This week, we have fifteen interesting up to date articles, some with audio and video accounts, to suit all level students, taken from different news and general websites. You will be able to discuss these topics with our teachers.
Pick one, read it – write down new vocabulary, then let your teacher know before the lesson what article you want to talk about. Check out the different topics:
Business , Economy & Law
Science & Technology
Culture & Leisure
Health & Lifestyle)
From: The Washington Post
On Sept. 12, Vladimir Putin quietly passed a landmark date: He had spent 6,602 days as the top leader of Russia.
Although not widely acknowledged, this figure meant that Putin had spent more time in office than Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, who ruled for 18 years and one month between 1964 and 1982 (6,601 days
It also means that Putin is now the longest-serving Russian leader since Joseph Stalin, who led the Soviet Union for almost three decades between 1924 and 1953 — 10,636 days in total.
Were you surprised to find out the length Putin had been in power?
To what do you contribute his success?
How does your country view Vladimir Putin?
Consecutive- adjective following continuously.
Landmark date – idiom an event marking an important stage of development or a turning point in history.
Malaise- noun a general feeling of discomfort, illness, or uneasiness whose exact cause is difficult to identify.
Methodology- noun a system of methods used in a particular area of study or activity
Nominated- verb propose or formally enter as a candidate for election or for an honor or award
Level: Intermediate and above.
On Wednesday, the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, will give his annual State of the Union address in Strasbourg.
He will have you believe that all is well in the EU Land of Milk and Honey.
But let us take a closer look at the real state of the EU
Do you agree that the state of Europe is dismal? Explain your answer.
What makes you proudest about being European?
Do you identify with your country, or with Europe and why?
Dismal- adjective depressing; dreary.
Human smugglers- noun the facilitation, transportation, attempted transportation or illegal entry of a person or persons across an international border.
Laudable- adjective of an action, idea, or goal) deserving praise and commendation.
Pillaging- verb rob a place using violence, especially in wartime, steal something using violence, especially in wartime.
Resettlement-noun the settlement of people in a different place
From: The Huffington Post AU.
Sixteen-year-old Mona* sits on the floor of her family’s one-room wooden hut, cradling her plump 3-month-old daughter. As light pours in through the cracks of a shuttered window, several of Mona’s six siblings lie sleeping on mats strewn around the room. They are exhausted from a night shift of harvesting gum at a nearby plantation in southeast Cambodia, a few hours north of the capital Phnom Penh.
At first glance, Mona looks like any other young mother in rural Cambodia, spending her day breastfeeding her baby and rocking her in a hammock. But the story of how Mona became a mother is different from that of most young mothers in the country.
What do you thinks motivates these young women to take such big risks and travel so far from home?
How can society help these women?
Incentivizing- provide someone with an incentive for doing something.
Prospective- adjective of a person expected or expecting to be something particular in the future.
Repatriated – verb send someone back to their own country.
Trafficked – verb deal or trade in something illegal.
From: The Local
Level: Low intermediate and above
The Struggle for Catalonia: Rebel Politics in Spain, by NYT correspondent Raphael Minder, is published just a month before Catalan leaders will push ahead with an October 1st referendum on independence that has been ruled illegal by Madrid.
The book has been described by historian Paul Preston as an “even-handed and compellingly readable work explaining the past and the possible future of a dangerous situation” and is making headlines in Spain for its exploration of an issue that threatens to throw Spain into constitutional crisis.
Why do you think does Catalonia what to become independent? What are the advantages and disadvantages of this for Catalonia and Spain?
Compellingly- adverb in a way that evokes interest, attention, or admiration in a powerfully irresistible way.
Rebel- verb rise in opposition or armed resistance to an established government or ruler.
Spontaneous- verb of a process or event occurring without apparent external cause
Trigger- verb cause an event or situation to happen or exist.
Business , Economy & Law
From: Harvard Business Review
Level: Intermediate and above
“When my company was young, we worked with two contractors who played key roles in client services. As we grew and defined our core values — singling out accountability as our top priority — it became clear that these contractors did not meet our newly defined standards. They were often difficult to catch on the phone, noncommittal about deadlines, and understandably had more of an individual, not team-based, approach to their work”
What do you think about personality tests for new employees?
How do you deal with employees who do not evolve with the company?
In what way has this article given you “food for thought?”
Aligned- verb come together in agreement or alliance.
Core values- noun are the fundamental beliefs of a person or organization.
Doubled down- Phrasal verb US, strengthen one’s commitment to a particular strategy or course of action, typically one that is potentially risky.
