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14 June 2017

General election surprises everybody

We had a general election in the UK last week. Voting in the UK always happens on a Thursday between 7am and 10pm. Counting of votes starts at once and results are shown on live news programmes through the night.

The election was announced by the prime minister, Theresa May, because she wanted more MPs to push through her plans to leave the European Union. She believed that she would get a much bigger majority in the House of Commons because people would vote for her and not the opposition Labour Party.

But the campaign did not go as planned. People still thought the Conservatives would win lots of extra seats, but when voting closed at 10pm on Thursday night the TV news reported that the party would lose its majority in the House of Commons.

As the results came in overnight this turned out to be true, with lots of surprising election results. The Conservatives lost 13 MPs. They remain in Government, but they will need to cooperate with another party to make things happen, and lots of people think this will not work.

Ariana Grande honoured by UK city

This month, US singer Ariana Grande won the hearts of many in the UK when she organised a huge concert in Manchester.

The One Love concert, which was shown live on TV around the world, raised around £3 million for people affected by the terrorist attack at her concert in Manchester just two weeks before. The audience included many people who had been at the original show, with big-name performers like Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber. Grande, who had visited many of her fans in hospital, was visibly upset at the concert.

Now Manchester City Council wants to give Ariana "honorary citizenship" of the city, because of the work she did to help people after the attacks. This will be decided at a meeting next month.

Top Gear presenter almost dies in crash

Richard Hammond, one of the presenters on TV car show Top Gear, was seconds from death after a huge car crash. Hammond was filming with Jeremy Clarkson and James May for their current show, The Grand Tour, in Switzerland. He was driving a £800,000 electric supercar when it ran down a hill and caught on fire.

Hammond escaped with seconds to spare. He was taken to hospital by air ambulance and was treated for a fracture to his knee.

This is not his first serious crash. 11 years ago he had brain injuries after a crash while filming Top Gear in the UK. He suffered brain injuries and was in a coma for two weeks, but made a full recovery.

Charlie and Lola writer has a special new job for children

In the UK we have writers in official positions. The "poet laureate" writes poems for national and royal occasions. We also have a "children's laureate" who works for children.

The new children's laureate is Lauren Child, who writes and draws the Charlie and Lola books which are televised in 34 different countries.

Child says she will use her role to promote the idea that children in the UK should have more freedom to discover things without adults supervising them, and for parents not to organise all of their children's time. In the UK children have less freedom than in other European countries – it is rare for children to walk to school by themselves before the age of 10 or 11, for instance.


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