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6 July 2017

50 years of the cash machine

We are all used to getting cash from a machine on a wall, but it used to be very different. Before that, people had to queue in their bank with a cheque book to get cash.

The world's first ATM cash machine opened 50 years ago, outside a bank in London. The machine was invented by a Scottish man called John Shepherd-Barron, and six were opened at branches of Barclays Bank in the UK.

Now there are around 3 million cash machines in the world, with 70,000 in the UK alone.

There is still a cash machine at the site of the first one. This week, it was painted gold and given a red carpet to celebrate the anniversary.

Big Abba exhibition for London

Abba were just a Swedish band until they won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974, which was held in Brighton. After that they became the world's biggest band with hits like Dancing Queen and Mamma Mia.

Now tickets are on sale for an exhibition about Abba which includes objects from the Abba museum in Stockholm and the group's own costumes and song sheets. There will be a replica of the hotel room where they stayed when they won the Eurovision song contest, and of their recording studio, and their costumes.

The exhibition, which is a guided tour, is at the Southbank Centre in London from December.

Who will win Wimbledon?

One of the UK's favourite sporting events is on at the moment. The Wimbledon tennis tournament gets lots of coverage on our national TV broadcaster. We are interested in the tennis (especially since the UK's Andy Murray is the defending men's champion) but also in the weather and the grass and everything else about it.

Wimbledon is unusual because it is played on grass, and in the open air. That means that if it rains, play has to stop. There is now a roof on the Centre Court and one due for Court Number one by 2019.

Wimbledon has been running for 140 years and there are a lot of traditions, both old and new. The players must wear all white, for instance, and strawberries and a cocktail called Pimms are on sale. There are often members of the Royal Family watching the Centre Court match.

These days there are lots more ordinary people as well. Lots queue for hours to get in, and there is an area at Wimbledon where people can sit down and watch matches on big screens.

The ultimate sport

Researchers have found the sport which makes people most fit. It is jousting – the art of fighting on horseback, dressed in armour, and using a long pole to try to knock your opponent off his horse.

Jousting was very popular in the UK and Europe 500 years ago but not many people do it now.

One man who does is Roy Murray, 33, who jousts for English Heritage, the UK charity which looks after lots of our old castles and houses. He is training for a summer of jousting tournaments and scientists found he is as fit and strong as professional footballers, tennis players and Formula One racing drivers combined.

His body fat is lower than most professional footballers. Sports scientist Jonathan Robinson, who tested him, said his results were "very impressive" with a high standard of fitness across a wide range of areas.

Modern jousting is done wearing armour which weighs 45kg and with a three-metre pole, called a lance. You can see jousting at English Heritage castles this summer.

New rules in Parliament

The UK Parliament has some very traditional rules. Members of Parliament have to use special phrases when they talk about each other (they call each other "My honourable friend" and never use names).

The Speaker, who runs the debates, used to wear a grey wig until recently. That was stopped when Betty Boothroyd became Speaker and did not like the way the wig made her hair flat.

Now there has been astonishment because the current Speaker announced last week that men no longer had to wear ties in the House of Commons. This came after one MP asked a question without wearing one. Some MPs are horrified but others think it is a good idea.


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