LARGEST DIAMOND FIND IN MORE THAN A CENTURY

[WORLD NEWS ★]

LARGEST DIAMOND FIND IN MORE THAN A CENTURY

Diamond

(P1) A 1,111 CARAT “high quality diamond” has been discovered at a MINE in BOTSWANA, said to be the biggest find in more than a century, according to the mine company.

(P2) The gem, second in size only to the Cullinan diamond which was UNEARTHED in South Africa in 1905, was mined by Lucara Diamond Corp.

(P3) “The MAGNIFICENT stone, which ORIGINATED from the Karowe Mine, is the second largest GEM-QUALITY diamond ever found,” the company said in a statement.

(P4) Botswana is the world’s second biggest diamond producer, and Lucara said the gem was the largest ever to be discovered in the country.

(P5) “The significance of the discovery of a gem-quality stone larger than 1,000 carats, the largest for more than a century….CANNOT BE OVERSTATED,” said William Lamb, the President and chief executive of Lucara.

(P6) The stone is yet to be EVALUATED, but analyst Kieron Hodgson said it has “the potential to be one very expensive diamond.”

(P7) “VALUATION will depend on how the diamond would be cut, its final shape and color,” he said.

(P8) “All these factors will need to be evaluated.”

(P9) The biggest diamond ever discovered is the 3,106-carat Cullinan, found near Pretoria in South Africa in 1905.

(P10) It was cut to form the Great Star of Africa and the Lesser Star of Africa, which are among the CROWN JEWELS OF BRITAIN.

(P11) Lucara indicated on its website that the Karowe Mine experienced two other major finds this week — an 813 carat stone and a 374 carat stone, prompting Lamb to LAUD “an amazing week” for the company.

WORDS: 265

SOURCE: http://artdaily.com/index.asp?int_sec=11&int_new=83034#.Vk6LyvlViko

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 or anyone in your family own any genuine diamond jewelry?
  3. Why are diamonds so valuable? What is special about them?
  4. Do you believe that spending a lot of money on a diamond ENGAGEMENT RING is wise or foolish?
  5. Why is mining such a dangerous job?

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.

  • Gem-quality
  • Cannot be overstated
  • Engagement ring

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“THE PEANUTS MOVIE” STAYS TRUE TO THE COMIC STRIP

[CULTURE AND ENTERTAINMENT ★]

“THE PEANUTS MOVIE” STAYS TRUE TO THE COMIC STRIP

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(P1) As a LIFELONG fan of the Peanuts COMIC STRIP and television specials, Steve Martino says that getting chosen to direct a computer-animated Peanuts movie struck him as “a huge responsibility.” When he accepted the offer, he knew the importance of STAYING TRUE TO the original work that cartoonist Charles Schulz created in 1950.

(P2) “I have a TREMENDOUS amount of respect for Charles Schulz as an artist,” Martino says. “He was like a teacher to me. When I was very young, I would read the comic strip with my dad. I used to just lie on the floor and stare at the drawings. I think the Peanuts characters were some of the first characters I tried to draw or copy.”

(P3) Though Charles Schulz died in 2000, his family has been passionate about preserving his LEGACY and making sure children today can enjoy the Peanuts characters. His son Craig and grandson Bryan worked as two of the three writers on The Peanuts Movie, which comes to theaters on November 6. While the Schulz family worked hard to keep the characters AUTHENTIC, Martino had a special kind of BALANCING ACT: bringing the Peanuts gang to life with computer animation while staying true to the original two-dimensional artwork.

(P4) “I thought that with computer animation there would be the opportunity to bring these characters to life and make [their] world feel a little more real,” he said. “But it was very important to me that we find the ‘pen line’—the way that Charles Schulz drew.”

(P5) Longtime Peanuts fans will notice the SIGNATURE pen line in almost every detail: the SQUIGGLE of Charlie Brown’s mouth, the way movement is shown with motion lines, and even the OUTLINE of Snoopy’s dog house.

(P6) In addition to following Schulz’s pen line, Martino had the film’s CASTING DIRECTOR listen to thousands of recordings to choose actors who sound like the original Peanuts characters from TV.

