Over 18,300 apply for 14 astronaut jobs

[Jobs ★★]

astronaut

(P1) A record number of people applied to be a NASA astronaut. Over 18,300 people applied for 14 jobs. This is a record. NASA will now spend 18 months choosing the best people. It will announce the successful applicants in the middle of 2017. NASA said: “It’s [great] to know so many people recognize what a great opportunity this is to be part of NASA’s exciting mission. I look forward to meeting the men and women talented enough to rise to the top.”

(P2) Many people want to work on the space program. NASA said: “So many Americans from diverse backgrounds want to personally contribute to…our journey to Mars.” The top applicants will have an interview and then get two years of training. They will learn things such as spacewalking, teamwork and operating spacecraft. They will also learn Russian. They could go to the International Space Station or work for space tourism companies, such as SpaceX.

WORDS: 154

SOURCE: http://www.breakingnewsenglish.com/1602/160222-astronauts-1.html

VOCABULARY: applicants, recognize, mission, diverse, spacewalking, tourism

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. If you were given the opportunity, would you apply for this job? Why or why not?
  3. Would you like to learn Russian? Why or why not?
  4. Do you think people will take vacations (tourism) in space someday? Why or why not?
  5. Do you think people will live on Mars or another planet someday? Why or why not?

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • Record number of people (P1)
  • Look forward to (P1)
  • Rise to the top (P1)
  • Contribute to (P2)
  • Top applicants (P2)

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Image source: Credit: Shutterstock http://www.acsh.org/news/2016/08/05/space-flight-causes-drop-in-t-cell-maturation-in-astronauts

Buy a village in England

[Living ★★]

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(P1) If you’ve got 20 million pounds and want to have your own village, well, you’ve finally got your chance. A 21-bedroom mansion, 8.6 square kilometers of land, 43 houses and cottages, a village pub and restaurant and a petrol station – all of it can be yours.

(P2) People are renting all of the houses and they hope that the next owner will not raise the rents.

(P3) One family owned the village in North Yorkshire for the last 150 years. The last owner died in 2010 and had no heir. Many people from the UK, as well as abroad, are already interested in buying the village.

(P4) Whoever ends up lord of the manor, it’s hoped that much like the owner before, they’ll carry on helping the community and providing cheap rents for the tenants.

WORDS: 132

SOURCE: http://www.newsinlevels.com/products/buy-a-village-in-england-level-2/

VOCABULARY: mansion, cottages, heir, abroad, whoever

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. If you had the money, would you buy this village? Why or why not?
  3. Do you prefer to live in a city or village (town)? Why?
  4. Have you ever been in a mansion before? If so, where?
  5. Do you prefer to live in a big or small house? Why?

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • Petrol station (P1)
  • Raise the rents (P2)
  • carry on (P4)

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Image Source: by “unknown http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2016/04/03/14/32CC493100000578-3521407-image-a-1_1459689061217.jpg

Airbus A-380 – The Largest Plane in the World

[Travel ★★★]

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(P1) The Airbus A380 is the largest passenger plane that has ever been built. It can carry more passengers and cargo than any other airplane and its designers say that it uses less fuel and make less noise.

(P2) The A 380 is a giant in the skies. Its wings span about 80 meters and it has a length of 73 meters. When filled with passengers the A 380 weighs over 500 000 kg. It has three decks – two passenger decks and one for cargo. Up to 840 passengers can fly on the plane if all the seats are built in it.

(P3) Up to now, the biggest plane was the Boeing 747, which could carry 416 passengers. Designers have used special materials to keep the plane light. Plane makers say that the engines are very low in noise – they produce about half the sound of other engines.

(P4) The A 380 can fly about 13,000 km non-stop. The plane can reach destinations on other continents without refueling.

(P5) The A 380 is so big that putting it together causes some problems. It is not built in one place. The parts of the plane come from all over Europe and are put together at the Airbus headquarters in southern France.

