VOA Special English - UNSV英语学习频道VOA Special Englishhttp://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/http://www.unsv.com/images/unsv.gifVOA慢速英语即VOA Special English,又叫VOA特别英语,是快速提高听力、纠正发音、改善阅读理解,扩充英语知识的绝佳节目,还被新东方、疯狂英语等培训机构选作核心教材。http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/zh-CNhttp://www.unsv.com60版权所有©2003-2011 UNSV.COM英语学习频道,保留所有权利。Thu, 21 Sep 2017 03:26:27 UTC<![CDATA[Fast-moving Asian Phone Makers Gain on Apple]]>UNSV.COM英语学习频道如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:

Apple announced its new iPhones last week, but competitors’ mobile phones can do many of the same things for less money.

The new iPhone 8 and X have wireless charging, edge-to-edge glass screen and dual cameras.

But all of these features are already available in smart phones from China’s Huawei and Oppo, and Korea’s Samsung.

While Apple asks buyers to pay $1,000 for its high-end model, some Asian phone makers can offer similar features for less.

At one time, Chinese manufacturers copied features and designs from others to produce low-cost phones. But they have now added high-end features to their phones and they control nearly half the global mobile phone market.

MediaMarktSaturn is Europe’s biggest electronics seller. A spokesperson for the store told Reuters that, “Huawei is seen as a relevant competitor to Apple and Samsung (by) covering all major price points and placing big investments in marketing and sales.”

She also said that the Chinese companies Huawei, ZTE, Lenovo and TCL were among the top-10 best-selling smartphones in its stores.

Chinese manufacturers’ fast growth has been fueled by strong sales in China. But they now export 40 percent of their smartphones. That is almost double the number from just three years ago, according to the Hong Kong investment company CLSA.

Huawei is currently the world’s third largest phone maker behind Samsung and Apple. According to research company Canalys, the Chinese company is getting closer to second-place Apple and might overtake it later this year.

The Chinese firm even made fun of Apple’s new facial recognition feature with a Facebook video “RealAIphone.” Huawei plans to show its top-of-the-line Mate 10 phone on Oct. 16. The phone will have artificial intelligence features such as instant translation and image recognition and will cost less than $1,000.

Other Chinese companies are looking to enter the high-end smartphone market.

A man checks the Huawei Honor 5X during Mobile World Congress wireless show in Barcelona, Spain, last year.
A man checks the Huawei Honor 5X during Mobile World Congress wireless show in Barcelona, Spain, last year.

Xiaomi, for example, showed a full-screen phone this month with all-ceramic ‘unibody’ design and 12-megapixel front camera. The special edition Mi MIX 2 sells for $720.

Also, Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo are working to add ultrasound sensors under smartphone screens to improve the touch function.

Neil Shah is research director at the company Counterpoint. He said Chinese companies with a lot of sales are able to access many of the same parts for phones and offer many features. He said that has hurt Apple’s growth.

Still a gap

However, Apple still has a big lead over its Chinese competitors in the high-end market. And few experts think Apple fans will switch from the iPhone X to Huawei’s Mate 10.

The average selling price of smartphones from the top Chinese makers - Huawei, Oppo and Vivo - is just $248, or two-thirds less than the cheapest iPhone 8.

Apple has 63 percent of the market for phones priced higher than $600 compared to just 3 percent for Huawei, according to research from the Swiss bank UBS.

“The biggest challenge they (Chinese firms) face would be proving to consumers their products and brand are worth paying that much for,” said Xiaohan Tay, an expert at the research firm IDC.

I’m Mario Ritter.

Hai Do adapted this story for Learning English based on Reuters news report. Mario Ritter was the editor.

Write to us in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.

Words in This Story

edge-to-edge –adj. completely covering the front of the device

features –n. a quality or ability

high-end –adj. a costly line of products

relevant –adj. relating to something in a useful way

top-of-the-line –adj. the highest or most advanced product among those sold by a company

artificial intelligence –n. related to machines like computers that can copy intelligent human behavior

ceramic –n. made from clay

function –n. a special purpose or ability

challenge –n. something that is difficult to do

consumers –n. a person who buys good or services

brand –n. a set of products that have a name

http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/09/21/0677/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/09/21/0677/VOA Special EnglishThu, 21 Sep 2017 01:11:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Rescue Work Continues after Mexico City Earthquake]]>UNSV.COM英语学习频道如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:

The earthquake that struck near Mexico City Tuesday came exactly 32 years after an 8.0 magnitude quake hit the area.

The 1985 earthquake killed nearly 10,000 people.

Mexican officials say more than 200 people are confirmed dead following Tuesday’s quake. Many buildings were damaged, while others were destroyed.

Rescue workers searched the capital and other areas on Wednesday in hopes of finding survivors.

Mexican Interior Minister Miguel Osorio Chong says his country’s armed forces and police will continue working until they explore all possibilities of finding more people alive.

Civilians joined the search and rescue teams shortly after the quake. They used heavy machinery and, in some cases their hands, to clear away wreckage from homes, schools and other buildings.

Scientists say the earthquake had a magnitude of 7.1. The United States Geological Survey defines magnitude as a number that represents the relative size of a quake.

The quake’s epicenter was near the city of Puebla, 120 kilometers southeast of Mexico City.

People clear rubble after an earthquake hit Mexico City, Mexico, Sept 19, 2017.
People clear rubble after an earthquake hit Mexico City, Mexico, Sept 19, 2017.

Ken Hudnut is a science adviser with the U.S. Geological Survey in Pasadena, California. He told VOA that the land on which the buildings were set up could be a reason for the collapses.

'Some of the buildings are on old lake beds, and that can amplify the shaking and cause the shaking to last longer, and that can make for more damage.”

On Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump sent a message of support on Twitter. He wrote, “God bless the people of Mexico City. We are with you and will be there for you.”

On Wednesday, Israel announced plans to send 70 people to Mexico to help with rescue efforts. A military spokesman said the team will help examine buildings to identify their damage and safety levels.

The earthquake hit less than two weeks after another quake killed more than 90 people in southern Mexico. The U.S. Geological Survey said the two quakes appeared to be unrelated.

The Earth’s outermost surface is made up of large tectonic plates. As many as 20 tectonic plates cover the planet. They move slowly, sometimes sliding under one another. When that happens, earthquakes can take place.

Ken Hudnut says the two recent quakes in Mexico have similarities.

“So both of them occurred within the plate that's going down underneath the plate that is overriding up on top. And both of them had some extensional movement, which is unusual. The more typical thing is like the 1985 earthquake that did much more damage in Mexico City than either of these…”

I’m Ashley Thompson.

George Grow wrote this story for Learning English based on VOA, AP and Reuters news reports. Hai Do was the editor.

Words in This Story

laken. a large, inland body of standing water

amplify – v. to expand; to make larger or greater

tectonic plate – n. large pieces of the Earth’s outer shell

occur – v. to happen; to exist or appear

typicaladj. normal for someone or something

We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section.

http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/09/21/9216/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/09/21/9216/VOA Special EnglishThu, 21 Sep 2017 01:10:00 UTC
<![CDATA[‘Words With Friends' Adds 50,000 New Words]]>UNSV.COM英语学习频道如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:

About six years ago, actor Alec Baldwin made some news, but not for a role in a new movie or a television appearance.

He was removed from an American Airlines flight for playing ‘Words with Friends’ on his mobile phone.

Stories from 2011 say Baldwin may have continued playing the game even though he was told to put his phone away.

But now, if Baldwin is still a fan of the game, he has a lot more words to choose from.

The game developer recently announced it is adding 50,000 words from popular culture.

Some of the words include BFF, delish, hangry, bae and bestie.

BFF stands for “best friends forever.” Something that is “delish” tastes very good. Someone who is hungry and angry is “hangry.”

A man might call his girlfriend his “bae” and a person’s BFF might also be her “bestie.”

Gurpreet Singh supervises the game for Zynga, the company that created the game.

He said Zynga gets 5,000 suggestions per day for new words.

The words may not be familiar to English learners, but they are “slang,” or non-traditional words that are not found in dictionaries.

Zynga says the game has been installed on 200 million phones since 2009. According to the company, at any given time, about 57 million Words with Friends games are going on.

The new words will give players over 200,000 words to choose from.

Twerk” and “selfie” were added to the game in 2014. Earlier this year, “covfefe” was added. If you recall, that was a strange word that appeared in one of President Donald Trump’s tweets in late May.

A selfie is a photo someone takes of oneself using the camera built into a mobile phone. A twerk is a kind of dance move.

Singh says he knows a lot of these words are not correct English words. But he and his team pay attention to popular terms that might help people have more fun when they are playing.

Right now, one of his favorite words is “queso.” It is worth a lot of points when he is playing Words with Friends. Queso is the Spanish word for cheese. But in the United States, people understand this as melted cheese one might order at a Mexican restaurant or pour on top of tortilla chips.

I’m Dan Friedell.

Dan Friedell adapted this story for Learning English based on reporting by the Associated Press. Hai Do was the editor.

Will you enjoy playing Words with Friends now that there are more words to choose from? We want to know. Write to us in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.

Words in This Story

twerk – n. a dance move that requires shaking the part of the body that you sit on

tortilla chip – n. a thin, hard piece of food (called a chip) that is made from corn and usually salted

http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/09/21/3247/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/09/21/3247/VOA Special EnglishThu, 21 Sep 2017 01:07:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Trump Targets North Korea, Iran, Venezuela in UN Speech]]>UNSV.COM英语学习频道如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:

U.S. President Donald Trump warned world leaders of “rogue regimes” with powerful weapons in his first address before the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday.

The president had his strongest words for North Korea, which faces U.N. sanctions because of its continuing missile and nuclear programs. He said, if the U.S. is threatened, “We will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.”

He also called the North Korean leader, who often attends missile tests, “rocket man” saying he was on “a suicide mission.” North Korea did not immediately answer comments in the speech.

Trump thanked China and Russia for voting to sanction North Korea. But the president added, 'It is an outrage that some nations would not only trade with such a regime, but would arm, supply and financially support a country that imperils the world with nuclear conflict.'

Trump Warns North Korea please wait

Copy and paste the embed code below. The code changes based on your selection.

The code has been copied to your clipboard.

Video size

x pixels
Trump Warns North Korea


0:00:40 ▶ Direct link

Iran, Cuba and Venezuela

The nuclear deal with Iran was another one of the president’s main targets. Trump said the 2015 deal, which released billions of dollars to Iran in exchange for limits on its nuclear program, did not help the U.S.

He said it was one of the worse and most one-sided transactions in U.S. history. He called the deal an embarrassment and suggested that the U.S. would reconsider the international agreement.

“I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it,” he said.

Speaking of countries closer to the U.S., Trump said he would not end U.S. sanctions on Cuba.

Trump especially criticized the government in Venezuela saying its leader had pushed a “failed ideology” on its people. “We cannot stand by and watch,” Trump said. And he called on other Latin America countries to help deal with the crisis there.

Trump explains America first policy

The speech was an attempt to explain the “America First” policy that Trump has offered since he campaigned for the U.S. presidency.

A main theme of the speech was to call for all members of the United Nations to strengthen their own sovereignty.

He told the assembly that he would put America first, “Just as you, as the leaders of other countries, should put your citizens first.”

He told the leaders and diplomats from 193 member nations: “I will defend America’s interests above all else.”

But he also noted, “But in fulfilling our obligations to other nations we also realize it’s in everyone’s interest to seek a future where all nations can be sovereign, prosperous and secure.”

He identified conflict in Ukraine and disagreements in the South China Sea as threats to sovereignty.

The U.S. president opened his comments by praising gains in the American economy including record high stock market values and employment numbers.

Trump also praised the U.S. military. He said with a budget of almost $700 billion it would soon “be the strongest it has ever been.”

Trump noted, “But in fulfilling our obligations to other nations we also realize it’s in everyone’s interest to seek a future where all nations can be sovereign, prosperous and secure.”
Trump noted, “But in fulfilling our obligations to other nations we also realize it’s in everyone’s interest to seek a future where all nations can be sovereign, prosperous and secure.”

Immense promise and great peril

The president noted that world leaders face economic promise but also many dangers. “We meet at a time of both immense promise and great peril,” he said.

He praised U.S. gains made against the extremist group ISIS in Syria and other places saying the U.S. had made more progress in a few months than it had in many previous years.

Trump called for a political solution that honors the will of the Syrian people. The Syrian conflict has caused millions of refugees to flee violence in that country. Trump thanked Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon for hosting refugees.

But Trump added warnings about uncontrolled migration as being deeply unfair to both the sending and receiving country.

The U.S. president spoke for about 41 minutes with few breaks for clapping from the audience of world leaders and diplomats. Trump is from New York, a place he called his “hometown.”

