Monthly News Digest Online comes to you from EnglishClub.com Dateline: March 1 2010

Story #1

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #1:Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games Open Sombrely
Just hours before the 2010 Olympics kicked off in Vancouver, Canada, a Georgian luger missed a turn and flew off the track, hitting a pole at the Whistler Sliding Centre. The accident was broadcast live as 21-year old, Nodar Kumaritashvili, died on impact. Just a few hours later, his Georgian teammates the Opening Ceremonies wearing black armbands to honour their fallen teammate. The organizing of the Vancouver Games spoke sombrely to the other athletes about Nodar saying, �May you carry his Olympic dream on your shoulders, and carry his spirit in your hearts.� The luge competition continued , though structural changes were made to the track.

Comprehension Questions: Story #1

  1. Why was the Opening Ceremony not filled entirely with joy and excitement?
  2. How did the Georgian team show its support at the Opening Ceremonies?
  3. What did organizers do before the luge competition began?

Discussion Question: The accident was declared "human error". Nodar's family members disagree, saying no athlete mistake should lead to death. Share your opinion on this claim.

Story #2

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #2: Flash Floods Devastate Portuguese Island
Torrential rains caused flash floods and in Portugal's island of Madeira, killing over 40 people and leaving the island in wreckage. Raging waters stormed down mountains and took out roads and bridges in a hours. Many people in the island's capital grasped onto anything they could find to keep from drowning. Following the disaster, Portugal's government declared 3 days of national mourning to the victims. The island is a popular holiday , though no tourists have been reported missing.

Comprehension Questions: Story #2

  1. Where is Madeira?
  2. What did some people have to do to keep from drowning?
  3. What did the Portuguese government do shortly after the flooding?

Discussion Question: Do you think recent natural disasters will cause people to stop taking island vacations?

Story #3

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #3: E-Waste a Growing Threat for Developing Nations
A new suggests that electronic waste (e-waste) will be the next major environmental hazard for developing countries. Old computers, and cell phones often end up in countries such as Africa, China, and India. These have often been disposed of by rich nations whose consumers are buying faster or more technology like smart phones. Even though some countries use special techniques to remove the precious materials from and devices, they also use incinerators that are unsafe to . According to Achim Steiner of the UN, this e-challenge could become an "e-opportunity", creating new jobs as nations transition to a green economy.

Comprehension Questions: Story #3

  1. What was the main conclusion of the UN report?
  2. Where does most electronic waste come from?
  3. What positive outcome could come out of this environmental challenge?

Discussion Question: Do you believe that one man's waste is another man's treasure?

Story #4

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #4: Chilean Quake Triggers Pacific-wide Tsunami Alert
Tsunami alerts and advisories to one quarter of the globe, following an 8.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Chile on February 27th. Over 50 nations including Hawaii, Japan and Australia braced for giant waves that threatened to reach their and coastlines. The death toll from the quake was estimated at about 300 people, and the Chilean government issued a "state of catastrophe". While the quake was much larger than the one that devastated Haiti last month, it was also . As a result, much of the infrastructure stayed intact. Tsunami warnings were lifted the following day after hundreds of thousands of people had evacuated to.

Comprehension Questions: Story #4

  1. What percentage of the world was issued a tsunami alert or advisory following the quake?
  2. What major event caused the tsunami scare?
  3. How did this month's quake compare to last month's quake in Haiti?

Discussion Question: Were you or any of your loved ones affected by the tsunami alert? Describe the feeling of uncertainty (or describe how you think this would feel).


ANSWER CHECK

Story #1: Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games Open Sombrely
Just hours before the 2010 Olympics officially kicked off in Vancouver, Canada, a Georgian luger missed a turn and flew off the track, hitting a pole at the Whistler Sliding Centre. The accident was broadcasted live around the world as 21-year old, Nodar Kumaritashvili, died on impact. Just a few hours later, his Georgian teammatesmarched into the Opening Ceremonies wearing black armbands to honour their fallen teammate. The organizing president of the Vancouver Games spoke sombrely to the other athletes about Nodar saying, �May you carry his Olympic dream on your shoulders, and carry his spirit in your hearts.� The luge competition continued as scheduled, though structural changes were made to the track.

Comprehension Answers: Story #1

  1. The Opening Ceremony was sombre at times because one of the athletes who was supposed to compete died tragically hours earlier.
  2. The Georgian team wore black armbands when they marched into the Opening Ceremonies.
  3. Organizers restructured the track before the luge competition began.
Story #2: Flash Floods Devastate Portuguese Island
Torrential rains caused flash floods and mudslides in Portugal's Atlantic island of Madeira, killing over 40 people and leaving the island in wreckage. Raging waters stormed down mountains and took out roads and bridges in a matter of hours. Many people in the island's capital grasped onto anything they could find to keep from drowning. Following the disaster, Portugal's government declared 3 days of national mourning to remember the victims. The island is a popular holiday destination, though no tourists have been reported missing.

Comprehension Answers: Story #2

  1. Madeira is a Portuguese Island in the Atlantic.
  2. Some people had to grasp onto whatever they could find to keep from drowning.
  3. The Portuguese government declared three days of national morning after the flooding.
Story #3: E-waste a Growing Threat for Developing Nations
A new UN report suggests that electronic waste (e-waste) will be the next major environmental hazard for developing countries. Old computers, televisions and cell phones often end up in countries such as Africa, China, and India. These have often been disposed of by rich nations whose consumers are buying faster or more stylish technology like smart phones. Even though some countries use special techniques to remove the precious materials from appliances and devices, they also use incinerators that are unsafe to human health. According to Achim Steiner of the UN, this e-challenge could become an "e-opportunity", creating new jobs as nations transition to a green economy.

Comprehension Answers: Story #3

  1. The UN report stated that future e-waste is going to be a much bigger problem in developing countries than it already is.
  2. Most electronic waste comes from developed countries where people are always buying the next new thing.
  3. This environmental challenge could allow developing countries to create many new jobs.
Story #4: Chilean Quake Trigger Pacific Wide Tsunami Alert
Tsunami alerts and advisories were issued to one quarter of the globe, following an 8.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Chile on February 27th. Over 50 nations including Hawaii, Japan and Australia braced for giant waves that threatened to reach their islands and coastlines. The death toll from the quake was estimated at about 300 people, and the Chilean government issued a "state of catastrophe". While the quake was much larger than the one that devastated Haiti last month, it was also much deeper. As a result, much of the modern infrastructure stayed intact. Tsunami warnings were lifted the following day after hundreds of thousands of people had evacuated to higher ground.

Comprehension Answers: Story #4

  1. 25% of the world was on tsunami alert.
  2. A massive earthquake in Ghile sparked the scare.
  3. This month's quake was larger and deeper than the one in Haiti. Much of the modern infrastructure was spared.

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