THE TRUTH ABOUT KIDS AND TECHNOLOGY

[TECHNOLOGY ★]

THE TRUTH ABOUT KIDS AND TECHNOLOGY

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(P1) It should come as no surprise that kids are spending a lot of time in front of screens.

(P2) According to a new study, tweens from 8 to 12 years of age spend an average of four-and-a-half hours each day watching TV or using a digital device. For teens 13 to 18, the average is six-and-a-half hours. But those numbers hide a bigger, more complex picture.

(P3) Common Sense Media, a nonprofit group focused on helping children, parents and teachers better understand media and technology, conducted the study. It looked at a wide range of media-related activities, from old methods like reading and listening to the radio, to new favorites like using social media and video chatting. More than 2,600 kids from around the country were surveyed. Here are some truths—and some myths—that the study revealed:

(P4) Truth 1: Some teens spend too much time looking at screens.

(P5) One in five tweens uses more than six hours of screen media each day, and 18% of teens are looking at their screens for more than 10 hours a day. Often they’re doubling up on screens, watching television on one while chatting with friends on another.

(P6) Myth 1: This is the end of reading.

(P7) While the average time young people spend reading, either in print or on a screen, is only 30 minutes per day, kids who took the survey say reading is one of their favorite activities.

(P8) Truth 2: Boys prefer video games; girls prefer social media.

(P9) Among tween boys, 71% enjoy playing video games, twice as many as tween girls. And while more than 25% of teen boys list playing video games as their favorite media activity, only 2% of teen girls do. Teen girls, meanwhile, spend about 40 minutes more each day on social media than boys do.

(P10) Myth 2: TV and music have been CROWDED OUT.

(P11) For tweens, TV is still the top media activity. They enjoy it the most and watch it every day. In fact, 47% of tweens have television sets in their bedrooms. For teens, while 57% have TV sets in their rooms, music is the REIGNING form of entertainment. However, only about a third listen to music on the radio. Most teens listen to it on their smartphones.

(P12) Truth 3: Gamers don’t get outside as much as kids who don’t play video games.

(P13) Kids report spending about an hour each day being active. For gamers, that average drops to 47 minutes, the lowest for any kind of media consumer. Social media users are the most active, spending one hour and 13 minutes per day doing some form of physical activity.

(P14) Myth 3: The Digital Revolution is making young people more creative than ever.

(P15) So far, kids are too busy consuming to be doing much producing. Tweens spend an average of five minutes and teens nine minutes per day making something with all their digital tools, whether it’s art, music, or writing.

(P16) In a statement, Common Sense Media chief executive officer James P. Steyer said that study “provides parents, educators and the media industry with an excellent OVERVIEW of what kids are doing today and how we can make the most of the media and technology in their lives.”

WORDS: 539

SOURCE: http://www.timeforkids.com/news/truth-about-kids-and-tech/304976

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 limit your children’s amount of media time?
  3. In some countries, even many young men in their 20s and 30s are completely obsessed by video games. Is this a social problem in your country?
  4. Why do boys like games better and girls like social media better?
  5. Do you feel that you watch too much television, or just enough?

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.

  • Crowded out

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PETS IMPROVE CHILDREN’S HEALTH

[LIFE ★]

PETS IMPROVE CHILDREN’S HEALTH

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(P1) One in ten British parents say owning a pet has helped their child lose weight, while nearly half say their child is FITTER and healthier because they own a dog or a horse, according to a study.

(P2) The report also found that Brits have collectively lost an estimated 4 million STONE in weight thanks to the increased activity that comes from owning a pet.

(P3) Recent research supports this: it found that owning a dog could help lower the risk of childhood OBESITY, as dog-owning families take part in more physical exercise and are less SEDENTARY.

(P4) Dr Carri Westgarth pointed to walking and playing with dogs as reasons why there is a clear correlation between dog ownership and improved fitness, adding that this trend isn’t seen with any other type of pet.

(P5) She said: “Generally, when looking at the population as a whole, if you own a dog you are more physically active, and this goes for children as well, in terms of increased physical activity levels.”

(P6) As well as improving their fitness, the study also found that pets help children’s MENTAL HEALTH, with three quarters of parents saying that owning a pet has improved their child’s ANXIETY.

(P7) Dr Maeve Moorcroft said: “One of the great things about a childhood pet is the strong bond that can develop.

(P8) “You can turn to them for comfort when you are upset or frightened, and the pet will never tease you or laugh at you or reveal your secrets. There will be no fights with your pets.”

(P9) Owning and caring for an animal also has positive effects on children’s behaviour, with 58% of parents saying their children have become more responsible since bringing an animal into the home.

(P10) Over a quarter of Brits say having a pet has improved how their child behaves, while two thirds of parents whose children have behavioural issues said their child has shown improvement thanks to the support of a pet.

