This week's UK news: 13 April 2012
13 April 2012

Boat Race does not go as planned

The annual boat race on the River Thames between Oxford and Cambridge university teams is one of the big sporting events in the British year.
Sometimes boats sink, and once the race has had to be restarted. But this year's race was the oddest in the event's 158-year history.
Eight minutes into this year's race, the boat race was stopped when a swimmer was spotted heading for the Oxford boat. The swimmer, who wanted to protest, would have been seriously injured if he had been hit by an oar.
The race was then restarted but after a few minutes one of the Oxford oars was broken after a clash with the Cambridge boat. Cambridge were declared the winners, but celebrations were put off because one of the Oxford team collapsed in the back of his boat and had to be taken to hospital.
There are now concerns that Olympic events could be affected by protesters in the same way.


Harry Potter author gives more detail about new book

More information has emerged about the new adult book which has been written by Harry Potter author JK Rowling.
The new book, called The Casual Vacancy, will be published worldwide on September 27. It is set in an English town called Pagford and concerns the death of local resident Barry Fairweather.
The publishers describe the book as a "black comedy" which suggests it will be funny but in a nasty way. They also say it is "thought-provoking" and "constantly surprising".
They say Rowling's town of Pagford is not all it seems. It appears to be a perfect English town with a market square and an ancient abbey, but its residents are quietly at war with each other.
JK Rowling says she has been writing constantly since she finished the seventh Potter novel and had to decide what to publish first.


Police rescue a novel

A woman who went blind decided to write a novel. But her pen ran out of ink and she wrote 26 pages without knowing that it could not be read.
But police came to the rescue for Trish Vickers. They worked in their spare time to read the marks left on the paper by the pen. It took five months for a member of the police staff to read back the book in her spare time, and Mrs Vickers is now finishing the book to send to a publisher.


Sweet dreams guaranteed

British scientists are testing a new phone app to see if they can help people to have good dreams and sleep well.
The Dream On app helps the phone to detect when people stop moving in their sleep, which is when they begin to dream. It will then play sounds designed to make people think of nice scenes. At the end, the app sounds a gentle alarm and the person is asked to record a brief description of their dream so that the scientists can see how it works.
Professor Richard Wiseman from the University of Hertfordshire, who is leading the research, says that getting a good night's sleep and having pleasant dreams is good for people. He adds: "We know very little about how to influence dreams. This experiment aims to change that."
You can get the app through iTunes or at

previous entry << >> next entry