9am Briefing: End in sight for worst of the snow

THE end of worst of the snowfall appears to be in sight for the Capital, with the Met Office predicting further, lighter showers today and tomorrow, but a dry weekend to come.

The cold is set to stay, however, with temperatures tonight dropping to -8C in Edinburgh and -14C in parts of the Pentlands.

Over the weekend daytime temperatures will hit a maximum of 2C, dropping overnight to -7C.

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• NEW Lothian Buses chairman Ron Hewitt today insisted the company's profits would not be used to save the Capital's trams project.

The chamber of commerce chief executive was controversially appointed last week to replace David Mackay, who quit as chairman of the bus company amid protests over his support for its merger with tram firm TIE.

Mr Hewitt also said he was "absolutely confident" the tram scheme would be delivered despite the bitter dispute between the council and the lead contractor Bilfinger Berger.

• EDINBURGH'S Royal Botanic Garden has shelved plans to axe jobs and curtail conservation projects after securing an increase in funding.

Bosses at the garden, one of Scotland's leading visitor attractions, had warned the drastic measures would be needed because it faced a 25 per cent funding cut.

There was also speculation a 5 admission charge could be introduced.

But now the garden has won a 600,000 increase in its annual grant from the Scottish Government, giving it a total of 11.9m for next financial year.

• THE future of Edinburgh's police forensic laboratory is due to be announced today by Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill.

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A review of forensic services across Scotland set out options which included closing or downgrading the Edinburgh and Aberdeen labs, centralising work in Glasgow and Dundee.

MSPs in and around Edinburgh have argued removing any of the services currently carried out at the Howdenhall lab would hamper Lothian & Borders police in their battle against crime.

• YOUTH unemployment in Scotland could cost up to 11.4 million a week, a report said today.

The Cost of Exclusion report, produced by The Prince's Trust and RBS, highlights a rise in the number of long-term unemployed young people.

Based on research by the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics, it warns that the price of "youth disadvantage" is at a new high.