This week's UK news: 26 April 2013
26 April 2013

Old county names to return

The Government is encouraging counties in England to return to their historic names.
Many names dating back almost 1000 years were abolished in 1974 when counties were reorganised and sometimes made bigger.
Now the Government wants the old names, like Cumberland and Westmorland (now the bigger county of Cumbria) and Huntingdonshire to be used on signs. It has also created an online map showing the online counties and their names.
Eric Pickles, who is responsible for local government, announced the policy on England's national day, St George's Day. He said it was important to use the historic names because "our local history makes us who we are."

101 things to do in England

Visit England has published a list of 101 things to do to celebrate St George's Day. The list is aimed at English people, as ideas of things they should do at home before going abroad, but is also useful for visitors.
The list includes eating a proper Cornish pasty or enjoying afternoon tea at Betty's cafe in Harrogate, Yorkshire; visiting King Arthur's castle at Tintagel in Cornwall; visiting Blackpool's Illuminations, an annual light show on the town's seafront; and going caving in Yorkshire.
The full list is at


A million families at risk of infection

Measles used to be a common childhood illness in the UK and much of the world. It causes a spotty rash, but can be very serious. One person in five with measles will be very seriously ill, and it can cause blindness, deafness, brain damage and death.
Measles infections became rare after a vaccination called the MMR was introduced. But a health scare over the MMR (which was disproved very quickly) meant that thousands of parents decided not to give their children the vaccination and now there have been over 800 cases of measles in the Welsh city of Swansea. There are worries that this will spread to other areas. The disease is now at its highest level for more than 20 years.
Doctors are now warning that an urgent vaccination programme is needed to prevent a national emergency. They are writing to more than one million families whose children were not vaccinated asking them to get this done.


Musicals make operations better

Patients who are having major bone surgery whilst still awake are being distracted by watching musical films on a TV in the operating theatre.
A hospital in Peterborough is experimenting with operating on some patients using a painkiller into the spine. This means they cannot feel pain but are still awake. Watching films helps the patients to relax while the operation is going on, and some start singing along to the songs. Some patients are even disappointed that their operation ends before the film does.

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