INDONESIA EXPERIENCES TOTAL ECLIPSE

[ENVIRONMENT ★]

INDONESIA EXPERIENCES TOTAL ECLIPSE

Eclipse

(P1) Millions of people across Indonesia and the Pacific have experienced a total SOLAR ECLIPSE, with parts of the region falling into complete darkness.

(P2) The eclipse began at 06:19 local time on Wednesday, March 9, as the Moon started to pass directly in front of the Sun.

(P3) As the eclipse reached totality, the Moon blocked all direct sunlight, turning day into night.

(P4) In Indonesia’s Belitung province, a crowd gathered on a beach and witnesses spoke of a “magical” experience.

(P5) The eclipse was total in much of Indonesia and the Central Pacific, while other Asian countries and Australia experienced a partial eclipse.

(P6) Astronomers repeated advice not to look directly at the Sun with the NAKED EYE, or through a telescope. Experts recommended using either a professional solar filter in front of a telescope or camera, or special eclipse-viewing glasses.

(P7) From before dawn, about 200 people gathered at Olivier Beach in Belitung province to watch the eclipse. About 30 foreigners were in the crowd, travelling from Australia and Europe for the experience.

(P8) When the solar eclipse started, the crowd cheered and then went silent in AWE. People were taking photos while others just watched in amazement. Then when it finished people clapped quietly.

(P9) People along a 150km-wide strip running through Sumatra, Borneo and Sulawesi – the path of eclipse totality – experienced the eclipse for about four hours on Wednesday morning.

(P10) In Maba, Maluku Islands, there was darkness for about three minutes – the longest time in Indonesia. Other areas experienced darkness for about two minutes.

(P12) Sky watchers in southern China, south-east Asia, Australia, Hawaii, and Alaska experienced a partial eclipse. This looks as if a PORTION of the Sun has been blacked out.

WORDS: 290

SOURCE: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-35756955

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 seen an eclipse?
  3. Why did observers describe the eclipse as a magical experience?
  4. Have you ever traveled a long distance to have a special experience?
  5. Are you a sun person or a moon person?

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.

  • Solar eclipse
  • Naked eye

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FRANCIS BACON PAINTINGS STOLEN FROM MADRID HOME

[CULTURE AND ENTERTAINMENT ★★]

FRANCIS BACON PAINTINGS STOLEN FROM MADRID HOME

Francis Bacon

(P1) Five paintings by British artist Francis Bacon worth an ESTIMATED €30m (£23.2m) have been stolen from the Madrid home of their owner.

(P2) The theft appeared to have been a highly professional operation which took place while the owner was away, with the PERPETRATORS DISABLING the alarm system.

(P3) The thieves had tracked the owner’s movements to ensure he did not return to his home to CATCH THEM RED-HANDED.

(P4) The works were stolen last June. It was not immediately clear why news of the theft was not made public until now.

(P5) It was also unclear exactly which paintings were involved but one contemporary art specialist told the paper they would be extremely difficult to sell.

(P6) “It is not easy to sell a Francis Bacon painting without experts becoming aware of it,” said the art specialist.

(P7) Police from a specialist arts and antiques theft unit have opened an investigation into the HEIST.

(P8) The owner of the paintings was a close friend of Bacon.

(P9) Irish-born Bacon died in Madrid in 1992, aged 82, and his EXPRESSIONISTSURREALIST works are among the most SOUGHT AFTER and VALUABLE of modern paintings.

WORDS: 191

SOURCE: http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2016/mar/13/francis-bacon-paintings-worth-23m-stolen-from-madrid-house

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. Art theft is a huge branch of international crime. Does this surprise you?
  3. Have you ever purchased an original work of art?
  4. Do you have a favorite painting?
  5. Do you prefer modern art or classic art?

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.

  • Catch red-handed
  • Sought after

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DENMARK IS WORLD’S HAPPIEST COUNTRY

[LIFE ★★]

DENMARK IS WORLD’S HAPPIEST COUNTRY

Happy Danes

(P1) Denmark is the world’s happiest country, according to a report that urges nations to address INEQUALITY and protect the ENVIRONMENT.