(P6) In the early 1990’s Airbus started to design a plane that could compete with Boeing’s 747. In 2000, the first airlines ordered the new plane and in January 2005, the first Airbus A 380 was finished. The new Airbus made its first commercial flight with Singapore Airlines. It flew from Singapore to Sydney on 25 October 2007. Over 6000 people worked on the project and up to now 14 airlines have already ordered the A 380.

(P7) There are, however, problems such a big plane may cause. Are airports big enough for the plane to take off and land or can airlines sell enough tickets to fill the plane?

(P8) Testing has shown that the A 380 does not need longer runways. But airports may have problems getting people on and off the huge planes. Waiting lines may be very long and passengers could wait for their baggage for some time.

(P9) Airbus Industries says the A 380 will focus on big airports like London, New York or Hong Kong where many people travel to the same city.

WORDS: 381

SOURCE: http://www.english-online.at/travel/airbus-380/airbus-380-largest-plane.htm

VOCABULARY: cargo, designers, span, refueling, commercial, runways, baggage

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. Would you fly in this huge airplane? Why or why not?
  3. Do you think planes will be built even bigger in the future? Why or why not?
  4. Do you have the patience to wait in long lines? Why or why not
  5. Have you ever flew in 1st class? If not, would you like to and why? If yes, describe the experience.

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • Giant in the skies (P2)
  • up to now (P3)
  • Put together (P5)
  • Fill the plane (P7)

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Image source: by Florian Lindner https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:SuperFLoh

Saudi Arabia strips religious police of arresting power

[Culture ★★★]

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(P1) Saudi Arabia has stripped its religious forces of their powers to arrest, urging them to act “kindly and gently” in enforcing Islamic rules.

(P2) Under changes approved by the Saudi cabinet on Wednesday, religious officers will no longer be allowed to detain people and instead must report violators to police or drug squad officers, the official Saudi Press Agency said.

(P3) Officers of the Haia force, also known as the Mutawa, must “carry out the duties of encouraging virtue and forbidding vice by advising kindly and gently” under the new rules, it reported.

(P4) “Neither the heads nor members of the Haia are to stop or arrest or chase people or ask for their IDs or follow them – that is considered the jurisdiction of the police or the drug unit,” the regulations say.

Subject of controversy

(P5) Saudi Arabia’s religious police enforce the country’s interpretation of Islamic law including segregation of the sexes, ensuring that women cover themselves from head-to-toe when in public.

(P6) Formally known as the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, its members also patrol shops to make sure they are shuttered during time prayers.

(P7) Prior to the new regulations, officers were allowed to arrest people using alcohol or drugs and committing certain other offenses including witchcraft.

(P8) Their tactics have regularly been the subject of controversy, most recently in February when members were arrested for allegedly assaulting a young woman outside a Riyadh shopping mall, local media said at the time.

(P9) In 2013, religious policemen were arrested after their patrol car crashed into another vehicle during a chase that left two men dead.

WORDS: 266

SOURCE: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/04/saudi-arabia-strips-religious-police-arresting-power-160413141418824.html

VOCABULARY: stripped, detain, virtue, interpretation, segregation, shuttered, witchcraft, allegedly

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 religious police should be allowed to detain and arrest people? Why or why not?
  3. Are there any controversial issues in your country (or others if you’re from KSA)? If so, explain.
  4. Do you believe in witchcraft? Why or why not?
  5. If you are not from KSA, do you have religious police in your country? If so, can they arrest and detain people?

