NETFLIX GOES GLOBAL

[TECHNOLOGY ★]

NETFLIX GOES GLOBAL

netflix-3-1500x1000

(P1) Netflix has gone live in nearly every country in the world.

(P2) The firm announced it had switched on its service in 130 additional countries.

(P3) It said it was still trying to expand to China. The other exceptions are North Korea, Syria, and Crimea, where it is banned from operating by US law because of political difficulties and wars in progress.

(P4) The announcement was made by the firm’s chief executive Reed Hastings at the CES tech show in Las Vegas.

(P4) He also confirmed that Netflix would begin offering HDR (high dynamic range) content later this year.

(P5) “We were expecting Netflix to go everywhere, but this has happened more quickly than we thought,” commented Fernando Elizalde from the tech consultancy Gartner.

(P6) “In some of the EMERGING ECONOMIES it will only be people in URBAN areas that will be able to use it because of limited internet availability.”

(P7) Mr Hastings said Netflix was in talks with the Chinese government, but admitted it would take time to reach an agreement.

(P8) “In China you need specific permission from the government to operate, so we are continuing to work on that and we are very patient.”

(P9) But one company watcher had doubts.

(P10) “China is going to be A TOUGH NUT TO CRACK given that that three strong domestic services already exist,” said Mike Goodman from Strategy Analytics.

(P11) As part of its expansion, Netflix has added Korean, Chinese, and Arabic to its list of supported languages.

(P12) That brings the total number – in which the firm provides subtitles, captions, and alternative audio – to 21 languages.

(P13) For consumers who already have Netflix, the biggest change may be the addition of HDR.

(P14) High dynamic range video allows COMPATIBLE TVs to show millions more colours and a wider dynamic range, adding shades of brightness in between black and white and letting more detail be shown.

(P15) Many experts believe the visual impact is very impressive. One consequence of using the format, however, is that it requires more data, and few TVs support it yet.

(P16) Mr Hastings said users with compatible TVs should get a “VISCERAL SENSATION that’s pretty amazing”.

WORDS: 353

SOURCE: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-35247309

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. Do you currently subscribe to Netflix or a similar service?
  3. Are you more interested in watching American films and television shows, or ones from your own country?
  4. Do you own a high-definition television set? A DVD player? A Blu-Ray player?
  5. Receiving HDR signals will require another UPGRADE to television sets. Are you willing to pay more money for better visual quality?

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.

  • Emerging economy
  • A tough nut to crack

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TRAVEL WITH YOUR DOG

[LIFE ★★]

TRAVEL WITH YOUR DOG

Cocker Spaniel dogs

(P1) More people than ever are taking ROAD TRIPS and are bringing their dogs with them. While we are on the road, we want to keep our dogs safe, because they are members of the family.

(P2) Dogs should never ride on your lap or next to you in the passenger seat. If you were to stop suddenly, your dog could go through your car’s front window. If there is an accident and your dog isn’t RESTRAINED, he could PANIC, get out of the car, and get lost.

(P3) Follow these tips to keep you and your dog safe:

(P4) Dogs should be in the back of your vehicle in a roomy CRATE. The crate should be secured so that it does not slide around.

(P5) If your dog is not used to riding in a car, take short rides with him first. He will learn to associate car rides with being with you, and it will make the rides a pleasurable experience for him.

(P6) Talk to your dog while you drive! It will keep him calm and happy.

(P7) When traveling with a dog, always add in extra time. If you think it will take you four hours to reach your destination, add an additional hour to the trip. Take breaks every few hours to allow your dog to ELIMINATE and to exercise. A short walk is very good.

(P8) Make sure that your dog drinks plenty of water during these stops.

(P9) What should you bring for your road trip?

