ART & ARCHITECTURE

Jan 4: Art event will raise funds for carer’s trust
A new exhibition by an internationally-acclaimed artist is set to open in Edinburgh next week. John Lawrie Morrison, who has been described as “Scotland’s most successful artist”, will attend the grand opening of his show a week on Saturday at the Torrence Gallery on Dundas Street. The artist, who signs his work “jolomo”, was featured in a BBC2 documentary in 2004, and his paintings are included in collections held by Sting, Madonna and the Duke of Argyll. (Scotsman)

CONSERVATION & WILDLIFE

Jan 2: Swan ‘threat’ to fish stocks
The thriving swan population could be causing environmental problems on rivers, it has been claimed. (Western Morning News)

Jan 2: Concern over revival of otters
Otters, which were once in danger of being wiped out, have recovered in such numbers that some anglers fear they pose a threat to fish stocks. (Western Morning News)

Jan 3: Rescuers fight to free horse from swamp
Firefighters and rescuers battled for two hours yesterday to free a horse trapped in a swamp in West Cornwall. (Western Morning News)

Jan 4: Keeping the grass down the highland way
Highland cattle have been drafted in to help conservationists create a wildlife meadow. The four cows are settling in at Foxglove Covert nature reserve, in Catterick Garrison, North Yorkshire, where they are proving a big hit with visitors, particularly school parties. (Northern Echo)

ENVIRONMENT

Jan 3: Big freeze is on the way
Temperatures will plummet in the West country this month, a weather expert believes. (Western Morning News)

Jan 3: Isles of Scilly is healthiest place in UK
A doctor says a “1950s lifestyle” is the reason the Scilly Isles has been named the healthiest place in the UK. (Western Morning News)

FACT OF THE DAY

Jan 3: On this day in 1958 Explorer and mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary, with a New Zealand party, reached the South Pole, the first man to do so overland since Captain Scott. (SCOTSMAN)

Jan 4: The real James Bond was born today in 1900. No, not the super-spy, but the American ornithologist whose name was borrowed by author Ian Fleming for his best-selling novels. Whilst living in Jamaica, Fleming (who was a keen bird-watcher) had a copy of Bond’s “Birds of the West Indies” and took his name for the spy since he considered it a “brief, unromantic, Anglo-Saxon and yet very masculine name [that] was just what I needed, and so a second James Bond was born.” (SCOTSMAN)

FARMING

Dec 23: UK dairying’s lossmakers
At current prices for milk ex-farm, more than half of Britain’s dairy farmers are farming at a loss, it was claimed this week. (Scottish Farmer)

Dec 29: 258 million birds registered
More than 258 million birds have been added to the Great Britain Poultry Register since its launch one year ago. (Farmers Guardian)

Jan 3: Climate change opportunity for farmers
UK farmers must see climate change as an opportunity, not just a threat, according to Environment Secretary David Miliband. (Western Morning News)

Jan 4: Dentist moves from pulling teeth to breeding rare sheep
A County Durham dentist is proving to be a rather rare breed. Away from his dentist’s chair, Robert Elliott has started to inject new life into a dying farming industry high on the North Pennines fells. Roaming around the 140-acre farm at present are 30 miniature and standard Shetland ponies, seven Welsh mountain ponies, eight belted Galloway cattle and 17 Lincoln Long Wool sheep. They are joined by two Old English sheep dogs and 16 stray cats. (Northern Echo)

Jan 4: No more grants to grow food
Environment Secretary David Miliband yesterday told Britain’s farmers that food subsidies will be scrapped within little more than a decade. (Western Morning News)

Jan 4: Cameron slams EU farm payment system
The unfairness of the European Union’s agricultural payment system was roundly condemned by Conservative leader David Cameron at the conference. (Western Morning News)

Jan 4: Plan for ‘Bovine Methane Credits’
Cow flatulence last night became the latest battleground in the fight for the green vote with farmers fearing they could be hit by a new levy. (Western Morning News)

FOOD & DRINK

Jan 2: Crackers! Cheese! Branded ‘junk food’
New advertising rules which label cheese as “junk food” have been branded as absurd amid fears the move could hit the West country’s economy. (Western Morning News)

Jan 4: Tuck in to farm fare
Fans of Edinburgh’s farmers’ market will get the chance to sample a traditional farmhouse breakfast on January 27. Table service will be offered made up from goods available from the market on Castle Terrace. (Scotsman)

GARDENING & PLANTS

Jan 2: Scientists solve 100-year-old seed puzzle
A discovery by scientists has solved a question that has puzzled plant biologists for nearly a century. Scientists from the Centre for Novel Agricultural Products at York University have discovered the mechanism that controls when seeds germinate.
The breakthrough will have major implications for agriculture and horticulture by helping plant breeders to produce more effective seeds. (Northern Echo)

HERITAGE

Jan 4: £4.4m secures the future of Brunel’s ship
The long-term future of Bristol’s iconic SS Great Britain has been secured. (Western Daily Press)

MISCELLANEOUS

Jan 2: Wary welcome for latest incomers
THE first Romanian and Bulgarian workers admitted to Britain since their countries joined the European Union started arriving at UK airports yesterday. (Scotsman)

Jan 3: How tourist’s view of Scotland has (hardly) changed in past 200 years
A project to update one of Scotland’s earliest tourist guides has found very little has changed over the past 200 years. (Scotsman)

RURAL CONCERNS

Yorkshire skills shortage
The North Yorkshire coast is suffering from an acute skills shortage, a new report says. The average income in the Scarborough Council area, which stretches for 45 miles of the coast and covers 60 per cent of the North York Moors National Park, is at £21,470 “significantly” below the national average and the lowest in the county, the report says. More than 17 per cent of adults in the borough have no formal qualifications, compared with 14.3 per cent nationally, while only 20 per cent have degree qualifications ? the national average is 26.5 per cent. (Yorkshire Post)