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, 18 Aug 2018 06:26:46 UTC<![CDATA[‘Crazy Rich Asians' Has Early Success in American Theaters]]>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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The movie version of Kevin Kwan’s popular novel Crazy Rich Asians received a warm welcome at American theaters Wednesday and Thursday. Theater goers bought more than $8.5 million worth of tickets.

It was a good start, especially since the film cost only about $30 million to make. Movie business experts are predicting it will recover that amount and more by the end of the weekend.

Crazy Rich Asians received early critical praise as a young, fun, romantic comedy. New York rapper, actor and funny woman Awkwafina also won much recent attention for her part in the movie. And the film has been discussed as a major breakthrough for Asian representation in the American movie industry.

It is the first major Hollywood movie set in the present day to employ a majority-Asian cast since The Joy Luck Club 25 years ago. The cast includes Asian-American, Malaysian and Chinese actors.

Constance Wu stars in Crazy Rich Asians. She gained wide fame for her part on the American television show Fresh Off the Boat.

In the movie, she plays Rachel Chu, a respected young economics professor in New York City. Rachel is in a happy romance with Nick Young, played by Henry Golding. The relationship is moving ahead beautifully until the time comes for Rachel to meet Nick’s family in Singapore.

On the plane, Rachel learns that the Young family is almost impossibly wealthy and powerful. And after arriving, Nick’s mother, played by Michelle Yeoh, shows signs that suggest she might not find Rachel equal to her son’s interest.

John Chu directed the movie. He told the Associated Press he thought a lot of Asian-Americans have similar experiences when they travel to their ancestral homelands.

“I remember going to Asia for the first time and there’s a very specific emotion that you feel that’s like, ‘Oh, this feels like home but it’s not my home and these people don’t see me as being part of this,’” he said.

The movie shows Rachel as an “outsider” in Singapore. The funny and dramatic exploration of that experience may prove to be part of the film’s appeal in America.

Singapore itself also steals many of the scenes in Crazy Rich Asians.

]The movie has been described as part Cinderella story, part party movie.

Singapore -- with its wealthy citizens, extraordinary buildings and beautiful gardens -- is a perfect background for costly weddings, exciting parties and other almost dream-like social gatherings. The characters drive costly cars, travel in private aircraft and wear the finest clothes.

Critic Inkoo Kang of the web magazine Slate describes the movie this way: “Emotionally layered, culturally specific, and frequently hilarious, Crazy Rich is a transportive delight…”

There is negative criticism of Crazy Rich Asians, too. Some say it is not representative of enough of Asia to justify the movie’s name.

Sangeetha Thanapal is a Singaporean-born activist. She brings attention to racial issues faced by the country’s Indian, Malay and other minority communities. She told the Associated Press that she does not plan to see the film. She said her race does not even seem to exist in the Singapore represented in Crazy Rich Asians.

“Everyone else is told you have to care, even though we are not represented, we can’t see ourselves,” she said.

Those kinds of objections to Crazy Rich Asians have been hotly debated on social media. One Twitter user, Alton Wang, posted this argument.

The criticism of #CrazyRichAsians for not being 'Asian' enough or not 'capturing the diversity of the Asian experience' inherently implies @CrazyRichMovie is our only chance to tell these stories. Don't believe that. Go watch this film to ensure other stories can also be told.

The discussion is sure to continue.

I’m Caty Weaver.

Caty Weaver reported this story for VOA News. Mario Ritter was the editor.

Words in This Story

novel - n. a long written story usually about imaginary characters and events

romantic - adj. of, relating to, or involving love between two people

comedy - n. a play, movie, television program, novel, etc., that is meant to make people laugh​

breakthrough - n. a sudden increase in knowledge, understanding, etc.

cast - n. the actors in a play, film, or television show

specific - adj. special or particular

characters - n. ​the people who appears in a story, book, play, movie, or television show

frequently - adv.​ happening often

hilarious - adj. ​very funny

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/08/18/6701/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/08/18/6701/VOA Special EnglishSat, 18 Aug 2018 05:34:00 UTC
<![CDATA[As Asian Currencies Lose Value, Can Governments Avoid a Crisis?]]>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/2018/08/18/3984/

Many of Asia’s currencies are losing value against the United States dollar this year.

But experts say governments are managing the losses better than they did in the past.

The currencies of China, India, Indonesia and Myanmar all have lost value since January of 2018. The Indian rupee was at a record low against the U.S. dollar in June. And the Chinese yuan lost 3.2 percent in the first half of the year.

Economists say there are many reasons for this, including possible contagion from financial problems in Turkey. They also say investors are worried about the effects of the trade dispute between the United States and China.

Next week, China will face additional U.S. tariffs on $16 billion-worth of Chinese products.

Song Seng Wun is an economist with investment bank CIMB in Singapore. He said, “It’s just basically that everything we’ve worried about now and then sort of converged.”

Why are Asian currencies losing value?

Experts say there is no single reason currency exchange values are lower in Asia. Rising oil prices may have affected the Indian rupee for example. Myanmar has had large growth in imported products.

In Vietnam, Bao Viet Securities, a financial business, said Vietnam’s currency has lost value because the value of the currencies of neighboring countries have gone down.

But it is the fall of Turkey’s lira and the possibility that it could bring down other currencies that has caused problems in Asian currency markets, Song said.

The continuing trade dispute between the U.S. and China is another reason for the currency problems.

Some media reports have said that the U.S.-China trade war has caused investors in India to move away from local stocks and similar assets.

Maxfield Brown is an expert with the business services company Dezan Shira & Associates. He spoke about the exchange value of Vietnam’s currency.

“I think there’s a number of reasons why it could be going down,” he said.

Brown said Vietnamese officials are frightened about recent U.S. and Chinese actions and everyone is being cautious.

Learning from mistakes in the past

Financial officials of some Asian governments have answered market uncertainty by raising interest rates. Raising rates usually increases the exchange value of a currency.

Indonesia has raised important interest rates four times in three months. India and the Philippines have also raised rates.

Asian countries are keeping more foreign currency in their banks and trying to lessen national debts, said Marie Diron. She is a director of Moody’s Investor Services in Singapore.

She said actions like raising rates help to control falls in currency values.

In Vietnam, government officials learned from bad currency decisions in the past and now their answers are “measured,” Brown said.

The French investment bank Narixis said Friday that China will likely take measures to support the economy. These actions should also help calm international financial markets.

Most economists agree this is not a time of crisis. Asian currency falls are not a threat to the world’s economy, Song said.

I’m Susan Shand.

This story was reported by VOA’s Ralph Jennings and adapted for Learning English by Susan Shand. It was edited by Mario Ritter.

Words in This Story

currencyn. the money used by a country

contagion – n. a financial crisis that moves from one country to another

convergev. to all meet together

cautious – adj. careful, uncertain

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/08/18/3984/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/08/18/3984/VOA Special EnglishSat, 18 Aug 2018 05:31:00 UTC
<![CDATA[AMERICAN STORIES - The Cop and the Anthem]]>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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We present the short story 'The Cop and the Anthem,' by O. Henry. The story was originally adapted and recorded by the U.S. Department of State.

Soapy moved restlessly on his seat in Madison Square. There are certain signs to show that winter is coming. Birds begin to fly south. Women who want nice new warm coats become very kind to their husbands. And Soapy moves restlessly on his seat in the park. When you see these signs, you know that winter is near.

A dead leaf fell at Soapy’s feet. That was a special sign for him that winter was coming. It was time for all who lived in Madison Square to prepare.

Soapy’s mind now realized the fact. The time had come. He had to find some way to take care of himself during the cold weather. And therefore he moved restlessly on his seat.

Soapy’s hopes for the winter were not very high. He was not thinking of sailing away on a ship. He was not thinking of southern skies, or of the Bay of Naples. Three months in the prison on Blackwell’s Island was what he wanted. Three months of food every day and a bed every night. Three months safe from the cold north wind and safe from cops. This seemed to Soapy the most desirable thing in the world.

For years Blackwell’s Island had been his winter home. Richer New Yorkers made their large plans to go to Florida or to the shore of the Mediterranean Sea each winter. Soapy made his small plans for going to the Island.

And now the time had come. Three big newspapers, some under his coat and some over his legs, had not kept him warm during the night in the park. So Soapy was thinking of the Island.

There were places in the city where he could go and ask for food and a bed. These would be given to him. He could move from one building to another, and he would be taken care of through the winter. But he liked Blackwell’s Island better.

Soapy’s spirit was proud. If he went to any of these places, there were certain things he had to do. In one way or another, he would have to pay for what they gave him. They would not ask him for money. But they would make him wash his whole body. They would make him answer questions; they would want to know everything about his life. No. Prison was better than that. The prison had rules that he would have to follow. But in prison a gentleman’s own life was still his own life.

Soapy, having decided to go to the Island, at once began to move toward his desire.

There were many easy ways of doing this. The most pleasant way was to go and have a good dinner at some fine restaurant. Then he would say that he had no money to pay. And then a cop would be called. It would all be done very quietly. The cop would arrest him. He would be taken to a judge. The judge would do the rest.

Soapy left his seat and walked out of Madison Square to the place where the great street called Broadway and Fifth Avenue meet. He went across this wide space and started north on Broadway. He stopped at a large and brightly lighted restaurant. This was where the best food and the best people in the best clothes appeared every evening.

Soapy believed that above his legs he looked all right. His face was clean. His coat was good enough. If he could get to a table, he believed that success would be his. The part of him that would be seen above the table would look all right. The waiter would bring him what he asked for.

He began thinking of what he would like to eat. In his mind he could see the whole dinner. The cost would not be too high. He did not want the restaurant people to feel any real anger. But the dinner would leave him filled and happy for the journey to his winter home.

But as Soapy put his foot inside the restaurant door, the head waiter saw his broken old shoes and torn clothes that covered his legs. Strong and ready hands turned Soapy around and moved him quietly and quickly outside again.

Soapy turned off Broadway. It seemed that this easy, this most desirable way to the Island was not to be his. He must think of some other way of getting there.

At a corner of Sixth Avenue was a shop with a wide glass window, bright with electric lights. Soapy picked up a big stone and threw it through the glass. People came running around the corner. A cop was the first among them. Soapy stood still and smiled when he saw the cop.

“Where’s the man that did that?” asked the cop.

“Don’t you think that I might have done it?” said Soapy. He was friendly and happy. What he wanted was coming toward him.

But the cop’s mind would not consider Soapy. Men who break windows do not stop there to talk to cops. They run away as fast as they can. The cop saw a man further along the street, running. He ran after him. And Soapy, sick at heart, walked slowly away. He had failed two times.

Across the street was another restaurant. It was not so fine as the one on Broadway. The people who went there were not so rich. Its food was not so good. Into this, Soapy took his old shoes and his torn clothes, and no one stopped him. He sat down at a table and was soon eating a big dinner. When he had finished, he said that he and money were strangers.

“Get busy and call a cop,” said Soapy. “And don’t keep a gentleman waiting.”

“No cop for you,” said the waiter. He called another waiter.

The two waiters threw Soapy upon his left ear on the hard street outside. He stood up slowly, one part at a time, and beat the dust from his clothes. Prison seemed only a happy dream. The Island seemed very far away. A cop who was standing near laughed and walked away.

Soapy traveled almost half a mile before he tried again. This time he felt very certain that he would be successful. A nice-looking young woman was standing before a shop window, looking at the objects inside. Very near stood a large cop.

Soapy’s plan was to speak to the young woman. She seemed to be a very nice young lady, who would not want a strange man to speak to her. She would ask the cop for help. And then Soapy would be happy to feel the cop’s hand on his arm. He would be on his way to the Island. He went near her. He could see that the cop was already watching him. The young woman moved away a few steps. Soapy followed. Standing beside her he said:

“Good evening, Bedelia! Don’t you want to come and play with me?”

The cop was still looking. The young woman had only to move her hand, and Soapy would be on his way to the place where he wanted to go. He was already thinking how warm he would be.

The young woman turned to him. Putting out her hand, she took his arm.

“Sure, Mike,” she said joyfully, “if you’ll buy me something to drink. I would have spoken to you sooner, but the cop was watching.”

With the young woman holding his arm, Soapy walked past the cop. He was filled with sadness. He was still free. Was he going to remain free forever?