(P10) Your dog’s medical records and medications

(P11) A bowl and plenty of water

(P12) Treats, his favorite toy, blanket, and dog bed

(P13) Trash bags to pick up waste

(P14) Plenty of dog food

(P15) Make sure your car is well VENTILATED and cool, and never leave your dog alone in a parked car, not even for a couple of minutes. This is very important. On hot days, even in the shade, cars are like ovens; they heat up, and the results can be LIFE-THREATENING for your dog (for children and babies, too). Temperatures inside cars can reach 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

(P16) You don’t want your dog locked inside your car on cold days either. Temperatures can PLUMMET and dogs can freeze.

(P17) If you do take your dog on the road with you, you have numerous hotel options. Many places welcome WELL-BEHAVED dogs. There are websites about PET-FRIENDLY hotels that you can check IN ADVANCE.

WORDS: 397

SOURCE: http://petnewsandviews.com/2015/12/keep-pets-safe-while-youre-on-the-road-with-them/

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. Have you ever traveled with a pet?
  3. Other pets like cats are much more difficult to travel with. Why is that true?
  4. If you like dogs, do you prefer bigger or smaller dogs?
  5. American really do consider their pets to be members of the family. Is that also true in your country?

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.

  • Road trip
  • Life-threatening
  • Well-behaved
  • Pet-friendly
  • In advance

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SEVEN REASONS NOT TO TAKE A JOB

[BUSINESS ★]

SEVEN REASONS NOT TO TAKE A JOB

job-search-career

(P1) From time to time, all of us go looking for a new job. But there are certain WARNING SIGNS that should make you THINK TWICE before accepting a new position. Here are a few:

(P2) 1. Everyone working at the company is new

(P3) High staff TURNOVER is always a RED FLAG. Why does the company have such a hard time keeping good people?

(P4) 2. INTERVIEWER complains about their current staff

(P5) If your interviewer BADMOUTHS employees to a job candidate, what do you think he will say about you after he hires you?

(P6) 3. The language describing the job is not clear

(P7) This suggests that the job itself won’t be clear, either.

(P8) 4. The language describing the job is hard to believe

(P9) If it sounds too good to be true, it is.

(P10) 5. The job is advertised over and over again

(P11) If you see the same job advertisement many times, that means something. Something bad!

(P12) 6. What is the CAREER PATH?

(P13) If the interviewer can’t tell you how you would make progress in the organization, you might get stuck in a DEAD END JOB.

(P14) 7. Bad body language

(P15) As you walk through the company, look around. Do people seem happy or unhappy? If they look like they don’t want to be there, remember – that could be you if you accept the job offer.

WORDS: 228

SOURCE: http://www.businessinsider.com/10-signs-you-shouldnt-take-the-job-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. When was the last time that you interviewed for a new job? Did you get hired?
  3. What was the best interview you ever had? What was the worst?
  4. Do you get very nervous before or during interviews?
  5. Have you ever been stuck in a dead end job?

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.

  • Warning sign
  • Think twice
  • Red flag
  • Career path
  • Dead end job

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NO MORE BANANAS?

[ENVIRONMENT ★★]

NO MORE BANANAS?

Bananas

(P1) The world’s most popular type of BANANA is facing a major health CRISIS. According to a new study, a disease caused by a powerful FUNGUS is killing the Cavendish banana, which ACCOUNTS FOR 99% of the banana market around the globe. The disease, called Tropical Race 4 (TR4), has affected banana CROPS in southeast Asia for decades. In recent years, it has spread to the Middle East and the African nation of Mozambique. Now experts fear the disease will appear in Latin America, where most of the world’s bananas are grown.

(P2) “It isn’t there yet,” scientist Randy Ploetz said. He is one of the authors of the study. “But our concern is that it will somehow get across the Atlantic, ESTABLISH itself in the Americas, and cause some serious DAMAGE there.”

