This week's UK news: 6 August 2010
6 August 2010

New way to get around London

London buses, taxis and the Underground are all world-famous. This week the city launched the latest way to get around: bicycles.

We now have a bike hire scheme, with 5,000 new bikes available to hire from 315 street docking systems. At the moment people must register to use the bikes. Next month casual users should be able to ride them too.

Organisers plan to make the London bike hire scheme the third largest in the world. At the moment the biggest is in Hangzhou (50,000 bikes) and the second biggest is in Paris, with 24,000 bikes.

It is free to use the London bikes for up to 30 minutes.

Pick up a Penguin

Penguin Books are famous in the UK. They are paperbacks, which changed publishing and reading habits here when they began 75 years ago this month.

They started when a publisher called Allen Lane couldn’t find anything to read at the railway station when he went on holiday. He had the idea of publishing good books in paperback, so making them as cheap as a packet of cigarettes. Until then only bad books were published as paperbacks.

The Penguins sold really well and changed what people read. For decades the books had very distinctive covers, with two orange stripes and a picture of a penguin.

Eat your beans

Baked beans are a very popular food in Britain. The beans, which come in tomato sauce, are often offered as part of an English breakfast menu or for lunch in cafes. They are cheap, easy, and nutritious for students with little money.

The most famous brand of beans is Heinz, the American brand. People still remember a famous advertising slogan, Beanz Meanz Heinz.

Now Heinz are offering something different. They have just started to sell their beans in large 1kg plastic jars. This is to make it easy for people who may not eat a whole tin of beans at once. The plastic jar is meant to be easy to keep in the fridge. This is a revolution, as the beans are famous for their tins.

Family holidays

The Royal Family has been cruising around the Scottish islands for ten days. They were celebrating the 60th birthday of the Princess Royal and the 50th birthday of Prince Andrew.

Most of the Royal Family were there, except the Prince of Wales and his wife.

But lots of people looked at the photos of the family leaving their boat and wondered why they all looked so miserable after a holiday.


by Susan Young


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