WOMAN KEEPS TRYING TO FLY WITHOUT A TICKET

[TRAVEL ★★]

WOMAN KEEPS TRYING TO FLY WITHOUT A TICKET

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(P1) Repeat STOWAWAY Marilyn Hartman was arrested at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport on Wednesday for VIOLATING her PROBATION, according to police.

(P2) The 64-year-old is WELL-KNOWN to LAW ENFORCEMENT for attempting to board airplanes without tickets. She has repeatedly been accused of trying to board flights from San Francisco to Florida to Arizona and more.

(P3) Hartman wears an ELECTRONIC MONITORING DEVICE because of her earlier RUN-INS with the law. The terms of her probation PROHIBIT her from being on airport property.

(P4) Her device ALERTED the Cook County Sheriff’s Office that she was at O’Hare. Chicago police officers found her at the airport’s bus shuttle center and arrested her.

(P5) Hartman is accused of violating her probation for being at the airport and has not been accused or charged for attempting to unlawfully board a plane, officials said.

(P6) She is currently being held at Cook County Jail in Chicago.

(P7) Hartman made national news in 2014 when she was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport for successfully boarding a flight from Mineta San Jose International Airport without a ticket.

(P8) She PLEADED NO CONTEST to the charges against her and was sentenced to probation. The next day she was re-arrested at the Los Angeles airport.

(P9) Hartman refused to give details regarding how she was able to slip through security.

(P10) “I don’t think it’s wise to say how I got through,” she said in 2014.

(P11) “I want to go with a paid ticket. … I want to do everything legal,” Hartman said then.

(P12) “It was clearly wrong on my part. … It was stupid and it is something I don’t want to repeat.”

(P13) She was caught again at the beginning of 2015 in Florida.

WORDS: 285

SOURCE: http://edition.cnn.com/2016/02/18/us/serial-stowaway-marilyn-hartman-arrested-irpt/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. Why does this woman, Marilyn Hartman, keep breaking the law? Do you think she has a mental illness?
  3. Should she be put in prison? Is she dangerous?
  4. Airport security has been TIGHTENED in recent years because of concerns about TERRORISM. Has it ever taken you a long time to get through airport security?
  5. Do you enjoy flying, or is just a way to get from one place to another?

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.

  • Well-known
  • Law enforcement
  • Electronic monitoring device
  • Run-in
  • No contest

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COLOMBIA SENDS FLOWERS TO THE WORLD

[BUSINESS ★]

COLOMBIA SENDS FLOWERS TO THE WORLD

Colombian-flower-packinghouse

(P1) Colombian flowers flooded the world markets for VALENTINE’S DAY, the government here announced, saying that 500 million BLOOMS had been EXPORTED for the CELEBRATION.

(P2) “With flowers grown by Colombian hands, the whole world today is expressing its love,” said Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on his Twitter account.

(P3) According to figures compiled by the Trade, Industry and Tourism Ministry, of the 500 million flowers sent abroad for Valentine’s Day, 76 percent were headed to the United States.

(P4) The report adds that 80 percent of the flowers that Americans give come from Colombia.

(P5) Among the 90 nations buying Colombian flowers, other major markets for Valentine’s Day blooms include Russia, Japan, the United Kingdom and Holland, the ministry said.

(P6) Flowers are one of Colombia’s main export products, with $1.308 billion in sales last year.

(P7) The ministry said that Colombia exports three basic types of flowers – CHRYSANTHEMUMS, CARNATIONS, and ROSES.

(P8) Colombian Trade Minister Cecilia Alvarez Correa said that the United States, followed by Russia and Canada, is the main purchaser of Colombian roses.

(P9) Japan buys the most carnations, and chrysanthemums are big sellers in the United States, Britain and Chile.

(P10) The Agriculture Ministry says that Colombia has about 17,900 ACRES devoted to flower growing, and 130,000 people work in the flower industry, many of them females.

WORDS: 224

SOURCE: http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/news/2016/02/14/colombia-flooding-world-flower-markets-for-valentine-day/

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. Is Valentine’s Day (February 14) a popular holiday in your country?
  3. What is the best way to celebrate Valentine’s Day?
  4. Do you ever buy flowers for your romantic partner?
  5. Have you ever grown flowers? What kinds do you like to grow?
  6. Why is Colombia a good place to grow flowers?

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.

  • Valentine’s Day

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CANADIAN ISLAND OFFERS REFUGE TO HATERS OF DONALD TRUMP

[WORLD NEWS ★★]

CANADIAN ISLAND OFFERS REFUGE TO HATERS OF DONALD TRUMP

Cape Breton 2

(P1) If the idea of Donald Trump becoming the next U.S. president is your biggest fear, then fear no more, as a Canadian island is offering you SHELTER.

