IN a year of political shocks it may come as no surprise that Oxford Dictionaries has decided that 'post-truth' (an adjective relating to circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than emotional appeals) is their 2016 international word of the year.

The BBC reports Oxford Dictionaries' spokesman Casper Grathwohl as saying that post-truth could become “one of the defining words of our time”.

He commented: “Fuelled by the rise of social media as a news source and a growing distrust of facts offered up by the establishment, post-truth as a concept has been finding its linguistic footing for some time.”

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How about this for a piece of history – a previously unseen letter written by Lawrence of Arabia (T E Lawrence) nearly 100 years ago is up for sale at Sotheby's in London.

The Daily Mirror tells us that in the letter Lawrence said “some day that little business in Arabia will be famous”.

It is dated Christmas Day, 1918 and was written to a friend he served alongside in the First World War.

Lawrence died in a motorcycle crash in Dorset in 1935 and in 1962 the film Lawrence of Arabia which starred Peter O'Toole as Lawrence won seven Oscars.

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It seems that Princess Diana is still very much in the public mind. An article in The Guardian says that an exhibition to celebrate the Princess's fashion style will open on the 20th anniversary of the death on February 24 next year.

Organisers say that the exhibition will “bring together an extraordinary collection of garments ranging from the glamorous evening gowns worn on engagements in the 80s, to the chic Catherine Walker suits that made up Diana’s working wardrobe in the 90s”.

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The origins of more than 45,000 surnames are explained in a new study, says the BBC. The four year project found almost 40,000 were native to Britain and Ireland.

A team, led by the University of West England, analysed sources dating from the 11th to the 19th century to fully explain the origins of the names.

A spokesman said: “Some surnames have origins that are occupational - obvious examples are Smith and Baker; less obvious ones are Beadle, Rutter, and Baxter. Other names can be linked to a place, for example Hill or Green, which relates to a village green.”

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Here's a statistic you may not be aware of – Barnsley in South Yorkshire is top in a league of places which crack down on dog fouling.

The Daily Express says that the town received 624 reports of dog fouling last year and issued a total of 359 fines. 

Local authorities across the UK have issued over 2,099 fines for dog fouling in 2016 up to July 7, totalling £120,359 according to new research from Direct Line Pet Insurance.

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A report in The Guardian newspaper says that white poppies, worn as a symbol of peace on remembrance day, sold in record numbers this year.

More than 110,000 were sold by shops and cafes, and ordered online across the country, in the run-up to November 11.

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Apparently the Isle of Skye in Scotland has been voted as the most desirable place to live in Britain.

The Independent outlines a survey by estate agents Rightmove which put the island ahead of Woolacombe in Devon.

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British taxpayers are going to have to fork out £369 million to pay for a 10 year refit of the Queen's main residence Buckingham Palace, reports the Daily Telegraph.

The project is expected to be given the go-head by Parliament sometime in the next six months.

Surveyors have said that unless the work is carried out to replace cabling, plumbing and other services, there was a serious danger of “potentially catastrophic building failure” in years to come.

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Reference list:

The Express (www.express.co.uk)

The Guardian (www.guardian.co.uk)

The Independent (www.independent.co.uk)

Daily Mirror (www.mirror.co.uk)

Daily Telegraph (www.telegraph co.uk)

BBC (www.bbc.co.uk)