The Vatican City
The smallest independent country in the world, the Vatican City covers an area the size of a golf course in Roma, the capital of Italy. It was founded in 1929 and it ruled by just one man, the Pope, who is also the head of the Catholic Church. Its buildings – such as St Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel – are home to some of the world’s most famous art, including works by Botticelli, Raphael and Michelangelo.
The Vatican has its own back, army, police force, fire brigade, post office, satellite TV channel, radio station and internet domain (.va). The Vatican army, called the Swiss Guard, is the smallest in the world. It has about 100 soldiers, all unmarried, and all from Switzerland. The Vatican postal service has an excellent reputation: an international letter posted in the Vatican will arrive faster than one dropped just a few hundred metres away in Italy.
Millions of people visit the Vatican every year, but the Vatican has a population of only about 800 people. The Vatican has no official language. The Swiss Guard use German, but most people use Italian and Latin. In fact, the Vatican’s bank machines are the only ones in the world that give instructions in Latin.
The country’s economy is unique. It receives most of its money from Catholics around the world and from tourism. It also makes money from a petrol station where Italians can by fuel 30 percent more cheaply than in Italy – because the Vatican has no taxes!
Can pets and their owners ‘become more alike over time’?
Pets and their owners are just like married couples and they get more alike over time, a psychologist claimed yesterday. Prof Richard Wiseman asked almost 2,500 people to complete online questionnaires about their characters and those of their pets. He found that many dog lovers, cat owners and even reptile keepers said they shared many of the same traits – such as happiness, intelligence, independence and a sense of humour – as their pets.
But he also discovered that the longer an animal had been with its owner, the more likely it was to have picked up their characteristics. Prof Wiseman said: “For years owners have insisted their pets have a unique personality. This work suggests they might be right, but it also reveals that people’s pets are a reflection of themselves.” He went on to say: “It is like with married couples. They grow to look like each other and to have similar personalities. It’s possible we are seeing a similar effect.”
Across cultures office clothes
Peter from Britain
I always wear a suit at work. In most offices, men wear a suit and a tie, or a jacket and trousers. Women also wear quite formal clothes: a suit or a skirt, or sometimes trousers, but not jeans.
Simon from Germany
People in offices wear quite casual clothes in Germany. Men and women often wear jeans and s shirt of a blouse, or a T-shirt in the summer. I usually wear jeans and a shirt at work – I never wear a tie!
Vani from India
I always wear a sari at work. This is a kind of long cotton dress and it’s cool, so it’s good in hot weather. Most women in offices wear sari. Men usually wear trousers and a shirt. They sometimes wear a tie, but not a jacket.
Thank you for your comments.
Here are some of the best.
What’s happiness? Talking to my husband and watching something good on TV with him. We don’t go out a lot but we’re happy.
Berthe, 88, France
Happiness is going fishing on a boat with my friends and a very could drink. And catching fish, of course.
Juan Carlos, 43, Brazil
My work. I’m a photographer and I love taking photos. It’s not very well paid, but money doesn’t make you happy.
Chin-Mae, 28, Korea
Happiness is playing the drums really loud, but my dad doesn’t like it!
Jason, 15, USA
My friends…talking to them over a coffee, listening to jazz, going to parties together. And my cat. She doesn’t like my boyfriend, but she loves me!
Andrea, 32, Australia
Seeing my grandchildren – that’s happiness. I love them so much, I also enjoy reading a good book, but I done’ read newspapers. I don’t like bad news.
Jakub, 67, Poland
I like learning new things and meeting new people, so I do a different course every year. This year it’s dancing the tango.
Chiara, 38, Italy
Chocolate! I love it!
Sally, 21, UK
Viewpoint- The urban world in 2050
In 1900, just 13 per cent of the world’s people lived the cities. In 2008, the number passed 50 per cent for the first time in history. By 2050, the number will be about 70 per cent. The urban population in Asia and Africa will double, and there will be 30”megacities” – cities with more than 10 million people. So what will life be like for people in the cities of the future? Professor of human geography Ben Rhodes describes his vision of the urban world in 2050.
Life in cities will be very different from how it is today. Energy, especially oil, will be very expensive, so many people will probably work at home, or have their workplaces close to where they live. There’ll be less traffic on the roads, and it’ll be easier for people to be close to their families. For these reasons cities won’t have just one centre where everyone goes to work and shop. Instead, we’ll probably see cities with many different centres.
It will be difficult to provide enough water, gas and electricity for really big cities, so these will probably stop growing. Many people from the countryside will move to smaller cities of 500,000 people or less. Transport over long distances will be a lot more expensive than it is now, so people will have to use food and energy from the countryside around their cities. They’ll use local materials for building, and perhaps traditional styles of architecture too.
The thing I really worry about is that energy may become too expensive for many people. In the end we might have two groups of people: a rich group which can afford energy and lives in clean, green areas, and a bigger, poorer group which can’t afford it and has to live in the more polluted parts of the city. This might lead to serious political problems.
As we all know, cities near the sea will probably experience some extra problems. As temperatures around the world go up, sea levels will rise and many places will have problems with flooding. Some cities will be OK, some may even find that the change in the climate is good for them, but others will need help. We really need to start planning for this now.