AMERICAN FOOTBALL COMING TO LONDON?

[SPORTS ★]

AMERICAN FOOTBALL COMING TO LONDON?

George Osborne(P1) UK CHANCELLOR George Osborne wants to have a National Football League franchise based permanently in London within the next five years to confirm the city’s status as the “sporting capital of the world”.

(P2) The chancellor met with NFL executives, team owners and former players at Downing Street as the Miami Dolphins prepared to face the New York Jets at Wembley stadium on Sunday.

(P3) Osborne said he would “love to have a team here based in the UK playing in the NFL” and he believed Britain was making steps towards that goal. “The real prize, the real TOUCHDOWN for London, would be to get a team based here,” he said.

(P4) When asked about the potential TIME-FRAME for such a move, Osborne said: “Hopefully it is something we could achieve in the next few years, maybe four or five years’ time. These things can’t change OVERNIGHT because obviously teams are already based in some home cities in the States. But I am in talks with the NFL, sorting out the arrangements.

(P5) “They get such a huge welcome, teams like the Dolphins and the Jets when they come here, there is a big FAN BASE here and it would mean a huge amount for our economy because it would confirm London as the sporting capital of the world – and that is what I want to see.”

(P6) The chancellor met the NFL’s Dan Marino and Curtis Martin during the visit, exchanging a Rugby World Cup 2015 ball for a gold NFL Super Bowl 50 ball. Osborne also received Jets and Dolphins shirts.

(P7) Marino said he believed LOGISTICS of bringing a team to the UK on a permanent basis would be the biggest challenge.

(P8) The former Dolphins quarterback and Hall of Fame member said: “There are other sports that do it – basketball, baseball, they go on the road for three and four weeks at a time. I think that’s probably the way they would handle having a team here … To play in London would be pretty interesting.”

(P9) Marino and Martin threw an American football around outside Downing Street as they gave Osborne a brief TUTORIAL. The chancellor threw just one pass and Marino later joked that Osborne’s throw “needs work”.

WORDS: 370

SOURCE: http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/oct/02/george-osborne-nfl-american-football-team-london

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 American football have a fan-base in your country?
  3. American football is much more violent than soccer, and is played by much larger and more physically EXAGGERATED athletes. Do you think it is more or less exciting than soccer?
  4. There has also been talk of having an NFL team based in Mexico City. Are sports becoming more international in general?
  5. Why is the UK’s top financial official involving himself in a sports issue?

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.

  • Time-frame
  • Fan base

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THE WORLD’S LARGEST DIGITAL CAMERA IS BEING BUILT IN CHILE

[TECHNOLOGY ★★]

THE WORLD’S LARGEST DIGITAL CAMERA IS BEING BUILT IN CHILE

Digital Camera

(P1) There is currently a GIGANTIC camera being built in the mountains of Chile, in the foothills of the Andes, that will be like nothing we’ve ever seen before. While the new iPhone 6S camera may have just UPGRADED from eight megapixels to 12, this will have a WHOPPING 3,200 megapixels — making it a 3.2 billion pixel camera.

(P2) Named the LSST, or the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, it is set to be the largest camera in the world. Scheduled to be finished in 2019, it will combine a telescope, mirror, camera, data system, and survey technology.

(P3) This thing is going to huge. It’s just one addition to a class of giant land-based telescopes coming online in the next decade.

(P4) The LSST will record the ENTIRETY of the visible nighttime sky twice a week, taking over 800 PANORAMIC images during each of those nights. This will result in 30 terabytes of data each evening.

(P5) From these captures, it will produce an animated 3D map of the universe. With a large depth of details, these maps will allow us to analyze the SOLAR SYSTEM in a new way, including studying mysterious DARK MATTER and learn more about our own MILKY WAY galaxy.

(P6) The LSST will focus on capturing images of space at night. It’s able to cover 10 square degrees of sky (which, for reference, is equal to 40 times the size of the moon). This ability comes from its large mirror and FIELD OF VIEW, which work HAND-IN-HAND to capture billions of objects that are too faint to be seen with the NAKED EYE.

(P7) The powerful data system will be able to KEEP TRACK OF the brightness and positions of space objects, as well as comparing the images being taken in the present with those of the past. This even includes detecting and keeping track of ASTEROIDS that might be threatening to Earth.

(P8) Luckily, these maps won’t be an exclusive experience to scientists. The public will be able to view the moving 3D map via the internet each night as it captures the sky.

