School cell phone ban, massive solar park, biggest cruise ship, tiniest escape room

Feb 28, 2024 Episode 174

Cell phone ban in UK schools, India’s massive solar and wind park, world’s biggest cruise ship and Spain’s tiniest escape room

Episode Transcript


LEELA: This week… Cell phone ban in Europe and UK schools, renewable energy park, world’s biggest cruise ship and tiniest escape room.

OPENING STING – LEELA: “Hey, hey, hey. Listen up. New, new, newsy – Newsy Pooloozi!” 


LEELA: Hello and welcome to Newsy Pooloozi – the news pool for curious kids and adults! I’m Leela Sivasankar Prickitt and…

MAMA: I’m Lyndee Prickitt. And this is your regular dip into the pool of news happening around the world.

LEELA: This week…

The UK releases a set of guidelines to help schools restrict mobile phone usage in line with its European neighbors. You’ll never guess what the kids think.

Here in India the world’s largest renewable energy plant is being built – bring on the solar power.

Speaking of “the world’s largest” – it’s “all aboard!” in the Americas… with the biggest ever cruise ship – the Icon of the Seas – sails passengers from Miami to the Caribbean each week. How large? Oh, just wait till you hear…

And finally, it’s not all big and large… no, we’ll go to Spain where they’re created the world’s smallest escape room. And when we say small, we’re talking about being “boxed-in!”

BIG NEWS STORY STING – VARIOUS VOICES: “The big news story of the week!”

 MAMA-This time we are talking about something that could soon to be happening in a classroom near

LEELA-Oooh, that sounds mysterious. What is it?

MAMA-Not so mysterious, actually. More of a breakthrough in the commonly held belief that kids, and cell phones are a good match.

LEELA- Hmmmm… So, this is a story about how kids and phones are NOT a good match?

MAMA- Kind of. It’s a story about how the United Kingdom is helping kids manage their time and improve their concentration in schools by… dum dum dummmmm… suggesting that schools ban cell phones.

LEELA- Hey I know for a fact that some schools in the U.K. already ban mobile phones.

So, what’s the new?

MAMA-Well, the news is that the government has released a bunch of data and guidelines meant to help schools who haven´t banned smart phones yet, and there are some, to finally take that step.

LEELA-So, this “ban” … which means it’s not allowed…isn´t really like a law? Like, something you have to do.

MAMA-No, it’s not something schools HAVE to do. But with the guidelines, the government has also released tons of data to back up the belief that, without phones in the classroom, students are more focused, and the number of “cyber bullying” cases is much lower.

LEELA-I get you. So, schools that haven´t already, are going to start. And what exactly will happen if a kid brings their phone to school?

MAMA-Well, depending on the school if a kid does brings a phone they’ll have to keep it locked in a special place, where other kids’ phones would be kept for the day, and returned after school.

LEELA-And what are all the kids saying about all this?

MAMA-Well, you’ll never believe this, but most feel relieved!


MAMA: Well, there’s a lot of social pressure that can go along with having a phone, so kids are actually glad to get a break from it.

LEELA- Huh… yeah It CAN be tough to put screens. I mean, what if I miss something? I know I should stop looking at it, but sometimes, it’s really hard!

MAMA-That’s called FOMO – the “Fear Of Missing Out” – Where you just can’t STAND to be left out of something. And just imagine if every kid, with FOMO on the mind, is constantly looking down to check their phones… No one learns a thing.

LEELA- I guess this is a big win for teachers, too!

MAMA- You can say that again! And the Britain aren’t trailblazers – as in the ones leading the way – on this. In fact the decision put the UK on the same track with other European countries that have restricted cell phones in schools, like France, Italy, and Portugal.

[SOURCE: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2024/feb/19/ministers-confirm-plan-to-ban-use-of-mobile-phones-in-schools-in-england



 LEELA: And now…

MAMA:  We’ve got some electrifying news to share about the world’s largest renewable energy park, right here in India, in the middle of Gujarat’s famous salt flats.

LEELA: That would be the Kachchh. One of the largest salt deserts in the world.

MAMA: Yep. On that is a massive wind turbine and photovoltaic park.

LEELA: OK. (Coughs) By “photovoltaic” you mean, a fancy way of saying… solar panels.

MAMA: Okay yes, photovoltaic is fancy. Aren’t’ you impressed?? Well, this park is already partially up and running! But for more on this, let’s hear from our correspondent in western India, Krisha Bang.

LEELA: Over to you, Krisha!

KRISHA: Thanks, Leela. Honestly, it surprises me every single day how our world keeps progressing towards using renewable energy. You could say, I’m really “charged up” about it!

Khavda is a 72,000-hectare, gigantic renewables park. That’s roughly the size of the country Singapore.

