FACEBOOK ORDERED TO STOP TRACKING NON-MEMBERS

[TECHNOLOGY ★]

FACEBOOK ORDERED TO STOP TRACKING NON-MEMBERS

Facebook

(P1) A court has given Facebook 48 hours to stop tracking people in Belgium who are not members of its social network.

(P2) Facebook says it will appeal against the decision and that the order relates to a cookie it has used for five years. The cookie is INSTALLED when an internet user visits a Facebook page even if they are not members.

(P3) However, the Belgian court said that the company was OBLIGED to obtain consent to collect the information being gathered. “The judge ruled that this is personal data, which Facebook can only use if the internet user EXPRESSLY gives their consent, as Belgian privacy law dictates,” it said in a statement.

(P4) If Facebook fails to COMPLY, it could face a fine of up to 250,000 euros (£180,000) per day. The fine would go to the Belgian Privacy Commission, which BROUGHT THE CASE, the court added.

(P5) Cookies are simple files that track whether a user has visited a website before and notify the site itself. They can track a number of user activities, such as how long they stayed, what they clicked and any preferences selected.

(P6) “We’ve used the Datr cookie for more than five years to keep Facebook secure for 1.5 billion people around the world,” said a Facebook spokesperson. “We will appeal this decision and are working to minimise any disruption to people’s access to Facebook in Belgium.”

WORDS: 235

SOURCE: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-34765937

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. Are you a user of Facebook or similar social networks?
  3. Do you believe that many websites collect information about you without your permission?
  4. What do websites like Facebook do with your private information? Do you think that they sell it to others?
  5. Do the big tech corporations like Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Apple, etc., have too much power in our lives?

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.

  • Bring a case

Cambly Practice Button

THE DINNER THAT CAN GIVE YOU CANCER

[ENVIRONMENT ★★]

THE DINNER THAT CAN GIVE YOU CANCER

gaawy_bplaa_vientiane-00-560

(P1) A local DELICACY in north-east Thailand, made from raw fish, has been found to be behind a high INCIDENCE of LIVER cancer in the area, and doctors are trying to educate people about the risk.

(P2) The Isaan PLATEAU of north-eastern Thailand is poor, dry, and far from the sea. Home to around one third of the country’s population, most of them ETHNIC Lao in origin, it is RENOWNED for its spicy and inventive cuisine, using whatever ingredients are available.

(P3) Where there are rivers or lakes, they use the smaller fish they catch in a PUNGENT dish called koi plaa. The fish are chopped up finely, and mixed by hand with local herbs, lime juice, and live red ants, and served up raw.

(P4) It is very popular, but also dangerous.

(P5) For decades, certain populations in the north-east have been known to have abnormally high levels of liver cancer.

(P6) In men it comprises more than half of all cancer cases, compared to an average of less than 10% worldwide.

(P7) The high PREVALENCE has long been linked to infection by liver flukes, a kind of PARASITE, found in raw fish.

(P8) But it is only in the last decade that a serious effort has been made to get people to change their eating habits, by cooking koi plaa to kill the flukes before they eat it.

(P9) Dr. Banchob Sripa at the Tropical Disease Research Laboratory in Khon Kaen University is the man largely responsible for this effort.

(P10) “We have been studying this link in our labs for over 30 years”, he said.

(P11) “We found that the liver fluke can make a chemical that causes INFLAMMATION, and after many years, this becomes CHRONIC inflammation, which then becomes cancer.”

(P12) His team found that in some communities up to 80% of people were infected by the fluke, some as young as four years-old, but that the cancer rarely developed before people reached 50. Once it does, though, there is little hope for patients.

(P13) At the university hospital they receive around 2,000 patients a year with a specific form of liver cancer called cholangiocarcinoma.

(P14) Only around 200 of those can be treated, usually by surgery, cutting out the TUMOR from the liver.

Liver Cancer

(P15) The others are given PALLIATIVE CARE until they die.

(P16) The only effective remedy is prevention.

(P17) So Dr. Banchob and his team are running a community-based health education program.

(P18) They also take a PORTABLE ULTRASOUND machine around the villages to screen people for liver fluke infection.

(P19) It is STRIKING how many older people have high levels, indicating that they still eat their koi plaa raw.

