WHAT THE AIRPLANE WRECKAGE TELLS US

[OPINION ★★]

WHAT THE AIRPLANE WRECKAGE TELLS US

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(P1) Nothing would be more encouraging for 239 families than to know that the piece of aircraft found on Reunion Island east of Madagascar comes from MH370 — the Boeing 777 that disappeared in March 2014, EN ROUTE from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The world wants to know. And as a 777 pilot, I want to know.

(P2) But let’s all TAKE A DEEP BREATH and wait until we have absolute confirmation.

(P3) Remember, the information provided at this OUTSET of the tragic event was sometimes wrong.

(P4) What happened to MH370 is still very much under active investigation. It’s important that we allow the Malaysian accident investigation team to SCRUTINIZE the airplane DEBRIS. After all, the airplane belongs to its country. Regardless, when the French BEA (Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses) — the French government agency in charge of investigating aviation accidents — arrives on scene at Reunion Island, a French department in the western Indian Ocean where debris was found in the water, I have no doubt that they will quickly have an answer. The BEA is a well-RESPECTED organization.

(P5) As for the airframe part itself: My initial GUT REACTION was skeptical. Why? From the photographs, the piece looked too BULKY to have been attached to a 777 wing.

(P6) But if the piece of airframe debris just discovered is indeed part of a 777, then it belongs to MH370. Why? Because there have only been two other significant 777 accidents in the airplane’s 21-year history, and neither of those was over water. That’s not to say the accident investigation team shouldn’t maintain DUE DILIGENCE and match part and component numbers with appropriate records.

(P7) Although discovering a definite piece of MH370 would be a TREMENDOUS discovery, it would also be only a small piece of the accident investigation JIGSAW PUZZLE. This piece of the puzzle would at least DISPEL the CONSPIRACY THEORY suggesting the airplane was flown to a remote terrorist-friendly nation. Examination could reveal some clues as to impact speed and/or impact angle with the water, but it would not be a complete picture. Finding more debris would be helpful to CORROBORATE such things.

(P8) Finding debris that is related to MH370 would be a VALIDATION of the ASSUMPTIONS that the investigation team has used to define the search area. A discovery would certainly be a MORALE BOOSTER for the search crews, affirming that their MISSION is not IN VAIN.

(P9) In addition, the world’s interest has been re-energized. With renewed interest, perhaps FUNDING will continue from current sources for the immediate future.

(P10) Regardless, let’s all have some patience, as hard as this might be for the passengers’ loved ones. The investigation will continue in a METHODICAL process. Even though initial evidence points to the debris on Reunion Island as being a piece of MH370, it should be absolutely confirmed so there is no doubt.

(P11) STAND BY for now.

WORDS: 485

SOURCE: http://edition.cnn.com/2015/07/30/opinions/abend-plane-debris-found/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. The disappearance of MH370 is one of the greatest mysteries in the history of aviation. Do you enjoy real-life or fictional mysteries?
  3. Do you have any fear of flying, or not at all?
  4. Strange events often give rise to many conspiracy theories. Do you take these seriously or not?
  5. What was the last plane flight that you took? Where were you traveling?

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.

  • En route
  • Take a deep breath
  • Gut reaction
  • Due diligence
  • Jigsaw puzzle
  • Conspiracy theory
  • Morale booster
  • In vain
  • Stand-by

PRACTICE ARTICLE NOW

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BUGS BUNNY!

[CULTURE AND ENTERTAINMENT ★]

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BUGS BUNNY!

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(P1) The ‘birthday’ of a beloved Looney Tunes character is an opportunity to REFLECT on his cultural CACHET across multiple generations.

(P2) Bugs Bunny, the carrot-chewing cartoon character – one of the most RECOGNIZED of the Warner Bros. personalities – is celebrating his 75th birthday. In 1940, the cartoon segment “A Wild Hare,” which was directed by Tex Avery, made its first appearance, and the movie short featured Bugs as the world knows him today, with a familiar voice, look, and CATCH-PHRASE, “What’s up, Doc?” (Bugs Bunny was voiced for many years by Mel Blanc.)

