Monthly News Digest Online comes to you from EnglishClub.com
Back to This Month's News | Monthly News Archives
Dateline: 1 March 2009

Story #1

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #1: Octuplet Mom Faces Strong Criticism
The mother who gave birth to eight babies in California this January is facing heavy criticism and has even received . The controversy began shortly after the media learned that Nadya Suleman already had 6 children who were also conceived via in vitro fertilization. Suleman's own mother said that she and her daughter were already struggling financially. Her father has also spoken out, criticising the physician who allowed these to take place. However, Suleman defended her decision to have multiple embryos implanted. She says say she always wanted a large family because she felt lonely as a .

Comprehension Questions: Story #1

  1. How many babies does Nadya have in total?
  2. How were the babies conceived?
  3. What is Nadya's reason for wanting many children?
Discussion Question:
Do you feel that Nadya Suleman had the right to have all six embryos implanted or do you think doctors should have prevented this multiple birth?

Story #2

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #2: Satellites Collide in Space
A and an American satellite collided in near-earth space this February approximately 800 kilometres above Siberia. The crash created two large of debris in a very popular region of 'junk orbit'. Some believe that the space junk left behind from the crash could threaten other spacecraft for thousands of years. NASA believes that the debris will not pose a significant to Earth or the International Space station, which orbits 370 kilometres above Earth. However, space junk has increased so much in recent years that it is considered the highest risk to in flight.

Comprehension Questions: Story #2

  1. Where did the collision take place?
  2. Why is 800km above earth a significant place of orbit?
  3. What comment did NASA make?
Discussion Question: Do you think governments should make space junk a priority, or should they worry more about environmental threats on earth?

Story #3

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #3: Sri Lanka Hospital Attacked
A makeshift has been caught in the crossfire of civil war in northern Sri Lanka, where the battle between government and Tamil rebels continues. The only remaining medical facility in the war zone was hit up to six times, and 16 people were killed, though side would claim responsibility. The Red Cross managed to evacuate approximately patients and family members from the area where only a handful of doctors and nurses remain. Little can be done to treat the ill and injured since physicians have run out of anaesthesia, saline and antibiotics. Some estimates say that up to 200 000 civilians remain in the area.

Comprehension Questions: Story #3

  1. Who is at war?
  2. Why can't the makeshift hospital function effectively?
  3. Why is the Red Cross mentioned?
Discussion Question: International humanitarian law prohibits attacks on medical facilities. Does it surprise you that a hospital was targeted in this 25 year long war?

Story #4

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #4: Mumbai Celebrates Oscars Win
Slumdog Millionaire, an independent film set in Mumbai, won eight Oscars at the Academy Award ceremony, including best picture, best director, best cinematography, . The film is based on the popular American game show "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" and features namely Bollywood actors and . 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 the huge win with much excitement, calling it a breakthrough for the country's entertainment industry. Two of the for the film were picked from the slums of Mumbai.

Comprehension Questions: Story #4

  1. How many Oscars did Slumdog Millionaire win?
  2. What game show is the story based on?
  3. Where were two of the child actors discovered?
Discussion Question: Despite being paid for their work and being offered an education, the child actors in the film who appeared briefly on the red carpet continue to live in the slums of Mumbai. Do you think these families should be lifted out of poverty?

ANSWER CHECK

Story #1

Story #1: Octuplet Mom Faces Strong Criticism
The single mother who gave birth to eight babies in California this January is facing heavy criticism, and has even received death threats. The controversy began shortly after the media learned that Nadya Suleman already had 6 children who were also conceived via in vitro fertilization. Suleman's own mother said that she and her unemployed daughter were already struggling financially. Her father has also spoken out, criticising the physician who allowed these births to take place. However, Suleman defended her decision to have multiple embryos implanted. She says she always wanted a large family because she felt lonely as a child.

Comprehension Answers: Story #1

  1. Nadya has 14 babies in total.
  2. The babies were conceived via in vitro fertilization.
  3. Nadya says she felt lonely as a child.

Story #2

Story #2: Satellites Collide in Space
A Russian and an American satellite collided in near-earth space this February approximately 800 kilometres above Siberia. The crash created two large clouds of debris in a very popular region of 'junk orbit'. Some scientists believe that the space junk left behind from the crash could threaten other spacecraft for thousands of years. NASA believes that the debris will not pose a significant risk to Earth or the International Space station, which orbits 370 kilometres above Earth. However, space junk has increased so much in recent years that it is considered the highest risk to space shuttles in flight.

Comprehension Answers: Story #2

  1. The collision took place approximately 800 km above Siberia.
  2. There is a lot of space junk in this region of orbit.
  3. NASA said the debris does not pose a serious threat to the ISS or to Earth.

Story #3

Story #3: Sri Lanka Hospital Attacked
A makeshift hospital has been caught in the crossfire of civil war in northern Sri Lanka, where the battle between government forces and Tamil rebels continues. The only remaining medical facility in the war zone was hit up to six times, and 16 people were killed, though neither side would claim responsibility. The Red Cross managed to evacuate approximately 2000 patients and family members from the area where only a handful of doctors and nurses remain. Little can be done to treat the ill and injured since physicians have run out of anaesthesia, saline and antibiotics. Some estimates say that up to 200 000 civilians remain trapped in the area.

Comprehension Answers: Story #3

  1. Sri Lanka's government is in a civil war with the Tamil rebels.
  2. There are few medical professionals remaining and there are almost no medical supplies.
  3. The Red Cross has evacuated many patients and their family members.

Story #4

Story #4: 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.

Comprehension Answers: Story #4

  1. The movie won eight Oscars.
  2. The movie was based on the game show "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?".
  3. Two of the child stars were picked out of the slums of Mumbai.