At the next corner he pulled his arm away, and ran.

When he stopped, he was near several theaters. In this part of the city, streets are brighter and hearts are more joyful than in other parts. Women and men in rich, warm coats moved happily in the winter air.

A sudden fear caught Soapy. No cop was going to arrest him. Then he came to another cop standing in front of a big theater.

He thought of something else to try.

He began to shout as if he’d had too much to drink. His voice was as loud as he could make it. He danced, he cried out.

And the cop turned his back to Soapy, and said to a man standing near him, “It’s one of those college boys. He won’t hurt anything. We had orders to let them shout.”

Soapy was quiet. Was no cop going to touch him? He began to think of the Island as if it were as far away as heaven. He pulled his thin coat around him. The wind was very cold.

Then he saw a man in the shop buying a newspaper. The man’s umbrella stood beside the door. Soapy stepped inside the shop, took the umbrella, and walked slowly away. The man followed him quickly.

“My umbrella,” he said.

“Oh, is it?” said Soapy. “Why don’t you call a cop? I took it. Your umbrella! Why don’t you call a cop? There’s one standing at the corner.”The man walked more slowly. Soapy did the same. But he had a feeling that he was going to fail again. The cop looked at the two men.

“I — ” said the umbrella man — “that is — you know how these things happen — I — if that’s your umbrella I’m very sorry — I — I found it this morning in a restaurant — if you say it’s yours — I hope you’ll — ”

“It’s mine!” cried Soapy with anger in his voice.

The umbrella man hurried away. The cop helped a lady across the street. Soapy walked east. He threw the umbrella as far as he could throw it. He talked to himself about cops and what he thought of them. Because he wished to be arrested, they seemed to believe he was like a king, who could do no wrong. At last Soapy came to one of the quiet streets on the east side of the city. He turned here and began to walk south toward Madison Square. He was going home, although home was only a seat in the park.

But on a very quiet corner Soapy stopped. There was an old, old church. Through one of the colored-glass window came a soft light. Sweet music came to Soapy’s ears and seemed to hold him there.

The moon was above, peaceful and bright. There were few people passing. He could hear birds high above him.

And the anthem that came from the church held Soapy there, for he had known it well long ago. In those days his life contained such things as mothers and flowers and high hopes and friends and clean thoughts and clean clothes.

Soapy’s mind was ready for something like this. He had come to the old church at the right time. There was a sudden and wonderful change in his soul. He saw with sick fear how he had fallen. He saw his worthless days, his wrong desires, his dead hopes, the lost power of his mind.

And also in a moment his heart answered this change in his soul. He would fight to change his life. He would pull himself up, out of the mud. He would make a man of himself again.

There was time. He was young enough. He would find his old purpose in life, and follow it. That sweet music had changed him. Tomorrow he would find work. A man had once offered him a job. He would find that man tomorrow. He would be somebody in the world. He would—

Soapy felt a hand on his arm. He looked quickly around into the broad face of a cop.

“What are you doing hanging around here?” asked the cop. “Nothing,” said Soapy.

“You think I believe that?” said the cop.

Full of his new strength, Soapy began to argue. And it is not wise to argue with a New York cop.

“Come along,” said the cop.

“Three months on the Island,” said the Judge to Soapy the next morning.

Download activities to help you understand this story here.

Now it's your turn to use the words in this story. Do you understand why Soapy wanted to be arrested? Is it good or bad to avoid hard work? Let us know in the comments section or on our Facebook page.

Words in This Story

restlesslyadv. done while feeling nervous or bored and tending to move around a lot

coat(s) – n. an outer piece of clothing that can be long or short and that is worn to keep warm or dry

parkn. a piece of public land in or near a city that is kept free of houses and other buildings and can be used for pleasure and exercise

cop(s) – n. a person whose job is to enforce laws, investigate crimes, and make arrests

avenuen. a wide street

waitern. a man who serves food or drinks to people in a restaurant

umbrellan. a device that is used for protection from the rain and sun

anthemn. a formal song of loyalty, praise, or happiness

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http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/08/18/7460/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/08/18/7460/VOA Special EnglishSat, 18 Aug 2018 05:11:00 UTC
<![CDATA[‘Queen of Soul' Aretha Franklin Dead at 76]]>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/2018/08/17/3464/

Aretha Franklin, the American singer known as the “Queen of Soul,” died Thursday at her home in Detroit, Michigan. She had spent many years battling cancer. She was 76 years old.

Franklin was born on March 25, 1942, in Memphis, Tennessee. But she was raised in Detroit. There, her father C.L. Franklin was a church minister. Her musical talent was recognized at a young age. She played piano and sang gospel music at her father’s church services.

Franklin began singing pop and jazz music at age 18, when she signed a recording agreement with Columbia Records.

But her real success started in 1967 under an agreement with Atlantic Records. That agreement permitted her to sing with her natural gospel intensity.

Franklin gained national fame that year with a series of hit music recordings, including “Chain of Fools,” “A Natural Woman,” and her most famous hit, “Respect.”

Franklin’s career success continued into the 1980s and 1990s. She appeared in the 1980 film “The Blues Brothers.” She also had new music hits, including “Freeway Of Love“ and “A Rose Is Still A Rose.”

Franklin earned more than 110 entries in Billboard magazine's music charts. That is the most by any woman in the magazine’s history. In 1987, Franklin became the first woman to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Franklin struggled with weight and health problems. But even in her older years, her voice remained a thing of wonder.

In 2009, she sang the American patriotic song “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” at U.S. President Barack Obama’s first inauguration.

I’m Jonathan Evans.

VOA News reported this story. Jonathan Evans adapted it for Learning English. Ashley Thompson was the editor.

Words in this Story

gospel – n. a type of Christian music that was created by African-Americans in the southern United States

inauguration – n. the introduction of someone, such as a newly elected official into a job or position with a formal ceremony

inductv. to officially make someone a member of a group or organization

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http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/08/17/3464/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/08/17/3464/VOA Special EnglishFri, 17 Aug 2018 08:36:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Donkeys Help Humans Feel At Ease]]>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/2018/08/17/7177/

In many places around the world, donkeys are used for carrying heavy loads.

But at Donkey Park, the animals’ only job is to offer comfort to visitors.

Donkey Park is the creation of Steve Stiert. The former software engineer had spent more than 25 years working in front of a computer. Six years ago, his job at IBM ended. At 59 years old, Stiert decided he wanted a change.

He learned about donkey behavior from his daughter, who was studying to be a veterinarian. He quickly fell in love with the animal’s calming nature.

Now, Stiert is giving people the chance to spend time with donkeys.

He says he feels a close connection with these animals. He believes donkeys changed his life.

“They brought out this caring, sensitive person I had pushed to the background while trying to be successful.”

Donkey Park owner Steve Stiert, walks among his donkeys in Ulster Park, N.Y. Stiert offers free donkey-aided therapy programs and educational events as part of his mission to protect donkeys from mistreatment.
Donkey Park owner Steve Stiert, walks among his donkeys in Ulster Park, N.Y. Stiert offers free donkey-aided therapy programs and educational events as part of his mission to protect donkeys from mistreatment.

Stiert has 11 donkeys. He also has a mule and a donkey-zebra mix, called a 'zonkey.' All of the animals live on the grounds next to his home in Ulster Park, New York. The area is 130 kilometers north of New York City.

Stiert takes his animals to schools and homes for old people, as well as to events for children with disabilities. He also teaches donkey farming and has an 800-member Meetup group. The members go on group walks with the donkeys.

“A lot of people come up from the city, travel long distances,” Stiert says. “When they come out here, you can just see the stress melting away from them.”

Donkeys are becoming more and more popular for animal-aided therapy.

Donkey Sanctuary is based in Devon, England. The organization offers donkey-aided therapy for children healing from cancer, victims of human trafficking and others.

Caron Whaley is the therapy director at Donkey Sanctuary. “We’re not providing therapy for the trauma but for developing life skills,” Whaley said.

Donkeys are often shown as foolish or unfriendly in popular culture. But donkey supporters say the animals are actually calm, intelligent and affectionate.

Stiert says some people come to Donkey Park thinking the animals will bite them or behave badly.

“None of those things are true at all,” he said.

The Arc of Ulster-Greene is an organization that serves people with intellectual disabilities. Each week, it takes a group of adults to Donkey Park. There, they brush the animals, walk them around and feed them. The donkeys are very social. Many of them quickly walk toward visitors and stay to have their long ears rubbed.

Tom Cossaboom sometimes goes on these outings with Arc. He says the animals make him feel at ease. “They’re friendly and calm.”

Donkey Park visitor Evan Oster leads a small donkey through an obstacle course as volunteer Patti Lundgren looks on, at Donkey Park in Ulster Park, N.Y.
Donkey Park visitor Evan Oster leads a small donkey through an obstacle course as volunteer Patti Lundgren looks on, at Donkey Park in Ulster Park, N.Y.

Stiert bought his first six donkeys from breeders. He later decided to start taking in rescue donkeys. His Donkey Park is registered as a nonprofit organization, but he mostly uses his own money to care for the animals. He does not do birthday parties, religious events or other events to raise money.

“All our services are free,” Stiert said.

Patti Lundgren says she looked for Meetup groups when she moved to the area and became interested in the donkey walks. Now, she often drives 45 minutes to volunteer at Donkey Park.

“There’s such a gentle energy about them,” Lundgren says. “I always leave here feeling really good. The dirtier I am, the better I feel. Ah…donkey love.”

I’m Alice Bryant.

Mary Esch wrote this story for the Associated Press. Alice Bryant adapted it for Learning English. Ashley Thompson was the editor.

Words in This Story

veterinaryadj. relating to the medical care and treatment of animals

mulen. an animal that has a horse and a donkey as parents

zebran. n African animal that looks like a horse and has black and white stripes covering its body

trauman. a very unpleasant experience that causes someone to have mental or emotional problems usually for a long time

brushv. to clean or smooth something (such as hair) with a brush

breedern. a person who keeps and takes care of animals in order to produce more animals of a particular kind

stressn. a state of mental tension and worry caused by problems in your life, work or other things

backgroundn. a position that attracts little attention

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http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/08/17/7177/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/08/17/7177/VOA Special EnglishFri, 17 Aug 2018 06:59:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Am I Being Watched? The Continuous Passive Form]]>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/2018/08/17/9456/

In his popular 1980s song, American singer Rockwell sang the words, “I always feel like somebody’s watching me.”

He doesn’t know who is watching him. And, I suppose that makes it even more frightening.

In English, when we don’t know who is performing the action of the verb, or when the subject of a sentence is not very important, we often use the passive voice. In that case, Rockwell could have sung:

I always feel like I’m being watched by somebody.

But…I suspect it wouldn’t have sounded as good.

Still, the structure works great in movie dialogue. In fact, spy movies and crime films often make reference to “being watched” and “being followed.” Both are examples of the passive voice.

And, when we make passive sentences with a continuous verb tense, we call it the “continuous passive.” In an earlier program we told you about the passive voice. You may remember that, in active sentences, the subject performs the action of the verb. In passive sentences, the subject receives the action of the verb.

Today, we’ll discuss the continuous passive form.

The most commonly used verb tenses for this form are present continuous and past continuous. For now, let’s keep going with the present continuous.

Present Continuous Passive

We don’t need a theatrical example. There are plenty of real life situations where we use present continuous passive. Here are just a few:

Let’s say you’re in a busy electronics store. Several people are looking at products. And, workers are walking around helping them. One comes to you and says:

Good afternoon, are you being helped?

You answer:

No, not yet. Thanks. Can you show me your three most popular sound systems?

In the United States, you will hear the question “Are you being helped?” at busy stores, markets and restaurants.

Another situation where this form is useful is when something has been sent for repair. Suppose your car breaks down on your way to work. You take it to an auto shop. Then, you call your boss and say:

My car is being fixed. I’ll order a taxi to get to work.

The structure for the present continuous passive is: subject + is/are + BEING + the past participle.

Note that the person who is fixing the car is not mentioned in the sentence “My car is being fixed.” Leaving out the person or thing doing the action is common in passive statements.

Past Continuous Passive

OK, now imagine that your car has been fixed. How can you say it with the past continuous passive form? Let’s listen:

My car was being fixed. But I have it back now.

