KOREA AND JAPAN END LONG DISAGREEMENT ABOUT “COMFORT WOMEN”

[WORLD NEWS ★]

KOREA AND JAPAN END LONG DISAGREEMENT ABOUT “COMFORT WOMEN”

Agreement

(P1) Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has announced a “new era” in Japanese – South Korean relations after the two countries reached a LANDMARK deal on the issue of wartime sex slaves.

(P2) Under the deal, Japan will finance a 1bn yen aid ($8.7m) fund for the Korean women known as “comfort women” who were forced to work in Japanese military-run BROTHELS during World War II.

(P3) “Japan and South Korea welcome a new era,” Abe told reporters after speaking by phone with South Korean President Park Geun-Hye.

(P4) The deal was reached in South Korea’s capital Seoul at a meeting between the foreign ministers of the two countries.

(P5) “The comfort women issue… occurred with the involvement of the Japanese military… and the Japanese government ACUTELY feels its responsibility,” Japanese foreign minister Fumio Kishida said after a meeting with his South Korean COUNTERPART Yun Byung-Se.

(P6) Kishida added that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed an “apology FROM THE BOTTOM OF HIS HEART” to the victims.

(P7) The issue has long been a source of FRICTION between Seoul and Tokyo, with South Korea previously accusing Japanese leaders of repeatedly failing to properly APOLOGIZE for wartime ATROCITIES.

(P8) Tens of thousands of women from around Asia, many of them Korean, were sent to military brothels to provide sex to Japanese soldiers.

(P9) In South Korea, there are 46 such surviving former sex slaves, mostly in their late 80s or early 90s.

(P10) Many survivors of the wartime sexual slavery had urged Japan to issue an official apology, make REPARATIONS, and include wartime atrocities in Japanese school textbooks.

WORDS: 266

SOURCE: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/12/japan-south-korea-reach-comfort-women-agreement-151228072000869.html

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Korea and Japan have had an UNEASY relationship for a long time because of the negative history between the two countries. What countries does your country have an uneasy relationship with?
  3. Did your grandparents or other older relatives ever tell you stories about old wars when you were growing up?
  4. Men usually fight wars, but why are wars very difficult for women, too?
  5. Why are apologies important?

EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:

What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.

  • From the bottom of my heart

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WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE IS THE GREATEST BRITON

[OPINION ★★]

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE IS THE GREATEST BRITON

Shakespeare

(P1) Britain is a very fortunate land in at least one respect. For the last four centuries, the greatest Briton has not been a king or a general, an ARISTOCRAT or a political leader, but a poet and dramatist. This best of us all was not a man of action or wealth but of literature.

(P2) William Shakespeare’s HERITAGE is PASSED DOWN through the generations. It is in the language we use, the phrases we UTTER, the conversations we have, and in the images and references we use to express ourselves and to imagine our country and its history.

(P3) Shakespeare requires no ANNIVERSARY year to be CELEBRATED. This EXTRAORDINARY man, who seems to have known everything there ever was to know about human beings, was in so many ways so very ordinary. We can still relate to him.

(P4) Yet 2016 is nevertheless the 400th anniversary of his death in 1616 and, since big Shakespeare anniversaries only happen about once every 50 years, we should make something special out of it. There is only joy in celebrating the gift that Shakespeare has given the people of this country and the world for the past 400 years.

(P5) There will of course be serious exhibitions, SYMPOSIUMS, and other events to mark the year.

(P6) But the living COMMEMORATION will be in the plays, almost 40 of them, which as usual are being PERFORMED in every corner of the globe, and in every imaginable way. They will be done straight, cut, adapted, updated, reimagined, danced, sung, with and without music, indoors, outdoors, by professionals, by AMATEURS, in English and in other languages.

(P7) Shakespeare is hardly NEGLECTED in British life. But we can always treat him better and more imaginatively than we do. When we make NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS, many of us COULD DO WORSE than make two Shakespearian VOWS for 2016. First, to see a Shakespeare play, PREFERABLY one that is not done so often, in order to celebrate the work itself; and, second, if possible, to see the play in Stratford-upon-Avon, where his story started and ended.

WORDS: 332

SOURCE: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/dec/31/the-guardian-view-on-shakespeares-400th-anniversary-the-plays-the-thing

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Who is the greatest person ever from your country?
  3. Have you ever seen a Shakespeare play on stage or film?
  4. Have you ever acted in a play (maybe while you were in school)?
  5. Do you think it is important to celebrate the past?

EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:

What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.

  • Pass down
  • New Year’s resolution
  • Could do worse

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NEW DESIGN FOR TOKYO OLYMPIC STADIUM

[SPORTS ★★]

NEW DESIGN FOR TOKYO OLYMPIC STADIUM

Kengo Kuma

(P1) A new, more SCALED-DOWN design has been chosen for the main stadium at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

(P2) SPIRALING costs had forced the SCRAPPING of RENOWNED architect Zaha Hadid’s FUTURISTIC original design.

(P3) The new design, by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma (above), will cost 149bn yen ($1.2bn; £825m) to build.

Zaha Hadid

(P4) Ms Hadid’s plan (above) would have cost 252bn yen, making it the world’s most expensive sports VENUE.

(P5) The scrapping of the design caused a disagreement that eventually led to the resignation of Japan’s Education and Sports Minister Hakubun Shimomura in October.

(P6) Mr Kuma’s design ECHOES the style of Japanese TEMPLES, with a low steel and wood structure SURROUNDED by trees. It will sit more than 20 metres lower than the previous design and supporters say it fits better with its immediate environment, which includes the GREENERY around the nearby Meiji Shrine.

(P7) “I think this is a wonderful plan that meets all our CRITERIA, including cost,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said when he announced the choice.

Toyo Ito

(P8) It beat a RIVAL design by architect Toyo Ito (above). That too was simpler than Ms Hadid’s design.

(P9) Construction of the new design will need to be complete by January 2020, ahead of the Olympic Games’ start in July that year.

(P10) 68,000 SPECTATORS will pack the stadium, though that can be expanded to 80,000 if needed. The old design also had a CAPACITY of 80,000 and was expected to host the final of the RUGBY World Cup in 2019.

(P11) The new stadium will not be ready in time to host that event.

WORDS: 260

SOURCE: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-35158004

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Which of these three Olympic stadium designs do you like the best?
  3. What is the largest stadium that you have ever been to?
  4. If the Olympic Games took place in your country, would you try to attend even though tickets are very expensive?
  5. Large construction projects always have COST OVERRUNS. Why is this true?

EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:

What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.

  • Scaled-down
  • Cost overrun

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GREAT NORWEGIAN PAINTER IS REDISCOVERED

[CULTURE AND ENTERTAINMENT ★★★]

GREAT NORWEGIAN PAINTER IS REDISCOVERED

Astrup

(P1) He should be as famous as EDVARD MUNCH, but the world seems to have forgotten him – until now. Nikolai Astrup is getting his first major show outside Norway … and his visions of the Scandinavian landscape are EERIE and SUBLIME.

(P2) Norway’s LEGENDARY modern artist who captured his country’s FANTASTIC LANDSCAPES is about to be CELEBRATED.

(P3) It’s Nikolai Astrup – a legend in his own land, but BARELY known outside of it. In fact, the Dulwich Picture Gallery, in London, is hosting the first significant show of Astrup’s work ever held outside Norway. Will it make him as famous as Munch, his CONTEMPORARY?

Astrup 3

(P4) It sometimes seems as if the world only has room for one great Norwegian artist. Astrup was born in 1880 and died in 1928, while Munch was born in 1863 and died in 1944. It is impossible to avoid comparing the two, because both are EXPRESSIONISTS who take the real world and TRANSFIGURE it in BLAZING, LURID colours. They even have a favorite theme in common: the strange light of summer evenings, when the warmth of the far north makes everything look like a fairy tale or a dream.

(P5) But there is one big difference: Astrup is so much brighter – not just in colour, but also in mood. Just because he is NORDIC does not mean he is NOIR. In fact, this artist – whose style has a ROUGH-HEWN, WOODCUT-like quality – is not very “modern” in some ways. His true appeal is that he captures the drama, both sublime and PASTORAL, of the Norwegian landscape.

Astrup 2

(P6) The gentleness of Astrup’s vision – his love of nature and IDYLLIC images of RURAL life – is surely what makes him so loved in Norway.

(P7) This exhibit offers a chance to BROADEN our knowledge about SCANDINAVIAN art outside Scandinavia.

