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。Sat, 10 Feb 2018 01:57:43 UTC<![CDATA[Koreas Share Handshake at Olympic Games Opening]]>Mario Ritter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:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/02/10/1229/

A sister of North Korea’s leader shook hands with the South Korean president as representatives of the two countries sat together at the opening of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics.

Sitting nearby was Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the head of the United States delegation, Vice President Mike Pence.

On Thursday, the two men met at the prime minister’s home in Japan. They spoke of strengthening the military alliance between their countries to answer threats by North Korea.

As is Olympic tradition, Greece, which held the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, led the parade of athletes into the sports stadium in Pyeongchang. Other countries followed in alphabetical order, based the Korean alphabet.

North Korea's Hwang Chung Gum and South Korea's Won Yun-jong carries the flag during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Friday, Feb. 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
North Korea's Hwang Chung Gum and South Korea's Won Yun-jong carries the flag during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Friday, Feb. 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

Athletes from the two Koreas marched in together under a white flag, which has a blue image in the shape of the Korean peninsula. The ceremonies took place as the world looks for clues about the peninsula’s future while North Korea continues its nuclear and missile activities.

Before the ceremony, South Korean officials released a statement from President Moon Jae-in. He said, “Athletes from the two Koreas will work together for victory, and that will resonate with and be remembered in the hearts of people around the world as a sign of peace.”

The North has sent nearly 500 people to the PyeongChang Games. Its delegation includes government officials, athletes, artists and cheerleaders. More than 2,900 athletes from 92 countries will compete in the games, making it the biggest Winter Olympics to date.

Kim’s sister to meet with Moon

One member of the North Korean delegation is Kim Yo Jong. She is the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and believed to be his closest confidant. She is also the first member of North Korea’s ruling family to visit the South since the Korean War.

Kim Jong Un himself has not left North Korea or met any head of state since 2011 - the year he became the country’s leader after the death of his father.

Officially, Kim Yo Jong, at the age of 30, is just a member of a delegation led by 90-year-old Kim Yong Nam. She and the rest of the North's delegation are to join Moon for a meal on Saturday.

Vice President Mike Pence, second from bottom right, sits between second lady Karen Pence, third from from bottom left, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Feb. 9, 2018.
Vice President Mike Pence, second from bottom right, sits between second lady Karen Pence, third from from bottom left, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Feb. 9, 2018.

The United States has repeatedly warned its ally South Korea to continue pressure on the North Korean government. But Vice President Pence has not ruled out a meeting with North Korean officials during his visit to South Korea.

The vice president was asked about the possibility of U.S.-North Korea talks before leaving Monday on his six-day Asia trip.

“Let me say President Trump has said he always believes in talking, but I haven’t requested any meeting,” Pence told reporters. He added, “But we’ll see what happens.”

I'm Mario Ritter.

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

Words in This Story

athlete - n. a person who is trained or good at sports

stadium - n. a large building with many rows of seats for sporting events

alphabetical - adj. arranged in the order of the letters of the alphabet

resonate - v. to have a particular meaning or importance

confidant - n. a trusted person

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/02/10/1229/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/02/10/1229/VOA Special EnglishFri, 9 Feb 2018 23:38:00 UTC
<![CDATA[A Big Birthday for the Big Easy]]>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:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/02/10/9340/

The Louisiana city known as the Big Easy is celebrating a big birthday this year. New Orleans turns 300 years old.

The celebration began December 31 with a huge fireworks show over the Mississippi River. Performances, parties and other events throughout 2018 will honor the tricentennial, including the city’s most famous celebration: Mardi Gras.

FILE - A young reveler scream for beads during the Krewe of Endymion Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
FILE - A young reveler scream for beads during the Krewe of Endymion Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Kristian Sonnier is with New Orleans' Convention and Visitors Bureau. She says the city’s three centuries of history include “colonization by both France and Spain, a British invasion, devastating fires, pirates, yellow fever and hurricanes, among other challenges.” But, through it all, New Orleans has held on to what Sonnier calls “authentic traditions and a sense of place.”

Origins

The city was born in the spring of 1718. At first it was French: the French Mississippi Company, led by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, established La Nouvelle-Orléans. Forty-five years later the Spanish took control of the city. The United States gained it in 1803 as part of the Louisiana Purchase.

The Roman Catholic Church has also played a major part in New Orleans’ culture. On February 9, 1718, a church leader placed a cross on the site where the St. Louis Cathedral now stands.

In this August 15, 2015, file photo, newlyweds dance their way out of St. Louis Cathedral at Jackson Square in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Catholic faith and traditions have played a role in New Orleans' culture since Feb. 9, 1718, when a priest plan
In this August 15, 2015, file photo, newlyweds dance their way out of St. Louis Cathedral at Jackson Square in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Catholic faith and traditions have played a role in New Orleans' culture since Feb. 9, 1718, when a priest plan

Visitors can learn about the city’s Catholic history at the Old Ursuline Convent Museum. The exhibition is called “The Church in the Crescent: 300 Years of Catholicism in New Orleans.”

Objects linked to the city’s early period, including Native Americans and enslaved Africans, can be found at another show. The Historic New Orleans Collection will open “New Orleans, the Founding Era” February 27.

The New Orleans Museum of Art’s “Changing Course: Reflections on New Orleans Histories” marks the tricentennial with seven modern art projects. Museum officials say the show, which opens June 21, will center on the forgotten or less famous histories of the city.

Then, beginning October 26, the museum will feature works by painters such as Raphael, Rembrandt and others from the Duke of Orleans’ collection. It will continue through early 2019.

Other sights to see

Another important period in New Orleans’ history was the War of 1812. At the end of that conflict, Andrew Jackson commanded U.S. troops in the famous Battle of New Orleans. His victory over Great Britain made him a national hero. Later, Americans elected him president. Visitors interested in learning more about the event can visit Chalmette Battlefield, just outside New Orleans. It is part of Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve.

Yearly events that will mark the tricentennial include the French Quarter Festival from April 12 to 15. It features music from gospel to jazz to Cajun and zydeco.

FILE - Young members of the Original Big Seven Junior Steppers dance during a second line at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in New Orleans, Friday, May 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
FILE - Young members of the Original Big Seven Junior Steppers dance during a second line at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in New Orleans, Friday, May 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Fest, arguably the city’s most famous event, takes place April 27 to May 6. More than 100 artists will take part this year, including Aretha Franklin, Trombone Shorty, Archie Shepp Quartet, Aerosmith and Buddy Guy.

An event already under way, Prospect.4, is a citywide art exhibition. There are 16 displays around town by dozens of artists including Louis Armstrong, Yoko Ono and Kara Walker.

FILE - People walk past a bronze elephant on the grounds of the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans Tuesday Feb. 14, 2006. The Zoo is open only on weekends since Hurricane Katrina struck the city in August. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)
FILE - People walk past a bronze elephant on the grounds of the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans Tuesday Feb. 14, 2006. The Zoo is open only on weekends since Hurricane Katrina struck the city in August. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)

Other New Orleans attractions include the National World War II Museum, boat rides on the Mississippi River, the zoo and aquarium at the Audubon Nature Institute, City Park and the Garden District.

Regional attractions include bayou tours, the Tabasco hot sauce factory on Avery Island, and Laura Plantation.

In this photo taken on April 4, 2008 the Big House of the Laura Plantation in Vacherie, La., which was built in 1805, is seen. (AP Photo/Beth J. Harpaz)
In this photo taken on April 4, 2008 the Big House of the Laura Plantation in Vacherie, La., which was built in 1805, is seen. (AP Photo/Beth J. Harpaz)

The former farm has been linked to the collection of famous West African traditional tales known as the Brer Rabbit stories. Tours at Laura Plantation include the history of the enslaved Africans and their descendants who lived and worked there.

I’m Caty Weaver.

Caty Weaver adapted this Associated Press story for VOA Learning English. Kelly Jean Kelly was the editor.

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

Words in This Story

tricentennial –​ n. the three-hundredth anniversary of a significant event.​

devastating –​ adj. causing great damage or harm​

challenge –​ n. a difficult task or problem : something that is hard to do​

authentic –​ adj. real or genuine: not copied or false​

dozen –​ n. a group of 12 people or things​

attraction –​ n. something interesting or enjoyable that people want to visit, see, or do​

aquarium –​ n.a building people can visit to see water animals and plants​

regional –​ adj. of a part of a country, of the world, etc., that is different or separate from other parts in some way​

bayou –​ n. an area of water in the southern U.S. in which the water moves very slowly and is filled with many plants​

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/02/10/9340/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/02/10/9340/VOA Special EnglishFri, 9 Feb 2018 23:36:00 UTC
<![CDATA[New Zealand to Ban Foreign Home Buyers]]>Ashley Thompson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:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/02/09/3121/

New Zealand plans to bar foreigners from purchasing existing homes.

The ban is expected to become law this year. It aims to slow the rising housing prices and protect New Zealanders interested in buying a home.

The Labour Party government believes that foreign investors have pushed many possible first-time home buyers and families out of the housing market.

Last year, median housing prices across the country rose by 5.8 percent, to over $405,000.

Housing prices rose even more in New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington. Price there rose by more than 18 percent over a 12-month period that ended in June 2017.

The rising prices have pushed home ownership outside the reach of many possible buyers.

One home owner told VOA he feels sorry for the younger generation.

“I look at my children and my family and friends’ children, and I really, really feel for them because I just believe the market has made it impossible for them to get into the housing.”

Just 25 years ago, three out of every four New Zealanders lived in their own homes. Now the rate is 64 percent -- and falling.

The plan to ban foreigners from buying existing homes has yet to be approved. But the measure, called the Overseas Investment Amendment Bill, passed its first reading in parliament in December.

FILE - A layer of snow covers roads in Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday, June 21, 2013.
FILE - A layer of snow covers roads in Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday, June 21, 2013.

Restricting foreign ownership of housing has been tried in other countries, including Switzerland, says Norman Gemmell. He is chair of public finance at Victoria University of Wellington.

'So, there is a sensible economic argument that says, if lots of foreign investors -- because there is money slewing around in the world looking for a good home -- if lots of these foreign investors are looking to put their cash into New Zealand, if it then forces up the price of property so that people cannot afford to live anymore, you should think about what is the right way to allocate your domestic housing stock.”

Critics say foreign investors have had only a small effect on the cost of housing. Low interest rates, limited supply and immigration have also driven up house prices.

New Zealand’s trade minister David Parker says the restrictions are not just about price, but fairness.

“I am not targeting any one individual. I'm trying to protect New Zealanders against some of the excesses of global capitalism.”

Chinese investors have been among the biggest foreign buyers of property in New Zealand.

Political commentator Bryce Edwards says the ban is a sign of both intolerance in the community and concerns about capitalism.

There is much more focus on inequality, and so there has been a lot more focus on wealthy individuals as the problem. And there is an ethnic element to it as well that is perhaps xenophobic or even racist. You know, there has been a great increase in Asian wealth coming to New Zealand and, regardless of whether it is investing here or moving here to live, New Zealanders are a bit more suspicious of that.”

