This week's UK news: 13 March 2009
13 March 2009

Do you feel funny today?

A huge charity fund-raising event took place this week. Comic Relief, which runs once every two years, has become a British institution. 

It was started by comedians, and its symbol is a clown's red nose. It raises lots of money by selling red noses and by encouraging people to do funny things for money. Children, who love it, go to school in pyjamas or silly clothes, and people do odd things like have baths in baked beans.

Celebrities play a major part in fundraising. This week, nine well-known people, including singers and radio DJs, climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, and there has also been a televised dancing competition.

The appeal ends with an evening-long television show. This mixes up well-known people doing silly things, films about how the money is spent, and appeals for donations. The last Red Nose Day, in 2007, raised £40m for charities in the UK and Africa. 50 million red noses have been sold since the first Red Nose Day in 1985.

Engineering and English

In the UK there is a saying to describe a job that never ends. We say it is like painting the Forth Bridge.

This is a very large iron railway bridge in Scotland which needs painting to protect it all the time. For the last 100 years workers have finished painting it at one end, and started again at the other end.

So it was a bit of a shock this week when we learned that this will not happen any more. A new kind of paint, used on oil rigs, means that when the work is finished in 2012 the bridge will not need to be painted again for 25 years.

Do you want to see Michael Jackson perform?

Michael Jackson has announced that he will add more concerts to his farewell series in the UK. He is now playing 50 shows.

The singer, whose biggest selling songs include Thriller and Billie Jean, starts the concerts with a series of dates in July at the O2 arena in London. Now the plan is to finish the concerts in February 2010. Organisers say this is the fastest-selling concert series in history.

If the shows all sell out, a million tickets will have been sold. Fans have been queuing to buy tickets since they went on general sale. Jackson has said that these will be his final concerts in the UK.

What do you think?

Ordinary people in the UK will be able to say what they think about services like the police, hospitals and schools in the future.

The Government wants citizens to be able to comment on the websites of doctors and schools about the service they had. In the future this might affect the amount of government money the services get.

From this summer, patients will be able to put their opinions on hospital websites.


by Susan Young -


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