This week's UK news: 3 May 2013
3 May 2013

Women's group embarrassed after dressing up for a guest

The Women's Institute is an organisation for women to get together for meetings each week where they hear a speaker or take part in a group activity.

The WI group at Parkham in Devon like to dress up for their speakers, so when they booked Colin Darch to talk about piracy, they dressed up as old-fashioned pirates. They had eye patches, stripey jumpers and one lady even had a toy parrot on her shoulder. But Mr Darch had actually been kidnapped by Somali pirates 5 years ago. He was held hostage for 47 days.

Steph George of the WI said: " "I unfortunately thought it would be a good idea to dress up as pirates. Mr Darch came in and said he had been held hostage by Somali pirates. It was embarrassing, but he was such a great chap and he wasn't offended."

Mr Darch, "It didn't bother me. They had all made an effort. Most of them seemed to be wearing false moustaches and funny hats. One lady even had a parrot on her shoulder, but it was actually a fluffy chick."

Manchester students succeed in TV quiz

University Challenge is a TV quiz show which has been running for decades. In it, teams from two universities compete to answer most questions each week, with successful teams moving into the quiz finals.

This week Manchester University won for the fourth time. This means it has equalled the record of Magdalen College, Oxford for the most wins over the years. Manchester has also come second once and reached the semi finals three times since 2005.

Manchester's success this time is even more pleasing for the team, as they almost lost in the first round. At one point they were 105 points down against Lincoln College, Oxford.

One of the reasons Manchester has been so successful is their coach, Stephen Pearson, who is a university librarian. He competed with the team himself in 1997 and has trained the team since.

Government takes a hard line on prisoners

All prisoners will have to earn treats they get in prison, the Government has announced. This means that prisoners will no longer automatically have TVs in their cells or be able to wear their own clothes. The changes will be introduced in the next six months.

The current situation is that prisoners can have TVs in their cells and wear their own clothes unless they behave badly. In future all prisoners will have to start their sentences by wearing uniform and will be banned from having TVs in their cells.

They will also be restricted to short gym visits and prevented from access to much cash unless they show that they are improving thier behaviour. They will have to work, take part in education, and show that they have turned away from criminal behaviour.


Historic shipwreck ready to dry out

The Mary Rose was a warship which belonged to England's famous king, Henry VIII, more than 400 years ago. The wooden ship sank in full view of the King as it led an attack on French ships attempting to invade Britain, and stayed on the seabed until 30 years ago.

In a major project, the Mary Rose was raised from the seabed in 1982 and has had millions of gallons of special chemicals sprayed over it ever since. Now the next stage of preserving the warship will begin. The sprays are being switched off and the wooden ship will be slowly dried out over the next four or five years.

When the new Mary Rose museum opens in Portsmouth later this month, visitors will be able to see the ship in its drying room. Visitors will also be able to see many of the 19,000 items saved from the ship.  

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