(P20) “Sometimes I cook it, but sometimes I forget,” said 61-year-old Jongluck Laonongkwa after his screening. His liver was INFESTED with flukes.

(P21) “I think 60% do understand the causes of the liver cancer,” said Dr. Banchob, “They are aware of the liver fluke.

(P22) “But 10% are still eating raw fish. I believe that 10% probably cannot change. So we should change the environment, make the fish cleaner, to get fewer INFECTIONS.”

(P23) In the villages where the education programs has been running, infection rates are coming down SHARPLY, to below 10% in some.

(P24) It will take more time for liver cancer rates to fall significantly, but the attitude of younger people is ENCOURAGING.

WORDS: 546

SOURCE: http://www.bbc.com/news/health-33095945

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. Raw fish dishes such as SUSHI and CEVICHE are popular in many countries. Do you eat and enjoy raw fish?
  3. In general, eating fish is considered healthier than eating meat. Do you prefer fish or meat?
  4. Have you ever experienced any type of FOOD POISONING or food-based illness?
  5. Public health education is challenging because it is difficult to get people to change their habits. Why is this difficult?

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.

  • Palliative care
  • Food poisoning

Cambly Practice Button

MEXICO SUPREME COURT THROWS OUT BAN ON MARIJUANA USE

[WORLD NEWS ★★]

MEXICO SUPREME COURT THROWS OUT BAN ON MARIJUANA USE

Mexico

(P1) Mexico’s Supreme Court has ruled that sections of the country’s health law are INVALID, therefore legalizing the growing, possession, and use of marijuana for RECREATIONAL purposes.

(P2) ACTIVISTS say the ruling PAVES THE WAY for Mexico to make history and end drug PROHIBITION, in spite of social STIGMAS, a deadly drug war, and strong opposition from politicians and the Catholic church.

(P3) The Supreme Court granted an INJUNCTION allowing four members of the Mexican Society for Responsible and Tolerant Self-Consumption (Smart) to grow, transport, and smoke marijuana.

(P4) In a 4-1 ruling, the court found that prohibitions on using marijuana VIOLATED the “right to the free development of personality” – and were therefore UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

(P5) “If these restrictions are unconstitutional for us, they should be unconstitutional for the entire population,” said Francisco Torres Landa, a lawyer and one of the four PLAINTIFFS in the case.

(P6) The move potentially puts Mexico at the FOREFRONT of an international movement to DECRIMINALIZE drugs – despite a decade-long CRACKDOWN on drug cartels which has cost the lives of around 100,000 people.

(P7) If the court rules the same way on five similar PETITIONS, it would then establish the PRECEDENT to change the law and allow general recreational use.

(P8) A similar process led to the court’s recent ruling that Mexican laws prohibiting same-sex marriage are unconstitutional.

(P9) Asked about the ruling president Enrique Peña Nieto told reporters that it “opens AMPLE space for a debate on marijuana.

(P10) “It’s not new. I’ve made statements previously of the need for a broad debate on the public policies concerning drugs.

(P11) “This ruling does not open or in any way signify the legalisation of marijuana consumption, nor the commercialisation, nor the transportation of it.”

(P12) Although Mexico has long been a major supplier of illegal NARCOTICS to the US, it had until recently not considered itself as a consumer of illegal drugs. Analysts say that started to change when CARTELS started paying UNDERLINGS with drugs.

(P13) But drug reform activists say that the use of drugs has little to do with the violence of illegal drug traffic.

(P14) A recent poll found that 77% of Mexicans are opposed to legalizing marijuana, with just 20% in favor.

WORDS: 365

SOURCE: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/nov/04/mexico-supreme-court-recreational-marijuana-legal

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 the legal status of marijuana in your country?
  3. Do you think marijuana is more like tobacco and alcohol, or more like HARD DRUGS?
  4. Mexico suffers greatly from crime and violence associated with drug trafficking. How should a country deal with these problems?
  5. The Mexican Supreme Court ruled that the country’s marijuana laws are unconstitutional. Does your country operate under a constitution or similar document?

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.

