This week's UK news: 20 May 2011
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20 May 2011


Queen visits Ireland


You might think it would be easy for the Queen to visit Ireland as it is so close to mainland Britain. But the Queen is the first British monarch to visit Ireland since it broke away from UK control and became a Republic in the 1920s.
Since then there were many years of conflict over the six counties in Northern Ireland which decided to rejoin the UK. But in 1998 the British and Irish governments signed the Good Friday agreement which established a Northern Ireland Assembly with legislative powers and helped to stop the use of violence.
It has taken many years of negotiation for the Queen to visit Ireland. Her trip was very symbolic as she visited places which had strong links to the years when Ireland fought to break away from UK rule. She laid a wreath at the Garden of Remembrance which commemorates the generations of Irish men and women who died fighting for independence.

Getting ready for the Olympics


Composer Philip Sheppard has just spent a week recording every National Anthem in the world which is likely to be played at the London Olympics next year.
Sheppard has had to rewrite each anthem so that it lasts no longer than 90 seconds. It would not be possible to use each anthem in full at the official Olympic ceremonies.
Each anthem has then been recorded by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and will then go back to its country to be approved. There were 205 anthems in all.

London police keep files secret for more than 120 years


In 1888 at least five women were murdered in London by a serial killer called Jack the Ripper. The murderer was never caught, and the crimes were so well-known that people have spent many years trying to prove who was responsible. 
Now the London Police are fighting to keep secret files dating back 123 years, which might help to prove who Jack the Ripper really was.
A former policeman, Trevor Marriott, has been investigating the case and wants to see four thick files of evidence. But the London police are refusing, because the files contain the names of people who gave evidence to them. They say that if they release the names, even long after everyone involved has died, it might put off people from giving information about crimes.

Not on this train


People have been laughing at photos showing a man trying to take his pony on a train service.
Camera footage from Wrexham Station in North Wales shows a man trying to buy a ticket for himself and the pony. He was told that large animals were not allowed on the train, but he then took the pony in the lift to the platform.
There is a final photo of the man trying to get the white pony on to the train. He was not allowed, and left the station.

Nobody knows why he wanted to take the pony on the train. Train staff say dogs may travel on trains. Other small animals may go on trains in a pet carrier. Large animals are not allowed on trains.

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