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres opened the General Assembly meeting. In his comments, he also warned of the danger of North Korea’s weapons. Guterres said world crises need answers that are developed cooperatively.

“We are a world in pieces,” Guterres said. “We need to be a world at peace.”

Mario Ritter wrote this story for VOA Learning English with some materials from Reuters. Hai Do was the editor.

Words in This Story

regime –n. a government, a ruling group

sanction –n. measure put in place to cause a country to obey international law, usually by limiting or banning trade

imperil –v. to put in danger

transaction –n. an business exchange or deal

obligations –n. things that are required to be done by law, custom or agreement

sovereign –adj. having independent power to govern

prosperous –adj. to have success

immense –adj. to a great degree, very large

We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments section, and visit our Facebook page.

http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/09/20/7638/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/09/20/7638/VOA Special EnglishWed, 20 Sep 2017 02:09:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Despite Sanctions, South Korea Plans to Send Aid to North]]>Jill Robbins如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:

South Korean President Moon Jae-in seems to have moved closer to the United States’ position on North Korea.

Moon appears to be more supportive of the U.S. policy to pressure the North Korean government into giving up its nuclear program. Yet his government still plans to send $8 million in humanitarian aid to the North.

Baik Tae-hyun is with the South Korean Unification Ministry. On Monday, he said the political situation would not stop South Korea from sending aid for children, pregnant women and some social groups.

Moon Jae-in is a former human rights lawyer. At the start of his presidency in May 2017, he tried to balance economic actions against North Korea with aid to that country. His hope was to lessen conflict between the two Koreas over time.

On sanctions

However, North Korea carried out its sixth nuclear test earlier this month. Since then, the Moon administration has given signs it would more fully support U.S. President Donald Trump’s “maximum pressure” strategy toward the North. The policy combines economic sanctions and the threat of military action to try to force North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons.

President Moon has expressed support for the latest United Nations or UN sanctions against North Korea. U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said those measures cut “90 percent of trade and 30 percent of oil” imports to North Korea. Moon also tried to get Russian President Vladimir Putin to support a total oil embargo on North Korea. But neither Russia nor China were willing to support such a measure.

After North Korea fired a ballistic missile over Japan last Friday, Moon said negotiation with Pyongyang is impossible if things continue this way.

On Monday, Moon said his government wants to give North Korea “powerful punishment' to make it clear that the North has “no other choice but to give up its nuclear weapons and missiles.”

Humanitarian aid

President Moon is now prioritizing support for the U.S. strategy toward North Korea. But experts say he still wants to find a long-term peaceful solution to the nuclear crisis, which is also a goal for the Trump administration.

“It is not either-or, but both countries need to achieve both goals,” said Bong Young-shik, a North Korean expert with the Yonsei University Institute for North Korean Studies in Seoul.

The Unification Ministry defended its humanitarian aid plan as “separate from sanctions and pressure” and talked of the need to help North Koreans who already live in poverty.

South Korea plans to donate $4.5 million to help the World Food Program provide food to North Korean hospitals. And, it will give $3.5 million to the United Nations Children’s Fund for medicine and nutrition to help children and pregnant women.

These donations to UN agencies would restart South Korean humanitarian aid to the North. The aid was suspended in 2016 after North Korea's fourth nuclear test. The North Korean government rejected earlier offers of assistance and cooperation from Seoul.

The Moon administration noted that the U.S. and Russia provided millions of dollars in the last year for aid to North Korea through the same U.N. agencies.

But Yoshihide Suga, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, said last week that giving aid to North Korea could weaken international efforts to pressure the North.

Moon’s critics say the aid will lessen the effect of the sanctions and help to stabilize the Kim government as it continues to develop nuclear weapons.

Ahn Chan-il is an expert with the World Institute for North Korean Studies in Seoul. He fled to South Korea from the North almost 40 years ago.

Ahn said, “South Korea's decision to send humanitarian aid to North Korea is nothing different from sending medication for casualties to an enemy country.'

South Korean opposition parties also criticized the timing of the aid announcement last week, just after international sanctions began.

There are also concerns that President Trump will again be critical of President Moon’s aid plan. Trump recently called Moon's aid approach unworkable “appeasement.”

I'm Jill Robbins. And I'm Alice Bryant.

Brian Padden wrote this story for VOA News. Alice Bryant adapted it for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

Words in This Story

sanction – n. an action that is taken or an order that is given to force a country to obey international laws, often by limiting or stopping trade with that country or not allowing it economic aid

embargo – n. a government order that limits trade in some way

ballistic missile – n. a weapon that is shot through the sky over a great distance and then falls to the ground and explodes

prioritize – v. to organize things so that the most important thing is done or dealt with first

stabilize – v. to become stable or to make something secure

casualty – n. a person who is hurt or killed during an accident or war

appeasement – n. the act of making someone pleased or less angry by giving or saying something desired

http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/09/20/4589/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/09/20/4589/VOA Special EnglishWed, 20 Sep 2017 01:51:00 UTC
<![CDATA[SpaceX Releases Blooper Video of Rocket Failures]]>UNSV.COM英语学习频道如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:

The private American company SpaceX has been called a pioneer in the space industry.

SpaceX was the idea of businessman Elon Musk. He wanted to reduce the cost of space travel by reusing rockets over and over again.

At the time, this was a completely new idea. For years, booster rockets that lifted spacecraft into the skies returned to Earth and were discarded at sea.

At first, many scientists and people in the aerospace industry did not take Elon Musk and SpaceX seriously. There were many rocket failures in the company’s early days of testing.

But many people became believers after SpaceX successfully recovered its rockets, turning Musk’s dream into reality.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off on a supply mission to the International Space Station from historic launch pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, Feb. 19, 2017.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off on a supply mission to the International Space Station from historic launch pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, Feb. 19, 2017.

In recent years, SpaceX has increased the number of rockets it launches. These have included flights transporting supplies to the International Space Station, as well as many satellite launches.

To date, SpaceX has successfully landed 16 first-stage booster rockets to be reused in future rocket launches. The most recent landing took place earlier this month in Florida. Some rockets touched down on land, while others landed on a floating platform in the sea.

But before all the successes, there were also some big failures.

SpaceX recently put together a collection of some of those failures in the form of a blooper video. Musk announced the video on Twitter: “How NOT to land an orbital rocket.”

In another recent post, he wrote “we messed up a lot before it finally worked.” He also promised that viewers would see “some epic explosion” video.

The two-minute video is set to John Philip Sousa’s famous march “The Liberty Bell.” It shows rockets exploding at sea and over land, with short explanations and dates. The opening explosion, from 2013, is timed to the music.

Towards the end, the video shows SpaceX’s first successful booster landing at Cape Canaveral Air Force station in 2015. The final shot is of the booster that touched down on an ocean platform in 2016.

I’m Bryan Lynn.

Bryan Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English. His story was based on reports from the Associated Press and SpaceX. George Grow was the editor.

We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments section, and visit our Facebook page.

Words in This Story

pioneer – n. person who is one of the first to do something

booster n. part of a rocket that provides force for the launch and the first part of the flight

discard – v. throw something away after use

platform – n. raised structure with a flat surface

blooper – n. mistake, sometimes funny, made in public

mess up – v. make a mistake or do something wrong

epic – adj. very large or impressive

http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/09/20/8317/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/09/20/8317/VOA Special EnglishWed, 20 Sep 2017 01:45:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Blasphemy Is a Life-or-Death Issue in Pakistan]]>UNSV.COM英语学习频道如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:

Blasphemy is a sensitive subject in Pakistan, where strong religious feelings have led in the past to violence.

Blasphemy laws are meant to guard against anything seen as a direct insult to God, Islam or religious leaders. For people accused of violating such laws, the judgment is often a life-or-death matter. Under Pakistan’s legal system, a judge can propose either life in jail or death to anyone found guilty of blasphemy.

The issue is back in the news after a Punjab court last week condemned to death Nadeem James, who is Christian. The police said they had gathered evidence from someone who said James sent him a blasphemous poem through the software program WhatsApp.

A Pakistani government lawyer confirmed a claim by James's defense lawyer that James never sent any blasphemous material to anyone.

'The accused said ... he never sent any blasphemous message through his cellphone,' prosecution lawyer Rana Naveed Anjum told VOA. 'But once something has been alleged against you, and there is enough evidence on record corroborating that assertion, then it is hard to deny or overlook such material.'

A fair trial is difficult

Pakistani students of Islamic seminaries take part in a rally in support of blasphemy laws, in Islamabad, Pakistan, March 8, 2017. Hundreds of students rallied in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, urging government to remove blasphemous content from socia
Pakistani students of Islamic seminaries take part in a rally in support of blasphemy laws, in Islamabad, Pakistan, March 8, 2017. Hundreds of students rallied in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, urging government to remove blasphemous content from socia

A Pakistani human rights activist, Mehdi Hassan, said it is difficult to get a fair trial in cases involving religious beliefs.

'In Pakistan, religious might is very influential,' Hassan told VOA, 'and that thinking has an impact on police and other departments in such cases.'

Nadeem James's lawyer, Anjum Wakeel, has said the defendant was 'framed' by his so-called friend, 'who was annoyed by [James's] affair with a Muslim girl.'

Prosecutor Anjum agreed that James told investigators he had been set up.

James and members of his family had been receiving threats, some of them from local religious leaders. Because of the sensitive nature of the case, the trial was held in secret, and in a prison.

'Blasphemy' can mask personal disputes

Blasphemy is one of the most divisive laws in Pakistan. Rights groups say accusations of blasphemy are often abused, and used to settle personal disputes.

Activist Mehdi Hassan said the country's political parties should press Pakistanis to end the misuse of these laws.

'To address this problem as a long-term solution, political parties should play a role, because democracy gives a level playing field to everyone,' Hassan told VOA.

Hassan remembered Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the well-respected lawyer and political leader who helped create modern-day Pakistan. He said, 'We have to remember what Mr. Jinnah said, ‘Religious beliefs are the personal matter of an individual.’”

Jinnah served as Pakistan’s first governor-general after the end of British colonial rule in 1947.

A history of violence

Past blasphemy cases have fueled public anger that resulted in mob violence and killings.

Mashal Khal was a journalism student at Abdul Wali Khan University in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. In April of this year, he was beaten and shot dead by other students. They became angry over reports that he had placed blasphemous comments online.

FILE - Members of a Pakistani civil society take part a demonstration against the killing of Mohammad Mashal Khan, a student at the Abdul Wali Khan University in the northwestern city of Mardan, in Karachi, Pakistan, April 22, 2017. A mob in the northwest
FILE - Members of a Pakistani civil society take part a demonstration against the killing of Mohammad Mashal Khan, a student at the Abdul Wali Khan University in the northwestern city of Mardan, in Karachi, Pakistan, April 22, 2017. A mob in the northwest

In 2014, an angry mob in Punjab beat a Christian woman and her husband to death over blasphemy accusations. In 2011, Punjab Governor Salman Taseer was killed by his bodyguard after the governor proposed reforms for the blasphemy laws.

Even with criticism, Pakistan's government has been calling for strict enforcement of blasphemy laws. In April, the government used newspaper advertising and text messages to warn millions of Pakistanis not to post, share or upload 'blasphemous' material online. The government also asked anyone finding such material to report it to the police.

The group Human Rights Watch reports that 10 Muslims and five non-Muslims were arrested in Pakistan last year on blasphemy charges. In addition, at least 19 people found guilty of blasphemy were sentenced to death and are being held in prison.

I’m Phil Dierking.

Madeeha Anwar reported this story for VOANews.com. Phil Dierking adapted the report for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

Do you think there should be a separation between religion and state laws? We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.

Words in This Story

allege - v. o state without definite proof that someone has done something wrong or illegal​

assert - v. to state (something) in a strong and definite way​

blasphemy - n. something said or done that is disrespectful to God or to something holy​

corroborate - v. to support or help prove a statement, theory, etc. by providing information or evidence​

controversial - adj. relating to or causing much discussion, disagreement, or argument​

frame - v. to make an innocent person appear to be guilty of a crime​

http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/09/20/4005/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/09/20/4005/VOA Special EnglishWed, 20 Sep 2017 01:26:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Experts Criticize Russian Disinformation]]>UNSV.COM英语学习频道如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:

An independent group says it has documented Russian interference in the elections or political activities of at least 27 countries since 2004.

The group, the non-profit German Marshall Fund, studies public policy around the world.

It said that Russia has been involved in disinformation campaigns on Facebook, Twitter and other social media, in addition to attacks on computers.

The German Marshall Fund reported these claims at a hearing of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also called the Helsinki Commission. The meeting took place last week in Washington, DC.

The Helsinki Commission met to discuss what it called the “scourge” of Russian disinformation being spread both at home and overseas.

