This week's UK news: 28 March 2013
28 March 2013

Rolling Stones play UK's best-known music festival

The Glastonbury music festival has been going for nearly as long as the Rolling Stones, who are celebrating their 50th anniversary. But until now the band have never played at the outdoor event, unlike some of the other biggest music names in the world.

It has just been announced that the Stones are one of three headline acts at this June's festival. The other two are the Arctic Monkeys and Mumford and Sons. Tickets have already sold out (135,000 people will attend) but some returns will go on sale next month.

Glastonbury, held on a dairy farm in Somerset, is famous for many reasons. It has always been organised by the Eavis family, who run the farm. The site often gets horribly muddy with people camping and enjoying music there for three days. And it always has an interesting line up of musicians.

More awful UK weather

People in the UK do talk about the weather a lot, mostly because it is less predictable than in other countries. At the moment most people are fed up because it is very cold and will remain so throughout a public holiday weekend, Easter.

Our weather at the moment is unusually bad. It is so bad that when there was a small earthquake in Wales at the end of last week, nobody noticed. Experts say last time there was a similar event there were 200 emergency calls. They think that this time there was such a bad storm that people did not notice the ground shaking.

Farmers are also having big problems because of the weather. It is lambing time, but many young sheep have frozen to death in deep snowdrifts and cold fields. One supermarket is sending out special coats for the lambs to all its farmers.

Thousands of homes were left without electricity at the weekend after the worst of the storm, and it took several days for engineers to reconnect everyone. It is now officially the coldest March in 50 years, and the fourth coldest since records began.

UK scientists create safer vaccines

Scientists in the UK have developed a new method to create a vaccine which isn't based on a live virus. This means it is much safer. The first vaccine they have created, for an animal disease, can also be stored out of the fridge which makes it easier to use in many parts of the world.

The scientists, from Oxford and Reading Universities, used a "synchrotron" to analyse the structure of viruses. They could then create something which looked identical, but was stronger (helping it survive in warmer temperatures) and was empty. When the synthetic virus is injected into an animal, it looks the same as a real virus and so the animal can build defences against it. Since it is not a real virus, it cannot infect or harm the animal.

Church of England gets new head

There has been lots of publicity around the world about the new Pope, but the world's 77 million Anglicans have also got a new head of their church.

Justin Welby is a bit different to previous Archbishops of Canterbury. He  worked in the oil industry before joining the Church, and was then sent to some of the world's most dangerous places to help bring peace.

The ceremony to make him Archbishop was also a bit different. It is the first time it was conducted by a woman, and it included African dancers and hymns from all over the world.
He is not going to have an easy job as head of the church. It is struggling with several tricky problems including whether women priests should be allowed to be promoted to the higher rank of bishop, and what to do about same-sex marriage which is being made legal in the UK.


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