(P7) This ATTENTION TO DETAIL required extra hours of work for the film’s crew, but Martino thinks it was worth it. “We took a tremendous amount of care in the making of the movie because we have such respect for the work that [Schulz] created,” he said. “And as we studied more of his work, we developed even more respect for how he has touched people around the world. My hope is that he would be proud of what we’ve created.”

WORDS: 405

SOURCE: http://www.timeforkids.com/news/working-%E2%80%9Cpeanuts%E2%80%9D/300556

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 the Peanuts characters like Charlie Brown and Snoopy popular in your country?
  3. Who were your favorite comic strip or cartoon characters when you were growing up?
  4. Do you like the new computer animation, or the old hand-drawn animation?
  5. Do 3D MOVIES hurt your eyes or give you a headache?

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.

  • Comic strip
  • Stay true to
  • Balancing act
  • Casting director
  • Attention to detail
  • 3D movie

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NORTH KOREA WANTS TO BECOME A SPORTS SUPERPOWER

[SPORTS ★]

NORTH KOREA WANTS TO BECOME A SPORTS SUPERPOWER

ASIAD-2014-WEIGHTLIFTING

(P1) North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has declared his intention to turn North Korea into a sporting POWERHOUSE “within a few years”. It is already happening in WEIGHTLIFTING.

(P2) At last year’s World Championships in Kazakhstan, North Korea topped the medal count at a major championship for the first time.

(P3) They are expected to repeat their strong performance at the 2015 competition in Houston, which begins on Friday.

(P4) North Korea would also like to host a future World Championship.

(P5) For a such a closed country, this is a remarkable ABOUT-TURN.

(P6) So why do North Koreans EXCEL at weightlifting?

(P7) “They look like what you would want a weightlifter to look like,” says British Weightlifting performance director Tommy Yule.

(P8) “Short arms, long back and short legs. The Chinese and the North Korean lifters have the ideal body DIMENSIONS to excel.”

(P9) The exact training methods of the North Koreans are UNCLEAR.

(P10) They eat, sleep, and breathe weightlifting. It is SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST and those who cannot KEEP UP are DISMISSED.

(P11) North Korea’s ambitions are not limited to winning medals. They extend to hosting the World Championships.

(P12) There may be a lot for the North Korean weightlifters to celebrate in Houston and at the Rio Olympics in 2016.

WORDS: 211

SOURCE: http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/weightlifting/34768507

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 your country have a strong Olympic sports program?
  3. Have you ever trained with weights at a gym?
  4. Why is it considered an about-turn for North Korea to be so interested in international sports competitions?
  5. Weightlifting is not one of the major fan sports, but AFICIONADOS love it. Do you have any favorite sports among the less popular sports?

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.

  • About-turn
  • Survival of the fittest
  • Keep up

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NEW VIOLIN CONCERTO POSES CHALLENGES

[CULTURE AND ENTERTAINMENT ★★]

NEW VIOLIN CONCERTO POSES CHALLENGES

Nicola Benedetti

(P1) Violinist Nicola Benedetti says she feared she wouldn’t be able to play a new CONCERTO, set to PREMIERE in London this Friday.

(P2) She said Wynton Marsalis’ Violin Concerto in D presented many challenges in the final MOVEMENT, which was inspired by a SCOTTISH REEL.

(P3) “I can’t play it yet, to be quite honest,” she said in an interview.

(P4) “It’s very difficult.”

(P5) Marsalis wrote the concerto – his first – specifically for Benedetti.

(P6) The world premiere takes place at the Barbican CONCERT HALL on Friday night, where the Scottish violinist will be supported by the London Symphony Orchestra.

(P7) Benedetti’s fears over the performance have been SOOTHED by a period of intense rehearsals.

(P8) “My feeling now is that it will be a piece that violinists will love,” she said, saying it EXEMPLIFIED “the range of colour and the melodic expressive potential of the violin”.

(P9) Benedetti, who won BBC Young Musician of the Year at the age 16 in 2004, first met Marsalis 10 years ago at New York’s Lincoln Centre.

Wynton Marsalis

(P10) He is a New Orleans-born trumpeter, composer and teacher, who has become one of the most INFLUENTIAL voices in JAZZ.

(P11) The duo have worked closely on the violin concerto, which draws inspiration from jazz, BLUES, and Scottish FOLK MUSIC.

(P12) Asked about the difficulties of combining the three DISPARATE musical traditions, Marsalis simply replied: “They’re not different at all”.

