WEEK 43

JUAN FELIPE HERRERA BECOMES FIRST MEXICAN-AMERICAN “POET LAUREATE” OF THE UNITED STATES

[CULTURE AND ENTERTAINMENT ★★★]

JUAN FELIPE HERRERA BECOMES FIRST MEXICAN-AMERICAN “POET LAUREATE” OF THE UNITED STATES

Juan Felipe Herrera

(P1) As a child, Juan Felipe Herrera learned to love poetry by singing about the MEXICAN REVOLUTION with his mother, a MIGRANT farmworker in California.

(P2) On Wednesday, Herrera becomes the first Hispanic American to serve as POET LAUREATE of the United States.

(P3) “I’m looking forward to a whole new world — and a new me,” Herrera said from his home in Fresno, Calif. “The times seem to be EVOLVING. All voices are important, and yet it seems that PEOPLE OF COLOR have a lot to say, particularly if you look through the poetry of young people — a lot of questions and a lot of concerns about immigration and security issues, you name it, big questions. All this is SWIRLING in the air.”

(P4) In a statement released Wednesday morning, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington, who selected Herrera, said that his poems “CHAMPION voices, traditions, and histories, as well as a cultural PERSPECTIVE, which is a VITAL part of our larger American identity.”

(P5) Herrera, 66, brings an EXTRAORDINARILY DIVERSE artistic BACKGROUND to the position. He has published more than a dozen collections of poetry, including “Half of the World in Light,” a DAZZLING selection of his verse and prose poems that won the National Book Critics Circle Award. He has also worked as an actor, PLAYWRIGHT, and musician, and he has published award-winning fiction and nonfiction for children and young adults. His VAST body of work DEMONSTRATES that — as he once wrote — poetry “is a way to ATTAIN a life without BOUNDARIES.”

(P6) While calling Herrera “the ELDER STATESMAN of Mexican American poetry,” former National Endowment for the Arts chairman Dana Gioia points to the SIGNIFICANCE of his connection to a younger generation. Herrera is “the first U.S. laureate whose work has EMERGED from the new ORAL TRADITIONS that have been TRANSFORMING American poetry over the past ­quarter-century,” Gioia says. “He can write traditional poems for the page, but many of his poems are designed primarily for spoken DELIVERY. His work is PERFORMATIVE, and COMMUNAL. In this sense, Herrera speaks powerfully to younger poets and audiences.”

(P7) And Gioia notes that the new poet laureate “looks at the world not from the TOP DOWN but from the BOTTOM UP.” It’s an approach Herrera ARTICULATED more than 30 years ago in a collection called “EXILES of Desire” when he spoke of “another idea of audience: the conquered, the UNKEMPT, the wounded, the forgotten, the dreaming.”

(P8) Other COLLEAGUES and fellow poets offered similarly high praise for Herrera and his CAPACIOUS work, which EMBRACES INFLUENCES from Walt Whitman to César Vallejo, from the Chicano Movement to the Beats.

(P9) Francisco Aragón, director of Letras Latinas at the University of Notre Dame, APPLAUDED the energy and FORMAL EXPERIMENTATION of his poetry. “The variety of his work is BREATHTAKING,” Aragón said. “There’s no poetic STRATEGY he hasn’t DEPLOYED. At heart, his is a POETICS of play — multilingual and linguistic SHENANIGANS — but INVESTED with deep EMPATHY for the people and subjects who POPULATE his poems.”

(P10) Jennifer Benka, executive director of the Academy of American Poets, EMPHASIZED that Herrera is no DREAMY poet CLOISTERED in an IVORY TOWER. “Juan Felipe is someone who believes that poetry can make a difference in people’s lives and communities,” she said. “He will bring an enthusiasm and electricity to the role of poet laureate that is sure to SPARK new and wider interest in the art form among people of all ages.”

(P11) Although the position is largely CEREMONIAL, laureates are free to use the PULPIT at the Library of Congress to PURSUE whatever INITIATIVES they like. Herrera already knows what themes he’ll focus on.

