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It is a tribute to the hard work of Edinburgh's zoologists that the city is to become home to two giant pandas. The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland has been in talks with the Chinese since 2007 and without its reputation as a centre for scientific excellence there would have been no deal.
WASTE services staff, formerly known as binmen, have been working to rule in Edinburgh over terms and conditions which, according to the council, means they are only doing their contracted hours.
Travel misery continues. Passengers have been told to expect further delays and advised, where possible, to postpone or abandon their journeys.
Scotland's new transport minister is said to take the weather forecasts so seriously he is planning to sleep on a camp bed in the office - which, in his case, is the Glasgow headquarters of Transport Scotland.
THE decision by City of Edinburgh Council to ask the army to clear up the snow will be welcomed by residents. At last, there is real hope that life in the city will return to normal, that schools will stay open, regular postal services will resume and bins will be emptied (though let's not get too carried away).
IT'S happened again! Snow in winter, in Scotland! The Arctic blast has taken local councillors completely by surprise and they have assumed a defensive position: blaming the weather for being "unprecedented".
WHAT does it take, I wonder, to set up a community speed watch scheme in your street? The success of such initiatives - whereby residents armed with radar guns do the police's work for them - has led to them being rolled out across England and in a few pockets of Scotland.
KEIR Bloomer's call to wrest control of schools from councils and hand power back to head teachers is welcome. As an education consultant and former teacher, he must know only too well how unsuited town hall pen-pushers are to deciding what goes on in the classroom.
It is not difficult to imagine the head in hands gloom of Edinburgh councillors yesterday when trams boss David Mackay threw in the towel. Just a fortnight ago they were hailing the project as the key to the capital's economic wellbeing; now their chief operative has described it as "hell on wheels". Who is right?
NOT having anything better to do this week, I read a 20-page report by Edinburgh's planning department on a development site close to my home. It was riveting, though the prose was a little dry.
IS IT any wonder that Edinburgh has slid down an economic league table of European cities? Its prospects have been damaged by the banking crisis and the subsequent loss of HBOS headquarters to London, but it is the trams debacle that will surely finish it off, reputation wise.
THE Tory Holyrood hopeful who said Scots were thick has been rightly condemned. Tycoon Ivor Tiefenbrun, who was to contest Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn at the 2011 Scottish elections, has learned too late that parliamentary seats are not won by insulting the electorate's intelligence so brazenly.
THE man in charge of Edinburgh's transport assures us that 'there is no need to be alarmed' over cracks that have appeared in Princes Street courtesy of the tram project.
EDINBURGH University has the lowest proportion of poor students in Scotland – 18.6 per cent compared with, say, Glasgow, which had 24.5 per cent last year, or Aberdeen, at 28.2 per cent. Scotland generally takes in fewer young people from deprived backgrounds than England, Wales or Northern Ireland, despite the absence of tuition fees here.
TO UNDERSTAND the minefield of school skirt lengths, you don't need to have your own daughters - but it helps. A teenage girl's reputation can hinge on the difference between nine centimetres above the knee and six, and parents must approach the subject with extreme caution.
This Saturday marks the end of a long - too long - run of birthdays, though pedants might argue that a birthday traditionally marks a beginning rather than an ending. Today's birthday is a 60th but that does not make the birthday boy any less excitable than all the eight and five-year-old Librans of our acquaintance, not to mention the 80 and 40-something-year-olds.
WHILE the First Minister and his colleagues agonise over anti-social behav-iour and how best to tackle it with limited resources, police in Edinburgh have better things to do.
AMAZING news! Edinburgh experienced a massive tourist slump in July during the G8 protests. A wide-ranging survey of Scotland's leading attractions reveals that in the peak summer season, places such as the National Portrait Gallery, the Museum of Childhood and Edinburgh Castle saw visitor numbers fall by up to 27.9 per cent.