(P9) Education is important to the team behind the LSST. The group is also planning to develop research projects which students can do in school, in their home, or out at museums.

(P10) Telescopes are almost never located in highly populated areas because of the threat of LIGHT POLLUTION. CLOUD COVER can also be a problem, so they are also usually put at higher ALTITUDES and in drier climates.

(P11) Cerro Pachón, the mountain in Chile where the LSST will be located, was chosen as the best option by an appointed committee.

(P12) Construction started in 2014, and it’s scheduled to be completed by 2019.

WORDS: 453

SOURCE: http://www.businessinsider.com/worlds-largest-camera-in-chile-2015-9

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 owned a camera that could take wide panoramic images?
  3. When you were a science student, were you more interested in telescopes or MICROSCOPES?
  4. Is light pollution very intense where you live? Have you ever visited the remote COUNTRYSIDE or been out on the ocean where you can see stars much better?
  5. Is it more cloudy where you live, or more sunny?
  6. Do you worry that an asteroid really might hit the earth, or do you think that is UNLIKELY?

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.

  • Solar system
  • Field of view
  • Hand-in-hand
  • Naked eye
  • Keep track of
  • Light pollution
  • Cloud cover

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WHY YOU SHOULD ALWAYS DRESS UP ON A PLANE

[LIFE ★]

WHY YOU SHOULD ALWAYS DRESS UP ON A PLANE

madmen-drinks_3280114b

(P1) These days, DRESSING UP for a flight doesn’t automatically mean you’ll get an UPGRADE, but that’s NO EXCUSE for dressing like a college kid late for their Monday-morning class.

(P2) Certainly, flights are long and seats are uncomfortable. You want to wear something flexible.

(P3) But you can look WELL PUT TOGETHER in less than 10 minutes if you just have your OUTFIT planned and ready before an early-morning flight.

(P4) Here are four reasons why you should dress up on a flight:

(P5) You may get an upgrade

(P6) These days, most flights are OVERBOOKED, but in the rare instance that they aren’t, being better dressed than all the other SCHLUBS will give you an EDGE.

(P7) When AirFareWatchdog.com FOUNDER George Hobica asked a gate agent directly whether they’d be more likely to upgrade someone who was dressed well, the answer was, “Yes, the better dressed you are, the more likely you are to NAB that seat. I am not going to put someone wearing flip-flops up front with our best customers.”

(P8) You’ll save space in your suitcase

(P9) If you’re bringing sweats and schlubby clothes that you don’t plan on wearing again on your trip, you’re wasting precious suitcase space.

(P10) Wearing heavier items like boots and a sweater is not only a space saver, but practical: You can plan other outfits around those items, and thus have more ENSEMBLES while packing fewer clothes.

(P11) You’ll feel better about yourself

(P12) Besides never knowing who you might meet on a plane, you’ll feel better about yourself once you land. You’re also taking a step toward making flying a SPECIAL OCCASION again — and you can’t tell me that travel isn’t a cause for CELEBRATION.

(P13) You’ll make work more pleasant for the flight attendant

(P14) Planes are their workplace. No one wants to wait on someone in basketball shorts and dirty flip-flops.

WORDS: 308

SOURCE: http://www.businessinsider.com/why-you-should-always-dress-up-on-a-plane-2015-9

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 feel that society has gotten too casual?
  3. What was the last plane flight you took? Have you ever received an upgrade to first class?
  4. Do you talk to fellow passengers on a plane flight, or do you KEEP TO YOURSELF?
  5. Many people feel that plane flights were more ELEGANT and comfortable back in the 1960s and 1970s. What changed about air travel?

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.

  • Dress up
  • No excuse
  • Well put together
  • Special occasion
  • Keep to yourself

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WILL INTERNATIONAL LOVE HELP YOUR LANGUAGE SKILLS?

[EDUCATION ★★]

WILL INTERNATIONAL LOVE HELP YOUR LANGUAGE SKILLS?

Young-couple-abroad-007

(P1) Looking to meet the LOVE OF YOUR LIFE? You might just find them on your year studying abroad.

(P2) Dating a native speaker is also TOUTED as the HOLY GRAIL of language-learning. When I went on my year abroad to Paris, everyone from relatives to COLLEAGUES and strangers in bars told me I needed to find a French lover if I wanted to improve my SHAKY language skills.

(P3) I met Antoine through a language exchange. He was a few years older than me, worked in marketing and seemed nice enough. We had little in common and probably would have been better off staying friends, but when he asked me out, I said yes.

