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Dateline: 1 April 2008

Story #1

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #1: Air Marshal protection was a False Promise
the 9/11 attacks, the American public was led to believe that more air marshals would be to protect them in the skies. However, a recent investigation found that fewer than 1% of commercial airline flights in the U.S. are equipped with this . In addition, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has conducted several tests in U.S. airports in which undercover agents carried guns and bomb-making past screening checkpoints. The TSA refuses to disclose how many daily flights are protected by air marshals. However, suggest that a flight is considered "covered" if a pilot is carrying a firearm.

Comprehension Questions: Story #1

  1. What is the job of an air marshal?
  2. What percentage of U.S. based commercial flights have air marshals on board according to the study?
  3. According to the article, who is sometimes relied on for protection when no air marshal is on board?
Discussion Question:
Do you think governments should make room in their budget for air marshal programs?

Story #2

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #2: Tibetan Protesters Threaten Olympic Games
Tibetan activists elevated their protests this March, creating global awareness about their plight for independence from China. Violent protests broke out on March 10th, the of the historic 1959 Tibetan uprising. Chinese officials are blaming the Dalai Lama for the unrest, his mantra that "violence is against human nature." Athletes, organizers, and government officials are concerned about the of the 2008 Beijing Games. While no boycott of the Games has been announced by a major government, French president Sarkozy and other Western leaders have urged China to begin talks with the exiled Tibetan .

Comprehension Questions: Story #2

  1. What do Tibetan protesters want?
  2. Who is the Chinese government blaming for the violence?
  3. What major event is being threatened as a result of these protests?
Discussion Question: Throughout history, activist groups have used the Olympic Games as an opportunity to publicize their concerns. If you were an athlete, would you be nervous about attending the Beijing Games?

Story #3

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #3: Starbucks Owes Millions to California Baristas
A ordered the world renowned coffee company, Starbucks, to pay its Californian baristas $86 million dollars plus interest in back tips. While the company has a tip sharing policy, California prevents shift supervisors and managers from receiving money from the tip pool. The lawsuit was filed against Starbucks by a single barista in 2004, but was class action status in 2006. Over 100, 000 baristas, including past and present employees in California are their share of the pot. However, a Starbucks spokesperson called the ruling "unfair," and said the company would be appealing .

Comprehension Questions: Story #3

  1. Who does Starbucks owe money to?
  2. What is a barista?
  3. What does Starbucks plan to do now?
Discussion Question: In some countries leaving tips to people in the service industry is very common place. Many service workers earn low hourly wages and rely on their tips to live. In other countries tipping is uncommon. How do you feel about the practice of tipping for good service?

Story #4

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #4: Earth Hour Goes Global in 2008
Over 30 people from more than 35 countries participated in Earth Hour on March 29th by their electricity from 8:00 to 9:00pm. In 2007, Sydney Australia held the first Earth Hour, to raise awareness and express concern for world climate change. The inspired millions to take part in the 2008 Earth Hour. With the street lights shut off, people gathered by candle-light in large cities, hoping for a clear night to view the . Landmarks including Niagara Falls, The Golden Gate Bridge, and Sydney's Opera House shut their lights off for Earth Hour to the cause.

Comprehension Questions: Story #4

  1. When and where was the first Earth Hour held?
  2. What major problem inspired Earth Hour?
  3. Why does the report mention The Golden Gate Bridge?
Discussion Question: The environmental damage reduced by Earth hour in 2007 was the equivalent of pulling close to 50, 000 vehicles off the road for one year. The impact of this year's event will be much greater. How do you think humans around the world would respond if Earth Hour was held once a month?

ANSWER CHECK

Story #1

Story #1: Air Marshal protection was a False Promise
Following the 9/11 attacks, the American public was led to believe that more air marshals would be employed to protect them in the skies. However, a recent investigation found that fewer than 1% of commercial airline flights in the U.S. are equipped with this protection. In addition, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has conducted several tests in U.S. airports in which undercover agents carried guns and bomb-making materials past screening checkpoints. The TSA refuses to disclose how many daily flights are protected by air marshals. However, sources suggest that a flight is considered "covered" if a pilot is carrying a firearm.

Comprehension Answers: Story #1

  1. The job of an air marshal is to provide armed security for passengers in the air.
  2. The investigation suggests that fewer than 1% of American flights have air marshals on board.
  3. On some flights, pilots are equipped with firearms.

Story #2

Story #2: Tibetan Protesters Threaten Olympic Games
Tibetan activists elevated their protests this March, creating global awareness about their long term plight for independence from China. Violent protests broke out on March 10th, the anniversary of the historic 1959 Tibetan uprising. Chinese officials are blaming the Dalai Lama for the unrest, despite his mantra that "violence is against human nature." Athletes, organizers, and government officials are concerned about the safety of the 2008 Beijing Games. While no boycott of the Games has been announced by a major government, French president Sarkozy and other Western leaders have urged China to begin talks with the exiled Tibetan leader.

Comprehension Answers: Story #2

  1. Tibetan protesters want independence from China.
  2. The Chinese government is blaming The Dalai Lama for the violence.
  3. The 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing are being threatened.

Story #3

Story #3: Starbucks Owes Millions to California Baristas
A judge ordered the world renowned coffee company, Starbucks, to pay its Californian baristas $86 million dollars plus interest in back tips. While the company has a tip sharing policy, California state law prevents shift supervisors and managers from receiving money from the tip pool. The lawsuit was filed against Starbucks by a single barista in 2004, but was given class action status in 2006. Over 100, 000 baristas, including past and present employees in California are expecting their share of the pot. However, a Starbucks spokesperson called the ruling "unfair," and said the company would be appealing immediately.

Comprehension Answers: Story #3

  1. Starbucks owes back tips to its California baristas.
  2. A barista is a person who serves people in a coffee shop.
  3. Starbucks is going to appeal (fight) the ruling.

Story #4

Story #4: Earth Hour Goes Global in 2008
Over 30 million people from more than 35 countries participated in Earth Hour on March 29th by turning off their electricity from 8:00 to 9:00pm. In 2007, Sydney Australia held the first Earth Hour, to raise awareness and express concern for world climate change. The event inspired millions to take part in the 2008 Earth Hour. With the street lights shut off, people gathered by candle-light in large cities, hoping for a clear night to view the stars. Landmarks including Niagara Falls, The Golden Gate Bridge, and Sydney's Opera House shut their lights off for Earth Hour to support the cause.

Comprehension Answers: Story #4

  1. The first Earth Hour was held in 2007 in Sydney, Australia.
  2. Earth Hour was inspired by concerns about climate change.
  3. The Golden Gate Bridge was given as an example of a landmark that had its lights shut off for Earth Hour.