(P12) “I’m here to encourage others to speak,” he said, “to SPEAK OUT and SPEAK UP and write with their voices and their family stories and their sense of humor and their deep concerns and their way of speaking their own languages. I want to encourage people to do that with this amazing medium called poetry.”

(P13) In his most recent book of poems, “Senegal Taxi,” about children caught in the violence of Sudan, Herrera repeatedly cries: “Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!” That’s an IMPERATIVE close to his heart.

(P14) “Waking up is the biggest thing,” he said. “I’m a political poet — let us say a human poet, a poet that’s concerned with the PLIGHT of people who suffer. If words can be of assistance, then that’s what I’m going to use.”

(P15) For readers unfamiliar with his poetry, Herrera RECOMMENDS starting with “Laughing Out Loud, I Fly”, a 1998 collection written in English and Spanish for young people. “I did a lot of experimental work in that,” he said. “I was INSPIRED by Picasso. I had a great time.”

(P16) Herrera, who has degrees from UCLA, Stanford, and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, recently finished a two-year term as the poet laureate of California and is teaching at the University of Washington. His year-long TENURE as the 21st U.S. poet laureate will begin when he PARTICIPATES in the National Book Festival on Sept. 5 and presents a reading of his work at the Library of Congress on Sept. 15.

(P17) “My mother would be so happy,” Herrera said of his APPOINTMENT. “She’d be clapping. Maybe crying. And dancing.”

WORDS: 881

SOURCE: http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/books/juan-felipe-herrera-becomes-first-hispanic-american-us-poet-laureate/2015/06/09/12de51b8-0eb0-11e5-adec-e82f8395c032_story.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. Do you ever read poetry? What kinds of reading do you prefer?
  3. Who is the most famous living poet in your country?
  4. Herrera talks about “people of color” in the United States. Who does he mean?
  5. Herrera’s style of writing is close to the lives of ordinary people. Has literature become too REMOTE from ordinary experiences?

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.

  • Elder statesman
  • Oral tradition
  • Top down
  • Bottom up
  • Ivory tower
  • Speak out
  • Speak up

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NEW SOCCER STADIUM IN FRANCE IS AN UNUSUAL WORK OF ARCHITECTURE

[SPORTS ★★★] NEW SOCCER STADIUM IN FRANCE IS AN UNUSUAL WORK OF ARCHITECTURE

Bordeaux-Stadium_Herzog_de-Meuron_dezeen_784_5

(P1) The ARCHITECTURAL FIRM of Herzog & de Meuron has completed a MONUMENTAL new stadium in Bordeaux framed by 900 slim white COLUMNS, which will be one of the key VENUES for next year’s Euro football championship.

(P2) Officially INAUGURATED on Monday, the 42,000-seat Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux will HOST five matches during the UEFA Euro 2016 competition, and will become the home stadium of French team FC Girondins de Bordeaux.

(P3) Despite its size, Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron wanted the ARENA to feel light and ELEGANT – so it developed a design INSPIRED by the SLENDER pine trees of the Landes Forest, south of the city.

(P4) Slender columns support a sharp-edged rectangular roof, which steps down to create the curved bowl of the stadium.

(P5) “[The building’s] PURITY and GEOMETRICAL CLARITY inspires a sense of monumentality and GRACEFULNESS,” said Herzog & de Meuron in a statement.

(P6) “One might be TEMPTED to DRAW A COMPARISON with a classical TEMPLE.”

(P7) The building is located on the northern OUTSKIRTS of Bordeaux, next door to the 1980s-built Stadium VELODROME.

(P8) This PROMPTED the decision to create a building with geometries DERIVED from the surrounding LANDSCAPE rather than the historic city centre.

Bordeaux-Stadium_Herzog_de-Meuron_dezeen_784_6

(P9) “Special attention was paid to the INTEGRATION of the STRUCTURE into the grand landscape,” said Herzog & de Meuron.