So, recently the park started generating solar energy- 551 Megawatts to be exact which can light up well over 500,000 homes at once!

But that’s just the beginning. Once complete, the Khavda park will generate 30GigaWatts or 30,000 MegaWatts of renewable energy. Take a guess at how many homes can power each year? A staggering 16.1 million.

Building this park only took them 12 months and created more than 8,000 jobs. It’s good for the environment, good for employment, and generates clean electricity. You could say it’s a win-win-win!

And its great news for the country as it works to meet a target of generating 50 percent of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2030.

From western India, I’m Krisha Bang, reporting for Newsy Pooloozi!!

LEELA: Thanks a lot, Krisha for that hot and breezy story!

MAMA: Oh, nice puns, Leela.

[SOURCE https://www.euronews.com/green/2023/12/05/this-huge-renewable-energy-park-will-be-as-big-as-singapore-and-visible-from-space


WORLD WRAP STING – LEELA: “What’s that? I’ll tell you what. That’s the halftime bell! Which means… it’s time to hear what’s making news around the rest of the world. Hold on tight, it’s around the world in 80 seconds.”

MAMA: The United Nations Security Council is told that famine is inevitable for over half a million people in Gaza unless aid is massively increased. The situation is so bad there are reports of aid trucks being shot at and looted by hungry people.

In the US both President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump win their party’s nomination at the Michigan state primary. This comes despite many Democrats marking their ballots as “uncommitted” to Biden to register their dismay over support of Israel in its war against Hamas militants.

In the Caribbean oil is leaking out from an overturned barge, spreading hundreds of miles. The spills is about to hit the Caribbean island of Bonaire 50 miles or 80km north of the South American country, Venezuela, threatening coral ecosystems along the way.

And, who says mistakes don’t pay? Well, they do when we’re talking about a famous author like JK Rowling’s name being misspelt. Well, to be fair it was a proof copy – that means an early, uncorrected version – of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, which someone bought for £11,000 pounds, which is nearly $14,000.

[SOURCE: https://apnews.com/article/israel-palestinians-un-humanitarian-famine-gaza-malnutrition-cf622f843fe531fb6dbd5657a39d6b49




LEELA: Thank you so much for that – wait for it… that whippity-whappity-zippity-zappity of world news.

MAMA: Oh, my goodness. Thank you Leela. Actually, I think you missed out the whippity-whappity-zippity-zappity wrap of what’s making headlines elsewhere in the world mama. Gotcha.

LEELA: Oh no.

MAMA: Okay anyway we like variety. So, Leela.

LEELA: So, Mama.

MAMA: Did you hear the story a few weeks ago about the world’s largest cruise ship setting sail?

LEELA: Oh, yeah, did I ever. Did you see the pictures? It wasn’t a village at sea, but an entire town!

MAMA: I know! And now week-long trips of the world’s largest cruise ship are underway… How large is large?

LEELA -Yes! It’s the Icon of the Seas – Royal Caribbean’s newest cruise ship that clocks in at roughly 1,200 feet long and weighing more than 250,000 gross tons.

MAMA: And that’s not all, oh no. So, for more on this let’s hear from our newest correspondent from the US. Luke from Arizona.

LEELA: Well, welcome aboard, Luke. (Ha ha – get it!) Take it away Luke!


LUKE-Thanks guys!

As you mentioned, the Icon of the Seas set sail on its maiden voyage earlier this year and has been taking thousands of people on week-long vacations in the Caribbean since then.

When I say “thousands” I’m talking about 7,600 passengers. That’s bigger than some whole towns here in Arizona!

To entertain all those people, there are tons of activities. There are seven swimming pools and six water slides.

And if you get hungry, there are 40 restaurants and cafes, with 425 chefs cooking up things like lobster, filet mignon, and prime rib.

Not to outdo themselves, the company is planning to release another boat in this class called the Star of the Seas, in 2025. That boat will have something like 70 restaurants!

I think Royal Caribbean’s new motto should be, the bigger, the better!

In Phenix Arizona, this is Luke for Newsy Pooloozi!

LEELA: Thanks Luke!

MAMA – Yeah, thanks for all those breezy details. But… It’s not all “smooth sailing” for the Icon.

LEELA – Oh? Why is that?

MAMA- Well, there are a lot of environmental concerns regarding methane slip.

LEELA: Whata-whata?

MAMA: Methane slip or methane slip is when toxic methane fumes are released into the atmosphere during the ship’s liquefied natural gas as in LNG combustion process.


MAMA: Still, because LNG is the cleanest fossil fuel available, Icon is technically the most sustainable ship out there.

LEELA: Ah. So, I can put this on my bucket list after all, then?