(P8) We like our Scandinavian art to be INTENSE and VISIONARY. Is Astrup is too happy an artist to satisfy that demand? I hope not, because he is a painter whose work is worth getting to know.

WORDS: 334

SOURCE: http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/jonathanjonesblog/2015/dec/30/nikolai-astrup-lost-artist-norway-edvard-munch

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Who is the most famous visual artist from your country?
  3. When was the last time you went to an art show at a museum or ART GALLERY?
  4. Do you have any art on the walls of your home?
  5. Have you ever painted pictures yourself? What kind of paint do you use – watercolor or oil?
  6. The article mentions Astrup’s FONDNESS for the Norwegian summer. What is your favorite season of the year?

EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:

What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.

  • Rough-hewn
  • Art gallery

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RICH TEEN FLEES JUSTICE

[WORLD NEWS ★★★]

RICH TEEN FLEES JUSTICE

Ethan Couch

(P1) Texas officials are convinced that Ethan Couch, the teen who killed four people in a DRUNKEN-DRIVING incident in 2013, FLED the country with the help of his mother.

(P2) Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson described in a PRESS CONFERENCE Tuesday how Couch left the country and possibly VIOLATED his PROBATION.

(P3) Anderson said Couch and his mother Tonya Couch drove their PICKUP TRUCK across the border into Mexico. Anderson called it a planned escape.

(P4) Anderson said that authorities learned from an interview with an UNIDENTIFIED SOURCE that there was “a GOING AWAY PARTY” for the mother and son before they left town.

(P5) Anderson said that this confirmed “what we had suspected all along” — that Couch and his mother were actively trying to avoid authorities.

(P6) Couch was picked up in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, on Monday at 6 p.m. local time along with his mother. According to Anderson, the Couches are still in the CUSTODY of Mexican authorities and will be returning to the U.S. “shortly.”

(P7) Tonya Couch is expected to face charges which could carry a SENTENCE of between two and 10 years BEHIND BARS.

(P8) Ethan Couch already has a HEARING scheduled on Jan. 19 to allow him to be treated as an adult rather than a JUVENILE. Even if he is transferred to an adult court, however, the maximum amount of time that he will spend in jail is 120 days. He will then probably have to wear a TRACKING DEVICE for the REMAINDER of his original 10-year probation period.

(P9) Couch, who was 16 when the accident occurred, was originally convicted of four counts of MANSLAUGHTER but was not sentenced to any jail time; instead, he was given 10 years’ probation — a punishment considered a mere SLAP ON THE WRIST by critics, and one that OUTRAGED the victims’ families.

(P10) Couch’s BLOOD ALCOHOL LEVEL at the time of the accident was 0.24, three times the legal limit. The beer he drank had been stolen from a local liquor store. While speeding, he hit and killed four people and injured nine others.

(P11) Couch and both of his wealthy parents had had previous RUN-INS with legal authorities.

(P12) Couch’s legal defense team, which included PSYCHOLOGIST Dr. G. Dick Miller, argued that the teen suffered from “affluenza” (AFFLUENCE plus INFLUENZA), meaning his IRRESPONSIBLE behavior and lifestyle were a product of his wealthy UPBRINGING and his DYSFUNCTIONAL parents, who set no limits for his behavior.

(P13) Part of Couch’s probation MANDATES that he not drink alcohol for 10 years, but photos of him appearing to drink have SURFACED on social media.

WORDS: 428

SOURCE: https://gma.yahoo.com/sheriff-says-affluenza-teen-had-going-away-party-163826923–abc-news-topstories.html

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Stories like this happen everywhere in the world. Have there been any incidents in your country involving wealthy teenagers or young adults behaving badly?
  3. How is growing up in a wealthy family different than growing up in a financially average family? What are the positives and negatives?
  4. What do you think should happen now to Ethan and Tonya Couch?
  5. Are the laws against drunken driving in your country very strong?

EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:

What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.

  • Drunken driving
  • Press conference
  • Pickup truck
  • Unidentified source
  • Going away party
  • Behind bars
  • Tracking device
  • Slap on the wrist
  • Blood alcohol level
  • Run-in

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BEING AN ENTREPRENEUR IS HARD

[BUSINESS ★★]

BEING AN ENTREPRENEUR IS HARD

20150901170738-happy-man-stress-free-business-man

(P1) Our society CRAVES INSTANT GRATIFICATION — we want things now and we want them fast.