(P10) “The METICULOUS geometrical arrangement of the bowl structure and columns reflects the PATTERN created by trees and paths.”

(P11) The columns surround all four sides of the structure. A large ribbon-like structure weaves back and forth among them to create a series of food stalls and toilet facilities around the PERIMETER of the arena.

Bordeaux-Stadium_Herzog-de-Meuron_dezeen_468_4

(P12) The bowl itself COMPRISES two TIERS of seating, divided up into four sections. Like most modern stadiums, these seating areas are sheltered beneath the roof, while the PITCH is entirely exposed to THE ELEMENTS.

(P13) The building’s structure is not visible from inside the bowl – the INTENTION was to avoid DISTRACTING the spectators’ attention. Instead, a LAYER of ACOUSTIC PANELS help to improve the quality of sound.

(P14) Other FACILITIES, including VIP rooms, media areas and team changing rooms, are contained within an area set directly below the bowl. There is also a 200-seat restaurant and a team MERCHANDISE shop.

(P15) “The architectural simplicity and pure lines of the bowl and its base ENSURE smooth SPECTATOR flows and EASE of ORIENTATION,” said the design team.

(P16) Herzog & de Meuron first UNVEILED its design for the Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux back in 2011. It will host both football and RUGBY matches, and will also be used as a venue for music concerts.

(P17) French landscape architect Michel Desvigne designed landscape improvements around the site, including an area for community sporting activities with basketball and tennis courts, and a children’s playground.

WORDS: 483

SOURCE: http://www.dezeen.com/2015/05/21/herzog-de-meuron-bordeaux-stadium-slender-white-columns/

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. Why do you think the architectural firm designed this stadium to look so different from other stadiums?
  3. The architects were inspired by natural forms. What sort of nature outing do you enjoy best – the mountains, the forests, or the seashore?
  4. Do you like traditional or modern architecture better?
  5. Do you often visit stadiums for sporting events or concerts?

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.

  • Draw a comparison
  • The elements

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POPE FRANCIS’S MESSAGE ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT AND CLIMATE CHANGE

[OPINION ★★★]

POPE FRANCIS’S MESSAGE ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT AND CLIMATE CHANGE

2014 Pastoral Visit of Pope Francis to Korea Closing Mass for Asian Youth Day  August 17, 2014  Haemi Castle, Seosan-si, Chungcheongnam-do  Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism Korean Culture and Information Service Korea.net (www.korea.net)  Official Photographer : Jeon Han This official Republic of Korea photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way. Also, it may not be used in any type of commercial, advertisement, product or promotion that in any way suggests approval or endorsement from the government of the Republic of Korea. If you require a photograph without a watermark, please contact us via Flickr e-mail. --------------------------------------------------------------- 교황 프란치스코 방한 제6회 아시아 청년대회 폐막미사 2014-08-17 충청남도 서산시 해미읍성 문화체육관광부 해외문화홍보원 코리아넷  전한

(P1) “He was a MYSTIC and a PILGRIM who lived in simplicity and in wonderful HARMONY with God, with others, with nature, and with himself. He shows us just how INSEPARABLE is the BOND between concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society, and interior peace.”

(P2) At the beginning of his ENCYCLICAL on climate change that will SHAKE UP environmental politics around the world, this is how Pope Francis describes St. Francis of Assisi, the saint who INSPIRED the name he chose.

(P3) It’s worth focusing first on the pope’s TRIBUTE to the holy man who REVERED animals and all of nature. St. Francis’s WORLDVIEW, the pope INSISTED, should not be “written off as NAIVE ROMANTICISM.”

(P4) The pope says FLATLY that a “very solid scientific CONSENSUS indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system,” that “things are now reaching a BREAKING POINT,” and that GREENHOUSE GASES are “released mainly as a result of human activity.” This can mean only that humanity “is called to recognize the need for changes of LIFESTYLE, production, and CONSUMPTION.”