(P11) A tenth of parents in the study, which surveyed over 4,000 people, also attributed an improvement in their child’s schoolwork to owning an animal.

(P12) More than three quarters of parents say that pet care and ownership is so essential to a child’s development that it should be taught as part of the national CURRICULUM.

WORDS: 378

SOURCE: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/pets/owning-a-pet-improves-childrens-health/

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 own a pet? Do you think that this improves your health?
  3. As a child, did you love animals, or were you afraid of them?
  4. What are the most popular pets in your country?
  5. The article states that having pets can help children become more responsible. What do you think are the best ways of encouraging responsible behavior in children?

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.

  • Mental health

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SOUTH AFRICA IN MIDST OF EPIC DROUGHT

[ENVIRONMENT ★★]

SOUTH AFRICA IN MIDST OF EPIC DROUGHT

SA Drought

(P1) South Africa is facing its worst DROUGHT since 1982, with more than 2.7 million HOUSEHOLDS facing water SHORTAGES across the country, the government has said.

(P2) Lennox Mabaso, spokesperson for the local government department in KwaZulu-Natal, told Al Jazeera that the drought, CONCENTRATED in the provinces of Free State and KwaZulu-Natal, was beginning to impact LIVELIHOODS and DRAIN the economy.

(P3) “The DAMS are at an ALL-TIME low. This is an EPIC drought and [the] government is doing the best it can do. As you can imagine, it requires a lot of resources, and it’s impacting everyone, rich and poor,” Mabaso said.

SA Map

(P4) The ministry declared the KwaZulu-Natal and Free State provinces as DISASTER AREAS and warned that some 6,500 rural communities across four provinces face water shortages.

(P5) South Africa’s capital, Pretoria, has already IMPLEMENTED water restrictions.

(P6) On Wednesday, Reuters news agency, quoting an official, said the drought-hit northern Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces would also be declared disaster areas for agriculture in the coming days, a claim a spokesperson for the Department of Water and Sanitation would not confirm.

(P7) “The provinces of Limpopo and the North-West are currently under observation,” Mlimandlela Ndamase, spokesperson for the Department of Water and Sanitation, said.

(P8) The government has already ALLOCATED $26m to KwaZulu-Natal in a bid to MITIGATE the impact of the drought that has been blamed on the EL NINO weather pattern. El Nino is expected to impact other parts of Southern Africa as well.

(P9) Economist Wandile Sihlobo said that summer CROPS (soybeans, maize, sugarcane) and livestock farming are likely to be HARDEST HIT by the drought, and consumers were likely to see higher food prices for some time to come.

(P10) “The concern now is about the next crop. It’s the OPTIMUM time to plant, but it’s still too dry, and with the failure earlier in the year, farmers are under further strain,” Sihlobo said.

WORDS: 316

SOURCE: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/11/south-africa-midst-epic-drought-151104070934236.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. Does the weather in your area ever get extremely dry or extremely wet?
  3. If you had to cut your water CONSUMPTION, what changes would you make?
  4. Are food prices in your area STEADY, or have they been increasing?
  5. South Africa’s national economy is beginning to be negatively affected by the drought. Is the economy in your country improving or declining?

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.

  • All-time
  • Disaster area
  • El Nino
  • Hard hit

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POPE FRANCIS TO VISIT MEXICO IN FEBRUARY

[WORLD NEWS ★]

POPE FRANCIS TO VISIT MEXICO IN FEBRUARY

Pope Francis

(P1) Pope Francis has announced that he will make his first official visit to Mexico early next year.

(P2) The Vatican says the Pope’s eight-day trip will begin on 12 February.

(P3) Pope Francis is expected to address issues such as poverty, organised crime, and DISCRIMINATION against migrants who look for a better life in their own country or abroad.

(P4) He drew millions of people to the streets of four other Latin American countries earlier this year.

(P5) Pope Francis is expected to get a warm RECEPTION in Mexico, where more than 80% of the population are Catholics.

(P6) The Archbishop of Mexico City, Norberto Rivera Carrera, said the Pope would renew his calls for forgiveness and SOLIDARITY.

(P7) “He will surely address the issues of DIGNITY, human rights and duties, and the care we owe to the most VULNERABLE people in society, such as migrants,” said Archbishop Rivera.

(P8) Details of the Pope’s full schedule in the visit to Mexico have not yet been released.

(P9) Archbishop Rivera has confirmed, however, that he would have a meeting with President Enrique Pena Nieto and also visit the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the national SHRINE of Mexico.

(P10) In July Pope Francis visited Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay.

(P11) The Vatican said that his choice of three of the poorest countries in South America reflected his “interest in the PERIPHERIES“.