Housing prices continue to make solid gains across the country. And for many New Zealanders, the dream of owning a home is as distant as ever.

I'm Ashley Thompson.

Phil Mercer reported this story for VOANews.com. George Grow adapted his report for Learning English. Ashley Thompson was the editor.

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

Words in This Story

median – n. the middle value in a series of numbers

slewing – v. to turn or slide in another direction very quickly

cash – n. money

afford – v. to be able to pay for

allocate – v. to divide and give out

intolerance n. a refusal to accept the rights of other people

xenophobic adj. someone who is fearful or what is foreign or foreigners

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/02/09/3121/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/02/09/3121/VOA Special EnglishFri, 9 Feb 2018 01:46:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Norway's Olympic Cooks Gets 15,000 Eggs Instead of 1,500]]>Lucija Millonig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:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/02/09/8128/

This is What’s Trending Today…

More than 100 athletes from Norway will compete in the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, which open Friday, February 9.

They and the other world-class competitors, of course, need plenty of good food to help them perform to the best of their abilities.

Norwegian cooks in South Korea must keep their nation’s hungry athletes well fed. They have been placing orders for things like eggs, vegetables and meat at local supermarkets. They must use Google Translate to make sure Koreans understand their requests.

Ahead of the Games, the Norwegian cooks placed an order for 1,500 eggs. When the order arrived in a large vehicle, they received 1,500 eggs….plus another 13,500...for a total of 15,000 eggs.

“There was literally no end to the delivery,” Norwegian cook Stale Johansen told Norway’s Aftenposten.

The story of Team Norway’s “scrambled” egg order was trending on social media this week.

Some blamed the problem on Google Translate. But there may have simply been a typing mistake in the original order. The Korean language uses a different counting system, so Norwegians probably would not have noticed their error once it was translated.

Luckily, the Norwegian athletes will not have to eat huge amounts of eggs for every meal during the Olympics. The cooks were able to return the extra eggs to the supermarket.

And that’s What’s Trending Today.

I'm Lucija Millonig.

Ashley Thompson adapted this report based on several sources. Hai Do was the editor.

Words in This Story

athlete - n. a person who is trained in or good at sports, games, or exercises that require physical skill and strength

scramble - v. to put (parts of something) in the wrong order (play on words: scramble also means: to prepare (eggs) by mixing the white and yellow parts together and then stirring the mixture in a hot pan​

original - adj. happening or existing first or at the beginning

error - n. mistake

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http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/02/09/8128/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/02/09/8128/VOA Special EnglishFri, 9 Feb 2018 01:43:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Possible Blood Test for Alzheimer's Shows Early Promise]]>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:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/02/09/2613/

Researchers in Japan and Australia say they have made progress in developing a blood test that could one day help doctors identify who might get Alzheimer’s disease.

The scientists said the test can recognize a protein known as amyloid beta, which other studies have linked to Alzheimer’s. They said it was correct more than 90 percent of the time in a study involving over 370 people.

The findings were published in the journal Nature.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. Experts believe dementia affects close to 50-million people worldwide. By the year 2050, it is expected to affect more than 131 million people. Those numbers come from Alzheimer’s Disease International, a non-profit group.

Currently, doctors have two ways to identify a buildup of amyloid beta in the brain. One is a brain scan or brain imaging; the other is invasive cerebrospinal fluid testing, also known as a spinal tap. But both tests are invasive, costly and may only show results when the disease has already started to progress.

There is no treatment that can slow the progression of Alzheimer’s. Current drugs can only ease some of the effects of the disease.

Having a simple, low-cost blood test could make it easier for drug companies to find enough people who are at risk of developing Alzheimer’s to test new medicines, said Katsuhiko Yanagisawa. He was one of the leaders of the study. He works at the Japanese National Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology.

Alzheimer’s disease is thought to start developing years before patients have any signs of memory loss. Experts say an important factor in finding an effective treatment will be the ability to recognize signs of the disease early.

“You have got to walk before you run,” said Colin Masters, a co-leader of the study and a professor at the University of Melbourne in Australia.

“You have to learn to diagnose the disease directly before you can hope to see the effect of therapeutic intervention. And that’s where the real value in this test will come,” Masters added.

The study involved 252 Australian and 121 Japanese patients. They were all between 60 and 90 years old.

Scientists not directly involved in the study said it made an important step, but now the findings need to be confirmed.

Mark Dallas is a teacher at Britain’s University of Reading. He said, “if (it) can be repeated in a larger number of people, this test will give us an insight into changes occurring in the brain that relate to Alzheimer’s disease.'

Abdul Hye works at King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience. He said the blood test was still a long way from being able to be used in medical centers.

John Hardy is a professor of neuroscience at University College London. He said it was a “hopeful study,” one that could improve diagnostic accuracy.

I’m Bryan Lynn.

The Reuters news agency reported this story. George Grow adapted the report for Learning English. Ashley Thompson was the editor.

Words in This Story

factorn. something that helps produce or influence a result

diagnosev. to recognize signs of something

occur – v. to take place; to come into existence

positiveadj. good or useful

diagnostic – adj. of or relating to the identification of a disease or problem

accuracy n. freedom from mistake

cerebrospinal – adj. involving the brain and spinal cord

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

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/02/09/2613/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/02/09/2613/VOA Special EnglishThu, 8 Feb 2018 23:58:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Could Have, Would Have, and Should Have]]>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:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/02/09/2072/

From VOA Learning English, this is Everyday Grammar.

Today we will take a look at the modal verbs could have, would have and should have. These past tense modals are useful for expressing your present feelings about a past decision (or other action).

Could have, would have, and should have are sometimes called “modals of lost opportunities.” They work like a grammatical time machine. The simple past just tells what happened. Past modals tell what could have, would have, and should have happened.

To form these past modals, use could, would, or should followed by have, followed by a past participle verb. Use have for all pronouns; never use has or had to form a past modal. Here are some examples:

She could have gone to any college she wanted to.

I would have gone to the party, but I was tired.

He should have told the truth about what he saw.

Each of these modals has a slightly different meaning. We’ll look at each of them using examples from movies and popular songs.

Could have

We’ll start with could have. Could have means that something was possible in the past, but it did not happen.

I could have gone directly to college, but I decided to travel for a year.

Listen to this song by 1980s teen pop star Tiffany. The singer is thinking about past possibilities with her lost love.

Could have been so beautiful

Could have been so right

Could have been my lover

Every day of my life

Native speakers often do not pronounce their past tense modals as clearly as Tiffany. Could have been usually gets contracted to could’ve been or even coulda’ been.

Listen to Marlon Brando in the classic film “On the Waterfront.” Brando’s character, Terry Malloy, was once a promising young boxer.

“You don’t understand. I coulda’ had class. I coulda’ been a contender. I could have been somebody—instead of a bum.”

To form the negative with these modals, use not between could and have. Could not have means that something was impossible in the past. For example:

She could not have been on that flight because I just saw her at work.

Defense lawyers often use could not have to argue for a client’s innocence.

A popular compliment in English is, “I couldn’t have said it better myself.” You can say this when you like the way somebody said something. It is a way to show strong agreement.

Would have

Let’s move on to would have.

Would have is a bit more difficult because it has two common structures. The first is with but. I would have A, but I had to B. Use this structure to show that you wanted to do something in the past, but you could not.

I would have called, but there was no phone service.

I would have loaned you the money, but I didn’t have any.

Would have also forms the result clause of a past unreal conditional. For example:

If I had known they were vegetarians, I would have made a salad.

You can always reverse conditional sentences. If would have comes first, there is no comma.

I would have made a salad if I had known they were vegetarians.

Past unreal conditionals are very complex; you can learn more about them on a previous episode of Everyday Grammar.

Usually, would have suggests a bad feeling about the past. But not always. In this song by the band Chicago, the singer is surprisingly happy that his ex-girlfriend cheated on him. Her infidelity gave him the opportunity to meet someone else. And that someone else turned out to be his true love.

If she would have been faithful

If she could have been true

Then I wouldn’ta been cheated

I would never know real love

I would've missed out on you

Should have

Finally, let’s look at should have. Should have means that something did not happen, but we wish it had happened. We use should have to talk about past mistakes. A worried mother might say:

“I was so worried about you. You should have called!”

Should have is common in apologies. For example:

I’m sorry that I’m late for work. I should have woken up earlier.

You might remember Lieutenant Dan in the movie Forrest Gump. In the movie, Dan loses both of his legs in the Vietnam War. He would have died, but Forrest saved him.

Listen for should have as Dan confronts Forrest.

“You listen to me. We all have a destiny. Nothing just happens. It’s all part of a plan. I should have died out there with my men. But now I’m nothing but a cripple!”

Should have can be used in a light-hearted way. In this song, country singer Toby Keith imagines how exciting his life would be if he had chosen to be a cowboy.

I should’ve been a cowboy

I should’ve learned to rope and ride

Wearing my six-shooter

Riding my pony on a cattle drive

I couldn’t have said it better myself. As you can see, these modals of lost opportunities offer a colorful way to talk about past choices.

That’s all for this week. Join us next week for more Everyday Grammar.

I’m John Russell.

And I’m Dr. Jill Robbins.

​Now it's your turn. Leave us example sentence. What is something you could have / should have / would have done in the past?

Adam Brock wrote this article for VOA Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.

reference
reference

Words in This Story

modal verbn. a verb (such as can, could, shall, should, ought to, will, or would) that is usually used with another verb to express ideas such as possibility, necessity, and permission

contendern. a person who tries to win something in a game or competition

bum n. a person who is lazy or who does something badly

compliment – n. a comment that says something good about someone or something

vegetariann. a person who does not eat meat

infidelityn. the act or fact of having a romantic or sexual relationship with someone other than your husband, wife, or partner

confront v. to oppose someone, especially in a direct and forceful way

cripple n. a person who cannot move or walk normally because of a permanent injury or other physical problem

six-shootern. a kind of gun (called a revolver) that can hold six bullets (often used to describe guns used in the old American West)

cattle driven. the process of moving cows from one place to another

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http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/02/09/2072/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/02/09/2072/VOA Special EnglishThu, 8 Feb 2018 23:31:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Experts Worry That Road Salt Harms US Waters]]>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:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/02/08/2877/

Communities in the Northern parts of the United States have used salt to keep icy roads safe during winter for many years. But, some experts now say salt harms nearby fresh water supplies.

Putting salt on icy roads helps reduce traffic accidents and prevents people from slipping and falling on roads and walkways.

But researchers have found growing evidence that salt used on roads is increasing the salinity in many lakes in the U.S.

Instead, they recommend using other materials such as beet juice, molasses, or even waste products from making beer or cheese.

Victoria Kelly is a road salt expert at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in New York. She said scientists have been seeing increased amounts of salt in streams, rivers and lakes.

Now, she said, scientists are asking: “What is going to happen to the organisms living in freshwater bodies and what will happen to the freshwater bodies as a whole?”

