Somerville News Club

Read our perspective on the amazing world which surrounds us.

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Climate change battle continues

by Aribah, Zainab, Asra and Khadija 5N (13/02/20)

Climate change is all about changes in our weather. Floods, storms and increasing temperatures are some of the consequences of polluting greenhouse gases in our atmosphere.

In Venice, there has been serious flooding that has badly affected the people that are living there. There are many famous canals in the Italian city, which are now overflowing because of increased rainfall.

Additionally, in the Antarctic, polar bears have also been affected. Sadly some of them have even lost their lives because the heat has caused their habitat (where they live) to melt. These changes have been causing penguins and arctic wolves a hard time too.

Sir David Attenborough has been leading a campaign to raise awareness of how climate change affects our planet. He recently said: "The moment of crisis has come. This is an urgent problem that has to be solved and, what's more, we know how to do it."

Sir Attenborough would like governments to do more to help. The United Kingdom will be hosting a United Nations summit in Glasgow, Scotland this November. Politicians worldwide are coming under pressure from campaigners to take action. This time they must listen!

Watch this link for more info!


Coronavirus Crisis

by Shuayb 5J (07/02/20)

Coronavirus is a new virus which has begun to spread throughout Asia and has now reached the U.K.

Wuhan, in China, has reported hundreds of cases of the respiratory illness, which affects breathing. The Chinese capital, Beijing, reported two cases initially, while Shenzhen confirmed one. Total known infections now exceed 30,000 worldwide and several people have now died as a result.

The infection, which first appeared in December, has led to an outbreak of viral pneumonia (a very serious illness). Although the outbreak might have come from a food market, which was selling bats and other animals, scientists cannot determine exactly how it has been spreading. The virus has since appeared in 16 other countries.

The UK government have now advised all Britons to leave China immediately. People who recently came from China to England with the virus are now quarantined - kept separate from others to avoid spreading the virus - for 14 days. Some people have begun wearing masks to protect themselves.

Scientists from all around the world are now working on a vaccine to prevent coronavirus continuing to spread.

Watch this video to find out more:


Penguin Awareness Day 2020

by Annas 5J (28/01/20)

January 20th was international Penguin Awareness Day. It was a time to celebrate our special black and white feathered friends.
Unfortunately, climate change is becoming a growing worry for penguins who live in Antarctica, like the Emperor and the Adelie penguins. A temperature change of just two degrees could cause significant habitat problems for these penguins because their homes may melt.

Did you know?
Penguins are birds – but even though they have wings, they can’t fly. In fact, their wings are specially adapted for swimming.
In 1620, a French explorer called Beaulieu even thought that penguins were a type of feathered fish because of how well adapted they were to life underwater!

So let’s raise awareness for these fascinating creatures and help them to survive for many more years to come.


Brexit: The Final Chapter?

by Khadija, Aribah, Bibi H. 5N (27/01/20)

As you may know, the UK general election is over and we now know who our new (old!) Prime Minister is: Boris Johnson. 

The Conservatives gained over half of the seats in parliament. This was bad news for Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, as Labour lost numerous seats. As a result, Mr Corbyn has now resigned and his job is up for grabs, with people competing to be Labour’s next leader. In April, we will find out who the new Labour leader will be.

As a result of the election, the UK will now be leaving the European Union on January 31st, which means ‘Brexit’ will finally happen this week.

More details (including the launch of a special edition 50 pence piece) can be found here: 


The Queen's Speech

by Armaan 5J (15/01/20)

The Queen's Speech is part of the ‘State Opening of Parliament’ - like the start of a new school year for politicians! The State Opening of Parliament, after the General Election that resulted in Boris Johnson becoming Prime Minister, took place on December 19th.

This important speech explains the government's plans for the coming year and Her Majesty reads it out in front of members of the House of Commons and the House of Lords. There is normally one Queen's Speech every year (although we had two in 2019).

This was the 66th time during the Queen's long reign that she has delivered such a speech!

PROFILE: Her Majesty the Queen
Elizabeth Alexandra Mary was born on 21st April 1926. She was the oldest daughter of the Duke of York, Prince Albert (later known as King George VI) and Elizabeth Bowles-Lyon (later known as Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother). She was the oldest sibling of the late Princess Margaret.

