This week's UK news: 24 May 2013
24 May 2013

Gay marriage bill passed

Same-sex couples are closer to being able to get married after a Bill was passed in the UK parliament. The legislation would give equal rights to gay and heterosexual couples to get married, although it includes a ban on same-sex weddings taking place in a Church of England or Wales church.

Many MPs from one of the parties in the UK's coalition government were very unhappy about the legislation.

Soldier murdered in terrorist attack

We were all really shocked this week when a soldier was murdered during the day in London. The UK and London are very safe places, with low levels of violence and so this was very unusual. Police and security services are treating this as a terrorist attack, because the victim was a soldier.

The event was even more unusual and horrifying because many people filmed the scene on their mobile phones. A man with bloody hands gave an "interview" to a bus passenger who was filming on his mobile phone, and this has been widely shown on the TV news.

Several women at the scene have been praised for their bravery. One tried to persuade the killers to put their weapons down and not hurt anyone else. Two others tried to see if they could help the dead soldier.

Armed police then arrived and shot two suspected attackers, who are now under guard in hospital.

UK wildlife numbers dropping

A first-ever survey of animals, birds and insects in the UK has found numbers of most species are dropping fast.

Three in five of the species which were analysed for the report have declined in the past 50 years, and one in ten is at risk of becoming extinct. Moths, butterflies and beetles have been particularly badly affected.

Several factors are being blamed for the decline in numbers. These include intensive farming and the use of chemicals on crops, as well as building, over-fishing, and climate change. However, there are a few positive changes. Reduced water pollution has led to increased numbers of otters, and there are lots of new ponds where there used to be gravel pits.

Man who wrote jokes for UK's favourite comedians dies

Thirty years ago, two comedians called Morecambe and Wise were the biggest act on UK television. Their Christmas shows got up to 28 million viewers, and they are still popular when they are repeated on the TV.

The Morecambe and Wise show had an unusual formula. It turned the two men into characters: Wise wrote very bad plays (but thought they were good) and Morecambe was rude to the famous guests who appeared every week.

The duo's success came from their writer, a man called Eddie Braben. Braben, who died this week at the age of 82, wrote some of their best-known jokes and sketches.

The most famous had Morecambe playing Grieg's Piano Concerto with an orchestra conducted by Andre Previn, who was then one of the world's best known musicians. Morecambe played it very badly, to Previn's horror. He then came out with the punchline: "I am playing all the notes. Just not necessarily in the right order."


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