2012 weekly news lessons archive
The full archive of available weekly news lessons published in 2012.
2012 news lessons
There are plans to build a tourist complex at Valdevaqueros; one of the last remaining unspoilt beaches in southern Spain. While environmental and conservation groups protest that the project will harm the habitats of protected species, the local council insists that it needs to generate more jobs.
A team of scientists claims to have found evidence for a slump in well-being among middle-aged apes that mirrors midlife crises in humans. The study, which included 500 apes, required zookeepers to complete questionnaires about their animals’ moods.
Weekly news lesson 316: 29th November 2012: Starbucks wakes up and smells the stench of tax avoidance controversy
Starbucks is facing harsh quesions from the UK goverment over why it has paid no corporation tax in the country for the past three years. As a protest, direct action group UK Uncut is planning to turn dozens of branches of the coffee chain into crèches, refuges and homeless shelters.
Former south London gang member Junior Smart served 12 years in prison for serious drug-related offences. Today, the 36-year-old runs a team which aims to turn young criminals and gang members away from crime.
Democrat Barack Obama beat his Republican rival Mitt Romney to claim a second term in office as US President. In a rousing victory speech, he called for the country to unite behind him.
Since its launch in 1994, the UK lottery has created 3,000 millionaires who have won more than £8.5 billion in total. This article details how they spent it.
Felix Baumgartner successfully completed a 24-mile dive from space to Earth breaking three world records. The Austrian daredevil reached speeds of up to 725mph and broke the sound barrier in a stunt that was broadcast live to the world on YouTube.
The High Court in London has ruled that three elderly Kenyans detained and tortured during the Mau Mau rebellion in the 1950s have the right to sue for damages. It is estimated that more than 5,000 of the 70,000-plus people detained by the British colonial authorities are still alive and many may bring claims against the British government.
The long-running territorial dispute between Japan and China over the Senkaku / Diaoyu islands has intensified, resulting in violent anti-Japanese demonstrations in dozens of Chinese cities. Internationally acclaimed Japanese author Haruki Murakami, who has a huge following in China, has criticized both sides for inflaming the situation by using nationalist rhetoric.
In 1989, 96 Liverpool supporters tragically lost their lives at Hillsborough football ground. Twenty-three years later, an independent panel has delivered a report revealing the severe failings of the police and vindication of the fans and victims who had been blamed for causing the disaster.
The French magazine Closer has published pictures of Prince William’s wife, Catherine, sunbathing topless in the south of France. While civil action has been taken to prevent the magazine publishing further images, the couple are also seeking criminal prosecution for breach of privacy.
Weekly news lesson 307: 27th September 2012: Food shortages could force world into vegetarianism, warn scientists
Leading water scientists have said that people may have to switch almost completely to a vegetarian diet by 2050 to avoid catastrophic shortages. The world’s population is expected to reach nine billion in the next forty years.
The old city in Srinagar used to be a stronghold for violent separatists and was at the centre of uprisings. After two decades of violence, tourists are gradually increasing and enjoying the Kashmir Valley’s heritage, crafts and markets.
Weekly news lesson 305: 13th September 2012: Neil Armstrong's death prompts yearning for America's past glories
The first man to walk on the moon, Neil Armstrong, died at the age of 82 in August. His death has prompted a bout of soul-searching about America’s national destiny as well as mourning for an icon of the twentieth century.
The 4.5-square-kilometre Jarvis Island has come top of the first comprehensive Ocean Health Index, which compares the world’s coastal countries and scores them for how well the seas around them benefit both man and nature. Richer nations fared better than developing ones, with war-torn Sierra Leone at the bottom.
When Richard Marsh had a severe stroke in 2009 and was unable to move or speak, doctors questioned whether to turn off his life support machine. Against all odds, the 60-year-old former police officer has made a near-full recovery.
Farmers in the Assam region of India now have a new way to make money. Bhut jolokia, once the world’s hottest chilli, is in demand by the country’s military, which could potentially use it to control crowds and quell riots.
Paul Chambers was found guilty of posting a menacing message on the social networking site Twitter after his ‘joke’ about blowing up an airport was taken seriously. His conviction has since been quashed, prompting questions of whether the case should ever have been brought to trial.
The recent shooting that left 12 people dead in a cinema in Aurora, Colorado, shocked the US and the world. Tom Mauser, whose son died in the 1999 Columbine massacre, is a campaigner for stricter gun controls and is in despair that the laws have got progressively looser in the last 13 years.
Use of the controversial drug sodium pentothal to secure confessions is still common in certain regions of India. While several detectives and scientists view the drug, which makes recipients drowsy and less able to lie, as a legitimate means of securing justice for victims, the country’s highest court has labelled it “cruel, inhuman and degrading”.
Maverick businessman Dave Fishwick decided to set up his own ‘bank’ after his minibus company was jeopardized when high street banks started denying loans to his buyers. Burnley Savings and Loans is already lending £25,000 a week and has hundreds of happy customers.
Physicists working with the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland have announced overwhelming evidence for the missing Higgs boson particle. The discovery is arguably one of the most important scientific advances of the past 100 years.
Rio+20 was the follow-up to the 1992 Earth Summit in Brazil which put in place landmark conventions on climate change and biodiversity. The 2012 conference has ended in disappointment for many, with developing nations talking of ‘missed opportunities’ and environmental campaigners declaring it a ‘disaster’.
Burmese democracy campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi has finally delivered her acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize she won in 1991. She was released in 2010 after many years under house arrest at the hands of Burma’s military junta.
Naples is the home of the simple margherita, and the opening of a gourmet pizza restaurant that uses unconventional ingredients such as salt cod, figs and truffle oil has angered an army of traditionalists. Should some foods be sacred?
Weekly news lesson 293: 21st June 2012: Football's dark side casts ominous shadows on the streets of Krakow
UEFA has been criticized by some for awarding the 2012 European Football Championship to Poland and the Ukraine despite serious problems concerning racism. But has this been reflected in the tournament?
Weekly news lesson 292: 14th June 2012: Chen Guangcheng arrives in US but fears remain for family in China
The blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng has arrived to begin a new life in the United States, ending a dramatic, month-long escape from house arrest in rural China. However, the situation is still grim for the family he left behind.
Prisons in India are using music to help rehabilitate serious criminals. Holding music concerts is one of a series of innovative measures that prison governors have introduced in an attempt to teach prisoners skills, occupy their days and keep families together – and they’ve reported positive results so far.
Barack Obama has become the first US president to publicly support gay marriage in a bid to energize his election campaign. However, many gay activists are still angry that, rather than paving the way for a blanket law across the country, individual states will decide for themselves.
Edvard Munch’s infamous painting of 1895 has been sold at auction for $119.9 million – one of the highest prices ever paid for a work of art. The Scream is one of only a handful of artistic images that has crossed over into popular culture.