(P3) Bugs Bunny is part of the cast of characters seen in the “Looney Tunes” cartoons that include his NEMESIS Elmer Fudd, Daffy Duck, Tweety Bird, Yosemite Sam, and many more.

(P4) With Bugs having made his first appearance in 1940, how have he and the other Looney Tunes characters stayed popular? One way has been CONSISTENT appearances.

(P5) While Bugs would have been known to the parents of Baby Boomers from the beginning of the cartoons, Baby Boomers themselves ENCOUNTERED the Looney Tunes characters in the animated shorts that ran in movie theaters and on TV.

(P6) How do Millennials know the characters? The Looney Tunes characters have kept up STEADY appearances in pop culture. The cartoons have run on TV at various points – for example, the Cartoon Network started a new weekend block for the Looney Tunes cartoons in 2013 – and the animated series “Tiny Toon Adventures,” which featured young students learning from teachers like Bugs and Porky Pig, debuted in 1990.

(P7) The Looney Tunes personalities made frequent appearances at the movies towards the end of the MILLENNIUM as well, with major roles in the 1988 film “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” and the 1996 movie “Space Jam,” both of which performed well at the box office.

(P8) Bugs and his friends appear to still be in audiences’ minds today, with recent lists rating Bugs as the second-best cartoon character of all time, behind only Homer Simpson.

WORDS: 329

SOURCE: http://www.csmonitor.com/The-Culture/Culture-Cafe/2015/0727/Bugs-Bunny-anniversary-How-the-rabbit-stayed-popular-for-decades

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 your favorite cartoon character?
  3. The Looney Tunes cartoons were originally intended for adults, and unlike Disney characters, Bugs Bunny is very SARCASTIC. Do you enjoy that type of CYNICAL humor?
  4. One of the most popular newer cartoon characters is SpongeBob SquarePants. Is he popular in your country?
  5. Do you go to animated movies in the theater often?

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.

  • Catch-phrase

PRACTICE ARTICLE NOW

SAY HELLO TO THE “SEA BUNNY”

[ENVIRONMENT ★★]

SAY HELLO TO THE “SEA BUNNY”

sea-bunny

(P1) Say hello to this week’s Internet OVERLORD, the FLUFFY-looking “sea BUNNY.”

(P2) The animal isn’t actually a tiny ocean-DWELLING rabbit. The creature ELICITING “awwws” around the world is a type of SEA SLUG called Jorunna parva.

(P3) Most are less than an inch (2.5 centimeters) long and can be found throughout the Indo-Pacific Ocean from South Africa to the central Pacific. Though the most popular images of these animals show white animals with black spots, these sea slugs are usually yellow or orange.

(P4) Jorunna parva’s fur-like coat is due to bunches of tiny rods, called caryophyllidia, that cover the animal’s back. They’re arranged around little KNOBS that are sometimes black, giving the sea bunny its SPECKLED appearance.

(P5) “We don’t know for sure what these organs do,” says Ángel Valdés, a sea slug expert at California State Polytechnic University in Pomona. But “they probably play sensory roles.”

(P6) The sea bunny’s “ears,” or the two antenna-like structures on top of its head, are most definitely SENSORY ORGANS. Called rhinophores, they DETECT chemicals in the water that helps sea bunnies find food and mates, says Valdés.

(P7) The rhinophores are covered in little FLAPS that BOOST their detection capabilities, allowing J. parva to sense its environment very efficiently.

(P8) The structure on the sea bunny’s behind that looks like a little “flower” are its GILLS.

(P9) The sea bunny, like most sea slugs or nudibranchs, is a HERMAPHRODITE. They have both male and female reproductive organs, and when they mate, both partners exchange sperm.

(P10) The CUDDLY-looking creatures come armed with “incredibly long COPULATORY SPINES,” says Valdés. It’s basically like a DART that the animal JABS into its partner during the mating process. This ensures that they stay attached to each other until the sperm exchange is done, he explains.