The only word we changed in the sentence about the car was “is.” We changed it to the past tense “was.” Nothing else changes.

So, the structure for past continuous passive is: subject + was or were + BEING + past participle.

Notice that, in the continuous passive, the word “being” is always present – no matter what the verb tense is.

Another place we often see the continuous passive is in news reporting. Here’s an example:

Hundreds of children are being held at detention centers.

Yet, suppose the children were reunited with their families. How might we change the example to past continuous passive? Let’s listen:

Hundreds of children were being held at detention centers.

We simply changed the word “are” to “were.” Nothing else changed. Easy, so far? Good!

How to Make Continuous Passive

To make it even simpler, let’s look at it in steps. We’ll start with an active sentence with a present continuous verb and change it to passive voice.

  1. The first step is to locate the subject, verb and object. Take a listen and give it a try:

The men are cleaning the boats.

Did you find the subject, verb and object? “The men” is the subject. “Are cleaning” is the verb. And “the boats” is the object.

  1. Once we’ve identified the object, we can make our passive sentence. To do this, the object becomes the subject, so we put it first. The verb is next and the new object (the men) is last. Here’s how it sounds:

The boats are being cleaned by the men.

Pay close attention to how the verb changed. It went from the active “are cleaning” to the passive “are being cleaned.” Notice that the word “cleaning” changes to the past participle: “cleaned.”

  1. Remove the person or thing doing the action.

Earlier in the program, we told you that, in a passive sentence, the person or thing doing the action is often not important so, in this example, we’ll remove it. Let’s listen:

The boats are being cleaned.

Now, we’ll change it to the past continuous passive. Listen:

The boats were being cleaned.

The “are” changes to “were.” There are no other changes.

Being vs. Getting

In casual American English, we sometimes replace the word “being” with “getting” for the continuous passive form. Here’s how one of our earlier examples sounds with “getting:”

My car is getting fixed.

My car was getting fixed.

But this form is not acceptable for formal, written English. So, we won’t use it in our practice today.

Now, you try it!

OK, now it’s your turn. Make the following active sentences into passive ones. For this exercise, be sure to remove the person or thing doing the action. For example, the active sentence “The restaurant is serving dinner on the patio” would be “Dinner is being served on the patio” in the passive form. The words “the restaurant” have been removed.

Here are your sentences:

She was painting the living room red.

They are driving the girls to the soccer match.

They were negotiating for more territory.

Were you recording me without permission?

Write your answers in the Comments section.

I’m Alice Bryant.

Present Continuous

ACTIVE

Present Continuous

PASSIVE

Past Continuous

PASSIVE

I always feel like somebody’s watching me.

I always feel like I’m being watched (by somebody).

I always felt like I was being watched (by somebody).

Is someone helping you?

Are you being helped (by someone)?

Were you being helped (by someone)?

The mechanic is fixing my car.

My car is being fixed (by the mechanic).

My car was being fixed (by the mechanic).

The agency is holding hundreds of children at detention centers.

Hundreds of children are being held at detention centers (by the agency).

Hundreds of children were being held at detention centers (by the agency).

The restaurant is serving dinner on the patio.

Dinner is being served on the patio (by the restaurant).

Dinner was being served on the patio (by the restaurant).

The men are cleaning the boats.

The boats are being cleaned (by the men).

The boats were being cleaned (by the men).

Words in This Story

passiveadj. showing that the subject of a sentence is acted on or affected by the verb

dialoguen. the things that are said by the characters in a story, movie, play, etc.

mentionv. to talk about, write about or refer to something or someone, especially in a brief way

casualadj. not formal or official

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

pation. a flat area of ground, usually behind a house or restaurant, that is used for sitting and relaxing

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/08/17/9456/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/08/17/9456/VOA Special EnglishFri, 17 Aug 2018 06:04:00 UTC
<![CDATA[South Korea Plans to Start Railway Project With North Korea This Year]]>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/2018/08/16/9259/

South Korea President Moon Jae-in says his government plans to begin a new railroad project with North Korea this year.

However, Moon also said economic cooperation with North Korea is linked to that country’s denuclearization.

Moon made the comments during a speech on Wednesday celebrating the liberation of Korea at the end of World War II. He said the reconnection of railroads and roads is the start of “prosperity” for the two Koreas. He also said work would begin this year.

Moon and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un agreed to work toward increased economic cooperation when they met in April. That meeting took place in the village of Panmunjom in demilitarized zone (DMZ) of the inter-Korean border. At the Panmunjom summit, Kim also agreed to work toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

The South Korean president helped bring about the historic summit in June between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump in Singapore. At that meeting, Kim repeated his commitment to denuclearization.

However, since the summit in June, the U.S. and North Korea have not been able to reach agreement on the denuclearization issue. The U.S. insists that North Korea completely disarm its nuclear and missile weapons before it receives any economic concessions.

North Korea wants economic concessions after each step of the denuclearization process.

Sanctions enforcement

Currently, international sanctions put on North Korea for its nuclear and ballistic missile tests do not permit a major railway project.

The joint Korean railway project to link South and North Korea with high speed train service is estimated to cost $35 billion. It would provide North Korean industries an overland rail connection to China, Russia and even Europe.

The international sanctions stop 90 percent of all trade with North Korea and most international finance.

President Moon did not explain how he would get past the sanctions to proceed with the railway project.

This week, U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Harry Harris repeated the Trump administration’s position. He said denuclearization must come before the sanctions are eased.

“Sanctions will remain in place,” said Harris during a speech at the Korea National Diplomatic Academy in Seoul. He added that the North must take strong actions toward denuclearization.

The U.S. State Department said on Tuesday that no official meetings are planned between the U.S. and North Korea, but that informal talks continue.

Economic ties

Moon said that improved relations between the two Koreas will aid progress in denuclearization.

Moon also said that renewed economic ties could generate $149 billion for North Korea over 30 years. And joint economic projects, like the Kaesong industrial center which closed in 2016, could bring thousands of jobs to the North.

Moon is to visit Pyongyang in September to hold another summit with Kim.

Peace treaty

The South Korean president also said he supported a peace declaration to officially end the Korean War. Fighting stopped in 1953 with an armistice agreement.

South Korean media have said that the U.S., South Korea, China and North Korea may release a peace statement in September. Such as announcement could take place at the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York City.

North Korea has called for a peace declaration before moving forward with nuclear talks. The U.S., however, wants denuclearization progress first.

I’m Susan Shand.

This story was reported by VOA’s Brian Padden and adapted for Learning English by Susan Shand. It was edited by Mario Ritter.

Words in This Story

prosperityn. the state of being successful usually by making a lot of money

commitmentn. a promise to do or give something

concessionn. the act of giving up something or doing something in order to reach agreement

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

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

armistice – n. an agreement to stop fighting

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/08/16/9259/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/08/16/9259/VOA Special EnglishThu, 16 Aug 2018 04:03:00 UTC
<![CDATA[UN: Ecuador Struggling to Deal With Venezuelan Refugees]]>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/2018/08/16/7331/

The United Nations refugee agency is increasing its efforts in Ecuador to help the government deal with a large number of people from Venezuela.

The office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) seeks to protect and assist refugees around the world.

UNHCR officials say more than 500,000 Venezuelans have entered Ecuador through the Colombian border this year. That is about 3,000 refugees entering the country each day.

The UNHCR reports that number has increased to more than 4,000 people a day arriving in the first week of August. The government of Ecuador declared a state of emergency last week in several areas in an effort to deal with the growing refugee problem.

William Spindler is a UNHCR spokesman. He said the agency supports Ecuador’s decision, which permits it to use additional resources to deal with the problem. He also said that the number of people leaving Venezuela “is one of Latin America’s largest mass population movements in history.”

Spindler said the refugees walk for days or even weeks in dangerous conditions before reaching Ecuador. He said many are then forced to beg or seek other ways to survive.

He noted that about 20 percent of refugees are in need of special protection and assistance. He said, “Women and girls represent 40 percent of the new arrivals and face serious risks of sexual violence.”

Spindler added that most Venezuelans entering Ecuador do not end their travels there. Instead, they continue on to Peru and Chile. He said the UNHCR is increasing its emergency services.

The agency will provide Ecuador with technical assistance, such as screening and registering the refugees. He says agency workers will identify those Venezuelans in need of special protection and aid.

I’m Jonathan Evans.

Lisa Schlein reported this story for VOA News. Jonathan Evans adapted it for Learning English. Mario Ritter was the editor.

Words in this Story

beg – v. to ask people for money or food

screening – n. the act of doing a test on a person or a person's blood, urine, etc., to look for evidence of a disease, illegal drug, etc.

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/08/16/7331/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/08/16/7331/VOA Special EnglishThu, 16 Aug 2018 03:55:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Report: Google Still Tracks You Even with Location History Off]]>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/2018/08/16/2665/

Many Android and iPhone owners use Google services on their mobile devices. Some of these services use GPS technology to collect information about the places people go.

One of the most widely used location services is Google Maps. When someone uses Google Maps, information about times and locations are recorded and stored.

Google also uses tracking tools with other services. Weather apps, for example, are designed to identify a user’s location to provide local weather information. Even some Google internet searches can result in the collection of information about exactly where a person was when the search was made.

Google says it collects the data to improve localized experiences for its users. But such practices have also raised privacy concerns. Privacy activists have called on Google and other major technology companies to make it easier for users to turn off location services if they do not want to be tracked.

An investigation by the Associated Press, or AP, suggests this process is not as easy as it might seem. The investigation found that Google continues to collect location information even on users who have changed their privacy settings.

The AP says the results of its investigation were confirmed by computer science researchers at Princeton University in the American state of New Jersey.

Google’s influence in the mobile device industry is far-reaching. About two billion people worldwide use Google-developed Android devices. In addition, hundreds of millions of iPhone owners use Google for maps or for making searches.

In this Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2018, photo a mobile phone displays a user's travels in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
In this Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2018, photo a mobile phone displays a user's travels in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

In some ways, Google is clear about asking permission to use location information. For example, Google Maps will seek approval from a user to give the app access to locations so it can provide directions. If a user agrees to let Google collect location information over time, Google Maps will show this history in a “timeline” that shows the person’s daily movements.

Google also has a “Location History” setting, which it explains on its support page. The company says any user can turn off Location History at any time. “With Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored,” Google states. The company says when Location History is turned off for a user’s account, it is turned off for all devices linked to that Google account.

But the AP investigation found this does not appear to be true. It found that Google continued to save location history even if a user had turned off Location History. Turning off Location History only stopped Google from creating a timeline of locations the user had visited.

One of the tests the AP carried out involved Princeton privacy researcher Gunes Acar. The news agency was able to track his movements and identify visited locations – including his home – over several days in the New York City area.

Acar was carrying an Android phone with Location History turned off.

Other Princeton researchers confirmed the AP’s test findings on multiple mobile devices.

Jonathan Mayer is a Princeton computer scientist and former technologist with the Federal Communications Commission. He disagrees with Google’s methods for storing location data, which he says can be unclear for users.

In this July 25, 2018 photo, Kalyanaraman Shankari, right, and her husband Thomas Raffill hold their phones while posing for photos in Mountain View, Calif. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
In this July 25, 2018 photo, Kalyanaraman Shankari, right, and her husband Thomas Raffill hold their phones while posing for photos in Mountain View, Calif. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

“If you’re going to allow users to turn off something called ‘Location History,’ then all the places where you maintain location history should be turned off,” Mayer said. “That seems like a pretty straightforward position to have.”

In answer to a request for comment from the AP, Google said it uses several location tracking tools.

“There are a number of different ways that Google may use location to improve people’s experience, including: Location History, Web and App Activity, and through device-level Location Services,” the company said in a statement.

Google says users can stop the saving of all location markers by turning off another setting. That setting, however, is not clearly identified as being connected to location tracking. The setting is called “Web and App Activity.” It is activated on new devices. The tool stores different kinds of information from Google apps and websites to a user’s Google account.

How to prevent further tracking

The easiest way to block further location tracking on any device is to go to the website myactivity.google.com, which permits users to change Google account settings. On the upper left drop-down list, go to “Activity Controls.” Turn off both “Web & App Activity” and “Location History.” This should prevent exact location markers from being stored to your Google account.

