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

Story #1

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #1: SpaceX Launches Rocket into Space
The Falcon 9, an rocket, was launched successfully into earth's orbit this June. It took nine minutes to achieve orbit after leaving Florida's Cape Canaveral Station. The rocket was built to deliver cargo, and possibly, to the space station after the space shuttle retires. NASA has already given Space Exploration (SpaceX) over 3.5 billion dollars in contracts. The business of launching vehicles into space is to be very competitive in the near future. SpaceX is backed heavily by the Obama administration. The Falcon 9 will attempt to carry its spacecraft into orbit on its second flight, scheduled later this year.

Comprehension Questions: Story #1

  1. What is the Falcon 9?
  2. Why does the report mention Barack Obama?
  3. What will the Falcon 9 attempt to do later this year?

Discussion Question: Do you agree with NASA's decision to retire the space shuttle program? Why or why not?

Story #2

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #2: 2010 World Cup Kicks off in South Africa
The opening ceremony of FIFA's 2010 World Cup took place in Johannesburg's Soccer City on June 11th. This is the first time in history that the competition has been hosted by an African nation. The matches are being played at ten separate venues in South Africa, five of which were built specifically for this competition. Fans around the world were saddened to hear that Nelson Mandela was not going to be attending the opening ceremony. Mandela's great-granddaughter was killed in a car crash on the way home from a concert where she was celebrating the kick-off of the World Cup. Brazil and Spain were considered favourites going into the competition.

Comprehension Questions: Story #2

  1. What is historic about the location of this year's World Cup?
  2. What sad event put a damper on the opening celebrations?
  3. Why does the post mention Spain and Brazil?

Discussion Question: Some of the players have complained that the loud Vuvuzela horns have made it difficult to concentrate and rest. Do you think the horns should be banned? Take EC's Facebook poll.

Story #3

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #3: Afghanistan Mineral Wealth Estimated at 1 Trillion
A task force reported this June that the mineral wealth in could be worth 1 trillion dollars or more. This untapped wealth stems from significant deposits of minerals such as , iron, ore, gold and lithium that are scattered throughout Afghanistan. With its mining infrastructure, the country faces a huge of exploiting these resources. The new understanding of this mineral rich country suggests that Afghans could be independent. International bidding from countries such as China, India, and Russia is expected to rise.

Comprehension Questions: Story #3

  1. What is estimated at 1 trillion dollars?
  2. Why will this news pose a challenge for Afghanistan?
  3. What could this news mean for Afghanistan's economic future?

Discussion Question: Do you think this news will intensify the Taliban's fight to regain control of Afghanistan?

Story #4

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #4: G20 Protests Lock Down City of Toronto
People around the world were shocked to see city of Toronto in a state of anarchy during the G20 Summit in the last week of June. Parts of the city were virtually locked down after demonstrators clashed with riot police. Major and services were forced to shut down over the weekend, including the city's downtown . Police cruisers were set on fire, buildings were vandalized, and riot police threatened to use tear gas. While thousands of peaceful had taken to the streets, police say it was a handful of black-clad anarchists causing the destruction. Close to 900 people were arrested, including and bystanders who refused to leave an area. This is the largest number of mass arrests in Canadian history.

Comprehension Questions: Story #4

  1. Where did the protests take place?
  2. What happened to the transportation system?
  3. What historic record was set?

Discussion Question: The price tag for security of this year's G8/G20 Summit was over 1 billion dollars. Do you think these international meetings are worth the cost?


ANSWER CHECK

Story #1: SpaceX Launches Rocket into Space
The Falcon 9, an 180-foot rocket, was launched successfully into earth's orbit this June. It took nine minutes to achieve orbit after leaving Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The rocket was built to deliver cargo, and possibly humans, to the space station after the space shuttle retires. NASA has already given Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) over 3.5 billion dollars in contracts. The business of launching vehicles into space is expected to be very competitive in the near future. SpaceX is backed heavily by the Obama administration. The Falcon 9 will attempt to carry its spacecraft "Dragon" into orbit on its second flight, scheduled later this year.

Comprehension Answers: Story #1

  1. The Falcon 9 is a rocket that will be used to transport cargo once the shuttles retire.
  2. The report mentions Barack Obama because the US President supports SpaceX.
  3. The Falcon 9 will attempt to carry its spacecraft "Dragon" into orbit later this year.
Story #2: 2010 World Cup Kicks off in South Africa
The opening ceremony of FIFA's 2010 World Cup took place in Johannesburg's Soccer City on June 11th. This is the first time in history that the competition has been hosted by an African nation. The matches are being played at ten separate venues in South Africa, five of which were built specifically for this competition. Fans around the world were saddened to hear that Nelson Mandela was not going to be attending the opening ceremony. Mandela's great-granddaughter was killed in a car crash on the way home from a concert where she was celebrating the kick-off of the World Cup. Brazil and Spain were considered favourites going into the competition.

Comprehension Answers: Story #2

  1. This is the first time the World Cup has been hosted in an African nation.
  2. Nelson Mandela's great-granddaughter was killed in a car crash after leaving a World Cup kickoff celebration.
  3. Spain and Brazil were considered favourites at the beginning of the competition.
Story #3: Afghanistan Mineral Wealth Estimated at 1 Trillion
A task force reported this June that the mineral wealth in Afghanistan could be worth 1 trillion dollars or more. This untapped wealth stems from significant deposits of minerals such as copper, iron, ore, gold and lithium that are scattered throughout Afghanistan. With its limited mining infrastructure, the country faces a huge challenge of exploiting these resources. The new understanding of this mineral rich country suggests that Afghans could be financially independent. International bidding from countries such as China, India, and Russia is expected to rise.

Comprehension Answers: Story #3

  1. Afghanistan's mineral wealth was recently estimated at 1 trillion dollars.
  2. This will pose a challenge for Afghanistan because this country doesn't have an infrastructure in place to mine these resources.
  3. This could mean that Afghanistan could have a financially independent economy in the future.
Story #4: G20 Protests Lock Down City of Toronto
People around the world were shocked to see Canada's city of Toronto in a state of anarchy during the G20 Summit in the last week of June. Parts of the city were virtually locked down after demonstrators clashed with riot police. Major businesses and services were forced to shut down over the weekend, including the city's downtown subway system. Police cruisers were set on fire, buildings were vandalized, and riot police threatened to use tear gas. While thousands of peaceful protestors had taken to the streets, police say it was a handful of black-clad anarchists causing the destruction. Close to 900 people were arrested, including journalists and bystanders who refused to leave an area. This is the largest number of mass arrests in Canadian history.

Comprehension Answers: Story #4

  1. The protests took place in Toronto, Canada.
  2. The downtown subway system was shut down during the protests.
  3. The G20 protests resulted in the largest number of mass arrests in Canadian history.

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