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photo Tara Benwell Listen to News with Tara Benwell - Instructions:
1. Preview the vocabulary and read the gapfill text.
2. Play the news report and try to fill in the blanks.
3. Answer the comprehension questions by writing full sentences.
4. Use the discussion question to write an essay or discuss the story with other students.
5. Click "show Answers" to see the full text.
6. Pretend to be a news anchor by reading each story out loud.

dateline: 09 August 2011

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US Credit Rating Downgraded

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

  • downgrade: to reduce the level
  • strip: to remove quickly
  • tier: a level or layer
  • debt ceiling: the highest amount of money a country is allowed to borrow
  • plunge: to drop suddenly

US Credit Rating Downgraded

Standard and Poor (S & P), one of the main credit-rating agencies in America, stripped the US of its AAA credit rating for the first time in . AAA is the top tier and stands for the “best-quality borrowers”. In the weeks leading up to the downgrade, the US government spent a month arguing about the country’s debt ceiling. The inability for the parties to work together on the financial issue, caused S & P to downgrade the country’s credit rating to AA+. the announcement, the US markets plunged and economists began talking about another recession. President Barack Obama tried to reassure that the economic situation in the US would improve, saying “ will rise and fall, but this is the United States of America.” Europe’s economy is also undergoing a financial crisis.

Comprehension Questions

  1. Which credit level is below AAA?
  2. Why did Barack Obama speak to his people?
  3. According to the report, which other part of the world is in a financial crisis?

Discussion Question: Does the government owe it to its people to be a good financial role model? Why or why not?

show Answers

Written by Tara Benwell for EnglishClub
Tara Benwell is a Canadian freelance writer and editor who specializes in materials and articles for the ELT industry.
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