New tools for keeping roads safe

Road salt is believed to have been first used in the 1940s in the state of New Hampshire. It became the main tool for removing ice from roads as cities expanded, highways were built and drivers began expecting clear roads.

This circa 1940s photo released by the New Hampshire Department of Transportation archives shows salt being applied for anti-icing on a New Hampshire roadway.
This circa 1940s photo released by the New Hampshire Department of Transportation archives shows salt being applied for anti-icing on a New Hampshire roadway.

It is estimated that more than 20 million tons of salt are used each winter in places like the Northeastern and Midwestern United States.

But many state and local agencies are looking for ways to reduce salt use because its harmful effects on the environment are becoming clearer.

Some agencies now use high-technology equipment to spread salt more effectively. Others are trying to study weather reports to make better decisions about when to use salt. Another new tool is liquid organic products that help salt stick to roads so it does not wash away easily.

For example, agencies in states such as New Jersey and North Dakota are using a mixture that includes beet juice to keep ice off of roads. New Hampshire and Maine use molasses. Highway departments also have used beer waste and pickle brine. In at least one county in Wisconsin, cheese brine was used.

Jonathan Rubin is director of the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center in Maine. He is the lead author of a 2010 report on salting roads in the state.

“Adding salt to the environment does have negative impacts, but for those of us in the Northeast, especially in rural states, where driving is the predominant way of getting around, we need mobility,” said Rubin.

“In my opinion, we are always going to be using some degree of road salt,” he said. “The question is, can we use less?”

Leaving a salty taste in freshwater

Experts say salt corrosion already causes billions of dollars in damage each year to cars, roads and bridges. They also say there are growing signs that road salt is getting into freshwater.

In the past 50 years, chloride levels in some lakes and rivers are four times higher than normal. In a few cases, they are one hundred times higher.

Last year, a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that more than 40 percent of the lakes studied showed long-term salinization.

The researchers estimated that by 2050, nearly 50 lakes in the study will have chloride levels that threaten freshwater plants and animals.

Other studies have shown that salinization of lakes and streams reduces the numbers of fish and amphibians and kills plants.

Caleb Dobbins is New Hampshire’s highway maintenance engineer. Although there are concerns, he does not think salt will be replaced anytime soon. Other chemicals, he notes, are more expensive than salt and have their own environmental risks.

I’m Phil Dierking.

Michael Casey originally wrote this story for the Associated Press. Phil Dierking adapted this story for VOA Learning English. Mario Ritter was the editor.

What do you think is worse, icy roads or making freshwater too salty? Why? We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.

Words in This Story

salinity - n. the amount of salt in something​

molasses - n. a thick, brown, sweet liquid that is made from raw sugar​

concentrations - n. a large amount of something in one place​

organic -adj. grown or made without the use of artificial chemicals​

brine - n. a mixture of salty water used especially to preserve or add flavor to food​

predominant - adj. more important, powerful, successful, or noticeable than other people or things​

corrosion - n. to slowly break apart and destroy (metal, an object, etc.) through a chemical process​

amphibians - n. an animal (such as a frog or toad) that can live both on land and in water​

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/02/08/2877/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/02/08/2877/VOA Special EnglishWed, 7 Feb 2018 17:43:00 UTC
<![CDATA[2015 Letter Raises Questions About Pope's Knowledge of Sex Abuse Cover-Up]]>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:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/02/07/8014/

Pope Francis reportedly received a letter in 2015 that describes a Chilean church cover-up of sexual abuse by a priest there.

The pope had said recently that no victims had reported a cover-up.

But one victim wrote in an eight-page letter that several clergy members witnessed and tried to hide the abuse, including Juan Barros. He is the Bishop of Osnorno, Chile, and was appointed by the Pope in early 2015.

Member of Francis' sex abuse commission told the Associated Press that the victim’s letter was given to the Pope.

Pope Francis has repeatedly said that he has “zero tolerance'' for sex abuse or attempts to hide it or protect abusers. He also has expressed his understanding and sympathy for abuse survivors.

But last month, demonstrators in South America protested a visit by the Pope because of his forceful defense of Barros.

Defending Barros

Barros is accused of witnessing and ignoring sex abuse by Chilean priest Fernando Karadima. During the Pope’s trip to South America, he dismissed accusations against Barros as “slander.”

Pope Francis (L) leads a service in Iquique, Chile, on January 18, 2018.
Pope Francis (L) leads a service in Iquique, Chile, on January 18, 2018.

The Pope spoke to an AP reporter on his flight home. He said, “You, in all good will, tell me that there are victims, but I haven't seen any, because they haven't come forward.”

Yet members of the Pope's Commission for the Protection of Minors say the Roman Catholic Church leader did have such information. The team says it sent a delegation to Rome in April 2015 to give the letter about Barros to the Pope.

Victim's letter reportedly given to Pope

The victim, Juan Carlos Cruz, wrote in the letter that Karadima had repeatedly sexually assaulted him. He said Barros and others saw the assaults and did nothing to stop them.

Four members of the commission met with Francis' top abuse adviser, Cardinal Sean O'Malley. They explained their objections to Francis' appointment of Barros as a bishop in southern Chile.

They also gave O’Malley the letter to give to Francis.

Marie Collins was a member of the commission. She was at the meeting. “When we gave him (O'Malley) the letter for the pope, he assured us he would give it to the pope and speak of the concerns,” she told the AP. “And at a later date, he assured us that that had been done.”

Cruz said he was told the same thing later that year. He spoke to the AP in an interview from his home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

“Cardinal O'Malley called me after the Pope's visit here in Philadelphia and he told me, among other things, that he had given the letter to the pope in his hands,'' Cruz said.

Neither the Vatican nor O'Malley answered requests for comment.

Karadima refuses media visits

Cruz arrived at Karadima's community in 1980 as a troubled teenager whose father had recently died. Cruz has said Karadima told him he would be like a spiritual father to him.

Cruz provided AP reporters with a copy of his letter. In it, he asks for Francis to honor his promise to punish abusers and those who help them.

Following testimony from Cruz and other former members of the local church, the Vatican removed Karadima in 2011 from religious leadership and sentenced him to a lifetime of ''penance and prayer'' for his crimes.

Karadima is now 87 years old and lives in a home for old priests in Santiago. He has not publicly commented on any of the reports and does not accept calls or visits from the news media.

'I never knew anything...'

Barros has repeatedly denied witnessing any abuse or covering it up. ''I never knew anything about, nor ever imagined, the serious abuses which that priest committed against the victims,'' he told the AP recently.

Juan Barros smiles as he leaves the altar after Mass was celebrated by Pope Francis on Lobito Beach in Iquique, Chile, Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018.
Juan Barros smiles as he leaves the altar after Mass was celebrated by Pope Francis on Lobito Beach in Iquique, Chile, Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018.

The Vatican announced last week it was sending its most respected sex-crimes investigator to take testimony from Cruz and others about Barros.

Although the Vatican and Chilean government officials considered the victims' testimony credible, the local church did not. That may have influenced Francis's view. Chilean Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa has said he did not believe the victims at first and cancelled an investigation as a result. He was forced to reopen it when the victims made their case public. He has also apologized.

Errazuriz is one of the Pope Francis’s key cardinal advisers.

By the time Cruz got his letter to cardinal O'Malley in 2015, he had already sent versions of it to many other people. He and other survivors had tried for months to get an appointment with the Vatican ambassador to Chile. The embassy sent Cruz a short message in answer to an email he sent December 7, 2014 – one month before Barros was appointed bishop. It said “your request has been met with an unfavorable response.”

I’m Caty Weaver.

And I’m Ashley Thompson.

The Associated Press reported this story. Caty Weaver adapted it for Learning English. Ashley Thompson 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

priest - n. a person who has the authority to lead or perform ceremonies in some religions and especially in some Christian religions

zero tolerance - n. ​a policy of giving the most severe punishment possible to every person who commits a crime or breaks a rule​

assault - v. ​to violently attack (someone or something)

slander - n. ​the act of making a false spoken statement that causes people to have a bad opinion of someone​

assure - v. ​to make (something) certain ​

interview - n. ​a meeting at which people talk to each other in order to ask questions and get information:

penance - n. ​something that you do or are given to do in order to show that you are sad or sorry about doing something wrong​

commit - v. ​to do (something that is illegal or harmful)

testimony - n. ​something that someone says especially in a court of law while formally promising to tell the truth​

credible - adj. able to be believed : reasonable to trust or believe

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/02/07/8014/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/02/07/8014/VOA Special EnglishTue, 6 Feb 2018 17:46:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Many Food Names in English Come From Africa]]>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:
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On a recent program, we told you stories of English words borrowed from other languages. Today, we will tell you about words English has taken from African languages.

Many of these words entered English as a result of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.

Joseph E. Holloway is a historian of African-American history. In his paper African Crops and Slave Cuisine, he explains the way many crops from Africa reached North America.

Drawing of a ship carrying enslaved Africans during the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade
Drawing of a ship carrying enslaved Africans during the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade

Slave ships carried these crops as food for enslaved Africans during the long voyage. The foods included rice and other grains, okra, yams, different kinds of beans and peanuts.

And, as we will discuss today, some of the food names later became part of the English language.

Yam

Let’s start with the yam. The yam was the most common food fed to enslaved Africans on ships traveling to the Americas. Yams are long, starchy vegetables with white, reddish or purple flesh.

What many Americans call a yam is actually a sweet potato. American supermarkets are largely responsible for the confusion; they often mark yams as sweet potatoes.

The word yam is of West African origin. Two languages spoken there have similar versions of the word. In Fulani, the word is nyami and it means “to eat.” In Twi, the word is anyinam.

The yam -- both the vegetable and its name -- is of African origin.
The yam -- both the vegetable and its name -- is of African origin.

Portuguese and Spaniards brought yams to the Americas through Guyana and Brazil. Yams later became common throughout the Caribbean.

In the late 1500s, the Portuguese changed the word to inhame; the Spanish changed it to iñame. Its first usage in English was igname. By the mid-1600s, the English spelling had changed to y-a-m.

And today, in Jamaican Patois – an English-based language with African influences – the word nyam still means “to eat.”

Okra

Another vegetable with an African name - and origin - is okra. Okra is a tall, green plant whose pods are eaten as a vegetable. It is often used in soups and similar dishes. The original word was okuru, from the Igbo language of Nigeria.

Okra reached the Caribbean and the United States in the 1700s. Not long after, the vegetable was introduced in Europe.​

Gumbo is considered the official dish of Louisiana. The dish has an okra and tomato sauce base and typically contains seafood, sausage, rice and spices..
Gumbo is considered the official dish of Louisiana. The dish has an okra and tomato sauce base and typically contains seafood, sausage, rice and spices..

In the American state of Louisiana, okra has been used for centuries to thicken stews and soups. During colonial times, African, European and Native American cultures mixed to form what would become Creole culture. Today, okra is still a key part of Creole cooking, especially its most famous dish: gumbo. Interestingly, the word gumbo once meant simply “okra.” The original word was ki ngombo, from Mbundu, a language of Angola.