(P3) Once a banana plant is INFECTED with TR4, it cannot get NOURISHMENT from water, and BASICALLY dies of thirst. TR4 lives in soil, and can easily end up on a person’s boots. If the boots are then worn on a field where Cavendish bananas are grown, the disease could be transferred. “Once a field has been CONTAMINATED with the disease, you can’t grow Cavendish bananas there anymore,” Ploetz says. “The disease lasts a long time in the soil.”

(P4) Bright yellow Cavendish bananas are produced in mass quantities and are popular among consumers. “They’re what you buy in the grocery store, what you slice up and put on your cereal, and what your mom uses to make banana bread,” Ploetz says. “Consumers like the way Cavendish looks and tastes.”

(P5) But Cavendish is also particularly VULNERABLE to TR4. “You see a big field of bananas and each one is identical to its neighbor,” Ploetz says. “And they are all vulnerable to this disease. So once one plant gets infected, it just SPREAD LIKE WILDFIRE throughout that entire PLANTATION.”

(P6) Bananas have faced this kind of crisis before. In the mid-1900s, the most popular banana at the time was nearly WIPED OUT by an earlier version of TR4.

(P7) One solution to address the problem, Ploetz says, is to try to develop new bananas that can resist TR4. “It really needs to be done, but we don’t have it yet.” He notes that we still have time before we need to worry about the Cavendish banana disappearing. “The question is, how much time do we have?” he says. “I don’t know. I hope TR4 never gets over here, but EVENTUALLY it probably will.”

WORDS: 415

SOURCE: http://www.timeforkids.com/news/bye-bye-bananas/331666

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. Do you like bananas? What are your favorite fruits?
  3. Have you ever grown fruits or vegetables yourself?
  4. How could the banana disease travel from Africa and Asia to the Americas?
  5. What do you think is the best way to solve this banana problem? Protect against the disease, cure the disease, or create new bananas that aren’t vulnerable to the disease?

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.

  • Account for
  • Spread like wildfire
  • Wipe out

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OWL CAFES ARE NOW POPULAR IN TOKYO

[TRAVEL ★★★]

OWL CAFES ARE NOW POPULAR IN TOKYO

Owl Cafe

(P1) Tokyo’s Akihabara DISTRICT is popular with tourists who love Japanese “MANGA” comics, as well as electronics and video games.

(P2) But down a quiet street is a very different environment.

(P3) Shusaku Yasu, who loves OWLS, has created an “owl café,” Akiba Fukurou.

(P4) In the owl café, around 25 owls of varying sizes and BREEDS interact with human guests. It’s not a big space — around 400 square feet in total. The owls, which sit on PERCHES around the room. are well behaved and ENTRANCING.

(P5) Akiba Fukurou is the latest in a line of animal cafes that are POPPING UP up around Tokyo. First were cat cafes, then rabbit cafes, snake cafes, and now owls.

(P6) Yasu says that he’s had people return “60 or 70 times” to the owl café.

(P7) This might be because customers are allowed quite a high degree of interaction with the Akiba owls. For a fee of ¥1500 ($12) patrons are invited to pick an owl and sit at one of the small tables with it, petting their soft feathers.

(P8) Sessions with the owls last about an hour, and at the end of it Yasu or his assistant with take a photo of you with your new feathered companion.

(P9) The ‘cafe’ element of the experience is significantly LACKING, however. There is bottled water, but clearly the CLIENTELE is more interested in owls than coffee.

(P10) The owls are fed away from the café, on a diet of pink, frozen mice.

(P11) When you see the many different owls at the cafe, it becomes clear how big the owl kingdom really is. Shrimp, a pygmy owl who is new, is the smallest owl and is still GETTING USED TO people.

(P12) Others include Charles Xavier, a black owl, Snowman, Kabuki, Mr. Satoshi,  Sweet Potato, and Gorilla.

(P13) Yasu enjoys creating the names.

(P14) He gets the owls from a breeder friend. They are a mix of native and imported species, mostly from Europe.

(P15) “They’re IMPRINTED on humans as soon as they hatch,” Yabe tells us. “Humans are the first thing they see so they grow up used to us.”

