Monthly News Digest Online comes to you from EnglishClub.com Dateline: 1 December 2009

Story #1

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #1: The Moon has Plenty of Water
NASA recently that a planned crash into a crater on Earth's moon kicked up a significant amount of water. The findings by two separate spacecrafts mean future lunar explorations could be easier than previously thought. Scientists 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 some space enthusiasts who believe that money and research should be spent on exploring Mars the moon.

Comprehension Questions: Story #1

  1. Why did the crashes occur?
  2. Why is water on the moon important?
  3. Why are some scientists unenthusiastic about this finding?

Discussion Question:

Considering the state of earth as it is today, do you think governments should be spending money on space exploration? Why or why not?

Story #2

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #2: FIFA Denies Rematch after Handball Win
There was global outrage last month when beat out Ireland in the playoff for the postition at next year's World Cup finals in . The winning goal was assisted by a blatant handball by France's star player Thierry Henry. The referees failed to see Henry's obvious use of his hands to keep the ball from going out of play but did not dispute their after viewing the tape. Ireland quickly demanded a rematch, appealing to both FIFA and the French Football Association. Despite Henry's own admission that the ought to be replayed as well as pressure from influential politicians, FIFA ruled against allowing a rematch. The Football Association of suggested that FIFA's decision damaged the credibility of the league.

Comprehension Questions: Story #2

  1. Which team won the game?
  2. What were the teams competing for?
  3. How did Thierry Henry feel about the official ruling?

Discussion Question: FIFA's reason for not allowing a rematch is that the rule book states that referee decisions are final. Do you think some rules were made to be broken in sport? Why or why not?

Story #3

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #3: Political Massacre in the Philippines
A convoy of over 50 journalists and politicians was killed on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines on November 23rd. The , who were on their way to file nomination papers for political candidate Ismael Toto Mangudadatu, were kidnapped in broad daylight by a group of about 100 gunmen as several witnesses stood nearby. The bodies, including "Toto's" wife and two of his sisters, were found after in a massive shallow grave. Toto had been threatened not to file his papers for the May election. The mayor of the region has been arrested in with the murders. The group Reporters Without Borders claims that the massacre is the world's mass killing of journalists on record.

Comprehension Questions: Story #3

  1. Where did the massacre occur?
  2. What were the victims doing when they were kidnapped?
  3. Why was this such a sad day for journalists worldwide?

Discussion Question: An Associated Press report said that the 2007 elections in the Philippines were considered peaceful despite the death of about 130 people. Is violence of this nature associated with elections in your country? Why or why not?

Story #4

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #4: World's Largest Cruise Ship Ready for Business
The 'Oasis of the Seas', the world's largest cruise ship to sail, arrived in Port Everglades, Florida this November. Hundreds of onlookers watched and cheered as the Royal Caribbean ship arrived at its US port after a trip from Finland where it was built at a cost of 1.5 billion dollars. The Oasis is five times larger than the famous 'Titanic' and can accommodate almost 6000 passengers and crew members. As well as 16 decks, the cruise liner has seven theme based "neighbourhoods" and its very own " Park". Despite difficult financial times, Royal Caribbean to fill the ship and turn a profit.

Comprehension Questions: Story #4

  1. Where was the 'Oasis of the Seas' built?
  2. Why does the report mention the 'Titanic'?
  3. What unique system is used to divide the boat up into different sections?

Discussion Question: In brochures and advertisements, this new ship is often referred to as a "floating city". Does this type of vacation appeal to you? Why or why not?


ANSWER CHECK

Story #1: 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.

Comprehension Answers: Story #1

  1. NASA arranged the crashes on purpose.
  2. Water on the moon would make it easier for space explorers to set up a camp on the moon.
  3. Some scientists would rather see time and money spent on exploring Mars.
Story #2: FIFA Denies Rematch after Handball Win
There was global outrage last month when France beat out Ireland in the playoff for the position at next year's World Cup finals in South Africa. The winning goal was assisted by a blatant handball by France's star player Thierry Henry. The referees failed to see Henry's obvious use of his hands to keep the ball from going out of play but did not dispute their mistake after viewing the tape. Ireland quickly demanded a rematch, appealing to both FIFA and the French Football Association. Despite Henry's own admission that the match ought to be replayed as well as pressure from influential politicians, FIFA ruled against allowing a rematch. The Football Association of Ireland suggested that FIFA's decision damaged the credibility of the league.

Comprehension Answers: Story #2

  1. France beat Ireland.
  2. The teams were competing for a position at next year's World Cup finals in South Africa.
  3. Thierry Henry admitted to the handball and felt the match should be replayed.
Story #3: Political Massacre in the Philippines
A convoy of over 50 journalists and politicians was killed on the southern island of Mindanao in the Philippines on November 23rd. The victims, who were on their way to file nomination papers for political candidate Ismael Toto Mangudadatu, were kidnapped in broad daylight by a group of about 100 gunmen as several witnesses stood nearby. The bodies, including "Toto's" wife and two of his sisters, were found shortly after in a massive shallow grave. Toto had been threatened not to file his papers for the May election. The mayor of the region has been arrested in connection with the murders. The group Reporters Without Borders claims that the massacre is the world's worst mass killing of journalists on record.

Comprehension Answers: Story #3

  1. The killings occurred on a southern island of Mindanao in the Philippines.
  2. The victims were on their way to file nomination papers on behalf of a political candidate.
  3. Some have claimed that it was the world's worst mass killing of journalists in history. Many of those killed were journalists.
Story #4: World's Largest Cruise Ship Ready for Business
The 'Oasis of the Seas', the world's largest cruise ship to ever sail, arrived in Port Everglades, Florida this November. Hundreds of onlookers watched and cheered as the Royal Caribbean ship arrived at its US port after a two week trip from Finland where it was built at a cost of 1.5 billion dollars. The Oasis is five times larger than the famous 'Titanic' and can accommodate almost 6000 passengers and 2000 crew members. As well as 16 decks, the cruise liner has seven theme based 'neighbourhoods" and its very own "Central Park". Despite difficult financial times, Royal Caribbean expects to fill the ship and turn a profit.

Comprehension Answers: Story #4

  1. The ship was built in Finland.
  2. The 'Titanic' is used as a comparison point to show how large the 'Oasis' is.
  3. The ship is divided into seven different "neighbourhoods".