(P4) Surely in no time I’d lose my English accent, speak French like a native, and ace my final year speaking exams?

(P5) But actually, having a foreign accent can be what attracts people in the first place, says Pete Beaumont, a recent Oxford University graduate. “People in Paris absolutely love an English accent, they find it CHARMING.”

(P6) Beaumont read law with French law, and spent his third year studying in the French capital, where he got together with Olivier, his first serious boyfriend.

(P7) They met at a New Year’s Eve party and INSTANTLY HIT IT OFF, before going on a few dates and beginning a relationship. “EXCLUSIVITY usually happens earlier in France than in the UK or US,” says Beaumont. “You never date multiple people at once.”

(P8) They would visit cafes in the Marais quarter – Paris’s gay district – or go out for dinner and drinks with Olivier’s friends. Beaumont’s French improved DRAMATICALLY. “Although I studied law and didn’t have language classes, by my final year I was better at French than many French language students. I could even correct their mistakes.”

(P9) In Beaumont’s view, dating a native speaker is the best way to learn a language. “Yes, there are other ways to practise, but it’s difficult to make French friends at university. People tend to spend time with the friendship groups they’ve known for years.”

(P10) Jess Ing, a student at the University of Leeds currently on her year abroad in Valencia, says local students in Spain can also be CLIQUEY. Getting together with Alex, a Spanish local, has been the best part of her year abroad.

(P11) “He chased me from the start, giving me massages and being super nice to try and pull me in.”

(P12) Still living in the same flat, they have now been together for nine months. But Ing says the relationship hasn’t improved her language skills because Alex speaks perfect English. She made an effort to speak Spanish at the start but has since given up.

(P13) “When you’re in a couple, the other person becomes IMPATIENT and can almost SECOND-GUESS what you’re going to say, so they cut you off and finish your sentences.”

(P14) Besides, Ing finds it FRUSTRATING when she does try to speak Spanish with her boyfriend because he usually doesn’t understand her.

(P15) The LANGUAGE BARRIER was also a STUMBLING BLOCK for Beaumont in the early days of his relationship with Olivier. “We had some funny miscommunications,” he says.

(P16) “For months, I was saying ‘je t’aime bien’ to him, thinking it meant ‘I love you a lot’, but it actually means ‘I like you’. Then one day I finally said ‘je t’aime’ and he was shocked. I thought I’d been saying it all along.”

(P17) Beaumont and Olivier stayed together for two and a half years, but broke up when the pressures of a LONG-DISTANCE RELATIONSHIP TOOK THEIR TOLL. His advice to other year abroad students? Be open to meeting someone. “Don’t assume that a relationship has to have a LIFE EXPECTANCY.”

(P18) Ing is equally optimistic. Her boyfriend is planning to move to the UK and find work in Leeds so they can be together during her final year.

(P19) As for me, I dated Antoine for five months before returning to England. There was never any question we’d stay together – and I do wish I hadn’t CAVED IN to the belief that dating a local was a year abroad ESSENTIAL.

(P20) I always spoke French with Antoine, and my language skills did improve – though that was partly because I made French friends and put a lot of effort in.

(P21) Just going out with someone is not a MAGIC FORMULA. If you’re really KEEN to improve, make friends with a native speaker who MERCILESSLY corrects your errors.

WORDS: 737

SOURCE: http://www.theguardian.com/education/2015/oct/02/will-international-love-help-your-language-skills-blossom

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 been involved in a cross-cultural friendship or romantic relationship? What were the pleasures and difficulties?
  3. Have you ever spent a lengthy period of time in another country? Are you open to doing so?
  4. If you ever told your parents that you were marrying someone from another country, how would they react?
  5. What has helped your second language skills improve the most?
  6. Do you mind when someone corrects your English, or are you SENSITIVE about that?

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.

  • Love of your life
  • Holy grail
  • Hit it off
  • Second-guess
  • Language barrier
  • Stumbling block
  • Long-distance relationship
  • Take a toll
  • Life expectancy
  • Cave in
  • Magic formula

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EDWARD SNOWDEN JOINS TWITTER

[WORLD NEWS ★]

EDWARD SNOWDEN JOINS TWITTER

Edward_Snowden-2

(P1) FUGITIVE US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden has opened an account on the social network website Twitter.

(P2) His opening tweet was: “Can you hear me now?”

(P3) In his profile, Mr Snowden says he “used to work for the government. Now I work for the public”. He quickly gathered more than 700,000 followers.