Holistic view- noun physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. It’s the concept that the human being is multi-dimensional
Inadvertently- adverb without intention; accidentally.
Overlapping- verb cover part of the same area of interest, responsibility, etc.
Taboo- adjective prohibited or restricted by social custom.
From: The Motley Fool
Shares of Skechers (NYSE:SKX) have been in decline since its last quarterly report, despite the company’s reporting rising sales. The stock of sports apparel companies Nike (NYSE:NKE) and Under Armour (NYSE:UA) (NYSE:UAA) are also in decline, but that seems more directly related to the fact that their sales are hitting the brakes. Meanwhile, Skechers reported a 16.9% increase in net sales for the second quarter. It looks like Skechers is getting unfairly lumped in with its competition.
Why do you think in a time of increasing fitness awareness the sales of sporting goods is slowing down?
Is this downward trend an indication of things to come across the retail sector?
Why is Skechers being “lumped together” with other sports shoe manufactures when their sales are stable?
Apparel- noun USA formal clothing.
Derived- verb obtain something from a specified source.
Hitting the brakes- idiom USA, slowing down
Lumped in – phrasal verb to put together in one mass or group
Performance-related- adjective used to describe money that someone earns that is directly related to their success at doing their job
From: The Guardian UK
Level: Intermediate and above
Social media may be putting the right to a fair trial at risk, according to a public consultation launched by the government’s chief legal adviser.
On Friday the attorney general, Jeremy Wright QC, published a call for evidence to assess the impact of social media on criminal cases and establish whether extra reporting restrictions are needed.
Do you feel that there should be reporting and social media restrictions during a trial and how can these be enforced?
Do you agree that many defendants that are treated to a trial by media do not get a fair trial?
How do the reporting laws work in your country?
Contempt – noun the offence of being disobedient to or discourteous towards a court of law and its officers
Defendants- noun an individual, company, or institution sued or accused in a court of law.
Impeded- verb delay or prevent (someone or something) by obstructing them; hinder.
Proceedings –noun legal, action taken in a court to settle a dispute.
Reporting restrictions- – noun legal UK, restrictions or rules imposed by a court on whether something or certain details of something can be published or broadcast by the media
Torrent – noun a sudden, violent, and copious outpouring of something, typically words or feelings
From: NBC NEWS
Level: Lower intermediate and above
Includes: Article & Video
When you grow a business from the ground up it can be so hard to let things go. It’s normal to want to be involved in every aspect of every deal, but at some point you will have to learn how to delegate in order to scale your business and improve operations efficiency.
These five tips will help you master the art of delegation.
How good are you at delegation?
How difficult is it to keep the balance between trusting staff to get on with something and seeing the task is done in a timely and correct manner?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of delegation?
Diligently – adverb in a way that shows care and conscientiousness in one’s work or duties.
Micromanaging- verb control every part, however small, of an enterprise or activity
Pivot- noun North American a player in a central position in a team sport. Be central to something.
Strategic- adjective relating to the identification of long-term or overall aims and interests and the means of achieving them.
Science & Technology
Includes: Article and Video.
Updating your abode with a smart thermostat is one of the easiest connected home upgrades you can make. Not only that, but a smart thermostat can also save you money in the long run. For less than $200, you can end up saving more than $100 on your energy bills each year.
Do you think the advantages outweigh the disadvantages of a smart thermostat or not? Give a reason for your answer.
What apps do you have on your phone and what do you use most?
Abode- noun a place of residence; a house or home.
Amiss- adjective not quite right; inappropriate or out of place.
Geofencing- noun the use of GPS or RFID technology to create a virtual geographic boundary, enabling software to trigger a response when a mobile device enters or leaves a particular area.
Potential-noun qualities or abilities that may be developed and lead to future success or usefulness.
Level: Low intermediate and above
Includes: video and article
As long as storms have devastated American coastlines, federal and local governments have tried to figure out how to hurricane-proof a city.
As we’ve seen after hurricanes in Florida and in Houston, increased urbanization and sea level rise have increased the risk of flooding, now involved in 90 percent of all natural disasters in the U.S.
How important is it for cities to protect themselves against hurricanes and the aftermath?
Have you or a member of your family ever lived in a danger zone for floods, hurricanes, earthquakes? How did you or they manage?
Infrastructure- noun the basic physical and organizational structures and facilities (e.g., buildings, roads, and power supplies) needed for the operation of a society or enterprise.
Opting- verb make a choice from a range of possibilities.