(P11) “They probably live just a few months to a year,” Valdés says, so every chance they get to mate is important.

(P12) Luckily, J. parva doesn’t have to worry much about PREDATORS during its brief life because “they’re very, very TOXIC,” the sea slug expert says. “Anyone who tries to eat them is going to have a very hard time afterwards.”

(P13) Admire and COO over the FUZZY little creature now known as the sea bunny. Just resist the URGE to touch those rabbit ears.

WORDS: 379

SOURCE: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/07/150723-sea-slug-nudibranch-sea-bunny-ocean-animals-science/

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. Black-and-white animals – penguins, pandas, zebras, DALMATIANS, even orcas – always seem to be very popular. Why do you think this is so?
  3. Like many animals, the sea bunny is toxic. Why are some animals poisonous?
  4. Have you ever kept an aquarium with fish and other AQUATIC species?
  5. Do you see many slugs and SNAILS in your neighborhood after a rain storm?

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.

  • Sensory organ

PRACTICE ARTICLE NOW

THE BEAUTIFUL SIDE OF BORDER TOWNS

[TRAVEL ★★★]

THE BEAUTIFUL SIDE OF BORDER TOWNS

Tachileik

(P1) International borders can be difficult to cross and easy to hate. Lines are long, TEMPERS SHORT, guns PLENTIFUL.

(P2) Borders mean HASSLES like paperwork and annoying questions – exactly the sort of NONSENSE you want to escape when you travel. Borders are INCONVENIENT, an OBSTACLE separating where you are from where you want to be.

(P3) It seems that no one likes borders. Charitable organisations choose names like Doctors Without Borders, Teachers Without Borders, or even Clowns Without Borders.

(P4) BORDER TOWNS are RIFE with naked OPPORTUNISM. And nowhere is this more true than in the Burmese border town of Tachileik. SNUGGLED along the Thai border, it’s one giant BAZAAR, a WARREN of tiny stalls stretching in every direction and PROFFERING every imaginable WARE. From the moment I SET FOOT IN the town until I left a few hours later, I was SHADOWED by a young man with PASSABLE English and a DISARMING smile, DETERMINED to sell me pirated DVDs, Louis Vuitton KNOCK-OFFS and BLACK MARKET Viagra.

(P5) Borders are all of these things, yet it is not the whole story. Borders serve a purpose, and there is pleasure, even beauty, to be found amid the BARBED WIRE and persistent HAWKERS.

(P6) At a very basic level, borders provide contrast. It’s been said that time is nature’s way of ensuring everything doesn’t happen at once. Likewise, borders are mankind’s way of ensuring everything doesn’t happen in the same place. At some boundaries, life on either side stands in STARK RELIEF to the other. I felt that most strongly during a visit to Berlin when the city was still divided. After crossing from West to East Berlin (a process that involved as much paperwork and HAIR-TRIGGER tension as any I’d experienced before or since) I felt as if I’d stepped into not only another country but another world, one RENDERED entirely in black and white, in sharp contrast to the living colour I’d left behind.

(P7) Borders can also serve as a SAFETY VALVE. At the Wagah border crossing separating Indian and Pakistan, I realized as soldiers from both nations angrily STOMPED and HIGH-STEPPED, MERE metres apart from one another. This daily PANTOMIME of violence, I realized, helps prevent the real thing from breaking out again.

(P8) Sometimes borders are almost comical in their ARBITRARINESS. The US-Canadian border BISECTS the towns of Derby Line, Vermont, and Stanstead, Quebec. The boundary runs directly through a library, which I visited recently. It was great fun BROWSING science fiction in Canada and then walking a few steps to GAZE at self-help in the US. (A line of MASKING TAPE on the floor DEMARCATES the boundary.)

(P9) Even the RENOWNED SLEAZINESS of some border towns is, in a way, admirable. Such ENTREPRENEURSHIP TAKES ROOT for SOUND economic reasons. In a border town, everyone wants everything now, so people who are RESOURCEFUL or DESPERATE take advantage of that. Can you blame them? Borders represent cracks in the wall of commerce, and for the desperate, cracks mean opportunities.