(P4) So far, Mr Snowden, who is wanted in the US for leaking secrets, only follows one other Twitter user – the US National Security Agency (NSA).

(P5) He is believed to be living in EXILE in Moscow.

(P6) In his second tweet – a reply to US astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson – Mr Snowden joked: “Now we’ve got water on Mars! Do you think they check PASSPORTS at the border? Asking for a friend.”

(P7) And in another tweet he said: “Hero, TRAITOR – I’m just a citizen with a voice.”

(P8) The @Snowden account was VERIFIED by Twitter and within nine hours of joining, Mr Snowden had ACCUMULATED more than 710,000 followers.

(P9) Mr Snowden left the US in 2013 after leaking documentation of extensive Internet and phone SURVEILLANCE by US intelligence.

(P10) His information made global headlines when the Guardian newspaper reported that the NSA was collecting the telephone records of tens of millions of Americans.

(P11) Mr Snowden is believed to have downloaded 1.7 million secret documents before he left the US.

(P12) Although some consider him a traitor for his REVELATIONS, many others around the world say he is a champion of CIVIL LIBERTIES.

(P13) In the US he faces charges that could put him in prison for up to 30 years.

(P14) Earlier this year, speaking via video-link to a Geneva audience, he said he would like to be granted ASYLUM in Switzerland.

(P15) He has previously worked in Geneva UNDERCOVER for the CIA.

(P16) Regarding a possible return to the US, he told the audience that authorities there had given him no ASSURANCES of a fair trial.

(P17) “The only thing they’ve said at this point was that they would not EXECUTE me,” he said. “That’s not quite the same thing as agreeing to a fair and open trial.” 

WORDS: 347

SOURCE: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-34395919

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 believe that the governments of most countries surveil their citizens’ emails and telephone calls?
  3. Do you think Edward Snowden is a hero or a traitor?
  4. Do you think that Snowden will ever return to the United States?
  5. What are some of the CIRCUMSTANCES that cause people to seek exile in another 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.

  • Civil liberties

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IS PEOPLE-RATING SYSTEM A GOOD IDEA?

[OPINION ★★★]

IS PEOPLE-RATING SYSTEM A GOOD IDEA?

Rating People

(P1) What if your value to the world could be SUMMARIZED in a single rating of one to five stars, GENERATED by the opinions of the people around you — a simple score that reflects your reputation, GOODWILL, and general likeability?

(P2) It’s a COMPELLING idea — and a terrible one. While there’s certainly an UPSIDE to being able to know immediately whether someone is CREEPY or TRUSTWORTHY with the click of a button, the dangers of such JUDGMENTS should be obvious.

(P3) And yet, according to the Washington Post, entrepreneurs Nicole McCullogh and Julia Cordray are ready to release an app called Peeple that gives anyone the ability to REVIEW anyone else, without their VOLUNTARY participation or even their knowledge.

(P4) It’s “YELP, but for humans,” as Post columnist Caitlin Dewey APTLY puts it — a tool that promises to bring the same KNEE-JERK assessments, SLANTED CRITIQUES, SHADY VENDETTAS, and CORROSIVE RANTING that Yelp and other crowdsourced review platforms bring to small business, products, travel, literature, film, and television, and basically everything else in our lives.

(P5) Yelping humans would seem to be the last FRONTIER in the digital economy’s quest to invade, DISRUPT, and REDUCTIVELY simplify the relationships that make up what used to be referred to as “civilization.”

(P6) Older folk may recall that back in the days before the Internet, we often decided who we wanted to interact with based on personal recommendations and MUTUAL friendships. But the TEMPTATION to find faster and more STANDARDIZED ways of judging people has always been there.

(P7) Those temptations frequently turned into reality. The MIDDLE AGES had HERALDRY, the CRESTS and symbols worn on SHIELDS and BANNERS to PROCLAIM one’s ANCESTRAL background and individual worth. The Victorian Era had its SOCIAL REGISTER, in which all the families and persons of PROMINENCE and good character were documented. Postwar America saw the rise of “WHO’S WHO” lists. The 1970-80s gave birth to our still-FEVERISH obsession with lists, records, and statistics. And of course, our academic, professional and business worlds have always featured grades, test results, ranks, and AUDITS of our knowledge, skills, and experience.

(P8) So Peeple isn’t exactly a new idea — not even in the digital space. Back in 2008, Joe Fernandez and Binh Tran founded Klout, a service that assesses your “social influence” on a scale of 1 to 100 (with 100 being RESERVED for LUMINARIES like Lady Gaga and Barack Obama).

