, go on sale on Friday morning.

Company behind Meghan Markle handbag sees website traffic soar

December 13 2017

The small Scottish company which made the bag Meghan Markle carried on her first royal engagement has seen its website traffic soar 5000% as a result. The Strathberry Midi Tote Tri Colour sold out within 11 minutes after images emerged showing Prince Harry’s future wife carrying the bag on the couple’s visit to Nottingham on December 1. The same colourway of Strathberry bag was subsequently reselling on Ebay in the US for $2,350 (£1760), marked up from a retail price there of $675 (£505). Edinburgh-based Strathberry relaunched production the following week due to the level of interest and the first pre-order batch of approx 400 bags sold out on strathberry.com in under 24 hours. (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = 'https://connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.11'; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));👑❤️👑❤️ — Products shown: The Strathberry Midi Tote – Tri Colour Burgundy/Navy/Vanilla Handbag.Posted by Strathberry on Friday, December 1, 2017 As part of their visit to Notthingham, the prince and Ms Markle lent their support to a World Aids Day charity fair hosted by the Terrence Higgins Trust. Strathberry has now announced they will auction the last currently available Meghan Midi Tote from the original production run in aid of the Trust. A Strathberry spokesman said: “The international exposure the Strathberry brand has received since the 1st of December has been incredible, providing us with a fantastic platform from which to further develop. “We have big ambitions and would ultimately love to position ourselves alongside great creative brands such as: Loewe, Burberry, Fendi and Marni.” Meghan Markle meets well-wishers in Nottingham on her first royal engagement, carrying the Strathberry tote bag. (Jeremy Selwyn/Evening Standard/PA) The auction will run to 8pm on Sunday, with the bag then being available for sending out to the successful bidder from Monday. Details on the auction can be found on the Strathberry Website www.strathberry.com. A second batch of the bags, which cost £495 in the UK, will be available for pre-order soon with an anticipated shipment date of the end of February 2018. Strathberry is based in Edinburgh and was founded just four years ago in 2013. Its luxury leather products, which are handcrafted in Spain, are defined by its ”clean lines and signature bar closure”, the firm’s website says. Each bag can take up to 20 hours to make. (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 Lucinda Cameron, Press Association Scotland'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '77d8182e-622e-4f8c-bcd5-ce40aa9ed342'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:news,paservice:news:uk'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story-enriched'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', null); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Company behind Meghan Markle handbag sees website traffic soar'});

