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Olympic Fever Starting to Grow

Olympic excitement is growing by the day in Britain as a range of events have taken place over the last few weeks.

It all kicked off last week when the first of a series of giant Olympic symbols was unveiled in London. A set of Olympic Rings 20 metres wide and 9 metres tall were revealed at St Pancras International train station by Mayor of London Boris Johnson.

Next to come was a countdown clock in Trafalgar Square which marked 500 days to go until the start of the 2012 Olympics. The four tonne timer looks very impressive (as you can see above), but unfortunately (and in a very British way) it stopped working just one day after being unveiled. It’s back up and running now though so is all is fine again!

Finally, tickets for the Games went on sale around the world yesterday. For 42 days you can apply for tickets to up to 20 events, and although there are 6.6 million tickets available, demand is expected to be huge. Don’t worry though, it is not a first come first serve system, but instead everyone who has applied for tickets by the 26th April deadline will be drawn at random to decide who actually gets the tickets.

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Beginnings of a New Life...for the Fourth Time

Hello everyone!

My name is Maria, and I am a Master’s student in International Relations at the London School of Economics (LSE). London is the fourth city that I can call a home. I was born in Havana, the capital of Cuba, and moved to the United States when I was 14 years old. My high school years were spent in the Sunshine State city of Miami before I headed to the much colder Cambridge for a wonderful college journey at Harvard University. Last May I graduated from Harvard with a Bachelor’s degree in History, not long before I would pack my bags once again to begin yet a new life in London.

It has already been six months since I arrived in the UK and my experience so far has been much more than academic. In fact, it would be fair to say that the highlights of my time in London have been surprisingly crafted outside of the classroom, when I was traveling, meeting people from the most diverse backgrounds, getting absorbed into the enrapturing chaos of London, and really understanding the words of the great British essayist Samuel Johnson: When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.

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Walk the Royal Wedding Route

Fancy virtually walking the same route that Prince William and Kate Middleton will follow before their wedding on April 29th? Or maybe you want to explore one of London’s parks without leaving your computer? Well now you can thanks to a new idea from Google.

As part of Google Maps, they have created a 3D map of London which allows you to see the sights of the Capital all from the comfort of home. If you live a long way away or simply want to check out an area before you go there, you can now explore thousands of buildings throughout the city.

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The Best Pancake Recipe

Throughout Britain today people are celebrating Shrove Tuesday by grabbing a frying pan and cooking up some pancakes.

Traditionally Shrove Tuesday has been the last day before Lent and therefore a last chance to eat before a time of fasting. These days most people call it Pancake Day and use it as an excuse to eat so many pancakes they can hardly stand up.

Sound good? Then get involved. Here is a simple recipe to make the best traditional British pancakes.

Serves:

About 12 pancakes (enough for 3 greedy people or up to 6 normal people)

Ingredients:

  • 110g of plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 200ml of milk and 75ml of water
  • A pinch of salt

Method:

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UK Universities Fight Visa Cuts

A group of vice-chancellors from sixteen top UK universities have continued the fight against government plans to reduce the number of visas for international students coming to study in the UK.

In a joint letter to British newspaper ‘The Observer’, the professors wrote to “express profound concern at the damage that would be caused to the UK economy and to our universities if the government's proposals to reduce the number of international students coming to the UK are implemented”.

The letter came in response to British Home Secretary Theresa May revealing plans to make it harder for international students to get visas to study in the UK. The government has promised to cut migration to Britain by 2015 and students currently represent almost two thirds of non-EU migrants.

There is the concern that a high number of non-EU students coming to the UK are using obscure courses at untrustworthy institutions simply to get a visa. However, in their letter, the university vice-chancellors denied this, arguing that “evidence shows that international students in universities overwhelmingly do not abuse the system”.

They went on to say:

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