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

Story #1

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #1: North Korea Tests Nuclear Weapons
In late May, North Korean officials to staging an underground nuclear test. The blast was confirmed by geological agencies in and the US. President Barack Obama released a statement saying that the threat from North Korea "warrants action from the communities". The UN Security Council quickly an emergency session to discuss the international threat and said that consequences would be severe. North Korea followed up by at least three short-range missiles.

Comprehension Questions: Story #1

  1. Where did North Korea do its test?
  2. How can the international community be sure that the test really happened?
  3. Who was quoted directly in the report?

Discussion Question:
Does it worry you that North Korea is testing nuclear weapons? Which countries do you think are most at risk?

Story #2

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #2: Sri Lanka Celebrates Rebel Defeat
The rebel leader of the Tamil Tigers was reportedly killed this month, marking a major day of celebration for Sri Lanka. of the death of the lead terrorist spread quickly. The government confirmed the news by sending to mobile phones around the country that the fighting was over. Sri Lankan forces had trapped the remaining rebels into a small corner in the north-east where Tamils have been fighting for a state for more than three decades. The Tamil rejected the announcement that the leader had been eliminated.

Comprehension Questions: Story #2

  1. Why were many people in Sri Lanka celebrating this May?
  2. How did the government send out the news?
  3. How long have the Tamil Tigers been fighting for a separate state?

Discussion Question: Why do you think terrorist groups often deny the deaths of their leaders?

Story #3

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #3: Fugitive Gets Facebook Following
A fugitive known as Billy the Hunted was captured this May after being on the run for just over 100 days. William Stewart had a fan base on Facebook, where people around the world watched for regular and links about his police evasions. T-shirts and a song about Billy had also been created by fans. His nickname stuck after he carved a into a table where he had stolen . Williams was wanted for burglary, dangerous driving and drug possession.

Comprehension Questions: Story #3

  1. What is William Stewart's nickname?
  2. How long did the fugitive evade the police?
  3. How did the fugitive create a fan base?

Discussion Question: Social networks provide new platforms for criminals to become celebrities. Would you follow someone like 'Billy The Hunted' on a community like Facebook. Why or why not?

Story #4

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #4: International Students Compete in US Spelling Bee
A 13-year old girl from Kansas won the Scripps National Spelling Bee this May, after spelling the word 'Laodicean'. Kavya Shivashankar wrote out each word on her palm before spelling it out for the audience, including prime time television viewers. This year from China, South Korea, Ghana, and other countries joined Americans in the contest. Some of the top spelling teens in the world came from places where English is a . Contestants tackled obscure words, including those with foreign origins such as German, Greek, or French. The competition has been running since . Besides her trophy, Kavya took home over 30, 000 dollars.

Comprehension Questions: Story #4

  1. Who won the spelling bee?
  2. What was unique about this year's contest?
  3. What was the winner's prize?

Discussion Question: Spelling bee competitions are becoming very popular these days. A major film was recently made about one. Why do you think people enjoy watching this type of competition?


ANSWER CHECK

Story #1: 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.

Comprehension Answers: Story #1

  1. North Korea conducted the test underground.
  2. Geological agencies in South Korea and the US detected the underground blast.
  3. US President Barack Obama was quoted in the report.
Story #2: Sri Lanka Celebrates Rebel Defeat
The rebel leader of the Tamil Tigers was reportedly killed this month, marking a major day of celebration for Sri Lanka. Reports of the death of the lead terrorist spread quickly. The government confirmed the news by sending text messages to mobile phones around the country that the fighting was over. Sri Lankan forces had trapped the remaining rebels into a small corner in the north-east jungle where Tamils have been fighting for a separate state for more than three decades. The Tamil news service rejected the announcement that the leader had been killed.

Comprehension Answers: Story #2

  1. People celebrated in Sri Lanka because the rebel leader of the Tamil Tigers was killed.
  2. The government helped spread the news by sending text messages to mobile phones around the country.
  3. The Tamil Tigers had been fighting for a separate state for over thirty years.
Story #3: Fugitive Gets Facebook Following
A New Zealand fugitive, known as Billy the Hunted was captured this May after being on the run for just over 100 days. William Stewart had built a fan base on Facebook, where people around the world watched for regular updates and links about his police evasions. T-shirts and a song about Billy had also been created by fans. His nickname stuck after he carved a thank you note into a table where he had stolen food. Williams was wanted for burglary, dangerous driving and drug possession.

Comprehension Answers: Story #3

  1. His nickname is Billy the Hunted.
  2. He was on the run for just over 100 days.
  3. Fans followed Billy via Facebook.
Story #4: International Students Compete in US Spelling Bee
A 13-year old girl from Kansas won the Scripps National Spelling Bee this May, after correctly spelling the word 'Laodicean'. Kavya Shivashankar wrote out each word on her palm before spelling it out for the live audience, including prime time television viewers. This year teens from China, South Korea, Ghana, and other countries joined Americans in the contest. Some of the top spelling teens in the world came from places where English is a second language. Contestants tackled obscure words, including those with foreign origins such as German, Greek, or French. The competition has been running since 1925. Besides her trophy, Kavya took home over 30, 000 dollars.

Comprehension Answers: Story #4

  1. Kavya Shivashankar, a 13 year old from Kansas, won the spelling bee.
  2. This year many of the contestants had English as a second language.
  3. Kavya won a trophy and over $30, 000 in cash.