  • Pave the way
  • Hard drugs

Cambly Practice Button

RUSSIAN PERFORMANCE ARTIST DETAINED FOR SETTING GOVERNMENT DOORS ON FIRE

[CULTURE AND ENTERTAINMENT ★★★]

RUSSIAN PERFORMANCE ARTIST DETAINED FOR SETTING GOVERNMENT DOORS ON FIRE

Russian Protest

(P1) Russia on Monday DETAINED a political PERFORMANCE ARTIST after he TORCHED the doors to the HEADQUARTERS of the FSB security service, the successor to the KGB.

(P2) Pyotr Pavlensky set fire to the wooden doors of the FSB building in downtown Moscow around 1:00am (Sunday 2200 GMT), his lawyer Olga Chavdar said.

(P3) Police later opened a criminal investigation into VANDALISM over the incident.

(P4) If charged and found guilty of vandalism, Pavlensky could face up to three years in prison.

(P5) A video posted online on Pavlensky’s social media account shows flames leaping to the top of the doorway as the artist stands in front of it holding a gas CANISTER, before a policeman comes running up.

(P6) In a message released with the video, Pavlensky said: “The FSB acts using methods of terror and holds power over 146 million people.”

(P7) The FSB headquarters, which take up an entire block, were used by Soviet-era SECRET POLICE for INTERROGATIONS, jailing opponents, and EXTRA-JUDICIAL killings.

(P8) President Vladimir Putin briefly headed the FSB and was a KGB agent during the Soviet era.

(P9) Pavlensky’s lawyer said the FSB questioned the ACTIVIST and asked him whether he had intended to kill anyone.

(P10) “He was detained at 1:00am after which he was in the FSB headquarters, where they INSISTENTLY asked him whose death he wanted,” she said.

(P11) “He told them ‘What are you saying? I don’t want anyone’s death’,” she said, adding that no one was on the street at the time except Pavlensky and two journalists.

(P12) “We intend to use the right not to give TESTIMONY,” she said after the vandalism investigation was announced.

(P13) Russian artists who CARRY OUT political STUNTS usually serve up to 15 days in police cells for PETTY HOOLIGANISM, but can face much higher SENTENCES.

(P14) Two members of the group Pussy Riot in 2012 were sentenced to two years for hooliganism after their performance in a church protesting against close ties between the Russian Orthodox Church and Putin.

(P15) Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova praised Pavlensky in a tweet on Monday as “the brains and the CONSCIENCE of our era.”

WORDS: 353

SOURCE: http://artdaily.com/index.asp?int_sec=11&int_new=82786#.VkQI1PlVikp

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. Performance artists and CONCEPTUAL ARTISTS make art out of ideas. What ideas were behind Pyotr Pavlensky’s setting these doors on fire?
  3. Performance and conceptual artists put energy into the DOCUMENTATION of their work. How did Pavlensky document this piece?
  4. Artists in certain countries such as Russia often PUT THEIR WORK FORWARD as a form of POLITICAL PROTEST. What is the relationship between art and politics?
  5. Do you think that Pavlensky will serve time in prison for this act, or not? Does the international attention he is getting help him or hurt him?

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.

  • Performance artist
  • Secret police
  • Extra-judicial
  • Carry out
  • Conceptual artist
  • Put forward
  • Political protest

Cambly Practice Button

NO ONE UNDERSTANDS THE “FINE PRINT” IN AGREEMENTS

[BUSINESS ★]

NO ONE UNDERSTANDS THE “FINE PRINT” IN AGREEMENTS

Fine Print

(P1) The FINE PRINT in many insurance and banking agreements is only understandable to post-graduate students, a consumer group has said.

(P2) Fairer Finance also found that even many “simpler” documents were written in language only accessible to those educated to university level.

(P3) It compared terms and conditions in 280 documents to a range of reading score formulas.

(P4) An estimated 16% of UK adults have a reading age of 11 or less.

(P5) The research found that no insurance documents could be understood by someone with an education level EQUIVALENT to an 11-year-old in the first year of middle school.

(P6) “By communicating in a language that many people simply can’t understand, banks and insurers are DISCRIMINATING against large numbers of their customers,” said James Daley, managing director of Fairer Finance.

(P7) “As well as being unfair, it is also bad business. If customers do not understand what they are buying, they are more likely to be disappointed. It is in everyone’s interests that companies communicate clearly with their customers.”

(P8) A spokesman for the Association of British Insurers (ABI) said: “All insurers want to ensure that customer documents are as clear and TRANSPARENT as possible.

