This week's UK news: 30 January 2009
30 January 2009

Who'd like to marry a Prince?

Prince Harry, the third in line to the British throne, has hit the headlines after splitting up with his long-term girlfriend.

The youngest son of Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana had apparently been dating Chelsy Davy, a law student from South Africa, for nearly five years. She had attended formal royal events, which means the relationship was seen as serious.

Prince Harry is always of interest to the British press because he has made some embarrassing mistakes in the past and enjoys a lively social life when on leave from the British Army. He can now expect to be pursued by photographers desperate to get the first photos of him with a potential new girlfriend. 

Britain's favourite complaint

An anonymous passenger on Virgin airlines cheered up the nation after his light-hearted letter of complaint about in-flight catering and entertainment was circulated on the internet.

The letter, addressed directly to airline boss Sir Richard Branson, included photographs of the mysterious food and comments such as: "Look at this Richard. Just look at it... What is this? Why have I been given it? What have I done to deserve this? And, which one is the starter, which one is the dessert?"

Sir Richard, who is no stranger to brilliant publicity, has now called the passenger and invited him to help choose the food for future Virgin flights. 

Parents told to keep under-15s away from alcohol

Children under 15 should never be given alcohol, even in small quantities, a government medical adviser said this week.

It is legal for parents to give children over the age of five alcohol at home, and some choose to give teenagers a small amount of diluted beer or wine with meals to make it less of a forbidden pleasure. The Government now says this can seriously harm children's health, and is also advising that people aged 15 to 17 should only drink once a week, and with their parents supervising.

The advice comes at a time when many people are seriously concerned about the culture of drinking in the UK. The Government has advised on safe limits but says many older people are drinking too much wine at home in the evenings.

There is also concern that young people are drinking to excess when out with their friends, even before the age when they can legally buy alcohol, and some teenagers and young adults regularly get very drunk on nights out. 

Weird research of the week

Cows produce more milk if they have been given names, according to a study of more than 500 farmers in the UK.

Milk production is also higher on farms where cows are treated individually rather than herded as a group, researchers from Newcastle University discovered. Dr Catherine Douglas explained: "Just as people respond better to the personal touch, cows also feel happier and more relaxed if they are given a bit more one-to-one attention.

"The statistics were significantly different for those cows with names - there was nothing else which could explain it." Typical names for cows in Britain include Daisy and Ermintrude.


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