IS JORDAN SPIETH DONE WITH SOCIAL MEDIA?

[SPORTS ★★]

IS JORDAN SPIETH DONE WITH SOCIAL MEDIA?

Jordan Spieth

(P1) World number one golfer Jordan Spieth blamed a Twitter TIRADE at his CRITICS on FRUSTRATION and BOREDOM.

(P2) The 22-year-old American, defending CHAMPION at this week’s event just as he will be at next month’s Masters and the US Open in June, followed an opening five-over-PAR 76 with a three-under-par 68 on Friday to stand at two-over 144 after 36 holes at the PGA Valspar Championship.

(P3) That left him seven shots off the lead, shared by Steve Stricker and Will MacKenzie.

(P4) But it was the shots Spieth took at Twitter critics after his first round on Thursday that were the hot topic of conversation. Spieth read his Twitter feed and saw a “TROLL” who said that when Spieth’s PUTTER “is not working, he’s garbage.”

(P5) Spieth responded: “Couldn’t be further from the truth troll. Go do research before hating.”

(P6) On Friday, Spieth said, “You’ll probably never see me do that again,” when it comes to responding to future critics online.

(P7) “It’s just really frustrating. I should never respond to any of that, just let it go. By the time the next tournament ROLLS AROUND, no one even remembers it anyway.”

(P8) During post-round comments to reporters after his 76, Spieth had joked, “What good does kicking the hotel room door do other than possibly injuring my foot and then having to WITHDRAW?”

(P9) That was the quote the PGA Tour chose to use in a tweet to SPARK interest in a link to its story on Spieth, a decision that drew Spieth’s IRE as well.

(P10) “@PGA Tour: SERIOUSLY? That’s the quote you’re going to use out of that article?” Spieth tweeted.

(P11) “I felt that pulling that quote was UNCALLED FOR,” Spieth said.

(P12) The Twitter EXCHANGES prompted four-time major winner Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland to tweet his support for Spieth.

(P13) “No, he’s not Tiger Woods, he’s not SLUMPING and he’s not done. He’s a double major winning 22 year old. He’ll be just fine!!” McIlroy tweeted.

(P14) Spieth, who ended last season by winning the Tour Championship and the $10 million BONUS, won the Tournament of Champions to open 2016 but has had some frustrations since then. All that SET THE STAGE FOR his Thursday tirade.

(P15) “There will always be plenty of people who have their own opinion and people that don’t like the way I play the game or the way I handle things,” Spieth said Friday. “I’ve just got to be confident in what I’m doing and know that many people appreciate my efforts.

(P16) “I was a bit bored yesterday afternoon and looking at my feed after a tough round and bad things were POPPING UP. You can imagine if someone was talking to you like that it would be a bit frustrating. But I got over it quickly.”

WORDS: 465

SOURCE: http://sports.yahoo.com/news/top-ranked-spieth-says-twitter-tirade-likely-last-003506857–golf.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. Are you very active on social media?
  3. Do people on the Internet say things that UPSET you? Have you ever been involved in an online fight?
  4. Young sports stars are under a lot of PRESSURE. Do you think that you would be able to handle that pressure?
  5. Have you ever tried playing golf? Would you like to?

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.

  • Roll around
  • Uncalled for
  • Set the stage for
  • Pop up

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BOLIVIAN PRESIDENT FACES SCANDAL

[WORLD NEWS ★]

BOLIVIAN PRESIDENT FACES SCANDAL

Gabriela Zapata

(P1) A woman who had a son with Bolivian President Evo Morales says she will present her child to the media “at a CONVENIENT time” to prove he is alive.

(P2) Mr Morales, 56, says he had a two-year relationship with Gabriela Zapata, now 28, starting in 2005.

(P3) He has ACKNOWLEDGED that Ms Zapata gave birth to his son in 2007, but he believed the child died shortly after being born.

(P4) Ms Zapata’s aunt said on Saturday that the boy was alive and in Bolivia.

