This week's UK news: 8 February 2013
8 February 2013

British baking goes global

A baking competition show is now the UK's most popular TV export.

The Great British Bake Off, shown on one of our public broadcasting channels, has passionate amateur cooks competing to win the series over several weeks. Each week, they are challenged to bake new things which are often very difficult. There are two expert judges and a pair of comedians who comment on what is happening.

The show became a hit in the UK, and has now been commissioned in 11 different countries. They include the US, Australia, Sweden, France and Belgium.

In each country the cooks are challenged to make local specialities. In France, where the show is called The Best Pastry Chef, the contestants have to make croissants and petits fours. The Swedish version, All Sweden Is Baking, asked contestants to make traditional cinnamon buns. The winner was awarded GBP 1,000 for her rose-covered blueberry and passion fruit wedding cake.

New kinds of rain and snow cause chaos

British weather is always unpredictable. This week, we have had something very rare called Thundersnow, which is a thunderstorm where it snows instead of rains. This is rare even in the US, where it does occasionally happen.

We have also had a warning from an environment official that the UK is getting a different type of rain. Usually rain sweeps in across the country, moving across. Now we are getting something new, called convective rain, where the clouds sit in one place, leading to flooding.

King found under car park

Richard III is one of our most famous historical kings. He does not have a good reputation. He is believed to have ordered his young nephews to be murdered, and Shakespeare's play about him showed him as evil, with a hunched back and damaged arm.

Richard died in a battle in 1485, but nobody knew where his body was buried. This week it was announced that the skeleton found under a council car park in the city of Leicester was that of the former King. The skeleton had a badly curved spine and terrible injuries. DNA analysis links it to known living relatives of Richard's sister.

Now the argument is about where Richard should be buried. The original grave was in a religious building in Leicester. Some people want him to stay in Leicester, but he was from York and that city also wants to take his body. No decisions have yet been made.

Gay marriage to be made legal

In a big vote this week, the House of Commons agreed to allow gay people to marry. The law has allowed gay people to form "civil partnerships" for the past eight years: these have all the rights of marriage but are only for same sex couples, and are not a religious ceremony.

The government has said it wants gay people to have equal rights and that this is a "landmark for equality." However, the Church of England and the Church of Wales will be banned holding same-sex marriages and other churches will be able to opt out. The vote was controversial in the ruling party, with many MPs voting against it.


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