(P9) “They will continually review their customer materials, as they want policy-holders to read policies and understand what they are covered for and what they need to be aware of. We would also encourage consumers to read what they receive from their insurers, and speak to them if anything is unclear.”

(P10) A report published last year by the Money Advice Service suggested that four out of five UK adults did not read the full terms and conditions when they bought financial products.

(P11) The research suggested that misunderstanding financial JARGON cost UK consumers £21bn in a year – an average of £428 for every adult.

WORDS: 301

SOURCE: http://www.bbc.com/news/business-34807020

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 review the “fine print” in documents that you sign, including online USER AGREEMENTS, or do you just skip them?
  3. Although Mr. Daley of Fairer Finance says that “It is in everyone’s interests that companies communicate clearly with their customers,” that is probably not true. Fine print has traditionally been “fine” (small) to discourage customers from reading it. Is there any advantage for companies when the customer does not know what she is agreeing to?
  4. Are you surprised to learn that 16% of the British population reads at an 11-year-old level or worse? Do you think that figure would be similar for your country, or better?
  5. Do studies and reports like this actually change anything?

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.

  • Fine print
  • User agreement

Cambly Practice Button

BRAZIL DISASTER THREATENS WATER SUPPLY

[WORLD NEWS ★★]

BRAZIL DISASTER THREATENS WATER SUPPLY

Rescue workers search for victims at Bento Rodrigues district that was covered with mud after a dam owned by Vale SA and BHP Billiton Ltd burst, in Mariana, Brazil, November 8, 2015. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes

(P1) A river of mud from BURST DAMS at a Brazilian IRON ORE MINE forced populous cities more than 300 km (200 miles) DOWNSTREAM to CUT OFF drinking water on Monday, raising health and environmental concerns.

(P2) Twenty-five people are still missing after one of the worst mining disasters in Brazil’s history. Officials confirmed two deaths since Thursday’s tragedy and are working to identify two more bodies recovered on Sunday.

(P3) EXHAUSTED search teams waded through deep mud in Bento Rodrigues, the village most DAMAGED by the MUDSLIDES. The 600-person community stood IN THE SHADOW OF the broken dams, located about a six-hour car ride north of Rio de Janeiro, in the heart of Brazil’s iron ore region.

(P4) Intense flooding swept through towns as far as 100 km (62 miles) away after the dams burst at two RESERVOIRS holding mining waste. Four days later, the CONTAMINATED mud is still running past the well-populated banks of the Rio Doce river.

(P5) Governador Valadares, a city of 280,000, cut off its water supply for over 24 hours and will keep testing the water until the mud passes, officials said on Monday.

(P6) Health authorities are checking the TOXICITY of the waters and told residents who came in contact with the mud to throw out their clothing. Biologists warn that the environmental impact may be permanent, DEVASTATING local fisheries and farms.

(P7) Residents and officials have also criticized what they say has been LAX communication by mine operator Samarco, a JOINT VENTURE between the world’s largest mining company, BHP Billiton Ltd, and the biggest iron ore miner, Vale SA.

(P8) The mayor of nearby Mariana, Duarte Junior, said Monday that both BHP and Vale need to take responsibility for relief efforts, not just Samarco.

(P9) BHP said Andrew Mackenzie, chief executive officer of the Australian company, would visit Brazil early in the week to assess the situation.

(P10) Vale CEO Murilo Ferreira visited Mariana on Saturday, but did not speak with reporters. The Brazilian company has offered HELICOPTERS and other equipment for the rescue effort.

(P11) Officials have not determined the cause of the disaster, but a public PROSECUTOR says a 2013 study showed flaws in the design of one of the dams. Workers were ENLARGING the dam when it burst, UNLEASHING some 55 million cubic meters of WASTE WATER.

(P12) The tragedy has GALVANIZED government officials, ENVIRONMENTALISTS, and OUTRAGED residents to call for tighter regulation of the powerful mining industry.

(P13) “Now is the time for a national debate about what we want from mining, and at what cost,” said Antonio Carlos de Oliveira, a state prosecutor weighing the environmental impact of the disaster. He and other prosecutors will meet on Wednesday to discuss their next steps, he said.