Goober

Our next food name with African origins is goober. The American English word goober once commonly meant peanut. The word was used throughout the American South in the 19th century, with the first known English usage in 1833.

As Holloway’s paper explains, “Union soldiers fighting on southern soil during the Civil War found southern peanuts both tasty and filling.” They even made a song about it called “Eating Goober Peas.”

The word 'goober' was once very common in the American South.
The word 'goober' was once very common in the American South.

The original word, nguba, is the same in two Bantu languages: Kikongo and Kimbundu*.

Today, in American English, goober is rarely used to mean peanut. More often, it is used informally to mean “a foolish or simple person.”

Banana

The word banana is believed to come from Wolof, a West African language of Senegal, Gambia and Mauritania. In Wolof, the word is banaana. Some research also links the word to bana, from the Mande language of Liberia in West Africa.

The word 'banana' is believed to be of Wolof origin.
The word 'banana' is believed to be of Wolof origin.

Many historians say bananas probably first grew in Southeast Asia and Papua New Guinea around 6,000 years ago. Recent research shows that Africans began harvesting this fruit at least 4,500 years ago. How the fruit reached Africa from Asia is more of a mystery, although many reports say Arab traders may have brought them there. One Arabic word for finger or toe is banan.

In the late 1500s, Portuguese and Spanish colonists took the fruit with them from Africa to the Americas and brought along its African name. The Portuguese began banana plantations in the Caribbean islands and Brazil.

Then, in 1633, an herbalist in Britain sold the first banana to reach Europe at his store.

Jumbo

Along with food names, English has borrowed other kinds of words from African languages. One example is jumbo.

In English, the word jumbo is an adjective that means “very large for its type.”

Today, the word can be found in many places where products are sold: supermarkets, online stores and even restaurants.

In Washington, D.C., for example, Jumbo Slice is the name of a popular late-night pizza place that sells very, very large pieces of pizza.

The word came into popular American usage in an interesting way. Jumbo was the name of an African bull elephant that was a zoo animal and a circus performer.

An 1882 advertisement for a circus called P.T. Barnum's Greatest Show on Earth
An 1882 advertisement for a circus called P.T. Barnum's Greatest Show on Earth

Historical accounts say Jumbo was captured as a baby elephant in East Africa in 1861. His captors brought him to France and sold him to a botanical garden. He lived there in unhealthy conditions.

Later, the London Zoo purchased Jumbo. He became a main attraction there. In 1882, the zoo sold him to a famous American circus.

Jumbo was reportedly a very calm animal. At his largest, he stood 3.6 meters tall. After his death, his name became a synonym for “huge.”

But as early as the 1820s, jumbo was a slang term used to describe a big, clumsy person, animal or thing. Language experts say the word may come from the word nzamba – a word that now means “forest” in Kongo, a language of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of the Congo and Angola.

Some accounts define the word nzamba as “elephant,” though this may be an outdated meaning.

Join us again soon to learn the history of English words borrowed from other languages.

I’m Phil Dierking.

And I’m Alice Bryant.

Alice Bryant wrote this story for Learning English. Ashley Thompson was the editor.

Words in This Story

voyage – n. a long journey to a distant or unknown place especially over water or through outer space

flesh – n. the soft part of a fruit that is eaten

origin – n. the point or place where something begins or is created

pod – n. a long, thin part of some plants that has seeds inside

peanut – n. a nut with a thin shell that grows under the ground and that can be eaten

herbalist – n. a person who grows, sells, or uses herbs to treat illness

circus – n. a traveling show that is often performed in a tent and that typically includes trained animals, clowns and acrobats

botanical – adj. of or relating to plants or the study of plants

attraction – n. something interesting or enjoyable that people want to visit, see, or do

synonym – n. a word that has the same meaning as another word in the same language

slang – n. words that are not considered part of the standard vocabulary of a language and are used informally in speech, especially by a particular group of people

*Kikongo is spoken in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of the Congo and Angola. Kimbundu is a language of Angola. Both are from the Bantu language group.

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/02/07/6102/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/02/07/6102/VOA Special EnglishTue, 6 Feb 2018 17:44:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Philadelphia Eagles Team Is Underdog No More]]>Caty Weaver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:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/02/06/0420/

This is What’s Trending Today …

The “underdog” Philadelphia Eagles football team has won its first Super Bowl. The team defeated the favored New England Patriots in the National Football League championship Sunday night in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The final score was 41 to 33.

Eagles quarterback Nick Foles was named Super Bowl 52’s Most Valuable Player, or MVP. Foles was backup quarterback for most of the 17-week regular season. He replaced starter Carson Wentz when he was injured in week 14.

The last time a player has gone from a backup at the start of the season to Super Bowl MVP was sixteen years ago. That player was Tom Brady, the quarterback of the Patriots. Brady led his team in play Sunday night also.

Nick Foles catches a pass for a touchdown against the New England Patriots in a trick play
Nick Foles catches a pass for a touchdown against the New England Patriots in a trick play

Foles threw for three touchdowns and even caught the ball in a trick play. Brady dropped a pass in a similar play. However, he broke a Super Bowl record in passing.

Twenty-eight other Super Bowl records were tied or broken during the game. The game was the second highest-scoring Super Bowl ever.

As Brady’s final Hail Mary pass dropped on the field, incomplete, Eagles fans flooded the streets of Philadelphia to celebrate the Pennsylvania city’s first Super Bowl victory.

Philadelphia Eagles fans celebrate the team's victory in the NFL Super Bowl 52
Philadelphia Eagles fans celebrate the team's victory in the NFL Super Bowl 52

Hometown newspaper, The Philadelphia Inquirer, reported the scene this way:

“Men hoisted women on their shoulders, a father set off fireworks with his son, and residents clobbered pots and pans… Some people drank champagne. Some cried. And everywhere, Eagles chants thundered through the air.”

Some of the celebrations turned ugly, however. People broke windows of a department store and pushed over streetlights at major road crossings. In another incident, a car was overturned outside a hotel. And the mayor’s office said police made three arrests in connection with the post-Super Bowl activities.

By the morning light, city workers were out to clean up the mess and prepare for a victory parade on Broad Street.

And that's What's Trending Today.

I'm Caty Weaver.

Hai Do adapted this story for Learning English based on reports from the Associated Press and other sources. Caty Weaver was the editor.

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

Words in This Story

trick - n. something done to surprise or cause confusion

Hail Mary - n. in American football, a long pass thrown into or close to the end zone as playing time runs out

hoist -v. to raise something

resident - n. someone who lives in a particular place

clobber - v. to hit something very hard

prepare - v. to make something ready for some activity

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/02/06/0420/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/02/06/0420/VOA Special EnglishTue, 6 Feb 2018 07:50:00 UTC
<![CDATA[SpaceX's New Rocket Ready for First Flight]]>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:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/02/06/9816/

SpaceX’s huge rocket makes its first launch this week. It will leave from the same launch pad that sent men to the moon almost 50 years ago.

The rocket, called the ‘Falcon Heavy’, could be launched as early as Tuesday. When it does, it will be the most powerful working rocket in use today.

The Falcon Heavy represents an important moment for the private space company created 16 years ago by Elon Musk. The rocket will be capable of lifting extremely large satellites into orbit and sending spacecraft to the moon, Mars and beyond.

The rocket already has several customers, including the U.S. Air Force.

“I can’t wait to see it fly and to see it fly again and again,” said the Southwest Research Institute’s Alan Stern. He’s the lead scientist for NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, which recently flew by Pluto.

Cape Canaveral, the launch location, has not seen this kind of excitement since the last space shuttle flight in 2011. The city expects huge crowds for the afternoon launch from Kennedy Space Center. Visitor center tickets for the best viewing, called “Feel the Heat” and “Closest Package,” sold out quickly.

The Heavy is capable of delivering 63,800 kilograms of cargo to low-Earth orbit, nearly 26,700 kilograms to high-Earth orbit, and smaller cargo to Mars and Pluto.

But for its first flight, the rocket will carry Musk’s red Tesla Roadster automobile. In addition to SpaceX, he runs the electric car maker Tesla.

This Dec 6, 2017 photo made available by SpaceX shows a Tesla car next to the fairing of a Falcon Heavy rocket in Cape Canaveral, Fla. For the Heavy’s inaugural flight, the rocket will carry up Elon Musk’s roadster. In addition to SpaceX, Musk runs the el
This Dec 6, 2017 photo made available by SpaceX shows a Tesla car next to the fairing of a Falcon Heavy rocket in Cape Canaveral, Fla. For the Heavy’s inaugural flight, the rocket will carry up Elon Musk’s roadster. In addition to SpaceX, Musk runs the el

“Red car for a red planet,” Musk tweeted in December, when announcing the surprise cargo. New rockets usually carry blocks of steel or other heavy material instead of true cargo. But Musk felt that was “extremely boring.”

The rocket is intended to continually orbit around the sun, wide enough to pass by Mars. The car will be playing the song “Space Oddity,” by the musician David Bowie

New business era for space travel

NASA officials said the Falcon Heavy is the latest evidence of the Kennedy Space Center’s transformation into a multi-user spaceport. This is a change after many years of launching the space agency’s space shuttles.

Besides Space X, NASA is building its own Space Launch System, or SLS, mega-rocket. And Blue Origin, led by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, is also developing a big, reusable orbital-class rocket

The Heavy Falcon costs around $90 million, which is still cheaper than the larger SLS rocket being built by NASA. It is expected to cost over $1 billion a flight.

In this Sept. 27, 2016 file photo, SpaceX founder Elon Musk speaks during the 67th International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico.
In this Sept. 27, 2016 file photo, SpaceX founder Elon Musk speaks during the 67th International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico.

In 2010, SpaceX became the first private company to launch a spacecraft into orbit and then safely guide it back to Earth, something only large governments had done. Two years later, SpaceX became the first commercial supplier of the International Space Station. Now the company wants to have the first commercial crew launch.

Retired NASA historian and Smithsonian curator Roger Launius warned that SpaceX has “a long history of overpromising,” although eventually succeeding.

The Heavy’s first flight, for example, has been delayed for years. Musk has admitted the rocket proved harder to build than he thought. He has also been warning for months the rocket might not make it higher than the launch tower.

However, Launius says he is happy for anyone who creates a successful rocket, and will congratulate Musk if he succeeds.

I’m Phil Dierking.

Marcia Dunn reported this story for the Associated Press. Phil Dierking adapted the story for VOA Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.

Would you pay to ride a rocket to space? We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.

Words in This Story

afternoon - n. the middle part of the day​

cargo - n. something that is carried from one place to another by boat, airplane, etc.​

customer - n. someone who buys goods or services from a business​

cheap - adj. not costing a lot of money​

commercial - adj. related to or used in the buying and selling of goods and services​

curator - n. a person who is in charge of the things in a museum, zoo, etc.​

deliver - v. to take (something) to a person or place​

intend - adj. to plan or want to do (something) ​

location - n. a place or position​

package - n. a group of related things that are sold together for a single price​

pad - n. a flat area on the ground where helicopters can take off or land​

spacecraft - n. a vehicle that is used for travel in outer space​

spaceport - n. a base from which spacecraft are launched.​

tower - n. a tall, narrow building or structure that may stand apart from or be attached to another building or structure​

transformation - n. a complete or major change in someone's or something's appearance, form, etc.​

viewing - n. the things that can be seen from a particular place​

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/02/06/9816/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/02/06/9816/VOA Special EnglishTue, 6 Feb 2018 07:25:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Progress Made Against Malaria at Risk]]>Anna Matteo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:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/02/06/2824/

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

In recent decades, countries around the world have made great progress against malaria. However, a new report from the World Health Organization (WHO) says that progress is at risk.

