Elections in France

Presidential elections were held in France on May 7. Emmanuel Macron won and will become France’s next president. He is 39 years old, which will make him the nation’s youngest president ever. Macron was France’s Economy Minister, and an investment banker before that.


The capital of France, Paris, is one of the most visited cities in the world. The Eiffel Tower in Paris is one of the most visited monuments in the world. A fun event took place at the Eiffel Tower on March 16. A race, called Verticale de la Tour Eiffel, was held to the top. The runners had to go up 1,665 steps. The winner climbed up in 7 minutes and 54 seconds.



The Eiffel Tower was built in 1889. It took 2 years, 2 months, and 5 days to construct it. The Tower is named after Gustave Eiffel, the person who helped design the tower. It is 324 m (1,063 ft) tall, and it was the tallest man-made structure in the world for 41 years. The Chrysler Building in New York, USA stole the title in 1930.



Initially, many Parisians were unhappy with the Eiffel Tower, since they thought it ruined the beauty of their city. There is also a story of a French writer, Guy de Maupassant, who regularly ate at a restaurant in the Eiffel Tower. When asked why, he said that it was the one place in Paris from where he couldn’t see the Eiffel Tower! The Tower was also used in the early 1900s to transmit military radio signals.

Here is a video about the Eiffel Tower and Macron.

Did you know?

The Statue of Liberty in New York, USA, was a gift from France to the United States. The steel frame of the statue was built by Gustave Eiffel.
Image Credits: http://www.gouvernement.fr for Macron’s image, http://verticaletoureiffel.fr for Eiffel Tower’s image, http://www.gettyimages.co.uk for Eiffel’s image, Benh LIEU SONG for the image of the Eiffel Tower
Sources: CNN, http://verticaletoureiffel.fr, history.com, https://skyscrapercenter.com, http://www.telegraph.co.uk

2017 World Snooker Championship

Mark Selby (from the United Kingdom) won the 2017 World Snooker Championship by defeating John Higgins (also from the United Kingdom). The championship is played every year in Sheffield, UK. Snooker, like billiards, is played by using a long stick to hit a bunch of balls on a green table with holes. The most likely origins of snooker come from the British soldiers in India over a hundred years ago. They had invented a different version of billiards which got named after the term used for inexperienced soldiers – “snookers”!

Image Credits: http://www.worldsnooker.com for Selby’s image
Sources: http://www.worldsnooker.com

A new president in South Korea

South Koreans have elected Moon Jae-in as their next president. One of his campaign promises is to resume friendly talks with North Korea. He has also promised to create more jobs. He is a former human rights lawyer. His parents were refugees from North Korea.

The previous president Park Geun-hye was removed from office in March. She was accused of giving classified information to her friend, who used the information to meddle in government affairs and get money from businesses. Park is currently in prison awaiting trial.


North and South Korea have not been getting along in recent times. The two nations were part of a single country called Korea for over four thousand years. In 1910, the Japanese occupied Korea and ruled it until the Second World War. When the war ended in 1945, the Japanese had to give up control of Korea. Korea was then occupied by the Soviet Union in the north and the United States in the south. A line in the middle (called the 38th Parallel since it was at the latitude 38 degrees north) was drawn and two countries, North and South Korea, were created in 1948. After the two countries were created, North Korea attacked South Korea in 1950, starting the three year Korean war. After the war ended, the border between North and South Korea became the most guarded border in the world, and the two countries have evolved very differently from each other.

North Korea has been led by people from the same family since it was founded. Kim Jong-un is the current leader, and his grandfather, Kim Il-sung, and father, Kim Jong-il, were the leaders before him. The North Korean government very strictly controls many aspects of its citizens’ lives.vThere isn’t much communication between North Korea and the rest of the world.

Here is a video about Moon and another about the zone that separates the two Koreas.

Image Credits: http://www.korea.net for Moon’s image, m.blog.daum.net for the 38th parallel image, http://www.korea-dpr.com for Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il image
Sources: BBC, CNN, history.com, http://www.korea.net, NowThis

The Kentucky Derby

Always Dreaming, an American racehorse, won the Kentucky Derby held in Louisville, U.S.A. on May 6. The Kentucky Derby is a world-famous horse race held on the Churchill Downs racetrack. The Derby started in 1875 and is also known as “The Run for the Roses” because a garland made of over 400 red roses is awarded to the winning horse. The race isn’t long, it’s just 2km (1 1/4 miles). The race is also referred to as “The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports” as that’s just about how long it takes the horses to finish the race. You can watch the race video here.