I’m Bryan Lynn.

Detailed directions on how to turn off these tools for iOS and Android operating systems can be found here.

Bryan Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English, based on a report from the Associated Press and other sources. Ashley Thompson 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

GPS n. abbreviation for Global Positioning System: a system of computers and satellites used to identify where users are

location n. place or position

tracking n. the recording of locations or progress of a person or thing

app n. computer program designed to do a specific task or set of related or connected tasks

access n. way of being able to use or get something

account n. an arrangement in which a person uses internet or service of a particular company

maintain v. keep something going in a consistent way

straightforward adj. easy to do or understand

activate – v. make something start working

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/08/16/2665/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/08/16/2665/VOA Special EnglishThu, 16 Aug 2018 03:54:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Turkey's Erdogan Threatens Boycott of US Goods]]>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/2018/08/15/9284/

Turkey’s President threatened Tuesday to boycott U.S. electronic goods because of what he calls an economic war against Turkey by the United States.

President Erdogan told political supporters in Ankara that he would start “a boycott against America’s electronic goods.” He urged Turks to buy local or Korean mobile phones, instead of American iPhones.

Erdogan, however, did not announce any government action towards a boycott.

The president’s comments came after diplomats from both sides met Monday to calm tensions.

The call for a boycott appears to be Erdogan’s answer to the U.S. decision to double tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum imports. In addition, the U.S. has placed sanctions on two Turkish ministers over the arrest of an American pastor who is charged with having links to terrorism.

Erdogan also has called on people to exchange their U.S. dollars for Turkish lira to help strengthen the exchange value of the country’s currency.

“If we divert our money to foreign currency...then we will be in the position of having surrendered to the devil,” Erdogan said.

The dispute between the U.S. and Turkey has started an economic crisis in Turkey that has pushed its currency to historic lows. The exchange value of the lira has fallen about 40 percent against the U.S. dollar since January. Last week it dropped 16 percent in one day.

However, severe changes in the value of the currency calmed Tuesday after news that U.S. national security adviser John Bolton had met with the Turkish ambassador to Washington Monday.

International investors are worried about Turkey’s high amount of debt held in foreign currencies, especially the dollar. Most economists say Erdogan should raise interest rates to support the Turkish lira, but Erdogan wants to keep rates low to support growth. Investors are also worried about the effects of the dispute between two NATO allies.

In a statement released Tuesday, Turkish business groups called on Erdogan to let the Turkish central bank raise interest rates to stop the currency crisis. They also called on Turkey to work with the United States to improve relations.

The Turkish central bank has promised that Turkish banks will have all the money they need. But, foreign investors are concerned that the central bank may not act because of political interference. Central banks try to ignore politics when making economic decisions.

In the case of the American pastor, the lawyer representing Andrew Brunson again asked a Turkish court to release him from house arrest. The 50-year-old pastor is charged with terrorism links and spying. He denies the charges. Brunson faces a possible prison sentence of 35 years.

I’m Susan Shand.

This story was reported the Associated Press and by VOA’s Chris Hanna. Susan Shand adapted it for Learning English. Mario Ritter was the editor.

Words in This Story

currency – n. the kind of money a country uses

tariffs n. a tax on goods coming into or leaving a country

sanctioned adj. an action that is taken or an order that is given to force a country to obey international laws by limiting or stopping trade with that country

pastor n. a minister or priest in charge of a church or parish

divert v. to move in a different direction

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/08/15/9284/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/08/15/9284/VOA Special EnglishWed, 15 Aug 2018 04:44:00 UTC
<![CDATA[US University Puts Electronic Assistants in All Student Housing]]>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/2018/08/15/0728/

One American university is putting electronic voice-controlled assistants in every student housing room on campus.

Saint Louis University recently announced it will equip every student living space with Amazon’s Alexa system. The school in St. Louis, Missouri, will place about 2,300 Echo Dot “smart” devices in all student dorms and other university housing.

Officials said the university will be the first in the world to put the devices in every student living space. The devices and the Alexa service are being provided at no costs to students.

The Amazon Echo is a speaker with the ability to listen and “talk” to users and can perform some operations. The Alexa assistant competes with similar systems made by Google and Apple.

Devices linked to the systems have become increasingly popular in homes in recent years. They can be used for things like looking up information, playing music, ordering food or buying things on the internet. The devices can also complete actions in the home. These include turning lights on and off, and controlling systems for heating and cooling and security.

Amazon calls these different tasks Alexa can perform “skills.”

Amazon said in a website post that Saint Louis University chose the Alexa system after carrying out a test program. The program involved the Echo Dot and a device from a competing company. It said the students had a better reaction to the Alexa system.

The Echo Dots will include a special skill developed especially for Saint Louis University. It will provide information and answer questions about local school activities and campus life.

In this March 2, 2016, file photo, David Limp, Amazon Senior Vice President of Devices, pushes down on an Echo Dot in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)
In this March 2, 2016, file photo, David Limp, Amazon Senior Vice President of Devices, pushes down on an Echo Dot in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

Next year, the university plans to add more personalized skills, such as providing information about classes and grades.

The university said it did not increase student tuition to pay for the project. Instead, officials said, it was financed through the school’s general fund, as well as partnerships with Amazon and n-Powered. The company, based in Los Angeles, California, helped develop the parts of the system that are related to Saint Louis University.

David Hakanson is Saint Louis University’s vice president and chief information officer. In announcing the project, he said it will fit well with students who are “highly driven to achieve success in and out of the classroom.”

He added: “Every minute we can save our students from having to search for the information they need online is another minute that they can spend focused on what matters most: their education.”

While the devices are being placed in every university housing space, students do not have to use them. For those wishing not to take part, the school suggests students just remove the devices from their rooms and put them away in a safe place.

Other universities have also experimented with voice-controlled assistants in student living areas.

A year ago, Arizona State University announced a program that provided Echo Dot devices to a special housing area for engineering students. In the program, all engineering students moving into the special housing community were given the choice of receiving an Echo Dot if they wanted one.

As is the case at Saint Louis University, Arizona State students are able to use the system to get the latest information on university programs and events. However, the Arizona students also have the chance to sign up for classes that teach subjects related specifically to creating new uses for Alexa devices.

Bhavik Patel, a mechanical engineering senior and peer mentor at Arizona State's community housing center Tooker House, demonstrates use of an Amazon Echo Dot while working on formulas. (Charlie Leight/ASU Now)
Bhavik Patel, a mechanical engineering senior and peer mentor at Arizona State's community housing center Tooker House, demonstrates use of an Amazon Echo Dot while working on formulas. (Charlie Leight/ASU Now)

Octavio Heredia is a director with Arizona State’s Fulton Schools of Engineering. He said he thinks it is a good idea for students to get as much experience as possible with the voice assistants to improve their development skills and prepare for future jobs.

“Once they are familiar with the devices, they are going to want to further develop their own skills and begin integrating that technology - the hardware and the skills - into other projects,” he said.

I’m Bryan Lynn.

Bryan Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English. Mario Ritter was the editor.

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

Words in This Story

campusn. the area and buildings around a university, college, school, etc.

dorm n. large building at a college or university where students live

grade n. number or letter that indicates how a student performed in a class or on a test​

tuition n. money a student pays to be taught at a college or university

fund n. amount of money collected

achieve v. succeed in doing something good, usually by working hard

focus v. center on something

integrate v. combine two or more things to make something more effective

hardware n. machines or equipment used inside computers or together with electronic devices

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/08/15/0728/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/08/15/0728/VOA Special EnglishWed, 15 Aug 2018 04:43:00 UTC
<![CDATA[US Military Wants to Refuel, Resupply with Space Travel]]>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/2018/08/14/0578/

The United States Military’s Air Mobility Command says that refueling and resupplying the U.S. military may soon be done from space.

Air Force General Carlton Everhart is the head of Air Mobility Command. He told VOA, “If I can resupply from space, I can go across the globe in about 30 minutes.” He added, “I do truly believe that is the next step.”

Everhart said the time gained by using hypersonic spacecraft could keep the U.S. ahead in “the speed of war.” That is an area where countries such as China and Russia are trying to make gains.

The idea of using space to deliver supplies is more possible than ever before, say supporters. Many companies that Everhart hopes to partner with are already working on this kind of technology.

Eric Stallmer is president of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation. The group, based in Washington D.C., supports the development of the space flight industry. Stallmer said that companies like SpaceX and Sierra Nevada, and even foreign companies, could be good partners for the U.S. government.

Air Force Gen. Carlton D. Everhart II, left, speaks to Navy Adm. Bill Moran, Vice Chief of Naval Operations, second from left, while arriving with other generals and admirals for a meeting with Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago, in Palm Beach, Fla., Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Air Force Gen. Carlton D. Everhart II, left, speaks to Navy Adm. Bill Moran, Vice Chief of Naval Operations, second from left, while arriving with other generals and admirals for a meeting with Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago, in Palm Beach, Fla., Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Cost, however, remains an important issue for space flight.

Experts say the need to transport supplies through space must be greater than the financial costs. For example, it might only be used during very important operations.

Todd Harrison is a space and defense expert at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies. He said the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012 is an example of a situation where speed was more important than cost. The attack resulted in the death of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

“Imagine if we had been able to launch a SEAL team and put them right down in that compound within 45 minutes of knowing that it was under attack. It could have made the difference,” he said.

Everhart is not only interested in launching supplies from one point on Earth to another. He also wants to use satellites to position supplies in space.

Stallmer said a lot of spaceflight companies are studying the idea of space refueling stations. There also are plans to change refueling vehicles into habitats in space once they have been used.

However, it is still unclear when these technologies will be fully developed: Experts have estimated from two to more than 10 years.

But this does not stop Everhart from dreaming.

“The train is leaving the station and we’re going to be on it. And I’m not going to be on the caboose…I’m going to be in the front,” he said.

Everhart said his team is already writing proposals for the government to make space resupply a possibility for the military in the future.

I’m Phil Dierking.

This story was originally written by Carla Babb for VOANews.com. Phil Dierking adapted the story for Learning English. Mario Ritter was the editor.

Do you think space travel for resupplying the military is possible? Write to us in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.

Words in This Story

caboose - n. a part of a train that is attached at the back end and is used by people who work on the train​

globe - n. the earth​

habitat - n. the place or type of place where a plant or animal naturally or normally lives or grows​

hypersonic - adj. relating to speeds of more than five times the speed of sound ​

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/08/14/0578/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/08/14/0578/VOA Special EnglishTue, 14 Aug 2018 07:28:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Study: We Learn Language in Pre-Human Area of Brain]]>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/2018/08/14/7459/

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

A new study from brain researchers helps explain how the human brain evolved, or changed over time, to permit people to speak and write. This new research may also help people who are learning a new language.

Michael Ullman is the lead researcher. He is a professor at Georgetown University Medical School in Washington, D.C. He has been studying language learning for more than 20 years.

Ullman says his research shows that the human brain does not have a special area or system for making language. Over time, he says, we have simply reused -- or co-opted -- parts of our brain for language. And those parts, he says, are ancient – older even than humans themselves.

“This study examines the theoretical framework that language is learned, stored and processed in two ancient – so, pre-existing humans – learning and memory systems in the brain. And these have been co-opted -- reused -- for language in humans.”

Non-human animals have these systems, too, adds one of the study’s co-authors. Phillip Hamrick is with Kent State University in Ohio. In a press statement, he explains that rats use the same memory systems to complete some tests.

Rats are commonly used in scientific and medical experiments.
Rats are commonly used in scientific and medical experiments.

Ullman, Hamrick and the rest of the team looked at data from 16 other studies on language. They found that people learn language using two memory systems: declarative and procedural. Memorizing vocabulary, for example, is a declarative memory process. But learning grammar is, mostly, a procedural memory process.

Again, here is Prof. Ullman.

“Declarative memory, in humans at least, is what we think of as ‘learning memory.’ Such as, ‘Oh, I remember what you said last night’ or things like that. And procedural motor memory is what we often call ‘motor memory’ such as how you learn to ride a bicycle.”

Or, he adds, how to conjugate verbs. These procedural memory skills become so deeply learned that we are no longer aware that we are doing them.

However, Ullman explains that the two long-term memory systems can share tasks. And, he adds, the adult brain uses the systems to learn language a bit differently than a child’s brain.

