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Listen to News 2009

Here are twelve of the top news stories from 2009. These stories and audio clips were taken from EnglishClub.com's Listen to News pages. Review the news stories and then take the quiz. Double click on the green arrow to listen.

January: Massive Migration for Chinese New Year
Approximately 200 million people left China's major cities this January, the world's largest migration in history. The two week New Year's festival, is one of the only opportunities migrant workers have to go home. A massive snowstorm last year prevented many from making the trip home to the countryside in 2008. This year, due to factory closures and job loss many who are heading home say they will not be returning to the city after the holiday is over. Train tickets sold out quickly and thousands of people had to use savings to purchase expensive tickets from scalpers. 2009 is the Year of the Ox.
 
February: Mumbai Celebrates Oscars Win
Slumdog Millionaire, an independent British film set in Mumbai, won eight Oscars at the Academy Award ceremony, including best picture, best director, best cinematography, and song. The film is based on the popular American game show "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" and features namely Bollywood actors and crew. The Oscar sweep was unexpected as the rags-riches film was produced on a 15 million dollar budget and almost went straight to DVD. India's people celebrated the huge win with much excitement, calling it a breakthrough for the country's entertainment industry. Two of the child actors for the film were picked from the slums of Mumbai.
 
March: Terrorists Storm Pakistani City of Lahore
Two separate terrorist attacks took place in the Pakistani city of Lahore this March. The first ambush occurred on March 10th as police were escorting Sri Lanka's cricket team into the city's stadium for a match. Sri Lanka was invited to the tournament after India's team pulled out based on security concerns. At least six policemen were killed while seven cricketers and the assistant coach on the bus were injured. On March 30th, a second attack took place at a Lahore police training academy. Pakistani police declared victory following the eight hour standoff that resulted in the deaths of eight cadets and the killing or capture of all seven militants.
 
April: Swine Flu Shuts Down Mexico City
An outbreak of swine flu hit Mexico City this April, sparking fear of a global pandemic. The military distributed millions of masks to residents and placed notices on the doors of cathedrals, stadiums, and other public buildings urging residents to stay indoors and avoid contact with those who are ill. Despite efforts to contain the virus, countries including the United States, Canada, Scotland, and Spain have confirmed several cases of the virus. The swine flu is common in pigs, but becomes more serious when spread to humans, especially those in their 20's, 30's, and 40's. Medical experts warn that the virus is spread via human contact, not by eating pork.
 
May: North Korea Tests Nuclear Weapons
In late May, North Korean officials admitted to staging an underground nuclear test. The blast was confirmed by geological agencies in South Korea and the US. President Barack Obama released a statement saying that the threat from North Korea "warrants action from the international communities". The UN Security Council quickly organized an emergency session to discuss the international threat and said that consequences would be severe. North Korea followed up by firing at least three short-range missiles.
 
June: King of Pop Dies at Age 50
Michael Jackson, also known as the world's "King of Pop", died in hospital on June 25th after suffering cardiac arrest in his rented house. A doctor found Michael Jackson unconscious in bed, and had him rushed to UCLA medical centre where the star was pronounced dead. Michael Jackson's world renowned album "Thriller," released in 1982, remains the most popular album of all time. Despite the scandals of recent years, Michael Jackson had recently announced one final comeback tour, which was to take place in the UK. Tickets, which sold out at a rate of 11 per second, will likely be collectors items.
 
July: Girl Survives Yemen Plane Crash
A 14-year-old girl survived a plane crash off the coast of the Comoros Islands this July. Bahia Bakari, a resident of Marseilles, was rescued 13 hours after the Yemenia Air crash. She was travelling with her mother to visit relatives. The young girl held onto floating debris from the wreckage after the plane crashed into the Indian Ocean. She was suffering from hypothermia and also had a broken collar bone. The girl reportedly heard other voices during the night, though none of the other 150 passengers were found alive.
 
August: Usain Bolt Victorious Again
Jamaica's Olympic pride and joy, Usain Bolt, broke world records for both the 100 and 200 metre race at the world championships in Germany this month. The city of Berlin honoured the sprinter by offering him a large piece of the original Berlin Wall. Painted on the large slab was his image alongside the words New WR. Following the competition, Usain Bolt told reporters that his goal in life was to be a legend in his sport. Bolt will reportedly donate the gift to his training camp in Jamaica.
 
September: Torrential Rains Devastate the Philippines
Massive floods in the Philippines this September caused close to 500, 000 people to flea their homes, overwhelming the government with relief needs. Approximately a month of rain fell in 12 hours over Manila and surrounding areas, submerging cities under metres of water. Many of the roads were turned into rivers, and people had to be rescued from rooftops and floating debris. When the flood waters began to recede, homes, businesses, and hospitals were left coated in a layer of mud. The rains came so quickly that most people had no time to gather any possessions. Tropical storm Ketsana is to blame for the worst torrential rains to hit the Philippines in decades.
 
October: Barack Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize
With less than a year under his belt as President of the United States, Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize. In his acceptance speech, Obama claimed that he was surprised and humbled by the award. He also stated that he considered the award a "call to action". Many people around the world respect Obama and expect him to improve global relations. Critics, however, suggested that the award came prematurely. They argued that the leader of a country at war did not deserve the prestigious award. Obama is expected to donate the 1.4 million dollars in prize money to charity.
 
November: The Moon has Plenty of Water
NASA recently reported that a planned crash into a crater on Earth's moon kicked up a significant amount of water. The findings collected by two separate spacecrafts mean future lunar explorations could be easier than previously thought. Scientists agree that setting up a base camp on the moon is a more viable option now. NASA hopes that the water will provide important information about the evolution of the solar system. The latest finding concerns some space enthusiasts who believe that money and research should be spent on exploring Mars rather than the moon.
 
December: Climate Summit Leaves Many Disappointed
A two-week climate conference in Copenhagen, Denmark this December proved that nations all over the world are deeply concerned about emissions and climate change. Hundreds of protesters marched to the conference centre and police arrested several people. Much of the debate centred on what rich countries should do to help developing countries survive and reduce the impact of climate change. Inside, negotiations were largely unsuccessful until the drafting of the Copenhagen Accord on the final day. The document states that climate change is currently one of the greatest global challenges and that temperature increases should be kept to below 2 degrees Celsius. Many leaders and delegates expressed disappointment over the non-binding agreement.

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