(P9) “This kind of thing has been tried many times before,” says James Hong, founder of the early ranking website Hot or Not, which allowed people to anonymously rate self-portraits uploaded by its members, who could then see how attractive they were to total strangers. “Try searching for Unvarnished” — a service that encouraged people to provide anonymous ratings and reviews of bosses, co-workers and business relationships — “or Lulu, an app that’s been doing this with scale for a while on the dating market,” by providing women with a way of sharing reviews and ratings of guys with whom they’ve had romantic relationships.

(P10) All of these sites have run into similar problems.

(P11) There’s the VAST potential for abuse, either through CONCERTED efforts at bullying or through the kind of LOGROLLING and EXCESSIVE praise that makes even positive online evaluations SUSPECT. And there’s the feeling of DEHUMANIZATION that comes with the DISTILLATION of our identity into a single number.

(P12) For all of the minor potential benefits that might come from advance scouting of prospective acquaintances, there’s something ICKY in general about services that turn the world into even more of a POPULARITY CONTEST than it already is. Imagine being subjected to the WHIMS of that weird ex-boyfriend you broke up with, that former colleague with anger issues, or that high school classmate who hasn’t seen you since high school.

WORDS: 623

SOURCE: http://edition.cnn.com/2015/10/01/opinions/yang-peeple-app/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 look at how other people rated you on a service like this, or would you avoid looking?
  3. Does social media technology BRING OUT people’s best side, or worst side?
  4. Do you review goods or services on any websites?
  5. Are you concerned with how popular and WELL-LIKED you are, or not very much?

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.

  • Knee-jerk
  • Popularity contest
  • Bring out
  • Well-liked

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HACKERS STEAL T-MOBILE DATA ON 15 MILLION U.S. CUSTOMERS

[BUSINESS ★]

HACKERS STEAL T-MOBILE DATA ON 15 MILLION U.S. CUSTOMERS

T Mobile

(P1) Hackers have stolen personal information on about 15 million T-Mobile US customers and applicants.

(P2) The BREACH was at a unit of the CREDIT AGENCY Experian, which T-Mobile uses to process information on subscribers.

(P3) Names, birth dates, and social security numbers are among data stolen, but not financial details, the firms said.

(P4) Chief executive John Legere said his company would review its link with Experian.

(P5) “Obviously I am incredibly angry about this data breach,” he said.

(P6) Subscribers who were CREDIT-CHECKED between 1 September 2013 and 16 September 2015 are most AT RISK.

(P7) In a statement, Mr Legere said: “I take our customer and PROSPECTIVE customer privacy very seriously. This is no small issue for us.

(P8) “I do want to assure our customers that neither T-Mobile’s systems nor network were part of this INTRUSION, and this did not involve any payment card numbers or bank account information.

(P9) “Experian has assured us that they have taken AGGRESSIVE steps to improve the protection of their system and of our data.”

(P10) Experian North America chief executive Craig Boundy said in his own statement, “We sincerely apologise for the concern and stress that this event may cause.”

(P12) It was unclear when the breach was discovered, but Experian said the matter was reported to the authorities immediately it learned of the hack.

(P13) The company said in a statement: “We continue to investigate the theft, closely monitor our systems, and work with domestic and international law enforcement. Investigation of the incident is ongoing.

(P14) “Experian is NOTIFYING the individuals who may have been affected and is offering free credit monitoring and identity resolution services for two years. In addition, government agencies are being notified as required by law.”

(P15) The firm said there “is no evidence that the data has been used inappropriately”.

(P16) There have been a string of HIGH-PROFILE hacks of businesses and other organisations in recent years affecting millions of people, including ADULTERY website Ashley Madison, Sony Pictures, and retailers such as Home Depot, Target, and eBay.

(P17) T-Mobile is now the third biggest mobile firm in the US, having SURPASSED Sprint this year.

WORDS: 353

SOURCE: http://www.bbc.com/news/business-34420879

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 your personal data was COMPROMISED, would you keep or change a service provider like T-Mobile?
  3. Companies and institutions seem POWERLESS to do much about hacking and security breaches. But why are they powerless?
  4. Experian is one of the three major U.S. consumer credit agencies that report information about consumers’ financial histories, and their reports can affect whether someone gets a job or an apartment. Do agencies like this have too power?
  5. How DEPENDENT are you on your cellular phone – extremely, moderately, or not at all?

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.

  • Credit agency
  • Credit check
  • At risk
  • High-profile

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