Image Credits: https://www.kentuckyderby.com for the image of Always Dreaming
Sources: https://www.kentuckyderby.com

May Day

May 1 was celebrated around the world as May Day. Like every year, there were at least two important celebrations associated with it. One celebration was for the International Workers’ Day or Labor Day. Workers in many countries gathered around to express their unity and also voice their concerns. In Dhaka (Bangladesh), Colombo (Sri Lanka), Tbilisi (Georgia), and Manila (Philippines), people asked for better working conditions, higher salaries, and more jobs. In Caracas (Venezuela) and Buenos Aires (Argentina), people protested against their nation’s governments. In Istanbul (Turkey), Portland (United States), and Paris (France), the protests turned violent. A few people were hurt, and some were arrested. There were many more protests held around the globe.

Why did May 1 become a day to celebrate the workers of the world? On that day in 1886, large rallies were started by workers in various cities in the United States to shorten the working day. The rallies lead to some riots in Chicago, USA which resulted in the death of several workers as well as policemen. In 1889, an international labor organization decided in Paris, France to choose May 1, 1890 as the day to commemorate the workers’ fight for an eight-hour work day across the globe. Since then, May Day has become an annual event celebrated by several countries in the world.

May Day is also celebrated as the first day of summer in many cultures. A tradition in the United Kingdom is for people to dance around Maypoles which are wooden poles decorated with flowers and ribbons. In France, some people present their loved ones with stems of lilies of the valley (a type of flower). Some Americans hang a basket of flowers on a neighbor’s door knob. A German tradition is for the people of a village to steal the Maypole of other villages.

Here is a video about May Day.


Did you know?

If you say “Mayday” three times, it becomes a call for help. Mayday is often used over radios by boats and ships, for instance, to indicate that they are in trouble and need help. This word, though, has nothing to do with May Day! It is believed to originate from “M’aider” which means “help me” in French.

Image Credits: http://time.com/3836834/may-day-labor-history for the The Haymarket Riot image, http://st-peters-school.org for May Day pole image, http://flights.indonesiamatters.com May Day image, https://www.marxists.org for May Day image
Sources: New York Times, Time.com, history.com, http://www.workers.org

Wikipedia blocked in Turkey

On April 29, the government of Turkey blocked access to the website Wikipedia. The reason is that there are some pages on Wikipedia with information that the Turkish government believes hurts their nation. The blockage is “to protect national security and public order.”  In the past, Turkey’s government has blocked other sites such as YouTube and Twitter, and then unblocked them.


Wikipedia’s founder Jimmy Wales (an American) was to attend an event in Turkey later this month. However, he has now been uninvited from the event. Wikipedia is a “multilingual, web-based, free-content encyclopedia project”. It was started in 2001. According to Alexa, a company that provides web traffic data, wikipedia.com is the fifth most visited website by humans on Earth. The number one spot is held by google.com followed by youtube.com. You can see the list here.

Turkey is part of two continents, Asia & Europe. Ankara is its capital city and Istanbul is its largest city. Recep Tayyip Erdogan is the president of Turkey.



Image Credits: https://www.facebook.com/TurkeyPresident for Erdogan’s image, http://jimmywales.com for Wales’ image, wikipedia.org for its logo
Sources: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com, http://stockholmcf.org, http://jimmywales.com, BBC, wikipedia.org, http://www.alexa.com

A bit more news

Star Wars fans celebrated on May 4. Many people consider one of two days (May 4 or May 25) as “Star Wars Day”. May 25 is celebrated because the first Star Wars movie was released on this day in 1977. May 4 is celebrated because fans picked up a popular phrase from the movie series, “May the force be with you”, and now say “May the fourth be with you”.

A British magazine, Restaurant, publishes a list of the world’s best 50 restaurants every year. The number 1 spot went to a restaurant in New York, USA called Eleven Madison Park. The style of food at this restaurant is described as “New York twist on modern European”. You can see the full list of the best restaurants here.



The most retweeted Tweet until recently was Ellen DeGeneres’ Oscars selfie with about 3.4 million retweets. That record recently got broken. An American teenager named Carter Wilkerson wanted free chicken nuggets and put out a tweet asking the fast food restaurant Wendy’s as to how many retweets he needed to get free chicken nuggets for a year. The restaurant replied with the number 18 million. He is still far from that goal. However, his tweet has been retweeted more than Ellen’s, making it the most retweeted tweet of all time. #nuggsforcarter

Here is Wilkerson’s story.

