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Dateline: 1 March 2007

Story #1

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #1: Australia Announces Light Bulb Ban
In an effort to greenhouse gas emissions, the Australian government announced a plan to ban all incandescent light bulbs by the year 2009. Australia's Minister suggests that this small step towards energy reduction will lower household electricity by over 60% and reduce emissions significantly. Incandescent light bulbs were designed in the 19th century and waste a lot of energy when they are switched on. Florescent light bulbs, which will replace the bulbs, provide the same amount of light with only of the electricity. The Australian government believes the rest of the world will follow suit.

Comprehension Questions: Story #1

  1. What won't Australians be able to purchase in three year's time?
  2. Why has the Australian government made this decision?
  3. Why are florescent light bulbs more energy efficient than icandescent ones?
Discussion Question:
Some scientists argue that florescent bulbs are not an answer to the greenhouse crisis because the bulbs contain small amounts of mercury. Crushed bulbs at landfills could result in air and water pollution. Is this a risk that is worth taking, or should other alternatives be considered first?

Story #2

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #2: World's Tiniest Baby Ready for Release
A preemie born at just over of gestation was cleared to go home this February after spending four months in a hospital. Amilia Taylor weighed only 10 ounces at birth and was the length of a ballpoint pen. Doctors say Amilia was breathing on her own at , giving them a dash of hope that she might survive. Records show that no baby younger than 23 weeks gestation has survived. Neonatal technology has advanced in the past ten years, though Amilia's case is still described as a miracle. Amilia, who now weighs over 4 pounds, will require regular medical , but is ready to begin her life at home.

Comprehension Questions: Story #2

  1. What record did Amilia Taylor break?
  2. Despite her size and age, what made doctors think Amilia might survive?
  3. According to this story, what his improved in recent years?
Discussion Question: This baby spent almost half of a regular pregnancy term outside of her mother's womb and is expected to live a fairly healthy life. What do you think may be possible in this field of health in ten years from now?

Story #3

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #3: Bomb Explodes on The Friendship Express
Two bombs exploded on a passenger train to Pakistan from New Delhi this February, killing 65 people and injuring many others. Government officials in India and were quick to call it a sabotage of the peace process, as Pakistan's Minister was expected in New Delhi for talks one day later. The train, called The Friendship Express, is one of two rail services that travels between the two countries. Leaders from both countries insisted that the attacks would not prevent the , and that the talks would take place as planned.

Comprehension Questions: Story #3

  1. Where did the bombs explode?
  2. What was significant about the timing of the attack?
  3. What was the name of the rail service in this story?
Discussion Question: Pakistan and India still have many unresolved issues standing in the way of peace. Do you think rail service between the two countries is too risky for passengers and should be discontinued once again?

Story #4

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #4: British Troops Pulling Out of Iraq
Tony Blair is expected to announce a 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 British troops 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 . 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 Iraq to the success of Operation Sinbad, which prepared Iraqis to maintain security in their own city.

Comprehension Questions: Story #4

  1. According to this story, what two things will Tony Blair do this year?
  2. How does this decision differ from the plans of the American government?
  3. What will the Iraqi army be responsible for this spring?
Discussion Question: Some critics suggest that Tony Blair made a sudden decision to reduce troops in order to get it done before leaving office. Do you think pulling troops out of Iraq before he resigns will improve Tony Blair's legacy (how he is remembered) in Britain?

ANSWER CHECK

Story #1

Story #1:Australia Announces Light Bulb Ban
In an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the Australian government announced a plan to ban all incandescent light bulbs by the year 2009. Australia's Environment Minister suggests that this small step towards energy reduction will lower household electricity bills by over 60% and reduce emissions significantly. Incandescent light bulbs were designed in the 19th century and waste a lot of energy when they are switched on. Florescent light bulbs, which will replace the traditional bulbs, provide the same amount of light with only 20% of the electricity. The Australian government believes the rest of the world will follow suit.

Comprehension Answers: Story #1

  1. Within three years Australians will not be able to purchase incandescent light bulbs.
  2. This decision was made as an attempt to reduce greenhouse emissions.
  3. Florescent bulbs use less electricity than incandescent light bulbs.

Story #2

Story #2: World's Tiniest Baby Ready for Release
A preemie born at just over 21 weeks of gestation was cleared to go home this February after spending four months in a Miami hospital. Amilia Taylor weighed only 10 ounces at birth and was the length of a ballpoint pen. Doctors say Amilia was breathing on her own at birth, giving them a dash of hope that she might survive. Records show that no baby younger than 23 weeks gestation has survived. Neonatal technology has advanced dramatically in the past ten years, though Amilia's case is still described as a miracle. Amilia, who now weighs over 4 pounds, will require regular medical observation, but is ready to begin her life at home.

Comprehension Answers: Story #2

  1. Amilia became the youngest premature baby on record to survive.
  2. She was breathing on her own when she was delivered.
  3. Technology used for new babies has greatly improved in the last ten years.

Story #3

Story #3: Bomb Explodes on The Friendship Express
Two suitcase bombs exploded on a passenger train heading to Pakistan from New Delhi this February, killing 65 people and injuring many others. Government officials in India and Pakistan were quick to call it a sabotage of the peace process, as Pakistan's Foreign Minister was expected in New Delhi for talks one day later. The train, called The Friendship Express, is one of two rail services that travels between the two countries. Leaders from both countries insisted that the attacks would not prevent the peace efforts, and that the talks would take place as planned.

Comprehension Answers: Story #3

  1. The bombs exploded on a train that was heading from India to Pakistan.
  2. The Foreign Minister of Pakistan was expected in India a day after the bombs to engage in peace talks.
  3. The train was called The Friendship Express.

Story #4

Story #4: 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.

Comprehension Answers: Story #4

  1. This year Tony Blair will likely remove up to 3000 troops from Iraq and step down as Prime Minister of the UK.
  2. Rather than withdrawing troops from Iraq, the American government announced plans to send many more troops there.
  3. The Iraqi army will be in charge of providing security of the Basra region.