News Round Up

THE Independent newspaper put the Valentine's Day spotlight on 95 year olds James and Cecilia Marsh who have been married for 75 years!

The couple, who live at the Abbotsleigh Mews care home in Sidcup, South East London, got married in December 1943 after Cecilia's youngest brother had introduced them.

Cecilia said the secret to the success of their marriage was communication and the fact they have always "worked together" to tackle the tough times.

“I never thought James and I would still be together after all this time - especially after he was called up to the mines during the war. He had no option, he was going whether we liked it or not.”

They have planted a rose bush in the grounds of the care home to symbolise their diamond anniversary.



A BBC report outlines research which reveals that the brain function of very late risers and "morning larks" during the hours of the working day is different.

The brains of night owls with a bedtime of 02:30 and a wake time of 10:15, along with early risers were scanned and the tests - performed between 08:00 and 20:00 - found night owls had less connectivity in brain regions linked to maintaining consciousness.

They also had poorer attention, slower reactions and increased sleepiness.

Researchers said it suggested that night owls were disadvantaged by the "constraints" of the typical working day.

Morning larks were least sleepy and had their fastest reaction time in the early morning tests. They were also found to perform significantly better at this time than night owls.

Dr Elise Facer-Childs, of the University of Birmingham's Centre for Human Brain Health, said the findings “could be partly driven by the fact that night owls tend to be compromised throughout their lives. Night owls during school have to get up earlier, then they go into work and they have to get up earlier, so they're constantly having to fight against their preferences and their innate rhythms.”



Going on display at the Museum of London Docklands is a rare 12th-century toilet seat built to accommodate three users at once., says The Guardian.

The seat, made out of a roughly carved plank of oak, still shows the axe marks where its three rough holes were cut.

It once sat behind a mixed commercial and residential tenement building on what is now Ludgate Hill, near St Paul’s Cathedral, on land that in the mid-1100s would have been a small island in the river Fleet.

Archaeologists have even been able to identify the owners of the building, which was known at the time as Helle: a capmaker called John de Flete and his wife, Cassandra.

“So what I love about this is that we know the names of the people whose bottoms probably sat on it,” said Kate Sumnall, the curator of archaeology for the exhibition.

“They would probably have shared the facilities with shopkeepers and potentially other families who lived and worked in the modest tenement block. This is a really rare survival. We don’t have many of these in existence at all.”



According to The Independent, a rare albino squirrel has been captured by an amateur wildlife photographer on the banks of the Louth Navigation waterway in Lincolnshire.

Stephen Plant, was hoping to snap kingfishers when he saw the rare rodent.

“But when I saw this little fella sat in a tree, I couldn’t believe it. He was going pretty slowly and I thought it was a rat at first but then I saw his bushy tail. I was astonished.”

It is thought that only about 50 albino squirrels live in the UK.

Their unusual colour is caused by an absence of melanin, which gives skin, hair and eyes its pigmentation.

Stephen added: “I was stood about 30 metres away and he wasn’t bothered by me at all. He moved along quite slowly and then at one point froze altogether for a few seconds which allowed me to rattle off some shots.”

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The Independent (


THE anonymous graffiti artist Banksy has had a piece of work acquired by the British Museum, reports The Guardian.

It is a fake £10 banknote depicting Diana, Princess of Wales, and will join the museum's collection of coins, medals and other currency.

Entitled Di-faced Tenner, the work was one of thousands of copies produced by the artist in 2004 as part of a planned art stunt.

Tom Hockenhull, curator of modern money at the museum, said he had been trying for years to get hold of a genuine Di-faced Tenner to add to the museum’s collection of “skit notes”, or parodies of real banknotes.

Contacted by the Guardian, a spokesperson for the artist said the banknote had been donated by “someone who runs Banksy’s currency exchange”.

As well as showing Diana’s face instead of the Queen’s, the note has been altered to read “Banksy of England” and the motto: “I promise to pay the bearer on demand the ultimate price.”



The Daily Mirror highlights Joanne and Jim Bell, from Yelland, Devon who claim they have

saved themselves £15,000 by refusing to use their central heating for the last 10 years.

Joanne said the move was originally made in protest at the proliferation of wind farms but now their bodies had adapted so well it had become normal.

“It feels uncomfortable when I'm in other people's houses now. It's too warm for me. When it gets very cold we just wear plenty of layers and use hot water bottles.”

She added: “I'm a wildlife lover and when I saw so many birds being killed by the blades of the wind turbines popping up everywhere I just felt I wanted to do something.”



Apparently it's going to take eight weeks for engineers to shift a 'monster' 64m fatberg from sewers in Devon.