MAMA: Ahh right yes okay. Before Japan, Vietnam, Greece and Paris?

LEELA: Oh, so much to see in the world… Wait! Maybe the Icon can cruise past them all?!

MAMA: Well, there is that.

[SOURCE: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-68118822




LEELA: OK. Well, I can dream, can’t I? Alright, let’s finally see what the lucky dip machine has for us this episode.

ODDBALL STING – VARIOUS VOICES: “Step right up, step right up… Have a go at the lucky dip machine… What’s it gonna be today, eh? An oddball, no doubt!”

LEELA: So enough of all the biggest and largest things in the world. Now… let’s go small.

MAMA: OK… Tell me more.

LEELA: Well, you’ve heard of “escape rooms” before, right? Where are you and a bunch of your friends “trapped” in a room and you have to figure out clues to get out?

MAMA: Oh, yeah. Not my cup of tea. I know they can be “quote unquote” FUN… if you’re not claustrophobic, that is!

LEELA: And by claustrophobia, you mean the fear of small spaces!

MAMA: Yep.

LEELA: Well, warning – this new kind of escape room in Spain is not something I’d recommend for people afraid of small spaces!

MAMA: OK, for more let’s cut across to our Spanish correspondents, Marcky and Nina Granena.

NINA: Thanks guys. Yeah, there’s a new escape room here in Barcelona that people are DYING to try. Get it Marcky? Dying?

MARKCY: Yes, “dying” because the newest escape room is… wait for… a COFFIN escape room!

NINA: Correct. And let’s be honest, it’s not really a “room”.

MARCKY: Not at all! It’s literally a coffin. That only one person can fit into.

NINA: And there is little cameras watching your every move. There’s no way you´re in any REAL danger.

MARCKY: But what happens if you don’t solve the puzzles?

NINA: Well, something that ultimately happens to all of us, Marcky. You die.

MARCKY: YOU, SEE? This game IS dangerous!!!

NINA: Not die FOR REAL! There’s a screen at the foot of the coffin that shows flames, as if you’re being cremated- which is what they do sometimes after you die.

MARCKY:  So, you pay someone to lock you in a coffin, and possibly, pretend to cremate your body? For fun? Ahhhh, no thanks.

NINA: It’s certainly not for people who are claustrophobic, you know, afraid of small spaces.

MARCKY: Well for sure, I prefer the traditional escape rooms, thank you very much.

NINA: Of course you do. Get it?

MARCKY: (sighhhh) No, Nina. Just no.

TOGETHER: In Barcelona this is Marcky Granena and NIna Granena for Newsy Pooloozie!!!!

LEELA: Thanks guys! You really killed it!

MAMA: Ha! Good one!

[SOURCE: https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/worlds-smallest-escape-room-is-coffin-2024-01-25/



FAB FACTS STING – LEELA: “And it’s time to wrap up the podcast with the top five fab facts heard today. Here goes…”

MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 1 – The English government releases a set of mobile phone guidelines to help kids manage their screen time and FOMO addictions. What is FOMO?

The Fear Of Missing Out

LEELA: FAB FACT NUMBER 2 – The world’s largest photovoltaic and wind turbine renewable energy park is being built in the middle of India’s famous salt desert. Photovoltaic is just a fancy way of saying it, what exactly?

Solar panels

MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 3 – The biggest ever cruise ship the Icon of the Seas sails passengers from Miami to the Caribbean each week, but there are environmental concerns with the process of turning liquified natural gas into fuel because it causes methane slip. What’s that?

When toxic methane is released into the atmosphere

LEELA: FAB FACT NUMBER 4 – Spain’s smallest escape room is in a coffin. Sometimes, when people die, they cremate the body. What does that mean?

They burn it

MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 5 – People who are claustrophobic would not like this escape room at all. What does claustrophobic mean?

The fear of small spaces

And don’t forget, if you want to test yourself later on, then go to the Lucky Dip page of our website,  newsypooloozi.com, that’s pool-o-o-z-i, and take this quiz online in your own time!

LEELA: And that almost brings us to the end of this episode of Newsy Pooloozi! But first… we must, of course, thank our wonderful team!

MAMA: Yes, thank you Julie Noce who has practically written this entire episode with the help of our intern Krisha Bang, who wrote the solar park story.

LEELA: And of course, thank you thank you to our trusted production assistant Jyoti Chauhan.

MAMA: If you enjoyed this dip in the coolest pool of news and information then why don’t you spread the word? Tell a friend about us.

LEELA: Or even tell your teacher what you’ve learned in this episode. They’re bound to be impressed! Ok then, we will see you soon in the happy, splashy giant Newsy Pooloozi!