News Round Up 354

WE Brits love our hedgehogs so much that a new traffic sign will be appearing on UK roads warning drivers of their presence.

The Independent says that the signs will be placed in areas where accident rates are the highest in an aim to reverse the decline in small wildlife numbers, especially hedgehogs.

Government minister Chris Grayling commented: “The new small mammal warning sign should help to reduce the number of people killed and injured, as well as helping our precious small wild mammal population to flourish.”

He is calling on local authorities and animal welfare groups to identify accident and wildlife hotspots to pinpoint where the signs should be located.

A spokesperson for People’s Trust for Endangered Species added: “Roadkill has long been a concern …we welcome this focus on road safety and protection for all small mammals.

“We have also joined forces with the British Hedgehog Preservation Society to deliver the Hedgehog Street campaign, meeting with Mr Grayling to express our concerns for hedgehogs on roads and elsewhere.”

The seaside resort of Eastbourne in Sussex was certainly lit up recently.

The BBC tells us that the town suffered around 1,000 lightning strikes as torrential rain and thunderstorms lashed part of the UK.

Storms lit up the town for about an hour and there was also some flooding and power cuts.

An article in The Guardian tells us that the British Museum in London is to host an exhibition on the myths and historical truth of Troy – the first major such showcase to take place in Britain.

The paper says that when the German millionaire-archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann was excavating at Hisarlık in north-western Turkey, then newly established as the historical site of Homer’s legendary city, he approached the museum in the 1870s with plans for an exhibition of his finds but claiming lack of space, it turned him down.

But now nearly 150 years later the exhibition will feature 300 objects, dating from the bronze age to the present day, thanks to loans from Berlin museums.

It will highlight how the stories of Helen, Paris, Achilles, and the wooden horse that ultimately brought down the city have inspired artists throughout history.

Alexandra Villing, lead curator for the exhibition, said the Trojan war was “one of the greatest stories ever told – a war which has become an archetype for all wars”.

The exhibition opens on November 21.

It has been described as “truly grotesque” but the government has stepped in to prevent an antique crab sculpture from leaving the UK.

The Independent says the rare Victorian ceramic creation, sporting wide eyes and an amusing toothy leer, had been sold to a foreign buyer, but Arts minister Rebecca Pow decided it was important to keep the sculpture in Britain to “inspire future generations of potters”

It was made in 1880 by the Martin Brothers, renowned craftsman famed for their “whimsical” works; inspired by Gothic art and the natural world.

Efforts are now underway to find a new buyer who can match the £217,000 asking price.

There has been a big funding boost for Oxford University, reports The Guardian.

It is to receive its biggest single direction donation “since the Renaissance” – a £150m gift from the US billionaire Stephen Schwarzman.

The money will be used to fund humanities research and tackle looming social issues linked to artificial intelligence.

“I visited Oxford as a 15-year-old on what we used to call ‘teen tours’ in the US, where you travelled around Europe and hopefully became more civilised. I vividly remember going to Oxford because I’d never seen anything like it,” Schwarzman said.

“The beauty and the ancient characters of the buildings made a huge impression on me, so that was one factor. Sometimes life works out in odd ways – if I hadn’t gone to visit as a 15-year-old maybe I wouldn’t have been so interested.”

Reference list

  • The Guardian
  • The Independent
  • The BBC

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