(P2) Entrepreneurship is much cooler than it was years ago.

(P3) The thought of being an entrepreneur is extremely appealing, which has led to an ONSLAUGHT of products and courses with names similar to:

(P4) How to Earn SIX FIGURES in Six Weeks

(P5) Build an Online EMPIRE Working on Your Laptop at the Beach

(P6) Make Money 24/7 While You Sleep

(P7) Become Your Own Boss and Make Millions by Tomorrow

(P8) The truth is, entrepreneurship is hard.

(P9) There are no SHORTCUTS to success. You have to work extremely hard. Don’t believe anyone who tells you different.

(P10) So why are there so many DECEPTIVE products and courses related to entrepreneurship? The promise of instant gratification! Would people be interested in course and product titles such as:

(P11) Work Several Years for Little to No Pay

(P12) How to Get 3 Hours of Sleep a Night and Always Be Stressed

(P13) Quit Your 9-5 Job and Work Twice as Hard

(P14) Lose Your Financial Security While You Try to Succeed

(P15) Those titles wouldn’t sell because they wouldn’t excite anyone. Would entrepreneurship be a sexy topic if there were stories published about all the failures and SHATTERED dreams? NOT A CHANCE.

(P16) The truth about entrepreneurship isn’t mentioned nearly enough. Entrepreneurs need to know that it’s going to be hard and quick success is RARE.

(P17) You have to start with the understanding that failure is possible.

(P18) Entrepreneurs are brave individuals. Without risk, there is no reward.

(P19) You have to work harder than you have ever worked before.

(P20) While many courses and programs promise MINIMAL work, that just isn’t the reality.

(P21) You have to be willing to learn.

(P22) A successful entrepreneur is never done with learning. He or she is always looking for new information and INSIGHT. A successful entrepreneur reads books, networks with other business people, and establishes VALUABLE relationships.

(P23) Being an entrepreneur isn’t easy, but amazing things can happen when you start with realistic EXPECTATIONS, work extremely hard, and always keep learning.

WORDS: 340

SOURCE: http://www.businessinsider.com/3-hard-truths-people-rarely-mention-about-entrepreneurship-2016-1

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Would you like to start your own business?
  3. Do you work long hours at your current job?
  4. Entrepreneurs have to be very PATIENT. Do you think you are a patient person?
  5. Do you know anyone who has ever tried a “GET RICH QUICK” program? Were they successful with it?

EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:

What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.

  • Instant gratification
  • Six figures
  • Not a chance
  • Get rich quick

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US MARINES DROP GOOGLE’S “ROBO-DOGS”

[TECHNOLOGY ★]

US MARINES DROP GOOGLE’S “ROBO-DOGS”

Robodog

(P1) Some ideas are so cool that it’s easy to OVERLOOK important details.

(P2) When first introduced, the LS3 robot dogs created by Google-owned Boston Dynamics seemed like they could be very useful.

(P3) It seems, though, that these robo-dogs have one small problem: Like quite a few real dogs, they make too much noise.

(P4) As Kyle Olson, a spokesman for the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab, told Military.com, the Marines were disappointed by “the LIMITATIONS of the robot. It is so loud that it would reveal its position to the enemy.”

(P5) This has caused the robo-dogs to be retired before they had a chance to become regular members of battle SQUADS.

(P6) The whole project cost around $42 million and was a COLLABORATION between Boston Dynamics and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which tests innovative military ideas.

(P7) A US Marines spokesman confirmed that the noise levels suggested the robot dogs couldn’t be used on the BATTLEFIELD, but said that was never the goal of the project, which was designed as a learning experiment.

(P8) Boston Dynamics founder Marc Raibert said: “LS3 is a research program to demonstrate the FEASIBILITY of robot dogs. It should not be considered a failure.”

(P9) Raibert CHARACTERIZED LS3 as “about as quiet as a typical MOTOR VEHICLE, such as a car or Humvee.”

(P10) Boston Dynamics did make a smaller, quieter robo-animal, NICKNAMED Spot. The problem, however, is that Spot couldn’t carry much — around 40 lbs, or one-tenth of what the bigger robo-dogs could carry. It had fewer CAPABILITIES in general.

(P11) Raibert described improvement in the noise levels of the robo-dogs: “LS3 is about 50 times quieter than BigDog, its PREDECESSOR, and Spot is 10-20 times quieter than LS3. They are not as quiet as people and animals, but we are making good progress.”