WORDS: 450

SOURCE: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/11/09/us-brazil-damburst-idUSKCN0SY1Y920151109

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 there been any disasters in your country in recent years?
  3. Is mining or EXTRACTION a major industry in your country? What is mined or extracted – gold, silver, diamonds, oil, etc?
  4. Is the TAP WATER in your city nice for drinking, or do you prefer to use bottled water?
  5. Have you ever experienced flood conditions in your neighborhood?

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.

  • Iron ore
  • In the shadow of
  • Cut off
  • Joint venture
  • Waste water
  • Tap water

Cambly Practice Button

SOUTH AFRICAN UNIVERSITY SWITCHES TO INSTRUCTION IN ENGLISH

[EDUCATION ★★]

SOUTH AFRICAN UNIVERSITY SWITCHES TO INSTRUCTION IN ENGLISH

Stellenbosch

(P1) An ELITE South African university wants to drop AFRIKAANS as the language of instruction and teach in English.

(P2) Stellenbosch University management has taken the decision IN THE WAKE OF complaints about the challenges and racism faced by black students.

(P3) Many black students struggle with lessons in Afrikaans, one of the main languages spoken by the white minority in South Africa.

(P4) A student movement that CAMPAIGNED for change said: “The doors of learning and culture shall be opened to all.”

(P5) The university is two-thirds white, more than two decades after the end of APARTHEID.

(P6) Opposition to being taught in Afrikaans helped MOBILISE students.

(P7) “Language should be used in a way that encourages engagement with knowledge in a diverse society and to ensure EQUITABLE access to learning and teaching opportunities for all students,” Stellenbosch University management said in a statement, adding that the change would take place from next year.

(P8) “Since English is the most commonly spoken language in South Africa, all learning should be FACILITATED in English to ensure no exclusion due to language,” the statement said.

(P9) The university would remain committed to the further development of Afrikaans and XHOSA as academic languages, it said.

(P10) In university residences students should use English as the common language, it added.

(P11) These recommendations will be put to the university’s council at its meeting on 30 November, where OBSERVERS say it may face fierce opposition but is likely to be passed.

(P12) This has been warmly received not only by students there but by the rest of the country. Stellenbosch University has always been accused of being one of the most REACTIONARY academic institutions in post-apartheid South Africa, and for decades was regarded as the heart of Afrikanerdom.

(P13) The town itself is the second-oldest European settlement in the Western Cape and was named after Simon van der Stel, who was a governor of the Dutch Cape Colony. WHITE SUPREMACISTS such as John Vorster, a former apartheid prime minister, studied at the university.

(P14) It was a little ENCLAVE protecting the interests of the supporters of apartheid, many of whom spoke Afrikaans as their native language.

(P15) Afrikaans is still spoken by millions but this move will make the many more millions who do not speak it feel welcomed in one of the best academic institutions on the African continent.

(P16) The pro-Afrikaaner civil rights group AfriForum has CONDEMNED the switch, saying that the university “wants to MARGINALISE Afrikaans-speaking students.”

(P17) Afrikaans is spoken mainly by mixed-race, known as coloured, and white South Africans, and was developed from the DESCENDANTS of Dutch, German and French settlers who arrived in the 17th Century.

(P18) Afrikaans is the most commonly spoken language in the PROVINCES of Northern Cape and Western Cape, where Stellenbosch University is based.

(P19) Wim de Villiers, the vice-CHANCELLOR of Stellenbosch University, has defended his decision to switch to English.

(P20) “Why should the University of Stellenbosch carry the responsibility to protect Afrikaans’s survival? We are a FORWARD-LOOKING institution and our PRIMARY function is to create and transfer knowledge,” he said.

(P21) “The university is a national ASSET that STRIVES to be inclusive. Therefore, we cannot have a situation where the choice of instructional language restricts access to teaching and learning for certain students.”

WORDS: 538

SOURCE: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-34807291

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. In a MULTILINGUAL society, why is the choice of instructional language important?
  3. South Africa still suffers from racial TENSIONS many years after the apartheid racial-separation policy was ABOLISHED. Are there any racial, ETHNIC, linguistic, or religious tensions in your country?
  4. Stellenbosch is an elite university. What are the highest-ranked universities in your country?
  5. When an institution has to make a decision like this, is there any possibility of making everyone happy?

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 wake of
  • White supremacist
  • Forward-looking

Cambly Practice Button