This WHO annual report looks at the global fight against the disease. It says that malaria cases are on the rise in several countries.

Many countries are moving toward eliminating malaria, among them Madagascar, Senegal and Zimbabwe.

However, the WHO report warns that in others, progress has stalled.

Malaria cases increased by more than 20 percent from 2015 to 2016 in eight African countries - including Rwanda, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

At the same time, funding for malaria prevention and treatment has leveled off, reaching $2.7 billion in 2016. This amount is less than half of the 2020 target.

Professor David Conway is from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He says money for fighting malaria has plateaued, meaning it has not increased in a long time.

'That amount of funding internationally has plateaued.Possibly it has reached the realistic maximum. And it has always been assumed; indeed it has been important that countries themselves should commit to funding malaria control. And I think the big opportunity now is for those countries to step up and realize that this is good value.'

Overall, Africa continues to suffer the most from malaria. In 2016, just over 400,000 people died from the disease. This is slightly less than in 2015. However, in Africa the malaria parasite does not yet appear to be developing drug resistance.

The same cannot be said for Southeast Asia.

Conway explains that there are renewed concerns that in Southeast Asia malaria will become drug-resistant in the future.

“The current treatments within Africa – they work very well. There is resistance in Southeast Asia which has spread, which potentially going to be more of a problem in the future. Insecticide resistance has spread much more. That’s resistance in the mosquitoes.”

The WHO is calling for improving the coverage of existing methods of malaria prevention as well as an urgent investment in new tools -- namely a malaria vaccine.

Again, here is Professor Conway.

'More research is needed to develop an effective malaria vaccine that could cover the populations that at the moment have high malaria rates and that perhaps don't use the available interventions even when they are being funded.'

Several malaria vaccines are under development. Starting in 2018, the WHO is planning a major trial of the RTSS vaccine in Kenya, Ghana and Malawi.

But this latest report from the WHO warns that the world is at a crossroads. Without better funding and more effective tools to fight malaria, the progress made in recent decades could be undone.

And that's the Health & Lifestyle report.

I'm Anna Matteo.

Henry Ridgwell reported this story for VOA News. Anna Matteo adapted it for Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.

Words in This Story

stall – v. to bring to a standstill

plateau – v. to reach a level, period, or condition of stability or maximum attainment

realistic – adj. able to see things as they really are and to deal with them in a practical way

maximum – adj. the highest number or amount that is possible or allowed — usually singular

assume – v. to think that something is true or probably true without knowing that it is true

commit – v. to say that (someone or something) will definitely do something : to make (someone or something) obligated to do something

step up – phrasal verb to come forward <stepped up to claim responsibility> : to increase, augment, or advance especially by one or more steps <step up production>

insecticide – n. a chemical substance that is used to kill insects

intervention – n. to become involved in something (such as a conflict) in order to have an influence on what happens

trial – n. a test of the quality, value, or usefulness of something

crossroads – n. often used figuratively to refer to a place or time at which a decision must be made

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/02/06/2824/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/02/06/2824/VOA Special EnglishTue, 6 Feb 2018 06:58:00 UTC
<![CDATA[California Considers Medical Abortion on Public College Campuses]]>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:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/02/05/3318/

The state of California is making a new move in the dispute over abortion in the United States. In January, state lawmakers voted to require all 34 public universities in California to offer students medication to induce abortion. In order to become law, the bill will need to be approved by the Assembly.

A medication abortion permits a woman to force a miscarriage by taking two pills within the first 10 weeks of becoming pregnant. Since the option came available to women in the U.S. in 2000, medical abortions have become more common as a way to end a pregnancy. Today, they account for more than 20 percent of U.S. abortions, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports medication abortions are also increasing worldwide, both as legal and secret measures. The WHO says the number of medical abortions has “likely contributed” to lower rates of secret abortions that result in injury and death to women.

But few U.S. colleges provide medication abortions. And none of California’s public universities currently offers them. The latest move to require University of California and California State schools to offer the service has introduced another point of debate in an already severely disputed issue.

University of California campus in Los Angeles.
University of California campus in Los Angeles.

Why is the move controversial?

Abortion has been legal in the U.S. since the 1973 Supreme Court decision called Roe versus Wade. But that decision also says that states can make some restrictions on abortion. For example, many states require women seeking abortions to wait a certain number of weeks or to have an ultrasound – a medical test that allows them to see inside their uterus.

And regardless of national or state laws, public and political opinions about abortion in the U.S. remain sharply divided.

Opponents of the California state senate decision include the Students for Life of America. The group aims to end abortion not only on campuses, but across the country.

A spokesperson for the group, Kristi Hamrick, told VOA over email: “There are no educational goals that will be met by expanding a university’s mandate to include ending pre-born life.” Hamrick adds that schools should be concerned with students’ safety; yet, the president of the Students for Life group says medication abortions bring dangerous risks to women.

Another group, the California Catholic Conference, says the proposed law does not really respect a person’s decision to continue a pregnancy. Ned Dolejsi is the executive director of the group. He told VOA, “They [supporters] are not there to honor the life-affirming and life-giving choices that our faith would support. They’re all-in on encouraging a young woman to have an abortion.”

The California Family Council said the state had gone too far in this case, and even some California State University officials expressed concern about the details of the proposal. A spokesperson for the CSU chancellor’s office says the requirement will impose high costs for insurance, safety measures, medical training, and 24-hour support for medical emergencies.

Pro-life and pro-choice activists gather at the Supreme Court for the National March for Life rally in Washington, D.C., Jan. 27, 2017.
Pro-life and pro-choice activists gather at the Supreme Court for the National March for Life rally in Washington, D.C., Jan. 27, 2017.

Supporters see benefits

But people who support the bill see many benefits. Senator Connie Leyva wrote the bill. She said that, for women seeking an abortion, acting quickly is important. Providing the medication on campus will ensure that women do not need a car or will have to miss class to find a doctor. And the student clinic will accept a student’s health insurance plan.

FILE - In this April 22, 2015 file photo, Sen. Connie Leyva, D-Chino, works at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif. Leyva's bill SB320 would require all university campuses to offer medication abortion by Jan. 1, 2022.
FILE - In this April 22, 2015 file photo, Sen. Connie Leyva, D-Chino, works at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif. Leyva's bill SB320 would require all university campuses to offer medication abortion by Jan. 1, 2022.

Leyva said, “I firmly believe that all students should be able to decide what to do with their own bodies and when to factor a family into their life. After all, women do not lose the constitutional right to end a pregnancy simply because they are a college student.”

If the bill to require medication abortions on California public universities passes, a group of private donors plans to help fund the effort. They say they will pay for up to $20 million in startup costs, including equipment and training for the staff.

“We believe that if they just learned what was required and were trained that they would realize that it’s very straightforward and a huge, huge value to their patients,” said Dr. Ruth Shaber. Shaber leads the Tara Foundation, one of the promised donors.

The bill’s sponsors estimate that between 19 and 32 students on California campuses would seek a medication abortion each month.

I’m ­Susan Shand.

Kelly Jean Kelly wrote this story for VOA Learning English with additional reporting from Jonathan Cooper of the Associated Press. Hai Do was the editor.

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

Words in This Story

miscarriage - n. a condition when a pregnancy ends and does not result in the birth of a live baby

uterus - n. the organ in women and some female animals in which babies develop before birth

mandate - n. an official order to do something

all-in - adj. allowing almost anything

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/02/05/3318/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/02/05/3318/VOA Special EnglishMon, 5 Feb 2018 11:33:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Several Studies Show Oceans Face Serious Threats]]>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:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/02/05/3403/

The world’s oceans are sick, and getting sicker every day.

Two new studies show the warming of Earth’s atmosphere is removing oxygen from ocean waters and harming coral reefs.

Oxygen is necessary for all life in the oceans, except for a few extremely small organisms. And researchers said oxygen levels are low enough to threaten all the ocean life that depends on it.

Denise Breitburg is an ocean scientist at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. She is also a member of the Global Ocean Oxygen Network, a team of scientists organized by the United Nations to study the issue.

This May 2016 photo provided by NOAA shows bleaching and some dead coral around Jarvis Island, which is part of the U.S. Pacific Remote Marine National Monument.
This May 2016 photo provided by NOAA shows bleaching and some dead coral around Jarvis Island, which is part of the U.S. Pacific Remote Marine National Monument.

Breitburg told the Associated Press, “If you can’t breathe, nothing else matters. That pretty much describes it.”

The journal Science published the two studies. The first describes how the growing problem of falling oxygen levels is more complex than experts had thought. The second study shows that rising ocean temperatures are greatly increasing coral reef bleaching events.

Scientists with the Global Ocean Oxygen Network reported that more than 32 million square kilometers of ocean are low in oxygen. These affected areas reach a depth of about 200 meters.

This area is bigger than Africa, the second largest continent. The scientists say the area of low oxygen levels has grown about 16 percent since 1950.

The Global Ocean Oxygen Network’s report is the widest reaching look at decreasing oxygen levels in the world’s seas so far. Lisa Levin is a professor at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and a co-author of the report.

In her words, “The low oxygen problem is the biggest unknown climate change consequence out there.”

Levin said past research had shown low oxygen areas that were the result of agricultural pollution. She said past studies also showed how warmer waters had created a lack of oxygen. But Levin said this latest study shows how both problems are connected by common causes and possible solutions.

Co-author Denise Breitburg said that some low oxygen levels in the world’s ocean are natural, but not to the extent found. Wind patterns and ocean currents, believed changed by global warming, are preventing oxygen from sinking below the surface of the water. In addition, warmer water does not hold as much oxygen and less oxygen mixes into the water, she said.

This May 2016 photo provided by NOAA shows bleaching and some dead coral around Jarvis Island, which is part of the U.S. Pacific Remote Marine National Monument.
This May 2016 photo provided by NOAA shows bleaching and some dead coral around Jarvis Island, which is part of the U.S. Pacific Remote Marine National Monument.

In the other study, a team of experts looked at 100 coral reefs around the world. They examined how often the reefs experienced severe bleaching events since 1980.

Bleaching happens when water temperature rises just 1 degree Celsius above the normal high for an area. Before the 1980s, reefs that experienced bleaching would have 25 to 30 years before another event. The new study finds that bleaching events are now only about six years apart.

Bleaching is not quite killing the sensitive corals. But it is breaking down the algae that lives inside them. This severely sickens the coral.