Sprawl – noun he expansion of an urban or industrial area into the adjoining countryside in a way perceived to be disorganized and unattractive.
Urbanization- noun the process of making an area more urban.
Culture & Leisure
Includes: Article and Videos
Farmers’ markets and gardens are bursting with tasty fresh herbs this time of the year, so it is a perfect time not only to enjoy them fresh but also to try preserving them for use later—especially the frost-tender ones, such as basil and sage, which will be gone with the first nip of frost. Preserving fresh organic herbs is a great way to add flavor to your food
Do you like using Fresh herbs? Also where do you normally get the herbs from?
What are your favorite herbs?
How do you store them?
Awesome- adjective informal extremely good; excellent.
Marinades-noun a sauce, typically made of oil, vinegar, spices, and herbs, in which meat, fish, or other food is soaked before cooking in order to flavor or soften it.
Preserving- verb treat or refrigerate food to prevent its decomposition or fermentation.
Snipping- verb cut something with scissors or shears, typically with small quick strokes.
From: Voice of America
Level: Low intermediate and above
Includes: Article plus Audio
Thailand’s government is offering a free class to Thai women who marry foreigners.
The class teaches about the possible difficulties of such marriages. It also teaches how to avoid becoming a victim of scams or human trafficking when moving overseas.
Thailand’s social development ministry said that some women believe marriage to a foreigner is a way to improve their economic situation.
According to this article some Thai women see marriage to a foreigner is a way to improve their economic situation, what do you feel about this statement?
How important are these classes to the women?
What kinds of culture shock could the women face wen marrying a foreigner?
Aspect – noun a part of something
Course – noun a series of classes about a particular subject in a school
Destination – noun. a place to which a person is going or something is being sent
Human trafficking – noun the action or practice of illegally transporting people from one country or area to another, typically for the purposes of forced labor or sexual exploitation
Practical – adjective appropriate or suited for actual use
Relevant – adjective relating to a subject in an appropriate way
Scam – noun a dishonest way to make money by deceiving people
Submissive – adjective willing to obey someone
From: Ted Talks
Includes: Video and transcript.
So, my mother’s a pediatrician, and when I was young, she’d tell the craziest stories that combined science with her overactive imagination. One of the stories she told was that if you eat a lot of salt, all of the blood rushes up your legs, through your body, and shoots out the top of your head, killing you instantly. This was my first experience with science fiction, and I loved it
Do you agree that it is important to have art for art’s sake?
The speaker says happiness is a privilege in this splintered world, do you agree or disagree and why?
What is your perception of African art , culture and life?
Devastation- noun fiction based on imagined future scientific or technological advances and major social or environmental changes, frequently portraying space or time travel and life on other planets
Developmental aid- financial aid given by governments and other agencies to support the economic, environmental, social, and political development of developing countries.
Frivolous- adjective not having any serious purpose or value.
Science fiction- noun fiction based on imagined future scientific or technological advances and major social or environmental changes, frequently portraying space or time travel and life on other planets
Health & Lifestyle
From: The Ladders.com
According to medical science, sitting hunched and twisted like a pretzel in a chair is killing us body and soul, hour by hour. In an analysis of 47 studies of sedentary behavior, researchers found that sitting significantly increased your chance of death by cardiovascular disease and of getting a chronic condition like diabetes. Sitting down all day even overwhelms the benefits of exercise, for those who find time despite their desk jobs.
How do you sit normally for work or for relaxation?
What do you think of the idea of a standing desk? Would or wouldn’t it work for you and why?
Devotees- noun a person who is very interested in and enthusiastic about someone or something.
Ergonomics- noun the study of people’s efficiency in their working environment.
Hunched- verb bend one’s body into a huddled position.
Slouching- verb stand, move, or sit in a lazy, drooping way.
From: BBC Six Minutes English
Level: Low Intermediate And Above
Includes: Article &Audio
In a competition for control between laughter and breathing and speaking, laughter always wins, says a neuroscientist. Neil and Tim discuss the dangers of laughter and teach you some related words.
According to the article how many times a day does the average adult laugh?
What are the advantages or disadvantages of laughter ?
What makes you laugh?
Choke-to stop breathing because something is blocking your throat
Diaphragm-the sheet of muscle separating your lungs from your stomach
Gasping-having difficulty breathing
Guffaw -a loud laugh that you can’t control
Laugh your head off-laugh very loudly for a long time.
That is all for this week, we hope you have enjoyed the articles selected for you. Please let us know what type articles you particularly liked or if you would like another type of articles included in our fortnightly list.