“Adult learners of a second language tend to rely on learning the grammar in declarative memory early on. But eventually, they become just like kids learning the grammar and they depend on procedural memory.”

In other words, adult language learners may use their declarative memory for using grammar patterns. They think about it purposefully. For a child, the grammar may come more naturally. They don’t have to think about the grammar rules before speaking.

In addition to language learners, Ullman’s study could help people who have a brain injury that affects speaking and writing. This knowledge can also help those who have learning disabilities such as dyslexia. People with dyslexia have difficulty identifying words and symbols accurately.

In a statement to the press, Ullman said he hopes the new research 'will lead to exciting advances in our understanding of language, and in how both second language learning and language problems can be improved.'

And that's the Health & Lifestyle report.

I’m Anna Matteo.

Anna Matteo reported this article for VOA Learning English. Kelly Jean Kelly was the editor.

Words in This Story

co-optedv. to use or take control of (something) for your own purposes

theoretical adj. relating to the general principles or ideas of a subject rather than the practical uses of those ideas

frameworkn. a set of ideas or facts that provide support for something

motor adj. technical : of or relating to the part of the nervous system that controls the movement of muscles

conjugate v. to list the different forms of a verb that show number, person, tense, etc.

rely v. to need (someone or something) for support, help, etc. : to depend on (someone or something)

symbol n. a letter, group of letters, character, or picture that is used instead of a word or group of words

accurately adv. able to produce results that are correct : not making mistakes

advance n. progress in the development or improvement of something

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/08/14/7459/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/08/14/7459/VOA Special EnglishTue, 14 Aug 2018 07:24:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Former White House Adviser Says She Taped Inside Secret Situation Room]]>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/2018/08/14/0623/

A former adviser to President Donald Trump has released a recording she says she secretly made inside the White House’s high-security Situation Room.

The adviser, Omarosa Manigault Newman, began serving in the White House shortly after Trump took office in January 2017. She held the positions of assistant to the president and director of communications for the office of public liaison. She left her job in the White House last December.

Manigault Newman had also worked for Trump during his presidential campaign. She had known him since they worked together in 2004 on the first season of the American reality TV show “The Apprentice.” Donald Trump presented the show, and Manigault Newman was one of the people competing on it.

During the campaign and throughout her White House service, Manigault Newman was publicly supportive of the president and his policies. She had also defended Trump against accusations of racism.

Donald Trump and Omarosa Manigault Newman at a promotional event for 'The Apprentice' in New York City.
Donald Trump and Omarosa Manigault Newman at a promotional event for 'The Apprentice' in New York City.

Manigault Newman has now written a book called “Unhinged” – to be released Tuesday - about her White House experiences. While publicizing the book, she released an audio recording of a discussion, she says, she secretly recorded inside the White House.

She says the discussion, with White House chief of staff John Kelly, took place in the highly-secured Situation Room. Manigault Newman released part of the recording Sunday on the NBC television show “Meet the Press.”

In the recording, which the Associated Press independently listened to, Kelly is heard saying he wants to talk with Manigault Newman about leaving the White House. Kelly said there were some “integrity issues” related to Manigault Newman. The issues were related to her use of government vehicles and “money issues and other things,” Kelly can be heard saying.

“If we make this a friendly departure…you can look at your time here in the White House as a year of service to the nation and then you can go on without any type of difficulty in the future relative to your reputation,” Kelly tells her.

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly listens as President Donald Trump holds a round table meeting with members of law enforcement about sanctuary cities in the Roosevelt Room at the White House in Washington, March 20, 2018.
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly listens as President Donald Trump holds a round table meeting with members of law enforcement about sanctuary cities in the Roosevelt Room at the White House in Washington, March 20, 2018.

​Manigault Newman says she considered the statement a “threat.” She has defended her decision to secretly record it and says she has recorded additional White House conversations that she might be releasing as well.

But critics condemned Manigault Newman for secretly recording in the White House’s Situation Room.

Situation Room

The Situation Room was created by President John F. Kennedy after the Bay of Pigs disaster in 1961, according to a paper published on the Central Intelligence Agency, or CIA, website.

That crisis showed the need for a fast and secure communications center to handle large amounts of national security information coming in from many places to the president. Since then, the mission of the Situation Room has been to provide up-to-date intelligence and crisis support to the National Security Council and the president.

The Situation Room is used by the president and his advisers to manage the nation’s most important and secret foreign policy decisions and military actions. In the past, this included former President Barack Obama and his top aides watching in real-time the hunting down of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

U.S. President Barack Obama (2nd L) and Vice President Joe Biden (L), along with members of the national security team, receive an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden in the Situation Room of the White House, May 1, 2011.
U.S. President Barack Obama (2nd L) and Vice President Joe Biden (L), along with members of the national security team, receive an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden in the Situation Room of the White House, May 1, 2011.

Earlier this year, the White House said President Trump met with top advisers and held meetings in the Situation Room before the launching of airstrikes on Syrian military targets. The airstrikes were ordered to answer a chemical weapons attack in Syria.

Some national security experts and White House officials say Manigault Newman may have violated ethics and security rules for making the secret White House recordings.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was quick to criticize her actions. She said “the very idea” that an employee would secretly record inside the Situation Room 'shows a blatant disregard for our national security.”

Trump’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani, told a morning television show Monday Manigault Newman may have broken the law. “She’s certainly violating national security regulations, which I think have the force of law,” he said.

Ned Price served as a spokesman for the National Security Council in the Obama administration. He told the Associated Press he had “never heard of a more serious breach of protocol.”

Price said while there is no one at the door of the Situation Room checking devices, there is a sign posted outside making clear that electronic devices are not permitted. Price also questioned why Kelly would have chosen to hold such a meeting in the Situation Room.

I’m Bryan Lynn.

Bryan Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English, based on reports from the Associated Press, 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

integrity n. honesty and the ability to do or know what is morally right

departure n. the act of leaving a place

reputation n. the opinion people have about someone or something based on their past behavior or character

ethics n. rules of behavior based on ideas about what is morally good and bad

blatant adj. not hidden, very clear

disregard n. behavior that shows a person does not care about or have any interest in someone or something

regulation n. rule or order issued by an executive authority or regulatory agency of a government and having the force of law

breach n. action that breaks a rule, agreement or law

protocol n. set of rules for how someone must behave in official situations

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/08/14/0623/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/08/14/0623/VOA Special EnglishTue, 14 Aug 2018 07:24:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Young Americans Are Less Wealthy Than Their Parents]]>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/2018/08/13/3810/

The cost of living in the United States is going up, notes writer Alissa Quart. As reported in the New York Post, Quart points to “the costs of housing, education, health care and child care in particular.”

At the same time, a new study found that half of Americans born in the 1980s are falling behind their parents economically. The study is a project of researchers at Stanford University, Harvard University, and the University of California, Berkeley. Their report is called “The Fading American Dream.”

Together, these findings show that many younger adults are experiencing “downward mobility.” In other words, they are not doing as well, either socially or economically, as their parents were at the same age.

Unemployed men queued outside a depression soup kitchen opened in Chicago, Feburary 1931
Unemployed men queued outside a depression soup kitchen opened in Chicago, Feburary 1931

Will things always get better?

The idea of downward mobility is especially troubling for Americans, writes Robert Samuelson in The Washington Post. He says most U.S. citizens believe that, over time, the amount of money they earn will rise and life will get easier.

And for some, that belief has come true.

In the “Fading American Dream” study, researchers found that 90 percent of Americans born in the 1940s grew up to earn more than their parents. That percentage is so high, say the researchers, partly because of historical events. In the 1930s, the U.S. economy was in a severe depression, and most people’s earnings went down. But in the 1950s, the economy expanded, and most people’s incomes went up. As a result, almost all Americans born in the 1940s experienced upward mobility.

But among members of this generation, only about 60 percent of their children earned more money than they did. And only 50 percent of children born in the following 10 years were earning more than their parents at the same age.

In other words, Americans’ ease of living is going down. In technical terms, the economists write, “Absolute mobility has fallen sharply” over the past 50 years.

This tiny cottage on Lombardy Lane in Laguna Beach, Calif. is for sale at just shy of $1 millions is shown Friday, May 25, 2018. This one bedroom home is 595 square feet and is a few blocks from the ocean. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
This tiny cottage on Lombardy Lane in Laguna Beach, Calif. is for sale at just shy of $1 millions is shown Friday, May 25, 2018. This one bedroom home is 595 square feet and is a few blocks from the ocean. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

The middle class

Alissa Quart wrote a book about the financial difficulties of everyday Americans. It is called Squeezed: Why Our Families Can’t Afford America.

In her book, Quart tells about teachers who are struggling to pay for housing, child care and other regular costs. One high school teacher said he drives for ride sharing service Uber at night to earn more money. He corrects students’ papers between riders.

Another man, a college professor, only earns enough to pay for simple food, such as pasta and potatoes, for his children. A different college professor turned to government assistance to feed her child and pay for a doctor.

Quart says even lawyers increasingly cannot earn an income that enables them to meet their needs. The problem of decreasing incomes in their field is made worse by debt they may have from law school.

In this Thursday, June 21, 2018 photo, a job applicant looks at job listings for the Riverside Hotel at a job fair hosted by Job News South Florida, in Sunrise, Fla.
In this Thursday, June 21, 2018 photo, a job applicant looks at job listings for the Riverside Hotel at a job fair hosted by Job News South Florida, in Sunrise, Fla.

What caused these problems?

Quart and the economists who studied these issues say many things have led to lower incomes and downward mobility.

The economic recession of 2007 to 2009 is partly to blame, they say.

Modern technology also plays a part. Quart says robots threaten to reduce the earnings of health care workers, truckers, reporters, and people who work at supermarkets, drug stores and tax preparation services.

In The Washington Post, Robert Samuelson noted that poor schools, a weak housing industry and too many government rules also are to blame.

With all these things – and more – partly responsible, what is the solution? These experts say the answer is complex. But all point to one issue that needs to be examined: economic inequality. Quartz writes that while America is one of the richest countries in the world, it also has one of the biggest divides between the wealthy and the poor.

A homeless man sits outside the White House in Washington, U.S., August 2, 2018.
A homeless man sits outside the White House in Washington, U.S., August 2, 2018.

The researchers in the “Fading American Dream” study make a similar observation. They say raising GDP -- the gross domestic product – will not significantly improve the economic situation of most Americans. A higher GDP may help only those who are already doing well.

Instead, the economists say, the United States could try to repeat something Americans born in the 1940s experienced. As those children grew up, they almost all benefited from a better economy.

I’m Jonathan Evans.

Kelly Jean Kelly reported this story for VOA Learning English. Her story was based on material from VOANews.com, The New York Post, The Washington Post, the Brookings Institution, and the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report. George Grow was the editor.

Words in This Story

fading - adj. of or related to losing strength

downward mobility - n. the movement of people into lower economic or social groups

upward mobility - n. the movement of people into higher economic or social groups

squeezed - adj. being pressured or forced

afford - v. to be able to pay for something

gross domestic product - n. the value of goods and services produced in a country during a year

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

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/08/13/3810/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/08/13/3810/VOA Special EnglishMon, 13 Aug 2018 02:15:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Birds Learn Each Other's ‘Languages’ by Listening, Experts Say]]>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/2018/08/13/8642/

Wild animals are known to listen to each other for warnings that predators are near. Some birds, for example, flee when neighbors make a loud noise to announce a snake’s presence.

The fairy wren is a small Australian songbird. It is not born knowing the “languages” of other birds. But recent research says it can learn the meaning of a few important sounds.

Andrew Radford is a biologist at the University of Bristol in England and co-writer of the new report published in early August in the journal Current Biology.

He told the Associated Press, “We knew before that some animals can translate the meanings of other species’ ‘foreign languages,’ but we did not know how that ‘language learning’ came about.”

Birds have several ways of learning life skills. Some knowledge is genetically passed by their parents and some comes from direct experience with the world.

But Radford and other scientists are exploring a third kind of knowledge: information from peers.

Radford and researchers at the Australian National University carried out the study in the country’s National Botanic Gardens in Canberra. They attached to their bodies specially-designed, sound-producing equipment called “tweeter speakers.” They wanted to see if fairy wrens would react to sounds of other birds even if they could not see them.

