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Dateline: 1 March 2008

Story #1

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #1: Sumo Reputation at Stake
The reputation of Japan's prized , sumo wrestling, is in question after three sumo wrestlers and a stable master were arrested this following an alleged hazing incident. A 17-year old wrestler last summer, after collapsing in his sumo stable. An autopsy later confirmed that the boy died of shock after being badly beaten during . Stable master, Junichi Yamamoto and three sumo wrestlers are facing charges of beating the boy to death. Police believe Yamamoto hit the boy with a beer bottle and ordered the after he attempted to run away from his stable.

Comprehension Questions: Story #1

  1. When did the death occur?
  2. Who is Junichi Yamamoto?
  3. How many people were arrested in this incident?
Discussion Question:
Sumo is a very traditional sport. Professional wrestlers live in sumo training stables, with very strict rules, including when and what they can eat and how much they have to weigh. Do you think 17 is too young to enter this type of training camp?

Story #2

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #2: Fidel Castro Resigns
Cuba's long term , Fidel Castro, announced in February that he would be resigning. Having served for half of a century, Castro held the longest in history. In his letter to the people, Castro stated that his physical was preventing him from leading his nation responsibly. Castro's younger brother, Raul, who has been Cuba's acting president since Fidel underwent in July 2006, took over as the official leader days later. While President Bush expressed his hopes that Cubans would be given a chance for democracy, he claims it is unlikely with one dictator another.

Comprehension Questions: Story #2

  1. What was unique about Fidel Castro's reign?
  2. Why did Castro resign as president?
  3. Who replaced Fidel Castro?
Discussion Question: While younger than Fidel, Raul Castro is 76 years old. The new vice president, Machado Ventura, is 78. Many Cubans expressed hopes that younger leaders would be put in charge. How do you think age affects the way a person leads a country?

Story #3

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #3: U.S. Navy Destroys Satellite
At a cost of 60 million dollars, the U.S. Navy successfully hit an uncontrollable spy satellite that was heading towards Earth. The spy satellite suffered computer immediately following its launch in December of 2006, with its fuel tank full of potentially deadly materials. Experts estimated that the satellite would enter Earth's atmosphere in . The Navy missile was shot from a ship in the Pacific Ocean, just west of Hawaii. Within half an hour, the military confirmed that the had been hit, leaving only small pieces of debris. China shot down a satellite last year in a similar fashion.

Comprehension Questions: Story #3

  1. Why did the U.S. Navy launch a missile into space?
  2. What dangerous item was on the spy satellite?
  3. Which other nation destroyed a satellite from Earth recently?
Discussion Question: Do you think countries with advanced technology should be allowed to send satellites with toxic materials into space?

Story #4

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #4: Kenya Writes New Chapter for History Books
With help from UN head Kofi Annan, two rival politicians have agreed to share over Kenya. President Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga the agreement in late February. The rivals were in negotiations for a month, following the December election protests, which left 1500 dead and hundreds of homeless. The coalition government will likely consist of Kibaki as president and Odinga as prime minister. Following the signing , Kofi Annan spoke to the people of Kenya, asking them to embrace this new chapter for Kenya and reminding them that compromise would lead to a united nation with room for everyone.

Comprehension Questions: Story #4

  1. Who won the negotiations in Kenya?
  2. What trouble occurred as a result of the December elections?
  3. What did Kofi Annan stress to Kenya's people following the signing of the agreement?
Discussion Question: Do you think rival politicians such as these are capable of sharing power over a country? Why or why not?

ANSWER CHECK

Story #1

Story #1: Sumo Reputation at Stake
The reputation of Japan's prized sport, sumo wrestling, is in question after three sumo wrestlers and a stable master were arrested this February following an alleged hazing incident. A 17-year old wrestler died last summer, after collapsing in his sumo stable. An autopsy later confirmed that the boy died of shock after being badly beaten during training camp. Stable master, Junichi Yamamoto and three sumo wrestlers are facing charges of beating the boy to death. Police believe Yamamoto hit the boy with a beer bottle and ordered the beating after he attempted to run away from his stable.

Comprehension Answers: Story #1

  1. The boy died in the summer of 2007.
  2. Junichi Yamamoto was the sumo stable master for the 17-year old's stable.
  3. Four people were arrested.

Story #2

Story #2: Fidel Castro Resigns
Cuba's long term leader, Fidel Castro, announced in February that he would be resigning. Having served for half of a century, Castro held the longest presidency in history. In his letter to the people, Castro stated that his physical health was preventing him from leading his nation responsibly. Castro's younger brother, Raul, who has been Cuba's acting president since Fidel underwent surgery in July 2006, took over as the official leader days later. While President Bush expressed his hopes that Cubans would be given a chance for democracy, he claims it is unlikely with one dictator replacing another.

Comprehension Answers: Story #2

  1. Fidel Castro held the presidency for fifty years.
  2. Castro quit because he was not healthy enough to hold the responsibility of being president.
  3. Fidel's younger brother Raul took over the presidency.

Story #3

Story #3: U.S. Navy Destroys Satellite
At a cost of approximately 60 million dollars, the U.S. Navy successfully hit an uncontrollable spy satellite that was heading towards Earth. The spy satellite suffered computer failure immediately following its launch in December of 2006, with its fuel tank full of potentially deadly materials. Experts estimated that the satellite would enter Earth's atmosphere in early March. The Navy missile was shot from a ship in the Pacific Ocean, just west of Hawaii. Within half an hour, the military confirmed that the target had been hit, leaving only small pieces of debris. China shot down a weather satellite last year in a similar fashion.

Comprehension Answers: Story #3

  1. The U.S. Navy shot a missile into space to destroy a broken spy satellite that was headed for Earth.
  2. The satellite was equipped with a full fuel tank containing dangerous materials.
  3. China destroyed a weather satellite with a missile last year.

Story #4

Story #4: Kenya Writes new Chapter for History Books
With help from former UN head Kofi Annan, two rival politicians have agreed to share power over Kenya. President Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga signed the agreement in late February. The rivals were in negotiations for a month, following the December election protests, which left 1500 dead and hundreds of thousands homeless. The coalition government will likely consist of Kibaki as president and Odinga as prime minister. Following the signing ceremony, Kofi Annan spoke to the people of Kenya, asking them to embrace this new chapter for Kenya and reminding them that compromise would lead to a united nation with room for everyone.

Comprehension Answers: Story #4

  1. President Kibaki and Raila Odinga both won. They agreed to share power over Kenya.
  2. There were violent protests that resulted in many deaths and many homeless families.
  3. Kofi Annan stressed the importance of compromise in order to create unity in the nation.