(P5) News of the relationship between Ms Zapata and Mr Morales first EMERGED about a month ago as part of a journalist’s investigation into INFLUENCE PEDDLING.

(P6) Journalist Carlos Valverde revealed that a Chinese ENGINEERING company, CAMC, had been given LUCRATIVE state CONTRACTS. Gabriela Zapata until recently was a senior manager at the firm.

(P7) Mr Valverde also revealed the relationship between Ms Zapata and Mr Morales, including the birth of the child.

(P8) Two days later, Mr Morales spoke in public for the first time about the relationship.

(P9) “I met Gabriela Zapata in 2005. It is true that she was my partner,” he said.

(P10) “In 2007 we had a child, but UNFORTUNATELY, he died,” he added.

(P11) PROSECUTORS ordered the ARREST of Ms Zapata on charges of MONEY LAUNDERING, EMBEZZLEMENT, and ABUSE of influence.

(P12) Ms Zapata’s aunt, Pilar Guzman, was the first to state publicly that Mr Morales’s and Ms Zapata’s son was still alive.

(P13) “The child lives,” she told reporters on live television. “He is named Ernesto Fidel. He’s here [in La Paz] and is between eight and nine years old now,” she said.

(P14) A lawyer for Ms Zapata later also said that the child was alive and well.

(P15) Mr Morales seems surprised by the news.

(P16) He said that if his son was alive he would like to meet him and “BRING HIM UP“.

(P17) He also asked a court to order Ms Zapata’s family to let him see the child “in private” within five days.

(P18) But on Tuesday senior government ministers said they were “absolutely CONVINCED that sadly, the boy has PASSED AWAY“.

(P19) They did not say what they based their information on.

(P20) Ms Guzman insisted on Tuesday that the boy was alive and that her NIECE would “introduce him before the international media at a convenient time”.

(P21) “At that time, the boy will talk, he is not a small child who doesn’t understand, he is old enough and knows what is happening,” she said.

(P22) Mr Morales, who has never married, has two children from previous relationships. He has acknowledged both.

(P23) The current SCANDAL has created INTENSE public interest and a MEDIA CIRCUS. Everyone wants to know: Is the child alive or not?

WORDS: 452

SOURCE: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-35705714

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Do you think the boy is alive or not?
  3. Why would Gabriela Zapata have told Evo Morales in 2007 that the boy was dead if he wasn’t dead?
  4. As a scandal, this story has everything: sex, money, power, politics, and a big mystery. What have been the most MEMORABLE recent scandals in your country?
  5. Many Latin American politicians have had ILLEGITIMATE children but have remained active in politics. Would this be possible in your country?

EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:

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

  • Influence peddling
  • Money laundering
  • Bring up
  • Pass away
  • Media circus

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DEATH OF AN OIL MAN: THE FINAL DAYS OF AUBREY MCCLENDON

[BUSINESS ★★★]

DEATH OF AN OIL MAN: THE FINAL DAYS OF AUBREY MCCLENDON

Handout photo shows Aubrey McClendon christening a boathouse in Oklahoma City

(P1) Aubrey McClendon (above, left) awoke that Tuesday, as he had 10,000 times before, ready to work on a business deal.

(P2) McClendon, co-founder of Chesapeake Energy Corporation, e-mailed a COLLEAGUE about a riverfront development in his HOMETOWN of Oklahoma City, the place where he had been active in business for so long.

(P3) The 56-year-old sounded UPBEAT, optimistic — he sounded like himself.

(P4) Twenty-four hours later, he was dead.

(P5) By now, the world knows the story. On the morning of March 2, hours after being accused of WHITE-COLLAR CRIMES related to oil- and gas-DRILLING rights, McClendon climbed into his SUV. He sped north along a lonely two-lane STRETCH of Midwest Boulevard, toward the edge of the city, where he drove his SUV into a wall at high speed.

(P6) The news REVERBERATED through Oklahoma City, where everyone in the business world knew McClendon.