(P2) The report, prepared by the SUSTAINABLE Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and the Earth Institute at Columbia University, showed Syria, Afghanistan, and eight sub-Saharan African countries as the 10 least happy places on earth to live.

(P3) The top 10 this year were Denmark, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, Finland, Canada, Netherlands, New Zealand, Australia, and Sweden. Denmark was in third place last year, behind Switzerland and Iceland.

(P4) The bottom 10 were Madagascar, Tanzania, Liberia, Guinea, Rwanda, Benin, Afghanistan, Togo, Syria, and Burundi.

(P5) The United States came in at 13, the United Kingdom at 23, France at 32, and Italy at 50.

(P6) “There is a very strong message for my country, the United States, which is very rich and has gotten a lot richer over the last 50 years, but has gotten no happier,” said Professor Jeffrey Sachs, head of the SDSN and special advisor to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

(P7) When the differences between countries where people are happy and those where they are not can be measured and analyzed, “we can understand the reasons and do something about them,” said Sachs.

(P8) “The message for the United States is clear. For a society that just chases money, we are chasing the wrong things. Our SOCIAL FABRIC is DETERIORATING, social trust is deteriorating, faith in government is deteriorating,” he said.

(P9) The report, now in its fourth edition, ranks 157 countries by happiness levels using factors such as per capita GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT (GDP) and healthy years of LIFE EXPECTANCY.

(P10) It also rates freedom from CORRUPTION in government and business.

(P11) “When countries pursue economic development to the NEGLECT of social and environmental objectives, the results can be ADVERSE for human WELL-BEING, even dangerous for survival,” it said.

(P12) “Many countries in recent years have achieved economic growth at the cost of sharply rising inequality, social exclusion, and grave damage to the natural environment.”

(P13) The first report was issued in 2012 to support a U.N. meeting on happiness and well-being. Five countries – Bhutan, Ecuador, Scotland, United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela – now have appointed Ministers of Happiness charged with PROMOTING happiness as a goal of public policy.

(P14) The 2016 survey showed that three countries in particular, Ireland, Iceland and Japan, were able to maintain their happiness levels despite difficulties, because of social support and SOLIDARITY.

(P15) Sachs pointed to Costa Rica, which came in 14th and ahead of many wealthier countries, as an example of a healthy, happy society although it is not an economic POWERHOUSE.

WORDS: 433

SOURCE: http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2016/03/16/world/16reuters-world-happiness.html?_r=0

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 happy is your country?
  3. In your opinion, what are the most important contributors to happiness?
  4. Is “chasing money” a strong PRIORITY for people in your country?
  5. Many people around the world think that the U.S. is the best place to live, but many people in the U.S. don’t think so. What do you think?

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.

  • Social fabric
  • Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
  • Life expectancy
  • Well-being

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MEXICO’S DIVIDED ECONOMY

[BUSINESS ★]

MEXICO’S DIVIDED ECONOMY

Queretaro

(P1) Mexico’s national economy remains LACKLUSTER. In 2014, the economy grew only 2.1 percent. Yet these numbers hide the great diversity among the nation’s thirty-one states and one district.

(P2) Certain states in the central part of the country experienced EXPLOSIVE rates of growth last year—Queretaro up 14.3 percent, Aguascalientes 14.2 percent, Guanajuato 7.4 percent, and Jalisco 3.7 percent. Home to auto and AEROSPACE businesses, these states receive large amounts of foreign direct investment. The THINK TANK México ¿Cómo Vamos? expects these states to continue to drive economic growth numbers going forward.

(P3) Some of Mexico’s northern states saw strong growth as well. Nuevo Leon, home to industrial city of Monterrey, grew 5.4 percent in 2014. In Chihuahua, Coahuila, and Tamaulipas, close ties to the United States seemed to OUTWEIGH continuing security challenges, with combined growth above the national average.

(P4) In contrast, Mexico City and the State of Mexico grew just 1 percent. Southern states Chiapas and Oaxaca trailed the national rate as well. Guerrero and Michoacán growth rates remains below average. These four states score the lowest on the United Nation’s human development index. And falling oil prices have hit the energy-rich southern states, in particular Tabasco and Campeche.