Dundee

PREVIEW: Simple Minds, at the Caird Hall, Dundee

May 17 2017

Simple Minds live on stage, anywhere in the world, is a phenomenal experience. The sheer power of their songs, the chest-thumping bass, ice-shard guitar licks and Jim Kerr’s unique voice can brighten any venue. Tonight (May 17) they’ll be doing just that as the band comes to the Caird Hall to open their latest tour – but it’s one that will be just that little bit different for all their Scottish and UK fans. There’s a clue in the title of their album Simple Minds Acoustic, which was released in November. To celebrate, the special six-piece live line-up of Jim Kerr, Charlie Burchill, Dundonian Ged Grimes, backing vocalist Sarah Brown, acoustic guitarist Gordy Goudie and percussionist Cherisse Osei, will be performing a career-spanning collection of songs acoustically for the very first time. In an exclusive interview with The Courier, Ged explained the reasoning behind the acoustic shows. (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = 'https://connect.facebook.net/en_GB/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.12'; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk')); AS IT WAS IN FLORENCE – IT WILL BE IN DUNDEEYvonne Bird posts.." One thing is noticeable. There is just great sound… Posted by Simple Minds Official on Tuesday, 16 May 2017 “We were asked to play an acoustic show in Switzerland last year and the success of the show led to the idea of recording some of the classic Simple Minds songs in an acoustic style,” he says. “I think the secret to any band’s longevity is to always be open to change and reinvention. The acoustic album and tour are a perfect example of this. Simple Minds will celebrate 40 years of making music this year and this acoustic show is likely to highlight a side to the band’s sound that fans may not have heard before. © GettyGed Grimes playing with Simple Minds. “We are well known for a huge sound but in the acoustic form we have created more space in the arrangements and a focus on the song lyrics. It allows the audience to emotionally connect with the band in a different way,” adds Ged. Always a champion for Dundee wherever he is in the world Ged is immensely proud to be able to come back to the city to kick off the UK leg of the tour. “We’re doing almost 50 shows and have already played Italy, Germany, Spain, Portugal and France so it will be very special for me to have the first UK show as Dundee,” he said. (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = 'https://connect.facebook.net/en_GB/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.12'; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk')); Nick Heys‎ posts on Simple Minds Official Wife and I are ready for Dundee tonight 😀 Posted by Simple Minds Official on Wednesday, 17 May 2017 “The changes and development within the city since we last played in 2013 have been significant, so I’m really looking forward to the band witnessing first hand the city’s transformation.” Ged’s involvement with the band began in 2008 when he was a member of Deacon Blue, who opened for Simple Minds that year. This rekindled a friendship with Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill which dated back to the 80s. After a time spent working with Jim on a solo project Lostboy, he was then asked to join the band full time. Simple Minds Acoustic continues the band’s artistic quest with a one-off album release of stripped down and re-imagined songs, spanning their eclectic and illustrious career. Their usual “big sound” may be temporarily reduced but the overall experience won’t be diminished in any way, the band promise. A dozen Simple Minds songs loved by millions now sound more organic and even more likely to leave a lasting imprint. The synths are no more – but the Celtic soul remains. Jim Kerr says: “The concert stage is where Simple Minds do their best work – it is where we forged our distinctive live reputation. For that reason we look forward immensely to taking Simple Minds Acoustic out on tour. Don’t be fooled by the acoustic tag, however as these shows will be as energetic and passionate as ever.” With a great live line-up and a set list full of iconic Minds songs, it is bound to be a unique and memorable experience. Simple Minds will be joined by special guest The Anchoress.

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.

Hammond pledges further tax clampdown on digital firms

November 22 2017

Online giants such as Google, Apple and Amazon will pay a tax on their digital royalties to further clamp down on tax avoidance and raise £200 million a year, the Chancellor has announced. Philip Hammond moved to add to the so-called Google Tax by pledging to charge income tax on royalties relating to UK sales even when they are paid to a low-tax jurisdiction and would not normally be taxed in the UK under current rules, starting from April 2019. But he admitted it will only go some way towards evening out the tax treatment of digital firms and to tackling tax avoidance. Experts said the online VAT avoidance clampdown will come as a bombshell to the likes of eBay (eBay/PA) He said: “Multinational digital businesses pay billions of pounds in royalties to jurisdictions where they are not taxed and some of those relate to UK sales.” The Chancellor added: “This does not solve the problem, but it does send a signal of our determination and we will continue work in the international arena to find a sustainable and fair long-term solution that properly taxes the digital businesses that operate in our cyberspace.” Mr Hammond also announced that online marketplaces will be jointly liable with sellers for VAT in order to address online VAT fraud, which costs the taxpayer £1.2 billion a year. He said this would ensure “sellers operating through them pay the right amount of VAT, just as we would expect traditional retailers to do”. The Government is also looking at a split VAT payment model to reduce online VAT fraud and improve how VAT is collected. Digital platforms will likewise be asked to play a “wider role in ensuring their users are compliant with the tax rules”, according to this year’s Budget, with the Government set to publish a call for evidence in spring 2018 to explore what more can be done by digital platforms. Kate Ison, senior associate at Berwin Leighton Paisner, said the announcement is set to see a swathe of HM Revenue and Customs investigations over the next year. She said: “Tackling offshore tax avoidance remains high on the political agenda. “The Government has confirmed its intention to introduce new rules to tax royalties on UK sales where those royalties are paid to a low-tax jurisdiction. “In the short term, we can expect investigations by HMRC into digital businesses to increase.” The Budget statement showed while the increased income tax from multinationals is expected to bring in £200 million a year on average, it will rise to £285 million in 2019-20 before falling in each of the following years to £130 million in 2022-23. Under the online VAT crackdown, all businesses operating on platforms will have to show a valid VAT number. National accountancy group UHY Hacker Young said the online VAT announcement will come as a “bombshell” to the likes of Amazon and eBay. Michelle Dale, VAT Manager at UHY Hacker Young, said: “This is an enormous new power for HMRC, and the taxman is clearly targeting a sea change in attitudes among the online marketplaces.” “The cost to the major platforms if they fail to police their sellers properly is now potentially massive,” she added. (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 Holly Williams, Press Association Deputy City Editor'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', 'd9e0b68d-3370-419a-af69-a020e928016d'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:finance,paservice:finance:city,paservice:news,paservice:news:uk'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', null); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Hammond pledges further tax clampdown on digital firms'});