Corey Gardner, a member of the United States Senate, spoke at the hearing. He said, “Through its active measures campaign that includes aggressive interference in the Western elections, Russia aims to sell fear, discord, and paralysis” that harms democratic institutions and weakens critical Western alliances.

US election interference

Other experts agreed with Gardner during the meeting, which included few, if any, defenders of Russia. This was a sign of the increasingly aggressive relationship between the two countries.

Molly McKew works with the communications advisory service Fianna Strategies. She spoke with VOA about reports that Russia targeted U.S. voters on social media during the 2016 election campaign.

“I think even the Kremlin is surprised at how easy it is to use social media as an amplification tool for the kind of narrative that they do,” she said.

McKew said opinion studies show that most Americans do not believe disinformation could work on them. But she says the Russian government uses advertising and basic psychology to get people to vote for a given candidate or to stay home on election-day.

She noted that nowadays, many people get personalized news feeds on social media. So people can be targeted individually with what she calls ads or lies.

RT, Sputnik broadcasts

U.S. officials have often directed criticism of Russian disinformation at the broadcasts of the Russian government-supported RT television and Sputnik news agency. Both have denied they are spreading propaganda.

Several news agencies reported last week that the Federal Bureau of Investigation recently questioned a former White House reporter for Sputnik. It did so as part of an investigation into whether the news agency is acting as an undeclared propaganda arm of the Russian government.

Sputnik reacted by releasing the following statement: “We are happy to answer any questions the [Department of Justice] or the FBI might have. Sputnik is a news organization dedicated to accurate news reporting. Our journalists have won multiple awards throughout the world. Any assertion that Sputnik is anything but a credible news outlet is false.”

However, the head of the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors or BBG John Lansing, also spoke at the Helsinki Commission hearing. BBG supervises Voice of America and several other government-financed broadcasters.

Lansing agreed with others on the severity of the Russian threat. He also said the U.S. must work against Russian disinformation with fair and balanced news and information.

Lansing said he has a seen a worldwide “explosion of propaganda and lies.” He added that his agency works hard to get factual information to Russian speakers around the world.

Germany, France elections

Melissa Hopper is with the non-profit organization Human Rights First. She said Germany appears set to defend itself from Russian attempts to interfere in its election later this month. She said the German government acted early, following the U.S. election last November. The country has created a government-wide program to answer Russian efforts to make use of social media.

Hopper also said France was successful in preventing Russian interference in its elections in April and May. The French media agreed not to report on information that came from cyberattacks.

But Hopper warned Russia has a lot of tools it can use. Its worldwide media program has a budget of more than $300 million a year. She said the country’s internet-based media uses this to “weaponize” false narratives about minority populations.

I’m Dorothy Gundy.

Joshua Fatzick and Cindy Caine reported this for VOA News. Pete Musto adapted it for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

We want to hear from you. What do you think about governments becoming involved in the elections of other countries? Write to us in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.

Words in This Story

scourgen. someone or something that causes a great amount of trouble or suffering

discordn. lack of agreement between people or ideas

institution(s) – n. an established organization

amplification - n. something that is done to make something else stronger

narrativen. a story that is told or written

psychologyn. the science or study of the mind and behavior

dedicatedadj. having very strong support for or loyalty to a person, group, cause

accurateadj. having very strong support for or loyalty to a person, group, cause

assertionn. a statement made in a strong and definite way

credibleadj. able to be believed

http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/09/20/4470/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/09/20/4470/VOA Special EnglishWed, 20 Sep 2017 01:23:00 UTC
<![CDATA[While Stock Values Rise, American Farmers Struggle]]>UNSV.COM英语学习频道如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:

Leading measures of U.S. stocks have been setting records. Employment reports are making Americans feel good about the economy.

Yet many farmers in the United States are struggling.

Fertilizer and seed costs are rising at the same time demand and prices for crops are low. And the farmers’ economic problems are affecting others.

The Farm Progress Show is one of the largest events for farmers in the world. It is a place where manufacturers and suppliers can demonstrate their new products and equipment. Farmers go to the show to learn how they can do their work more efficiently.

This year, the show was held in Decatur, Illinois.

Farmer Jeff Fisher went there, but all he could do was look.

The Illinois farmer told VOA he does not have enough money to buy the things he would like to have on his farm. Fisher has not been able to buy new equipment since he last made a profit -- five years ago.

“We’re losing money where the cost of production of corn is higher than the price of corn on the Chicago Board of Trade and our local price.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports median net farm income in 2016 was the lowest since 2009. The department predicts there will be a small increase in earnings this year.

The lack of profit has hurt more than just farmers.

Tamara Nelsen is the Senior Director of Commodities for the Illinois Farm Bureau.

“The Equipment Manufacturers Association released some pretty dismal numbers for farm equipment sales, and what that means to Caterpillar and Deere, that’s troublesome.”

The Association of Equipment Manufacturers reported a 14 percent decrease in farm equipment exports for the first nine months of 2016. Sales dropped 44 percent from 2015 levels in Asia and 28 percent in South America.

Tamara Nelsen says a drop in equipment sales affects manufacturers that depend on farmers buying new equipment.

“If a farmer cannot afford to buy this, then those 25 workers that work to make it and the steelworkers who produce the steel, and all of the people involved in the parts, they are not going to have jobs either -- and so farmers need to have good markets just like manufacturers need to have good markets.”

Mark Bremer is a farmer from southern Illinois.

Bremer grows corn and soybeans on his farm and raises livestock. Like Fisher, he is using old equipment.

“We would love to update, we’d love to purchase new technology and stuff, but that technology comes with a price -- they didn't develop [it] for free.”

Bremer is not sure when he will have enough money to buy new equipment. And he is worried about the effect this year of a lack of rainfall will have on his crops.

“We’re not guaranteed the rain, we’re not guaranteed the price and we’re not guaranteed the yield either so it’s a continual challenge of making it.”

There is also no guarantee that next year will be better. But farmer Jeff Fisher still has hope.

“We’re in the bottom of that roller coaster, it feels like, ride right now -- I hope it doesn’t get worse.”

In a few weeks, he will begin harvesting his crops.

I’m Caty Weaver.

VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reported this story from Decatur, Illinois. Christopher Jones-Cruise adapted his report for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section, or visit our Facebook page.


Words in This Story

profit margin – n. the difference between the cost of something and the price at which it is sold

Chicago Board of Trade – n. an exchange or marketplace where agreements on agricultural products are bought and sold

median net – adj. of or related to the middle value

dismal adj. very bad or poor

livestock – n. cattle or other farm animals

stuff – n. materials, supplies or equipment

yield – n. something produced; a product

roller coaster – adj. of or related to something with numerous ups and downs

http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/09/20/7471/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/09/20/7471/VOA Special EnglishWed, 20 Sep 2017 01:22:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Students with Learning Disabilities Can Learn New Languages]]>UNSV.COM英语学习频道如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:

Laura Grey is proficient in five languages: English, French, Spanish, Italian and German. She is also learning Russian, Mandarin Chinese and Dutch. She is doing this although she has a learning disability.

A learning disability is a condition that makes learning difficult.

Grey has dyslexia, a learning disability that makes reading, writing and spelling difficult.

Laura Grey, graduate student University of Michigan. (Credit: Laura Grey)
Laura Grey, graduate student University of Michigan. (Credit: Laura Grey)

“I was an early reader so nobody thought that I was dyslexic for a long time,” Grey said. “They had just thought that I had terrible handwriting and was a bad speller. Not living up to my academic potential.”

The National Center for Education Statistics says that 13.8 percent of students learning English in the United States have a disability. The statistics include both physical and learning disabilities.

What is a learning disability?

People with learning disabilities can have trouble reading, writing, spelling or understanding texts. They may have a hard time processing sounds or calculating numbers. Disabilities can be mild or severe.

Priscillia Shen of DAS Academy--Credit: Dyslexia Assoication of Singapore.
Priscillia Shen of DAS Academy--Credit: Dyslexia Assoication of Singapore.

Priscillia Shen is the Assistant Head of DAS Academy. The Academy is part of the Dyslexia Association of Singapore.

She said, “Every dyslexic learner is different.”

Shen said, students with mild dyslexia may do well in primary school, but may face problems in higher levels of education.

Shen believes that lessons need to fit the needs of individual students.

Multisensory teaching can help

Brenda Bernaldez is a specialist for the Office of English Language Programs in Mexico. She has taught English to students of all ages.

Bernaldez said a multisensory approach to learning English could help students. She explained that this method includes using visual, auditory and kinesthetic tools. Kinesthetic tools are activities in which students move, play or act.

This approach can involve teaching vocabulary words with pictures or using movable tiles to show how words are formed.

Strategies: reading and using words is important

Lía Kamhi-Stein is a professor at California State University in Los Angeles. She is an English language teacher who works with students struggling to read.

Lia Kamhi-Stein is a professor and coordinator at California State University, Los Angeles. (Credit: Lia Kamhi-Stein)
Lia Kamhi-Stein is a professor and coordinator at California State University, Los Angeles. (Credit: Lia Kamhi-Stein)

She said students with mild learning disabilities need to “develop the love for reading” in order to read better.

Kamhi-Stein said, the students should choose what they want to read whether it is comics or books about animals.

She also said that reading with someone else can help students hear how words sound.

In addition, she said students should learn text structures. For example, some texts have problem-solution structures where the problem is at the beginning and the solution is at the end. Students who know these structures can find information faster because they know where to look.

Kamhi-Stein also said that each lesson’s vocabulary needs to be from readings in the lesson and the vocabulary needs to be repeated.

“If what you are going to do is expose the kid to a vocabulary word one time, then that vocabulary word is not going to stick,” she said.

Strategies: designing lessons for learners with disabilities

Although Laura Grey speaks many languages, her grades would not have suggested this ability. She said writing and spelling—which she struggles with—usually affect students’ grades the most.

Grey said that language learning also involves speaking and listening which affect grades less.

Priscillia Shen said, DAS Academy designs lessons for students’ learning needs. The Academy might start with only listening and speaking.

Brenda Bernaldez encouraged students with learning disabilities to discover what learning methods work for them. She said students should then ask teachers to use those methods in class.

Sara Kangas instructor at Lehigh University (Credit: Sara Kangas).
Sara Kangas instructor at Lehigh University (Credit: Sara Kangas).

​Sara Kangas is an assistant professor at Lehigh University in the state of Pennsylvania. She has researched English language learners with learning disabilities.

She said, many schools only place students with learning disabilities into Special Education classes and not English language classes.

Kangas said she hopes people who work in Special Education and English language teaching can collaborate to help these students.

Strategies: learning apps are good tools

Not all schools around the world provide special education however.

Brenda Bernaldez said, “If you are, as a student, trapped in a situation where you cannot ask for anything, I would say try technology to help you deal with it.”

For students struggling to read and write, Bernaldez suggested using voice recorders to take notes. She said there are apps like Evernote that let students record voice notes and organize them.

Lía Kamhi-Stein said apps like Quizlet are useful because students can learn vocabulary by reading and hearing words and looking at pictures.

Laura Grey said she likes Duolingo because the lessons let users take as long as they need. She said, “If you’re willing to keep going and keep doing it, you’re going to get there.”

Dyslexia in other languages

Learning disabilities are not language specific. That means, if someone with a learning disability has difficulties in one language, they are likely to have the same difficulties in another.

Laura Grey said, in any language, she is a terrible speller.

Priscillia Shen has researched dyslexia in Chinese language learners in Singapore. She said, Chinese language learners with dyslexia have similar difficulties to English language learners with dyslexia. While some students learning English may write ‘d’ instead of ‘b’, some students learning Chinese may reverse Chinese characters.

Chinese language learners with dyslexia may mix up stroke patterns, add or forget strokes. Some students may confuse words with the same sounds but different meanings.

Shen said color-coding Chinese characters may help.

Many Chinese characters have semantic and phonetic parts. Semantic parts tell the reader what the word may mean, while phonetic parts tell the reader how to pronounce it.

Shen said writing semantic parts in one color and phonetic parts in another color may help.

Diagnosing disabilities

Brenda Bernaldez has taught English to people of all ages (Credit: Brenda Bernaldez).
Brenda Bernaldez has taught English to people of all ages (Credit: Brenda Bernaldez).

Brenda Bernaldez said wealthier people are more likely to be diagnosed with learning disabilities, while poorer people are less likely to be diagnosed.

She said, in Latin America, many people do not know what a learning disability is and do not know how to help students with learning disabilities.

“I think sometimes it’s even a relief for the father and mother or the family to be like ‘Oh, he’s not slow,’ he actually has something we can deal with,” Bernaldez said.

Laura Grey said that she was not afraid of the judgments of others when she decided to get diagnosed.

