This week's UK news: 19 July 2013
19 July 2013

London landmark gets unexpected guests

The Shard is the tallest building in London. It is 310 metres tall, covered in glass, and comes to a point at the top. It is not the kind of thing that looks like fun to climb. So visitors to the Shard last week were surprised to see six women spending the day climbing up the outside of it. They used ropes for safety, and kept going with energy bars and cheese bagels. The women were part of a protest by the organisation Greenpeace. They wanted to highlight the oil company's plans to drill in the Arctic. When they finally reached the top of the building they unrolled a giant banner, but did not have time to unroll another giant banner with a picture of a polar bear on it.


After the coldest spring for decades... the UK gets a heatwave

We've had more than ten days of amazing hot and sunny weather in the UK now, with temperatures as high as 32 degrees C some days. Lots of people are really enjoying the sunshine but there have been a few problems. This is because the UK does not normally get extreme weather and so our buildings, rail and road are not designed to cope. So this week rail tracks in London have bent in the heat, part of a major motorway was closed because it melted, players at the Open golf tournament in Scotland have found unusual playing conditions because the ground is so dry, and there have been many cases of sunburn, sometimes in young children and babies. In some parts of the UK a Level 3 alert has been issued, which means that the health of babies, old people and those with some illnesses might be badly affected by the heat. It is meant to warn people to be careful and to make sure health services take extra care to look after people.


Shakespeare on tour

Hamlet is probably Shakespeare's most famous play. So to celebrate the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare's birth, the Globe theatre in London are taking the play on tour to every country in the world. The actors will travel by plane, train, boat and buses to visit all 205 countries on Earth. It will start and finish at The Globe in London, ending on the 452nd anniversary of Shakespeare's birthday. It will call at the Rift Valley in Kenya where the first  humans lived and also in Elsinore, in Denmark, where the play is set. "Touring is in our blood. It's what Shakespeare's company did. It's what we do. And it's great fun," said the director.


The UK's streets are paved with gold

One of our biggest street cleaning firms has announced that it will check everything it clears from our roads and pavements to see if it contains gold and other precious metals. The company believes it can find at least GBP 1million worth of platinum, palladium and rhodium from the dirt swept from our streets each year. These precious metals are used in cars, and tiny amounts are thrown out by car exhausts. Tiny amooooounts can also rub off jewellery. The cleaning company has built a special factory to clean and filter the sweepings .  It believes it can harvest up to 1.5 tons of platinum, 1.3 tons of palladium and almost a ton of rhodium from the sweepings.


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