(P7) A week on, with many still struggling to make sense of it all, the CIRCUMSTANCES surrounding McClendon’s death are only now coming into focus.

(P8) Emails that McClendon sent to business associates hours before held no clues, no hints of trouble.

(P9) “It is hard for us to understand that he is really gone,” Tom Blalock, an executive at American Energy Partners told the four thousand people gathered at a MEMORIAL SERVICE.

(P10) Yet, right to the end, McClendon seemed to be making plans.

(P11) His rise and fall were LEGENDARY. He built Chesapeake into a $37.5 billion company, thanks to his involvement in the FRACKING industry. But the gas boom he helped create caused prices to PLUMMET, cutting the company’s value by more than half, and leading to McClendon’s removal from the company.

(P12) He then formed American Energy Partners and raised more than $10 billion to buy drilling rights from the Appalachian Mountains to Australia and Argentina. But that business, too, would soon COLLAPSE because of falling energy prices.

(P13) Like everyone involved in the SHALE OIL industry, McClendon — COCKY, BOLD, INDEFATIGABLE — had been DEALING WITH the collapse in energy prices for months. But his world started looking worse in the week before the crash.

(P14) At around 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 1, a federal GRAND JURY in downtown Oklahoma City INDICTED McClendon.

(P15) Within hours of the indictment, McClendon stated, “I will fight to prove my innocence and to clear my name.”

(P16) Around 8:00 a.m. the next morning, Wednesday, March 3, a business associate received a short e-mail from McClendon.

(P17) Not long after McClendon sent that message, he climbed into his SUV and drove off.

(P18) As he drove north along a two-lane country highway, he picked up speed, traveling well above the SPEED LIMIT of 50 miles per hour. His car COLLIDED with a CONCRETE wall at 9:12 A.M.

(P19) The police have yet to officially say whether the crash was an accident or a SUICIDE, but their early comments suggested that the businessman may have INTENTIONALLY crashed his car.

(P20) “He pretty much drove straight into the wall,” police officer Paco Balderrama said shortly after the crash.

WORDS: 503

SOURCE: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-03-09/death-of-a-shale-man-the-final-days-of-aubrey-mcclendon

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. What do you think was going through Aubrey McClendon’s mind on that final drive?
  3. How should a businessman or politician deal with DISGRACE?
  4. Have there been similar cases involving businessmen or politicians in your country recently?
  5. Why are individuals like Aubrey McClendon often described as “LARGER THAN LIFE”?

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-collar crime
  • Memorial service
  • Shale oil
  • Deal with
  • Grand jury
  • Speed limit
  • Larger than life

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SLOVENIA WAITING FOR “BABY DRAGONS”

[ENVIRONMENT ★★]

SLOVENIA WAITING FOR “BABY DRAGONS”

Slovenia Baby Dragons

(P1) Slovenia is COUNTING DOWN the days until the birth of a new GENERATION of “baby dragons.”

(P2) Scientists in the Central European country have proudly announced that a female OLM — an AQUATIC AMPHIBIAN living in the country’s biggest CAVE — has laid eggs. They have described it as the first wild observation of olm BREEDING.

(P3) The eyeless pink animal, known as the “baby dragon” and “human fish” for its skin-like color, can live a century and breeds only once a decade.

(P4) Slovenian scientists have been excited about having baby olms born in Postojna Cave. The eggs are expected to HATCH in about 100 days.

(P5) “This is something truly extraordinary,” said biologist Saso Weldt, who works at the cave in northwestern Slovenia. “Nobody has ever witnessed (their) REPRODUCTION in nature. We even haven’t seen an animal younger than two years.”

(P6) The eggs were discovered by chance by a tour guide who leads visitors through the cave. The mother olm stood guard over the eggs, snapping at an INTRUDER who tried to come too close.

(P7) Scientists removed other nearby olms, leaving the mother alone with the eggs.

(P8) In the weeks that followed, the olm laid a total of 57 eggs, three of which seem to be developing. Biologists say this is a good number, as olm eggs have a poor SURVIVAL record.

