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Listen to News 2007

Here are twelve of the top news stories from 2007. These stories and audio clips were taken from EnglishClub.com's Listen to News pages. Review the news stories and then take the quiz. Double click on the green arrow to listen.

January: Young Copycats Die after Hussein's Hanging
Since Saddam Hussein's death, several reports have been made of children mimicking the highly publicized event. Parts of the execution of the former Iraqi leader were aired on TV worldwide. A video of the hanging was also posted on the Internet. According to their families, the boys in Turkey, Yemen, India, and the US have died while playing with ropes after seeing repeated images of the event. Some psychologists believe that the pictures of Hussein with the rope around his neck may have been more detrimental than the full-length video, since the copycats may have not fully understood the end result.
February: British Troops Pulling Out of Iraq
Tony Blair is expected to announce a major withdrawal of British troops in Iraq before he steps down as Prime Minister this year. According to key politicians and military commanders, up to 3000 of the 7200 British troops currently in Iraq will return home by May 1st. News of the troop withdrawal came shortly after US President Bush announced that 21, 000 more US troops would be sent to Iraq. The British Army plans to hand over the control of Basra to the Iraqi police and army this spring. Blair has attributed the pull out of troops in southern Iraq to the success of Operation Sinbad, which prepared Iraqis to maintain security in their own city.
March: Cricket Coach Murdered at World Cup
Hours after his team was eliminated from Cricket's World Cup in Jamaica, Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer was found murdered in his hotel room. Pathology reports stated that Woolmer, 58, was strangled to death. Despite criticism, the ICC allowed the tournament to continue as planned. Prior to the crime, Pakistan was shockingly defeated by Ireland, sparking violence in Karachi, where fans burned images of Woolmer and the team captain. As part of the investigation the Jamaican police collected DNA samples from all members of the Pakistani team. Video footage from the hotel where Woolmer was staying may be key to solving this crime.
April: 33 Die in Campus Massacre
The worst single shooting in US history took place on April 16th at a Virginia University. 23-year old Seung-Hui Cho, a South Korean national and student of Virginia Tech, shot two students in a dormitory, before mailing photos and video footage of himself and his weapons to NBC news. Cho then proceeded to various classrooms where he chained the doors shut and repeatedly shot staff and students. Many students tried to hide under their desks while others jumped from windows in an attempt to flee the gunfire. After taking the lives of 32 people, and injuring many others, the shooter took his own life. Cho was mentally ill and known to campus police and social services.
May: 4-year old Abducted on Portugal Vacation
A 4-year old British girl disappeared from a Portuguese hotel this May while her parents dined in a restaurant about 100 metres away. Madeleine McCann's parents expressed guilt for leaving their daughter and her 2-year old twin siblings alone, and have vowed not to return to Britain until they find her. Instead of using a babysitting service provided by the resort, the couple took turns checking on the children. At the end of May, Madeleine's parents briefly left Portugal and their twins to visit the Vatican where Pope Benedict XVI promised to pray for the child. Photographs taken by vacationers at the resort are being cross-referenced with police files.
June: Highway Planned for Mount Everest
In preparation for the 2008 Summer Olympics, China announced plans to begin construction on a highway from the foot of Mount Everest to base camp at 5200 metres. If all goes according to plan, the paved road will be part of the longest Olympic torch relay in history, crossing five continents before heading to the peak of the world's tallest mountain. The road is expected to make the torch journey easier, but will also be a way to draw tourists to the Olympics. The construction project, budgeted at approximately 20 million-dollars (U.S.), is expected to take four months.
July: South Korean Group Taken Hostage
23 South Korean volunteers on a bus from Kabul to Kandahar were taken hostage by the Taleban this July. The church group had travelled to Afghanistan to offer volunteer medical aid. Shortly after the abduction, the terrorist group demanded the release of eight jailed Taleban prisoners in exchange for the hostages. Afghan President, Hamid Kazai, who was criticized for negotiating with terrorists in March, has refused to give in to the demands. At least two of the hostages have been killed, including the leader of the group, Pastor Bae Hyung-kyu. The families of the remaining captives have gathered near Seoul to hold vigil.
August: Suicide Linked to Massive Toy Recall
Chinese CEO, Zhang Shuhong committed suicide this August shortly after his company, Lee Der Industrial, was blamed for the massive Fisher Price toy recall. Close to 1 million plastic preschool toys, featuring popular characters such as Elmo, were recalled after they were found to contain lead paint. Most of the toys were sold in the U.S., though other nations including Australia had to advertise the recall. A temporary ban on the export of Lee Der products caused the company an initial estimated loss of $30 million dollars. Lee Der's paint supplier was believed to be Zhang's closest friend.
September: Security Questioned at Australian Summit
11 crew members of the reality show, 'The Chasers War on Everything' were arrested after a fake motorcade drove through Sydney during the September APEC summit. Despite the 170 million dollars that was spent on the tightest security operation in Australian history, three phony VIP vehicles bearing Canadian flags were waved through two APEC checkpoints, coming within one block of President Bush's hotel. When the fake motorcade was finally stopped, an actor dressed as Osama bin Laden emerged from a limousine and was arrested, along with actors wearing 'insecurity badges'. Police say they had anticipated trouble from the 'Chasers', who typically target politicians.
October: Al Gore wins Nobel Prize
Former US vice-president Al Gore was named the co-recipient of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. This was an acknowledgement of his campaign against man-made climate change. Gore, who recently won an Oscar for his climate change documentary, The Inconvenient Truth, shares the award with the UN'S Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Gore sees both awards as an opportunity to raise awareness about the "most dangerous challenge" the world has ever faced. His portion of the cash prize, totaling 1.5 million dollars, will be donated to the Alliance for Climate Protection. This is an organization he founded himself to support the "planetary emergency."
November: Polish Man Killed at Canadian Airport
A Polish immigrant was killed by police at the Vancouver International airport causing outrage against the use of stun guns. 40-year-old Robert Dziekanski, who spoke no English, was waiting for his mother in the arrivals area for ten hours. It was his first time on an airplane and he became agitated and violent when no one was able to help. Four policemen arrived on the scene and shot Mr. Dziekanski with a stun gun. He fell to the ground screaming and died shortly after. The incident was caught on film by a witness at the airport, and later released to the public.
December: Canoeist Scams own Sons
A British canoeist was charged with fraud this December after allegedly faking his own death five years ago. John Darwin recently walked into a London police station, claiming to be suffering from amnesia. Police questioned his story, thinking he appeared too healthy. After a brief investigation, police found recent photos of Darwin and his wife vacationing at a resort in Panama. Anne Darwin collected a large sum of insurance money after her husband's kayak was found washed up on a beach. Darwin's two sons were initially overjoyed at their father's appearance, however, their joy quickly turned to anger when the scam was uncovered.

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