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Dateline: 1 July 2008

Story #1

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #1: Barack Obama Closer to US Presidency
Beating out former US First Lady Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama won the democratic presidential nomination this June. Obama is the first African-American in history to become a US presidential nominee. This win to Clinton's dream of becoming the first US female . Numerous high profile celebrities, including Oprah Winfrey and George Clooney, backed Obama during his campaign. When the win was made , Senator Obama took the stage saying that it was "time to turn the on the policies of the past." Should Barack Obama beat Senator McCain for the presidency in November there is a chance that Hillary Clinton will be in the administration.

Comprehension Questions: Story #1

  1. Who is Hillary Clinton?
  2. Why is Barrack Obama's win historic?
  3. Who helped Barrack Obama win this race?
Discussion Question:
Do you think an African American president could help improve the US image internationally?

Story #2

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #2: 'Overweight' flight attendants Grounded
Over a dozen flight attendants sued Air India for weight discrimination after being grounded without for being overweight. Strict weight restrictions were put in place two years ago, with an acceptable weight range calculated based on age and height. Air India defended its weight requirements, saying that appearance and are important to a flight attendant's job. The airline also claims that must be kept down for safety reasons. The lawyer for the grounded attendants argued that the airline is looking for reasons to replace older workers with younger ones who will receive lower starting wages. The ruled in favour of Air India, though an appeal to the Supreme Court is in process.

Comprehension Questions: Story #2

  1. Why were some Air India flight attendants told they couldn't fly?
  2. What reason did Air India give for having this restriction?
  3. What does the lawyer think Air India's true reasons are?
Discussion Question: Do you agree with Air India that there should be a weight restriction for flight attendants? Why or why not?

Story #3

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #3: Cancer-sniffing Dog Cloned
A Korean biotechnical company announced this June that four black retriever had been successfully cloned from one of the world's top cancer sniffing dogs. When they reach of age two of the puppies will be moved to the training in Japan where their mother reportedly learned to sniff out a difference between people with cancer cells and . The other two puppies could be sold for up to $480, 000 each. Though the puppies are genetically identical to their mother, "Marine" experts say that this does not guarantee that the puppies will have the same ability.

Comprehension Questions: Story #3

  1. Where were the puppies born?
  2. What is the mother famous for?
  3. What cannot be guaranteed?
Discussion Question: This company cloned its first dog in 2005. Soon after, a Californian woman ordered a clone of her deceased pet pit bull. Do you think cloning of animals should be allowed for commercial or scientific purposes?

Story #4

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #4: Honey Bee Decline is a World Crisis
The world population of honeybees is in great decline for the second year in a row. Scientists refer to this mysterious disappearance as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). For an unknown reason, worker bees abandon their hives and die. Some of the possible reasons for CCD include pesticide use, environmental stress, malnutrition, and mites. Up to 70% of honeybees have disappeared in the US in the past two years. This crisis is also happening throughout Canada, Europe, and Australia. Honeybees are the world's most important pollinators, and this decline severely threatens fruit and vegetable production worldwide. Research is crucial to resolving the honeybee crisis.

Comprehension Questions: Story #4

  1. Why are honeybees so important to humans?
  2. Name a few of the possible reasons for CCD?
  3. According to the article, what needs to happen in order to address this problem?
Discussion Question: The ice cream company, Haagen Dazs, announced that they will be donating money to honey bee research whenever people buy a bee dependent flavour. They also created a website (www.helpthehoneybees.com) to promote awareness and raise money for CCD research. Do you think research into this issue is more important than one such as global warming, in which the cause is already understood?

ANSWER CHECK

Story #1

Story #1: Barack Obama Closer to US Presidency
Beating out former US First Lady Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama won the democratic presidential nomination this June. Obama is the first African-American in history to become a US presidential nominee. This win put an end to Clinton's dream of becoming the first US female president. Numerous high profile celebrities, including Oprah Winfrey and George Clooney, backed Obama during his campaign. When the win was made official, Senator Obama took the stage saying that it was "time to turn the page on the policies of the past." Should Barack Obama beat Senator McCain for the presidency in November there is a chance that Hillary Clinton will be included in the administration.

Comprehension Answers: Story #1

  1. Hillary Clinton is a former American first lady.
  2. It is historic because no African American has ever gotten this close to the presidency
  3. Powerful celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey supported Obama and helped him win the support of the people.

Story #2

Story #2: Overweight Flight Attendants Grounded
Over a dozen flight attendants sued Air India for weight discrimination after being grounded without pay for being overweight. Strict weight restrictions were put in place two years ago, with an acceptable weight range calculated based on age and height. Air India defended its weight requirements, saying that appearance and physical health are important to a flight attendant's job. The airline also claims that weight must be kept down for safety reasons. The lawyer for the grounded attendants argued that the airline is simply looking for reasons to replace older workers with younger ones who will receive lower starting wages. The judge ruled in favour of Air India, though an appeal to the Supreme Court is in process.

Comprehension Answers: Story #2

  1. Some Air India flight attendants were told they couldn't fly because they were overweight.
  2. Air India claims that flight attendants need to be in good physical shape to do the job. They also say being overweight is a safety concern.
  3. The lawyer believes Air India wants to hire younger women who will be paid less for the same work.

Story #3

Story #3: Cancer-Sniffing Dog Cloned
A Korean biotechnical company announced this June that four black retriever puppies had been successfully cloned from one of the world's top cancer sniffing dogs. When they reach three months of age two of the puppies will be moved to the training centre in Japan where their mother reportedly learned to sniff out a difference between people with cancer cells and healthy cells. The other two puppies could be sold for up to $480, 000 each. Though the puppies are genetically identical to their mother, "Marine" experts say that this does not guarantee that the puppies will have the same cancer-sniffing ability.

Comprehension Answers: Story #3

  1. The puppies were born in Korea.
  2. The mother is famous for being able to sniff out people who have cancer.
  3. There is no guarantee that the puppies will have the same cancer sniffing ability, even though they have their mother's identical DNA.

Story #4

Story #4: Honeybee Decline is a World Crisis
The world population of honeybees is in great decline for the second year in a row. Scientists refer to this mysterious disappearance as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). For an unknown reason, worker bees abandon their hives and die. Some of the possible reasons for CCD include pesticide use, environmental stress, malnutrition, and mites. Up to 70% of honeybees have disappeared in the US in the past two years. This crisis is also happening throughout Canada, Europe, and Australia. Honeybees are the world's most important pollinators, and this decline severely threatens fruit and vegetable production worldwide. Research is crucial to resolving the honeybee crisis.

Comprehension Answers: Story #4

  1. Honeybees are the most important pollinators in the world. We rely on them for the production of fruit and vegetables.
  2. Some possible reasons for CCD include environmental stress, malnutrition, pesticide use, and mites.
  3. Research is required to find out why the honeybees are dying and what can be done to prevent this.