(P5) These trends threaten to AGGRAVATE already deep economic divides, creating wide DISPARITIES in terms of INFRASTRUCTURE, education, and opportunities.

(P6) These differential growth rates have the potential to shape regional and national politics.

WORDS: 233

SOURCE: http://blogs.cfr.org/oneil/2015/06/30/mexicos-economic-divide/

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 there big economic and political differences between different parts of your country?
  3. What industries are the most important in your city?
  4. Although parts of Mexico are doing very well, international opinions of the country tend to be negative. Why?
  5. The most successful Mexican cities such as Queretaro are home to many INDUSTRIAL PARKS. Are these common in your area?

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.

  • Think tank
  • Industrial park

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MISSING MINERS IN VENEZUELA WERE MASSACRED

[WORLD NEWS ★★]

MISSING MINERS IN VENEZUELA WERE MASSACRED

Venezuela Missing Min_Vros

(P1) Searchers in southeastern Venezuela have recovered the bodies of 17 people belonging to a group of over 20 missing MINERS believed to have been killed by a GANG seeking control over a WILDCAT GOLD CLAIM, government officials said.

(P2) Police investigating the MASSACRE made the GRISLY discovery in Tumeremo, an area of JUNGLE in Bolivar state near where the miners disappeared a week ago.

(P3) The massacre last week shocked Venezuelans who are ACCUSTOMED to MORBID tales of violence in a country with one of the world’s highest murder rates and WIDESPREAD IMPUNITY.

(P4) The CIRCUMSTANCES behind the massacre remain unclear. The government stated that 21 people were killed by a criminal gang led by an Ecuadorian. But OPPOSITION politicians and relatives put the number at 28 and say that local officials were involved, a claim the government denies.

(P5) One person linked to the gang’s RINGLEADER has already been TAKEN INTO CUSTODY and several more arrests are expected soon.

(P6) Family members greeted all the news with RESIGNATION mixed with ANGUISH.

(P7) “This is very painful news for us,” said Yosleida Montilla, a mother of three of the disappeared miners.

WORDS: 191

SOURCE: http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/news/2016/03/15/bodies-17-missing-miners-found-in-venezuela-cause-massacre-still-unknown/

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. Valuable substances that are usually mined or drilled include gold, silver, diamonds, and oil. Are any of these found in your country.
  3. Mining is among the most dangerous jobs. Why?
  4. Are criminal or youth gangs a problem in your country or city?
  5. Do you usually believe what the government says, or do you sometimes not believe it?

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.

  • Wildcat claim
  • Take into custody

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PUERTO RICO IS LOSING DOCTORS

[LIFE ★★]

PUERTO RICO IS LOSING DOCTORS

Doctor in Puerto Rico

(P1) Puerto Rico is losing people. Due to a decade-long RECESSION, more than 50,000 residents leave the island each year—most for jobs and new lives in the MAINLAND U.S. This issue is affecting healthcare, where it’s ESTIMATED that at least one doctor leaves Puerto Rico every day.

(P2) The mass EXODUS of doctors is creating a CRISIS in patient care.

(P3) Dr. Antonio Peraza is among those doctors who recently left for the mainland. He specializes in INTERNAL MEDICINE and for nearly 14 years, had a private practice in Bayamon, Puerto Rico.

(P4) His decision to close his practice and take a job offer in Miami, Florida, was very difficult for him.

(P5) “I wish you could have seen my patients. My patients, the day I told them I was going to close my office, they cried,” Dr. Antonio Peraza says. “I felt like I was BETRAYING them.”

(P6) For decades, Puerto Rico has had a government-run healthcare system that provides COVERAGE for nearly everyone on the island. It offers generous BENEFITS, but has never been ADEQUATELY funded.

(P7) In the last few years, Peraza says his payments—already low—have been cut further.

(P8) Faced with a declining income, Peraza decided to move to Florida and sell his office building and practice in Bayamon. But so far he says, he hasn’t found a doctor interested in buying him out.

(P9) “Because most of them are also leaving. You leave the island because there’s no other way, there’s no choice,” he says.

(P10) The U.S. Congress is working on a plan to help Puerto Rico, which is a COLONY of the United States, fix its economic problems.