(P5) There is no AMBIGUITY in what the pope is saying, which is why the critics will DESCEND UPON him. Even before Thursday’s formal release of the document, they accused him of MEDDLING in political and scientific questions that are beyond his PURVIEW.

(P6) This CRITIQUE is coming especially from conservatives who have welcomed the INTERVENTION of the Catholic Church on some political issues but not others, and particularly not this one. Yet progressives and conservatives alike should ATTEND TO what MOTIVATES Pope Francis here — not the usual left-right politics but a THEOLOGICAL concern for our OBLIGATION to care for our “common home,” a SKEPTICISM of a “THROWAWAY culture,” and an insistence that a belief in God means that human beings cannot put themselves at the center of the universe.

(P7) “We are not God,” the pope declares, and should not act as if we are “USURPING the place of God, even to the point of claiming an unlimited right to TRAMPLE his creation UNDERFOOT.” Believers who disagree with the pope will have to GRAPPLE with his religious understanding and not simply DISMISS his EMBRACE of a thoroughly ORTHODOX view that places the spiritual and the ETHICAL ahead of the material.

(P8) All of the pope’s TRADEMARK QUALMS about modern capitalism and his rejection of “a magical conception of the market” are sounded here, and there is a BITING comment aimed at those who use the word “freedom” to offer BLANKET DEFENSES of a system that leaves many behind: “To claim economic freedom,” he writes, “while real conditions BAR many people from real ACCESS to it, and while possibilities for employment continue to shrink, is to practice a DOUBLESPEAK which brings politics into disrepute.”

(P9) Yet any who claim that Francis is ignoring the Catholic past and inventing RADICAL new DOCTRINES will have to RECKON with the care he takes in paying HOMAGE to his PREDECESSORS, particularly Pope Benedict XVI and St. John Paul II. He CITES them over and over on the limits of markets and the URGENCY of environmental STEWARDSHIP. “Laudato Si (Praised Be)” is thus thoroughly consistent with more than a century of modern Catholic social teaching, and if it BREAKS NEW GROUND, it does so within the CONTEXT of a long tradition — going back to St. Francis himself.

(P10) Pope Francis POSES a challenge to those of us in the wealthy nations, and he speaks SPECIFICALLY about how “opinion makers, communications media and centres of power are far removed from the poor.” Ouch! He demands payment of an “ECOLOGICAL debt” between “north and south.” Again and again, he returns to the twin ideas that the world’s poor face the largest threat from climate change and that the world’s rich have a special obligation to deal with it. The pope who IMMERSED himself in the most MARGINALIZED neighborhoods of Buenos Aires has not forgotten where he came from.

(P11) But if Francis is making himself the Green Pope, it’s not just because he has a social AGENDA. Like his NAMESAKE saint, he believes in the TRANSFORMATIVE power of simplicity and COMPASSION. “We must,” he writes, “REGAIN the CONVICTION that we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for others and the world, and that being good and decent are worth it.” This is precisely where the personal and the political must meet.

WORDS: 750

SOURCE: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-pope-the-saint-and-the-climate/2015/06/17/2087095e-1531-11e5-9518-f9e0a8959f32_story.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. Do you have personal concerns about climate change? Or do you think other problems are more important?
  3. Why will Pope Francis’s new encyclical be CONTROVERSIAL?
  4. Pope Francis is often described as a “VISIONARY leader,” as Steve Jobs and some other business leaders have been described. What does it mean to be a visionary leader?
  5. Is Pope Francis only RELEVANT to Catholics, or do you think that he has a broader INFLUENCE?

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.

  • Breaking point
  • Descend upon
  • Attend to
  • Blanket defense
  • Doublespeak
  • Break new ground

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CHINA USES DRONES TO STAMP OUT CHEATING IN COLLEGE ENTRANCE EXAMS

[EDUCATION ★]

CHINA USES DRONES TO STAMP OUT CHEATING IN COLLEGE ENTRANCE EXAMS

A-police-aerial-surveilla-007

(P1) Authorities in China are employing SURVEILLANCE DRONES in an effort to STAMP OUT cheating in college entrance exams.

