This week's UK news: 14 March 2014
14 March 2014

Lots of bets on a Royal wedding

Lots of people have been betting that Prince Harry will get engaged to his girlfriend, Cressida Bonas. The Prince is fourth in line to the throne, after his father, his older brother and his baby nephew.

Prince Harry and Miss Bonas have been seen at two public events this week, including the England-Wales Six Nations rugby match. Before this they had tried to avoid being photographed together.

The Royal Family often uses these kind of signals to hint at things that are about to happen.

Bookmakers have now cut the odds on an engagement in 2014 to 8/13.

Divide in UK reading habits

A survey has found a "worrying" divide in the amount of reading done by people here.

Half of us pick up a book at least once a week for pleasure, but 45 per cent prefer to watch television, according to a survey of 1,500 people.

It found that people in richer social groups read more. The researchers found people who were very poor were much less likely to read books. They also found that people who read less were more likely to be male, under 30, and have lower levels of qualifications and happiness.

Almost a fifth of adults said they never read paper books, and more than half thought the internet would replace books in the next 20 years. More than a quarter of people said they preferred the internet and social media, rising to more than half of the 18-30 year olds surveyed.

iPads change the way novels are written

Authors say that electronic gadgets are changing the way novels are written.

Two British authors, speaking at a books festival, said it was now really important to have a first line of a book that "grab the reader round the throat."

More gentle first lines from the great novels of the past would not work any more, they said. This was because there were so many other distractions from iPads and iPhones that authors needed to get readers interested in the book very quickly.

One author in the audience, Jojo Moyes, said she had changed the way she began her books after Amazon reviewers said it had taken them a long time to get into the stories. She now rewrites all her early chapters several times.

UK inventor of internet wants rights for its users

Tim Berners Lee, who invented the world wide web exactly 25 years ago, said the world wide web was increasingly being attacked by governments and major companies. He wants new rules to protect the web's "open, neutral" system.

Sir Tim wants people to create a "bill of rights" for the internet in each country, which he hopes would be supported by government officials and big business. He said the scheme should look at issues of privacy, free speech  and anonymity.

"I want to use the 25th anniversary for us... to take the web back into our own hands and define the web we want for the next 25 years."


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