Before her diagnosis she was frustrated because her undergraduate grades were not good. Getting diagnosed gave her an official reason why she was having difficulties. And with it, she is attending graduate school.

She gives this advice to other language learners: “You have to do it every day. And if you do it every day, it’s definitely not so hard. But if you don’t do it every day, it’s almost impossible.”

I’m Mario Ritter. And I’m Olivia Liu.

Olivia Liu wrote this story for Learning English. Mario Ritter was the editor.

Words in This Story

proficientadj. a certain level of skill

potential –n. the ability of something to become real to come into being

statistics –n. numbers that provide information answering questions like how many, how often, to what degree?

auditory –adj. related to hearing

tiles –n. a flat piece of material

apps –n. computer applications found on phones, tablets and computers

reverse –v. to change to the opposite state or condition

stroke –n. one part of a written or painted character or painting

semantic –adj. related to meaning

phonetic –adj. related to sound

frustrated –adj. the result of not being able to gain or complete something

We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section.

http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/09/20/2380/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/09/20/2380/VOA Special EnglishWed, 20 Sep 2017 01:17:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Workers on Seasonal US Visas Tell of Abuses]]>Bruce Alpert如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:

United States officials say the country needs more foreign workers to keep some American businesses from struggling.

The Department of Homeland Security has announced plans to make 15,000 additional H-2B visas available. It says businesses can use the visas to offer employment to temporary, non-agricultural foreign workers before the end of September.

The decision comes as Congress is considering ways to fix the immigration system. Many lawmakers say they want to reform the system, while guaranteeing jobs for U.S. citizens.

Yet many groups argue that current federal rules fail to protect foreign visa holders from discrimination and other abuses. The Center for Migrant Rights or CDM is one of them. It notes the rules do not protect the visa holders from job misrepresentation, payments to employment agencies and even cheating by an employer.

American businesses use the H-2B visa when offering seasonal employment to non-immigrant foreign workers. But the work must not be agricultural. And, businesses must show evidence that there are not enough American workers willing and able to perform these services.

Four women who came to the United States on H-2B visas were part of a group discussion last week in Washington, D.C. The CDM organized the event to raise awareness about a system it says often treats human beings like property.

Adarelo Hernandez is a former H-2B worker from Hidalgo, Mexico. At the discussion, she said, 'In the workplace, there were about 80 of us, women, and we had a hard time.'

Hernandez said she looked for a job for two years before finally receiving an H-2B visa to work at a chocolate packing factory in Louisiana.

Inequality in the workplace

Men who worked at the factory earned higher wages by carrying and handling boxes. Women, however, had to pack chocolates on assembly lines. Hernandez said the women were not given time away for sickness.

'We weren't able to make complaints, because if we did make complaints, we were threatened by the manager,' she said. 'We were told we didn't have a right to file complaints, because we didn't have rights here in the United States.'

But, after four seasons as an H-2B visa worker, Hernandez and about 70 other workers fought for better work conditions. She said that although conditions improved, the company decided not to give her or her co-workers jobs again.

The statement of Hernandez and 34 other worker stories is part of a report about gender inequality in U.S. labor migration programs. CDM and the University of Pennsylvania Transnational Legal Clinic worked together on the research.

One suggestion in the report is that all temporary labor migration programs be required to follow the same rules and protections. The goal is to stop abusive employers and recruiters from avoiding legal punishment for worker abuse.

The Economic Policy Institute says about 1.4 million people are recruited to work in the U.S. each year through temporary work visas. These include:

· H-1B for specialty jobs

· H-2B

· J-1, the exchange visitor program

· and TN for Canadians and Mexicans in specialized jobs under the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA

These visas may be different, but immigration and labor organizations report that recruited foreign workers face common abuses.

In 2015, the Department of Labor and Department of Homeland Security took action against abuse within the H-2B system. Its hope was to prevent the abuse of workers and ensure that U.S. workers knew about available jobs.

Rosa's story

'Rosa' is a doctor who specializes in treating animals. She asked that her real name not be made public for fear of punishment.

She was unable to join the CDM event because the U.S. government rejected her request for a tourist visa. But she provided a statement that was read during the event.

'Although the U.S. government had no problem offering me a TN work visa at the employer's request, it won't allow me to visit the country as a tourist,' Rosa's statement said. 'Anyway, that's not going to stop me from sharing my story.'

Rosa is a former TN visa worker. She received permission for an animal scientist position in Wisconsin. She was excited about the chance to work at a place where she would use skills she gained as a graduate from a top Mexican university.

Rosa says her employer was dishonest. They promised her specific wages and then failed to pay them, her statement said. They were also abusive.

'The supervisors would yell at us constantly and tell us that our visa was only good for obeying orders,' she said. 'I cleaned animal troughs, unloaded them from trucks. As the only woman, they would also give me jobs they considered 'women's work,' cleaning the bathroom or the kitchen.'

Center for Migrant Rights Executive Director Rachel Micah-Jones, holding the microphone, says there is a need to ensure workers have basic protections, including the right to understand a contract before entering into agreement with a U.S. company. (A. Ba
Center for Migrant Rights Executive Director Rachel Micah-Jones, holding the microphone, says there is a need to ensure workers have basic protections, including the right to understand a contract before entering into agreement with a U.S. company. (A. Ba

Protecting American workers

Rachel Micah-Jones is the head of CDM. She said foreign workers need protections, including the right to understand a written agreement before signing one with a U.S. company.

Immigration conservatives agree about the need to protect visa workers, but they also express concern about the needs of American workers.

Jessica Vaughan is director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies. She said she agrees these visa programs can be good. But, she says, there is a 'big problem' with employers giving jobs to workers they can pay less and who may replace American and legal immigrant workers.

Vaughan told VOA the solution is not necessarily to end the programs, but to change them and for government agencies to do a better job of enforcing laws.

I'm Bruce Alpert. And I'm Alice Bryant.

Aline Barros reported this story for VOA News. Alice Bryant adapted it for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

Words in This Story

awareness - n. the act of knowing that a situation, condition or problem exists

packingadj. of or related to putting something into boxes or containers

assembly line – n. a series of workers and machines in a factory by which a series of the same items is progressively put together

complaint – n. a formal charge saying that someone has done something wrong

gender – n. the state of being male or female

recruiter – n. someone who finds suitable people to join or work at a company or organization

yell – v. to say something very loudly because you are angry, surprised or trying to get someone's attention

trough – n. a long, shallow container from which cows, pigs, horses and other animals eat or drink

http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/09/19/5883/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/09/19/5883/VOA Special EnglishTue, 19 Sep 2017 06:18:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Protests Continue After 80 Arrests in St. Louis]]>UNSV.COM英语学习频道如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:

A racially mixed crowd of demonstrators marched quietly Monday morning in the American city of Saint Louis, Missouri.

The demonstrators were protesting a court decision to drop charges against a white former police officer in the shooting death of a black man.

The march followed three days of peaceful protests and three nights of violence in St. Louis.

The unrest began when a judge said he found Jason Stockley not guilty in the 2011 death of Anthony Lamar Smith. The former officer had been charged with killing Smith after a car chase.

Prosecutors accused Stockley of placing a gun on the body. They also said video recorded from his car during the chase captured the officer saying that he was planning to kill Smith.

The judge ruled that the lawyers had failed to prove the shooting was not a justified use of force in self-defense.

Protests started peacefully on Friday, with hundreds of people gathering in the streets of St. Louis. They held signs and shouted the words, “No justice, no peace.” Some made their way to police headquarters, calling for police resignations.

On Sunday, more than 1,000 people had gathered at police headquarters and then marched without trouble through the center of the city. Protesters also marched through two shopping centers in a wealthy area of St. Louis County.

By sunset, most protesters had gone home. Those who remained grew increasingly angry as they returned to downtown St. Louis.

Along the way, they broke windows and damaged other property. Police accused some demonstrators of firing an unknown substance on officers. Police said they seized weapons and arrested more than 80 people after demonstrators ignored orders to leave the area.

Police chief Larry O’Toole told reporters early Monday that some people attacked officers and threw stones at them.

“We’re in control,” O’Toole said. “”This is our city, and we’re going to protect it.”

Racial tension in the St. Louis area is not new. In August 2014, two weeks of protests began in Ferguson, Missouri, after a white police officer shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old black man.

That November, the decision not to charge the police officer fueled another week of protests. And a third protest was held in 2015 on the anniversary of Brown’s death.

I’m Caty Weaver.

This story is based on reports from the Associated Press and VOANews.com. George Grow adapted the information for Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.

We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section.

Words in This Story

prosecutorn. the government lawyers that argue against the accused

http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/09/19/1495/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/09/19/1495/VOA Special EnglishTue, 19 Sep 2017 06:16:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Dealing With Back-to-School Stress: Part 2]]>UNSV.COM英语学习频道如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:

From VOA Learning English, this is the Health & Lifestyle report.

It is back-to-school time in the United States. Back-to-school stress is different for different ages. Younger children may feel scared to leave their families. Making new friends and dealing with bullying can also cause stress for students. Older students may stress about their appearances, grades and getting into college.

School events and programs can help reduce stress

Many schools have events and programs that can help to cut down on student stress. Some offer open houses. At these events, parents can meet the teachers and see where their children are learning.

At the start of a school year, many schools invite students and their families to orientations. These events give everyone a chance to become more familiar with the environment. Families can practice their school commute. Students can find out where their classrooms are located.

The American Psychological Association says parents can better help their children if they meet teachers and classmates and know the daily routine and school environment.

For younger children, seeing their parents in their classroom can help make it seem more familiar. And even older students can benefit from events and activities that make the school seem like a friendly place.

Making connections in the classroom

Many schools have mentoring programs. In these programs, older students help younger ones understand the rules and culture of the school.

Communicating with students is also good advice for teachers.

Mary Anne Aidala began teaching in the New York school system in 1962. She retired 39 years later, in 2001. Ms. Aidala suggests that teachers share details about themselves.

These personal conversations can help to create meaningful connections in the classroom. They can also reduce nervousness and stress among the students. Ms. Aidala adds that teachers should also invite children to talk about their families and describe what they did over the summer.

“Well, the teacher has to be very open. The teacher has to tell them something also about herself, so they feel a connection. And then you can ask them if they want to share some of the things that they did in July and August with their families or friends, or camp experiences, activities that they were in and places that they might have visited.”

The American Psychological Association also reminds parents to talk to their children. Ask them what they liked about their past school experiences. And then find ways to have similar experiences in the new school year.

The APA adds that, sometimes, stress of the school year is too much for you and your child to handle on your own. If that happens, find a mental health professional to talk to.

Don’t schedule to many activities for your children

Carrie Anne Tocci is an educational consultant who has worked with families to help their children to succeed in school.

Ms. Tocci advises parents to:

  • not over-schedule your child with extracurricular activities
  • use technology to remind you of events and to keep schedules organized
  • and to set clear goals

“Well, starting the new school year, we want to be mindful about not overloading our schedule. So, only the extracurricular activities that are mandatory. I also recommend using technology when it’s helpful, you might want to use the reminders app on your phone and your child’s phone, maybe Google Calendar, sync your phone with Google Calendar … and to have specific goals and to visualize those goals with your child.”

Ms. Tocci also suggests that if someone in the family has a learning style close to that of the student, that person could help with homework. This relationship may help cut down on stress.

Take a break!

Everyone needs a break from work. Family meals and outings can help everyone relax. A family game night or walk in a park together can give parents and children a chance to have fun as a family.

Education adviser Carrie Anne Tocci also reminds parents to let their children take a break while doing homework. She says if a student has hours of homework to complete, taking several 10-minute breaks can reduce stress.

Ms. Tocci adds that taking breaks while studying can help a student remember, or retain, what they have learned.

“It's really, really important to take breaks. If you don’t take breaks, we’re more likely to create more stress. And research shows you’re more likely to retain information that way.”

The teenagers who responded to the APA survey listed the ways they like to unwind or relax. The top most common ways are:

  • listening to music (67%)
  • playing video games (46%)
  • going online (43%)
  • spending time with family or friends (43%)
  • exercising or walking (37%)

And that’s the Health & Lifestyle report.

I’m Anna Matteo.

If you are a student, teacher or parent, how do you reduce your stress during back-to-school time? Let us know in the comments sections.

Anna Matteo wrote this piece with reports and surveys from the American Psychological Association and other websites. Kelly Jean Kelly was the editor.


Now, test your understanding with this short quiz.