(P2) The STAKES are high in the tests, with the scores DETERMINING which TIER of university students can go to. Methods of cheating have included selling answers, hiring SURROGATE test takers, and using wireless equipment to communicate during the test.

(P3) But this year officials have UNLEASHED a six-PROPELLER drone, flown over two testing centres in Luoyang in Henan province on Sunday – the first day of the exam – to SCAN for signals being sent to devices which may have been SMUGGLED in. No such signals were DETECTED, local reports said.

(P4) The drone cost hundreds of thousands of yuan – EQUIVALENT to tens of thousands of British pounds – and is as big as a gas station pump when extended, according to official Lan Zhigang.

(P5) Lan said: “A drone has its ADVANTAGES. In an URBAN area full of tall buildings, various BARRIERS limit the operating range of devices on the ground, while the drone can rise up to 500 metres and detect signals over the whole city.”

(P6) Almost all Chinese high school graduates must take the test, with more than 9 million of them starting it on Sunday. Many students spend months CRAMMING and parents travel to the cities where the tests are given to stay with them during the exam, which can last two or three days.

(P7) The education ministry said on Saturday that it had arrested 23 people since late May over attempts to arrange cheating. Students caught cheating can be BARRED from taking the test for up to three years.

WORDS: 285

SOURCE: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/08/china-deploys-drones-stamp-out-cheating-college-entrance-exams

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 your country have high-stakes exams for college entrance?
  3. Do you feel confident when you take tests, or do tests make you nervous?
  4. Have you had the experience of cramming for an examination?
  5. What ideas do you have for preventing cheating on important tests?

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.

  • Stamp out

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ONE BILLION DOLLARS DISAPPEARS – WHERE IS MOLDOVA’S MONEY?

[BUSINESS ★★]

ONE BILLION DOLLARS DISAPPEARS – WHERE IS MOLDOVA’S MONEY?

Moldova Banking Crisis

(P1) A billion dollars is a lot for Europe’s poorest state of Moldova — particularly when it disappears.

(P2) Anti-corruption PROSECUTORS and American AUDITORS have been searching THE BOOKS for clues about the mysterious TRANSACTIONS, an embarrassment for the ex-Soviet state ON TRACK for EU membership.

(P3) The scandal has even threatened to DESTABILISE the banking system in the country of 3.5 million people.

(P4) The case of the VANISHING billion CAME TO LIGHT when the Central Bank of Moldova discovered that three banks have given out loans worth a total of $1 billion, or 15 percent of the IMPOVERISHED ex-Soviet state’s GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT.

(P5) The financial establishments — Banca de Economii, Banca Sociala, and Unibank — hold about a third of all bank ASSETS in the country, including money for PENSION payments.

(P6) The transactions APPARENTLY happened over the course of several days, just before the PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS in late November, in which pro-European Union parties narrowly SQUEEZED pro-Russian representatives out of the majority.

(P7) The RECIPIENTS of the funds have not been identified and now the money seems as good as gone.

(P8) “I cannot explain how one can steal such a large amount of money from such a small country,” the EU representative in Moldova, Pirkka Tapiola, said recently.

(P9) A report by a parliamentary committee that looked into the matter and was LEAKED to the press said some of the money may have been transferred to four Russian banks.

(P10) The leader of the country’s socialist opposition, Igor Dodon, said he suspects the money has ended up in the accounts of various OFFSHORE firms “where the trace was lost.”

(P11) “The money has been ALLOCATED with the knowledge it would never be repaid,” he told AFP.

(P12) To keep the three institutions from going BANKRUPT and POTENTIALLY CRASHING the entire banking system, the Moldova’s central bank now manages them directly.

(P13) The banks received a 9.4 billion leu ($700 million) loan that was meant to be paid back on March 27. However, even though the DEADLINE has passed, none of the rescue funds have been returned.

(P14) “I am 100 percent sure that the sum will not be returned, and the difference will turn into public DEBT,” the president of Moldova’s League of Bankers, Dumitru Ursu, told AFP.

