This week's UK news: 27 February 2009
27 February 2009

Politics halted

The normal routines of politics stopped briefly this week after the death of a little boy.

Ivan Cameron, who was six, was the seriously disabled son of the leader of the Opposition in the UK parliament. His father, Conservative leader David Cameron, had always been open about Ivan's problems and says they made him very committed to the National Health Service.

The Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, whose eldest child died at only a few days old, led tributes to the Cameron family before Parliament was suspended for 25 minutes.

Small British film makes it big

The big film at the Oscars this week was Slumdog Millionaire, which has its roots in the UK. The film started life with a British scriptwriter and director, and was financially backed by Film Four, an arm of one of the UK's main television channels. However, the channel faces financial problems and the film unit's future is unclear, despite Slumdog's success.

The film has now won eight Academy Awards, only the eighth film ever to do this, and has made in cinemas $175,115,223 worldwide. Yet last summer Slumdog's Hollywood studio thought the film would do badly and thought about putting it out on DVD only.

Good news? Or bad news?

Are you usually happy or sad? New research shows your parents and grandparents influence how you react to bad news.

UK researchers have found a gene which makes people ignore bad things in their lives. Instead, they notice happier events. People with this gene are more friendly and may have better mental health.

Elaine Fox, the head of psychology at Essex University in England where the research was done, said the gene seemed to help people to deal with everyday stresses.

Money troubles

There has been a lot of anger about the huge sums of public money spent to rescue some British banks. Many people think the banks took too many risks and should not be saved.

There has been a lot of debate on whether bonuses should be paid to bankers, but this week the battle moved on to pensions.

One former bank boss, Sir Fred Goodwin, who is 50, is getting a pension of £693,000-a-year. But Royal Bank of Scotland, which he ran until October, has just announced a £24.1 billion annual loss - the biggest in British business history -- and has only been kept going with Government money.

Pressure has been put on Sir Fred to give back some of his pension but he has refused. Lawyers are now checking the contracts to see if the money can be removed legally.


by Susan Young -


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