(P9) “Olms are not really successful when it comes to reproduction,” Weldt explained.

(P10) Slovenians, some of whom believe that the olm should be named “Slovenian of the Year,” have been KEEPING THEIR FINGERS CROSSED.

(P11) “We did all that is in our power,” biologist Weldt said. “Now we wait.”

WORDS: 270

SOURCE: https://news.yahoo.com/slovenia-awaits-birth-generation-baby-dragons-135838766.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. Many Slovenians see the olm as a national SYMBOL. What animals are symbols in your country?
  3. Have you ever visited a cave?
  4. Why wouldn’t an olm have eyes?
  5. Very few animals live 100 years. Why would an olm live so long?

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.

  • Count down
  • Keep fingers crossed

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WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF EMAIL?

[LIFE ★]

WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF EMAIL?

Ray Tomlinson

(P1) Ray Tomlinson, the inventor of email, died last week at the age of 74. He chose the previously little-used @ symbol on a standard keyboard as the best way to join the username with the DESTINATION address. And he sent the message in 1971 that is REGARDED as the first real email.

(P2) Now that Ray is @ peace it seems a good time to consider email as an INESCAPABLE fact of modern life.

(P3) When that first message was sent it travelled between two large computers. The PC was not yet invented, MUCH LESS the smartphone, so PRACTICAL applications for the new messaging system would remain limited or nonexistent for the vast majority of people for another two decades or so.

(P4) But by 1989 a New York Times article on “electronic mail” was predicting a bright future.

(P5) “ADVOCATES of electronic mail CITE studies showing that it ENCOURAGES workers at different levels of a company to communicate informally, cutting through layers of corporate BUREAUCRACY.”

(P6) In the 1990s, PCs became more common and better connected. Many of the early internet service providers used email to build traffic.

(P7) It’s hard to believe now, but email was sexy.

(P8) By the end of the decade a small Canadian company called Research in Motion had produced a handheld device – the BlackBerry – that allowed you to send and receive emails at any time from anywhere. How cool was that?

(P9) For most people these days email, is just one of a number of services we use to stay connected.

(P10) Email is now officially old. Other technologies have come and gone, but it lives on.

(P11) In the tech world, they’ve been saying for years that email is dead. Teenagers never use it. For personal communications between friends and family it has been SUPERSEDED by social media and instant-messaging services like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

(P12) In the workplace, new communications platforms such as Slack are being ADOPTED by companies looking for more SOPHISTICATED tools.

(P13) Don’t WRITE OFF email just yet, though. It still has a few real advantages. It has improved greatly over the years, with clean design and better functionality.

(P14) It remains the only truly open global communications system. That little @ symbol chosen 45 years ago means that once you have the right address you can send anyone a mail.

(P15) Email retains its STATUS as a universally accepted communication tool.

(P16) “I don’t think it’s going away,” Ray Tomlinson said. “Email is always going to have a place.”

WORDS: 414

SOURCE: http://www.irishtimes.com/culture/tv-radio-web/yesterday-i-got-90-emails-mostly-junk-1.2569142

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. How many different email accounts do you have?
  3. Do you use personal email a lot, or do you prefer other ways of communicating?
  4. Is email very important at your workplace?
  5. Do you like being very connected all the time, or is it too much sometimes?

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.

  • Much less
  • Write off

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TAIWAN’S MARBLE MOUNTAINS

[TRAVEL ★★★]

TAIWAN’S MARBLE MOUNTAINS

Taiwan

(P1) With CLIFFS, CANYONS, MARBLE SLABS, and a TORRENTIAL river, Taroko GORGE is one of Taiwan’s most popular TOURIST ATTRACTIONS.

(P2) The 19-kilometer area, part of Taroko Gorge NATIONAL PARK, features cliffs that can rise up to 100 meters high.

(P3) The park is connected to Taiwan’s capital, Taipei, by the Central Cross-Island Highway, one of the most dangerous SCENIC roads in the world.