Richard Browning, a British inventor, displayed his flying suit at the Technology, Entertainment, and Design (TED) conference held in Vancouver, Canada.

Here are 3 videos. The first is Browning’s video. The second is Ellen trying to save her most-retweeted title. The last video is about a new toy called fidget spinner that has become very popular in the United States.

Image Credits: http://www.starwars.com/may-the-4th for May the 4th be with you image, https://nuggsforcarter.com for nuggsforcarter tweet message, http://www.theworlds50best.com for the 50 best restaurants image, INSIDER for the image of Browing
Sources: https://twitter.com/theellenshow, http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com, https://nuggsforcarter.com , http://blog.ted.com, http://www.starwars.com/may-the-4th, http://www.theworlds50best.com, CTV news

A vote in Turkey

The Turkish people recently voted for changes in their constitution that will give the president more powers. The vote was very close. 51.4% of the people were in favor of the changes, and 48.6% were against. The people who were for the changes were out celebrating. The people who were against were out banging pots and pans expressing their unhappiness. Here are a couple of the changes. There will no longer be a prime minister of Turkey, just the president. The role of president can be held by a person for 2 five-year terms. You can watch a video about this here.

The president of Turkey is Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He became Turkey’s president in 2014. Before that, he was the prime minister of the country for about 11 years.



In July last year, a group in Turkey’s military tried to take over the country and overthrow Erdogan from the post of president (known as a coup). In this case, the coup failed as it did not get the support of the citizens or other folks in the military. Erdogan ordered his troops to bring in all people who could have any links to the coup attempt for questioning. Thousands of people have since been arrested or detained.


The modern country of Turkey was founded in 1923. Its first leader was Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who is looked upon as the founder of the country. He was given the title “Ataturk”, which means “Father of the Turks.” It was under him that the first constitution of modern Turkey was written. Before 1923, Turkey was part of the Ottoman Empire. Ankara is Turkey’s capital and Istanbul is its largest city.

Did you know?

Two of the “Seven Wonders of the Ancient World” (Mausoleum at Halicarnassus and the Temple of Artemis) were located in present-day Turkey. Here is a list of all 7 of them.


Image Credits: http://www.kultur.gov.tr for Kemal Atatürk’s image, https://www.tccb.gov.tr for Erdogan’s image, Pivox for Turkey coup image
Sources: http://kids.nationalgeographic.com, BBC, New York Times, CIA World Factbook, Daniel Craggs

Time 100

Time Magazine published its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world called TIME 100. The presidents of China, United States, Russia, and Turkey were all on the list. Pope Francis (leader of the Catholic Church) was on the list. The CEOs of Snap and Amazon were on the list. The artist Viola Davis, the gymnast Simone Biles, the soccer player Neymar, the American football player Colin Kaepernick, the musician Ed Sheeran, and the writer Margaret Atwood were also on the list. TIME 100 was first published in 1999. You can view this year’s list here. Here is a video about it.


Image Credits: time.com for its Time 100 logo
Sources: time.com

Russia’s new military base

Recently, the Russian government published images of its new Arctic Trefoil military base. The base is on a remote island in the Arctic Ocean situated about 80 degrees north. The base can support 150 people for about 18 months. Why build a base so far out there in the Arctic Ocean?

Currently, floating ice covers the North Pole and part of the area around it. But this ice cover has been decreasing. Scientists believe that the seabed below the Arctic Ocean contains a large amount of oil, minerals, and natural gas. Also, people expect shipping routes to open up in the Arctic region due to the melting ice. It is believed that the Arctic region is going to bring wealth to the nations that own the area.

Five countries lay claims to parts of the Arctic region. These countries are Russia, Canada, Denmark (Greenland is part of Denmark), Norway, and the United States.

With its new military base, Russia is setting up to protect the country’s resources in the Arctic region.

Here is a video about the North Pole.

Did you know?

In 2007, Russians placed their flag on the Arctic seabed below the North Pole.

Did you know?

Vladimir Putin has been Russia’s president since 2012. He was also the country’s president from 2000 to 2008. He served as prime minister from 1999 to 2000, and again from 2008 to 2012.

Image Credits: https://www.ngdc.noaa.gov for the Arctic region image, http://mil.ru/files/files/arctic/Arctic.html for the military base’s image
Sources: http://eng.mil.ru/en, http://www.theaustralian.com.au, BBC, NowThis