(P16) At night, he takes them all home, for mouse dinners and bedtime. Although you wonder how much sleep he gets, in an apartment full of NOCTURNAL birds. Tokyo is noisy enough TO BEGIN WITH.

WORDS: 388

SOURCE: http://edition.cnn.com/2015/12/09/travel/tokyo-akiba-fukuro-owl-cafe/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. Would you visit this owl café?
  3. Have you ever been to a PETTING ZOO when guests can pet the animals?
  4. What benefits do you people get from interacting with animals?
  5. Owls are cute partly because of their big eyes. What other CHARACTERISTICS of animals do people find APPEALING?

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.

  • Pop up
  • Get used to
  • To begin with

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OBAMA KIDNAPPING PLOT DISCOVERED

[WORLD NEWS ★]

OBAMA KIDNAPPING PLOT DISCOVERED

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(P1) Officials in Washington say they’ve ARRESTED a North Dakota man who travelled to the nation’s capital to KIDNAP a dog belonging to President Barack Obama.

(P2) SECRET SERVICE agents INTERVIEWED Scott D. Stockert of Dickinson, North Dakota, at a Washington hotel after receiving information that he was on his way to the capital to kidnap a “pet” owned by the first family. The first family has two PORTUGUESE WATER DOGS, Bo and Sunny. Officials arrested Stockert after finding weapons in his car.

(P3) During the interview, agents asked Stockert whether he had access to any weapons, and Stockert admitted having two guns in his truck. Agents searched the truck and found a shotgun and rifle as well as a MACHETE, a BILLY CLUB, and AMMUNITION. The court document says Stockert was not a registered gun owner and that he was charged with violating District of Columbia gun laws.

(P4) Stockert told agents that he was “Jesus Christ” and that his parents were President John F. Kennedy and actress Marilyn Monroe and that he came to Washington to announce he was running for president.

(P5) Stockert was released Friday but must wear an ANKLE MONITOR.

(P6) The Obama family’s search for a dog to join them at the WHITE HOUSE was widely PUBLICIZED. On election night in 2008, then President-elect Obama said that his daughters, Sasha and Malia, had “earned the new puppy that’s coming with us to the White House.” Bo, a male Portuguese water dog, joined the family in 2009. Sunny, a female Portuguese water dog, joined the family in 2013.

(P7) The dogs have been a regular presence at White House events and have been frequently photographed.

WORDS: 277

SOURCE: http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2016/01/08/secret-service-agents-arrest-man-in-washington-plot-to-kidnap-obamas-dog.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. Stockert clearly has MENTAL HEALTH issues. Is it possible to tell whether such people are actually dangerous or not?
  3. Famous people need a lot of protection these days. What types of protection do they use?
  4. The main job of the United States Secret Service is to protect the President and other top officials. Is there a similar special agency in your country?
  5. When kidnappers ask for a RANSOM, do you think they should be paid or not?

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.

  • Billy club
  • Ankle monitor
  • Mental health

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JUSTIN BIEBER ASKED TO LEAVE MEXICAN HISTORIC SITE

[CULTURE AND ENTERTAINMENT ★★]

JUSTIN BIEBER ASKED TO LEAVE MEXICAN HISTORIC SITE

R justin bieber free concert 120612

(P1) A Mexican official said Friday that Canadian pop star Justin Bieber and his ENTOURAGE were asked to leave the ARCHAEOLOGICAL site of Tulum after he tried to climb onto the RUINS.

(P2) Visitors can climb some ANCIENT PYRAMIDSPYRAMIDS in Mexico, but not those that are considered VULNERABLE or UNSTABLE.

(P3) Bieber has been on vacation in the Tulum area, on Mexico’s Caribbean coast south of Cancun, for several days.

(P4) Despite the singer’s REPUTATION for getting into trouble, a representative of an ECOTOURISM camp that Bieber visited near Tulum described him as “completely respectful.”