Co-author Mark Eakin runs the Coral Reef Watch program for the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. He said coral reefs near Guam are some of the hardest hit. He said there have eight severe bleaching incidents there since 1994. Four of the incidents were in the last five years.

Eakin said that it takes time to recover from bleaching. But, he said, now bleachings are happening too often for coral to recover.

Only six of the 100 coral reefs had not experienced severe bleaching. Four are around Australia, one is in the Indian Ocean and another is off South Africa’s coast.

But bleaching is not the only issue coral reefs face. Trash is also a danger. Another team of researchers recently reported about tons of plastic waste trapped in coral reefs from Thailand to Australia. The plastic is severely sickening the reefs, they said.

An environmental activist examines coral reefs off Aceh Besar, Aceh province, Indonesia. Coral that survived the 2004 tsunami is now dying at one of the fastest rates ever recorded because of an intense rise in water temperatures.
An environmental activist examines coral reefs off Aceh Besar, Aceh province, Indonesia. Coral that survived the 2004 tsunami is now dying at one of the fastest rates ever recorded because of an intense rise in water temperatures.

That study was also published in the journal Science. It found that a total of 11.1 billion pieces of plastic are stuck in reefs in the Asia-Pacific region. The waste includes plastic bags and fishing equipment.

The scientists predicted the amount of plastic would rise 40 percent by 2025.

Plastic increases the likelihood of coral disease by about 20 times. It can damage the structure, weakening a coral reef’s defenses. Plastic can also transport other organisms that harm coral.

The study’s authors urged stronger restrictions on plastic waste. They also said better management of the fishing industry is necessary to protect coral.

I’m Pete Musto. And I’m Anna Matteo.

Pete Musto adapted this story for VOA Learning English from Associated Press and Reuters news reports. Caty Weaver was the editor.

We want to hear from you. What more do you think the nations of the world can and should do to protect the oceans? Write to us in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.

Words in This Story

coral reef(s) – n. a long line of hard material formed on the bottom of the sea by the skeletons of small creatures that lies in warm, shallow water

journaln. a magazine that reports on things of special interest to a particular group of people

bleachingn. the removal color from something especially through the effect of sunlight or by using chemicals

authorn. a person who has written something

consequence – n. something that happens as a result of a particular action or set of conditions

(to the) extentn. used to describe the effect or importance of something in relation to something else

pattern(s) – n. the regular and repeated way in which something happens or is done

quiteadj. completely or entirely

sensitiveadj. easily affected by something in a way that is not pleasant or good

algaen. simple plants that have no leaves or stems and that grow in or near water

trashn. things that are no longer useful or wanted and that have been thrown away

ton(s) – n. a large amount

regionn. a part of a country or of the world that is different or separate from other parts in some way

managementn. the act or process of controlling and dealing with something

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/02/05/3403/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/02/05/3403/VOA Special EnglishMon, 5 Feb 2018 11:29:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Several Studies Show Oceans Face Serious Threats]]>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:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/02/05/4106/

The world’s oceans are sick, and getting sicker every day.

Two new studies show the warming of Earth’s atmosphere is removing oxygen from ocean waters and harming coral reefs.

Oxygen is necessary for all life in the oceans, except for a few extremely small organisms. And researchers said oxygen levels are low enough to threaten all the ocean life that depends on it.

Denise Breitburg is an ocean scientist at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. She is also a member of the Global Ocean Oxygen Network, a team of scientists organized by the United Nations to study the issue.

This May 2016 photo provided by NOAA shows bleaching and some dead coral around Jarvis Island, which is part of the U.S. Pacific Remote Marine National Monument.
This May 2016 photo provided by NOAA shows bleaching and some dead coral around Jarvis Island, which is part of the U.S. Pacific Remote Marine National Monument.

Breitburg told the Associated Press, “If you can’t breathe, nothing else matters. That pretty much describes it.”

The journal Science published the two studies. The first describes how the growing problem of falling oxygen levels is more complex than experts had thought. The second study shows that rising ocean temperatures are greatly increasing coral reef bleaching events.

Scientists with the Global Ocean Oxygen Network reported that more than 32 million square kilometers of ocean are low in oxygen. These affected areas reach a depth of about 200 meters.

This area is bigger than Africa, the second largest continent. The scientists say the area of low oxygen levels has grown about 16 percent since 1950.

The Global Ocean Oxygen Network’s report is the widest reaching look at decreasing oxygen levels in the world’s seas so far. Lisa Levin is a professor at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and a co-author of the report.

In her words, “The low oxygen problem is the biggest unknown climate change consequence out there.”

Levin said past research had shown low oxygen areas that were the result of agricultural pollution. She said past studies also showed how warmer waters had created a lack of oxygen. But Levin said this latest study shows how both problems are connected by common causes and possible solutions.

Co-author Denise Breitburg said that some low oxygen levels in the world’s ocean are natural, but not to the extent found. Wind patterns and ocean currents, believed changed by global warming, are preventing oxygen from sinking below the surface of the water. In addition, warmer water does not hold as much oxygen and less oxygen mixes into the water, she said.

This May 2016 photo provided by NOAA shows bleaching and some dead coral around Jarvis Island, which is part of the U.S. Pacific Remote Marine National Monument.
This May 2016 photo provided by NOAA shows bleaching and some dead coral around Jarvis Island, which is part of the U.S. Pacific Remote Marine National Monument.

In the other study, a team of experts looked at 100 coral reefs around the world. They examined how often the reefs experienced severe bleaching events since 1980.

Bleaching happens when water temperature rises just 1 degree Celsius above the normal high for an area. Before the 1980s, reefs that experienced bleaching would have 25 to 30 years before another event. The new study finds that bleaching events are now only about six years apart.

Bleaching is not quite killing the sensitive corals. But it is breaking down the algae that lives inside them. This severely sickens the coral.

Co-author Mark Eakin runs the Coral Reef Watch program for the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. He said coral reefs near Guam are some of the hardest hit. He said there have eight severe bleaching incidents there since 1994. Four of the incidents were in the last five years.

Eakin said that it takes time to recover from bleaching. But, he said, now bleachings are happening too often for coral to recover.

Only six of the 100 coral reefs had not experienced severe bleaching. Four are around Australia, one is in the Indian Ocean and another is off South Africa’s coast.

But bleaching is not the only issue coral reefs face. Trash is also a danger. Another team of researchers recently reported about tons of plastic waste trapped in coral reefs from Thailand to Australia. The plastic is severely sickening the reefs, they said.

An environmental activist examines coral reefs off Aceh Besar, Aceh province, Indonesia. Coral that survived the 2004 tsunami is now dying at one of the fastest rates ever recorded because of an intense rise in water temperatures.
An environmental activist examines coral reefs off Aceh Besar, Aceh province, Indonesia. Coral that survived the 2004 tsunami is now dying at one of the fastest rates ever recorded because of an intense rise in water temperatures.

That study was also published in the journal Science. It found that a total of 11.1 billion pieces of plastic are stuck in reefs in the Asia-Pacific region. The waste includes plastic bags and fishing equipment.

The scientists predicted the amount of plastic would rise 40 percent by 2025.

Plastic increases the likelihood of coral disease by about 20 times. It can damage the structure, weakening a coral reef’s defenses. Plastic can also transport other organisms that harm coral.

The study’s authors urged stronger restrictions on plastic waste. They also said better management of the fishing industry is necessary to protect coral.

I’m Pete Musto. And I’m Anna Matteo.

Pete Musto adapted this story for VOA Learning English from Associated Press and Reuters news reports. Caty Weaver was the editor.

We want to hear from you. What more do you think the nations of the world can and should do to protect the oceans? Write to us in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.

Words in This Story

coral reef(s) – n. a long line of hard material formed on the bottom of the sea by the skeletons of small creatures that lies in warm, shallow water

journaln. a magazine that reports on things of special interest to a particular group of people

bleachingn. the removal color from something especially through the effect of sunlight or by using chemicals

authorn. a person who has written something

consequence – n. something that happens as a result of a particular action or set of conditions

(to the) extentn. used to describe the effect or importance of something in relation to something else

pattern(s) – n. the regular and repeated way in which something happens or is done

quiteadj. completely or entirely

sensitiveadj. easily affected by something in a way that is not pleasant or good

algaen. simple plants that have no leaves or stems and that grow in or near water

trashn. things that are no longer useful or wanted and that have been thrown away

ton(s) – n. a large amount

regionn. a part of a country or of the world that is different or separate from other parts in some way

managementn. the act or process of controlling and dealing with something

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/02/05/4106/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/02/05/4106/VOA Special EnglishMon, 5 Feb 2018 04:14:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Helen Mirren Talks 'Winchester' Film, Effects of Gun Deaths on the Living]]>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:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/02/04/4556/

Actor Helen Mirren says her new film Winchester is not a horror movie, but a ghost story. She says the film has foreign roots and also something very American: an understanding of the emotional suffering caused by gun deaths.

Mirren plays Sarah Winchester, a real-life 19th-century woman. She became very rich from the Winchester Repeating Arms Company. Her husband set up the company in 1866.

The business manufactured the Winchester repeating rifle. It enabled users to fire at a target more rapidly than other weapons.

In the film, Sarah Winchester believes she is frightened by the spirits of those killed by the powerful guns.

'It's a ghost story, hopefully in the tradition, the very grand tradition, of Japanese ghost stories, ghost films,' Mirren told the Associated Press. 'You know, the Japanese love ghost stories and have great belief in the power of the ancestor spirits, of the ancestors, as many cultures do.'

Part of the film was shot at Winchester's mansion in San Jose, California. She moved there after the death of her husband in 1881. Now known as the 'Winchester Mystery House,' it is a popular stop for visitors. The house has more than 160 rooms, 10,000 windows, 2,000 doors and 40 staircases.

Winchester Mystery home-2
Winchester Mystery home-2

Winchester was said to continually add rooms to the home to try to trick the ghosts she believed were haunting her.

A room in the Winchester Mansion, also known as the Winchester Mystery House.
A room in the Winchester Mansion, also known as the Winchester Mystery House.

​'There are many theories why she did this,'' Mirren said. 'And one of the theories we explore in the film. She was trying to placate the ghosts of the people who'd been killed by the Winchester rifle. She felt their deaths very strongly. She felt responsible.'

However, Mirren said the film is not trying to make any general statements about whether individuals should own guns.

She suggested the movie is more about the moral responsibility business owners might face.

'The issue is more putting the question mark or the weight of moral decision upon the people who make a fortune from making arms — whether they're guns, bombs, grenades ... or whatever it is,” Mirren said.

Winchester opened February 2 in the United States. Starring opposite Mirren is actor Jason Clarke as Doctor Eric Price. Price is a specialist in treating mental disorders.

I’m Caty Weaver.

Caty Weaver adapted this story for Learning English based on AP news reports. ­­George Grow was the editor.

