This week, next week

9-15 August 2014


Wonder down under

A tale about a pair of magical marsupials has been named Australia's favourite children's book. Mem Fox's Possum Magic pipped J K Rowling to the top spot in the poll of 5,000 Australian schoolchildren.


Moon dance

It wasn't a bird, it wasn't a plane, it was a supermoon. This phenomenon occurs when a full moon coincides with the satellite's closest approach to Earth during its yearly orbit. Another is expected on 9 September.


The cup that cheers

In 1840, the seventh Duchess of Bedford started requesting tea, bread and cake at 4pm to stave off hunger until dinner. Today in 2014, National Afternoon Tea Week began, celebrating her inadvertent genius.


Fancy a pint (or two)?

The Great British Beer Festival got under way at London's Olympia, with more than 350 breweries offering 900 real ales, ciders and international beers, according to the Campaign for Real Ale. Hic.


Ghost story

Spirits from beyond haunted Japan during the festival of Obon. Families all over the country returned to their home towns and visited household shrines during this annual Buddhist celebration of ancestors.


Results are in.

Tears, the odd tantrum and local photographers looking for twins to jump joyfully in the air - it could only be A-level results day. Ofqual chief executive Glenys Stacey predicted a "roller coaster".


The happening

On this day 45 years ago, nearly half a million hippies descended on the town of Bethel, New York, for Woodstock. At the time, it held the record for the world's largest music festival audience.

16-22 August 2014


All washed up

Buccaneers on a budget come into their own today as the Isle of Man plays host to the World Tin Bath Championships. The winner is the fastest round the course - or the one who lasts longest without sinking.


Return to Oz

It was 75 years ago that audiences first headed over the rainbow with Judy Garland. Her role in The Wizard of Oz netted her an Academy Juvenile Award, which she nicknamed "the Munchkin".


Black-and-white issue

On this day 50 years ago, South Africa was banned from the 1964 Tokyo Olympics for its refusal to condemn apartheid. The ban came despite the country including seven non-white athletes in its team.


Determined to be free

The Republic of Afghanistan will celebrate its Independence Day, commemorating the signing of the Treaty of Rawalpindi in 1919, in which Britain granted Afghanistan self-determination over its foreign affairs.


Tipping point

On Earth Overshoot Day 2014, according to the Global Footprint Network, humanity starts dipping into its ecological overdraft and using this year's resources faster than the planet can regenerate them.


Round two

No sooner has the dust has settled from the agony and the ecstasy of A-level results day than it's time for teachers across England to do it all over again. Pupils will nervously head into school to get their GCSE results.


Across the universe

Whether you're up like Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds or down in a Yellow Submarine, you'll have an opportunity to celebrate the ongoing International Beatleweek, saluting the Fab Four's enduring popularity.

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