Royals have magical day out
The nation’s young royals had a magical day out on Friday with a visit to the studio where the Harry Potter movies were filmed. Prince William, the Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry toured Warner Bros Studios Leavesden near London. The royals, accompanied by 500 children and adults from charities they support, had a wand lesson, visited the Great Hall of Hogwarts School and saw props, costumes and models from the Potter series in the company of the boy wizard’s creator, author J.K. Rowling. In a speech to Warner Bros executives, 30-year-old William said he was “over the moon just to have seen the real Batmobile and Batpod.” “On the other hand, Harry is just excited to see a real life talking owl in the Harry Potter studios,” William said of his 28-year-old brother. “I haven’t told him yet that Harry Potter is fictional, so please keep the secret for a little longer?”
Churchill to be on bank note
Here is a choice not likely to be too controversial: Officials say wartime prime minister Winston Churchill’s portrait will be featured on a new ￡5 note. Bank of England Governor Mervyn King made the announced on Friday at Chartwell, Churchill’s former home, surrounded by members of the late leader’s family. King called Churchill “a truly great British leader, orator and writer.” The bank says the note is likely to be issued in 2016. It will be based on a famous portrait photographed by Yousuf Karsh in Ottawa in 1941. The note will also bear Churchill’s wartime declaration that he has “nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.”
Tunisian makes best baguette
If you want the best baguette in Paris, go see Ridha Khadher. The 42-year-old baker has been turning out the long, golden rods of bread since he was 15, and has just been awarded the Grand Prix for his labor. Khadher, born in Tunisia, said on Friday that he had decided at the last minute to enter the annual competition for the best traditional baguette in the city. He was among 203 candidates, though 52 were swiftly eliminated for failing to meet strict criteria that include length of the baguette. Besides the acclaim, and likely extra business, the winner gets to deliver his baguettes to the presidential palace for a year. His secret is not the ingredients, because they do not change, he said. “The secret is hard work,” he said. Khadher came to France at the age of 15 and quickly entered the bakery business with his brother, becoming an artist of the most French of symbols.
Gender-neutral space opened
Officials in a liberal Stockholm suburb that discourages gender stereotypes have decided to open a gender-neutral changing room in a local high school to avoid students being classified as male or female. Patrik Biverstedt, headmaster of the Soedra Latins upper secondary school, says they decided on the cubicle where one person can change at a time after students proposed it last year. It will be ready by May 6. Students’ union member Camille Trombetti says the changing room is not only “for transsexual” students, but any student who wants privacy when changing for school activities. Soedra Latins is in the same affluent Sodermalm district where children at the Egalia preschool are encouraged to avoid using “him” and “her” and to call others “friends” instead of girls or boys.