Talk of the Town: It's America the beautiful and brave

ACTRESS America Ferrera has stunned fans with her switch from poncho-wearing Ugly Betty to glamorous red carpet babe.

But during her visit Edinburgh International Film Festival to promote indie flick The Dry Land, she has shown off yet another side – a passion for social justice.

She has been taking part in Q&A sessions after each screening of the film, in which she also stars, joining audience discussions around the film's key issue – soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

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America – who was executive producer – her co-stars and her writer/director/fianc, Ryan Piers Williams, have come to Edinburgh from Iraq, where they led similar discussions with serving soldiers.

Definitely not just a pretty face.

P-p-pick up a penguin and send it to D-D-Dubai

WITH temperatures upwards of 40C, desert-bound Dubai hardly sounds like the perfect place for a penguin. But six of the birds have swapped the comforts of the Capital to set up home in the super-rich Emirate.

Three male and three female gentoo penguins born in Edinburgh Zoo have become the latest addition to Dubai Aquarium where temperatures, mercifully, are maintained at a frosty 0C.

Edinburgh Zoo was keen to point out that the penguins can survive in temperatures as low as -50C. Somehow we suspect this won't be a problem for Dubai's new residents.

Independent footie fans

AMIDST the turmoil, trauma and John Terry of an England World Cup campaign it's good to know that some fans haven't lost their sense of humour and are remembering, too, the all-important local rivalry.

Spotted in the crowd during the match against Algeria was a group sporting T-shirts emblazoned with the initials "SNP". Could they be fans so disgusted with their side's performance that they had defected to the Caledonian cause?

Not quite – printed underneath the initials were the words "(Scotland's Not Playing)".

Surely the perfect antidote to the "Anyone But England" brigade.

Check out the chick

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THE Camera Obscura is a favourite amongst tourists looking to catch a better glimpse of the Castle, or who simply want a nosey at unknowing passers-by below. But the powerful lens has been focusing on something a lot closer to home since one fluffy resident moved into a neighbouring building – a newborn gull. Visitors are using the controllable cameras to focus on the little chick, which is wandering around its chimney nest.

The little bird has been growing in popularity since being spotted by one eagle-eyed visitor last week could it be an "Op-chick-al illusion"?