This photo provided by Jessica McLachlan shows a fairy-wren. (Jessica McLachlan)
This photo provided by Jessica McLachlan shows a fairy-wren. (Jessica McLachlan)

The scientists first played the birds two recorded sounds that they likely had never heard before. One was a warning cry of an allopatric chestnut-rumped thornbill, a bird not native to Australia. The other was a computer-generated bird sound called “buzz.”

When the 16 fairy wrens in the study first heard the sounds, they had no special reaction.

The scientists then tried to train half the birds to recognize the thornbill’s cry as a warning sound. They tried to train the other half of the birds to recognize the computer-generated “buzz” as a warning call.

They did so by playing the sounds in addition to other noises that the birds already knew as warnings. These included the fairy wrens’ own threat call.

After three days, the scientists tested what the birds had learned — and their students passed the test.

The fairy wrens trained with the thornbill’s cry, fled when they heard it. The group trained with the buzz, fled when they heard that sound. Neither group reacted to the sound taught to the other.

Twelve of the 16 birds fled every time the researchers played their given sound. The other four birds fled at two-thirds or more of the playbacks.

Christopher Templeton is a biologist at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon who was not involved in the study.

“Until this study, we had limited knowledge about how an animal learns what calls from other species actually mean,” Templeton said.

“What this new study does is remove the predator entirely. It shows that these birds can learn to associate new sounds with danger, without having to learn [them] through trial and error,” he added.

Andrew Radford of the University of Bristol noted that the ability to learn to link sounds with meaning makes biological sense.

“If you can only learn in the presence of a predator, that’s quite dangerous,” he said.

I’m Pete Musto.

Christina Larson reported this story for the Associated Press. Pete Musto adapted it for VOA Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor. We want to hear from you. What other animals do you think are able to learn other animals’ “languages?” Write to us in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.

Words in This Story

predator(s) – n. an animal that lives by killing and eating other animals

snaken. an animal that has a long, thin body and no arms or legs

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

translatev. to change words from one language into another language

speciesn. a group of animals or plants that are similar and can produce young animals or plants

peer(s) – n. a member of the same group as someone or something else

associatev. to think of one person or thing when you think of another person or thing

quiteadv. to a very noticeable degree or extent

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/08/13/8642/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/08/13/8642/VOA Special EnglishMon, 13 Aug 2018 02:14:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Groups Urge Laos to Rethink Huge Hydropower Projects]]>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/2018/08/12/2819/

Environmental groups and researchers are calling on the government of Laos to carry out an open investigation of the deadly collapse of a large dam.

On July 23, part of the Xe-Pian-Xe Namnoy hydropower dam collapsed releasing a wall of water. More than 20 people were killed, and as many as 6,000 were displaced by the floods.

The village of Attapeu in southern Laos received the most damage from the flooding.

Harming vulnerable people

Keith Barney is an expert in environmental research and natural resource policy in South East Asia at Australia’s National University. He said that governments often try to limit information after large disasters.

Barney told VOA, 'The tendency in many cases when faced with difficult issues or external criticism is to cover up and shut down and block out the flow of information.” He added there are signs that this is happening in Laos, but it is being criticized and raising questions.

Laos
Laos

Satellite images from before the flood show Attapeu on a bend in the river with a network of roads. Pictures taken after the incident, however, show the flooded area as a brown mass of mud with few structures left.

Barney said that many of the people in the area are ethnic minorities who had already suffered from the dam building process. He said they may have been harmed by the downstream impact or may have been resettled. Barney added that this, “will just be adding on to their vulnerability in the coming year.'

The Xe-Pian-Xe Namnoy dam is being built to create 410 megawatts of electricity near the Cambodian border. It is part of a series of dams Laos has planned or built to improve its economy by selling electricity to neighboring countries.

Non-governmental organizations have strongly opposed the country’s hydro power development. They say Laos has not made good safety plans for the social and environmental results of the projects.

Attapeu Flood
Attapeu Flood

of Mekong’s most important tributaries

The Xe-Pian-Xe Namnoy area feeds into the Sekong River. The organization Save the Mekong considers the river 'one of the Mekong’s most important tributaries.”

In a statement, the group said the area is home 'to tens of thousands of people from at least 20 different ethnic groups, all of whom rely on wild capture fisheries and surrounding forests and fertile lands.'

Save the Mekong said a total of 11 large hydropower dams on the lower Mekong River and 120 tributary dams are planned.

Save the Mekong also said the recent dam disaster renews calls for the government to reconsider the country’s heavy investment in hydropower. It said the Laos governmentshould strengthen the enforcement of laws to guarantee greater responsibility from foreign investors.

The group also said water quality changes had ruined local fisheries along the Xe Pian River. But, it said villagers living there had not received any support for the loss of their livelihoods.

Barney said the collapse also raises questions about safety rules for building projects.

Many countries have donated aid to assist Laos with recovery and redevelopment. South Korea, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia and Australia have donated money and resources to the effort.

The intergovernmental Mekong River Commission released a statement to VOA. The group said it is 'working to develop short- and medium-term programs to support Laos and other countries on dam safety” in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

This week, the Laos government announced that it was suspending approval of new dams while it examines more than 50 current projects.

I’m Phil Dierking.

This story was originally written by Ron Corben for VOANews.com. Phil Dierking adapted the story for Learning English. Mario Ritter was the editor.

Do you think hydropower is worth the risk of harming nearby communities? Write to us in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.

Words in This Story

displaced - v. to force (people or animals) to leave the area where they live​

tendency - n. a quality that makes something likely to happen or that makes someone likely to think or behave in a particular way​

external - adj. located, seen, or used on the outside or surface of something​

mud - n. soft, wet dirt​

impact - n. a powerful or major influence or effect​

vulnerability - n. easily hurt or harmed physically, mentally, or emotionally​

tributaries - n. a stream that flows into a larger stream or river or into a lake​

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/08/12/2819/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/08/12/2819/VOA Special EnglishSun, 12 Aug 2018 08:49:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Should Family Play a Part in Immigration Policy?]]>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/2018/08/12/9351/

Every weekday, Xan-Xia Hong and her husband Ru-Liang Zhang visit the Chinese Community Center near their home in New York City. The two are retired and in their seventies.

They moved to the United States 28 years ago. They entered the country through the family-immigrant visa system. They still remember how hard it was to get to the U.S.

Hong said, “For the journey, for our whole family, it cost us over 10,000 Chinese yuan.” That amounts to about $2,000 dollars in 1990.

But that money did not guarantee much.

“What were we to do if we couldn’t get the visa? We would lose everything,” Hong said.

The two did not have dependable employment. A family member helped with financial support. They saved their money to pay for the nine-year visa application process for travel to the U.S.

During the following 10 years, Hong worked seven days a week in a clothing factory. Zhang worked similar hours in a restaurant for several years. Then, he inherited a small store. Their work ethic helped them put their three children through college.

But, the two say they wonder if similar success might go unnoticed today because of President Donald Trump’s position on immigration.

Their experience would be considered an example of so-called chain immigration. That is a term used by opponents of what is officially known as citizen-sponsored immigrant visas for family members. The administration says the system brings into the country people who do not add to the U.S. economy.

Disagreement over immigration policy

Trump used the term on Twitter last September, “Chain migration cannot be allowed to be part of any legislation on Immigration!” The president has offered support for several pieces of legislation that would limit legal immigration.

Some measures in the bills would cut family-based visas and replace them with what has been described as a “merit-based system. The bills’ stated aim is to reduce the amount of “low-skilled immigrant labor.”

A merit-based system would rate immigrants based on their English-language ability, education level, employment offers and other things.

Supporters say such action would lead to higher pay for American workers. Critics say the U.S. economy depends on low-skilled labor.

Recent public opinion studies suggest that Americans do not agree on what to do to improve the immigration system.

Justin Yu is a former reporter on immigration issues. He now runs the New York Chinese Community Center. He said family-based immigration is not a problem and is very important to U.S.-based families.

“The problem in the American immigration system is not the legal immigrant – it’s not the family-based immigrant, it’s not the merit-based immigrant. The problem…is our border has not been controlled.”

'They didn't ask for handouts'

Many Chinese immigrants share Yu’s opinions. They say that social programs and hard-earned rights are hurt by illegal immigration.

Hong said, “We worked and worked and worked, all the way until we both retired.”

Wellington Chen runs a local development company in New York called Chinatown Partnership. He said immigrants in his neighborhood mostly lead small businesses.

“These people came here, didn’t take away any jobs; if anything, they hired helpers, they put their kids through college, they work long hours, they work the jobs that no one wants to do. And, they didn’t ask for handouts.”

Nicholas Louie is the 23-year-old grandson of Thomas Louie, an immigrant who was sponsored by his own grandfather 60 years ago. The extended family now includes a doctor, a college professor and a math teacher.

Nicolas said he has a difficult time imagining what his life would be like had family immigration been restricted.

“What’s that say about the next generation, when like there’s children asking ‘where’s their grandfather’ … or ‘where’s their uncle?’ Why do they have no family, but everyone else seems to have this wide, extended family?”

Nicolas Louie said his own family is living the American dream.

His relatives, he said, “Just wanted all of us to be good, to make our own money, be satisfied with what we have and retain the family…That’s really important.”

I’m Mario Ritter.

Ramon Taylor and Yuan Ye reported this story for VOA News. Mario Ritter adapted it for VOA Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.

Words in This Story

inherit –v. to receive (money, property, etc.) from someone when that person dies

ethic –n. rules of behavior based on ideas about what is morally good and bad

sponsored –adj. supported, given help from a sponsor

merit –n. having good qualities and, therefore, deserving of a reward

retain –v. to keep, to continue to have

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

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/08/12/9351/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/08/12/9351/VOA Special EnglishSun, 12 Aug 2018 08:48:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Report: Americans Know Little about Native Americans]]>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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A recent report confirms what Native Americans have always known: Most people in the United States know little, if anything, about American Indians. And what they do know is based on questionable information spread by traditional media.

At the same time, the report shows that the U.S. media is ready to help end misunderstandings and build new stories about Native Americans.

The report comes from The First Nations Development Institute and Echo Hawk Consulting, a private advisory business. The two-year “Reclaiming Native Truth” project was designed to study common ideas about Native Americans and find ways to correct stereotypes.

With help from Native American experts, researchers organized nearly 30 study groups across 11 states. The researchers spoke with political, judicial and business leaders. They also questioned more than 13,000 Americans and looked at social media.

Among the findings:

• Native Americans are largely invisible in modern society;

• Non-Native media controls news about Native Americans;

• Stories about Native Americans deal mainly with their problems, not strengths;

• Stereotypes affect law, policy and decision-making;

• Politicians do not understand tribal rights or U.S. treaty requirements.

“Most people said they didn’t know a Native American,” said Sarah Dewees, director of First Nations’ research, policy and asset-building programs. “Many people think that there aren’t many Native Americans left in America, which of course is not true.”

Dewees points out that Americans have conflicting images of Indians, both good and bad, because of history.

Engraving from Oct. 1, 1881 issue of popular Frank Leslie's newspaper. Stereotypes of the 'savage' or 'defeated' Indian have helped shape public opinion about Native Americans for more than 200 years.
Engraving from Oct. 1, 1881 issue of popular Frank Leslie's newspaper. Stereotypes of the 'savage' or 'defeated' Indian have helped shape public opinion about Native Americans for more than 200 years.

The study shows Americans hold competing stereotypes of Native Americans: Both poor and wealthy from legalized gaming; spiritual, but struggling with drug abuse and violence; independent and non-tax-paying, but dependent on federal government assistance.

The report says the belief that Native Americans receive a lot of federal aid is the most harmful because it separates Native Americans from other communities. Many U.S. citizens believe the government gives Native Americans special treatment.

The researchers agree: News media is partly responsible for keeping these stereotypes alive.

“If it bleeds, it leads,’” said Dewees, noting the media’s interest in bad news. “News stories about Native Americans focus on deficits, not positive developments in Indian Country. It’s harder to find an audience for ‘feel-good’ stories, but these are the stories that need to be told.”

The good news, say researchers, is that most Americans see Native Americans’ love of country, high rates of military service, and concerns about family, community and the environment. And they also like tribes’ strength in the face of difficulty, historic oppression and cultural genocide.