(P5) Bieber has been involved in several negative incidents in Latin America in recent years.

(P6) In 2013, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto denied a tweet by Bieber saying the singer met with the leader and his family prior to a show.

(P7) Bieber later said he was confused about whether the president was there or not.

(P8) That same year, Bieber faced two criminal complaints and demands for REFUNDS in Argentina.

(P9) Bieber angered Argentines by stopping a concert after less than an hour and not showing up for a PHOTO-OP that some fans paid hundreds of dollars extra for. The singer’s manager said Bieber was suffering from FOOD POISONING.

(P10) One Argentine lawyer accused Bieber of sending BODYGUARDS to attack a photographer outside a Buenos Aires NIGHTCLUB.

(P11) Another accused him of DISRESPECTING the Argentine flag before 45,000 of his ADORING fans known as “beliebers.”

(P12) Bieber also walked off the stage in Brazil that year, ending a concert early after someone threw a plastic bottle at him. Brazilian police tried unsuccessfully to question him about spraying a public building with GRAFFITI, a crime that carries a year’s prison SENTENCE.

WORDS: 283

SOURCE: http://www.nbcnews.com/pop-culture/music/justin-bieber-asked-leave-mexico-s-tulum-ruin-site-n493176

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. As a child star, Justin Bieber GREW UP in public. Do you think this had a negative effect on him?
  3. Many pop stars have reputations for behaving badly. Why do you think this is true?
  4. Justin Bieber’s FAN BASE is mostly young girls. What singers are popular with young girls in your country?
  5. Do you think that Justin Bieber will still be a star ten years from now?

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.

  • Photo-op
  • Food poisoning
  • Grow up
  • Fan base

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HOW AMERICAN FOOTBALL PLAYERS STAY WARM

[SPORTS ★]

HOW AMERICAN FOOTBALL PLAYERS STAY WARM

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(P1) With TEMPERATURES expected to be very low and WIND CHILLS even lower, Sunday’s WILD-CARD GAME in Minneapolis between the Seattle Seahawks and Minnesota Vikings could get NASTY if the players aren’t ready to handle the cold.

(P2) I’ve seen some BRUTAL weather on the field. Snow, wind, ice — YOU NAME IT. That stuff hurts. How can NFL players prepare for the difficult conditions?

(P3) Here are seven ways players can stay warm — and still play well — when the temperatures start to drop.

(P4) 1. Bring out VASELINE

(P5) A jar of Vaseline is an old trick from veteran players to block out the wind. It takes some time to SCRUB off after the game, but it does work.

(P6) 2. Hot chocolate and chicken BROTH

(P7) Drink hot chocolate while you are getting dressed for the game and REFUEL on the SIDELINE with some chicken broth. It’s a great way to keep your body temperature up.

(P8) 3. LAYER up

(P9) Players need to add more layers of clothing to keep warm. In Green Bay, the EQUIPMENT room was STOCKED with fleece TURTLENECKS. They’re very warm.

(P10) 4. Hand warmers

(P11) Those instant hand warmers we buy at GAS STATIONS are all over NFL locker rooms and sidelines during cold-weather games.

(P12) 5. Sideline heaters

(P13) Sideline heaters are the best. They feel as warm as jet engines.

(P14) 6. DOUBLE up on gloves and socks

(P15) Cold-weather gloves have more PADDING and are thicker than standard gloves. Players also wear glove liners underneath their gloves, and thin THERMAL socks underneath their regular game socks.

(P16) 7. Heated benches and helmet warmers

(P17) The heated benches are great. They instantly warm you up. The same goes for helmet warmers. These are attached to the back of the heated benches and are a must for any player. Putting on a cold helmet is terrible!

