4th January 2019

Other Stories - 4th January

Did you pick up on the message behind London’s New Year fireworks? The display was centred on the theme ‘London is open’. The phrase itself was spoken in seven European languages at 12:02am, and the fireworks display momentarily created the EU flag on the London Eye, with songs from European talent played throughout. According to Sadiq Khan, the fireworks were about ‘showing the world, while they’re watching us, that we’re going to carry on being open-minded, outward-looking, pluralistic’. The Guardian

People over 40 can get a free health check – but not many people are doing it. The NHS offers everyone over the age of 40 a routine health check every five years. It assesses blood pressure, weight, height and other factors to help detect life-threatening illnesses quickly. 15 million people in the UK are eligible for the test, but only 7.4 million people are using it. Is it poorly marketed or do people simply not want to do it? BBC News

Victims of forced marriage have to pay to get home. It has come to light that the Foreign Office is making British women forced into overseas marriage repay the costs of their protection and transportation home. Reports found they had to give up their passports until they repaid the money. Although 16 and 17-year-olds who get into trouble abroad don’t have to pay for the Foreign Office’s help to get home, those over 18 do have to shell out. The Guardian

An entire species could be wiped out if there’s another Tsunami in Java. One of the world’s most endangered species, the Javan rhino, is under major threat. The entire population lives in the Ujung Kulon National Park located near the Anak Krakatau volcano. If an eruption from the volcano triggers another tsunami, there is a real possibility they’ll all be wiped out. Park officials are now working to move the 67 rhinos to safer territory. BBC News

There’s a tech firm in California that only employs people with autism. It was originally set up by Gray Benoist, who wanted somewhere his sons, who have autism, could work confidently. His sons, like lots of people with autism, found the traditional office environment very intimidating, and this new firm gave them the opportunity to work somewhere accommodating with no pressure to socialise. Since 2013, the company has grown and now employs 150 people who are all on the autistic spectrum. BBC News

Get a pet and your child is more likely to be allergy-free. That’s what a recent Swedish study has found. Of the children studied that had no pets in their first year, 49% had allergies later in childhood. It noted that the number of allergies dropped to 24% if they lived with three pets as a baby. And those who grew up with five or more pets had no allergies as they grew older. MSN News

One-way ticket to Mars, anyone? Mars One is an independent Dutch operation that’s aiming to send 24 people to Mars with no return ticket. They’ll be on a mission to live as ‘Martians’ and will undergo ten years of training in a remote location before taking their seat in the one-way rocket. Thousands applied to join the mission, but only 100 are currently being considered to take part. If all goes to plan, and Mars One gets the $6bn funding it needs, 24 people could be living on Mars by 2023. IB Times

This is what Victorian people thought Britain would be like. In 1888, a newspaper called for people to contribute ideas on what the UK would be like in 1988 – a hundred years later. The responses were both humorous and scarily accurate. For example, one thought cremation would be prolific while another said Britain would have ‘no weight in the Councils of Europe.’ One reader thought robots would replace lazy people, another believed there would be underground transport systems, and another imagined working class people studying at Oxford and Cambridge universities. The winning entry predicted electric lighting in every house, telephone from Liverpool to New York and tunnels connecting England to Ireland and France. indy100


Stat of the week

One in five Brits will make a resolution for 2019. 37% of 18 to 24-year-olds vowed to change something in the year ahead, compared to just 15% of those aged over 65. Unsurprisingly, only 27% of those who made resolutions last year managed to keep them all. YouGov

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