MOBILE TECHNOLOGY IS CHANGING MYANMAR

[TECHNOLOGY ★]

MOBILE TECHNOLOGY IS CHANGING MYANMAR

Myanmar Internet

(P1) U Myint Kyaw Thu says he wanted to make games since he was a five-year-old playing Nintendo.

(P2) But growing up in Burma, now Myanmar, there was no Internet and PRECIOUS FEW mobile phones.

(P3) So when he founded Total Gameplay Studio with his brother in 2005, he had to develop games for international buyers – the domestic market just wasn’t developed enough.

(P4) But now, millions have EMBRACED mobile technology in Myanmar.

(P5) Now he can do what he always wanted to do FROM THE START – develop games for mobile about his own culture.

(P6) Total Gameplay says it now has about 200,000 players on its platform.

(P7) Three years ago, less than 10% of Myanmar’s population owned a phone, putting it slightly above Eritrea and North Korea. Now the figure is closer to 40%.

(P8) Connectivity is SPREADING LIKE WILDFIRE, opening up new opportunities for start-ups and ESTABLISHED businesses alike.

(P9) “There’s MASSIVE PENT-UP DEMAND,” says tech entrepreneur David Madden. “As soon as people get the opportunity to connect, they do.”

(P10) This technological growth is GOING HAND-IN-HAND with the opening up of the country’s political system – in just over a week its people HEAD TO THE POLLS in an historic election.

(P11) Smartphones have dropped sharply in price, meaning that first-time cellular phone buyers will often go directly to smart devices and LEAPFROG onto the mobile internet.

(P12) With around 30 million SIM cards now on the market – the population is about 54 million – Myanmar’s new mobile users represent a VAST audience hungry for data – one with UNMET needs that entrepreneurs are eager to serve.

(P13) It is amazing to think that not long ago, Myanmar had no Internet at all.

WORDS: 282

SOURCE: http://www.bbc.com/news/business-34657257

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 did mobile technology first start to become popular in your country?
  3. Have you ever thought about working for or investing in a tech start-up?
  4. Could you live without a smartphone?
  5. What are your favorite video games?

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.

  • Precious few
  • From the start
  • Spread like wildfire
  • Pent-up demand
  • Go hand-in-hand
  • Head to the polls

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CRICKET TO BECOME OLYMPIC SPORT?

[SPORTS ★]

CRICKET TO BECOME OLYMPIC SPORT?

Cricket

(P1) All-time CRICKET greats Shane Warne and Sachin Tendulkar have called for TWENTY20 cricket to become an Olympic sport.

(P2) Cricket has not been an Olympic sport since 1900, but the sport’s GOVERNING BODY is meeting the International Olympic Committee next month to discuss a possible bid.

(P3) “I’d love to see it as an Olympic sport,” Warne said.

(P4) “I think it’s a great idea and I RECKON T20 is the best format for it,” added Tendulkar.

(P5) Former Australian player Warne and Indian player Tendulkar are captaining RIVAL teams in a series of three Twenty20 All Star matches in the USA in November as they seek to use their fame to help globalise the game.

(P6) Their BACKING for an Olympic bid will increase the pressure on the International Cricket Council (ICC) to reverse its resistance to the concept on the grounds that it might DILUTE the sport’s existing competitions, such as the World Cup and World Twenty20.

(P7) In July, the MCC’s World Cricket Committee called for Twenty20 to be included in the 2024 summer Games.

(P8) Following its board meeting in October, the ICC announced that its chief executive David Richardson and director Giles Clarke would hold talks with the IOC in November.

(P9) Cricket’s only Olympic competition came in 1900 when Great Britain took on France in Paris.

(P10) Tendulkar believes Twenty20 is the ideal format for making the sport accessible at the Olympics.

(P11) “It’s the most acceptable format for people who don’t have any knowledge about cricket or the ones who need an introduction to cricket,” said cricket’s all-time leading run-scorer.

(P12) “The game is over in three hours and it’s like any sport – you go to a stadium and after three hours you get back to your work.”

(P13) Warne also favours Twenty20 but is not opposed to indoor cricket being the chosen format – another idea that is ON THE TABLE.

