This week's UK news: 10 May 2013
10 May 2013

All change at Manchester United

Sir Alex Ferguson has been manager at Manchester United since 1986, and has finally decided to retire at the age of 72.

During his years as a football manager he has won 13 English league titles, three Scottish titles, 16 domestic cups and four major European trophies. On his own he has won more trophies than the football club Arsenal - and that club started in 1886.

The UK woke up to rumours that Sir Alex was retiring, and it was confirmed later the same day. Everton manager David Moyes has now been confirmed as the new manager and it is the last home game for Man U under Sir Alex this week, though he remains at the club as a director.

The 15,000 year old language

Languages spoken by billions of people in Europe and Asia are all descended from one common language.

Reading University researchers have found that the ancient language, spoken in southern Europe at least 15,000 years ago, is at the root of the vocabularies including those of English, Urdu and Japanese. This language led to seven more that formed a family of languages, eventually splitting to the languages now spoken from Portugal to Siberia.

The researchers used a computer model to predict words which changed so rarely that they should sound the same in different languages. The similar words were not just frequently used ones, such as I, we, man, mother. Bark  (found on the outside of trees) also had long histories.

Researcher Mark Pagel says bark was important to ancient people because they used it to keep warm, to start fires, and to make fibres.

Helicopters to spray caterpillars

One of the UK's best-known trees is at risk from a type of caterpillar that eats all the bark from the outside. The oak processionary caterpillar can seriously damage oak trees and cause health problems to people.

The species arrived in the UK in 2006 and is now established in London and nearby. Now the organisation which owns much of the UK's woodland is going to try spraying a wood with insecticide from a helicopter to try and stop the pest spreading.

The Queen cuts back on travel

The Queen is now 87 years old and has made it clear that she will not stop doing her job. However, she appears to be changing the way she does things.
This week, it was announced that she would not go to the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Sri Lanka this November. Instead, her oldest son Prince Charles will go.
The Prince also attended the Queen's Speech in Parliament this week, accompanied by his wife. This was the first time he had attended in 17 years, and the first ever time his wife had done so. It was also the first time that the Queen's speech did not mention any foreign travel she had planned.


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