(P2) Cape Breton, just off the coast of Maine, is OPENING ITS ARMS to Americans who want to leave the States if billionaire Trump wins the 2016 elections.

(P3) In fact, the island’s website even urges you not to wait that long:

(P4) “Don’t wait until Donald Trump is elected president to find somewhere else to live! Start now, that way, on election day, you just hop on a boat to start your new life in Cape Breton, where women can get any MEDICAL PROCEDURE they need, Muslim people can roam freely, and the only ‘walls’ are holding up the roofs of our extremely inexpensive houses.”

(P5) To ENTICE new residents, Cape Breton, which is about the same size as the Big Island of Hawaii, brags about regularly featuring on lists of the world’s most beautiful islands, along with its free healthcare, its open EMBRACE of diversity, friendly neighbors and “nobody has a hand gun!”

(P6) The website also TOUTS its affordable housing:

(P7) “How much would it cost for a three-bedroom lakeside home in your state? About a billion dollars? You would need to be Donald Trump to AFFORD a place like that. But in Cape Breton, we have the most affordable housing in North America!”

(P8) A search of a local REAL ESTATE site shows properties ranging from 17,900-350,000 Canadian dollars ($13,000-$255,000).

(P9) The island has a university, a festival week, and great seafood.

(P10) If this sounds too good to be true, there are a few HURDLES.

(P11) First and foremost, the immigration issue – getting residency in Canada is difficult! However, the FAQ page of Cape Breton’s website optimistically states, “The process has changed, some people say it is much less complex.”

(P12) The island is experiencing a population problem, which is why it has a need for people.

(P13) The question ‘Why are you doing this?’ is answered, “Our population is SHRINKING. A slow economy, in combination with EMIGRATION, has us on an UNSUSTAINABLE path.”

(P14) And finally, the employment issue – “It is true, unemployment is high here, but some areas are growing, and some skilled workers are in demand!”

(P15) So if you’re still TEMPTED, and if Donald Trump wins the U.S. election, the Cape Breton website can point you in the direction of both the Canadian government’s immigration page and the island’s own job board.

WORDS: 410

SOURCE: http://www.cnbc.com/2016/02/18/canadian-island-offers-refuge-from-trump.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. Do you have an opinion about Donald Trump?
  3. Is the city where you live now affordable, or too expensive?
  4. If you moved to a new place, do you think it would be easy or hard for you to find a job?
  5. When they RETIRE, many people move to a new place that is quieter, cheaper, warmer, or all three. Do you think that you will do that?

EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:

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

  • Open its arms
  • Medical procedure
  • Real estate
  • FAQ

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A LETTER FROM A DAUGHTER TO A MOTHER

[LIFE ★]

A LETTER FROM A DAUGHTER TO A MOTHER

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(P1) Dear Mum,

(P2) My husband and I don’t want to have kids. That might change, but right now we’re happy with the way things are and want to keep them that way. You disagree. That’s OK. What’s not OK, however, is being DISRESPECTFUL of our decisions.

(P3) What you want for us isn’t necessarily what we want for ourselves.

(P4) I’ve never really been into kids, you know that. When I was a little girl, I didn’t like playing with dolls, and nothing changed as I grew older.

(P5) You used to say that I’d change, that I’d wake up one day and want a baby. But years have gone by and that hasn’t happened. So you have started to accuse me of being selfish.

(P6) But our decision to remain CHILD-FREE wasn’t made easily; it was PAINSTAKING. I’ve spent hours thinking about whether we should have kids or not. But the answer has always remained: No.

(P7) I know that’s hard for you to understand. I know you want grandchildren.

(P8) When I was a kid, you were a great mum, kind and caring, always so patient. But being a good parent means that at some point, you need to ACKNOWLEDGE that your child has become an adult, and as such, has the right to make their own decisions, even if you disagree with them. That’s all I’m asking you to do. I’m asking you to be a good parent and to treat us as your equals. Start showing your love by accepting and supporting our decisions, rather than trying to change them.

(P9) Sincerely, Your loving daughter

WORDS: 269

SOURCE: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/feb/20/a-letter-to-my-mother-who-wont-accept-we-dont-want-children

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 children, or plan to?
  3. Do you think it is OK if a married couple decides never to have children?
  4. Why do people who decide not to have children call themselves “child-free” instead of “childless”?
  5. Have you ever felt pressure from your parents to make certain decisions?
  6. When you disagree with your parents, how do you handle the situation?