(P12) He made an official visit to Cuba and the United States in September.

(P13) During his address to the US Congress, the Pope said immigrants should be treated “with the same passion and compassion with which we want to be treated”.

(P14) Pope Francis has not been back to his native Argentina since being elected PONTIFF in 2013.

WORDS: 283

SOURCE: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-34695313

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 are the most commonly practiced religions in your country?
  3. Pope Francis has been IN THE NEWS very much in recent years. Have you formed an opinion of him?
  4. The preparations and security for the Pope’s visit to Mexico will be extraordinary. What recent events in your country have required that kind of preparation and security?
  5. Pope Francis has a particular concern for the poor. What do you think is the best way of addressing the problem of global poverty?

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.

  • In the news

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GALLAGHER BROTHERS TO RE-UNITE FOR OASIS DOCUMENTARY

[CULTURE AND ENTERTAINMENT ★★]

GALLAGHER BROTHERS TO RE-UNITE FOR OASIS DOCUMENTARY

Noel and Liam Gallagher of Oasis at the 1995 Q Magazine Music Awards in London

(P1) Noel and Liam Gallagher are BURYING THE HATCHET — for now.

(P2) The brothers, who led the Britpop band Oasis to the TOP OF THE CHARTS in the ’90s, have agreed to take part in a documentary about the band.

(P3) The film is being produced by Asif Kapadia and James Gay-Rees, who made the Amy Winehouse documentary “Amy.”

(P4) At its height, Oasis was one of the most exciting — and TURBULENT — bands in rock ‘n’ roll. Guitarist Noel, five years older than Liam, wrote most of the songs, including “Live Forever,” “Don’t Look Back in Anger” and “Wonderwall” (the group’s biggest U.S. hit); Liam sang them.

(P5) Both brothers lived up to the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle of drink, drugs, and ENDLESS parties. Their TEMPESTUOUS relationship that made those of other rock SIBLINGS, such as Ray and Dave Davies or Don and Phil Everly, seem POSITIVELY calm in comparison. Sometimes they BICKERED; sometimes one of them POUTED. A lot happened in public.

(P6) They made excellent copy for the VORACIOUS British TABLOIDS.

(P7) In 2009, Noel finally had enough.

(P8) “It’s with some sadness and great relief to tell you that I quit Oasis tonight,” he said on the band’s website. “People will write and say what they like but I simply could not go on working with Liam a day longer.”

(P9) In recent years, the two have LOBBED insults at one another through the press while leading separate bands: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds and Liam’s now-DEFUNCT Beady Eye.

(P10) Noel Gallagher defended the siblings’ FEUDING.

(P11) “The one thing about this band is, we do have have arguments and fights, but it’s not BEHIND EACH OTHER’S BACKS,” he said. “We’re all UP FRONT with each other.”

(P12) For a REUNION, however, he’s always had one key condition.

(P13) “If I was ever going to do it,” he said, “it would only be for the money.”

WORDS: 316

SOURCE: http://edition.cnn.com/2015/11/05/entertainment/oasis-gallagher-brothers-documentary-feat/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. Could you work on a daily basis with your own siblings?
  3. What is your favorite pop band?
  4. Some fans are CYNICAL about entertainment feuds, claiming that these are mainly for PUBLICITY. What do you think?
  5. Do you like reunions and re-visiting the past, or are you more interested in getting on with the future?

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.

  • Bury the hatchet
  • Top of the charts
  • Behind each other’s backs
  • Up front

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EGYPTIAN TOURISM IN TURMOIL

[TRAVEL ★★★]

EGYPTIAN TOURISM IN TURMOIL

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(P1) Egypt’s tourism industry is REELING from suggestions that a bomb may have brought down a Russian plane shortly after it took off from the popular holiday RESORT of Sharm el-Sheikh.

(P2) British Prime Minister David Cameron said Thursday the crash of Metrojet Flight 9268 was “MORE LIKELY THAN NOT” caused by a bomb. U.S. officials have suggested that the terror group ISIS might be to blame.

(P3) The U.K. government has BARRED airlines from taking passengers to Sharm el-Sheikh because of concerns about security at the resort’s airport, and is working to help bring at least 9,000 travelers home. France has also stopped flights to the airport while the Netherlands and Germany have issued warnings about travel to the area.

(P4) This week’s developments could prove to be “CATASTROPHIC” for Egyptian tourism, said Nadejda Popova, a senior travel analyst.

(P5) Britain is the second biggest market for Egyptian tourism, behind Russia. Roughly 2.8 million Russians, one million Brits and nearly 600,000 Germans visited Egypt last year.

(P6) U.S. airlines do not fly to Sharm el-Sheikh after a March notice from the Federal Aviation Administration warned about “HAZARDS associated with EXTREMIST activities.”