(P10) There’s something LIBERATING about a good border town, and very liberating about a bad one. Neither here nor there, these INTERSTITIAL places stand apart from the usual rules that govern the rest of the world. There’s something about their roughness, their raw energy, their INSOUCIANCE that I find IRRESISTIBLE.

(P11) View these frontiers as inconveniences or IMPEDIMENTS, and that’s what they will be. But view them for what they are – magical points on the atlas – and the possibilities are BOUNDLESS.

WORDS: 571

SOURCE: http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20150611-the-beautiful-side-to-border-towns

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 countries does your country share a border with? Are they friendly borders?
  3. Have you ever visited a border town? What was it like?
  4. Border towns and PORT CITIES are unfortunately well-known for crime, and they can be dangerous. Why is this true?
  5. Do you have a PASSPORT? What foreign countries have you traveled to?

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.

  • Short temper
  • Border town
  • Set foot in
  • Knock-off
  • Black market
  • Barbed wire
  • Hair-trigger
  • Safety valve
  • High-step
  • Masking tape
  • Take root
  • Port city

PRACTICE ARTICLE NOW

MAN LOSES “RIGHT TO BE FORGOTTEN” CASE

[TECHNOLOGY ★]

MAN LOSES “RIGHT TO BE FORGOTTEN” CASE

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(P1) A man involved in a 50-million pound SCAM has lost a legal bid to have news stories about him removed from Google under the so-called “right to be forgotten”.

(P2) Malcolm Edwards originally applied for an INJUNCTION forcing five media organisations including the BBC to remove their articles about him.

(P3) He discontinued this claim, then applied for permission to serve PROCEEDINGS on Google instead.

(P4) The judge at Nottingham County Court DISMISSED the application.

(P5) In his judgment, His Honour Judge Nigel Godsmark said the applications were “totally without MERIT“.

(P6) He granted three of the defendants – the Nottingham Post, Derby Telegraph and Associated Newspapers – costs of £6,627.

(P7) The former law lecturer and LAY PREACHER must also pay the Guardian costs of £6,859 and the BBC £5,127.

(P8) Mr Edwards claimed the continued publication of the stories interfered with his right to privacy and his ability to lead a normal life.

(P9) He wanted to INVOKE the right to be forgotten under the Data Protection Act 1998, the European Union (EU) Data Protection Directive, and/or Article 8 of the Human Rights Act 1998, which protects the right to respect for private and family life.

(P10) He also relied on the judgment of a top EU court in a case last year involving Google and a Spanish man.

(P11) Since the Court of Justice of the European Union ruling, individuals have had the right to request that search engines remove certain web pages from their search results when people search for certain terms.

(P12) Following the ruling, Google removed a large number of links from its search results and continues to do so.

(P13) However, media organisations including the BBC started publishing links to news stories that have been removed from Google’s search results.

(P14) In a witness statement for the Malcolm Edwards case, the BBC’s director of editorial policy and standards, David Jordan, said there was and remains “a very significant public interest” in the publication of the article complained about.

(P15) He said the BBC News online service REPLICATES a library newspaper ARCHIVE and it is “important to ensure that it is retained INTACT to maintain public confidence in the service and avoid any suggestion that the BBC is ERASING THE PAST or ALTERING history or is otherwise failing to act independently and IMPARTIALLY“.

(P16) Mr Edwards, previously called Malcolm Edwards-Sayer, was jailed for six and a half years in November 2007 after admitting eight counts of CONSPIRACY to cheat the UK taxation system.

(P17) He was sentenced to a further three and a half years in prison for other offences, and the judge decided the two sentences should run CONSECUTIVELY.

(P18) This means Mr Edwards is still serving his sentence, although he is thought to have been released from prison on licence.

(P19) The media organisations therefore argued that his offences could not be treated as historical, and it remained in the public interest for the articles to be published, particularly given the seriousness of the offences.