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.

  • Child-free

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WAL-MART IS NOT DOING WELL IN BRAZIL

[BUSINESS ★★]

WAL-MART IS NOT DOING WELL IN BRAZIL

Walmart

(P1) When Wal-Mart first expanded into the Brazilian city of Campo Grande seven years ago, the economy was BOOMING and executives were eager to open stores.

(P2) It didn’t last. At the end of December, the U.S. RETAILER closed both of its Maxxi brand stores in Campo Grande as part of a RESTRUCTURING that closed 60 locations across Brazil, including some Supercenters. Shoppers said the stores could not compete on selection, price, or location.

(P3) “It was never clear who Maxxi was for. It wasn’t cheap enough for the poor. But there was no appeal for the MIDDLE CLASS,” said Ordecy Gossler, 40.

(P4) Today, Wal-Mart has just one Supercenter left in this city of 850,000 people. It closed another one at the end of the year as sales DWINDLED.

(P5) The retreat from Campo Grande is typical of Wal-Mart’s broader issues in Brazil. The LACKLUSTER performance in Latin America’s largest economy shows how TACTICS that helped Wal-Mart build success in the U.S. sometimes get LOST IN TRANSLATION OVERSEAS.

(P6) International results have been ANEMIC, despite $22 billion in CAPITAL INVESTMENT over the past five years. Wal-Mart last year made a 4.5 percent operating profit margin from international markets, well below the 7.4 percent return posted from the U.S.

(P7) Seeking higher returns, Wal-Mart CEO Doug McMillon in October announced a strategic review of the company’s global business. Some analysts have suggested that Wal-Mart could exit Brazil, as well as other markets in Latin America where it is already closing an additional 55 stores.

(P8) The decline in Brazil is similar to previous Wal-Mart failures overseas, including South Korea and Germany, two markets it ABANDONED in 2006.

(P9) In Brazil, it has been hurt by poor locations, inefficient operations, labor troubles, and uncompetitive prices.

(P10) Wal-Mart first entered Brazil in 1995 and grew slowly for a decade. That changed in 2004-2005, when it spent about $1 billion to buy two local retail chains.

(P11) Brazil’s booming economy in those years convinced executives the biggest risk lay in moving too slowly.

(P12) In response, they approved new store sites based on optimistic predictions of future sales.

(P13) In a six-year period, Wal-Mart doubled its number of locations in Brazil, reaching nearly 560 at its peak.

(P14) The rapid expansion strained the DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM for getting goods from WAREHOUSES to stores. There were also many communication problems. INTEGRATION with the two retail chains that Wal-Mart bought was very difficult.

(P15) Wal-Mart also ran into problems with Brazil’s complex tax system and labor regulations.

(P16) “When you build a castle you build the FOUNDATION first. Wal-Mart did it in reverse in Brazil,” a former senior executive said. “It is so hard to build a national chain when your basic systems are not in place.”

WORDS: 447

SOURCE: http://www.voanews.com/content/brazil-walmart/3195458.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 Wal-Mart have a presence in your country? Is it successful?
  3. What are the most important national retail chains in your country?
  4. Do you prefer shopping in big stores or small stores?
  5. Do you enjoy shopping, or is it just something you have to do?

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.

  • Middle class
  • Lost in translation
  • Capital investment
  • Distribution system

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OBAMA TO VISIT CUBA

[WORLD NEWS ★]

OBAMA TO VISIT CUBA

Obama

(P1) The WHITE HOUSE confirmed that President Barack Obama will visit Cuba in March, making a historic trip in the final year of his presidency that will mark a TURNING POINT in U.S. relations with a LONG-TIME enemy.

(P2) Obama’s Latin American trip will also include a visit to Argentina.

(P3) The visit to Havana is a sign of NORMALIZED RELATIONS with Cuba, which the Obama administration has been working on.

(P4) Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro shocked the world in December 2014 by announcing the former enemies would move to normalize relations.

(P5) The Republican majority in Congress has fought these changes, so Obama has used his executive authority to relax trade and travel restrictions.

(P6) Republican presidential candidates Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, both sons of Cuban immigrants, have been sharply critical of these changes in U.S. policy towards Cuba. They both feel that there has been no real political change in Cuba.

(P7) It was not immediately clear what detailed ARRANGEMENTS would be made for the trip.

(P8) Washington and Havana restored diplomatic ties in July but commerce remains limited by the existing U.S. TRADE EMBARGO, which includes a ban on most American tourism to the island. However, it has become much easier for American citizens to visit Cuba under certain exceptions to the ban.

