This week's UK news: 25 March 2011
25 March 2011

Do you know what a pothole is?

It's a common word in the UK at the moment, because we've got a lot of them. A pothole is a hole or a dent in a road surface.

Potholes are often caused or made much worse by very bad winters. Water gets into cracks in the road surface, and as it turns to ice it expands and makes the hole bigger. If this happens lots of times, the hole can get pretty big.

We have had two winters in the UK now with lots of snow and ice, and as a result some of the roads are very bad. The Government has promised an extra GBP 100 m to be spent on fixing the holes, but some of them are extraordinary.

This week the newspapers wrote about a pothole in the city of Gloucester in England. This hole extends the whole length of King's Barton Street. Local people say it is 200 ft long, up to 4 ft wide and 4 inches deep. The local council says it is dealing with extra road repairs which had to be done after the winter.

How easy is it to pass a UK driving test?

Most people don't think it's that difficult. The test is in two sections: there is a theory test, where you answer questions about road signs, markings and driving rules. Once you have passed that you can take the practical test where you drive a car for an examiner.

But this week we found out that a 39-year-old man from the West Midlands has failed his practical test 36 times. Worse than that, though, is a 26-year-old woman from London who has failed her theory test 90 times. Nobody has ever done worse than this - and it's cost her £2,790 to take the test so many times.

More of the best places in the world

Some of the world's most special places are on the Unesco list of World Heritage Sites. These include the Pyramids in Egypt, the Canadian Rockies, Stonehenge in the UK and the Sydney Opera House. In all there are 911 World Heritage Sites in 151 countries.

Now the British government has submitted a new list of 11 suggested sites in the UK to Unesco. They are wide-ranging because Unesco apparently believes that too many sites in Northern Europe are dedicated to castles and cathedrals.

The list includes Chatham Dockyard in Kent, and spectacular countryside in England (Creswell Crags, the Lake District) and Scotland (The Flow Country and part of Shetland). There is also the Jodrell Bank observatory with its vast telescope dish and the famous Forth Road Rail Bridge in Scotland, which until recently, had to be painted constantly. The Government has asked Unesco to reconsider a site it has submitted before, the house where Charles Darwin wrote his book developing the theory of evolution.

Football may go back to the past

Decades ago most people stood up to watch football matches on special areas called "terraces". Then in 1989 there was a terrible crush at a football match in which 96 Liverpool supporters died.

The inquiry into their deaths recommended that football stadiums should have seats for every fan, and since 1994 all-seater stadiums have been compulsory in the top two divisions. But this week there was a meeting to discuss whether there might be a possibility of introducing safe standing areas for fans who want them.

The sports minister has said he will consider the issue. The Football Supporters Federation, which is calling for safe standing areas, has launched an online petition.

… and this week's Royal Wedding update

When Kate Middleton was at university with Prince William, she modelled a dress at a charity fashion show. The dress was knitted and see-through, and originally designed as a skirt.

Prince William paid GBP 200 to sit in the front row at the fashion show. He was so taken with what he saw of Miss Middleton that he made sure he met her afterwards. Now the famous dress has been sold at auction. The dress was expected to sell for up to GBP 10,000 but an unknown buyer paid GBP 65,000 for it.


by Susan Young (


  • This week's UK news: 18 March 2011
  • This week's UK news: 11 March 2011
  • This week's UK news: 4 March 2011
  • This week's UK news: 25 February 2011

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