An article in The Independent newspapers says work has begun on removal of the blockage in Sidmouth created by oil, fat, and grease from wet wipes and other items that should not be flushed down toilets.



A public appeal has been launched by the Oxford English Dictionary to help help illuminate terminology used by different professions.

The Guardian says the dictionary has called on doctors, firefighters, builders, shopkeepers, teachers, plumbers, marketers and other workers to send in the words and expressions they use at work.

“The OED already includes many terms from all kinds of trades and professions but there are many more that have not yet come to our attention – and that’s why we’re asking for your help,” it said.



Guidelines from senior medical advisers say that parents should banish phones from the bedroom at night and at the dinner table.

The Independent reports that chief medical officers of England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland said adults should also “lead by example” with their own screen use and online behaviour.

Their review of the potential harms of time spent online recommends a“precautionary approach” to children’s screen use, but said there was insufficient evidence to recommend a set an optimum limit.

Reference list:

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The Independent (

Daily Mirror (

A Daily Mirror story has provided some figures about how much distance the average parent covers pushing a pram.

It quotes a study covering 1,000 mums and dads by which revealed that they clock up almost 750 ‘buggy miles’ a year – further than travelling from London to Barcelona.

Apparently the typical tot will be strapped into their pram eight times a week, for a stroll of around 1.8 miles on each occasion.



On display at the National Museum Cardiff will be a clear thumbprint left by Leonardo da Vinci on one of his drawings.

The Guardian newspaper reports that the print is in the centre of the left edge of one of his drawings of the cardiovascular system and principal organs of a woman, circa 1509–10 and its display is part of events marking the 500th anniversary of da Vinci's death.

Martin Clayton, the head of prints and drawings at the Royal Collection Trust, commented: “You can really feel the man at work on this drawing, with his inky fingers,That makes me feel a little tingly.”

“It has been observed before but it is the first time we’ve really stood back from it and said this is actually quite something. There are smudges and partial prints on Leonardo’s other drawings, but this is far and away the crispest, clearest, most definite Leonardo thumbprint or fingerprint.”



Back home after a four year break is Nala, a Staffordshire bull terrier which was stolen in Blackpool in 2014.

The Independent says that despite her owners reporting the theft to the police, the culprits were not traced and Nala was instead sold on to another family who did not know she had been stolen.

Nala’s true origins came out after a routine check-up at her new owners vet's in Kent, hundreds of miles south, revealed that she had been microchipped.

PC Martyn Tulk from Kent Police , said: “It was a pleasure to be able to reunite the dog with its rightful owner. After being away for so long it was great to see the recognition Nala had for her family.

“The person who had innocently bought Nala was extremely supportive and although they were also a victim in this they helped us to ensure she was returned.”



Discovered in the archives of Bristol central library was a ,previously unknown 13th-century version of a tale featuring Merlin and King Arthur, reports The Guardian.

The seven handwritten fragments of parchment were unearthed bound inside an unrelated volume of the work of a 15th century French scholar and tell the story of the Battle of Trèbes, in which Merlin inspires Arthur’s forces with a stirring speech and leads a charge.

The fragments are believed to be a version of the Estoire de Merlin – the story of Merlin – from the Old French sequence of texts known as the Vulgate Cycle or the Lancelot-Grail Cycle

Academic Dr Leah Tether said: “These fragments are a wonderfully exciting find, which may have implications for the study not just of this text but also of other related and later texts that have shaped our modern understanding of the Arthurian legend.”

He added: “Time and research will reveal what further secrets about the legends of Arthur, Merlin and the Holy Grail these fragments might hold.”



Finally the Daily Star tells us that a red panda has been found “safe and well” after escaping from Belfast zoo.

It was found following a 12 hour search after police said in an earlier statement: “Earlier today a red panda decided to take a surprise vacation from Belfast zoo, it is believed to be currently taking the sights of beautiful Glengormley.

Reference list

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The Independent (

Daily Mirror (

Daily Star (www.daily

WELL it looked like he real thing!

According to the Daily Mirror, a stone circle thought to date back thousands of years has turned out to be a replica built in the 1990s.

The article explains that when the circle was discovered at Leochel-Cushnie in Aberdeenshire, archaeologists were excited as recumbent stone circles often date back 3,500-4,500 years and are unique to the north-east of Scotland.

However, a local farmer got in touch to say it was a model.

Neil Ackerman, historic environment record assistant at Aberdeenshire Council, commented: “These types of monument are notoriously difficult to date. For this reason we include any modern replicas of ancient monuments in our records in case they are later misidentified.”



