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

Story #1

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #1: Pipeline Explodes in San Francisco Neighbourhood
A natural gas pipeline exploded in a suburban San Francisco area on September 9th, 7 people and incinerating close to 40 homes. The explosion, which was heard throughout a residential neighbourhood near International airport, was originally suspected as an airplane crash. Many local residents reported hearing sounds of a jet engine failing. Others suspected the fire was due to an or a bomb. Investigators learned later that part of the gas line that exploded was classified as "likely to fail" and was scheduled to be replaced. also suggest that people smelled gas in the area in the days leading up to the failure. in San Bruno described the scene as a "moonscape". The explosion left a giant crater in the street where a large piece of the pipe landed.

Comprehension Questions: Story #1

  1. What caused the fire?
  2. What is located near the explosion?
  3. Why does the report mention the moon?

Discussion Question: Based on the information in this report, do you consider this an accident or a failure? What responsibility do average citizens have if they suspect a gas concern?

Story #2

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #2: Pastor Cancels Quran Burning
An anti-Muslim leader in Florida his plans to burn copies of the Quran at his church, saying God told him not to do it. Rev. Terry Jones and his 50 member church had planned to burn the Quran on September 11th against an Islamic Centre slated to be built near Ground Zero. The story was hyped by the media and resulted in international protests against and the US. At least two people were killed in Afghanistan during a protest against the Quran burning even after it was cancelled. Barack Obama and the US military urged the so-called pastor to call off the event, that the burning of the Quran could act as a recruiting tool for al Qaeda.

Comprehension Questions: Story #2

  1. What did the Florida man threaten to do?
  2. What caused Terry Jones to make this threat?
  3. What happened in Afghanistan as a result of this story hitting the news?

Discussion Question: How does a single man with a unique religious ideal cause such a world conflict? Is the media to blame?

Story #3

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #3: Cuba Announces Restructuring of its Economy
Half a million state workers will be laid off in Cuba over the next in an effort to improve the country's socialist economy. This represents about of the state workers. More jobs will be created in the private sector and self-employment will be encouraged. While some worry that their secure jobs will be lost, others are happy to have more employment freedom. The new system will allow many workers to set their own prices and potentially earn more money for their and wares. The state currently controls almost all aspects of Cuba's economy. Areas such as farming, policing, , and education will remain in state control.

Comprehension Questions: Story #3

  1. What major announcement was made in Cuba this month?
  2. What is the government's purpose in making this change?
  3. Why are some people in Cuba happy about this news?

Discussion Question: Do you think Cuba's economy will improve under the new system? Why or why not?

Story #4

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

Story #4: Star Wars to be Released in 3D
George Lucas has announced that the Star Wars saga will be re-released in 3D. A release date is not yet official, though the Star Wars suggests the first film will come out in 2012, with the others presumably following in chronological order. The recent success of 3D versions of Avatar and Toy Story 3 may have helped Lucasfilms move forward with the plan. Some suspect George Lucas was waiting for more 3D theatres to be built in the US and around the world before to the costly project . The growing 3D TV market could also have something to do with the decision. Visual effects supervisor, John Knoll, says Lucas's team will take the time to .

Comprehension Questions: Story #4

  1. What did George Lucas announce?
  2. When will the first new film be released?
  3. What has John Knoll said about the upcoming production?

Discussion Question: Some people love watching films in 3D. Others complain it hurts their eyes. Do you think 3D home viewing is the way of the future? Why or why not?


ANSWER CHECK

Story #1: Pipeline Explodes in San Francisco Neighbourhood
A natural gas pipeline exploded in a suburban San Francisco area on September 9th, killing 7 people and incinerating close to 40 homes. The explosion, which was heard throughout a residential neighbourhood near San Francisco's International airport, was originally suspected as an airplane crash. Many local residents reported hearing sounds of a jet engine failing. Others suspected the fire was due to an earthquake or a bomb. Investigators learned later that part of the gas line that exploded was classified as "likely to fail" and was scheduled to be replaced. Reports also suggest that people smelled gas in the area in the days leading up to the failure. The fire chief in San Bruno described the scene as a "moonscape". The explosion left a giant crater in the street where a large piece of the pipe landed.

Comprehension Answers: Story #1

  1. The fire was caused by a natural gas pipeline explosion.
  2. The San Francisco International airport is located near the explosion.
  3. After the disaster, the fire chief likened the scene to the moon. The pipe left a large crater in the ground.
Story #2: Pastor Cancels Quran Burning
An anti-Muslim leader in Florida cancelled his plans to burn copies of the Quran at his church, saying God told him not to do it. Rev. Terry Jones and his 50 member church had planned to burn the Quran on September 11th in protest against an Islamic Centre slated to be built near Ground Zero. The story was hyped by the media and resulted in international protests against Christians and the US. At least two people were killed in Afghanistan during a protest against the Quran burning even after it was cancelled. Barack Obama and the US military urged the so-called pastor to call off the event,fearing that the burning of the Quran could act as a recruiting tool for al Qaeda.

Comprehension Answers: Story #2

  1. The Florida man threatened to burn copies of the Quran at his church.
  2. Terry Jones was angered by a proposed Islamic Centre near Ground Zero.
  3. Protests against the Quran burning resulted in the death of two people in Afghanistan.
Story #3: Cuba Announces Restructuring of its Economy
Half a million state workers will be laid off in Cuba over the next six months in an effort to improve the country's socialist economy. This represents about 10 percent of the state workers. More jobs will be created in the private sector and self-employment will be encouraged. While some Cubans worry that their secure jobs will be lost, others are happy to have more employment freedom. The new system will allow many workers to set their own prices and potentially earn more money for their services and wares. The state currently controls almost all aspects of Cuba's economy. Areas such as farming, policing, construction, and education will remain in state control.

Comprehension Answers: Story #3

  1. The Cuban government announced that half a million state workers would be laid off in the next six months.
  2. The purpose of this change is to improve Cuba's economy.
  3. Some Cubans are happy because it means they can set their own prices for goods and services and have their own businesses. They might be able to make more money.
Story #4: Star Wars to be Released in 3D
George Lucas has announced that the world-famous Star Wars saga will be re-released in 3D. A release date is not yet official, though the Star Wars website suggests the first film will come out in 2012, with the others presumably following in chronological order. The recent success of 3D versions of Avatar and Toy Story 3 may have helped Lucasfilms move forward with the plan. Some suspect George Lucas was waiting for more 3D theatres to be built in the US and around the world before committing to the costly project ahead. The growing 3D TV market could also have something to do with the decision. Visual effects supervisor, John Knoll, says Lucas's team will take the time to get it right.

Comprehension Answers: Story #4

  1. George Lucas announced that the Star Wars films will be re-released in 3D.
  2. No official date has been announced for the first release. The first film will likely come out in 2012.
  3. John Knoll said that the team would take the time to get the 3D versions "right".

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