(P15) Moldova’s debt is currently $1.7 billion.

(P16) Ursu accused the central bank of NEGLIGENCE, along with the country’s financial WATCHDOG CNPF and its anti-corruption prosecutor, since “these transactions could not have gone BELOW THEIR RADARS.”

(P17) The central bank’s deputy governor and CNPF’s president have been DISMISSED over the matter, but many ANALYSTS suspect that their lack of action over the transfers followed orders by INFLUENTIAL politicians who POCKETED some of the money.

(P18) Moldova’s prosecutor general has LAUNCHED a PROBE and two people, whose identities have not been DISCLOSED to the public, were DETAINED while others had their FUNDS FROZEN.

(P19) In a document disclosed last month, Moldova’s development partners, including the World Bank, the EU, and the United States, URGED the government to “make public the amount of state losses” from the incident.

(P20) The government then appealed to US audit firm Kroll to look into the affair.

(P21) “This mega-transfer had a fatal impact on the economy and PROVOKED sharp DEVALUATION of the Moldovan leu,” said Alexandru Fala, an economic analyst for Expert Grup.

(P22) The leu lost 42 percent of its value between November 1 and February 18 before PICKING UP in recent weeks.

(P23) “This sum may in the end cause the failure of the state budget,” said Dodon of the opposition party.

(P24) “Given the level of corruption in the justice system and the status of persons involved, to think that recovering the money is possible seems NAIVE.”

WORDS: 638

SOURCE: http://news.yahoo.com/1-billion-disappears-moldova-looks-answers-053120129.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. Could these suspicious transactions have happened without some important politicians and bankers knowing about them?
  3. Do you think that corruption can be LESSENED in countries that have a tradition of corruption? Or is that a HOPELESS idea?
  4. Do you think that investigators will ever find the missing billion dollars?
  5. Moldova, like Belarus, is a former part of the Soviet Union that is struggling economically as an independent nation. Other former Soviet republics like Estonia and Latvia are THRIVING. What makes a country succeed or fail economically?

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.

  • Below the radar
  • Frozen funds
  • Picking up

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ARGENTINA CONSIDERS MAKING STREET HARASSMENT A CRIME

[LIFE ★★]

ARGENTINA CONSIDERS MAKING STREET HARASSMENT A CRIME

CATCALL

(P1) When she left her house each day, Aixa Rizzo would BRACE herself for a BARRAGE of sexually LADEN comments from male electricians working on a project in her neighborhood.

(P2) It started with UNDER-THE-BREATH remarks, applause, and WHISTLES, but over several weeks developed into VULGARITIES about her body and CHANTS about sexual fantasies. One day, three of the men followed her, PROMPTING Rizzo to turn around and shower them with PEPPER SPRAY. The men SWORE at her and told her she was crazy, but they ULTIMATELY walked away.

(P3) “They shouted these things at me for an entire month,” the 20-year-old university student said in an interview with The Associated Press. “I couldn’t walk out of my house in peace.”

(P4) Frustrated by something ALL TOO COMMON in this South American country of 41 million, Rizzo in April posted a video on YouTube about her experience. She argued that verbal ASSAULTS could lead to physical abuse.

(P5) The video, seen by half a million people, TOUCHED A NERVE, turning Rizzo’s campaign into a CAUSE CELEBRE and prompting lawmakers to draft legislation that would make such street HARASSMENT a crime. A vote is expected within a few months.

(P6) The moves come amid a national campaign protesting physical attacks against women. Tens of thousands of Argentines TOOK TO THE STREETS last week in a march DUBBED “ni una menos,” meaning not one more woman lost to gender violence.

(P7) There are many CONTRADICTIONS in Argentina when it comes to gender equality. Women have equal rights under the law and there are more women than men ENROLLED in college. The country’s most powerful person is a woman — President Cristina Fernandez. But the MACHO culture of many Latin American countries is PERVASIVE here as well.

