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  • The Know Daily - Tuesday 7 May 2024

The Know Daily - Tuesday 7 May 2024

🌙 China’s new moon mission, a guide to the local election results + Lake Windermere is turning green.

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🗳 The key results from local elections in England 

🌙 China launched an ambitious new lunar mission 

🚣‍♀️ High visitor numbers are turning Lake Windermere green

Amsterdam is moving to tackle “urination inequality” following a nine-year campaign for more public toilets on its streets. There were reportedly just three facilities for women compared with 35 urinals for men, but the Dutch capital has now pledged €4m to boost the number of public toilets, which will also be wheelchair-accessible. 

🗳️ Local elections recap

Local elections were held across England and Wales on Thursday 2 May, with results trickling in over the bank holiday weekend.

What were the key results?
The Conservative Party “suffered its worst electoral defeat in years”, said Sky News, as it lost more than half of its councillors who stood for re-election across England. Labour won the Blackpool South by-election from the Conservatives with a 26% swing, with Reform UK coming a close third. And in the London mayoral contest, Labour’s Sadiq Khan was re-elected for a third time, beating his Conservative rival Susan Hall by more than 276,000 votes. 

What are the other big takeaways?
Voters were also choosing metro mayors across England. These contests were among “the most keenly watched”, said The Guardian, with campaigners predicting that the result in Tees Valley and the West Midlands would define how UK politics play out for the rest of 2024.

In a result that could prove to be a “political lifeline” for PM Rishi Sunak, Conservative Ben Houchen won his third consecutive term as Tees Valley Mayor. But in the West Midlands, Labour’s Richard Parker beat his incumbent Conservative rival Andy Street by a margin of just 1,508 votes - a result described by Labour leader Keir Starmer as “beyond our expectations”. 

What does this mean for a general election?
The PM appeared to concede for the first time that his party could be on course to lose its majority, saying that the local election results “suggest we are heading for a hung parliament with Labour as the largest party”. The PM was referring to an analysis by polling expert Michael Thrasher - but as The Times pointed out, other experts have “cast doubt” on the suggestion of a hung parliament. 

There’s still no date for when the next general election will take place. While it has to be held by 28 January 2025, Sunak said earlier this year that he expected to go to the polls “in the second half” of 2024.

🙋‍♀️ TRIVIA TIME

According to a new study on the Hollywood film industry, there has been a 40% decline in scenes showing what compared with at the start of the millennium?

A) Swearing
B) Sex
C) Gambling

Scroll to the very bottom for the answer.

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🌙 Over the moon

China has launched an ambitious new mission to collect samples from the far side of the Moon. 

What does the mission involve, exactly?
On Friday, an uncrewed rocket carrying a probe - known as Chang'e-6 - blasted off from the Wenchang Space Launch Center. The 53-day mission aims to bring back around two kilograms of lunar samples from the far side of the Moon, with China the first country to make such an “ambitious attempt”, said Reuters

The far side of the Moon still catches the Sun’s rays but cannot be seen from Earth, and scientists hope that any samples taken from here could enable a better understanding of how the Moon was formed, explained CNN.

What are the other aims?
Friday’s launch is part of a wider effort by China to put a human on the Moon by 2030, said The Guardian. China has planned two more uncrewed missions to the Moon this decade: to search the lunar south pole for water, and to establish the technical feasibility of building a planned base, known as the International Lunar Research Station.

China also plans to have sent probes to collect samples from Mars and Jupiter by 2030.

What’s the bigger picture?
As CNBC explained, space is becoming a “new geopolitical frontier”, as rival nations ramp up their exploration programmes. In April, NASA administrator Bill Nelson appeared to suggest that China’s pace of space exploration had driven America’s own plans forward, with the US planning to put astronauts back on the Moon by 2026.

🚣‍♀️ Water watch: High visitor numbers are turning Lake Windermere green, according to a new study looking at the link between sewage discharge and algal bloom.

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 Scotland politics: John Swinney has become the new SNP leader and is on track to become Scotland’s seventh first minister as early as today

🕊️ Kris Hallenga: The founder of breast cancer charity CoppaFeel! has died, with the charity urging people to honour Kris’s memory by “checking your chest”. Here’s how

🍻 Pulling pints: Heineken announced plans to reopen 62 pubs and invest £39m in refurbishing hundreds of sites across the UK.

🪩 Met Gala: One of the biggest nights of the year for fashion took place in New York yesterday. The dress code was “The Garden of Time” - and here are some of the best looks.

This very handy guide on preparing and eating artichokes.

Come for: Photo-illustrated instructions that are definitely beginner-friendly (this was a bank holiday mission for Esther…) 

Stay for: Enjoying as much of the tasty artichoke as possible, which is no bad thing given they’re not always the easiest or cheapest veg to find!

 

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Trivia answer: B) There are 40% fewer sex scenes in major movies today compared with at the start of the millennium, a major new study revealed. Although some recent blockbusters have certainly bucked the trend… 

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