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THIS WEEK

28 DECEMBER 2013 - 3 JANUARY 2014

SATURDAY

Flour power

It was the annual Els Enfarinats festival in Spain, with people in military dress pelting one another with flour and eggs for fun. This is one cultural event home economics teachers don't want students to emulate.

SUNDAY

Pointe less

The Sugar Plum Fairy hung up her tutu after San Francisco Ballet's final performance of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker this afternoon. But don't worry if you missed it: she'll be back en pointe next year for appreciative audiences.

MONDAY

Silent night

Silence was golden at London's Royal Albert Hall this Christmas season when Oscar-winning silent film The Artist was screened to the live accompaniment of the London Symphony Orchestra.

TUESDAY

High on the hogmanay

New Year's Eve - known as Hogmanay in Scotland and Silvester in Germany - was upon us once more, prompting fireworks, soul-searching and resolutions. I will plan my lessons better...

WEDNESDAY

Fresh start?

New Year's Day dawned and non-drinkers went for bracing walks while the boozers slept in, feeling faintly disgusted with themselves. Oh, blow it: there's the rest of the year to mark those exercise books.

THURSDAY

The world is not enough

A big day for media studies students: today marked the anniversary of Australian media magnate Rupert Murdoch winning control of The News of the World in 1969. He axed it in 2011 during the phone hacking scandal.

FRIDAY

Happy birthday, my precious

The JRR Tolkien madness that descended last month with the release of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug continues today as fans of the books and films raise a toast to the author to celebrate his birthday.

NEXT WEEK

4-10 JANUARY 2014

SATURDAY

At their fingertips

Teachers of the visually impaired will be celebrating World Braille Day, held on the birth date of its inventor, Louis Braille. Events will include campaigns to raise awareness of the importance of the code.

SUNDAY

Batty, but brilliant

The World Championship of Ping Pong is taking place in London, with top players battling it out over the two-day tournament for a share in the #163;100,000 prize fund. The organisers hope to raise the sport's profile.

MONDAY

Defacing the music

Fathers' rights campaigner Tim Haries, 41, from Doncaster, South Yorkshire, is due to stand trial in London accused of vandalising a portrait of the Queen. Mr Haries has denied the offence.

TUESDAY

Herb your enthusiasm

Put down those Christmas sweeties from Aunt Deirdre - it's time to celebrate the Japanese Festival of Seven Herbs. To mark the occasion, people drink a soup of rice and herbs for good health and longevity.

WEDNESDAY

A meeting of minds

The Association for Science Education's annual conference opens at the University of Birmingham, UK. Billed as the largest science education exhibition in Europe, it attracts more than 3,000 participants.

THURSDAY

Kate's special day

Everyone's favourite wearer of good-quality high-street fashion, the Duchess of Cambridge, is due to celebrate her 32nd birthday today. Will William give her vouchers for John Lewis or Debenhams?

FRIDAY

Claws for thought

It's this year's Whittlesea Straw Bear Festival in Cambridgeshire, where a local man parades through the streets dressed as the titular bear before his costume is burned. There's nowt so queer as folk...

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