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

Words in This Story

ghost n. the soul of a dead person thought of as living in an unseen world or as appearing to living people​

rapidly – adv. happening in a short amount of time : happening quickly​

mansion n. a large and impressive house: the large house of a wealthy person​

placate v. to cause (someone) to feel less angry about something​

fortune n. a great amount of money or possessions​

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/02/04/4556/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/02/04/4556/VOA Special EnglishSun, 4 Feb 2018 09:52:00 UTC
<![CDATA[WORDS AND THEIR STORIES - Rats!]]>Anna Matteo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:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/02/04/8915/

Now, Words and Their Stories, a weekly program from VOA Learning English.

Today we will be talking about a hated but misunderstood animal – the rat.

The sight of a rat might frighten you. Or it might make you sick to your stomach.

Well, perhaps not everyone.

In some countries, dishes made with rat meat can be rare and sometimes pricey -- what we call a delicacy.

Plus, rats are useful. With their extreme sense of smell, people can train giant rats to find land mines and even tuberculosis.

A rat being trained by the Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) is pictured on an inactive landmine field in Siem Reap province July 9, 2015.
A rat being trained by the Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) is pictured on an inactive landmine field in Siem Reap province July 9, 2015.

An African Giant Pouch rat is seen before a training session where the rats will learn to detect tuberculosis (TB) at a university laboratory in Tanzania, 2006.
An African Giant Pouch rat is seen before a training session where the rats will learn to detect tuberculosis (TB) at a university laboratory in Tanzania, 2006.

But do these things make people love rats?

No. For the most part, rats are not beloved animals.

For starters, they're not cute. They have pointed noses and long, thin tails. They can eat and damage crops. And the world has long blamed rats for spreading diseases, like the Bubonic plague in Europe during the 14th century. It does not help your reputation when you are accused of killing at least one-third of the population of an entire continent.

But, perhaps we shouldn’t be so quick to judge.

Scientists now think that it was most likely not rats, but another rodent, the gerbil, that caused the Bubonic plague. They suspect that gerbils traveled to Europe from Asia, some along the Silk Road that traders used. But these animals were not carrying spices and silk, but rather disease.

Today, however, gerbils are pets in many American homes. Teachers sometimes keep them in classrooms for students to care for. Rats, not so much.

Such is the difficult life of an unwanted, misunderstood animal.

So, scientists can debate the role of rats in spreading disease. But the fact that rats have a really bad reputation in American English is not debatable. It’s the truth. None of our rat expressions means anything good.

The simplest way we use this word is to simply say, “Rats!” Americans often use this expression when something goes wrong. The term is common and polite -- unlike some of our other expressions we might use when we are angry.

As we said earlier, rats may have a good sense of smell. But smelling a rat isn’t good. When we say, “I smell a rat!” we suspect that something is wrong. If you feel that someone has betrayed you, you can say that you smell a rat.

A pack rat is not good, either. This is a person who keeps useless things. And worse, they live with all the stuff they have collected.

This is the home of pack rat, also known as a hoarder.
This is the home of pack rat, also known as a hoarder.

So, calling someone a 'rat' is never an expression of respect or affection. When describing people, a “rat” is someone who is not loyal or cannot be trusted. A rat snitches on someone to an authority figure – a parent, a teacher, a police officer.

As a verb, the word 'rat' isn't good either.

To rat on someone means to betray a loved one, friend or someone else you know. When you rat on someone, you tell on them.

Let's say you know that your brother ate the last piece of cake when he wasn't supposed to. You rat on him to your parents. Or maybe you rat on a colleague at work. Ratting on people, or tattling on them, will not win you friends. It just makes you a rat. Or worse -- a rat fink.

The words tattling and tattletales are often used for children. But ratting someone out or snitching on them can be for any age.

No matter what your age, nobody likes to be called a rat, a snitch or a tattletale. However, it is a little different when the police are involved.

Let's say you have information about a crime. When the police begin asking questions, you decide to keep that information to yourself. You may feel you don't want to rat on someone else.

However, nobody would blame you for sharing information with the police if it helps them catch a criminal. Well, another criminal might not approve. Most criminals have a different code of conduct among themselves: You don't rat on fellow criminals to the police.

In old police television shows and movies, you may hear one criminal criticize another who snitched to the police. They may say, 'You dirty rat!'

You would not say that a hardened, possibly violent criminal tattled on another ... unless you were trying to be funny.

So, when using the word “rat” in English know that the meaning is never a good one. But in life, maybe we should take another look at rats and give them a chance.

And that brings us to the end of this Words and Their Stories.

Do rats have a good reputation in your country? Please tell us! It would be nice to know there is a place on this planet where saying 'Rats!' is a good thing.

I'm Anna Matteo.

'You won't tell me where you've been. Whiskey running down your chin. I smell a rat, baby. I smell a rat, baby. You better watch out. I smell a rat, baby.'

Anna Matteo wrote this story for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor. The song at the end is Willie Mae 'Big Mama' Thornton singing 'I Smell a Rat.'

Words in This Story

delicacy n. a food that people like to eat because it is special or rare

tuberculosis n. a serious disease that mainly affects the lungs : also called TB

reputation n. overall quality or character as seen or judged by people in general

pet n. a domesticated animal kept for pleasure rather than utility

polite adj. having or showing good manners or respect for other people

betray v. to hurt (someone who trusts you, such as a friend or relative) by not giving help or by doing something morally wrong

snitch v. to tell someone in authority (such as the police or a teacher) about something wrong that someone has done

authority n. the power to give orders or make decisions : the power or right to direct or control someone or something

code of conduct n. an agreement on rules of behavior for the members of that group or organization

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/02/04/8915/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/02/04/8915/VOA Special EnglishSun, 4 Feb 2018 05:31:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Experts: Colleges Should Invest More in Research]]>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:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/02/04/4328/

Vaccines. Popular sports drinks. Computers.

Each one of these subjects is different from the others. But all three have something in common: they were all invented by researchers working at a college or university.

Scientific invention and cultural exploration have been connected with higher education institutions for hundreds of years.

Victoria McGovern says this is because colleges and universities would be limiting themselves if they only taught existing knowledge. McGovern is a senior program officer with the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, an organization that supports medical research in the United States and Canada.

McGovern argues that the search for new knowledge is what leads to greater discoveries and better education.

“It’s a very good idea to connect the discovery of new things to the teaching of new students,” she told VOA, “because you don’t want people who come out of their education thinking that the world around them is full of solved problems. You want people to come out of an education excited about solving problems themselves.”

Dr. William Hahn, who is working on malaria research, walks through a research lab at the University of Washington's UW Medicine South Lake Union Campus.
Dr. William Hahn, who is working on malaria research, walks through a research lab at the University of Washington's UW Medicine South Lake Union Campus.

But she notes that research costs money and most colleges and universities do not have a lot of extra money for that purpose. Most schools have limited budgets and many competing goals and needs.

So a big part of being a researcher at a college or university is asking for financial support from other places, McGovern says. Such places include private companies and organizations like hers, as well as local and national governments.

The National Institutes of Health, or NIH, is one example. The NIH is the main government agency in the U.S. that supports medical and public health research. The NIH provides about $32 billion a year for health research.

Researchers must apply for this financial support by writing a grant proposal explaining the goals and processes involved in their work. McGovern says the application process for grant money is highly competitive. It can be very difficult for some researchers, especially those who are not skilled at expressing themselves in writing.

“In day to day life, you get too busy…to think about the big picture,” McGovern said. “How often do you, in your personal life, say ‘Here’s what I want to be doing exactly one year from now?’ When you write a grant, that’s what you’re talking about.”

McGovern added: “It’s hard for individuals, sometimes, to tell whether what they’ve written down is the best writing that they could have done.”

Kristine Kulage argues that it is now more difficult than ever for university researchers to get funding. Kulage is the director of research and scholarly development at the Columbia University School of Nursing in New York City.

She has been working in university research for 20 years. She says that the grant application process has only gotten longer and more complex.

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray visits with lab technician Kennidy Takehara in a research lab at the University of Washington's UW Medicine South Lake Union Campus.
U.S. Sen. Patty Murray visits with lab technician Kennidy Takehara in a research lab at the University of Washington's UW Medicine South Lake Union Campus.

Kulage told VOA, “Researchers don’t have time to conduct their research, write their grants and learn how to use all of these new systems through which they have to submit their grants.”

She said in addition to all those responsibilities, researchers must make sure they are compliant with regulations.

“There are so many rules now…It takes individuals who are now trained as research administrators to know what those rules are…And know whether or not the rules are being followed,” she said.

Kulage suggests that schools now must do more to support their researchers if they want to successfully earn grant money. Last November, she published a study of what happened when Columbia’s School of Nursing chose to better support its researchers.

The report studied how, between 2012 and 2016, the school chose to invest $127,000 in the creation of a support system. This system includes employing administrators to complete necessary application documents, freeing researchers to spend more time on their research.

The system also provides a review process in which researchers go through several steps before they submit a grant proposal. First, researchers must write a short, clear description of the aims of their project. Researchers often have difficulty explaining their work to people with no special knowledge of the subject matter, Kulage said. So, Columbia administrators with no involvement in the research read the description and offer criticism.

Other researchers also review the description to offer their ideas about whether or not the goals of the research can be reached.

Finally, after changes are made to the proposal, administrators and other researchers meet with the grant writers. They then hold a review meeting similar to what the grant-writers will face once they have submitted their proposal.

Ph.D. candidate Nicole Novroski works with DNA at the Center for Human Identification research and development lab at the University of North Texas.
Ph.D. candidate Nicole Novroski works with DNA at the Center for Human Identification research and development lab at the University of North Texas.

Normally, the group offering the grant will meet with the proposal writers and ask them questions. They expect the writers to defend their proposal.

In this practice meeting, the grant writers get a chance to think about their project more and better prepare their defense of it.

Kulage says the efforts of Columbia’s Schools of Nursing had clear results. Over the five years studied, the proposals that went through the review process were about twice as likely to be accepted as those that did not. The Columbia School of Nursing’s investment of $127,000 led to $3 million in grant funding.

McGovern and Kulage both agree that applying for research funding alone is very difficult. So, even having one other person read a proposal and give their opinions can be very important to its success.

Kulage admits that large companies carry out a lot of research and development. But their research usually relates to success in their industry. University researchers are different. They have the freedom to take risks on possibly unpopular ideas.

Those risks can often lead to important discoveries that colleges and universities have a responsibility to share with the world, she says.

I’m Pete Musto. And I’m Susan Shand.

Pete Musto reported this for VOA Learning English. Mario Ritter was the editor. We want to hear from you. In what ways do universities in your country support their own researchers? How complex is applying for a research grant? Write to us in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.

Words in This Story

institution(s) – n. an established organization

applyv. to ask formally for something, such as a job, admission to a school or a loan, usually in writing

grantn. an amount of money that is given to someone by a government or a company to be used for a particular purpose, such as scientific research

fundingn. an amount of money that is used for a special purpose

conductv. to plan and do something, such as an activity

submitv. to give a document, proposal, or piece of writing to someone so that it can be considered or approved

compliantadj. agreeing with a set of rules, standards, or requirements

regulation(s) – n. an official rule or law that says how something should be done

review – n. an act of carefully looking at or examining the quality or condition of something or someone

practicen. a regular occasion at which you do something again and again in order to become better at it

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http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/02/04/4328/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/02/04/4328/VOA Special EnglishSun, 4 Feb 2018 04:44:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Tesla Chief Sells $10 Million in Flamethrowers… But Why?]]>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:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/02/03/9731/

This is What’s Trending Today…

Elon Musk - head of electric carmaker Tesla and aerospace company SpaceX - is known for using creative methods to raise money for his businesses.