WORDS: 306

SOURCE: http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/14525394/seven-ways-nfl-players-stay-warm-frigid-conditions-nfl

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. Does it get very cold in your country? How do you stay warm?
  3. Would you rather spend time in very cold weather or very hot weather? What was the coldest and hottest weather you have ever experienced?
  4. Have you ever tried a winter sport like SKIING or ICE SKATING?
  5. Do you prefer American football or international football (soccer)?

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.

  • Wind chill
  • Wild-card game
  • You name it
  • Gas station
  • Ice skating

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MEXICAN MAYOR ASSASSINATED ON SECOND DAY IN OFFICE

[WORLD NEWS ★★]

MEXICAN MAYOR ASSASSINATED ON SECOND DAY IN OFFICE

Gisela Mota

(P1) The GOVERNOR of the Mexican state in which a MAYOR was shot dead a day after taking office has promised that he will “not RELENT” in bringing her killers to JUSTICE.

(P2) Graco Ramírez, governor of Morelos state, blamed “criminals” for the killing of the Temixco mayor, Gisela Mota. He did not say which CARTEL or gang might be responsible.

(P3) Mota, 33, was murdered when four suspects attacked her home, the state security commissioner, Jesús Alberto Capella, said. Two suspects were killed and three others captured after they fired on police and soldiers from a van, he added.

(P4) Morelos’s ATTORNEY GENERAL, Javier Pérez Durón, gave few details of the suspects’ identities, only saying they had been linked to other crimes. Capella later said that the suspects include two teenagers, aged 17 and 18, and a 32-year-old woman.

(P5) On Sunday, Ramírez set the Mexican flag to HALF-STAFF and declared three days of MOURNING.

(P6) “We will not return to how things were before,” he wrote on Twitter. “There will be no IMPUNITY.”

(P7) Ramón Castro Castro, the Roman Catholic BISHOP of Cuernavaca, held mass at Mota’s home on Sunday and later spoke CRITICALLY of a state where some areas are in the control of ORGANIZED CRIME.

(P8) “It was a warning to the other mayors,” Castro said to reporters. “If you don’t COOPERATE with organized crime, look at what will happen to you. It’s to scare them.”

(P9) Agustin Basave, the president of the PRD (Democratic Revolutionary Party), said, “During the current ADMINISTRATION [of President Enrique Pena Nieto], over 40 mayors have been ASSASSINATED. Mayors are extremely VULNERABLE.”

(P10) Last year, the mayor-elect of Jerecuaro was shot dead by gunmen at a bus station, and a mayoral candidate in Guerrero was found DECAPITATED. A threat to others was written on a sheet over her body.

(P11) About 100,000 people live in Temixco, about 60 miles south of Mexico City and near Cuernavaca, the state capital, where gangs regularly stage KIDNAPPINGS. A 2015 study by the Citizen Council for Public Safety and Criminal Justice found that Cuernavaca had replaced Acapulco as the most violent city in Mexico.

(P12) Mota was SWORN INTO office on New Year’s Day. She served in Mexico’s national congress from 2012 to 2015.

(P13) Graco Ramírez remembered Mota as his “young and dear friend.”

(P14) Basave said, “Gisela Mota was a strong and brave woman. She declared that her fight against crime would be direct and HEAD-ON.”

WORDS: 407

SOURCE: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jan/03/mexico-temixco-mayor-killed-gisela-mota-suspects

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. Women are now ROUTINELY targeted in drug-related violence in Mexico. Do you think that this is more SHOCKING than violence that only involves men?
  3. What could the Mexican government do to protect mayors and other PUBLIC SERVANTS?
  4. Why do criminals in some places feel that they can act with impunity?
  5. What was the worst act of political violence in your country?

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.

