This week's UK news: 25 January 2013
25 January 2013

Snow causes chaos in most of UK

The problem with snow in the UK is that it doesn't happen often, unlike some countries which expect to have a lot of it in the winter. This means that it can cause huge problems for transport in particular.

This week we had a big storm which covered most places in snow. One part of Wales had ten inches of it. Rail services were disrupted, smaller roads were impossible to drive in, and thousands of schools were shut.

There were some deaths, too. Four climbers died last weekend in an avalanche in the Scottish mountains, and others died in accidents.

The weather is supposed to get warmer from this weekend, which may cause problems with flooding. We have been advised to build snowmen in areas with lots of snow, as this makes it melt more slowly and may help to avoid floods.

New route for Tour de France

Next year's Tour de France is starting further north than usual... in the UK.

The Tour will begin in Yorkshire, and the first three stages of the race will be held in the UK. British cycling stars, including Mark Cavendish, worked to persuade the organisers bring the race to Yorkshire.

So on Saturday 5 July 2014, around 200 riders will start the Tour de France from the city of Leeds, and the first 118-mile stage, which will wind round the Yorkshire countryside before a sprint finish in the grand spa town of Harrogate.

The next day, the second stage of the race runs from York to Sheffield, again running through Harrogate. On day 2, the race goes further south, from Cambridge past the Olympic Park into London.

Row over EU moves on

The European Union is a problem for some UK politicians. Many MPs in the Conservative party are unhappy about the way our membership works, and would like it to be changed. This has caused huge problems for Conservative party leaders, including Margaret Thatcher. There is also a political party called UKIP which campaigns for the UK to completely leave the EU, and this is putting a lot of pressure on the Conservative party.

This week the Prime Minister, David Cameron, gave a speech in which he promised that there would be a national vote on EU membership. He said that the Government would try to negotiate a new membership deal with the EU, and everyone would be able to vote on this by 2017.

Bad smell causes panic

A terrible smell on the South Coast of England on Tuesday caused lots of people to panic about gas leaks. People said the smell was like cabbage, bad eggs, or diesel. The emergency line to report gas leaks took 60,000 calls, compared with a usual 10,000 a day.

The smell was a gas leak, but it was a harmless gas and came from a chemical works in northern France. Paris police described the gas as smelling like sweat, garlic and rotten eggs.


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