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Dateline: 1 May 2007

Story #1

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #1: Greek Cruise Ship Sinks
The Sea Diamond, a cruise ship carrying passengers, hit a rocky reef just off Santorini Island in April before sinking into the Aegean Sea. The captain, who was trying to dock when the occurred, attempted to remove the ship from the rocks before evacuating the passengers. He, along with five other , has been charged with negligence. Tourists gathered on cliffs around the island to the evacuation process. The Greek government initially called the rescue a textbook operation. Two passengers, a father and daughter, were later reported missing.

Comprehension Questions: Story #1

  1. Where was the ship when it hit the reef?
  2. According to this report, why was the captain blamed for this incident?
  3. What good news came out of this report?
Discussion Question:
Within hours of the evacuation, Greek authorities declared that the rescue went off without even "a nosebleed". Do you think this was a poor decision?

Story #2

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #2: 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 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 classrooms where he chained the doors shut and shot staff and students. Many students tried to hide under their desks while others jumped from windows 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 as an agressive individual.

Comprehension Questions: Story #2

  1. Where did these murders take place?
  2. What did the shooter do after he killed the first two victims?
  3. Why might some Virginia Tech staff members not have been surprised to learn the shooter's identity?
Discussion Question: After receiving the multimedia package from the shooter, NBC news chose to publicize many of the photos and some of the footage. The news agency has been widely criticized for putting this murderer in the spotlight as he would have wanted. Do you think NBC news made the wrong decision?

Story #3

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #3: Boris Yeltsin Dies at 76
Former Russian , Boris Yeltsin, died of heart failure on April 23 at the age of 76. Yeltsin, who took office in 1991, will be remembered most for his in breaking up the Soviet Union. Current president, Vladimir Putin, issued a national day of mourning to commemorate the life of Russia's first democratic president. Despite thousands of citizens and leaders that gathered to pay respect to the man who buried Russian communism, many people hold him for the thousands of lost in the Chechnan war. Yeltsin's suffered during his last years in office when the Russian economy took a major downturn.

Comprehension Questions: Story #3

  1. What is given as the cause of death?
  2. What did the current government do to honour Yeltsin's life?
  3. Name two things that Yeltsin will be remembered for in history.
Discussion Question: Boris Yeltsin was the first democratically elected president of Russia. However, he was also the man who ordered tanks to fire on the Russian White House. Do you think Yeltsin will be depicted as a positive or negative figure in the history books?

Story #4

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #4: Earth-like Planet Discovered
The of an earth-like planet outside our solar system was announced in April by European astronomers. The planet, currently named 581 c, one of the sun-like stars closest to Earth. Only in the last few years have astronomers considered these red dwarf stars as potential hosts for habitable planets. Astronomers believe that the temperature and size of 581 c could make it for life. Other planets that have been discovered outside our solar system have always proven to be too hot, too cold, or to sustain life. Important questions remain, such as whether or not the planet contains water.

Comprehension Questions: Story #4

  1. Where is 581 c located?
  2. What is the most significant thing about this discovery?
  3. What do astronomers still need to find out about this planet?
Discussion Question: Despite being 120 trillion miles away from Earth, this planet has been referred to as "astronomically close". Do you believe that humans will discover life on planets outside our solar system in your lifetime?

ANSWER CHECK

Story #1

Story #1: Greek Cruise Ship Sinks
The Sea Diamond, a cruise ship carrying 1153 passengers, hit a rocky reef just off Santorini Island in April before sinking into the Aegean Sea. The captain, who was trying to dock when the incident occurred, attempted to remove the ship from the rocks before evacuating the passengers. He, along with five other crewmembers, has been charged with negligence. Tourists gathered on cliffs around the island to witness the evacuation process. The Greek government initially called the rescue a textbook operation. Two French passengers, a father and daughter, were later reported missing.

Comprehension Answers: Story #1

  1. The ship was docking at Santorini Island when it hit the reef.
  2. The report indicates that the captain should have evacuated immediately rather than trying to pull the ship out from the reef.
  3. All but two of the passengers made it off the cruise ship safely.

Story #2

Story #2: 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.

Comprehension Answers: Story #2

  1. Two of the murders at Virginia Tech took place in a campus residence and the others took place in classrooms.
  2. The shooter mailed a package with photos and video footage of himself to a major news agency.
  3. This student was known to suffer from mental illness and he had a history of agression.

Story #3

Story #3: Boris Yeltsin Dies at 76
Former Russian president, Boris Yeltsin, died of heart failure on April 23 at the age of 76. Yeltsin, who took office in 1991, will be remembered most for his role in breaking up the Soviet Union. Current president, Vladimir Putin, issued a national day of mourning to commemorate the life of Russia's first democratic president. Despite thousands of citizens and leaders that gathered to pay respect to the man who buried Russian communism, many people hold him responsible for the thousands of lives lost in the Chechnan war. Yeltsin's popularity suffered during his last years in office when the Russian economy took a major downturn.

Comprehension Answers: Story #3

  1. Boris Yeltsin died of heart failure.
  2. Vladimir Putin issued a national day of mourning to honour the former president.
  3. Yeltsin will be remembered for many things including dismantling the Soviet Union and causing the Russian economy to fall.

Story #4

Story #4: Earth-like Planet Discovered
The discovery of an earth-like planet outside our solar system was announced in April by European astronomers. The planet, currently named 581 c, circles one of the sun-like stars closest to Earth. Only in the last few years have astronomers considered these red dwarf stars as potential hosts for habitable planets. Astronomers believe that the temperature and size of 581 c could make it ideal for life. Other planets that have been discovered outside our solar system have always proven to be too hot, too cold, or too large to sustain life. Important questions remain, such as whether or not the planet contains liquid water.

Comprehension Answers: Story #4

  1. This planet is located outside our solar system, though it circles one of the stars that is closest to us.
  2. The fact that this planet could potentially sustain life is very significant.
  3. Astronomers are not sure whether or not this planet has liquid water.