(P8) Many men, from taxi drivers to construction workers to WHITE COLLAR workers, frequently whistle or say things when women walk by.

(P9) “LEWD comments are just the TIP OF THE ICEBERG that MANIFESTS itself in DOMESTIC VIOLENCE,” said opposition congresswoman Victoria Donda, who has PUT FORWARD legislation making such verbal TAUNTS a crime.

(P10) Under Donda’s bill, which includes funds to raise awareness about abuse in schools and workplaces, women could report sexual harassment in public places.

(P11) A judge would then review the complaint, interview any witnesses, and decide whether a fine should be LEVIED.

(P12) The law is aimed at COMBATTING AGGRESSIVE sexual comments, not COMPLIMENTS about nice hair or clothes.

(P13) However, Orlando Britez, a 23-year-old construction worker, worries that men could be punished if women INTERPRET their comments as too aggressive.

(P14) “It means I would have to hold it in, and not say what I really want to” when women PASS BY, Britez said from a Buenos Aires worksite.

(P15) “If we say nice things, what’s wrong with that?” asked fellow construction worker Elio Borlio. “Things like, ‘Look at how beautiful you are.’”

(P16) The bill appears to have wide support, including among ruling party lawmakers, and two similar proposals are being considered by the MUNICIPALITY of Buenos Aires, the country’s capital and largest city.

(P17) Concern has been growing about increased violence against women, including a rise in reported cases of domestic abuse.

(P18) In 2010, the Supreme Court created the Office of Domestic Violence to receive and EVALUATE claims of abuse. The first year, the office dealt with 7,437 cases. By 2014, the number had risen to 10,573, a 42 percent increase.

(P19) There has also been a growth in the number of women killed in violent acts nationwide as well, according to Meeting House, an organization that works with BATTERED WOMEN. It says that 277 women were killed violently last year, including in cases of rape and kidnapping, up from 208 in 2008, when it began to COMPILE statistics.

(P20) Other countries in the region have considered similar bans on lewd comments.

(P21) Under a law passed in Peru in March, women can report street harassment and a judge then evaluates the claim and decides on a possible jail sentence.

(P22) A CATALYST for that legislation was an incident last year that SCANDALIZED the country. Peruvian singer and actress Magaly Solier claimed that a man masturbated behind her on a busy bus in Lima. The man was identified and Solier filed a police report. But a judge decided against pursuing charges, saying that because there was no physical contact, the complaint didn’t belong in court.

(P23) In her video, Rizzo tells a similar story. After the pepper spray incident, she tried to file a police report, but was told the men couldn’t be charged because they never touched her.

(P24) In a Facebook forum called “Action/Respect,” women share stories of men JEERING, hissing and calling out to them.

(P25) One woman recently wrote that men would shout at her even though she was six months pregnant.

(P26) Beyond the POTENTIAL for harm, many women say the harassment is simply INFURIATING.

(P27) “If they say, ‘Nice smile,’ I laugh and just continue walking,” said Susana Godoy, a 20-year-old university student in Buenos Aires. “But I hate it when they say, ‘Hey, baby,’ and other GROSS stuff.”

WORDS: 857

SOURCE: http://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2015/06/09/argentine-congress-considers-making-street-harassment-crime

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. If you are a woman, have you ever been disrespected on the street? If you are a man, have you ever seen this happen to a woman?
  3. In many countries, there are problems with male “gropers” on subways and buses, and “raincoat men” who “flash” themselves (show themselves in the NUDE) to women on the street. Are these problems in your country? Are there any “women only” buses or subway cars?
  4. A construction worker quoted in the article seems worried that if the law is adopted, he will not be able to say what he wants to say. Is this a “FREE SPEECH” issue?
  5. The article notes that in Argentina, more women than men are attending university. This is also true in the United States. Is it 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.

  • Under the breath
  • All too common
  • Touch a nerve
  • Cause celebre
  • Tip of the iceberg
  • Domestic violence
  • Put forward
  • Pass by

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