The study says most Americans are willing to let go of stereotypes when given facts. That is where the media can make a difference.

High Country News associate editor and 2018 Harvard University Nieman fellow Tristan Ahtone (Kiowa) conducting workshop for 2018 Native American Journalists Association conference participants. Photo by Frank Robertson, NAJA co-director.
High Country News associate editor and 2018 Harvard University Nieman fellow Tristan Ahtone (Kiowa) conducting workshop for 2018 Native American Journalists Association conference participants. Photo by Frank Robertson, NAJA co-director.

Brian Pollard is president of the Native American Journalists Association (NAJA). He said the media has a responsibility to reach out to Native Americans to find the truth.

“One of the things we see very consistently is that many non-Native journalists think that any Indian they talk to will be an expert on that community or that particular issue.”

Pollard also notes the need for reporters to provide context when covering Native issues. He said, “Most people do not understand that each tribe has its unique history, its own culture, and its own story of what has brought that tribe to where it is today.”

The American Society of News Editors has worked for years to increase diversity in news media, but recent information shows minorities remain underrepresented in newsrooms. Native American journalists make less than two-tenths of one percent of people working in traditional media.

As part of the Reclaiming Native Truth project, First Nations has published a guide to help non-Native journalists improve their reports about Indian Country. It is also working with Echo Hawk Consulting to develop a national campaign to increase recognition of and respect for Native Americans.

The “Reclaiming Native Youth” project received money from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, as well as several other groups and tribes.

I’m Jonathan Evans.

Cecily Hilleary reported this story for VOANews. Susan Shand adapted it for Learning English. The editor was George Grow.

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

Words in This Story

stereotypen. an often unfair and untrue belief that many people have about all people or members of a group

invisibleadj. cannot be seen by people

asset – n. a valuable person or thing

of coursephrase. naturally; as expected

focus v. to direct attention on someone or something

audience – n. a group of people who gather to watch or listen to something

contextn. the words that are used with a certain word or phrase and that help to explain its meaning

uniqueadj. different from other things or people

diversityn. the quality or state of having many different forms or ideas

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/08/12/2869/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/08/12/2869/VOA Special EnglishSun, 12 Aug 2018 07:35:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Learn How to 'Catch Lightning in a Bottle']]>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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Now, Words and Their Stories, a weekly program from VOA Learning English.

On this show, we explore common phrases and expressions in American English.

Today we talk about a saying that comes from nature -- the weather, to be exact.

Lightning is a powerful force of nature. In fact, a lightning strike carries millions of volts of electricity.

Scientists say a bolt of lightning strikes somewhere on Earth every second. That is a lot of energy!

Think how wonderful it would be if we could capture lightning and sell it in a bottle. Sadly, that is not something you or I can do, at least not yet.

The phrase 'to catch lighting in a bottle' means to capture something powerful or difficult. Then you are able to control it and perhaps show it to the world. This is where the 'bottle' part is important.

We can also use 'to capture lightning in a bottle' to describe an extremely difficult or unlikely success. Or you can simply call something elusive, fleeting and brilliant 'lightning in a bottle.'

So, something elusive is difficult to define or to identify. 'Fleeting' means to be here one minute and gone the next. Something fleeting is hard to hold onto. It is hard to catch or even define. It’s as if it's too special.

For example, once I worked on a theater project and the experience was like lightning in a bottle. The performers -- all gifted and friendly -- became like family. We spent every day together. The material we performed was funny, yet difficult. And every night the people who gathered to watch us perform were wonderful. Experiences like that do not come along every day.

So, we often use the term “lightning in a bottle” when talking about something creative. But not always.

In the world of sports, players and teams have also been known for catching lightning in a bottle. Anything physical that is 'lightning in a bottle' can be described as a rare feat. Climbing the top of Mount Everest is considered a rare feat of endurance.

Sometimes we use this expression to describe something that it is difficult to do and use it as a simile. A simile compares two things and begins with the word 'like' or 'as.' For example, getting all the scientists to agree on a subject for the conference was like trying to catch lightning in a bottle. They all wanted to talk about different issues.

As you may have noticed, we either use the verbs 'capture' or 'catch' for this expression. 'Catch' is less official sounding.

Language experts do not know exactly where this expression comes from. Some say it may have started with Benjamin Franklin -- the American diplomat, businessman and inventor.

Ben Franklin is known for a scientific experiment involving electricity and lightning. As the story goes, Franklin once flew a kite in a lightning storm. He had hoped that lightning would strike the kite as it flew high in the sky. He thought the electricity would travel down the string to a metal key at the bottom. Then the plan was to catch the electricity in a glass jar.

But that didn’t happen. However, it did lead to the invention of the lightning rod and the understanding of positive and negative charges.

So, you can’t catch real lightning in a bottle. But hopefully, during your lifetime you’ll have the experience of catching a little of your own lightning in a bottle.

We’ll end the show with a final usage of this expression. It is not that common but probably worth noting. 'Bottled lightning' can also mean a very strong alcoholic drink.

And that’s Words and Their Stories.

I’m Anna Matteo.

And I’m Bryan Lynn.

“You're the brightest light I’ve ever seen,

You’re lightning in a bottle, lightning in a bottle,

Break the glass and set yourself free,

lightning in a bottle, lightning in a bottle …”

Do you know of a time when someone was able to capture lightning in a bottle? Using the language you heard here, tell about it in the Comments Section!

Anna Matteo wrote this story for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor. The song at the end is Eli Lieb singing “Lightning in a Bottle.”

Words and Their Stories

volt n. a unit for measuring the force that moves an electric current

boltn. a lightning stroke; also “thunderbolt”

brilliant adj. very impressive or successful : brilliance n. the quality or state of being brilliant

rare adj. not common or usual : not often done, seen, or happening

feat n. an act or achievement that shows courage, strength, or skill

endurance n. the ability to do something difficult for a long time : the ability to deal with pain or suffering that continues for a long time

kiten. a toy that is made of a light frame covered with cloth, paper, or plastic and that is flown in the air at the end of a long string

jarn. a glass container that has a wide opening and usually a lid

]]>
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<![CDATA[College Admissions: Making the Decision to Transfer]]>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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Choosing a college or university in the United States is not an exact science. It can be hard to know if you have made the right decision, no matter what school you attend.

You might think you like the qualities of a school that accepts you, especially if it is high on your list of schools you want to attend.

But once you have gone through the process of application and admission, you may start to feel differently about your school choice.

Once you arrive, you may find that you wish your classes were smaller, or that you were in a more active city. You might dislike the school’s rules or atmosphere, or maybe it costs more than you expected.

In time, you could come to regret your choice of college or university.

But Linda Herlocker says there is nothing wrong with having doubts; what matters is how you deal with them. Herlocker is the assistant vice president for admissions and records at Valencia College. The Orlando, Florida community college offers mainly two-year associate’s degree programs, but also a few bachelor’s degree programs.

Linda Herlocker, assistant vice president for admissions and records at Valencia College.
Linda Herlocker, assistant vice president for admissions and records at Valencia College.

Herlocker says if a student decides they can no longer continue their studies where they started, it does not have to mean the end of their higher education. In fact, many college and university students begin their studies knowing that they will not complete their programs where they started.

That is especially true of community colleges like Valencia, Herlocker notes. However, she says it is important that students think hard about changing schools, no matter their reason for wanting to.

For some people, higher education is not always the best path to take, especially within a few months of graduating from high school, when most Americans start college. Herlocker says students might want to consider that possibility, even after they have transferred.

“Is it a problem that can be solved by transfer? Sometimes it is,” she told VOA. “But I just want to make sure that students make those decisions within the right context and with a good understanding of why they’re making that decision.”

Students walk across campus at Valencia College in Orlando, Florida.
Students walk across campus at Valencia College in Orlando, Florida.

Once a student has decided it is time to change schools, there are several steps they must take as soon as possible, notes Herlocker.

First, of course, the must identify the college or university they wish to attend. Some schools, especially community colleges like Valencia, have partnerships with other institutions that make the process simpler. It can also be easier to transfer from one public institution to another than to move from a private to a public school, or the other way around, Herlocker adds.

But, she suggests no matter what new school a student chooses, it is extremely important that the student contact it right away.

Most colleges and universities in the U.S. begin their official academic year in the fall. Many schools divide their academic year into two study periods called semesters. Almost all public institutions permit students to enter study in the second semester. But some private schools let students start only in the fall.

Also, some public and private institutions have group programs that require students to work together from the beginning. And students may not transfer in during the middle of those programs.

A student can seek answers to any transfer questions from admissions officials at the school of interest. Such questions might concern application materials and dates of submission and admission.

A student musical group performs on the Valencia College campus in Orlando, Florida.
A student musical group performs on the Valencia College campus in Orlando, Florida.

Many schools begin accepting application materials two semesters, or a full year, before they offer admission to or reject candidates. But Herlocker warns that applicants will never know details like that for sure unless they communicate with a school. And transfer students should stay in contact with their new school throughout the entire process, to make sure there that no steps are being missed.

There is one quality that can make transfer students a little more desirable than first-time applicants, Herlocker says. They already have an academic record at a college or university. If they did well, it shows they can succeed in higher education.

She suggests the study programs at community colleges like Valencia, can be less intense than those at four-year schools. Some students start at schools like Valencia in order to ease into the college learning environment.

The main requirement for transfer students is a record of their academic performance at the college or university they are leaving.

The situation is a little different for international students. If they are transferring from a school in their home country, that school’s study programs must be approved by an accrediting agency. But still, Herlocker says, these records should show exactly how well a student can perform at the college or university-level.

“The student has already proven themselves,” she said. “So, no one’s in the business of looking for reasons to exclude, if you will. If they already have a … positive … record, in my experience, any institution would be happy to have them.”

A student takes a picture with a bird at special event on the Valencia College campus in Orlando, Florida.
A student takes a picture with a bird at special event on the Valencia College campus in Orlando, Florida.

Once a student has been accepted into their desired transfer school, there is still one more thing they need to do, notes Herlocker. They should attend their new school’s orientation.

Orientations are special informational programs that colleges and universities offer whenever they admit a new group of students. These programs usually take place a week or so before the start of a new school year or semester, and often last several days.

Herlocker says orientation is important for both new and experienced students.

“Every institution is different,” she said. “And it’s really, really important to attend the orientation for the institution that you’re transferring to, because that’s where you find out what the rules are, how things work, and most importantly, what are all those support services that … can … help you be successful in your program.”

I’m Pete Musto. And I’m Dorothy Gundy.

Pete Musto reported this story for VOA Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor. We want to hear from you. How common is transferring from one college or university to another in your country? How simple or complex is the process? Write to us in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.

Words in This Story

applicationn. a formal and usually written request for something, such as a job, admission to a school, or a loan

doubt(s) – n. a feeling of being uncertain or unsure about something

associate’s degreen. a degree that is given to a student who has completed two years of study at a junior college, college, or university in the U.S.

bachelor’s degreen. a degree that is given to a student by a college or university usually after four years of study

graduatingv. earning a degree or diploma from a school, college, or university

transfer(red) – v. to stop going to one school and begin going to another

contextn. the group of conditions that exist where and when something happens

institution(s) – n. an established organization

academicadj. of or relating to schools and education

submissionn. an act of giving an application, document, proposal, or piece of writing to someone so that it can be considered or approved

accreditingv. saying that something is good enough to be given official approval

positiveadj. good or useful

]]>
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<![CDATA[Boxing Program Helps People With Parkinson's Disease]]>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/2018/08/11/7951/

The physical fitness business Rock Steady Boxing NOVA gym opened in McLean, Virginia last December.

That was the good news for 75-year-old Neil Eisner. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease six years ago. He finds the boxing a helpful way to fight back against the disease.

Parkinson’s disease affects the nervous system and causes people's muscles to become weak and their arms and legs to shake.

Rock Steady Boxing, or RSB, was designed to help people with Parkinson's. The exercises in the program are meant to build specific skills.

One involves hitting a bag to work on strength. Another has trainees crawling across the floor. Eisner says the exercises help him perform everyday tasks like moving around and getting in and out of bed.

Some strengthening exercises work the vocal cords.

