Monthly News Digest Online comes to you from EnglishClub.com
Back to This Month's News | Monthly News Archives
Dateline: 1 November 2007

Story #1

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #1: Al Gore Wins Nobel Prize
US vice-president Al Gore was named the co-recipient of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. This was an acknowledgement of his 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 awareness about the "most dangerous challenge" the world has ever faced. His portion of the cash prize, totaling 1.5 million dollars, will be to the Alliance for Climate Protection. This is an he founded himself to support the "planetary emergency."

Comprehension Questions: Story #1

  1. What two awards did Al Gore recently receive?
  2. What does Gore hope will happen as a result of these awards?
  3. What will Gore do with the money he receives?
Discussion Question:
What is your country doing to help prevent climate change? Do you agree with Gore that this is a planetary emergency? Why or why not?

Story #2

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #2: Telescope Searching for Alien signals
The Allen Telescope Array (ATA), funded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, and slightly north of San Francisco, California, has begun to the skies in search of radio signals from intelligent beings in our Universe. The ATA, which will eventually have 350 6-metre antennas, covering over 1 million star systems, was designed at the University of Berkeley. When the ATA will be one of the largest in the world, covering the area of the current array in New Mexico. While the main goal is to detect evidence of intelligent life by the year 2025, analysts will also be using the data collected to study other astronomical phenomena such as .

Comprehension Questions: Story #2

  1. What is Paul Allen known for?
  2. What is the main purpose of the ATA?
  3. Where was the ATA created?
Discussion Question: Do you think the ATA will achieve its primary goal? Why or why not?

Story #3

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #3: First Commercial Flight on A380
The largest plane ever built carried its first commercial passengers on a Singapore Airlines flight to Sydney this . 471 people took part in this piece of aviation history. Tickets, which were sold via an online auction, raised over 1.25 million dollars for charity. One paid over $100, 000 (U.S) for his suite, which included a leather chair, bed, and TV. The double-decker A380 was delayed by two years due to malfunctions, causing some airlines to cancel their orders. Some forecast that it will take Airbus over a decade to break even after these costly delays.

Comprehension Questions: Story #3

  1. What is the A380?
  2. Why did some airlines cancel their order for A380's?
  3. How did people purchase tickets for this maiden (first) voyage?
Discussion Question: One of the key selling points for Airbus is that it is more "environmentally friendly" than a Boeing. Some people disagree. They argue that the A380 will cause more environmental damage per person. Many passengers will be first class users who have suites and lounge seating. What do you think?

Story #4

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #4: Illegal Immigrants Braved California Fires
As wildfires through California this October, many illegal immigrants faced the most difficult decisions of their lives. Approximately 2 million undocumented workers have farm jobs in the evacuated areas. While most had no homes to lose, they feared they would lose their jobs or be deported if they sought . Immigration agents claimed they would not be checking immigration status at the shelters. However, most illegal immigrants chose other , including hiding by ravines in the fire zones and getting badly . At least 4 illegal immigrants burned to near the Mexico-U.S. border, while 50 or more chose to surrender.

Comprehension Questions: Story #4

  1. Why were the fires so problematic to immigrants?
  2. Approximately how many illegal immigrants worked in the affected regions?
  3. What happened near the Mexican/US border?
Discussion Question: One border was left unguarded due to the smoke and fires, and several people walked or drove freely into the U.S. Do you think agents should risk their lives to protect borders?

ANSWER CHECK

Story #1

Story #1: 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."

Comprehension Answers: Story #1

  1. Gore received an Oscar and the Nobel Peace Prize.
  2. Gore hopes that the awards will help people realize how dangerous climate change is.
  3. He will donate his money to the Alliance for Climate Protection, an organization that he created himself.

Story #2

Story #2: Telescope Searching for Alien Signals
The Allen Telescope Array, funded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, and situated slightly north of San Francisco, California, has begun to sweep the skies in search of radio signals from intelligent beings in our Universe. The ATA, which will eventually have 350 6-metre antennas, covering over 1 million star systems, was designed at the University of Berkeley. When finished the ATA will be one of the largest in the world, covering 17 times the area of the current array in New Mexico. While the main goal is to detect evidence of intelligent life by the year 2025, analysts will also be using the data collected to study other astronomical phenomena such as black holes.

Comprehension Answers: Story #2

  1. Paul Allen is the co-founder of Microsoft.
  2. The ATA was designed primarily to search for signals from other intelligent beings.
  3. The ATA was created at the University of Berkeley.

Story #3

Story #3: First Commercial Flight on A380
The largest passenger plane ever built carried its first commercial passengers on a Singapore Airlines flight to Sydney this October. 471 people took part in this piece of aviation history. Tickets, which were sold via an online auction, raised over 1.25 million dollars for charity. One businessman paid over $100, 000 (U.S) for his suite, which included a leather chair, bed, and 24-inch TV. The double-decker A380 was delayed by two years due to numerous malfunctions, causing some airlines to cancel their orders. Some forecast that it will take Airbus over a decade to break even after these costly delays.

Comprehension Answers: Story #3

  1. The A380 is the largest passenger jet ever built and was designed by Airbus.
  2. Airline companies cancelled their orders because they were waiting for the planes to be ready for over two years.
  3. The passengers purchased their tickets through an online charity auction.

Story #4

Story #4: Illegal Immigrants Braved California Fires
As wildfires tore through California this October, many illegal immigrants faced the most difficult decisions of their lives. Approximately 2 million undocumented workers have farm jobs in the evacuated areas. While most had no homes to lose, they feared they would lose their jobs or be deported if they sought shelter. Immigration agents claimed they would not be checking immigration status at the shelters. However, most illegal immigrants chose other options, including hiding by ravines in the fire zones and getting badly burned. At least 4 illegal immigrants burned to death near the Mexico-U.S. border, while 50 or more chose to surrender.

Comprehension Answers: Story #4

  1. The illegal immigrants were afraid of losing their jobs if they left. They also feared getting sent back to Mexico by the border patrol.
  2. An estimated 2 million illegal immigrants worked in the fire zone.
  3. Some Mexicans were found burned to death near the border, while many others surrendered.