This week's UK news: 4 August 2013
4 August 2013

The animal which symbolises Britain

Have you ever heard of a hedgehog? Here's a picture of one. They are small British mammals which come out at night, eat insects, and are covered in prickles. One of our best-loved children's characters, Mrs Tiggy-Winkle, was a hedgehog whose job was to do washing. Now a vote in a wildlife magazine has found out that we think the hedgehog is the best natural symbol for Britain. The hedgehog beat other animals such as otters and red squirrels, as well as popular birds and flowers. Hedgehog numbers are currently declining fast.

New artwork for central London

If you're studying in London, you might like to go and see the surprising new artwork in Trafalgar Square. The square is one of the best-known landmarks in London. It has a very tall statue of Admiral Nelson, the best-known leader of the Navy, surrounded by lions, fountains, and statues at the four corners. At least, there are spaces for four statues -- but only three. For the past few years the empty space has been given to a temporary artwork. There have been some very well-known artworks on the "fourth plinth" including a statue of a pregnant, disabled artist, and a giant rocking-horse. This time the space has gone to a giant blue cockerel, called Cock/Hahn. The artist intended the bird to poke fun at the statues of men in the rest of the square. Cock is the short name for a male chicken, but is also a slang word in English, so it is a joke.

Row about Twitter

There has been a big argument about Twitter use in the UK. This is because people have been threatening women who have been in the news. The issue came to a head last week when Caroline Criado-Perez, who had led a fight to ensure at least one UK bank note had a woman on it, was threatened with violence and worse many times an hour. Later, a woman MP who supported her was also threatened. A Cambridge professor, Mary Beard, has also been attacked after doing TV programmes. One man apologised after she re-tweeted his abuse, and someone offered to contact his mother about what he had said to the professor. Now Twitter has said it will do more to stop such attacks.

Heatwave doubles ice cream sales

The long run of hot weather this summer has been broken by thunderstorms and rain but ice-cream sales are still up. Sales of ice cream and lollies rose four times in the first two weeks of July. R and R Ice Cream, the biggest producer in Europe, has doubled production at its factories and has had "record breaking" sales two weeks in a row. Another producer has been calling on its factories in Europe to help meet demand in the UK. Sales of ice lollies are particularly strong. They were up almost 300 per cent on the previous year. Experts say demand for ice-cream is on a downward trend and will fall 9 per cent by 2017. This is because people think they should eat more healthily, and because there are predictions of more wet summers in the UK in future.


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