Eisner said his trainer is working with him to speak out loudly.

'One of the things interestingly enough is you [Parkinson's patients] tend to have a lower voice. When you have that lower voice, people can't hear you, you don't realize it. So, he asks and is getting us to bring up our voice clearly and more loudly.'

Staying active important

Private trainer Alec Langstein likes working with older people because he understands their health issues and the need for them to stay active.

'My aunt has a gym in Westchester, New York, and she does a Rock Steady Boxing program there,' he said. 'She invited me up to her gym to check out the program. She thought it would be a perfect fit for what I do. I helped out with a few classes, and it was just, I thought, an amazing program.'

Parkinson's patient Jim Coppula works out in the ring with boxing coach Justice Smith (L) during his Rock Steady Boxing session in Costa Mesa, California September 16, 2013.
Parkinson's patient Jim Coppula works out in the ring with boxing coach Justice Smith (L) during his Rock Steady Boxing session in Costa Mesa, California September 16, 2013.

The Rock Steady Boxing nonprofit company was created in 2006 by lawyer Scott C. Newman. He was looking for ways to do physical exercise after being diagnosed with Parkinson's at the age of 40. Since then, more than 500 boxing programs have been started in the U.S. and around the world.

Langstein went to the organization's headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana, to become an RSB-certified trainer. A few months later, he opened his Rock Steady Boxing NOVA gym.

Langstein said that the RSB program centers attention on teaching balance and coordination between the hand and eye. It also teaches reaction and foot movement.

“So when I yell out certain numbers, they have to move and react at the same time. So, the brain and the body is working together.”

He added that it also helps people release some of the anger they may have from having the disease.

Improving quality of life

To understand how RSB can help Parkinson's patients, physical therapist Danielle Sequira says it is important to know what causes the symptoms.

Parkinson's patients Jerry Held (L), Jim Coppula (2nd L) and Dan Cathcart (3rd L) stretch as they begin their workout at Rock Steady Boxing in Costa Mesa, California September 16, 2013.
Parkinson's patients Jerry Held (L), Jim Coppula (2nd L) and Dan Cathcart (3rd L) stretch as they begin their workout at Rock Steady Boxing in Costa Mesa, California September 16, 2013.

She said that Parkinson's affects the dopamine-producing cells in the brain. Dopamine is a chemical that is important to the operation of the nervous system. A loss of dopamine can make movement difficult.

Boxing and other exercises do not cure the disease or stop the loss of dopamine. But, they can improve the patient's life experience.

Sequira said research shows that exercise helps the brain use dopamine better. She adds that, after working with Parkinson’s patients, her goal is for them to start an exercise program out in the community.

RSB seems to have helped Victoria Hebert reduce the symptoms of her Parkinson's. She has a tremor, or shake, in her left hand, and says some situations can make the shaking worse.

'Being cold, being hot, sitting with a crowd that I'm not real comfortable with, I'll start shaking. I end up having to sit on my hand just to keep it still.'

But with this crowd, Hebert feels no need to hide the disease.

'That's the big part of it, sharing experiences with others,' she said.

'I have to say…Over eight years of time I've never met another person with Parkinson's. Then, I came here, and it was like a whole class of 20, 25 people with it. It was kind of surprising to me, kind of surprising that I, myself, didn't reach out to anybody before that.'

I’m Phil Dierking.

This story was originally written by Faize Elmasry for VOANews.com. Phil Dierking adapted the story for Learning English. Mario Ritter was the editor.

Do you know other exercises that help with diseases? Write to us in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.

Words in This Story

gym, gymnasium –n. a place where people go to exercise that often has equipment and weights

diagnosed –adj. recognized to have a disease or illness

crawl –v. to move on your hands and knees

vocal cords –n. pieces of tissue in the throat that permit speech

check out –(informal) v. to look into, to learn something about

coordination –n. the process of causing something to work together correctly

yell –v. to shout, to make a loud noise

therapist –n. someone trained in treaty illness especially without drugs or operations

symptoms –n. a change which shows a disease or sickness

]]>
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<![CDATA[US to Increase Tariffs on Turkish Aluminum, Steel]]>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/2018/08/11/7643/

President Donald Trump says the United States has decided to increase tariff rates on Turkish steel and aluminum.

Trump announced the action Friday on Twitter.

The tariff for steel imported from Turkey will now be 50 percent. Import taxes for aluminum will be 20 percent. That is two times the level announced earlier this year in March.

The United States is the biggest destination for Turkish steel exports. Turkey answered the March tariff announcement by placing its own tariffs on $267 million of U.S. goods.

Turkey said it would respond to the new U.S. tariff action “without delay” and warned the move would further harm relations between the two countries.

Trump tweeted that the latest tariff decision came as Turkey’s currency, the lira, “slides rapidly downward against our very strong Dollar.”

The lira’s value fell about 13 percent against the dollar on Friday. The currency is down about 40 percent so far this year.

Economic experts believe the sharp fall of the lira is mainly because of concerns about the government’s economic policies. The weakened currency’s value has helped increase inflation and worried international investors.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan won another term in office in June with expanded powers.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses his supporters in Bayburt, Turkey, Friday, Aug. 10, 2018. (Presidential Press Service via AP, Pool)
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses his supporters in Bayburt, Turkey, Friday, Aug. 10, 2018. (Presidential Press Service via AP, Pool)

He has said Turkey’s economy remains strong, noting a 7.4 percent growth rate in the first three months of this year. But some investors fear the Turkish economy is growing too quickly and could face problems.

Erdogan has been putting pressure on the central bank not to raise interest rates in an attempt to help borrowers. But experts argue that the central bank should instead raise interest rates to ease inflation and to support the currency.

Erdogan has blamed outside forces for trying to bring down Turkey’s economy. On Friday, he said the country had to take steps in answer “to those who have waged an economic war against us.” He urged Turkish citizens to immediately exchange their gold and dollars for lira.

People change money at a currency exchange office in Istanbul, Turkey, Aug. 10, 2018.
People change money at a currency exchange office in Istanbul, Turkey, Aug. 10, 2018.

Relations 'not good at this time'

In his tweet about the new tariffs, Trump said “Our relations with Turkey are not good at this time!”

One of the difficult issues affecting U.S.-Turkish relations is a dispute over an American clergyman who has been jailed in Turkey since December 2016.

Turkey has accused Andrew Craig Brunson of spying and “committing crimes on behalf of terror groups without being a member.” Brunson is on trial and faces up to 35 years in prison if he is found guilty.

The United States placed sanctions on two Turkish officials earlier this month because of Brunson’s case.

Andrew Craig Brunson, an evangelical pastor from Black Mountain, North Carolina, arrives at his house in Izmir, Turkey, Wednesday, July 25, 2018. (AP Photo/Emre Tazegul)
Andrew Craig Brunson, an evangelical pastor from Black Mountain, North Carolina, arrives at his house in Izmir, Turkey, Wednesday, July 25, 2018. (AP Photo/Emre Tazegul)

Erdogan said Turkey is not afraid of outside 'threats.' He added that the country will continue to enjoy good economic relations with several major nations. These include places 'from Iran, to Russia, to China and some European countries,' he said.

On Friday, Erdogan spoke by telephone with Russian President Vladimir Putin. A Russian government statement said the two discussed economic and trade ties, including the success of several joint projects.

I’m Bryan Lynn.

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

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

----------------

Words in This Story

tariff n. a tax on goods coming into or leaving a country

destination n. the place where someone or something is going

rapidly adj. happening or moving very quickly

wage v. to fight or organize in order to achieve something

commit v. carry out or do something

behalf n. someone’s interest or support

sanction n. an order given to limit or stop trade under international law

]]>
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<![CDATA[Academy's New 'Popular Film' Oscar Not So Popular]]>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/2018/08/11/8735/

A recent announcement about an addition to the Academy Awards has led to a lot of talk. And much of it is negative.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said on Wednesday it is creating an Academy Award for “outstanding achievement in popular film.”

The move is proving to be extremely unpopular, at least among film critics and academy members. Actor Rob Lowe, a longtime member, described the Oscars as dead, “survived by sequels” and other things.

The Academy announced other changes, as well. Those changes received a mix of praise and protest. Many expressed happiness, for example, about the decision to hold the Oscars ceremony in 2020 earlier than usual, on February 9. This year’s event took place on March 4.

The Academy also announced it would shrink the broadcast to three hours. To do that, some award announcements will not be included in the live broadcast.

The new “popular film” award raised many questions, like:

Why is the Academy doing this?

The Academy is making the change mainly because of falling ratings for the Oscar ceremony’s live telecast. About 26.5 million people watched this year’s telecast, which lasted almost four hours. That was a 20-percent audience drop from the year before, and well below the show’s highest levels.

In 2014, 43.7 million watched as the film 12 Years a Slave won best picture. But in every year since, the audience number has decreased.

The academy depends on broadcast earnings for most of its budget.

Whose decision was this?

The academy’s 54-member board of governors approved the recent measures. The organization’s 7,000 members were not part of the discussion. Many of them argue that a “popular film” award is a weak attempt to gain viewers.

Writer Adam McKay is an academy member. He won the 2016 best screenplay Oscar for “The Big Short.” McKay joked on Twitter that the Oscars will also have new awards for “best knife throw” and “hottest female alien.”

Adam McKay, left, and Charles Randolph pose with the award for best adapted screenplay for 'The Big Short' at the 2016 Oscars. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
Adam McKay, left, and Charles Randolph pose with the award for best adapted screenplay for 'The Big Short' at the 2016 Oscars. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

The academy’s broadcasting partner, ABC, also influenced the decision. It had pressured Oscar producers to make the telecast more broadly appealing.

Has the Academy ignored hit films in the past?

This year’s Oscars actually included a number of major financial successes, including best picture nominees Get Out and Dunkirk, animated feature winner Coco, and Blade Runner 2049.

Hit films like Beauty and the Beast, Baby Driver and Star Wars: The Last Jedi also were nominated.

And the academy has shown increasing willingness to nominate horror and sci-fi movies.

Smaller films win more Oscars

No best picture winner since 2012′s Argo has cleared $100 million in national box office sales. Independent films have won 10 of the last 11 best picture Oscars, including the movies Moonlight, Spotlight, Birdman and The Artist.

Define ‘popular’ film

The academy has not been exact in its definition of “popular” film. It did say the academy “supports broad-based consideration of excellence in all films.”

So how does one measure popularity?

Ticket sales might be one way. So, would the movie Solo: A Star Wars Story be in Oscars competition? The film made $213 million in North America. Yet, it did not get much critical praise.

And would overseas sales count? Would a traditional Oscar nominee like La La Land have been considered a “popular” film? It made $446 million worldwide.

Will anyone want a “popularity” award?

Some in Hollywood might consider it insulting to being nominated for the new award. Many will likely consider it of lower value, or not a “real” Oscar.

However, the term “Oscar winner” can greatly increase the power of actors, directors, producers and others in the industry. So, any Oscar is desirable.

And some in Hollywood argue that a film can be both hugely “popular” and a critical success.

'Black Panther' actor Chadwick Boseman is surrounded by photographers as he poses at the premiere of the film at The Dolby Theatre on Monday, Jan. 29, 2018, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
'Black Panther' actor Chadwick Boseman is surrounded by photographers as he poses at the premiere of the film at The Dolby Theatre on Monday, Jan. 29, 2018, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

This year has already offered up an especially good example. Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther was a huge hit for Disney, earning over $1.3 billion worldwide. It also received high critical praise.

Some worry that Black Panther might be forced into the “popular film” group because of its financial success.

I’m ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Ashley Thompson.

I'm Caty Weaver.

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

Words in This Story

negative - adj. expressing dislike or disapproval​

sequel - n. a book, movie, etc., that continues a story begun in another book, movie, etc.​

outstanding - adj. extremely good or excellent​

achievement - n. something that has been done or achieved through effort: a result of hard work​

audience - n. the people who watch, read, or listen to something​

viewer - n. a person who watches television​

animated - adj. produced by the creation of a series of drawings, pictures, etc., that are shown quickly one after another : produced through the process of animation​

sci-fi - adj. science fiction

cinematography - n. the art, process, or job of filming movies : motion-picture photography​

alien - n. a creature from somewhere other than the planet Earth​

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