(P20) They objected to the stories being removed from Google searches for the same reasons.

(P21) News stories about the original case still show up when “Malcolm Edwards-Sayer” is typed into Google.

(P22) Google, which was not a defendant in the case, told the BBC it does not comment on whether individuals have requested search results about them to be removed.

(P23) However, when EVALUATING a request, Google considers whether or not there is public interest in the information remaining findable through its search engine.

(P24) This means it is unlikely that Google would remove the search results about Malcolm Edwards-Sayer.

WORDS: 588

SOURCE: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-nottinghamshire-33706475

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. The “right to be forgotten” is supposed to apply to ordinary people who are not PUBLIC FIGURES. Mr. Edwards is a convicted FELON. Should the “right to be forgotten” apply to him?
  3. Is there information about you on the Internet that you wish was not there?
  4. Are you careful about what you post on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites?
  5. Is it possible to completely erase 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.

  • Lay preacher
  • Erase the past
  • Public figure

PRACTICE ARTICLE NOW

ZIMBABWE SEEKS CECIL THE LION’S KILLER

[WORLD NEWS ★]

ZIMBABWE SEEKS CECIL THE LION’S KILLER Cecil the Lion (P1) The US dentist who killed a lion in Zimbabwe should be EXTRADITED to FACE CHARGES, Zimbabwe’s Environment Minister Oppah Muchinguri has said.

(P2) Walter Palmer’s extradition was being SOUGHT so that he could “be held ACCOUNTABLE for his illegal action,” she said.

(P3) The US Fish and WILDLIFE Service was contacted by a representative of Mr Palmer on Thursday.

(P4) The contact comes as US authorities continue to investigate the hunt.

(P5) Mr Palmer, from Minnesota, is believed to have paid about $50,000 to hunt the lion, known as Cecil.

(P6) He says he thought the hunt was legal and was unaware Cecil was protected.

(P7) At a news conference in the capital, Harare, Ms Muchinguri referred to Mr Palmer as a “foreign POACHER“.

(P8) “As we FRANTICALLY try to protect our wildlife from organised gangs such as this one, there are people… who can CONNIVE to UNDERMINE Zimbabwean laws,” she said.

(P9) “One can conclude with confidence that Dr Palmer, being an American citizen, had a well-ORCHESTRATED AGENDA which would TARNISH the image of Zimbabwe and further STRAIN the relationship between Zimbabwe and the USA,” Ms Muchinguri added.

(P10) She also said Mr Palmer’s use of a BOW AND ARROW against Cecil was in CONTRAVENTION of Zimbabwean hunting regulations, Reuters reports.

(P11) Two Zimbabwean men have been IMPLICATED in the death of the lion.

(P12) A professional hunter has been charged with failing to prevent an illegal hunt – which he DENIES – and prosecutors are deciding on the exact charges the landowner should face.

(P13) “I don’t believe I failed in any duties at all, I was engaged by a client to do a hunt for him and we shot an old male lion that I believed was past his breeding age,” the Zimbabwean hunter Theo Bronkhorst told the AFP news agency.

(P14) There has been a huge online BACKLASH against Mr Palmer. The dental practice he runs in Minneapolis has been closed since he was named as the hunter who shot Cecil.

(P15) On Thursday, the White House said it would review a public PETITION to extradite the American dentist after more than 100,000 signed it.

(P16) But spokesman Josh Earnest said it was up to the US Justice Department to respond to any extradition order.

WORDS: 370

SOURCE: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-33733722

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. The death of Cecil the lion created a worldwide FUROR. Were there stories about this in the media in your country?
  3. What is your feeling about the hunting of wild animals?
  4. Do you believe that the United States will extradite Walter Palmer to Zimbabwe?
  5. Cecil the lion was an ICON of the nation of Zimbabwe. What are some of the icons of your nation?

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.

  • Face charges
  • Bow and arrow

PRACTICE ARTICLE NOW

WEEK 47