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Dateline: 1 June 2007

Story #1

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #1: Hybrid Taxi's To Hit NYC Streets
Mayor Michael Bloomsberg unveiled a 5-year plan to shift the entire fleet of New York City yellow cabs to environmentally friendly hybrids. This initiative will significantly the exhaust fumes on some of the most congested streets in the world. Hybrids use half electricity and half gasoline, and achieve higher . Though NYC's current fleet has over , each has an average life of 3-5 years, making it an attainable goal. Bloomsberg suggests that adding hybrids to the fleet of 20% each year is part of a long-term plan to reduce carbon emissions by 30% by the year 2030.

Comprehension Questions: Story #1

  1. How long does Bloomsberg expect it will take before all New York cabs are hybrids?
  2. What are the main reasons that hybrid cars are better for the environment?
  3. What larger plan is this initiative a part of?
Discussion Question: Do you think using hybrid cars is the answer to this environmental problem? Or, do you think NYC should follow in the footsteps of other cities that have turned their downtown cores into non-vehicle zones?

Story #2

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #2: Prince Harry Held Back After All
A UK general announced this May that Prince Harry, in line to the British throne, would not be deployed to Iraq as planned. According to the military, the decision was based on specific threats that put the troop leader and his regiment at risk. Controversy over whether or not Prince Harry should in Iraq has been mounting since it was announced in February that he would join troops this spring. It has been since a member of the British royal family served in a war zone. Prince Harry, who had every intention of serving out his duty, was by the news, and sorry that he would not be able to put his training into .

Comprehension Questions: Story #2

  1. What did the military base their decision on?
  2. Besides being a prince, what other title does Harry hold?
  3. How did the prince feel when he heard this information?
Discussion Question: Do you agree with this decision, or do you think Prince Harry should have been deployed as planned?

Story #3

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #3: U.S. Meets with Iran after 27 Years
Representatives from the U.S., Iran, and Iraq, met in this month to discuss the current Iraqi situation. The meeting was described as "business-like", and issues unrelated to Iraq were not addressed. While denying the accusation that they are assisting the Iraqi militia, Iranian representatives upheld their concern that the U.S. presence in Iraq is an "occupation". Iran recommended the formation of a trilateral security group in Iraq, that the U.S. agreed to consider. This is the first time in 27 years that diplomats from the U.S. and Iran have met in a formal session. The U.S. cut ties with Iran following the seizure and occupation of the US Embassy from 1979-1981, in which Iranian students held hostages.

Comprehension Questions: Story #3

  1. What was the main topic of discussion at this meeting?
  2. What did the Iranian diplomats recommend?
  3. Why did the U.S. stop meeting with Iran over twenty years ago?
Discussion Question: In the meeting Iran called the U.S. presence in Iraq an "occupation". U.S. officials defended their position saying that they are aiding the Iraqi military at the request of the Iraqi government. Which position do you agree with and why?

Story #4

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #4: 4-year old Abducted on Portugal Vacation
A 4-year old British girl disappeared from a hotel this May while her parents dined in a restaurant about 100 meters away. Madeleine McCann's parents expressed 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 provided by the resort, the couple 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 at the resort are being cross-referenced with police files.

Comprehension Questions: Story #4

  1. Where were the parents when Madeleine disappeared?
  2. Why do Mr. and Mrs. McCann feel partially responsible for their missing daughter?
  3. Name one thing that police are doing to look for suspects.
Discussion Question: The case of this missing girl has received worldwide attention compared to many other abductions that are easily forgotten. Some say this is because the parents are both doctors. Others say it is because the girl was left alone while on vacation. What do you think?

ANSWER CHECK

Story #1

Story #1: Hybrid Taxis to Hit NYC Streets
Mayor Michael Bloomsberg unveiled a 5-year plan to gradually shift the entire fleet of New York City yellow cabs to environmentally friendly hybrids. This initiative will significantly reduce the exhaust fumes on some of the most congested streets in the world. Hybrids use half electricity and half gasoline, and achieve higher gas mileage. Though NYC's current fleet has over 13, 000 vehicles, each has an average life of 3-5 years, making it an attainable goal. Bloomsberg suggests that adding hybrids to the fleet at the rate of 20% each year is part of a long-term plan to reduce carbon emissions by 30% by the year 2030.

Comprehension Answers: Story #1

  1. It is expected to take five years for all NYC taxis to become hybrid.
  2. Hybrids run on half electricity and get better gas mileage.
  3. This is part of NYC's plan to reduce carbon emissions by 30% by the year 2030.

Story #2

Story #2: Prince Harry Held Back After All
A UK general announced this May that Prince Harry, third in line to the British throne, would not be deployed to Iraq as planned. According to the military, the decision was based on specific threats that put the troop leader and his regiment at risk. Controversy over whether or not Prince Harry should serve in Iraq has been mounting since it was announced in February that he would join troops this spring. It has been 25 years since a member of the British royal family served in a war zone. Prince Harry, who had every intention of serving out his duty, was disappointed by the news, and sorry that he would not be able to put his training into practice.

Comprehension Answers: Story #2

  1. The military claimed to have uncovered direct threats against the prince and his regiment.
  2. Prince Harry is also a troop leader.
  3. The prince was very disappointed when he heard he could not join his troops in combat in Iraq.

Story #3

Story #3: U.S. Meets with Iran after 27 years
Representatives from the U.S., Iran, and Iraq, met in Baghdad this month to discuss the current Iraqi situation. The meeting was described as "business-like", and issues unrelated to Iraq were not addressed. While denying the accusation that they are assisting the Iraqi militia, Iranian representatives upheld their concern that the U.S. presence in Iraq is an "occupation". Iran recommended the formation of a trilateral security group in Iraq,a proposal that the U.S. agreed to consider. This is the first time in 27 years that diplomats from the U.S. and Iran have met face to face in a formal session. The U.S. cut ties with Iran following the seizure and occupation of the US Embassy from 1979-1981, in which Iranian students held numerous hostages.

Comprehension Answers: Story #3

  1. The main topic of discussion was the current state of Iraq.
  2. Iranian diplomats suggested a trilateral approach to security in Iraq (with U.s., Iran, and Iraq working together).
  3. The U.S. cut ties when their embassy was attacked and occupied in Iran in 1979.

Story #4

Story #4: 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 meters 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.

Comprehension Answers: Story #4

  1. The parents were eating dinner in a restaurant on the resort.
  2. Madeleine's parents feel guilty for leaving their children alone, especially since the resort had a babysitting service.
  3. Mr. and Mrs. McCann went to Rome to meet the Pope.