(P13) “The root of all Afro-American music is Anglo-CELTIC music. In the slavery time, the slaves played reels and IRISH JIGS and Scottish music. Our music is joined at the roots – so it’s not difficult at all to find COMMONALITY.”

(P14) The 53-year-old added that he would not be suffering from nerves ahead of the concerto’s world premiere.

(P15) “I don’t have any professional stress. No type of review bothers me,” he said.

(P16) Benedetti said she was still “learning” to be relaxed about criticisms of her work.

(P17) “Reviews can UPSET me sometimes,” she admitted, “but the truth is they can all be quite RANDOM.”

WORDS: 333

SOURCE: http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-34731493

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. Describe some of the musical traditions of your country.
  3. Did you ever have to do something difficult that you were afraid you wouldn’t be able to do?
  4. Have you ever performed or spoken in front of an audience? Did it make you nervous?
  5. Do you play a musical instrument?

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.

  • Folk music

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USING MOBILE DEVICES DECREASES TECH LITERACY

[TECHNOLOGY ★★]

USING MOBILE DEVICES DECREASES TECH LITERACY

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(P1) Children’s growing use of mobile devices may HAMPER their learning of key technology skills, says a report.

(P2) An Australian educational research group noted a “significant decline” in technological LITERACY since 2011.

(P3) Its report said children learned very different skills on tablets and smartphones from the technology skills that are required for the workplace.

(P4) The report by Australia’s National Assessment Programme looked at technology literacy among two groups of children – one just leaving primary school and another in its fourth year of secondary school. More than 10,500 students TOOK PART in the study.

(P5) The report compared digital literacy scores from 2011 with those from a survey carried out in late 2014.

(P6) “This report shows a significant decline in technological literacy performance,” the report said.

(P7) “These declines in performance are CONCERNING and WARRANT serious attention,” said the report.

(P8) The online survey asked children to complete a variety of tasks including: using a blog and search engine; making invitations using GRAPHICS software; completing online REGISTRATION forms and using social media to promote an event; setting up a tablet and installing apps; creating an animated video about water safety and uploading files.

(P9) Tablets and smartphones were making children COMPETENT at using many forms of online communication, the report said, at the expense of more advanced skills.

(P10) The report warned against ASSUMING that children who use tablets and other PORTABLE devices were more widely competent with technology.

(P11) “We cannot expect students to become PROFICIENT on important employability and life skills, just by using computing devices for games and social interaction,” it said. “They also need to be taught the relevant knowledge, understanding, and skills.”

(P12) Computer expert Eben Upton said the Australian research presented some “interesting” conclusions.

(P13) “It’s always been my belief that many PLATFORMS don’t encourage real computer literacy because there is a difference being a consumer and being a producer,” he told the BBC.

(P14) This makes sense. Watching television or using a refrigerator doesn’t make you an engineer, AFTER ALL. As devices become easier to use, fewer skills are learned in doing so.

(P15) “There’s a place for tablets in education, but we need to get away from the idea that knowing how to pinch-zoom makes your TODDLER the next Bill Gates,” Upton said.

WORDS: 376

SOURCE: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-34866251

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 have to be very technologically knowledgeable for your job?
  3. Do you think it is important for young people to learn tech skills such as writing SOFTWARE CODE?
  4. Do you prefer using a laptop computer, tablet computer, or smartphone? Or do you use each for different TASKS?
  5. Will the number of people who truly understand how technology works always remain a MINORITY?

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.

  • Take part
  • After all
  • Software code

TRADITIONAL HAWAIIAN CANOE CIRCLES GLOBE

[ENVIRONMENT ★]

TRADITIONAL HAWAIIAN CANOE CIRCLES GLOBE

Hokulea.jpg

(P1) The Hawaiian CANOE that is guided SOLELY by nature as it circles the globe has reached South Africa, the halfway point on its three-year journey and the most dangerous section of the voyage because of difficult ocean conditions.

(P2) The double-HULLED canoe Hokulea left Hawaii last year, and its crew members are sailing without modern NAVIGATION equipment. They are using the motion of the waves and the position of the stars to guide their path, sailing the way that brought the first POLYNESIANS to the Hawaiian islands.