Quiz - Dealing with Back-to-School Stress (Part 2)

Quiz - Dealing with Back-to-School Stress (Part 2)


Words in This Story

open house n. an event in which an organization (such as a school or company) invites the public to visit in order to see the things that happen there

orientation n. the process of giving new and returning students (and sometimes their families) training and information about the school environment, rules, process and expectations

mentor n. someone who teaches or gives help and advice to a less experienced and often younger person

extracurricularadj. extra activities that are not part of the regular schedule of school classes

mandatory adj. required by a law or rule

specificadj. precise or exact

visualize v. form a mental picture; imagine

retain – v. to keep something in your memory especially for a long period of time

http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/09/19/8827/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/09/19/8827/VOA Special EnglishTue, 19 Sep 2017 04:37:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Disease Continues to Threaten American Bats]]>UNSV.COM英语学习频道如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:

Most people do not have a high opinion of bats.

Bats often appear in movies and literature as terrifying creatures to be avoided.

The animals have even been linked in popular culture to vampires, seeking to attack and drink the blood of human victims.

In reality, bats are usually not a threat to people. Like other wild animals, some bats can carry the dangerous virus rabies. But bats can do good things for people and the environment.

For example, bats eat a lot of different insects that can harm our environment. They can also pollinate plants and spread seeds.

But a serious disease is currently threatening the bat population in many parts of the United States. The disease is a fungus called white-nose syndrome. It has killed more than 6 million bats across North America since 2007.

Bats catch the fungus through their skin while resting on the walls of mountain caves. Biologist Lindsay Rohrbaugh says the disease spreads quickly and can lead to strange behavior in bats.

“Bats are arousing more often than they are supposed to be during hibernation. And when they do that, they are unable to find food, and they unfortunately die.”

In this Thursday May 8, 2014 photo, bats hang from the ceiling of the Aeolus cave in Dorset, Vt. (AP Photo/Wilson Ring)
In this Thursday May 8, 2014 photo, bats hang from the ceiling of the Aeolus cave in Dorset, Vt. (AP Photo/Wilson Ring)

In Washington D.C., researchers are studying how white-nose syndrome is affecting the area’s nine species of bats. Some scientists are trapping bats on an island in the middle of the Anacostia River to test for the disease. The group is receiving federal money to help carry out their studies.

Marco Carvello is with the D.C. government’s Department of Energy and Environment. He says scientists are concerned that the disease is continuing to greatly reduce the bat population.

“They typically have one pup a year when they reproduce. So, that’s another reason that white-nose has been so detrimental. They don't have a lot of babies.”

The bat deaths are affecting the quality of human life in many ways, according to Lindsay Rohrbaugh.

“Without bats, we are seeing an increase of mosquitoes and other pests that are decimating food sources for us. And I think that’s only going to get worse over time if we don’t find some way to protect the species that we have left.”

In this undated image from video, a bat suspected of having white-nose syndrome clings to a cave wall in Mammoth Cave National Park in Mammoth Cave, Ky. (AP Photo/Alex Sanz)
In this undated image from video, a bat suspected of having white-nose syndrome clings to a cave wall in Mammoth Cave National Park in Mammoth Cave, Ky. (AP Photo/Alex Sanz)

One theory is that some bats are no longer returning to caves to avoid getting sick. This means more of them are now making their way into cities, where contact with humans is more likely.

Experts advise people to keep away from bats in case they are infected with rabies. Instead, they say animal control officers should be called to come and safely remove the animals.

I’m Bryan Lynn.

Veronica Balderas Iglesias and Erika Celeste reported on this story for VOA News. Bryan Lynn adapted their report for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments section, and visit our Facebook page.

Words in This Story

vampire n. dead person who leaves the grave at night to bite and suck the blood of living people

pollinate – v. to carry pollen from a male part of a flower to the female part of another flower

fungus – n. type of plant that gets its food from other living or decaying things

hibernate v. to spend the winter sleeping or resting

cave n. large hole naturally formed in the side of a mountain or under the ground

rouse v. to wake up from sleep

pup n. a young dog

detrimental n. causing damage or injury

pest – animal or insect that causes damage to plants or food

decimate v. to destroy large numbers of things

http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/09/18/8157/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/09/18/8157/VOA Special EnglishMon, 18 Sep 2017 12:42:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Indians Hope More Can Be Done to Clean Up the Ganges River]]>John Russell如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:

Darshana Kapoor walked near the riverbank after swimming in the Ganges River in Haridwar town. It is one of the most important places for the Hindu religious group in India.

But, the ritual bath was not a good experience for Kapoor.

'My faith [strong belief] brought me here, but when I saw garbage floating in the river, I felt so bad. I had to scrub myself,' she said.

Kapoor is not alone in her opinion. The Central Pollution Board has said that the water of the Ganges River at Haridwar is not fit for bathing.

The river's condition disappoints thousands of people who come to the town. They were hoping to see results from a $3-billion cleanup project launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The Ganges River starts in the Himalayan Mountains, but those cold, clean waters become polluted as they travel through the plains of north India. Garbage, untreated sewage, and industrial waste are the main causes of the damage.

It is a big concern because the river provides water for 400 million people.

For over 30 years, the government has been trying to clean up the river.

After becoming prime minister in 2014, Modi admitted the cleanup failure and promised to succeed where earlier governments had not. But three years after his promise, environmental activists say that the river is still dying.

The National Green Tribunal is India's main environmental court. In July, it criticized the government, saying 'the status of the river Ganga has not improved in terms of quality and it continues to be a serious environmental issue.'

The court banned dumping waste within 500 meters of the river. It also said that no development should be permitted within 100 meters of the river as it flows between Haridwar and the town of Unnao. They are almost 500 kilometers apart.

However, environmental activists point out that court orders do not always have an effect.

M.C. Mehta is an environmentalist.

“The basic problem in this country and this case also is compliance,” said Mehta. “No monitoring mechanism is there, so it is very difficult to say how much directions have been complied with.”

The main challenge is the slow pace of setting up treatment centers. About three-quarters of the sewage generated in the towns and cities in the northern plains flows untreated into the Ganges.

Ganesh Singh owns a shop along the riverbank in Haridwar. He said there have been efforts to educate the people about not dumping waste into the river.

“Many polythene bags, bottles, garbage used to be thrown into the river earlier. It is better now,” he said. He was happy the river helps bring in more tourists.

However, just a few meters down from his shop, piles of garbage dumped along the riverbank were getting slowly washed into the water with the rain.

Mehta worries that leaders do not care enough about the issue.

“I am not talking about this leadership – it is for the last 32 years the same thing is going on,” he said. “It should not be just lip service that we are the sons and daughters of mother Ganga, without doing something.”

This month, Modi gave responsibility for the Ganges cleanup campaign to a top cabinet minister, Nitin Gadkari. Gadkari is known for completing tasks.

Devotees and environmentalists are hoping that will happen.

I'm John Russell.

And I'm Jill Robbins.

Anjana Pasricha reported on this story for VOA News. John Russell adapted it for Learning English. Mario Ritter was the editor.

We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section.

Words in This Story

ritual – adj. done as part of a ceremony or ritual

bath – n. the act of washing the body usually by sitting or lying in a container filled with water

scrub – v. to rub (something) hard with a rough object or substance and often with soap in order to clean it

disappoint – v. to make (someone) unhappy by not being as good as expected or by not doing something that was hoped for or expected

status –n. the current state of someone or something — usually singular

compliance – n. the act or process of doing what you have been asked or ordered to do : the act or process of complying

monitoring – n. the act of watching, observing, listening to, or checking (something) for a special purpose over a period of time

lip service –idiom support for someone or something that is expressed by someone in words but that is not shown in that person's actions

devotee – n. a person who has very strong loyalty to a particular religion or religious figure

http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/09/18/2506/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/09/18/2506/VOA Special EnglishMon, 18 Sep 2017 06:40:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Discovery May Help Pregnant Women Carry Babies to Full Term]]>UNSV.COM英语学习频道如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:

For the first time, researchers have identified six genes that control the length of a pregnancy. And they say the genes may show whether or not a baby is born early.

Preterm birth -- when a baby is born too early -- is a large cause of disability and death among the very young.

Fifteen million babies worldwide are born too soon every year. Their lungs may be too small an d undeveloped. They struggle to breathe. Many of them die. For those who survive, problems from being born too early can affect them all their lives.

Preterm birth is the leading cause of death among children under the age of five years worldwide.

A pregnancy normally lasts about 40 weeks. An infant is considered full term if the baby is born after 37 weeks in the mother’s womb. One study found that a small number of babies born at just 22 weeks gestation have survived with medical treatment.

FILE: A premature baby at Children's Hospital in Philadelphia, PA. (Credit Children's Hospital of Philadelphia)
FILE: A premature baby at Children's Hospital in Philadelphia, PA. (Credit Children's Hospital of Philadelphia)

But even late preterm babies are more likely to die or experience problems, even if they are the size and weight of some full-term infants. Late preterm babies are ones born between 34 and 36 weeks of gestation.

Now, a group of researchers may have found a way to understand the causes of this complex disorder.

The researchers looked at the genetic structure in 50,000 pregnant women. It was the largest study yet of DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid. The study found six genes that seemed to control how long a baby would stay in the mother’s womb.

Dr. Louis Muglia is the co-director of the Perinatal Institute at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Ohio. He helped organize the study, and explains what the researchers found.

'For the first time, we have the clues that are going to lead us to rational ways of understanding a woman's risk for preterm birth.'

Dr. Muglia says scientists have known for a long time that preterm birth involves a combination of genetic and environmental causes.

One of the newly identified genes is involved in how the body uses the mineral selenium. Selenium is found in soil, seafood and meat. It is also sold in some stores, but not currently included in vitamin supplements women usually take while pregnant.

Selenium supplements are low-cost. If the results of the study are confirmed, this could save millions of lives.

Supplements such as folic acid have been shown to greatly reduce birth defects. Folic acid, a B vitamin, is added to food in many countries to help prevent health problems.

Another finding is that the cells lining a woman’s uterus have a larger-than-expected influence on the length of pregnancy.

FILE: Baby Emilia's foot measured 3.1 centimetres in the birth. The baby was born in Germany and said to be the smallest ever born in the world who survived a premature birth.
FILE: Baby Emilia's foot measured 3.1 centimetres in the birth. The baby was born in Germany and said to be the smallest ever born in the world who survived a premature birth.

This study showed that the genes thought to be responsible for the timing of the birth were from the mother.

“For the first time, we have an idea of what tissue in the mom is the one that's likely driving the one for preterm birth.”

The March of Dimes provided money to help pay for the research. Stacey Stewart works with the non-profit group.

'We think this is an important breakthrough in finding solutions to end premature birth, which is the leading cause of death for children between the ages of zero and five and the leading cause of disabilities for babies.'

The study does not provide any immediate solution for stopping preterm birth. But the discoveries may lead to new ways to prevent this disorder.

A final note: the researchers only tested women of European ancestry. They compared their findings to information from three different studies in Finland, Denmark and Norway. The studies pointed to the same six genes. The next step is to expand the research to include women from other races and ethnic groups.

I’m Anne Ball.

Carol Pearson reported this story for VOA News. Anne Ball adapted her report for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section and visit us on our Facebook page.


Now, test your understanding with this short quiz.

Quiz - Discovery May Help Mothers Carry Babies to Full Term

Quiz - Discovery May Help Mothers Carry Babies to Full Term

Words in This Story

gestation – n. the time when a person or animal is developing inside its mother before it is born

womb – n. a woman’s uterus where a baby is formed

DNA – n. deoxyribonucleic acid -- a substance that carries genetic information in the cells of plants and animals

defect – n. a problem or fault that makes someone or something not perfect

http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/09/18/4071/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/09/18/4071/VOA Special EnglishMon, 18 Sep 2017 06:36:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Asian Americans Are a Fast-Growing, Diverse Group]]>Jill Robbins如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:

The Asian American population is growing faster than any other major ethnic or racial group.

From 2010 to 2016, 42 percent of the 8.1 million people who came to the United States from a foreign country were from Asia. Thirty-eight percent came from Latin America, 8.6 percent from Europe, and 8 percent from Africa.

This information comes from a new U.S. Census Bureau report.

Asian Americans lead in income and education

For 2016, the U.S. Census Bureau said Asian Americans had the highest median annual income of all ethnic and racial groups. The median income for Asians was $81,431, about the same as 2015.

That compared to a median income of $59,039 for all Americans.

Pew said the U.S. Asian population is also better educated.

About half of Asians 25 and older have a college degree. That compares to 30 percent among all Americans over age 25, Pew said.

Along with education, the Pew study also noted a high level of English language skill among Asians.

Seven of 10 Asians in the United States, ages 5 and up, speak English proficiently, the study said. U.S.-born Asian Americans are more likely to speak English well than foreign-born Asians.

Stephanie Wong is chapter and membership associate with OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates.

She said the information from the Census Bureau is somewhat misleading because it puts Asian Americans from many different backgrounds into one group.

