This week's UK news: 03 August 2012
3 August 2012

Olympics is the biggest show in town

It's been hard to find UK news outside the Olympics this week. Television, radio, websites and newspapers have all been dominated by sport.

The opening ceremony, which raced through UK history, was watched by around half of the population here and everybody was talking about it the next day. Most people loved it, although they thought it was "bonkers" - a slang word for mad.

Highlights for us since then have included cyclist Mark Cavendish NOT winning his expected gold medal in the road race, the success of the men's gymnastic team, and (so far) golds in the canoe slalom, shooting, and women's rowing.

Warnings about awful traffic in London have not come true either and the city is unusually peaceful. So if you are studying in the UK, now might be a good time to visit the capital without the usual queues for major attractions.

The best of the rest

Other things have been happening in the UK this week. Here are some of them...

96 year old woman dies halfway down building

Here in the UK lots of people like to raise money for charity. One popular way of doing this is abseiling, which is using ropes to slide down the side of a tall building.

This week we were all surprised to hear that a 96 year old lady, Gertrude Painter, had died whilst abseiling down the side of a hospital to raise money for charity. It was her 10th charity abseil. The charity she was raising money for said: "Gertrude was an amazing lady... she passed away [died] doing what she loved best: raising money for charity".

The most common phrases in English

A maths professor from Slovenia has been analysing 5.2 million books to find out what are the most used phrases in the English language.

Matjaz Perc says the most common phrase is "At the end of the day," which in the UK is often used by football commentators when they sum up a match. Other five-word phrases in the top 100 include The United States of America and "like to make a donation."

He also analysed books which appeared in the year 1520. The most common five-word phrase then was "the Pope and his followers".

UK university entrance requirements may change

University entrance to the UK has been using a "points-based tariff" to outline entrance requirements for prospective students. This means that all qualifications and grades are given a points score. Admissions tutors will ask for a particular score from students.

Now UCAS, which oversees admissions, is suggesting that the system should be gradually withdrawn and replaced by a "greater use of qualifications and grades". This means that students would be asked for specific grades in specific subjects. UCAS says this would give students a clearer idea about which qualifications are most relevant for particular courses.


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