(P11) Meantime, the exodus of doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals is making it hard for hospitals and clinics on the island to fill VACANT positions. Puerto Rico already had a SHORTAGE of specialists.

(P11) Domingo Cruz Vivaldi is vice-president of San Jorge Children’s Hospital in San Juan and he says, with so many doctors leaving, the situation is getting worse.

(P12) “To see a specialist, the waiting period can be four to five months. To replace the lost physicians, it takes a decade,” Cruz Vivaldi says.

(P13) The outlook is no better for young doctors just starting their careers. At the University of Puerto Rico, one of four medical schools on the island, Manuel Rodriguez is doing a residency in ORTHOPEDIC surgery. He says of his friends, only about one in five plan on staying in Puerto Rico to practice.

(P14) “I would love to stay here,” Rodriguez says. “But seeing the reality we live every day here, with the resources that the hospital has, with the resources that the government has. It’s difficult to think that we’re going to stay here in Puerto Rico.”

(P15) After his residency, Rodriguez says he’ll look for a job on the mainland.

(P16) Fourth year medical student Milagros Lopez says opportunities and pay are better there, but Puerto Rico is home.

(P17) “There’s a huge economic INCENTIVE to leave Puerto Rico, which is a sad, sad truth. But the thing is, we are a different group of people,” Lopez says. “The island has our home, our family, our language. So, I think there is a strong ATTACHMENT.”

(P18) Lopez says she hopes to come back to Puerto Rico after completing a fellowship on the mainland, but knows life might change her plans. Her brother left for a job in the states five years ago, she says. Today, he’s married, has two kids, and lives in Detroit.

WORDS: 580

SOURCE: http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/03/12/469974138/sos-puerto-rico-is-losing-doctors-leaving-patients-stranded

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 use the public or private healthcare system?
  3. Have you ever had a problem getting TIMELY care?
  4. Is it important for you to have a good relationship with your primary doctor?
  5. Do any of your family or friends work in the healthcare industry?

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.

  • Internal medicine

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LEOPARD HUNTING BANNED IN SOUTH AFRICA

[ENVIRONMENT ★]

LEOPARD HUNTING BANNED IN SOUTH AFRICA

A leopard perches in a tree in South Africa's Kruger National Park

(P1) The South African government has imposed a ban on leopard hunts for the 2016 season.

(P2) The decision was driven by science, not emotion. South African Environment Minister Edna Molewa is a vocal ADVOCATE of the hunting industry, which the government estimates contributes 6.2 billion rand ($410 million) annually to Africa’s most advanced economy.

(P3) Leopard is one of five GAME ANIMALS most desired by hunters, along with lion, rhino, buffalo, and elephant.

(P4) The South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), a government research organisation, recommended the temporary ban because it said leopard numbers could not be firmly ESTABLISHED.

(P5) “There is uncertainty about the numbers and this is not a permanent ban, but we need more information to guide QUOTAS,” said John Donaldson, SANBI’s director of research.

(P6) Given their SECRETIVE and NOCTURNAL nature, leopards are not easy to count.

(P7) SANBI drew on studies and data from a number of sources.

(P8) The Professional Hunters Association of South Africa (PHASA) says this gives an incomplete picture.

(P9) “There are lots of leopards on private land that were not counted,” said PHASA chief executive Tharia Unwin. She said PHASA was providing the government with leopard data from private lands.

(P10) South Africa has suffered its worst DROUGHT on record. Unwin said this was good for leopard numbers as PREDATORS do well when the rains are poor and the animals that they hunt (such as ANTELOPE) are weakened by lack of water.

(P11) Unwin said it cost up to $20,000 to shoot a leopard and several of PHASA’s members had to REFUND clients who had put down DEPOSITS for leopard hunts. Most of the foreign hunters who come to South Africa for such game are American.

WORDS: 282

SOURCE: http://af.reuters.com/article/topNews/idAFKCN0WF09V?sp=true

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 understand why people hunt, or is it difficult for you to understand?
  3. Which do you think is OK: hunting for sport; hunting for food only; no hunting at all?
  4. Why are lions, leopards, elephants, buffalo, and rhinos the most popular animals to hunt in South Africa?
  5. Do you ever visit zoos to see the animals?

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.

  • Game animal

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