Monthly News Digest Online comes to you from EnglishClub.com 1 June 2010

Story #1

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #1: Oil Spill in US Waters now a Catastrophe
Last month's on a deep water oil drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico resulted in a massive oil spill. The BP spill has been upgraded to a "catastrophe". The spill is far greater than the historic Exxon Valdez spill of 1989. Experts say the spill could be as high as 70 000 barrels per day. Besides the surface oil slicks, researchers have found massive oil plumes in the of the ocean. BP has failed to contain the oil spill using typical methods such as skimming it from the surface or breaking it up with chemical dispersents. In late May BP began a new called "top kill". This attempt to clog the well with cement also failed.

Comprehension Questions: Story #1

  1. Where have researchers found oil?
  2. At the time of this report, what had BP failed to do?
  3. What is "top kill"?

Discussion Question: Should this catastrophe mark the end of deep sea oil drilling?

Story #2

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #2: Thai Army Disperses Red Shirts
On May 19th, after two months of anti-government protests, Thailand's dispersed the Red-Shirt camp in Bangkok. The pro-democracy group had been in a downtown shopping district in an effort to get Thailand's elite government to resign. An initial crackdown by the government on failed to disperse the protesters. The second, more organized effort by Thai troops on May 19th, resulted in riots, arsons and the surrendering of some of the Red-Shirt . At least 80 people were killed and hundreds injured in the weeks of unrest. Following the army assault, the Thai government imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew in Bangkok.

Comprehension Questions: Story #2

  1. Why was April 10th an important date?
  2. Where were the Red-Shirts camped out?
  3. What did the Thai government do after the Red-Shirt protest was broken up?

Discussion Question: How does this type of political unrest affect tourism in a country such as Thailand?

Story #3

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #3: South Korea Blames North Korea for Warship Sinking
An investigation of the March 26th sinking of a warship placed the on a North Korean torpedo. 46 sailors went down with the warship, but South Korea was careful not to point fingers until after forensic evidence was collected. The of the investigation prompted South Korea to freeze all trade with the North. North Korea has rejected the accusations and threatened to declare war. US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, visited and Beijing and urged the community to hold North Korea accountable.

Comprehension Questions: Story #3

  1. What happened on March 26th?
  2. What did South Korea NOT do immediately following the event in March?
  3. Why does the report mention Hilary Clinton?

Discussion Question: Since no peace treaty was signed following the Korean war in 1953, the North and South are still technically at war. Do you think North Korea will make another move?

Story #4

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #4: iPad Launched Internationally
People around the world on May 28th as Apple's iPad made its debut. The tablet computer was released in the US last month. Over one million iPads were sold in 28 days. The high demand in the US caused a delay in the international release date much to the disappointment of gadget in countries like Canada, Japan, and Australia. Many of flagship stores opened early on May 28th to let eager buyers into the store. In some cities, police were brought in to control the excited .

Comprehension Questions: Story #4

  1. What caused gadget lovers to stand in long line ups on May 28th?
  2. Why was the international release date delayed?
  3. What did some of the Apple stores do on the day of the release?

Discussion Question: Are tablet computers the way of the future? Will they eliminate the need for printed text such as books, magazines, and newspapers? Why or why not?


ANSWER CHECK

Story #1: Oil Spill in US Waters now a Catastrophe
Last month's explosion on a deep water oil drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico resulted in a massive oil spill. The BP spill has been upgraded to a "catastrophe". The spill is far greater than the historic Exxon Valdez spill of 1989. Experts say the spill flow could be as high as 70 000 barrels per day. Besides the surface oil slicks, researchers have found massive oil plumes in the deep waters of the ocean. BP has failed to contain the oil spill using typical methods such as skimming it from the surface or breaking it up with chemical dispersants. In late May BP began a new effort called "top kill". This attempt to clog the leaking well with cement also failed.

Comprehension Answers: Story #1

  1. Researchers have found oil slicks on the surface of the water and oil plumes in the deep water of the Gulf of Mexico.
  2. At the time of this report, BP had failed to contain the leak.
  3. "Top kill" refers to clogging up a leak with cement.
Story #2: Thai Army Disperses Red-Shirts
On May 19th, after two months of anti-government protests, Thailand's army dispersed the Red-Shirt camp in Bangkok. The pro-democracy group had been camped out in a downtown shopping district in an effort to get Thailand's elite government to resign. An initial crackdown by the government on April 10th failed to disperse the protesters. The second, more organized effort by Thai troops on May 19th, resulted in riots, arsons and surrendering of some of the Red-Shirt leaders. At least 80 people were killed and hundreds injured in the weeks of unrest. Following the army assault, the Thai government imposed a 10 day dusk-to-dawn curfew in Bangkok.

Comprehension Answers: Story #2

  1. April 10th was the date of the first major effort to disperse the Red-Shirts.
  2. The Red-Shirts were camped out in a busy shopping district in Bangkok.
  3. The Thai government imposed a curfew in Bangkok after the camp was broken up.
Story #3: South Korea Blames North Korea for Warship Sinking
An investigation of the March 26th sinking of a South Korean warship placed the blame on a North Korean torpedo. 46 sailors went down with the warship, but South Korea was careful not to point fingers until after forensic evidence was collected. The results of the investigation prompted South Korea to freeze all trade with the North. North Korea has rejected the accusations and threatened to declare war. US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, visited Seoul and Beijing and urged the international community to hold North Korea accountable.

Comprehension Answers: Story #3

  1. On March 26th a South Korean warship sunk.
  2. South Korea did not point fingers at anyone before the investigation was finished.
  3. Hilary Clinton requested that the world not let North Korea get away with this crime.
Story #4: iPad Launched Internationally
People lined up around the world on May 28th as Apple's iPad made its debut. The touch screen tablet computer was released in the US last month. Over one million iPads were sold in 28 days. The high demand in the US caused a delay in the international release date much to the disappointment of gadget lovers in countries like Canada, Japan, and Australia. Many of Apple's flagship stores opened early on May 28th to let eager buyers into the store. In some cities, police were brought in to control the excited crowds.

Comprehension Answers: Story #4

  1. Gadget lovers stood in long line ups around the world on May 28th to buy an iPad.
  2. The international release date was delayed because the device was in such high demand in the US.
  3. Some of the Apple stores opened early to let the crowds in.

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