  • Attorney General
  • Half-staff
  • Organized crime
  • Swear in
  • Head-on
  • Public servant

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QUENTIN TARANTINO DEFENDS “THE HATEFUL EIGHT”

[CULTURE AND ENTERTAINMENT ★★★]

QUENTIN TARANTINO DEFENDS “THE HATEFUL EIGHT”

KurtRussellSamuelLJacksonHatefulEight

(P1) Quentin Tarantino’s first western, 2013’s Django Unchained, was his most popular film ever. The 52-year-old director’s latest movie, The Hateful Eight, is also set in THE WILD WEST, FULFILLING his desire “to breathe life into DORMANT genres and make them my own”.

(P2) Set in Wyoming after the AMERICAN CIVIL WAR, The Hateful Eight unites a cast of Tarantino regulars including Samuel L Jackson, Kurt Russell, Tim Roth, and Michael Madsen, along with Tarantino newcomers Demian Bichir, Bruce Dern, and Walton Goggins.

(P3) Jennifer Jason Leigh is the only woman of the eight.

(P4) Just as Django Unchained attracted criticism for its violence and racially charged language, so is The Hateful Eight, particularly the violence directed towards Leigh.

(P5) Leigh plays Daisy Domergue, a captured criminal who is being taken to her HANGING by BOUNTY HUNTER Kurt Russell.

(P6) Russell, who spent the four-and-a-half months of the shoot chained in HANDCUFFS to Leigh, explains that they “had worked out the violence carefully”.

(P7) “When this sort of action is involved, you need to trust that actor, because if you don’t you can’t do your scenes properly. I wanted to make it look EFFORTLESS and it was important that she was safe in my hands, that she could play the part as she needed to.”

(P8) Tarantino himself defends his script: “The violence is meant to send SHOCKWAVES through the audience, and to create sympathy with Daisy.

(P9) “I have trapped all my characters in a cabin during a BLIZZARD. It’s a PRESSURE COOKER and any piece of OUTRAGEOUS violence can happen.”

(P10) WITH RESPECT TO the race issues in the film, Tarantino admits that “over the last 18 months, many of the themes we were dealing with in the film, we were watching on our TV screens.”

(P11) Tarantino believes his scripts have a deeper meaning, saying: “I like masking what I want to say under a story. I think that no other genre deals with modern America better than the western. The westerns of the 1970s were very CYNICAL, for example.

(P12) “Django Unchained did really well and I hope it did reinvent the genre a little, so now we’ve got two big westerns coming to cinemas – The Revenant with Leonardo DiCaprio and this one. I’ve always said if you want to be known as a western director you have to make three of them, so I guess I might have to do one more.”

(P13) The Hateful Eight has the feeling of a Sixties EPIC film like Lawrence of Arabia or Once Upon a Time in the West, with a three-hour running time, a musical overture from VETERAN composer Ennio Morricone, and a 12-minute INTERMISSION for audiences.

(P14) Like some of those Sixties epics, the movie was shot on 70 MILLIMETER FILM. (However many cinemas will be showing a shorter non-70mm version of the movie as few theaters have the specialised equipment necessary to project it in 70mm.)

(P15) Last year Tarantino announced he might retire after making 10 films – The Hateful Eighth is his eighth, if Kill Bill is included as one movie. Russell, who starred for Tarantino in 2007’s Deathproof, believes that it would be a tragedy if he did retire, saying the director is “in A LEAGUE OF HIS OWN“.

(P16) “You just know within a few frames of this film opening who is directing it.

(P17) “Only every couple of generations does a talent come along like Quentin. I wish everyone in the industry got a chance to work with him. Trust me, it’s a crazy circus everyone should be a part of.”

WORDS: 591

SOURCE: http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-35220720

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. Have you seen any of Quentin Tarantino’s films such as Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill, or Django Unchained? Did you like them?
  3. Are you bothered by violence in films, or not really?
  4. Do you think a three-hour film is too long, or does it depend on the film?
  5. As Kurt Russell says, Tarantino has a very RECOGNIZABLE style. Are you interested in the style of film directors, or do you just want to be entertained?

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.

  • The Wild West
  • Bounty hunter
  • Pressure cooker
  • With respect to
  • A league of his own

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