This week's UK news: 21 June 2013
21 June 2013

New words to learn

English is a language that gets new words all the time. Once they make it into the Oxford English Dictionary, they get an official status. It usually takes ten years of a word being in use before it is considered for the dictionary, but this year there are new meanings for "tweet" and "follower". Tweet used to be only a short high pitched noise (something birds did) but now it is what people do on the microblogging site Twitter. The new meaning for follower is also connected with Twitter.

This year's new words include a new meaning for geekery. This used to be a rare word describing odd circus acts, but is now commonly used to describe someone obsessive about something. Another new phrase commonly used in the UK is "dad dancing" -- awkward dancing to pop music by older men.

New hazard in UK beauty spot

The Lake District is probably the UK's most famous landscape. It is a very small and unusual area in the north of England which is packed with lakes and mountains. People like to walk and climb there, sail and row on the lakes, or simply go to drive around and admire the scenery.

It is also becoming a popular place for the dead. Most people in the UK are cremated when they die, and the ashes are usually spread by family members in a special place. For more and more people, this is up a mountain in the Lake District.

The problem is that people are leaving piles of ashes in obvious places. Or, worse, they are dumping the cardboard boxes which contained the ashes on the mountains.

Now people are being asked to take their litter away with them. They are also being asked to avoid putting ashes in ponds and rivers, as these can damage wildlife.

New titles for famous people

You may know that British people's titles aren't just Mr, Miss, Mrs, Dr and Professor. One of the strange things about the UK is that we have other titles and honours for people who have done something special. These are called "honours" and are given twice a year, at New Year and for the Queen's birthday.

Some people who get the highest honours have the right to call themselves Lord or Lady, Sir or Dame. Others get letters after their name, such as CBE (the highest) OBE (in the middle) and MBE (the lowest honour).

We've just had a new batch of honours announced. These include the man famous for creating Mr Bean, who becomes a CBE. The singer Adele gets an MBE, and the man who designed the spectacular petal holder for the Olympic flame also gets a CBE.

Around 75 per cent of the awards were given for local charity or community work.

Most of the honours will be presented by the Queen later in the year.

British sisters score a double in Spanish exam

A British schoolgirl living in Spain has scored the country's highest mark in its annual university entrance exam -- two years after her sister did the same.

Cordelia Pickford scored 13.85 out of 14 in the exam, coming top in her region. When all the marks are announced, she is likely to be top overall and one of the highest scorers ever recorded.

Her sister, Anastasia, achieved an overall mark of 13.7 when she took the exam and is now studying animal medicine in Madrid.

The family moved to Spain 12 years ago. Tim Pickford, the father, said the children had been put into Spanish schools when they moved, and had to learn Spanish. He said they "did have worries" when they moved to Spain but it had been the best thing they could have done for their children's education.


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