(P14) “If it advertises the game of cricket and the skill and athleticism that are involved in a game of cricket then great,” said Warne.

(P15) “I haven’t seen a game of indoor cricket for a long time so I don’t know how good indoor cricket is at the moment. But the last time I saw it, it was fantastic.

(P16) “Ideally, I’d stick to Twenty20 because it’s over in three hours, it’s easy to organise and you can play two or three games a day. It would help SPREAD THE WORD of cricket.”

WORDS: 405

SOURCE: http://www.bbc.com/sport/cricket/34604610

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. Cricket was the PREDECESSOR to baseball. Are either of these sports played in your country?
  3. Do you watch the Olympics on television?
  4. Have the Olympics ever been held in your country?
  5. Twenty20 cricket and indoor cricket are short forms of standard cricket, which can take several days to play. What is the longest sporting event you have ever seen?

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.

  • Governing body
  • Spread the word
  • On the table

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CROCODILE GRABS AND KILLS MAN IN FISHING BOAT

[ENVIRONMENT ★]

CROCODILE GRABS AND KILLS MAN IN FISHING BOAT

Crocodile

(P1) The death of a man who was SNATCHED from his fishing boat by a CROCODILE in Kakadu, Australia, is a warning for other ANGLERS, according to an INQUEST.

(P2) Bill Scott was GRABBED by a saltwater crocodile while fishing in Kakadu National Park in June last year.

(P3) It is thought to be the first time a crocodile has been BOLD enough to attack and kill a human in a boat.

(P4) A CORONER’S inquest has found there should be warnings about the increased risk of crocodiles attacking boats, particularly smaller VESSELS.

(P5) The inquest also looked into the death of Lanh Van Tran, who was killed by a saltwater crocodile when he WADED into the Adelaide River to free a SNAGGED fishing line in August 2014.

(P6) The last thing Tran’s wife, Thi Ban Le, heard her husband say was: “Oh my God, I’m dead.”

(P7) Tran, a farmer, liked to go out along the crocodile-INFESTED river with his wife. He thought it was safe and had not seen any crocodiles that day.

(P8) Coroner Greg Cavanagh said while there was no sign warning of hidden crocodiles in that part of the river at the time, he was not sure it would have made a difference.

(P9) “Ms Le didn’t think so. She said, ‘Despite all the warning, no one can expect that there will be a crocodile [under the water],’” Cavanagh said.

(P10) Cavanagh also said the CIRCUMSTANCES of the two deaths suggest a warning would probably be “missed, forgotten, or ignored”.

(P11) The Northern Territory government said it will act on the coroner’s findings.

(P12) “Fishing is the LURE of the Territory … and we will do as much as we can to help prevent another life being tragically taken by a crocodile,” the Parks and Wildlife Commission’s chief executive Andrew Bridges said.

WORDS: 303

SOURCE: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/oct/30/death-of-man-snatched-by-crocodile-from-boat-is-a-warning-coroner-says

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 do you think is the scariest animal?
  3. Have you ever gone fishing? Did you fish on a river, a lake, or an ocean?
  4. Coroners work with dead bodies. Do you think you could do that?
  5. Are you extremely SAFETY-CONSCIOUS?

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.

  • Safety-conscious

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WHALE-WATCHING BOAT TRAGEDY CAUSED BY ROGUE WAVE

[WORLD NEWS ★★★]

WHALE-WATCHING BOAT TRAGEDY CAUSED BY ROGUE WAVE

Whale Watching Boat

(P1) A ROGUE WAVE that struck as SIGHTSEERS crowded to one side of the top DECK caused the sinking of a Canadian WHALE-WATCHING VESSEL, killing five Britons and an Australian near Vancouver Island, investigators have said.

(P2) Canada’s transportation safety board said that after questioning some of the 21 survivors, including three crew, it had initially concluded that the Leviathan II sank on Sunday after it was hit by a wave when most of the passengers were gathered on the top deck watching SEA LIONS.

(P3) The British Columbia CORONER said that all of those killed had been standing on the open top deck of the 20-metre long vessel, which had sailed from the small RESORT TOWN of Tofino on a routine sightseeing trip.