WORDS: 299

SOURCE: http://www.cnet.com/news/googles-robot-dog-soldiers-rejected-by-marines-for-simple-reason/

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. What could a robot dog do that a real dog couldn’t do? What could a real dog do that a robot dog couldn’t do?
  3. Are the spokesmen quoted in the article making EXCUSES because the project didn’t work?
  4. Do you think that people will have robot SERVANTS in the future?
  5. $42 million seems like a lot of money. Do you think that military services and other government agencies often waste money?

EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:

What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.

  • Motor vehicle

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THE STRANGE, DARK NIGHTS OF ROMANIA’S BEAR DANCERS

[TRAVEL ★★★]

THE STRANGE, DARK NIGHTS OF ROMANIA’S BEAR DANCERS

Bear Dancers

(P1) To OUTSIDERS, the sight of a TROUPE of dancing bears, DECKED OUT in blood-red TASSELS, STOMPING through the snowy streets of a small Romanian town might be a strange, almost SINISTER sight.

(P2) But for those who live in Romania’s eastern Moldova region, the arrival of the bears – who are actually local RESIDENTS wearing real bearskins — is a time of celebration.

(P3) The event takes place every year between Christmas and New Year’s.

(P4) It’s a TRADITION that, until recently, few beyond the TIGHT-KNIT RURAL communities of the Trotus Valley have WITNESSED.

(P5) But a series of images by New York-based photographer Diana Zeyneb Alhindawi has captured this mysterious ceremony and brought it to a wider audience.

(P6) Alhindawi, a former aid worker now PURSUING photo projects mainly in Africa, is half-Romanian and lived there until she was 8, when her family left as REFUGEES, first to Canada and then New York.

(P7) “The bear dances were always one of my favorite memories,” she tells CNN. “It’s a joyous event, although the dancers don’t look that way in the pictures — they’re trying to look FIERCE.”

(P8) Alhindawi’s beautiful images show men and women in full bear COSTUMES, PARADING through the streets in and around her old HOMETOWN, Moinesti.

(P9) The bear dancing is meant to DRIVE AWAY evil spirits.

(P10) According to Alhindawi, the tradition owes its origins to the time when local GYPSIES, also known as Roma, would come into towns from the forests in which they lived, bringing real bears with them.

(P11) Alhindawi says this took place as recently as the 1930s.

(P12) Her grandmother, now in her 80s, recalls seeing Roma leading bears on LEASHES down from the forest when she was five or six years old.

(P13) “Roma don’t write their history down,” says Alhindawi. “I’ve done research but no one can FIGURE OUT how they went from live bears to people dressed as bears.”

(P14) The costumes involved in the dance are actual bearskins.

(P15) While bear dancing was once EXCLUSIVELY a Roma activity, Alhindawi says the Roma can no longer afford it. A ban on bear hunting has ESCALATED the price of the skins up to €2,000 ($2,200).

(P16) Most Roma, she says, are poor. They have sold their old bearskins and can’t afford new ones.

(P17) Even though the bear dancing tradition is still CHERISHED by locals, Alhindawi says it’s in danger of disappearing as local cultures are DILUTED by Western influences and many people leave Romania for other countries.

(P18) “Romania has a problem because there are few jobs,” says Alhindawi. “Young people go to Italy or Spain or other places to work.

(P19) “In the rural VILLAGES, it’s mostly older people and very young kids who are left. Everyone else is gone.”

(P20) She says she hopes her photos will help PIQUE international interest in the tradition and perhaps bring visitors to an area that few tourists know about.

WORDS: 480

SOURCE: http://edition.cnn.com/2015/11/01/travel/cnnphotos-bear-dance/index.html

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Bears are not common animals, but are found in small numbers in many countries around the world. Does your country have bears?
  3. Are there any unusual folk traditions in the rural villages of your country?
  4. How do you celebrate the coming of the New Year? Do you celebrate both the Western and Chinese New Years?
  5. Do you take a lot of photographs when you travel? What do you like to take photographs of?

EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:

What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.