Motoring news

Audi showcases raft of new cars

June 29 2016

Audi threw everything it had at the Goodwood Festival of Speed last weekend, with no fewer than nine upcoming models making their UK debuts. One of the most interesting – and affordable – was the new Q2. Audi’s smallest crossover yet, it’ll sit underneath the Q3, Q5 and big ole Q7. It will be available as a front wheel drive or with Audi’s Quattro four-wheel drive system. Under the skin there’s a choice of three TFSI petrol and three TDI diesels, with Audi’s 1.0 litre three-cylinder petrol offering 114bhp, the 1.4 litre four-cylinder sitting below the 187bhp 2,.0 litre TFSI. Diesel options are the 1.6 litre TDI with 114bhp and a pair of 2.0 litre TDIs with 148bhp or 187bhp. It goes on sale later this summer with a starting price expected to be in the region of £20,000. At the other end of the price scale is the R8 V10 Spyder. The 553bhp supercar comes a year after the second generation coupe R8 was released. Audi reckons the new Spyder is 50 per cent stiffer than the last Spyder, and its canvas roof stows beneath a massive rear deck, able to open or close at speeds up to 31mph in 20 seconds. Fuel economy “improves” to just over 24mpg thanks to a new coasting function that idles the engine when it’s not needed. Expect it to cost around £130,000. In between those two extremes are a plethora of other upcoming Audis, including the new S5 Coupe, and the Audi TT RS which first revealed a year ago is hardly new but apparently it had never been seen in the UK before. Audi TT RS Coupé. A couple of Q7s were also at Goodwood, including the Q7 e-tron plug-in hybrid, which returns a claimed 156mpg, and the SQ7 – a diesel with 429bhp. There was also the refreshed A3 range. Audi’s upmarket Golf rival has been given a styling refresh along with a few new engine options. Following a trend for downsizing, there’s a 1.0 litre three -cylinder petrol unit, while a powerful 2.0 petrol engine also joins the range.

Scottish politics

Courier poll: When is the right time for indyref2?

March 14 2017

Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed she will ask for the Scottish Parliament’s backing to seek a second referendum on Scottish independence. Ms Sturgeon says she expects the poll would be held between autumn 2018 and spring 2019. However, some believe Prime Minister Theresa May will not allow the referendum to go ahead until after the Brexit process is complete. Please take our poll to have your say: (function(b,o,n,u,s){var a,t;a=b.createElement(u);a.async=1;a.src=s;t=b.getElementsByTagName(u)[0];t.parentNode.insertBefore(a,t);o[n]=o[n]||[]}) (document,window,'_qual_async','script','//player.qualifio.com/kit/qualp.2.min.js'); _qual_async.push(['createIframe', 'qualifio_shortcode_output_34008cca714bf19ec446eef8e93fc171', 'player.qualifio.com', '20', 'FCA8A5E6-A76A-808B-4A9C-8527FBE6D43D', '100%', '1200', '', '', '', 'max-width:670px;margin:0 auto;']);  

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