This week's UK news: 9 April 2009
9 April 2009

Football plans upset Church

Church leaders have complained to football's Premier League about matches which will be held on Easter Sunday.

The new head of the Catholic church in England and Wales is among those who has signed a letter protesting about a match between Aston Villa and Everton. Other games being held that afternoon include Manchester City versus Fulham.

The bishops say the games will cause chaos for churchgoers and are being held on that day because of pressure from television broadcasters. The Aston Villa match was originally planned for Saturday.

Easter Sunday is traditionally one of the busiest Sundays of the year for churches. Church leaders say that last time Aston Villa played on Easter Sunday many elderly and disabled people were unable to attend church because of the football crowds. The Premier League says it has tried to help churchgoers by altering the time of kick-off and organising extra police.

Sport in the news again

Last weekend the biggest horse race of the year was held. The Grand National, which takes place at Aintree in Liverpool, is the only horse race many British people know about.

It is famous because a great many horses of different abilities take part. The course has many tricky jumps at which many horses fall or lose their riders, and the winner is often a surprise.

This means that ordinary people like to bet on the race. Free bets are sometimes given away in newspapers and workplaces will organise games where workers pay a small amount of money and choose a horse at random. The money goes to the person with the winning horse.

This year's winner was such a surprise that his own mother only bet 50 pence (less than £1) on him, winning £50. Liam Treadwell, riding 100-1 outsider Mon Mome, managed to annoy his mother. She had told him to get a haircut in case he did well and was seen on television. He did not take her advice.

Doctors to tell people they are fat

Everyone aged 40 to 75 will be called in by their doctor for tests to find out if they are too fat, the Government says. Many British people are dangerously overweight (obese) and risk health problems like heart disease and diabetes.

People who are found to be overweight may be given advice on diets and told to do exercise by their doctors. Everyone would be checked every five years.

Rising obesity levels are a problem in many countries. The Government wants the UK to be the first nation to reverse the problem.

Fish gets a new name

Fish and chips is Britain's most famous national meal. But our favourite fish is cod, which is dying out because fishermen have caught too much of it.

So a British supermarket, Sainsbury's, is trying to make another fish popular. Pollack has been sold for years but has never been very popular. Sainsbury's found out that a lot of shoppers were too embarrassed to ask for it. They think that may be because Pollack sounds a little rude. So the supermarket has renamed the fish it sells Colin, which is how it is known in France.

"We urge everyone to try Colin and chips on Friday," said Alison Austin from Sainsbury's.  But there may still be problems. In Britain, Colin is rather an old-fashioned boy's name.


by Susan Young -


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