(P9) American and Cuban officials have now signed an AGREEMENT to restore scheduled air services between the two countries after half a century.

(P10) Florida Senator and Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio criticized the reported plans for the trip. Asked at an event in South Carolina whether he would visit Cuba, Rubio replied: “Not if it’s not a free Cuba.”

(P11) Rubio’s family is part of the strongly anti-Castro population of Cuban-American EXILES.

(P12) Ted Cruz also criticized Obama’s move, saying he would not go to Cuba “as long as the Castros are in power.”

(P13) The only U.S. president ever to visit Cuba was Calvin Coolidge in 1928.

WORDS: 320

SOURCE: http://www.cnbc.com/2016/02/18/obama-to-make-historic-trip-to-cuba-in-coming-weeks-official-says.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. Should countries that are enemies still talk to one another?
  3. What nations does your country’s government consider to be enemies?
  4. What is the general opinion of Barack Obama in your country?
  5. Why is Cuba such a CONTROVERSIAL 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.

  • White House
  • Turning point
  • Long-time
  • Normalized relations
  • Trade embargo

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HOLLYWOOD’S FIRST NUDE STAR

[CULTURE AND ENTERTAINMENT ★★]

HOLLYWOOD’S FIRST NUDE STAR

Kellermann 2

(P1) It’s 100 years since Annette Kellerman became the first person to appear NUDE in a Hollywood film. But this was just one of many REMARKABLE events in her life.

(P2) She sat naked on a tree branch, her arms stretched upwards, but her hair largely covered her breasts.

(P3) It might not seem very RISQUE today, but this scene, from a film released in 1916, was an important event in the history of film. Annette Kellerman is regarded as the first star – male or female – to appear nude in a MAINSTREAM Hollywood production.

(P4) The fantasy drama A Daughter of the Gods featured her as a character called Alicia who falls in love with a prince. No copies of the film are thought to exist today, but at the time it caused a SENSATION.

(P5) The film was a first for Hollywood but just one of a remarkable series of events in the life of Kellerman – a CHAMPION swimmer, swimwear designer, stuntwoman, businesswoman, and health-and-FITNESS promoter.

(P6) “She represented the fit, active, and spectacular female body, and urged other women to become fit and healthy,” says Angela Woollacott, professor of history at Australian National University.

(P7) Born in Marrickville in Sydney, Australia, on 6 July 1887, the daughter of two musicians, Kellerman started swimming to OVERCOME weakness in her legs. By 15 she had won her first swimming race.

(P8) By the early 1900s, Kellermann became the holder of all of the women’s world records for swimming. She starred in shows in which she swam with fish in an AQUARIUM and performed high dives at Melbourne’s Theatre Royal.

(P9) In 1905, Kellerman moved to the UK. She attempted, but failed, to become the first woman to swim the ENGLISH CHANNEL.

(P10) She became a VAUDEVILLE star in London and the US, developing a form of underwater BALLET combined with high diving. By 1914, she was earning $2,500 a week for her shows, the equivalent of around $60,000 (£41,000) today.

(P11) Kellerman was an INNOVATOR in swimwear. She felt a skirt would prevent her from swimming effectively, so she created a one-piece swimsuit. This is considered the beginning of 20th Century women’s swimwear.

(P12) Kellerman designed her own line of swimsuits which became popular.

(P13) Kellerman began starring in short films. In Neptune’s Daughter of 1914, she wore a flesh-coloured body suit for underwater scenes.

(P14) Two years later came A Daughter of the Gods, described as Hollywood’s first million-dollar-BUDGET film.

(P15) Kellerman’s fame by now was enormous.

(P16) Her final film, Venus of the South Seas, shot in New Zealand, came out in 1924. It was one of the first films to be shot in colour.

(P17) Kellerman continued to promote herself, LECTURING on health and fitness, offering “physical instruction by mail”, as well as producing fitness books and films and running a HEALTH FOOD store in California. But she remains best known for taking her clothes off.

(P18) She later returned to her native Australia, living by the beach near the Great Barrier Reef. In 1952, MGM released a film of Kellerman’s life, Million Dollar Mermaid, starring Esther Williams.

(P19) Kellerman died in 1975, at the age of 88. In later life she described A Daughter of the Gods as the “best thing” she’d ever done.

WORDS: 536

SOURCE: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-35472490

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 nudity in films make you uncomfortable?
  3. Are you a good swimmer?
  4. Have you ever seen a silent film (from before 1930)?
  5. What do you do to improve your health and fitness?

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.

  • English Channel
  • Health food

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