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

Story #1

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #1: Octopus Predicts World Cup Wins
A so-called psychic octopus at Sea Life aquarium correctly predicted 8 wins in a row during the 2010 World Cup. Before each of Germany's seven matches, two boxes were placed in the octopus's tank. Each was labelled with a team flag and contained a mussel for the octopus to eat. The box Paul latched onto for his meal was considered his official football prediction. As well as correctly guessing all 7 of Germany's World Cup matches, Paul also correctly predicted that Spain would win in the finals against . Following the World Cup, the of the Spanish town of Carballino awarded the octopus honorary citizenship of his town.

Comprehension Questions: Story #1

  1. How did Paul make his predictions?
  2. What was inside the boxes in Paul's tank?
  3. Besides predicting Germany's games, what other match did Paul correctly predict?

Discussion Question:

Despite the fact that Paul may not even live another year, people have attempted to purchase the octopus for outrageous amounts of money. Do you think Paul is worth spending a fortune on? Why or why not?

Story #2

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #2: Facebook Reaches 500 Million Active Users
According to an announcement made in July, half a billion people are now using for their social networking needs. For those who find it to grasp the enormity, this means that one in people on Earth use a Facebook account. India and Brazil are two countries that do not have a large user population on Facebook, but CEO Mark Zuckerberg is confident this will change in the. The Facebook team's goal is to reach 1 billion users to match that of Google. The number of people who access Facebook on their mobile phones is expected to grow as more and more people purchase in order to stay to their social networks.

Comprehension Questions: Story #2

  1. What major milestone occurred on the Internet in July?
  2. Why does the report mention India and Brazil?
  3. What goal does Facebook's CEO have now?

Discussion Question: Along with the announcement Facebook announced a new site called Facebook stories. If you are on Facebook what's your Facebook story? (What do you use Facebook for? Has anything significant happened in your Facebook life?) If you're not on Facebook, why aren't you?

Story #3

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #3: Solar Powered Swiss Plane Flies Around the Clock
A solar powered airplane made this July as it flew around Switzerland for 26 hours with a pilot onboard. This was the first time a solar powered airplane had ever flown through the night. After spending 26 hours onboard the plane, the pilot, Andre Borschberg said he felt like he was still floating. After dark the plane ran on battery power that it had stored after flying in for 14 hours. The solar cells are on the plane's wings, which span 63 .

Comprehension Questions: Story #3

  1. Where did the first full-day solar flight occur?
  2. Who is Andre Borschberg?
  3. How did the plane manage to keep flying in the dark?

Discussion Question: The main goal of the Swiss team is to learn more about clean energy. How do you envision solar power being used in the future?

Story #4

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #4: French Woman Charged with Killing 8 Newborns
A French woman admitted to killing eight newborns, after a couple, gardening at the woman's old home, the remains of two tiny bodies. The bodies were sealed in plastic bags and buried in the backyard of a small village in Northern France. After admitting to the murders, Dominique Cottrez showed investigators 6 more babies that were buried in her garage. Due to her large body size, Cottrez was able to hide her from her husband and two daughters. The woman, who worked as a nurse's aid, told investigators that she had the babies herself and did not want any more children due to a complicated first pregnancy. She was uncomfortable asking a to help her find a suitable form of contraception. The babies were born between the years 1989 and 2006.

Comprehension Questions: Story #4

  1. Where were the final six bodies found?
  2. Why didn't the woman's family members know about the missing babies?
  3. Why does the report mention the years 1989-2006?

Discussion Question: Many people feel nervous discussing their private lives with a doctor. Do you think these murders could have been prevented if the woman was comfortable talking to a doctor? How can people become more at ease at the doctor's office?


ANSWER CHECK

Story #1: Octopus Predicts World Cup Wins
A so-called psychic octopus at Germany's Sea Life aquarium correctly predicted 8 wins in a row during the 2010 World Cup. Before each of Germany's seven matches, two boxes were placed in the octopus's tank. Each tank was labelled with a team flag and contained a mussel for the octopus to eat. The box Paul latched onto for his meal was considered his official football prediction. As well as correctly guessing all 7 of Germany's World Cup matches, Paul also correctly predicted that Spain would win in the finals against the Netherlands. Following the World Cup, the mayor of the Spanish town of Carballino awarded the world-famous octopus honorary citizenship of his town.

Comprehension Answers: Story #1

  1. Paul made his predictions by choosing a tank with a certain flag on it.
  2. A mussel was placed inside each box in Paul's tank.
  3. Besides predicting Germany's games, Paul correctly predicted the final between Spain and the Netherlands.
Story #2: Facebook Reaches 500 Million Users
According to an announcement made in July, half a billion people are now using Facebook for their social networking needs. For those who find it difficult to grasp the enormity, this means that one in 14 people on Earth use a Facebook account. India and Brazil are two countries that do not have a large user population on Facebook, but CEO Mark Zuckerberg is confident this will change in the near future. The Facebook team's goal is to reach 1 billion users to match that of Google. The number of people who access Facebook on their mobile phones is expected to grow as more and more people purchase smart phones in order to stay connected to their social networks

Comprehension Answers: Story #2

  1. Facebook reached 500 million active users.
  2. India and Brazil do not have a large population of Facebook users yet.
  3. Facebook's CEO wants to match the amount of users Google has.
Story #3: Solar Powered Swiss Plane Flies Around the Clock
A solar powered airplane made history this July as it flew around Switzerland for 26 hours straight with a pilot onboard. This was the first time a solar powered airplane had ever flown through the night. After spending 26 hours onboard the single-seater plane, the pilot, Andre Borschberg said he felt like he was still floating. After dark the plane ran on battery power that it had stored after flying in daylight for 14 hours. The solar cells are located on the plane's wings, which span 63 metres.

Comprehension Answers: Story #3

  1. The first full-day solar flight took place in Switzerland.
  2. Andre Borschberg is the pilot who was onboard the flight.
  3. To stay in the air during the night, the plane used the battery energy that had been stored in the solar cells.
Story #4: French Woman Charged with Killing 8 Newborns
A French woman admitted to killing eight newborns, after a couple, gardening at the woman's old home, discovered the remains of two tiny bodies. The bodies were sealed in plastic bags and buried in the backyard of a small village in Northern France. After admitting to the murders, Dominique Cottrez showed investigators 6 more babies that were buried in her garage. Due to her large body size, Cottrez was able to hide her pregnancies from her husband and two daughters. The woman, who worked as a nurse's aid, told investigators that she had delivered the babies herself and did not want any more children due to a complicated first pregnancy. She was uncomfortable asking a doctor to help her find a suitable form of contraception. The babies were born between the years 1989 and 2006.

Comprehension Answers: Story #4

  1. The final six bodies were found in the French woman's garage.
  2. The woman's family members didn't know about the missing babies because they hadn't noticed she was pregnant. She was able to conceal the pregnancies due to her body size.
  3. The report mentions the years 1989-2006 because this is the time frame in which the babies were born and killed.

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