(P7) Egypt has been trying to rebuild its tourism industry since political TURMOIL caused by the Arab Spring protests in early 2011 scared millions of tourists away.

(P8) Annual visitor numbers SLUMPED from a record 14.7 million in 2010 to around 10 million since then.

(P9) But the industry has shown its RESILIENCE in the past to acts of terrorism and BLOODSHED.

(P10) Tourists continued to visit the country despite an increase in MILITANT attacks since President Mohamed Morsy was OVERTHROWN in July 2013.

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(P11) And Sharm el-Sheikh on the Red Sea had been particularly INSULATED from trouble. Experts say it was known as a safe holiday spot.

(P12) “Tourists … DISSOCIATED this part of Egypt from the UNREST elsewhere,” said Popova.

(P13) “The decision of the UK is going to have a very serious impact on the local economy and of course on tourism as the only POCKETS OF safety in the country are now COMPROMISED.”

(P14) Other experts say it is too soon to GAUGE the impact on tourism because not enough is known about the cause of the plane crash.

(P15) “Egypt is a leading tourism DESTINATION with a PROVEN strong CAPACITY to REBOUND, and we believe this time will not be different,” said Taleb Rifai, secretary-general of the UN World Tourism Organization.

(P16) Egypt’s tourism minister Hisham Zaazou told CNN on Wednesday that he was concerned about the SHORT-TERM PROSPECTS for tourism in the country, but hoped that a review of the plane’s BLACK BOXES would show terrorist activity did not lead to the crash.

(P17) Tourism in Egypt accounts in total for about 13% of the economy. About 12% of jobs in the country are either directly or indirectly supported by the tourism industry.

WORDS: 468

SOURCE: http://money.cnn.com/2015/11/05/news/russian-plane-crash-egypt-tourism-bomb-uk/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. There have been many recent negative incidents involving tourism in Egypt and nearby Tunisia. Would you travel to that part of the world right now?
  3. Have recent plane crashes made you more nervous about flying?
  4. Many countries issue travel warnings about the global situation for their citizens. Have you ever looked at the travel warnings issued by your country?
  5. Sharm el-Sheikh is a beach resort. What is your favorite beach town?

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.

  • More likely than not
  • Pocket of
  • Short-term
  • Black box

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CROCODILES OWNED BY DRUG LORDS ALMOST STARVE

[ENVIRONMENT ★]

CROCODILES OWNED BY DRUG LORDS ALMOST STARVE

Crocodile

(P1) More than 10,000 crocodiles in Honduras that had gone hungry for weeks because their owners had their ASSETS FROZEN were fed on Tuesday.

(P2) The crocodiles are bred for their skin and meat at a farm owned by members of the influential Rosenthal family.

(P3) The US treasury on 7 October froze the assets of Jaime Rosenthal, his son Yani and nephew Yankel.

(P4) Yankel Rosenthal had been arrested the previous day at Miami airport.

(P5) US investigators accuse the three of MONEY LAUNDERING and drug trafficking.

(P6) The state-run Forest Conservation Institute DONATED 1,500kg (3,000lb) of chicken to the farm after news EMERGED that the animals had not been fed since the Rosenthals’ assets were frozen.

(P7) A Honduran firm donated two tons of cow ENTRAILS to feed the crocodiles and some lions which also live at the farm.

(P8) But local media reported that the farm’s employees refused to feed the animals until their WAGES had been paid.

(P9) The Forest Conservation Institute said it would find a way to reach an agreement with the workers.

(P10) On Tuesday it announced that both the entrails and the chicken had been fed to the animals.

(P11) The farm’s manager said the food would last for “two to three days”.

(P12) About 11,000 crocodiles and seven lions live at the farm.

(P13) As well as the crocodile farm, the family owns a newspaper, a football club, and a bank.

(P14) The bank, Banco Continental, is being LIQUIDATED, and the newspaper, Tiempo, has not been published since last week.

(P15) The Rosenthals have played key roles in Honduran politics for decades.

(P16) Jaime Rosenthal, 79, served as the country’s vice-president from 1986 to 1990 and ran for president on a number of occasions.

(P17) Yani Rosenthal, who had presidential ASPIRATIONS, was a government minister from 2006 to 2009.

(P18) Yankel Rosenthal is also a former minister and owns one of Honduras’ most famous football clubs.

WORDS: 313

SOURCE: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-34720634

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 any items made of reptile skin (snake, LIZARD, crocodile, ALLIGATOR)?
  3. What do you think will happen to the crocodiles now?
  4. Money laundering is often international IN SCOPE. Why is this true?
  5. What families in your country are famous for owning many different businesses?

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.

  • Frozen assets
  • Money laundering
  • In scope

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