“The Asian American population is very diverse,” Wong said. She suspects some Asian Americans do not receive public or private assistance because of the mistaken belief all Asian Americans are doing well economically.

To point out the diverse economic backgrounds of Asian Americans, the Pew Research Center looked at income levels for people from different Asian countries.

In 2015, it said that Indian American households had a median income of $100,000, the highest among Asian Americans. For Filipino-Americans, the median household income was $80,000.

But the Pew report said eight of the 19 Asian groups it examined had higher poverty rates than the U.S. average. They included the Hmong, Bhutanese and Burmese.

Twenty-one million and growing

The Asian American population now stands just short of 21 million people, the Census Bureau reported. That represents just over 6 percent of the American population.

In a recent report, the Pew Research Center said Asian Americans likely will become the largest immigrant group in the United States.

In 50 years, Asians should make up 38 percent of all U.S. immigrants, overtaking the current largest immigrant group, Hispanics, the Pew Center said.

Poll watcher Eddie Hu of the citizen group Asian Americans Advancing Justice keeps track of voting in November, 2016, at a polling station in a heavily Asian-community near Los Angeles.
Poll watcher Eddie Hu of the citizen group Asian Americans Advancing Justice keeps track of voting in November, 2016, at a polling station in a heavily Asian-community near Los Angeles.

William Frey researches urban populations, immigration and other issues for the Brookings Institution, a research center based in Washington D.C. He said immigration policies that support educated immigrants are likely to help Asians.

But he said changes in American immigration policy could affect immigration from Asia, as well as other parts of the world.

President Donald Trump and some Republicans in Congress have proposed a bill calling on America to reduce the number of legal immigrants admitted into the U.S. each year. They also want to give a preference to well-educated immigrants and/or those with job offers.

Asian Americans come from 20 nations

Asian American people come from more than 20 countries in East and Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent. Each has its own history, language and culture.

Some of the biggest growth came from Bhutan, Nepal and Burma, the Pew center reported.

But China continues to be the largest country of origin for Asian Americans. Chinese Americans numbered 4.9 million in 2015, or 24 percent of Asian Americans, Pew reported.

Pew said that India is number two, with nearly 4 million people listing it as their country of origin. The other leading countries of origin for Asian Americans are the Philippines, 3.9 million; Vietnam, nearly 2 million; Korea, 1.8 million; Japan, 1.4 million; and Pakistan, 519,000.

I’m Bruce Alpert.

And I'm Jill Robbins.

Bruce Alpert reported on this story for VOA Learning English. Mario Ritter was the editor.

We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section and share your views on our Facebook Page.

Words in This Story

census - n. the official process of counting the number of people in a country, city, or town and collecting information about them

median annual income - n. the middle value from a series of yearly earnings from smallest to largest over one year

misleading - adj. not necessarily true

diverse -- adj. including many different groups

preference - n. having an advantage

origin - n. where someone came from

proficiently adv. good at doing something

chapter - n. ​the people in a certain area who make up one section of a large organization​

associate - n.​ a member of a group or organization who is at a level that is below the highest level​

http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/09/18/5847/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/09/18/5847/VOA Special EnglishMon, 18 Sep 2017 00:21:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Powerless Aircraft Sets Altitude Record]]>UNSV.COM英语学习频道如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:

Two pilots recently set a new altitude world record for gliders.

A glider is an aircraft that does not have an engine. They are pulled into the air by powered airplanes and then released. They are designed to ride warm, rising air to gain altitude.

The Perlan II glider reach an altitude of 15,902 meters on September 3. The two pilots flew their aircraft above mountains in southern Argentina. The pilots beat the earlier world record for gliders by 441 meters.

The pilots hope the ability of their plane to reach the edge of outer space will influence young people to follow careers in science and engineering.

Reaching new heights

The glider was pulled into the air by a small plane. At about 3,000 meters, the plane released the connecting cable and started looking for strong updrafts of air, called the mountain waves, to take them higher.

According to chief pilot Jim Payne it took eleven flights to reach the altitude record.

'Basically, we take steps of certain amount of altitude and airspeed, gather data, analyze that data and if those data conform to our theory and the model we have for the airplane - then we can safely go on to the next step.'

A glider flight at high altitude is very difficult. The glider has no engine to fight turbulence they may encounter.

Also, although the airspeed instrument shows the speed of only 80 to 90 kilometers per hour, the true airspeed can be much higher. At those high speeds, the wings may flutter to the point of breaking.

Also, it is very cold said pilot and project manager Morgan Sandercock.

'We have electric socks on the pilots, we literally could not fly without those electric socks, we would get frostbite. And heated vests and we're looking at upgrading our heating systems for next year because cold is the big issue that we've been dealing with this year.'

Members of the Perlan II project with the glider.
Members of the Perlan II project with the glider.

Investing in the future

The Perlan II glider is made of special kind of light carbon fiber material. It also has improved mechanical properties. The company Airbus helped build the glider and transport it to Argentina.

Ken McKenzie, an employee with Airbus, says the company hopes the project will attract young people to science and technology.

'We want to actually grab the next group of pilots, engineers, mechanics, airport operators, flight attendants, basically kids that are in high school and university right now that may not have considered aerospace as a career and we want to inspire them.'

In the future, the pilots hope to break the world altitude record for level flight of 25,929 meters, set in 1979 by the U.S. spy plane called the SR-71 Blackbird.

The pilots also plan to turn their aircraft into a non-polluting research vehicle for the stratosphere.

I’m Phil Dierking.

This story was originally written by George Putic for the VOANews.com. Phil Dierking adapted the story for VOA Learning English. Mario Ritter was the editor.

What record would you like to break? Would you be interested in flying at high altitudes? We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.

Words in This Story

altitude - n. the height of something above the level of the sea​

cable - n. a thick, strong rope made of wires that are twisted together​

conform - v. to be similar to or the same as something ​

flutter - v. to move or flap the wings quickly without flying​

frostbite - n. a condition in which part of your body freezes or almost freezes​

turbulence - n. sudden, violent movements of air or water​

http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/09/17/4607/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/09/17/4607/VOA Special EnglishSun, 17 Sep 2017 07:05:00 UTC
<![CDATA[AMERICAN STORIES - The Murders in the Rue Morgue, Part One]]>Edgar Allen Poe如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:

We present the first of five parts of the short story 'The Murders in the Rue Morgue,' by Edgar Allen Poe. The story was originally adapted and recorded by VOA Learning English.

Paris! It was in Paris during the summer of 1840. There and then, I met a strange and interesting young man named August Dupin. Dupin was the last member of a well-known family, a family which had once been rich and famous. August Dupin, however, was far from rich.

He cared little about money. He had enough to buy necessities — and a few books. That was all. Just books. With books, he was happy.

In fact, we first met in an old bookstore. A few more chance meetings at such stores followed. Soon, we began to talk.

I was deeply interested in the family history he told me. I was surprised, too, at how much and how widely he had read; more important, the force of his busy mind was like a bright light in my soul. I felt that the friendship of such a man would be, for me, riches without price.

So, I told him how I felt and asked him to come and live with me.

He would enjoy using my many fine books. And I would have the pleasure of company, for I was not happy alone.

We passed the days reading, writing and talking. But Dupin was a lover of the night. So, often, we walked the streets of Paris after dark.

I soon noticed that Dupin had a special way of understanding people. Using it gave him great pleasure. He told me once, with a soft laugh, that he could see through the windows that most men have over their hearts. He could look into their souls.

Then, he surprised me by telling what he knew about my own soul. He knew things about me that I had thought only I could possibly know. At these times, he acted cold and emotionally distant. His eyes looked empty and far away. His voice became high and nervous.

At such times it seemed to me that I saw not just Dupin, but two Dupins — one who coldly put things together, and another who just as coldly took them apart.

One night we were walking down one of Paris’s long, dirty streets. We were quiet, both busy in our own thoughts.

But, suddenly Dupin spoke: “You’re right,” he said. “He is a very little fellow, that’s true, and he would be more successful if he acted in lighter, less serious plays.”

“Yes, there can be no doubt of that!” I said.

At first I saw nothing strange in this. Dupin had agreed with me. This, of course, seemed to me quite natural. A few moments passed. Then it hit me. Dupin had not agreed with something I had said. He had agreed directly with my thoughts. I had not spoken a word!

Dupin had read my mind. I stopped walking.

“Dupin,” I said, “Dupin, I don’t understand. How could you know that I was thinking of…?”

Here, I stopped speaking. If he really had heard my thoughts, he would have to prove it.

And he did. He said, “How did I know you were thinking of Chantilly? You were thinking that Chantilly is too small for the plays in which he acts.”

“That is indeed what I was thinking. But, tell me, in Heaven’s name, how did you know?”

“It was the fruit-seller,” Dupin answered.


“I mean the man who bumped into you as we entered this street. Maybe fifteen minutes ago.”

“Oh, yes…I remember, now. A fruit-seller, with a large basket of apples, bumped into me. But what does that have to do with you knowing I was thinking of Chantilly?”

“I will explain. Listen closely now. Let us follow your thoughts from the fruit-seller to the stage actor, Chantilly. Those thoughts must have gone like this: fruit-seller to cobblestones, cobblestones to stereotomy, stereotomy to Epicurus, to Orion, and then to Chantilly.”

He continued:

“As we turned onto this street the fruit-seller bumped you. You stepped on some uneven cobblestones. I could see that it hurt your foot.

“You spoke a few angry words to yourself, and continued walking. But you kept looking at the cobblestones in the street, so I knew you were thinking of them.

“Then we came to a small street where they are putting down new street stones. Here your face became brighter. You were looking at these more even stones. And your lips moved. I was sure they formed the word stereotomy, which is the name for how these new stones are cut. Stereotomy takes a large block and divides it evenly into smaller pieces. You will remember that we read about it in the newspaper only yesterday.

“I thought that the word stereotomy must make you think of the old Greek writer and thinker Epicurus. His ideas are also about dividing objects into smaller and smaller pieces called atoms. He argued that the world and everything else are made of these atoms.

“You and I were talking about Epicurus and his ideas, his atoms, recently. We were talking about how much those old ideas are like today’s scientific study of the planets and stars. So, I felt sure that, now, as we walked, you would look up to the sky. And you did.

“I looked also at the sky. I saw that the group of stars we call Orion is very bright and clear tonight.

“I knew you would notice this and that you would think about the name Orion.

“Now, keep listening carefully. Only yesterday, in the newspaper, there was a report about the actor Chantilly. The critic did not praise him. And he used a Latin saying that had also been used to describe Orion. So I knew you would put together the two ideas of Orion and Chantilly.

“I saw you smile, remembering the article and the mean words in it.

“Then, I saw you straighten up, as tall as you could make yourself. I was sure you were thinking of Chantilly’s size, and especially his height. He is small; he is short. And so I spoke, saying that he is indeed a very little man, this Chantilly, and he would be more successful if he acted in lighter, less serious plays.”

I cannot say I was surprised by what Dupin had just reported. My reaction was much bigger than just surprise. I was astonished.

Dupin was right, as right as he could be. Those were in fact my thoughts, my unspoken thoughts, as my mind moved from one thought to the next.

But if I was astonished by this, I would soon be more than astonished. One morning this strangely interesting man showed me once again his unusual reasoning power. We heard that an old woman had been killed by unknown persons. The killer, or the killers, had cut her head off — and escaped into the night. Who was this killer, this murderer? The police had no answer. They had looked everywhere and found nothing that helped them. They did not know what to do next. And so — they did nothing. But not Dupin. He knew what to do.

Download activities to help you understand this story here.

Now it's your turn to use the words in this story. Do you or any of your friends or family have strong mental abilities? How are those mental abilities expressed? Let us know in the comments section or on our Facebook page.

Words in This Story

souln. the spiritual part of a person that is believed to give life to the body and in many religions is believed to live forever

nervousadj. having or showing feelings of being worried and afraid about what might happen

fellown. (informal) a male person

moment(s) – n. a very short period of time

Heavenn. the place where God lives and where good people go after they die, according to some religions

bump(ed) – v. to move into or against someone or something in a sudden and forceful way

stage actorterm. a person who acts in a theater play

cobblestone(s) – n. a round stone used in paving streets

blockn. a solid piece of material that has flat sides and is usually square or rectangular in shape

astonish(ed) – v. to cause a feeling of great wonder or surprise in someone

http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/09/16/8021/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/09/16/8021/VOA Special EnglishSat, 16 Sep 2017 03:44:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Singer Selena Gomez Reveals Kidney Transplant]]>UNSV.COM英语学习频道如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:

This is What’s Trending Today…

Singer Selena Gomez made her name acting in children’s television shows. She was also singer Justin Bieber’s girlfriend for a while.

But recently she is better known for her music.

In fact, she has one of the top songs of the summer.

