By a Newsnet reporter
 
Scotland’s annual celebration of all that’s best from land and sea is now underway.
 
This 2012 Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight kicks off today (Saturday 1st September) and, as the name suggests, runs for the next two weeks.

  By Bob Duncan

Pensioners in the UK are living longer, healthier lives, according to a new report from the Office of National Statistics (ONS), as long as they don’t live in Scotland or Northern Ireland.

The ONS report measured the proportion of people’s lives which are spent in good health, and found that this had increased by 2 years between 2005 and 2010 in England & Wales, but had actually reduced in Scotland and NI over the same period, particularly for men.

By Bob Duncan
 
The Mars Curiosity Rover has ‘phoned home’ to NASA scientists and sent them a postcard of nearby Mount Sharp.
 
In spoken words radioed to the rover on Mars then back to NASA’s Deep Space Network (DSN) on Earth, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden noted the difficulty of landing a rover on Mars, congratulated NASA employees and partners on the successful landing of Curiosity earlier this month, and said curiosity is what drives humans to explore.

By Mark McNaught
 
Otto von Bismarck is said to have famously opined that making laws is like making sausage; the longer you observe it, the less appealing the final product is.
 
Despite the lack of ‘beauty’ in the passage of laws, what is more disturbing from a democratic point of view its almost total opacity, to the point where all but the most hardened political junkies are aware of how bills fail and why they pass, assuming all this information is available.

By a Newsnet reporter
 
The people of Iceland are to be given the opportunity to vote on whether to accept plans for a new draft constitution.
 
The population of around 320,000 are to be offered the chance to decide on whether a range of issues should be protected by law in a referendum to be held on 20 October 2012.