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

Easter in the UK

We're just coming up to the Easter weekend in the UK. Public holidays are making it a long weekend (England, Wales and Northern Ireland have Friday and Monday as holidays: in Scotland it's only Friday) and for many people it is the first break they have had since Christmas.

Easter traditions in the UK include eating special spiced buns, with a cross on top. These are called hot cross buns. Easter Eggs are also given to children on Easter Sunday, and there are often Easter Egg hunts as well.

People often take the opportunity to relax at Easter, but many do jobs in their homes and gardens. Shops selling garden furniture, plants, paints and more household items are very busy.

Teddy bears cause problems in schools

Lots of UK primary schools have "class teddies" for the youngest pupils. Each class has its own teddy bear. Each weekend, the teddy bear and a diary goes home with one pupil, and they and the family write about what the teddy bear has done.

The idea was to encourage families to spend time together, and for parents to help their children write the diaries. But the idea is starting to cause problems and some schools are getting rid of the bears. Other schools are insisting that each family can only write one page in the diary, and only have one page of photographs.

This is because some parents are using the bear diaries to boast about what they have done at the weekend. Some families write about taking the teddy to the park or the cinema - but others have been on holiday all over the world. One was even pictured as the captain of a ship. Some parents have cried about having the teddy for the weekend because they think other parents will judge their lives and find them too boring.

Other parents are less competitive. Other teddies have spent time in hardware shops "looking at taps" or in the washing machine getting clean.

Rich man avoids paying daily train fare for five years

A man who avoided paying more than GBP 42,000 in train fares has been caught. The man is being described as the biggest "fare dodger" in railway history.

The man has not been named, but travelled between a village in Sussex and London to get to work for five years. When he was finally caught by a ticket inspector, he paid GBP 42,550 and legal fees of GBP 450 within three days to avoid being sent to court.

Some people are cross that the man has avoided being publically named or going to court because he was rich enough to pay back all the fares he avoided very quickly. The man apparently works in finance in the City of London.

No local winner in London Marathon

The London Marathon was held in lovely sunny weather at the weekend. The UK was hoping that our Olympic gold medallist Mo Farah would come in the top two.

Mo normally runs at 5,000 or 10,000m and has not run a full marathon before. He came in eighth, four minutes after the winner, Wilson Kipsang from Kenya. Mo has promised to come back and do better.

It is traditional for lots of people to wear strange costumes while running the London marathon, to raise money for charities. This year one man ran with a fridge on his back, and a team carried a large wooden horse. A woman won the record for running the fastest marathon in a wedding dress (3 hours, 14 minutes) while a man ran in school uniform in 2 hours 50.

Expensive party music

Katie Bryan, a UK citizen on holiday in South Africa, decided to download a Neil Diamond album on her phone to provide some party music. She thought it would cost GBP 8.99, but when she got back to the UK she found the phone company was charging GBP 2,609. After argument, the company has asked her to pay GBP 400. "I am not that big a Neil Diamond fan," said Ms Bryan.


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