(P4) The highway is a series of curves, tunnels, OVERHANGS, and JAGGED drops.

(P5) The park’s main attractions can be reached by PRECARIOUS bridges, tunnels, and difficult TRAILS.

(P6) Taroko Gorge National Park has 27 of the 100 Peaks of Taiwan, a widely recognized list of top mountains.

(P7) With an ELEVATION of 3,742 meters, Mount Nanhu is the fifth tallest PEAK in Taiwan and is covered by fields of dwarf BAMBOO trees.

Eternal Spring Shrine

(P8) Eternal Spring SHRINE (above), PERCHED on a hill, was built to COMMEMORATE the 226 workers who were killed building the Central Cross-Island Highway.

(P9) Some 80% of Taiwan’s animal species can also be found in the park, including the Formosan black bear and Formosan rock MACAQUE.

(P10) Old ABORIGINAL SETTLEMENTS of the Taroko TRIBE still dot the area.

(P11) The INDIGENOUS tribe — one of 16 recognized aboriginal groups in Taiwan — was once famed for its facial TATTOOS and HEADHUNTING RITUALS.

(P12) Routes are well MAINTAINED and frequently traveled by HIKERS and cyclists.

WORDS: 223

SOURCE: http://edition.cnn.com/2016/03/08/travel/taiwan-taroko-marble-gorge/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. Have you ever driven on a dangerous road?
  3. Do you like to go hiking or cycling?
  4. Have you visited any national parks in your country?
  5. What is the most interesting animal you have ever seen in the wild?

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.

  • Tourist attraction
  • National park

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ARE NEO-NAZIS ON THE RISE IN SLOVAKIA?

[WORLD NEWS ★★]

ARE NEO-NAZIS ON THE RISE IN SLOVAKIA?

Marian Kotleba

(P1) Slovakia was HAUNTED by ghosts of its past after far-right MILITANTS wearing UNIFORMS modelled on a second world war Nazi PUPPET STATE won seats in PARLIAMENT for the first time.

(P2) The People’s Party – Our Slovakia group led by Marian Kotleba (above), the GOVERNOR of central Slovakia, took 8% of the vote, nearly three times more than POLLS had predicted.

(P3) Slovakia’s PRIME MINISTER, Robert Fico, did win Saturday’s parliamentary election. But gains by opposition parties including the far right will make it difficult to form a new government.

(P4) If Fico fails to put together a government led by his leftist Smer party, a group of centre-right parties could try to form an anti-Smer COALITION.

(P5) Fico took 28.3% of the vote, far ahead of other candidates, but still less than he had hoped for.

(P6) Members of Kotleba’s “Slovak brotherhood” party, dressed in black uniforms REMINISCENT of the Nazi-era Hlinka guard, first appeared at RALLIES COMMEMORATING the 1939-45 Slovak state led by a Catholic priest, Jozef Tiso, who had tens of thousands of Slovak Jews sent to Nazi death camps. This first Kotleba party was DISBANDED for spreading hatred in 2006.

(P7) Kotleba founded a new party, changed his uniform for a BLAZER, and replaced war rallies with anti-ROMA, anti-immigration, and anti-corruption RHETORIC.

(P8) His party rejects suggestions of links with Nazi IDEOLOGY.

(P9) “We are not FASCISTS or NEO-NAZIS although we might appear EXTREMIST compared to other parties,” one of its newly elected lawmakers, Milan Uhrik, said.

WORDS: 250

SOURCE: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/mar/06/slovakia-election-far-right-wins-seats-peoples-party-marian-kotleba

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 a good understanding of the differences between right, center, and left in politics?
  3. Are there any extreme political parties or movements in your country?
  4. Does your country have a parliamentary political system, or another type?
  5. The “ghosts of Slovakia’s past” referred to in the article’s first paragraph date back to the World War II era. What happened in your country at that time?

EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:

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

  • Puppet state
  • Prime minister
  • Neo-Nazi

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