This week's UK news: 17 January 2014
17 January 2014

Olympic park starts to reopen

The Olympic park has mostly been closed since London 2012 ended, as the buildings and the area are transformed into an area for people to live, work, and enjoy sporting activities.

The end of the park closest to the original entrance has now been landscaped with outdoor art, and will open in April. The ArcelorMittal Orbiit, a huge sculpture by Anish Kapoor, which visitors can climb, will reopen at the same time. The velodrome and swimming pool reopen in March, but the stadium itself will not reopen properly until summer 2016, although several Rugby World Cup matches will be played there next summer. People have already started moving into the flats which were originally built as the Olympic Village to house the athletes.


Millionaires buying homes in London

Wealthy people are buying expensive homes in London more than ever before. The number of houses and apartments selling for more than GBP5m rose by a quarter last year.

More than 500 people bought homes for more than GBP 5m last year, a record number. Around 160 of the homes were valued at more than GBP 10m. Overall, more than GBP 5.2bn was spent on these very expensive London homes during the year.

It is possible that more of these "superhomes" have been sold, but the details  were kept secret.


Mobile phone coverage under the sea

Until now, if you travelled between the UK and Europe by the Channel Tunnel -- which goes under the sea -- you could not get a mobile phone signal. This made the carriages on the Eurostar train service very peaceful. But now the tunnel for travellers from France to the UK has been given a mobile phone signal, and the same will happen in the other tunnel very soon.


UK's longest-running TV serial gets its first Muslim family

Everybody in the UK knows about Coronation Street, whether they watch it or not. "Corrie," as it is often called, is a TV show about people living in a fictional street in Manchester, called Coronation Street. The show has been running for 53 years and is supposed to be about people's ordinary lives, although there are more murders and terrible accidents than most people would expect. In the UK, we call this type of show a "soap opera" or a "soap".

The show's producer has announced that for the first time ever, a Muslim family will join the other characters on screen. He said it was "bizarre" that this had never happened before. The show has been criticised for not doing more to reflect the diverse population that lives in Manchester (and most UK cities). EastEnders, the UK's other very popular soap opera which is set in the East End of London, introduced its first Muslim family in 2007.


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