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Dateline: 1 December 2006

Story #1

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #1: Tom Cruise Weds for the Third Time
Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, the Hollywood couple often to as TomKat, were married this month at a castle in Italy. With the wide age gap separating the actors, their relationship was originally labeled a publicity stunt. However, within of dating, Cruise had proposed to Holmes on top of the Eiffel Tower. The couple later announced that they were a child together, squashing the long-held rumour that Cruise, who has two children with ex-wife Nicole Kidman, was unable to father children. Cruise, Holmes, and their seven-month old daughter, Suri were all dressed in Armani for the Scientology .

Comprehension Questions: Story #1

  1. What name does this couple often get called?
  2. Why did many people have trouble believing that Cruise and Holmes were really a couple?
  3. Why were some surprised when Holmes became pregnant?
Discussion Question:
Why do the majority of celebrity marriages end up in divorce? Do you think Tom and Katie have a chance at everlasting love?

Story #2

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #2: Cotton may Help to Cure World Hunger
Researchers in have created a genetically modified cottonseed. In its natural form cottonseed is high in protein, however, it contains a toxin called gossypol, which it from being used as a food source. Studies found that eliminating the toxin from the plant entirely caused it to become infested with . To solve this problem, the Texan team created a modified version of the plant that only contained gossypol in the leaves and stem. Only time will tell whether the modified genes will stand up over time. However, there is new that cottonseed will one day provide protein to millions.

Comprehension Questions: Story #2

  1. Why can't humans eat food made from cottonseed?
  2. Why can't researchers remove gossypol from the whole cottonseed plant?
  3. What is the main goal of these researchers?
Discussion Question: Do you believe it is wise to experiment with plant genes in this way, or should humans leave nature as it is?

Story #3

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #3: East Africa Hit Hard by Floods
Kenya, Somalia, and have been the hardest hit in the catastrophic floods in Africa this month. The dry season left the soil of absorbing the rain, causing nearly two million people to flee their homes. The heavy rain has also roads and bridges, hampering aid efforts to feed those who are already hungry from drought. In Kenya, an angry hippo killed six people after being displaced by the floods. The UN fears that water-borne diseases such as cholera will become an epidemic in the areas, where up to of the water sources are contaminated.

Comprehension Questions: Story #3

  1. Why can't the ground absorb the rain water?
  2. What type of animal does the article mention and why?
  3. Why is there a major threat of disease in East Africa?
Discussion Question: Hurricane Katrina received major media coverage around the world. Why do similar natural disasters in third world countries get less attention?

Story #4

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #4: Former Russian Spy Dies
The former Russian spy, Alexander Litvinenko died in a London hospital after he was poisoned with a radioactive . Litvinenko first became ill on November 1st after meeting a friend for sushi in London. His condition quickly and his immune system began to shut down. Before he died Litvinenko, who had recently become a British citizen, accused President Putin of his murder. Litvinenko was openly critical of the Russian government, which has denied any . Police are trying to track the source of the poison by following traces of radiation, which have been found at the hotel and restaurant the ex-spy the day he fell ill, as well as at his home and on at least two British Airway planes.

Comprehension Questions: Story #4

  1. Where did the ex-spy die?
  2. Who did Litvinenko accuse of poisoning him?
  3. What was found at the sites where the ex-spy had previously been?
Discussion Question: What impact might this have on the relationship between the governments of Russia and England?

ANSWER CHECK

Story #1

Story #1: Tom Cruise Weds for the Third Time
Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, the Hollywood couple often referred to as TomKat, were married this month at a castle in Italy. With the wide age gap separating the actors, their relationship was originally labeled a publicity stunt. However, within two months of dating, Cruise had proposed to Holmes on top of the Eiffel Tower. The couple later announced that they were expecting a child together, squashing the long-held rumour that Cruise, who has two adopted children with ex-wife Nicole Kidman, was unable to father children. Cruise, Holmes, and their seven-month old daughter, Suri were all dressed in Armani for the Scientology ceremony.

Comprehension Answers: Story #1

  1. Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are often referred to as TomKat. (A tomcat is a male cat. In slang it also means a man who dates many women at once.)
  2. People thought there was too much of an age difference between the two actors for the relationship to be real.
  3. There has been a rumour for a long time that Cruise was unable to have kids naturally.

Story #2

Story #2:Cotton may Help to Cure World Hunger
Researchers in Texas have created a genetically modified cottonseed. In its natural form cottonseed is high in protein, however, it contains a toxin called gossypol, which prevents it from being used as a food source. Studies found that eliminating the toxin from the plant entirely caused it to become infested with insects. To solve this problem, the Texan team created a modified version of the plant that only contained gossypol in the leaves and stem. Only time will tell whether the modified genes will stand up over time. However, there is new hope that cottonseed flour will one day provide protein to millions.

Comprehension Answers: Story #2

  1. Cottonseed contains a chemical that is dangerous to eat.
  2. Gossypol prevents insects from infesting the cottonseed plant.
  3. The main goal of these researchers is to create a plant that has no gossypol in the seeds in order to reduce world hunger.

Story #3

Story #3: East Africa Hit Hard by Floods
Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia have been the hardest hit in the catastrophic floods in Africa this month. The dry season left the soil incapable of absorbing the rain, causing nearly two million people to flee their homes. The heavy rain has also washed away roads and bridges, hampering aid efforts to feed those who are already hungry from drought. In Kenya, an angry hippo killed six people after being displaced by the floods. The UN fears that water-borne diseases such as cholera will become an epidemic in the flooded areas, where up to 70% of the water sources are contaminated.

Comprehension Answers: Story #3

  1. The ground is so dry from the drought that it can't absorb the rain.
  2. The article mentions a hippo because it killed six people after being forced out of its home by the floods.
  3. People in the flood regions are drinking dirty water, which causes many serious diseases.

Story #4

Story #4: Former Russian Spy Dies
The former Russian spy, Alexander Litvinenko died in a London hospital three weeks after he was poisoned with a radioactive substance . Litvinenko first noticed symptoms on November 1st after meeting a friend for sushi in London. His condition quickly worsened and his immune system began to shut down. Before he died Litvinenko, who had recently become a British citizen, accused President Putin of his murder. Litvinenko was openly critical of the Russian government, which has denied any involvement. Police are trying to track the source of the poison by following traces of radiation, which have been found at the hotel and restaurant the ex-spy visited the day he fell ill, as well as at his home and on at least two British Airway planes.

Comprehension Answers: Story #4

  1. Alexander Litvinenko died in a London hospital.
  2. The former Russian spy accused Russia's President, Vladamir Putin, of ordering his death.
  3. Investigators have found signs of radiation at places where the ex-spy had been before he became sick, as well as on some British Airway planes.