(P3) By the time the voyage is expected to end in 2017, crew members will have sailed more than 60,000 NAUTICAL MILES and DROPPED ANCHOR at 100 ports in 27 nations.

(P4) They arrived last week in Cape Town, South Africa, where crew members are teaching the local community about traditional navigation, Native Hawaiian culture, and ways to care for the ocean.

(P5) “We’re here, we’re safe,” navigator Nainoa Thompson said Monday from Cape Town. “We got around South Africa safely.”

(P6) The journey is also about building relationships and connections at all their stops, Thompson said.

(P7) “To be honest, the majority of people don’t know much about Hawaiian culture or Hawaii,” he said.

(P8) The stop in South Africa was made possible with permission from Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who blessed the canoe during a 2012 visit to Hawaii, Thompson said.

(P9) “We’re finding the definitions of caring, COMPASSION, and ALOHA in many of the places that we go,” Thompson said.

(P10) The canoe will spend two weeks off the water before DEPARTING across the Atlantic Ocean to South America. Up to 200 crew members have sailed with Hokulea so far, joining and leaving the journey at various points.

(P11) Hokulea was first built and launched in the 1970s in an attempt to REVIVE Polynesian sailing. The first voyage to Tahiti in 1976 was successful, and the canoe became an ICON amid an ONGOING Native Hawaiian RENAISSANCE.

(P12) The latest voyage is called Malama Honua, which means “to care for our Earth.”

WORDS: 338

SOURCE: http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_WORLDWIDE_CANOE_VOYAGE?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2015-11-16-15-50-41

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. Which old traditions are being revived or kept alive in your country?
  3. The members of this voyage are living completely without modern technology. Could you do that?
  4. What do you think are the best ways to build global friendship?
  5. Have you ever been in a boat so far out on the water that you could not see land?

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.

  • Drop anchor

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SHOULD I DATE MY BEST FRIEND?

[LIFE ★★]

SHOULD I DATE MY BEST FRIEND?

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(P1) Dear Mariella,

(P2) I am a woman in my early 30s hoping at some point IN THE NOT-TOO-DISTANT FUTURE to get married and raise a family. I have been single for quite a while, but recently I was surprised by my best male friend telling me that he was “in love with” me and has been for 10 years.

(P3) I am now IN A POSITION TO start a relationship with my best friend. Another friend, happily married to a man who similarly PINED AFTER her for many years, says I should give it a chance. The sexual attraction might come, she says, and everything else you want is already there. However, it isn’t like I haven’t thought about all this before. I see his intelligence, value his friendship, but have never felt a strong sexual attraction to him (although he is certainly ATTRACTIVE). I’m INCLINED to LET HIM DOWN, but should I give this potential relationship a chance?

(P4) Mariella replies:

(P5) Yes! Let’s talk about you, your DEVOTED male friend, and your desire to create a family. You’ve got a man in your life who offers you everything but a strong sexual attraction. I’d take a step forward and see where it leads. Most of us EVENTUALLY choose partners who BEAR LITTLE RELATION TO the sexual fantasies of our 20s.

(P6) It is odd that when we are looking for LASTING romance, one of the top items on our list is whether or not we are OVERCOME by sexual desire. But this does not not have much to do with the qualities that make someone a good husband or wife. As any VETERAN of a long union will tell you, sex slips down the list of PRIORITIES for daily HARMONY pretty soon.

(P7) It’s definitely important to be attracted to the person you select, but sexual passion INEVITABLY DWINDLES. If you haven’t got respect, friendship, and a genuine interest in the person you’re with, there’s not a chance of the relationship surviving. That’s why unions EMBARKED on in the HASTE of desire and SUSTAINED on LITTLE ELSE, most often in youth, tend to be the first to CRUMBLE.

(P8) It would be a shame to let a little thing like a LACK of immediate sexual desire stand in the way of such a potentially REWARDING partnership. You should give this relationship a try.

WORDS: 394

SOURCE: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/nov/15/my-friend-says-he-is-in-love-with-me-should-i-give-it-a-go

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 advice would you give this woman?
  3. Have you ever been in love with someone who didn’t know how you felt?
  4. How important is sexual attraction in beginning, developing, and sustaining a relationship?
  5. What is the best age to get married?

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 not-too-distant future
  • In a position to
  • Pine after
  • Let someone down
  • Bear little relation to
  • Little else

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