In 1947, Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip of Edinburgh got married. Her father made Elizabeth’s title Duchess of Edinburgh and her husband was the Duke of Edinburgh.

One year after they got married, Elizabeth and Philip had their first child, Prince Charles. Thousands of people crowded around Buckingham Palace so they could see the Queen’s new son. Soon after, they announced Prince Charles’s full name, which was Charles Philip Arthur George Mountbatten-Windsor. Charles was to be the future King. Then, in 1950, the royal couple had their first daughter, Princess Anne.

Sadly, the Queen’s father died on the 6th February 1952 at the age of 56. King George VI had been suffering from lung cancer in his left lung.

In 1953, Elizabeth became the Queen of the United Kingdom: Queen Elizabeth II. The Queen’s mother had the same name as her daughter so the new Queen’s mother was called Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother to avoid confusion.

Seven years later, Queen Elizabeth II’s second son was born. They named him Prince Andrew. His full name was Andrew Albert Christian Edward. Then, in 1964, Queen Elizabeth II’s youngest child was born. They named him Prince Edward (Edward Antony Richard Louis).


Super Sloths!

by Suryya 5K (20/11/19)

Doctor Rebecca Cliffe, leading wildlife researcher and founder of the Sloth Conservation Foundation, has uncovered some incredible new findings about how sloths live.

Here are some fascinating facts she has found about this curious creature:

Without sloths there would be no avocados.
Sloths feast on the luscious green fruit and then disperse the seeds far and wide.

They used to be giants!
All tree sloths that we see today evolved from giant ground sloths — there were thought to be over 80 types. The extinct giant ground sloths reached over six metres in height.

Sea sloths!?
Dr Cliffe has even found evidence to that several different species of marine sloth once existed, feeding from sea grass and seaweed in shallow water.

Even though they are known for being super slow, sloths really are amazing animals!

Find more startling sloth facts here: 

Royal couple visit Pakistan

by Hafsah 5K and Sakina 5N (18/11/19)

Did you know that Prince William and Kate Middleton recently visited Pakistan? Well, they have and they’ve been really busy on their tour. We’ll tell you all about it!

They both went to the mountains to learn about the climate (weather) change in Pakistan. They spoke to experts during a visit to a melting mountain in the Hindu Kush mountain range in the Chitral District of Khyber-Pakhunkwa Province.

Did they go to a party?
William and Kate travelled in a Pakistani vehicle called a rickshaw to get to a reception hosted by the British Commissioner in Islamabad. Prince William wore a traditional sherwani suit for the event. Kate (more formally known as Princess Catherine) wore a beautiful long, green dress. 

Kalesh people
The couple have visited the Kalesh people who live in the north-western region of Pakistan. William and Kate have been learning about their culture and dance.

Birthday celebrations
William and Kate joined a child's birthday party at the SOS Children's village in Lahore, Pakistan. It was a charitable organisation which provides a home for boys and girls who were at the orphanage. There were gifts, flowers, a cake and confetti.

Follow the link to see William and Kate in a rickshaw:


Brexit (Part 2)

by Aribah and Khadija 5N (15/11/19)

As you may know, Brexit has 'come back'! With many Members of Parliament (MPs) fighting over a deal, Prime Minister Boris Johnson had to push the date for Britain leaving the European Union backwards.

This was due to MPs being unhappy that Britain was leaving without an agreement with the other European nations. Now, due to the MPs decision, we are expected to leave the European Union on the 31st of January 2020.

Then the Queen visited Parliament to give a speech about what the government plans to do in the next year. In addition, many people are now fighting to cancel Brexit altogether, with campaign groups parading across the streets of London with banners proclaiming ‘’Stop Brexit!’’

Watch the Queen's speech here:


Internet addiction in South Korea

by Sumaya 5K (15/11/19)

South Korea is the most 'connected' country in the entire world. Almost everybody has a smartphone and access to the internet, but this has come with a darker side.

Statistics for last year show that over 140,000 young people were addicted to the internet, but some reports suggest that this number could in fact be much higher.

As a result, there are many centres across South Korea where teenagers can go to be treated for this and to receive help to get offline. Schools have also introduced special programmes to try to stop children from becoming addicted in the first place.

So maybe we should switch off our smartphones and power down our laptops every once in a while?

Find out how China has restricted gaming for children: