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20th December 2013 at 00:00



Unwelcome discovery

The first one bites the dust: newspapers pondered the closure of Discovery New School in Crawley, England - the first free school to be ordered to close, for failing to provide adequate education.


Prognosis problem

Research revealed that the key test for medical aptitude was no more accurate than A-level grades at predicting medical school success. The Clinical Aptitude Test also appeared to be biased against women.


Risk to your elf

Skinny Santas who "scared the children" and antler-less reindeer were just some of the complaints that led to the Winter Wonderland festival in Milton Keynes, England, being shut down on its opening day.


Ay caramba

Doh! Hard to believe, but it was the anniversary of the first ever episode of cartoon series The Simpsons, broadcast on 17 December 1989. Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie are still going strong.


Questions for cash

To go plastic or not to go plastic? That was the question on finance chiefs' minds as the Bank of England debated whether or not to use polymer bank notes. You can rinse them, but they can't be ironed, apparently.


What the Dickens?

In 1843, Christmas' most legendary fictional character, Ebeneezer Scrooge, first stepped into the world when Charles Dickens' classic tale A Christmas Carol was published. Bah! Humbug!


High street hell

The term you thought would never end draws to a close at last. Now all that is left to do is down a Baileys or six and hit the shops for that last minute male-grooming giftset for Uncle Bob.



Voyage of discovery

On this day in 1620, Pilgrim ship the Mayflower landed at the New World. Her 102 passengers had journeyed from England in search of a place where they could worship freely. A chilly time of year to be sailing.


Stop the cavalry

In December 1944, the Battle of the Bulge raged in the Ardennes Forest. As this year's party season continues, people are fighting a different kind of battle - of the bulging waistlines.


Mexican roots

While people in the rest of the world polish off their Yule logs and munch mince pies, Mexicans will celebrate the Night of the Radishes. Thousands will gather in Oaxaca City to see carvings of giant root veg.


Be good for goodness' sake

In many countries, you can open a pressie, but everyone else will just have to stare in awe and wonder at the tree and lie to children about Santa Claus and pray they go to sleep. Christmas Eve is upon us.


Thank God it's Christmas

Churches will make the most of the one day of the year when all the shops are shut, flinging open their doors to worshippers. Non-Christians looking to escape Great Aunt Agatha will also attend.


Stay another day

Nobody really knows what it's for, but Boxing Day is another day off work, so let's do some more eating, crack a few brazil nuts and have another game of Trivial Pursuit. Or, if you're lucky, Ker-Plunk.


What's the damage?

The sales have started. Anyone disappointed with their Yuletide haul can hit the shops for a new kitcheniPad in the sales. Most toys will also have been broken by now, so pick up some glue.

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