The Daily: Matilda
Thursday, 02 May 2013

The Daily: May 2

Written by Sandra Smith
Another Stamp on The Queen's Image
It's her 133rd portrait yet, like many others, has instantly fuelled controversy. The latest painting of The Queen has been unveiled at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium - the young artist, Dan Llewelyn Hall being Cardiff born - and follows one sitting with the monarch in Windsor Castle's White Drawing Room last year. Striking for its size and colour, the artist describes his work as 'expressionist'. Some critics, however, are suggesting he should have opted for a simpler style. Whilst The Queen is well used to artists putting their own stamp on her image, the imposing painting, which was commissioned by the Welsh Rugby Union, is likely to cause debate amongst visiting rugby fans.

Interesting Development for Samantha Cameron
Shares in a development company are causing unexpected interest for Samantha Cameron. Since the Prime Minister's wife gained a stake holding more than four years ago, the Cabinet insists there is no conflict of interest for David Cameron. Yet the suggestion of developing Greenfield land in the heart of Lincolnshire is inevitably controversial with the proposal to build 1,500 homes on a 70 acre site in a scheme potentially worth £20m. The cost of farmland in the area is currently £8,000 per acre though this could rise to £300,000 if planning permission is granted.

Middle Class Decline
Equal opportunities do not necessarily result in equal outcomes. Women arguably have more choices than ever before but delaying motherhood in favour of a high powered career ultimately influences the option of having a family. When fertility declines with age, many successful women who have delayed having children in favour of their profession, find they are either unable to conceive or produce fewer offspring. Yet, on the other hand, there is a corresponding increase in the number of children born to those who are less well off. As a result, the age of a mother now determines a child's social class. This shift is having a significant effect on our society.

Bespoke Awards for Matilda Stars
Youth may have denied them Best Performance by an Actress Tony Awards, but the four leading stars of the hit musical, Matilda, have instead been promised their own awards: For Excellence in the Theatre. The girls - Milly Shapiro, Sophie Gennusa, Oona Laurence and Bailey Ryon - who rotate performances, have previously won an Olivier Award and the show also has 12 other nominations, including Best Musical, Best Original Score and Best Book of a Musical. The decision to bar the youngsters is, however, somewhat contentious given that the shared Billy Elliot role was a Tony winner back in 2009.

Fountain of Ageing Discovered
It's small and deep inside the brain, but nevertheless scientists believe they have found an area that plays a crucial role in slowing down the ageing process. The so-called Fountain of Ageing is also known as the hypothalamus and is responsible for regulating our hormone levels. In laboratory experiments involving mice, scientists have successfully altered the rate of ageing through the manipulation of chemical messengers to the region. As well as improving longevity, these tests have revealed how differing chemical levels can reduce the rate of cognitive decline. So far only rodents have benefited.

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