(P4) Poisson stressed they were early findings and final conclusions could take months. “None of this PRELIMINARY information should be used to draw any final conclusions at this point,” he said.

(P5) However, the speed at which the transportation safety board reached its initial assessment suggests it has LITTLE DOUBT about the cause of the tragedy. Local fishermen and others who work on the seas around Tofino had already reached a similar conclusion, saying that a wave appeared the most likely explanation.

(P6) The board’s announcement will raise questions about the design of the vessel. The Leviathan II’s owner, Jamie Bray, said it had made the same trip every day for 20 years WITHOUT INCIDENT and the SKIPPER had 18 years’ experience.

(P7) Matt Brown, coroner for the island region of British Columbia, said none of the five who died had been wearing LIFEJACKETS, although they were available.

(P8) “Lifejackets were on board. I believe that this vessel can occupy up to 50 individuals. There were 27 on board and there were lifejackets available for all of them,” he said.

(P9) The British CONSUL GENERAL in Vancouver, Rupert Potter, went to Tofino to assist survivors who lost relatives. He described the response of the community as “really remarkable”.

(P10) “What always strikes me in these situations is the bravery that people show, and that’s definitely been the case here,” he said.

(P11) Potter, who also visited survivors in hospital, said LOVED ONES were travelling to the town from the UK.

(P12) The premier of British Columbia, Christy Clark, visited the town on Tuesday and praised the rescue effort led by fishermen from an INDIGENOUS community of the Ahousaht FIRST NATION a few miles to the north. “More lives would have been lost if not for the Ahousaht First Nation. We’re all incredibly grateful,” she said.

(P13) Although there was not time for a DISTRESS CALL before the boat sank, one of the crew found a FLARE in the water and fired it. It was spotted by fishermen who RAISED THE ALARM by radio and then set off to rescue survivors. The radio call was also picked up in Tofino from where boats also PUT TO SEA.

(P14) About 30 boats responded to the rescue call alongside the Canadian COAST GUARD. All 21 of the survivors had been picked up by the time the official vessels arrived. AMBULANCES met them on Tofino’s WATERFRONT.

(P15) The fishermen also brought the dead to shore. Survivors were taken to Tofino’s small hospital. But it soon became OVERWHELMED and so local residents began taking the less serious cases into their homes.

(P16) Tofino’s mayor, Josie Osborne, praised the townspeople. “This community’s response has been NOTHING SHORT OF PHENOMENAL,” she said.

WORDS: 572

SOURCE: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/oct/28/freak-wave-caused-whale-watching-boat-tragedy-say-canada-investigators

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 on a boat EXCURSION?
  3. Do you know how to swim? Do you feel that you are a good swimmer?
  4. Are you attracted to living on the SEACOAST, or do you feel that it can be a little too dangerous because of the UNPREDICTABILITY of the ocean, VIOLENT weather, etc.?
  5. Indigenous peoples are often EXCEPTIONALLY good at handling natural emergencies. Why do you think this is true?

EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:

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

  • Rogue wave
  • Whale-watching
  • Sea lion
  • Little doubt
  • Without incident
  • Consul General
  • Loved one
  • Distress call
  • Raise the alarm
  • Put to sea
  • Coast Guard
  • Nothing short of

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THE ATACAMA DESERT IS DAZZLING IN PINK

[TRAVEL ★★]

THE ATACAMA DESERT IS DAZZLING IN PINK

Atacama-Desert-EFE-large

(P1) After Chile’s extraordinarily heavy rain this season, the Atacama Desert has become a flowering SPECTACLE.

(P2) The driest desert in the world, located on the Pacific coast and covering 600 miles of land, has suddenly SPROUTED a GORGEOUS CARPET of wildflowers, a PHENOMENON that only occurs when enough rain has fallen.

(P3) One of only three deserts in the world which naturally blooms – others being in North America and Australia – the Atacama Desert has well over 200 different species. Mallow is the most dominant of these flowers and creates the perfect pink colour.

