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Dateline: 1 August 2007

Story #1

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #1: Beckhams Move to L.A.
David Beckham was welcomed by fans in Los Angeles, where he and his family will be making their home for the next five years. Beckham, previous football captain, signed a contract with LA Galaxy, an American soccer league team. While he is used to being treated as a celebrity, he will have to calling his sport 'soccer'. Owners and staff of LA Galaxy believe that the media attention could help the sport in the U.S. It is estimated that with sponsorship deals and profit-sharing Beckham will earn up to with his new team.

Comprehension Questions: Story #1

  1. Why did David Beckham move to Los Angeles?
  2. Why will Beckham have to get used to the word 'soccer'?
  3. Why do owners of LA Galaxy think it is important to have Beckham on their team?
Discussion Question:
Some say that Beckham will bring much attention to the game of soccer in the U.S., while others say that he will have little impact since he is at the end of his career. What do you think?

Story #2

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #2: Cat Predicts Nursing Home Deaths
According to staff members, a two-year old cat named has been predicing deaths at an American nursing home. 25 consecutive cases have been of Oscar curling up beside patients in their final hours. It is a how the cat knows the patients at the Rhode Island home are going to die. There is speculation that the change in a dying body may give off an odour that Oscar detects. Since Oscar is not a cat by nature, nurses often urge family members to rush to the bedside of their loved ones if Oscar makes his way inside an ill patient's room.

Comprehension Questions: Story #2

  1. What role does Oscar have in the Rhode Island nursing home?
  2. According to the article, what is one possible reason why Oscar might sense death?
  3. How do staff members react when Oscar lies beside a patient?
Discussion Question: If you had a loved one in this care facility, would you want Oscar to continue doing his rounds, or would you prefer to see him removed?

Story #3

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #3: Japan Earthquake Hits Power Plant
A 6.8 magnitude earthquake hit Japan this July, and radiation leaks at the world's largest nuclear plant. Smoke rising from the facility was the first sign of damage, though no was issued by the staff. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe criticized the officials in charge for not sending out an initial alert. The leaks were 50% greater than first reported, and the public was not notified until twelve hours after the fire began. A number of drums containing had been overturned, however the leak was still below danger levels. The four reactors that were running automatically as they are to do in the case of an earthquake.

Comprehension Questions: Story #3

  1. How did people first find out that the power plant had been affected by the earthquake?
  2. Why was the Prime Minister of Japan unhappy?
  3. What did the reactors do when the earthquake hit?
Discussion Question: Given the possiblity of nuclear accidents, do you think governments should be allowed to build power plants in earthquake zones?

Story #4

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #4: 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 medical aid. Shortly after the abduction, the terrorist group the release of eight jailed Taleban prisoners for the hostages. Afghan , 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 captives have gathered near Seoul to hold vigil.

Comprehension Questions: Story #4

  1. Who abducted the South Korean group?
  2. Why were the South Koreans travelling in Afghanistan?
  3. How have the abductors reacted to their demands not being met?
Discussion Question: Do you think governments should negotiate with terrorists? Would your opinion change if it was your loved ones being held captive?

ANSWER CHECK

Story #1

Story #1: David Beckham moves to LA
David Beckham was welcomed by screaming fans in Los Angeles, where he and his family will be making their home for the next five years. Beckham, England's previous football captain, signed a contract with LA Galaxy, an American soccer league team. While he is used to being treated as a celebrity, he will have to get used to calling his sport 'soccer'. Owners and staff of LA Galaxy believe that the media attention could help popularize the sport in the U.S. It is estimated that with sponsorship deals and profit-sharing Beckham will earn up to 250 million dollars with his new team.

Comprehension Answers: Story #1

  1. David Beckham moved to LA to join a team in an American soccer league.
  2. In Europe, soccer is known as 'football,' so Beckham will have to get used to calling his sport a new name.
  3. Owners think that the media attention Beckham brings could cause Americans to take a greater interest in soccer.

Story #2

Story #2: Cat Predicts Nursing Home Deaths
According to staff members, a two-year old cat named Oscar has been predicing deaths at an American nursing home. 25 consecutive cases have been recorded of Oscar curling up beside patients in their final hours. It is a mystery how the cat knows the patients at the Rhode Island home are going to die. There is speculation that the chemical change in a dying body may give off an odour that Oscar detects. Since Oscar is not a friendly cat by nature, nurses often urge family members to rush to the bedside of their loved ones if Oscar makes his way inside an ill patient's room.

Comprehension Answers: Story #2

  1. Oscar goes around the nursing home where he lives and sits by patients who are dying.
  2. It is possible that the dying patients have a certain smell that Oscar associates with death.
  3. Nurses often call the loved ones of the patients when Oscar lies beside them so that they can come and say goodbye.

Story #3

Story #3: Japan Earthquake Hits Power Plant
A 6.8 magnitude earthquake hit Japan this July, causing fires and radiation leaks at the world's largest nuclear plant. Smoke rising from the facility was the first sign of damage, though no warning was issued by the staff. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe criticized the officials in charge for not sending out an initial alert. The leaks were 50% greater than first reported, and the public was not notified until twelve hours after the fire began. A number of drums containing nuclear waste had been overturned, however the leak was still below danger levels. The four reactors that were running shut down automatically as they are programmed to do in the case of an earthquake.

Comprehension Answers: Story #3

  1. People first realized the power plant had been hit when smoke was seen coming up from the facility.
  2. The Prime Minister was unhappy because the officials at the power plant did not initially alert the public that the plant had been hit.
  3. The nuclear reactors shut down automatically when the earthquake hit.

Story #4

Story #4: 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.

Comprehension Answers: Story #4

  1. A terrorist group called the Taleban captured the South Koreans.
  2. The South Koreans were on a church group offering volunteer medical aid.
  3. The terrorists have killed at least two of the hostages.