Songwriter and DJ Kygo’s song “It Ain’t Me” features Gomez. It is ranked 20th on Billboard.com’s current summer music chart.

You might think Gomez would have been singing at concerts around the world or appearing on television shows to talk about her music.

But instead, she was preparing for a serious medical procedure.

Gomez is the world’s most popular person on Instagram. She has over 125 million followers.

On Thursday, she used Instagram to explain why she was “laying low” this summer.

She posted a photo of herself in a hospital bed with her friend Francia Raisa. She said she needed a kidney transplant because of the disease lupus.

Gomez received a kidney from her friend. Humans are able to live without one of their two kidneys.

Lupus is a condition that affects a person’s immune system. An immune system that works well fights diseases and viruses.

According to the Mayo Clinic’s website, lupus causes the body’s immune system to attack its own organs and tissue. Organs affected by lupus include the kidneys, brain, heart and lungs.

Gomez thanked her doctors and her friend. She wrote that she “looks forward” to being able to tell the story about her experience sometime soon.

She called Raisa her sister and said donating a kidney was the “ultimate gift and sacrifice.”

Raisa is an actress and model. She appeared in a well-known television show called “The Secret Life of the American Teenager.”

Many people reacted to Gomez’s Instagram post. They offered support for Gomez and they told Raisa what a great thing she did by donating her kidney.

One user, Ingrid Talledo, wrote: “@franciaraisa, you deserve the sky. Thank you so much for everything that you did. You deserve all the love of the world.”

Gomez has been dealing with lupus for several years. In 2014, she had chemotherapy to treat the disease.

And that’s What’s Trending Today.

Dan Friedell wrote this story for Learning English based on reports by the People magazine and the Today Show. tktk was the editor.

What do you think about Selena Gomez’s kidney transplant? We want to know. Write to us in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.

Words in This Story

chart – n. a list that shows which music recordings have sold the most during a recent period of time

lay low – v. to not go out in public very often, stay out of the spotlight

transplant – n. a medical operation in which an organ or other part is removed from the body of one person and put into the body of another person

immune system– n. the system that protects your body from diseases and infections

chemotherapy– n. the use of chemicals to treat a disease, like cancer

http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/09/15/2280/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/09/15/2280/VOA Special EnglishFri, 15 Sep 2017 03:02:00 UTC
<![CDATA[How to Show That You Are Not Sure]]>John Russell如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:

In the 1998 film “Saving Private Ryan,” actor Tom Hanks plays the part of Captain Miller. The fictional Captain Miller was an English teacher before becoming a soldier and fighting in World War II.

In one scene, Captain Miller describes how he has changed:

'So I guess I've changed some. Sometimes I wonder if I've changed so much my wife is even gonna recognize me whenever it is I get back to her, and how I'll ever be able to, to tell her about days like today.'

These lines give you an excellent example of how speakers show uncertainty in everyday speech.

In the first sentence, Miller used a common grammatical structure: verb + a noun clause.

In today's report, we will explore this structure and show you how speakers use it in everyday situations.

Noun Clauses

Noun clauses are groups of words that act as a noun. They often begin with “that” or a word beginning with “wh,” such as “where,” “when,” “why,” or “what.” Here are two examples:

I think that she is mad at me.

I wonder where he went?

In the examples, the main parts of the sentences are the words “I think” and “I wonder.” The verbs are followed by noun clauses: 'that she is mad at me,' and 'where he went.'

By the way, the word “that” does not add any meaning in these types of clauses, so it is often dropped. Instead of saying 'I think that she is mad at me,' speakers might say, 'I think she is mad at me.'

If you want to learn more about why the word 'that' disappears from sentences, you should read our previous Everyday Grammar story 'The Mystery of the Disappearing That.'

Showing Uncertainty with Verb + Noun Clause

Americans often use a verb + noun clause structure to show uncertainty.

The verb shows uncertainty, and the noun clause shows the idea.

Here is an example:

Excuse me, do you know when the last train leaves?

I think (that) the last train leaves at 7.

In the example, the second speaker uses the verb “think” to show uncertainty. The noun clause 'the last train leaves at 7' is the main idea of the sentence.

If a person told you, 'I think the last train leaves at 7,' you should probably ask another person. You do not want to make your travel plans based on uncertain information.

Speakers show certainty by stating ideas in a simple sentence. In these cases, they generally do not use the verb + noun clause structure.

Think back to the conversation about the train. How could the second speaker give a certain answer?

Let's listen:

Excuse me, do you know when the last train leaves?

The last train leaves at 7.

Common uncertainty verbs

Susan Conrad and Douglas Biber are language experts. They note that Americans often use three verbs to show uncertainty.

These verbs are “think,” “believe,” and “guess.”

#1 and 2 - Think and Believe

Americans often use the verb “think” in the present and past tense.

“Think” shows some amount of uncertainty, but the exact level of uncertainty that it shows varies among speakers.

How can you tell how uncertain a person might be?

One tip is to listen to the pitch of the speaker's voice. The pitch can often give you a clue about how uncertain the speaker is.

Consider these examples:

I think (that) the bank is open today.

I think (that) the bank is open today.

In the former example you can hear more confidence in the speaker's voice. In the latter example, you hear far less confidence.

In conversation,think” has a similar meaning as “believe.”

“Believe” is slightly less common and slightly more formal.

So, instead of saying, 'I think the last train leaves at 7,' a speaker could say, 'I believe the last train leaves at 7.'

The two sentences have the same meaning and show similar amounts of uncertainty.

Once again, the pitch of the speaker's voice can give you information about how uncertain he or she is.

#3 - Guess

A third common verb of uncertainty is “guess.”

“Guess,” according to Conrad and Biber, is very common in American English but rare in British English.

Americans almost always use the verb “guess” in one way: “I guess.” The phrase still shows uncertainty, but it tells you that the speaker’s claim is probably based on evidence.

Here is an example:

He was smiling as he walked out the front door. I guess he got some good news!

In the example, the first sentence gives some information about the situation. In the second sentence, the speaker makes an uncertain statement based on the information in the first sentence.

Let’s go back to the fictional Captain Miller from the film “Saving Private Ryan.” He gives you another example of how “guess” can show uncertainty in everyday speech. Remember: Captain Miller was talking about being a teacher before he said these lines:

'So I guess I've changed some. Sometimes I wonder if I've changed so much my wife is even gonna recognize me whenever it is I get back to her, and how I'll ever be able to, to tell her about days like today.'

In the first sentence, Miller says, 'I guess I've changed some.' He is showing uncertainty about how much he has changed from his former life as a teacher. Perhaps he does not want to admit that he has greatly changed.

What can you do?

The next time you are watching a film or speaking with an American, try to listen for examples of uncertainty. Ask yourself how the speaker shows uncertainty. Does the person use the verb + noun clause structure, or a different structure?

Learning the subtle ways that people communicate in another language can be difficult. But with time and practice, you will succeed.

We are certain of that.

I'm John Russell.

And I’m Jill Robbins.

John Russell wrote this story for Learning English. Kelly Jean Kelly was the editor.

We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section.

Words in This Story

scene – n. a part of a play, movie, story, etc., in which a particular action or activity occurs

uncertainty – n. the quality or state of being uncertain ; doubt

clause – n. a part of a sentence that has its own subject and verb

practice – n. the activity of doing something again and again in order to become better at it

http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/09/15/2575/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/09/15/2575/VOA Special EnglishFri, 15 Sep 2017 03:00:00 UTC
<![CDATA[US Orders Agencies to Remove Russian Company's Security Products]]>UNSV.COM英语学习频道如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:

The United States has barred federal agencies from using computer security products made by the company Kaspersky Lab.

Elaine Duke is the Acting Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. She announced the order Wednesday. Agencies will have 90 days to remove the computer software from their computer systems.

In a statement, the department said the action was taken because of “information security risks presented by the use of Kaspersky products on federal information systems.'

The statement added that U.S. officials were concerned about ties 'between certain Kaspersky officials and Russian intelligence and other government agencies.'

It said the U.S. identified a risk that the Russian government might be able to use Kaspersky products to gain access to federal information systems. This risk “directly implicates U.S. national security,” the statement said.

Kaspersky Lab makes computer programs that are designed to protect computers from attacks such as computer viruses. It also oversees security for computer systems.

The international cybersecurity company has its headquarters in Moscow.

Robert Joyce is the cybersecurity coordinator for the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump. He was asked if U.S. officials had identified clear evidence that Kaspersky Lab had provided intelligence to the Russian government. Joyce told a reporter from Reuters news agency that “as we evaluated the technology, we decided it was a risk we couldn’t accept.”

In a statement, Kaspersky Lab rejected the accusations as “false” and said it was disappointed with the decision. The company has repeatedly denied it has ties to any government and says it would not assist governments with cyber espionage activities.

Eugene Kaspersky, Russian antivirus programs developer and chief executive of Russia's Kaspersky Lab, stands in front of a window decorated with programming code's symbols at his company's headquarters in Moscow, July 1, 2017.
Eugene Kaspersky, Russian antivirus programs developer and chief executive of Russia's Kaspersky Lab, stands in front of a window decorated with programming code's symbols at his company's headquarters in Moscow, July 1, 2017.

The statement said “no credible evidence” has been shown to support the U.S. government’s conclusion. It blamed the criticism on misunderstandings about how Russian laws about information-sharing work.

Kaspersky Lab also said it was concerned that “a private company can be considered guilty until proven innocent, due to geopolitical issues.” The company added that it looks forward to working with the Department of Homeland Security to deal with the concerns.

The federal directive came hours after the top U.S. intelligence official warned that Russia has increased its cyber operations against the United States. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told a cybersecurity gathering that Russia is “increasing cyber espionage operations and leaking data stolen from those operations.”

Coats said enemies of the U.S. can use the internet as a tool to amplify and strengthen information by repeating messages many times. He said these efforts “seek to undermine our faith in our institutions or advance violence in the name of identity.'

Top U.S. intelligence agencies said in a report in January Russia took part in an “influence campaign” in the U.S. in an effort to help then-candidate Donald Trump win the 2016 election. Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly denied his government had any involvement in trying to influence the American election.

As president, Trump has repeatedly questioned the intelligence findings, suggesting at times it was unclear whether Russia was responsible.

I’m Bryan Lynn.

Bryan Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English, based on reports from VOA News, the Associated Press and Reuters. Mario Ritter was the editor.

We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments section, and visit our Facebook page.

Words in This Story

access n. the opportunity to use or see something

implicate – v. show that someone or something is involved in something (such as a crime)

cybersecurity – n. measures taken to protect computers from unauthorized attacks

evaluate – v. carefully consider or study the value or condition of something

espionage n. activities carried out to find secrets from enemies or competitors

credible adj. able to be trusted or believed

geopolitical – adj. relating to the political and geographic parts of something

leak – v. give secret or unknown information to someone such as a newspaper reporter so it becomes known to the public

amplify v. increase in strength

undermine – v. make something weaker or less effective

http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/09/15/8037/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/09/15/8037/VOA Special EnglishFri, 15 Sep 2017 02:27:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Asian-American Lawmakers Fight to Keep ‘Dreamers' in US]]>UNSV.COM英语学习频道如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:

United States lawmakers stood with undocumented Asian-American immigrants earlier this week to show support for the young students and workers living in the country.

Their future is uncertain after President Donald Trump’s administration announced plans to cancel the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program.

Former President Barack Obama’s administration created the program in 2012. It permits people who entered the country illegally as children to stay in the country to work or study.

More than 800,000 young people are part of the program. They are sometimes called “dreamers.”

California representative Judy Chu is the head of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. The group of politicians supports Asian-American interests. She led a news conference on Tuesday outside the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C.

She said, “We are here to fight for the 800,000 dreamers, including the 130,000 Asian-American Pacific Islander dreamers who were brought to this country as children through no fault of their own.”

That is the number of Asian immigrants in the United States who are eligible to apply for the DACA program, according to Obama’s administration.

The National Council of Asian Pacific Americans says that about 16,000 Asian-American Pacific Islanders are part of the DACA program.

Chirayu Patel formed the DACA network, an organization that provides information and legal resources for DACA recipients. He said at the news conference this week, 'I am a dreamer and the U.S. is the only country I have ever known.'

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced on September 5 that the government would no longer accept new DACA applications.

Congressional lawmakers now have six months to act if they want to continue to permit current DACA recipients to stay in the U.S.

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other political leaders stood with Judy Chu and Chirayu Patel on Tuesday. They did so to urge Congress to pass a piece of legislation that would provide DACA recipients with a more permanent path to staying in the US.

Representative Pramila Jayapal of Washington state is the first South Asian American woman elected to Congress. She told VOA, “It’s not just one group of people that’s affected by this, it really is communities across the country – Africans, AAPIs, Latinos.'