A study has revealed that art-loving young people in Britain are using museums and galleries to combat the stress of modern life.

The Guardian story says that those under 30 are twice as likely to visit a museum or gallery at least once a month specifically to “de-stress” according to new figures analysed by the Art Fund charity.

The charity’s report claims that regularly engaging with museums and galleries contributes to a sense of well-being and that the survey of 2,500 adults showed that under-30s tend to feel much more satisfied than older visitors.



The Guardian also tells us that the National Portrait Gallery in London is to get a new main entrance more than a century after a rich donor insisted it should not point north towards the “filth of Soho and Covent Garden.”

The entrance is part of a £35.5m redevelopment that is intended to make the gallery more welcoming and less crowded.

A crowdfunding appeal to help raise money for the project, the gallery’s biggest redevelopment since its current home opened in 1896, was announced last week.

One of the biggest changes will be the new main entrance, created by converting three windows in the northern facade of the building into doors.



According to the BBC,one of the world's rarest sharks is alive and well, living off the Welsh coast.

Sightings from fishing boats suggest the mysterious angel shark((which only established stronghold was believed to be the Canary Islands) is now present in Welsh waters, although no-one knows exactly where.

“If we lose the angel shark, we lose a really important lineage of evolutionary history that we can't get from any other shark species,” said Joanna Barker, of the Zoological Society of London.

A professor at the University of St Andrews in Scotland has warned that the world's helium supply is on course to run out within a decade unless we recycle more of the inert gas.



The Independent says that David Cole-Hamilton, emeritus professor of chemistry has urged people not to have helium balloons at parties as the gas is needed for MRI scanners and deep sea diving.

He commented: “By having helium balloons at your birthday party you may prevent people from having an MRI scan. We are recycling it from the MRI scanners and most of it from deep sea diving, but we are not recycling from the balloons. In both of those applications it's recycled, however helium is very light so if it gets into the atmosphere it can escape.”



Brexit continues to dominate discussions in the UK and an article in The Independent claims that the owner of a London pizzeria is offering 25 per cent off food for customers who can prove they have written to their MPs to ask for a second referendum.

Oliver Kenny says five workers at Apollo Pizzeria in Stoke Newington are from mainland Europe, adding “If I’m going to have visa [or] paperwork [problems]I would like to know about that as quickly as possible. I’m not anti-Brexit, but I do want Brexit to go away.

“I buy a lot of fresh cheese from Italy that can’t stay in a lorry park in Calais. I’d like to know my supply chain [and] ... I’m unable to plan that at the moment.”

Reference list
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The Independent (

Daily Mirror (


KEY moments in British history will be featured in a set of coins celebrating 50 years of the seven-sided 50 pence piece, reports the BBC.

The Royal Mint has unveiled the commemorative coins mark and the events include Sir Roger Bannister running the first sub four-minute mile, the 250th anniversary of the founding of Kew Gardens in London and the founding of the Scouts and Girl Guides.

The 50p coin was introduced in 1969 to replace the 10 shilling note, and was one of three decimal coins to be put into circulation before decimalisation in 1971.



According to the Daily Express, sales of classical music have gone up 10 per cent in the last year.

The paper says that BBC Radio 3's Music Matters has revealed that 2.23 million classical albums were purchased, downloaded or streamed in the past 12 months.

Music Matters presenter Tom Service, said: “The news of this leap in consumption of classical is a great start to the year.

“It feels as though we're beginning to witness the impact of this new generation of young artists who really took to centre stage last year - such as saxophonist Jess Gillam at the Last Night of the Proms, and former BBC Young Musician winner Sheku Kanneh-Mason, performing at the royal wedding.”



An article in The Guardian says that a roll of canvas-backed paper discovered underneath a lecture theatre in Scotland may be the world’s oldest surviving periodic table chart.

It was found during a clean-out at the University of St Andrews and appears to date from 1885 – 16 years after the Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev published his method of showing the relationships between the elements in 1869.

Researchers at St Andrews said they had been able to trace the origins of the chart, which was printed in Vienna by Verlag v Lenoir & Forster.



Grey is the colour it seems when it comes to Brits buying cars.

According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders half a million drivers choose to buy a grey car in 2018,making it the most popular colour for the first time.

A BBC report says that just over one in five new car registrations last year were grey with more than half of new cars either black, grey or white.



A story in The Independent says that a pair of Humboldt penguins stolen from a zoo in November have been recovered.

However Nottinghamshire police are refusing to name the zoo or give any other information such as where the penguins had been kept for the past two months and in what conditions.

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The Independent (