(P4) Chile’s National Tourism Service director said that “The Atacama region was punished by heavy rains, but also blessed by the phenomenon of a flowering desert, something that happens only after the rains.” He also stated that “It is a unique experience and we take the opportunity to observe how flowers live and to catalogue them”.

(P5) Visitors are expected to flock to this usually BARREN LANDSCAPE – with 20,000 tourists predicted to visit until November, when the floral FACADE is likely to start losing its LUSTER.

(P6) This particular phenomenon is called desierto florido, or flowering desert, and is always followed by a FLURRY of birds, insects and lizards which delight in the food it offers; making these rare occurrences extremely beneficial for WILDLIFE.

Wildflowers-Utah-Desert-Ala-large

(P7) The Utah desert is another of these extremely dry areas where this particular phenomenon takes place. However it is often SHORT-LIVED. To CONSERVE MOISTURE, the plants often do not live TERRIBLY long. Wildflowers which bloom here include plants such as littleleaf mock orange Cercocarpus, western thimbleberry Rubus parviflorus and Fairy bells Disporum trachycarpum.

(P8) Whilst this phenomenon in Chile is quite remarkable, the heavy rains can also prove DEADLY, with people killed and thousands left homeless by flooding that follows the sudden rains.

WORDS: 302

SOURCE: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/gardens-to-visit/the-atacama-desert-is-covered-with-pink-flowers/

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 is your favorite color? Why do you think it is your favorite?
  3. Is where you live dry, wet, or a MIXTURE depending on the season?
  4. Have you ever grown flowers in a garden?
  5. What is the prettiest landscape you have ever seen while 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.

  • Short-lived

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GRIEVING OVER THE LOSS OF A PET

[LIFE ★★]

GRIEVING OVER THE LOSS OF A PET

graham-cat-large

(P1) Dear Graham Norton,

(P2) I recently lost a cat quite suddenly, and I am struggling to MOVE ON. I am very sad that this lovely little soul is gone, and am having A HARD TIME feeling better. Life doesn’t feel the same without my little friend.

(P3) Lots of people don’t understand why I feel so strongly about the death of an animal. They point out that I’m lucky it wasn’t a person that I cared about. Of course that is true, but I cared about my cat very much and put a lot of love into the relationship. I’m just finding it hard to GET MY HEAD AROUND the fact that my cat is gone.

(P4) Thank you for taking the time to read this.

(P5) SINCERELY, ANONYMOUS

(P6) Dear Anonymous,

(P7) Something you loved deeply has vanished from your life, so of course you are sad. How long the GRIEVING process takes is very VARIABLE, so the sadness may last for a while yet. We love our pets differently from family members or friends and part of that is because we know they will probably die before us. Our time with our dogs or cats is precious precisely because we understand it is short.

(P8) As humans, we go through most of life understanding our own MORTALITY. But animals don’t. We are the keepers of that secret. We know each sleep may be our last, but a dog, perhaps fortunately, can’t comprehend that.

(P9) Of course, living a life UNENCUMBERED by thoughts of death means that our pets, in general, lead very simple, happy lives. It’s one of the reasons they are such a joy to be around.

(P10) You are, of course, correct when you say that many people don’t understand your grief, so don’t talk to them. Share your feelings with LIKE-MINDED souls. I’m sure a simple search online for pet BEREAVEMENT will reveal many sources of SOLACE and practical advice for moving on.

(P11) And, when you are ready, you can welcome another animal into your life and through something as simple as a wagging tail or a purr, you will know happiness again.

(P12) Sincerely, Graham Norton

WORDS: 358

SOURCE: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/wellbeing/graham-nortons-advice/graham-norton-pet-death-dying-animal-help-advice-grief-condolences-bereavement/

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 lost a pet? Was it difficult for you?
  3. Do you prefer dogs or cats? Or do you like both?
  4. The writer of the letter is having a hard time finding people who understand him. Have you ever had that problem?
  5. Graham Norton is a British TELEVISION PRESENTER who is WELL-KNOWN for his love of animals. Who are some famous television presenters 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.

