In brief for 21 October 2010

Extra Xmas ferries

FERRY operator NorthLink will make additional sailings into Kirkwall over

the festive period.

Monday southbound ferries will call at Hatston on 27 December and 3 January, while Tuesday northbound trips will call on 28 December and 4 January.

There will also be changes to the regular service during February 2011 when all three passenger ferries undergo in-water surveys. Details of this changes can be found at www.northlinkferries.co.uk/schedulechanges

Gritters out

SHETLAND Islands Council’s gritting team had to come out of summer hibernation earlier than usual, deploying 16 trucks on Wednesday morning to treat snow-covered roads.

The council had almost 10,000 tonnes of salt in stock and is set to avoid the worries caused by a run on supplies during last year’s extended cold snap.

“We had salt stocks in place and no technical problems with the vehicles, so I hope that bodes well for the winter ahead,” roads maintenance manager Ron Beardsley said.

The SIC provides an internet service to keep drivers up to speed on road conditions, with information from six weather stations in Sandness, Gulberwick, Toft, Unst, Yell and Sumburgh available at www.shetland.gov.uk/icecast.

Scam warning

SHETLAND police are reminding people of an on going telephone scam where the caller states they work for software giant Microsoft.

They said: “ Microsoft does not carry out cold calls to customers and as such these callers should not be given any of your personal details, this includes your name, address, date of birth, bank account details.

“This scam enables the caller to have remote access to your computer and to all the personal and financial details stored within.”

Apprenticeships available

TRAIN Shetland has discovered funds to support 12 apprenticeships with local employers under its vocational training scheme for 16 to 19 year olds.

The places have become available after several employers deferred taking up offers of apprenticeships until next year. There are 45 places available and only 33 have been filled.

As college has already started, only apprenticeships that can be carried out via the internet or distance learning are on offer, for example business administration, warehousing and distribution, however they can be taken up by existing employees.

More details are available at www.trainshetland.com or by calling 01595 743743.

Carmichael’s anti Trident

NORTHERN isles MP Alistair Carmichael has backed the government’s decision to delay the replacement of Trident, the UK’s independent nuclear deterrent.

A long standing opponent of plans to replace the submarine missile system, Mr Carmichael said it would save the country hundreds of millions of pounds.

“The Liberal Democrats opposed the replacement of trident on a like-for-like basis before the election and we will continue to make the case for alternatives within government.

“By delaying we will also ensure that we retain some measure of flexibility in a world where the threats we face are changing constantly.”

Free farming software

FARMERS and crofters can download for free a £400,000 software package to help them work out the optimum level of fertiliser for their fields and soils.

The package has been produced by PLANET (Planning Land Application of Nutrients for Efficiency and the Environment) Scotland and should help farmers save money and protect the environment and is available at www.planet4farmers.co.uk.

Scottish rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead said: “By adopting best practice regimes crop production can be maximised without unnecessary and wasteful applications of nutrients which have the potential to cause environmental damage including pollution of the water environment and release of greenhouse gases.”

Norway’s oil fund

NORWAY’S state pension fund that earns its income from the oil industry has mushroomed to three trilling Norwegian krone, the equivalent of £324 billion.

The country only started investing the proceeds from North Sea oil in 1996, beginning with just 1.98 billion krone.

Now it is the second largest sovereign wealth fund in the world and can afford to spend £65,000 on every Norwegian pensioner.

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