This week's UK news: 24 February 2012
24 February 2012

Not enough rain in the UK, says the government

The UK has a reputation for being very rainy. You may be surprised to find out that this week the Government has this week said there is a drought in the South of England, which means that we have to be careful in how we use water. A drought has never been announced officially so early in the year before -- it is still winter in the UK.
Some areas in Eastern England have been drought zones for some time, and other areas may also be declared drought zones in the next few weeks.
So far, the Government is sending out timers to people in drought areas, to encourage them to limit showers to four minutes. It is likely that there will be restrictions on the use of hosepipes to wash cars and water gardens.
The problems have come because Southern and Central England have had two very dry winters. Scotland and the North of England are not affected.

New statue in central London

Trafalgar Square is one of London's most famous visitor attractions. The square just outside the National Gallery is well-known for the very tall Nelson's Column surrounded by lions and four huge statues.
Except there are only three statues, with a space for the fourth one on a large stone plinth. The plinth was built in 1841 for a statue of King William IV but has remained empty.
For the last few years new statues have been made for this plinth every year by well-known artists. This week a new statue, of a little boy on a rocking-horse, has been put in the square. It has attracted a lot of attention.

Olympics closing ceremony plans announced

All types of British music will be celebrated in a two and a half hour closing ceremony for the Olympics in August.
The organisers say there will be a giant after-show party including some of the biggest names in music, 4,100 performers, and fireworks. Few details have been announced but the musical director has been responsible for five James Bond films, and director Kim Gavin is well known for a spectacular tour by boy band Take That.
It has been announced, though, that singer Adele will appear. In the past two weeks she has won major awards at the Grammys in the US and the Brits in the UK.
Olympic fans are also keen to visit the Park in East London to see how the sporting buildings are being completed. More than 34,000 people have been on walking tours in the area, and there are also GBP 350 helicopter tours on offer.

Good news for Harry Potter fans

JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books, has announced that she is writing a novel for adults.
She has a new publisher and a new editor, who specialises in crime fiction. But there are no details yet about the book's title, publication date or subject. "Although I've enjoyed writing it every bit as much, my next book will be very different to the Harry Potter series," said the author.

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