  • Decked out
  • Tight-knit
  • Drive away
  • Figure out

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ACID FROM TRAIN WRECK LEAKS INTO NEARBY RIVER

[ENVIRONMENT ★★]

ACID FROM TRAIN WRECK LEAKS INTO NEARBY RIVER

Train Wreck

(P1) Authorities fear SULPHURIC ACID has LEAKED from a DERAILED FREIGHT TRAIN near the town of Julia Creek in north-west Queensland, Australia, into a nearby WATERWAY.

(P2) For almost three days, emergency services have been trying to reach the site near Julia Creek where the train carrying more than 800,000 litres of sulphuric acid derailed.

(P3) Police said it was possible that 31,500 litres of the acid leaked from the train after it derailed 20 kilometres east of the OUTBACK town on Sunday.

(P4) Results from scientific testing up to eight kilometres DOWNSTREAM has raised concerns about leakage into Horse CREEK.

(P5) Bad weather continues to HAMPER efforts by emergency authorities to access the site.

(P6) Inspector Trevor Kidd from the Mount Isa Police said authorities were looking at strategies to NEUTRALIZE the acid.

(P7) Police said drones and other technology were being used to help with access, MONITORING, and mapping of the crash site.

(P8) Police said the Flinders Highway remained closed in both directions between Julia Creek and Richmond.

(P9) They said the two-kilometre EXCLUSION ZONE would be in place for least another 48 hours.

(P10) Queensland Rail spokesman Chris Keye said that the group was working to restore rail services on the Mount Isa line as quickly as possible.

(P11) He said there were plans to build a temporary rail track around the derailment site near Julia Creek.

(P12) Mr Keye said the CONTINGENCY PLANS could see services restored by next week.

(P13) Mr Keye said more than 50 Queensland Rail staff would be ON-SITE, with many staff returning early from their holidays in order to help.

(P14) The sulphuric acid had been bought by Incitec Pivot Limited (IPL) as an ESSENTIAL ingredient for the making of FERTILIZER at its local factory.

(P15) The company said the sulphuric acid was used in the MANUFACTURING process for ammonium phosphate fertilizers at that IPL plant, and was a regular purchase for that operation.

WORDS: 317

SOURCE: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-12-30/fear-sulphuric-acid-leaked-train-derailed-waterway-julia-creek/7060070

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Students in CHEMISTRY classes learn that sulphuric acid is highly dangerous. Did you take chemistry class in high school or university? Did you enjoy it?
  3. Does your country have an extensive network of passenger and freight railroads? Have you traveled by train?
  4. The Australian outback is a very empty and REMOTE area of that country. What are the most remote and least populated areas in your country?
  5. Have you ever been involved in a public emergency situation? What happened?

EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:

What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.

  • Sulphuric acid
  • Freight train
  • Exclusion zone
  • Contingency plan
  • On-site

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ARE BIG OR SMALL FAMILIES BETTER?

[LIFE ★]

ARE BIG OR SMALL FAMILIES BETTER?

Big Family

(P1) One great big happy family may not be a good idea.

(P2) A new study suggests that the more children a family has, the less likely those children will have a good life.

(P3) On average, children in larger families have lower PARENTAL INVESTMENT and worse OUTCOMES.

(P4) The researchers were able to match the number and timing of births in a family to a number of mental and BEHAVIORAL TRAITS.

(P5) They were able to measure parental ENGAGEMENT with children, such as time spent with each child.

(P6) They found that in families with more children, parents engaged with each child less. This CORRESPONDED with higher chances of poor outcomes for those children.

(P7) The effects were different for girls and boys. Whereas girls typically saw a larger negative effect on COGNITIVE abilities, boys had worse behavioral outcomes.

(P8) The researchers found that children didn’t grow out of the negative effects over time.

(P9) “The negative effects are not temporary; they get worse AS TIME GOES ON,” they said.

(P10) Though the researchers warn that further study would be needed, the CORRELATIONS between the number of children and negative life outcomes were significant.

(P11) Based on the study, it seems that CONTRARY to the popular saying, more children may not be MERRIER.

WORDS: 210

SOURCE: http://www.businessinsider.com/kids-from-big-families-less-likely-to-succeed-2015-12

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Was your own family big or small? Which do you think is better?
  3. How many children would you like to have?
  4. Most couples nowadays seem to want two children – one girl and one boy if possible. Why is two considered the ideal size?
  5. Psychologists say that children compete for parental attention and resources. Have you ever experienced or observed this?

EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:

What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.

  1. Parental investment
  2. As time goes on

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