This week's UK news: 4 June 2010
4 June 2010

The Queen would like some more money

Talks are going on about whether the Queen can have some more money to do her job.

The Queen gets £7.9m a year from Parliament. This figure has stayed the same for the past 20 years. The Queen’s staff say she is spending £7m a year more than this from an emergency fund. That money will run out in 2012, when the Queen would celebrate 60 years on the throne.

The problem is that the new Government is cutting public spending. It would not look very good to give the Queen a large pay rise when cuts are being made in other areas.

Shooting shocks Britain

The UK is one of the safest countries in the world, and violent crime is very uncommon here. So people were very shocked when a man shot 12 people dead and then killed himself this week.

The UK has some of the strictest gun laws in the world. Gun owners must have a special police licence, and handguns are banned.

Nobody knows yet what made Derrick Bird, who was a taxi driver, start shooting people. His victims included his brother, his lawyer, and a workmate. The shootings were even more shocking because they happened in Cumbria, which is a very rural area of the UK.

Now the police are trying to find out what made an ordinary man behave in such a strange way.

Britain’s longest running drama series

The Archers was first broadcast on British radio 60 years ago. It was intended to give information to farmers through a drama series but very quickly became popular.

The series now goes out twice a day on Radio 4. It still combines talk about farming with everyday problems. Sometimes dramatic things happen. People still talk about how a main character was killed in a fire the same night a television channel launched its own everyday drama series.

And even people who don’t listen to The Archers recognise its theme music. Comedian Billy Connolly said it should be the British national anthem.

Singing competition failure

The Eurovision Song Contest has been performed every year since 1956 and is watched by more than 100m television viewers round the world. Each country taking part sends an act to perform a song.

The winner is then chosen through a mixture of phone voting and expert panels.

The contest was held this week, and UK entry Josh Dubovie came last. Viewers were not surprised: this is the third time the UK entry has come last in the past eight years.


by Susan Young


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