  • Move on
  • A hard time
  • Get your head around
  • Like-minded
  • Television presenter
  • Well-known

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EXHIBIT DEVOTED TO PIONEER WOMEN ARTISTS

[CULTURE AND ENTERTAINMENT ★★★]

EXHIBIT DEVOTED TO PIONEER WOMEN ARTISTS

Alexandra Exter

(P1) The Sturm HERALDED the ADVENT of modern art.

(P2) Originally the name of a magazine founded in 1910 devoted to promoting EXPRESSIONIST art, the term Sturm (English: Storm) soon became a TRADEMARK.

(P3) Herwarth Walden, the publisher of the journal, also founded the Sturm ART GALLERY in Berlin in 1912. Numerous women artists, including many from other countries, were presented in Germany for the first time at his gallery.

(P4) Composed of friends with similar interests, the Sturm NETWORK served as a forum for INTENSIVE and ANIMATED DISCOURSE on the ideas, theories, and concepts of the AVANT-GARDE.

(P5) The Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt is DEVOTING an EXHIBITION to the women of the Sturm beginning on October 30, 2015. For the first time ever, eighteen women Sturm artists representing Expressionism, CUBISM, FUTURISM, CONSTRUCTIVISM, and the NEW OBJECTIVITY will be presented in a COMPREHENSIVE exhibition featuring around 280 works of art.

(P6) Each of the eighteen women artists of the Sturm will be presented along with her most important works in a separate room at the exhibition. They are artists from Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Sweden, Ukraine, and Russia whose works were exhibited at the Sturm gallery or published in “Der Sturm” magazine.

(P7) Herwarth Walden (1878−1941) actively promoted well over thirty women painters and sculptors without BIAS. He was regarded as a VISIONARY and a PIONEER ON BEHALF OF ABSTRACTION and modern art in general, and he united the international avant-garde with his programs.

(P8) For many women artists, the Sturm represented their first big CHANCE, for in the early years of the twentieth century they were neither fully recognized by society nor did they have access to academic training comparable to that of their male colleagues. The life stories, personal circumstances, and critical reception of the eighteen women artists of the Sturm are all very different, and their styles vary considerably as well. Yet viewed as a group, they represent an impressive PANORAMA of modern art.

(P9) For this exhibition, the Schirn is presenting a selection of outstanding paintings, works on paper, prints, WOODCUTS, stage sets, costumes, masks, and historical photographs acquired on loan from prominent museums as well as university and private collections.

(P10) “Through their ideas and visions, the Sturm Women played an INSTRUMENTAL role in the development of modern art. Some of them are still quite familiar to us today, while others have been UNJUSTLY forgotten. However, they all played a part in ensuring that new MOVEMENTS in art, such as Cubism, Expressionism, and Constructivism, would gain the recognition they deserved.

(P11) “With this exhibition featuring impressive major works by the eighteen women of the Sturm, the Schirn focuses attention on the CRUCIAL role played by these artists. It is an extraordinary exhibition devoted to modern art, the role of women in art, and the significance of a gallery in Berlin during the 1920s—an exhibition featuring famous names and famous works as well as numerous REDISCOVERIES,” states Max Hollein, Director of Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt.

(P12) In the words of exhibition CURATOR Dr. Ingrid Pfeiffer: “Herwarth Walden was unique among the art dealers of his era. He promoted male and female artists with equal VIGOR and paid no attention to the typical PREJUDICES of the period. Roughly one-fifth of the Sturm artists were women. That DISTINGUISHED him from many of his fellow gallery owners.

(P13) “It was the individual work of art that was most important to Walden. He consistently promoted the most recent developments in art. His thoughts and actions TRANSCENDED national boundaries, and he constantly sought out networks in all artistic and intellectual fields.”

WORDS: 592

SOURCE: http://artdaily.com/index.asp?int_sec=11&int_new=82539#.VjLStPlViko

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 think there are still BARRIERS to the appreciation and recognition of women in the arts?
  3. Have you visited art galleries and museums in your local area?
  4. All the movements in modern art were extremely international. Why do you think that was true?
  5. Herwarth Walden’s attitudes seem very CONTEMPORARY to us. In what ways was he AHEAD OF HIS TIME?

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.

  • Art gallery
  • Avant-garde
  • On behalf of
  • Ahead of his time

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