Researchers at AAPI (Asian American Pacific Islander) Data and the Center for Migration Studies report that one in seven Asian immigrants in the U.S. is undocumented. And Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders are the fast-growing undocumented population in the United States.

Karthick Ramakrishnan is a public policy professor at the University of California Riverside. He is also the director of AAPI Data. He told VOA, “Most people are blown away when they learn this.”

Of the 130,000 Asian immigrants said to be eligible for the DACA program, relatively few have actually applied.

Jayapal said, “There are a lot of AAPI dreamers who have not stepped up and applied for DACA status…We want to make sure that the AAPI community knows exactly what is still available to them and that they get involved.”

Several organizations work to share information and provide support to the community in a number of different languages. The National Korean American Service and Education Consortium is one of them. It helped Jung Bin Cho apply for DACA protection.

Cho moved to the U.S. state of Virginia when he was seven years old. He told his story at the Capitol on Tuesday. He explained the importance of the Asian-American and Hispanic communities in the United States working together. He said the two groups must work together to push Congress to pass legislation that would protect them both.

“I’m putting another voice out there that’s very important,” Cho told VOA, hoping to make it clear that not all DACA recipients are from Latin America.

I’m Pete Musto.

And I’m Caty Weaver.

Esha Sarai reported this for VOA News. Pete Musto adapted it for Learning English. Ashley Thompson was the editor.

We want to hear from you. What protections do you think governments should provide for immigrants whose parents brought them into a different country illegally when they were children? Write to us in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.

Words in This Story

faultn. responsibility for a problem, mistake, or bad situation

eligibleadj. able to do or receive something

according toprep. as stated, reported, or recorded by someone or something

recipient(s) – n. a person who receives something

application(s) – n. a formal and usually written request for something

legislationn. a law or set of laws made by a government

blow(n) awayp.v. to surprise someone in a very strong and favorable way

relativelyadv. when compared to others

step(ped) upphrasal verb. to say openly or publicly that you are the person who should get something or who can do something

statusn. the official position of a person or thing according to the law

http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/09/15/1919/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/09/15/1919/VOA Special EnglishFri, 15 Sep 2017 02:18:00 UTC
<![CDATA[London is Still Considered World's Top Financial Center]]>UNSV.COM英语学习频道如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:

A newly released study finds that London is still considered the most attractive financial center in the world.

London was followed by New York City. The study showed that the British capital extended its lead over New York compared to past years.

Some politicians and economists have suggested that London would lose its top rating because of Britain’s planned withdrawal from the European Union. But the study shows there are few signs of that happening -- at least not yet.

The Z/Yen Global Financial Centers Index rates 92 financial centers on things such as public services and the availability of experienced and well-educated workers.

New York, in second place, finished 24 points behind London. That is the largest difference between the two cities since the study was first published in 2007. Hong Kong finished in third place, and Singapore finished fourth.

New York’s overall rating fell 24 points from its rating the year before. That is the biggest fall among top cities. Study organizers say the large drop probably resulted from “fears over U.S. trade.”

Since becoming U.S. president in January, Donald Trump has removed the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal. Critics have described his economic policy as isolationist.

TheCityUK is the most powerful group working in support of Britain’s financial industry. The group says its members are saying that they do not know enough about what will happen when the country leaves the EU.

Miles Celic leads TheCityUK. He says because it is not clear what will happen then, “many firms have already started to activate their contingency plans and others will undoubtedly follow suit if these aren’t confirmed as soon as possible.'

The survey was completed in June. Since then, talks between Britain and the European Commission about Britain’s planned withdrawal from the EU have become increasingly unpleasant.

And in the past two months, most major U.S., British and Japanese banks have said they will open offices in Frankfurt, Germany or Dublin, Ireland. A year ago, Frankfurt finished in 23rd place in the study. This year it rose to 11th. Dublin was 33rd last year. This year it moved up to 30th place.

The Reuters news agency reported this story from London and Frankfurt. Christopher Jones-Cruise adapted the report for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section, or visit our Facebook page.

Words in This Story

attractive – adj. having a feature or quality that people like

index – n. a number that indicates changes in the level of something (such as a stock market) when it rises or falls

isolationism – n. the belief that a country should not be involved with other countries; a policy of not making agreements or working with other countries

firm – n. a business organization

contingency plan – n. a plan that can be followed if an original plan is not possible for some reason

follow suit – expression. to do the same thing that someone else has just done

http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/09/14/6809/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/09/14/6809/VOA Special EnglishThu, 14 Sep 2017 03:53:00 UTC
<![CDATA[North Korea's Weapons Tests Hurt Efforts to Build Education Links]]>UNSV.COM英语学习频道如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:

Foreign-supported educational centers in North Korea are reducing their activities as more governments strengthen travel warnings for the country.

The United States recently banned most travel by Americans to North Korea. North Korea also remains under a series of United Nations Security Council restrictions. South Korea, the U.S. and other nations have also placed their own restrictions on the North because of its nuclear and missile testing activities.

Britain also has announced additional travel warnings for its citizens, which have affected education links with North Korea.

A spokesperson for the British Council told VOA, “The British Council suspended the English language teaching program in Pyongyang when the travel advice from the U.K. (British) government changed.”

The Council added that it is delaying talks on extending its program in North Korea.

The British Council has operated the English Language Teacher Training Program (ELT program) since May of 2000. That year, Britain established diplomatic relations with North Korea to support “critical engagement” with the country. The effort was aimed at reducing the country’s isolation through educational and cultural exchanges.

The Council has trained more than 4,000 English teachers in Pyongyang.

Four teachers were involved in the suspended program.

The Council made its decision because the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office increased its travel warning for North Korea on September 3.

The office “advises against all but essential travel to North Korea.”

It adds, “There remains a threat of further missile or nuclear tests, which could lead to further instability in the region.”

On September 1, the United States banned most travel by its citizens to North Korea.

That ban already may have affect education links to North Korea.

Last week Pyongyang University of Science and Technology released a statement. The university, known as PUST, said classes had been “adapted to suit the available resources.”

PUST is a private university that is supported mostly by Western, Christian groups. It educates the children of ruling families in North Korea.

Sixty to 80 foreign professors work at the university during each semester. A university statement says about half of them have U.S. passports.

The university did not say how many American teachers will be affected by the U.S. travel ban. PUST noted it expects that additional teachers will join during this fall learning period.

However, some of the university’s teaching activities seem to have been restricted. One professor at PUST told VOA that only North Korean professors teach classes in dentistry this fall. The professor said the U.S. measure is affecting not only American citizens but other foreign nationals.

The professor asked not to be identified.

Another PUST employee, who asked not to be identified, said he would not be returning to Pyongyang this fall. The employee said the aid agency that organizes the teaching trips decided not to send anyone to the school at this time.

The U.S. State Department first announced the travel ban in July after North Korea tested two long-distance missiles. It warned of growing concerns over “the serious risk of arrest and long-term detention” to Americans traveling to and within North Korea.

The ban permits exceptions for some humanitarian or other special purposes, although they require approval.

I’m Mario Ritter.

Kim Hyunjin reported this story for VOA News with contributions from Jenny Lee. Mario Ritter adapted it for VOA Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.

We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments section, and visit our Facebook page.​

Words in This Story

engagement –n. the state of being involved with something

isolation –n. to be separated from other, to be alone

essential –adj. the most important and necessary

instability –n. easily changed or likely to be changed

region –n a part of a country or of the world

adapt –v. to change in order to better deal with a place or situation

suit –v. to provide something needed, to be suitable

evangelical –adj. relating to a Christian group who stress the importance of Biblical writings and preach those beliefs

faculty –n. teachers at a school, college or university

http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/09/14/8540/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/09/14/8540/VOA Special EnglishThu, 14 Sep 2017 02:27:00 UTC
<![CDATA[How to Use Your Phone as a Magnifying Glass]]>UNSV.COM英语学习频道如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:

Whether you are trying to read a menu in a dark restaurant, the warning label on your medicine, or the fine print on a contract you possibly should not be signing, a magnifying glass can come in very handy. One with a light is even better.

Good news! That phone in your pocket is filled with handy tools, including a magnifying glass. No more squinting! Your phone’s magnifying glass lets you see the small stuff, any time, anywhere.

iPhone magnifying glass Setting

The iPhone has a useful magnifying glass feature that uses the camera. You must turn this feature on in order to use it.

Turning on the magnifying glass on an iPhone

To turn on the magnifying glass on your iPhone, go to:

Settings, then General, then Accessibility, then Magnifier. Turn it to On.

iPhone Magnifier Settings
iPhone Magnifier Settings

You can also turn Auto-Brightness to on. Auto-Brightness changes the brightness of the screen based on the available light.

Using the magnifying glass on an iPhone

To use the iPhone’s magnifying glass, called the Magnifier, tap the Home button three times. That will open the magnifying glass screen.

iPhone Magnifier Screen
iPhone Magnifier Screen

Slide the yellow dot on the Magnifier to zoom in and out. Slide the dot right to zoom in and left to zoom out.

Tap the lightning icon to turn on the light on your phone and brighten what you are seeing.

Tap the lock icon to keep the camera’s focus level from changing.

Tap the white circle button to freeze the image. The circle will have a yellow edge while the image is frozen. Tap the button again to unfreeze the image.

iPhone Magnifier Freeze
iPhone Magnifier Freeze

You can freeze the image on the Magnifier and then zoom in on it. This way the image is stable as you are trying to see it. Move the image around with your finger to see different parts of the image.

Tap the triangle in the lower right corner of the screen to control the image you are seeing. The filter lets you adjust the brightness and color of the image. You can also add colored filters to the image.

In the bottom left corner of the filter screen is an invert button that lets you change the colors. Tap that to invert the colors.

iPhone Magnifier Inverted
iPhone Magnifier Inverted


Some Android phones also have a magnifying glass feature, but you need to turn it on for it to work. To turn on the magnifying glass, go to Settings, then Accessibility, then Vision, then Magnification and turn it on.

When you need to use the magnifying glass, go to the camera app and tap the screen three times. To turn off the magnifying glass, tap the screen three times again.

Some Android phones do not come with a magnifying glass feature built in. You can use zoom in the camera app if you need magnification.

Many magnifying apps are in the Google Play app store with different features. Some of these apps are free but have advertisements.

Magnifying Glass Flashlight

Magnifying Glass Flashlight currently has the highest rating of the magnifying apps in the Google Play store. This app has both magnification and a flashlight to shine a light on what you are trying to see. Like the iPhone Magnifier, this app can freeze the image so you can zoom in and steady what you are trying to see.

This app has small ads at the bottom of the screen. They do not flash or move so they are fairly easy to ignore.

The first time you use the app, you will see that the flashlight is on by default. You can turn this off if you do not need it, and want to save battery, by tapping the lightbulb icon in the lower right corner of the screen.

Magnifying Glass Flashlight App
Magnifying Glass Flashlight App

Tap the “A” button to add a blue filter and invert colors so light becomes dark and dark becomes light.

Magnifying Glass Flashlight App with Filter
Magnifying Glass Flashlight App with Filter

Tap the Red and Blue button to have the camera light flash like a strobe light.

Tap the camera button to freeze the image and take a screenshot of the image. Pinch and spread your fingers to zoom in and out of the image.

Tap the photo button on the left to see the screenshots you have taken and to share them with others. Tap the back button on your phone to return to the magnifying glass.

You can check out other Magnifying Glass apps in the Google Play Store: Magnifying Glass Apps in Google Play.

Be sure to check for apps having a light, if that is important to you.

I’m Caty Weaver. And I’m Pete Musto.

Carolyn Nicander Mohr wrote this report for VOA Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.

Have you ever needed a magnifying glass but did not have one handy? Do you like the idea of using your phone as a magnifying glass? Do you use a magnifying glass app that you would recommend?

Share your thoughts in the Comments Section below or on our Facebook page.

Words in This Story

menu - n. a list of the foods that may be ordered at a restaurant​

contract - n. a legal agreement between people, companies, etc.​

magnifying glass - n. a specially shaped piece of glass that is attached to a handle and is used to make an object look larger than it is

squint - v. to look at something with your eyes partly closed

zoom - v. to adjust the lens of a camera

focus - n. a state in which something (such as a camera, a telescope, or a person's eyes) produces a clear picture or image​

invert - v. to change the position, order, or relationship of things so that they are the opposite of what they had been

default - n. a setting, option, etc., that a computer uses if you do not choose a different one

strobe light - n. a bright light that flashes on and off very quickly​

screenshot - n. an image of the data displayed on the screen of a computer or mobile device.

http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/09/14/2245/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/09/14/2245/VOA Special EnglishThu, 14 Sep 2017 02:12:00 UTC