He has successfully gotten tens of thousands of interested buyers to place deposits of at least $1,000 for electric Tesla vehicles that were not yet manufactured. Last year, SpaceX announced that two private citizens had paid “a significant deposit” to ride on one of the company’s rockets for a future trip around the moon.

So it is not surprising that Musk recently launched another money raiser – this time for his tunnel-digging business, The Boring Company. But what did surprise many people was the item he was selling - flamethrowers.

The Boring Company’s website began offering the fire shooters for $500 each on January 27. Days later, Musk announced on Twitter that all 20,000 flamethrowers offered had been sold. This means the pre-sale process brought in $10 million dollars.

The Boring Company brought in $10 million in pre-sales for its popular, branded flamethrowers. (The Boring Company)
The Boring Company brought in $10 million in pre-sales for its popular, branded flamethrowers. (The Boring Company)

The company said the devices – which look similar to some air guns sold as toys – would ship sometime this spring.

The flamethrower campaign followed another Boring Company fundraiser that sold 50,000 hats that showed the company’s name on the front.

Musk shared on Christmas Eve that since the hats had sold out, “flamethrowers” would next go up for sale. But many people wondered if the new campaign announcement could be a joke.

About a month later, the technology executive announced the official launch, but in a joking way. “The Boring Company flamethrower, guaranteed to liven up any party!” he tweeted.

Musk also joked that the device would be “great for roasting nuts.” He also suggested: “When the zombie apocalypse happens, you’ll be glad you bought a flamethrower. Works against hordes of the undead or your money back!”

At one point, he even tweeted that owning a flamethrower was a “terrible idea,” urging people not to buy one. But he quickly followed up that comment with, “unless you like fun.”

But the jokes, and fact that the item was highly unusual, did not stop people from buying up flamethrowers by the thousands. Some people – and at least one California lawmaker - raised concerns about the safety of the flamethrowers.

Musk responded by stating that federal rules allow the use of any flamethrower with a flame shorter than three meters. He said they were designed to provide the most fun with the least danger. “I’d be way more scared of a steak knife,” he said.

As a safety feature, the company says all flamethrowers will also ship with a free fire extinguisher.

The Boring Company’s goal is to create underground tunnels to be used as a new form of high-speed transportation. One of the proposed uses would be with Musk’s planned transportation system Hyperloop.

Currently under development, this system would operate with electromagnetic technology and forced air. Musk has said Hyperloop would use electric vehicles to carry between 8-16 passengers between major U.S. cities at speeds up to 1,000 kilometers an hour.

The Boring Company is developing equipment intended to make the process of drilling tunnels faster and more cost effective.

And that’s What’s Trending Today…

I’m Bryan Lynn.

Bryan Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English, based on reports from Reuters and other sources. Hai Do 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

deposit n. money that you give someone when you agree to buy something (such as a house or car)

tunnel n. a long passage that goes under the ground, through a hill, etc.

flamethrower n. a weapon that shoots a stream of burning liquid

toy n. something meant to be played with for fun

roast v. to cook or dry with heat

zombie n. a dead person who reportedly has the ability to move because of magical powers

apocalypse n. a great disaster or event that causes much fear, loss, or destruction

hordes n. large groups of people

fire extinguisher n. a metal container filled with chemicals used to put out a fire

drill v. make a hole in something using a drill

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http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/02/03/9731/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/02/03/9731/VOA Special EnglishSat, 3 Feb 2018 11:18:00 UTC
<![CDATA[North Korea Launches ‘Army of Beauties']]>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:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/02/03/1625/

North Korea is sending a 230-member all-female cheerleading squad to the Olympics in South Korea.

Some observers are using the term “army of beauties” to describe the group.

North Koreans who fled the country have mixed feelings about the cheerleaders. These defectors say the women will promote an image of the North that is not real. But they also say they hope the group can help expand ties between North and South Koreans.

Army of beauties

The cheerleaders are good-looking and relatively tall women, over 160 centimeters. They were chosen from North Korea’s top universities and do not have any family members who live outside the country.

The most famous former cheerleader is Ri Sol Ju, the wife of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Before they go to South Korea, the cheerleaders are trained to remain loyal to the North Korean government and its leadership. But the training does not always work.

Han Seo-hee was once a cheerleader. 'Leaving North Korea and visiting overseas is like going to fight in the heart of the enemy,' said Han. She visited South Korea for the 2002 Asian Games and later refused to return home.

North Korean Hyon Song Wol, center, head of a North Korean art troupe, watches while South Korean protesters stage a rally against her visit in front of Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, Jan. 22, 2018.
North Korean Hyon Song Wol, center, head of a North Korean art troupe, watches while South Korean protesters stage a rally against her visit in front of Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, Jan. 22, 2018.

Misleading image

Defectors from North Korea are skeptical about its move to suspend missile and nuclear testing. They see the suspension and the “army of beauties” as part of a plan by the North to improve its international standing and reduce support for United Nations restrictions.

Skeptics say the cheerleaders can show a misleading image of North Korea as a peaceful and happy place. However, the majority of North Koreans live in poverty, and the country’s leadership has been accused of crimes against humanity.

A 2014 United Nations report documented political prison camps and human rights abuses, including murder, enslavement, torture and rape.

In this 2003 photo, North Korean cheerleaders watch their team play Germany in the women's football match in Gimcheon Stadium.
In this 2003 photo, North Korean cheerleaders watch their team play Germany in the women's football match in Gimcheon Stadium.

Bonding experience

At the same time, North Korea watchers say connecting North and South Koreans at the Olympics can be a positive, helpful development. Giving people a chance to meet face-to-face can break down political stereotypes.

'I am expecting that we will be able to feel the warmth of peace in that area, regardless of politics,' said Kim Ga-young, who left North Korea in 2012.

North Korean visitors will also be able to see for themselves the freedom and wealth of South Korea, which has a democratic government. The reality will likely be different than the image they expect. North Korean state media often shows South Korea as oppressive and poor.

I’m ­Mario Ritter.

Brian Padden reported this for VOANews.com. Kelly Jean Kelly adapted his report for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

Words in This Story

promote v. to make (something) more popular or well-known

skeptical adj. having or expressing doubt about something

positive adj. good or useful

stereotype n. an often unfair and untrue belief that many people have about all people or things with a particular characteristic

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<![CDATA[Father of Sex Abuse Victims Tries to Attack Larry Nassar in Court]]>Ashley Thompson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:
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A father of three sexual abuse victims tried to attack the former Olympic and Michigan State University doctor found guilty of the sex crimes.

The incident took place Friday in a courtroom in Michigan during the sentencing hearing for Larry Nassar.

The father was identified as Randall Margraves. Two of his daughters, Lauren and Madison Margraves, had just given their their victim impact statements with their parents by their side. The women said that they and another sister were abused by Nassar under the guise of medical treatment.

After their statements, the father looked at Nassar, shook his head and addressed the court. He called Nassar a profane name. Judge Janice K. Cunningham told the man not to use profanity.

Margraves then asked if Cunningham would give him “five minutes” alone with Nassar in a locked room. When she said she could not, he asked for one minute, and added that he was a distraught father.

He then ran toward Nassar, who was sitting nearby. Courtroom police stopped Margraves before he reached Nassar. They held Margraves on the ground and put him in handcuffs.

Eaton County sheriffs restrain Randall Margraves after he lunged at Larry Nassar, a former team USA Gymnastics doctor who pleaded guilty in November 2017 to sexual assault charges, during victim statements of his sentencing in the Eaton County Circuit Cou
Eaton County sheriffs restrain Randall Margraves after he lunged at Larry Nassar, a former team USA Gymnastics doctor who pleaded guilty in November 2017 to sexual assault charges, during victim statements of his sentencing in the Eaton County Circuit Cou

As police walked Margraves out of court, Michigan Assistant Attorney General Angela Povilaitis advised families in the courtroom to “use your words,” not violence.

'This is letting him have this power over us,' Povilaitis said. 'We cannot behave like this. I understand this is a remarkable situation. But you cannot do this.”

Margraves responded, “You haven’t lived through it, lady.”

Later Friday, Margraves returned to the courtroom, still in handcuffs. He apologized to the judge for losing control. The judge said there was “no way” she would punish Margraves for contempt of court.

Cunningham told Margraves it was in her power to order a jail sentence, fine him thousands of dollars, or both. But, she said, “I don’t want to do that.”

She told Margraves, “I understand. Well, actually, I don’t. I’m a parent. I can’t say that I understand. I don’t know what it would be like to stand there as a father and know that three of your girls were injured physically and emotionally by someone sitting in a courtroom. I can’t fathom that.”

Cunningham also urged Margraves and others in the courtroom to respect the rule of law.

The incident took place during the third and final sentencing hearing for Nassar. The charges in this case center on his work at Twistars, a well-known gymnastics club in Michigan.

FILE - Larry Nassar sits during his sentencing hearing in Lansing, Michigan.
FILE - Larry Nassar sits during his sentencing hearing in Lansing, Michigan.

Following a similar hearing that ended last week, Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in jail. More than 150 women and girls gave impact statements during sentencing.

Among them were U.S. Olympic gymnasts, including 2012 gold medalists Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney and Jordyn Wieber.

Olympic gold medalist and sexual abuse survivor Aly Raisman speaks at the sentencing hearing for Larry Nassar, (R), who pleaded guilty in November 2017 to sexual assault charges, in Lansing, Michigan, U.S., January 19, 2018.
Olympic gold medalist and sexual abuse survivor Aly Raisman speaks at the sentencing hearing for Larry Nassar, (R), who pleaded guilty in November 2017 to sexual assault charges, in Lansing, Michigan, U.S., January 19, 2018.

Late last year, Nassar was sentenced to 60 years in jail for possession of child pornography.

Nassar, 54, worked with USA Gymnastics for more than 20 years and traveled to four Olympic Games as the team doctor. He was also a longtime doctor at Michigan State University. Both MSU and USA Gymnastics have faced strong criticism for what some call enabling Nassar’s abuse for years.

More than 250 women and girls have said Nassar abused them.

I'm Ashley Thompson.

The Associated Press reported this story. Ashley Thompson adapted it for Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.

Words in This Story

guise - n. one of several or many different ways in which something is seen, experienced, or produced​

impact - v. to have a strong and often bad effect on (something or someone):

profane - adj. having or showing disrespect for religious things​

distraught - adj. very upset : so upset that you are not able to think clearly or behave normally

handcuffs - n. a set of two metal rings that are joined together and locked around a person's wrists

remarkable - adj. unusual or surprising

contempt of court - n. speech or behavior that does not show proper respect to a court or judge

fathom - v. to understand the reason for (something)

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