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • Mutawa (P3)
  • Carry out (P3)
  • Haia (P4)
  • Islamic law (P5)
  • Subject of controversy  (P8)

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Image source: by “unknown http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/04/saudi-arabia-strips-religious-police-arresting-power-160413141418824.html

Week84

[People ★] Money can buy happiness

[World News ★] Prime Minister of Iceland

[Culture ★★] Body piercing in India

[Jobs ★★] Over 18,300 apply for 14 astronaut jobs

[Living ★★] Buy a village in England

[Business ★★] Uber in Rio

[Sports ★★★] Fighter Dies After Getting Knocked Out

[Technology ★★★] Latest Apple Update Is Causing Apps to Crash

[Travel ★★★] Airbus A-380 – The Largest Plane in the World

[Culture ★★★] Saudi Arabia strips religious police of arresting power

MMA Fighter Dies After Getting Knocked Out

[Sports ★★★]

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(P1) A 28-year-old MMA fighter from Portugal died Monday night, 48 hours after he was knocked out during the third round of a fight in Dublin, the New York Daily News reports. According to the Washington Post, graphic video from the fight on Saturday shows Joao Carvalho tipping over after being hit in the head multiple times by Irish fighter Charlie Ward. The owner of the company that organized the fight says Carvalho was able to correctly answer questions in between rounds, but his health went downhill immediately after the fight. It started with a feeling of exhaustion before progressing to headaches, nausea, and vomiting. He was taken to the hospital.

(P2) Carvalho had emergency brain surgery and spent the next two days in critical condition. “Nobody involved in combat sports of any kind wants to see this,” MMA star Conor McGregor, who was at the fight, tells the BBC. “To see a young man doing what he loves, competing for a chance at a better life, and then to have it taken away is truly heartbreaking.” McGregor, who called Carvalho “a hell of a fighter,” criticized the referees for not stopping the fight earlier, the Independent reports. Cesar Silver, CEO of Total Extreme Fighting, offered “sincere condolences” to Carvalho’s family and teammates in a statement: “Our thoughts and prayers are with them.”

WORDS: 221

SOURCE: http://www.newser.com/story/223494/mma-fighter-dies-after-getting-knocked-out.html

VOCABULARY: tipping, downhill, exhaustion, critical, criticized, condolences

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 this sport is too violent? Why or why not?
  3. Do you like watching this sport? Why or why not?
  4. How do you think the fighter who knocked the other fighter out feels about the death of his opponent?
  5. Do you think this sport should be banned? Why or why not?

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • MMA (P1)
  • Knocked out (P1)
  • Tipping over (P1)
  • In between rounds (P1)
  • Taken away (P2)
  • Hell of a fighter (P2)

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Image source: YouTube

Latest Apple Update Is Causing Apps to Crash

[Technology ★★★]

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(P1) If you haven’t updated to iOS 9.3, you may want to wait: According to AppleInsider, users are reporting a bug that causes apps to crash and freeze. The problem occurs when clicking hyperlinks in Apple apps including Mail, Messages, and Safari, as well as some third-party apps like the Google Chrome Web browser; after tapping on the Web link, the app will freeze or crash. It appears that newer iPhones and iPads are the most impacted, but some users with older devices are also having problems; in addition, some users running iOS 9.2 are reporting the same issue.

(P2) Per AppleInsider, there are multiple threads on the problem in Apple’s support forums, including one that has been viewed more than 7,000 times. Some users say that disabling JavaScript (which you can do by entering the Settings menu, then Safari, then Advanced) helps, but only with Safari links, 9to5Mac.com reports. One forum poster reportedly says an Apple Support rep told him the company knows about the problem and is working to fix it. Per 9to5Mac.com, the issue may have to do with certain third-party apps a user has installed on the device; TechCrunch explains that could be because of something called “Universal Links” that Apple introduced with iOS 9.

WORDS: 207

SOURCE: http://www.newser.com/story/222718/latest-apple-update-is-causing-apps-to-crash.html

VOCABULARY: crash and freeze, hyperlinks, impacted, threads, forums, “Universal Links”

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 brand of a smartphone do you own? Why?
  3. If you don’t own an Apple smartphone, would you like to buy one? Why or why not?
  4. If you own an Apple smartphone, are you having similar problems with the latest update to IOS 9.3 ?
  5. Could Apple have done a better job of releasing the newest IOS update so there were fewer crashes and freezes? Why or why not?

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • Reporting a bug (P1)
  • Third-party apps (P1)

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Image source: by AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster