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。Mon, 21 May 2018 14:50:38 UTC<![CDATA[Kite-Flying Gives a Lift to People of All Ages]]>Susan Shand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:

When Americans Kay and Larry Day found a store selling kites nearly 20 years ago, they decided to buy a few kites for their family.

For fun, Larry bought one for himself.

“He went out and flew it and decided he needed to go back and get a better one,” Kay remembered.

Since then, she and her husband have loved kite flying. They own many kites and plan trips around flying them. They also organize a kite-flying event each winter in their hometown in Iowa.

“I’m at peace when I’m flying,” said Larry.

Kite-flying has a long history as an activity for adults and children. The custom of flying a piece of cloth high in the sky began more than 2,000 years ago in China. Since then, kites have been used to do scientific experiments, power boats, take pictures from the air and much more.

“There is a kind of a kite for everybody out there,” said Nic O’Neill, president of the American Kitefliers Association.

O’Neill told the Associated Press that kite flying can be done alone or with friends and family. Kites appeal to people who like to create works of art to fly in the sky; to engineers who try to improve on the kite’s design; and to those who like to combine kite-flying with music, she explained.

“The best thing about it is you can come at it from different points in your life and have it be a completely different experience,” she said.

Grant Lovett began flying simple kites as a child, but moved on to more costly and complex kites as an adult. Among the latter is a nearly 13-meter long inflatable kite.

Today, Lovett likes making his own kites. He builds them from strong, lightweight materials and products designed for sailboats.

“I’ve always been interested in stuff that flies,” he said.

Lovett likes taking his creations to public events and sharing them with others. He attends kite-making classes and looks for new models on the internet.

“I don’t make tons and tons of the same thing,” he said. “I like making new kites, finding new designs.”

Lovett makes kites of different shapes and sizes because flying conditions can differ greatly.

Flying kites requires skill, but also a little artistry, he noted. Experience makes a difference, as does the weather.

“Part of the reason I love kiting is that you have to risk trying and not succeeding. The best way to learn is to go out, undo the string and let your kite fly,” O’Neill said.

Ideally, you want a nice steady wind and a place away from trees and buildings, O’Neill said.

Sometimes the best flying conditions happen in winter — on a frozen lake, said Kay Day, who with her husband organizes the Color the Wind Kite Festival. It takes place every February on Clear Lake in Iowa.

The festival adds color to the winter sky and gives people a reason to go outside, she added. The Days invite expert fliers to come share their love for kites with locals and visitors. This year, more than 100 children attended a kite-making class.

“Kiters are a really good group of people. It’s a family,” said Larry Day.

The kiting community makes everyone feel welcome, said PV Nguyen of Portland, Oregon. She says her two children started flying kites about three years ago after attending a kite festival. “The kite fliers we know want to teach the kids everything they can,” she said. “They like that there’s a new generation coming up.”

Her sons, Dylan, and Cardin, fly with kiters of all ages. “I do enjoy seeing different people,” Dylan said.

The 13-year-old also likes the happy feelings that he experiences when his kite moves through the sky.

“It’s really calming,” he said.

I'm Susan Shand.

The Associated Press reported this story. Susan Shand adapted the report for VOA Learning English. The editor was George Grow.

Words in This Story

kiten. something light that is designed to be flown in the air; a plaything

association – n. an organization or group

inflatableadj. able to be filled with gas or air

festival n. a special time or event when people gather to celebrate something

steadyadj. firmly fixed; not changing

stuff n. things

string - n. a long, thin piece of material that one uses to hang things or connect things together

http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/05/21/9048/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/05/21/9048/VOA Special EnglishMon, 21 May 2018 06:31:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Lack of Guest Workers Worries Maryland Crab Businesses]]>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:

Olivia Rubio is a seasonal worker on Hooper’s Island in the eastern state of Maryland.

She does the difficult work of processing crabs, picking the meat from the sharp shells by hand and putting it into containers.

The valuable seafood is sold across the United States East Coast and beyond.

Hooper’s Island is among a group of thinly populated islands in the Chesapeake Bay. The bay is one of the world’s largest estuaries and a busy center for seafood production.

Seafood harvesting and processing is what Hooper’s Island is known for.

Maryland crab meat producers have used temporary workers there since the 1980s.

These “guest” workers live and are employed in the U.S. for only part of the year. Many American industries depend on these foreign workers.

Rubio has been coming to the island for 15 years from Mexico on an H2-B visa.

“We have the opportunity to come here to work and support our family, help our children move forward, and support our parents. It’s good,” Rubio said.

Rubio can live and work in the U.S. during the warmer months, when there is work, and return to her home country in the winter.

She is happy to have received a visa for this year, but wonders about next year.

In 2018, the Trump administration gave out some H-2B visas using a lottery system. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the agency that supervises the visa program, said there was a higher demand this year.

“I hope there are visas to be able to come back and do the work again,” said Rubio.

Rubio works for G.W. Hall & Son Seafood. The company needed 40 visas, but only got 30 for guest workers.

Robin Hall is co-owner of the company.

“I don’t know what we would do or the whole area would do without them. I mean from the stores to…I don’t know how to describe it because of the impact that they have. They keep it all moving.”

There are about 20 licensed crab processing businesses in Maryland. They employ 500 foreign workers.

Representative Andy Harris represents Hooper’s Island in Congress. He has asked the Departments of Homeland Security and Labor for extra guest worker visas. He said the limit for H-2B visas was reached in January.

That has left many businesses unable to get seasonal workers. Harris said these workers support “thousands of related jobs held by American citizens.”

From October 2017 to September of 2018, there were 66,000 H-2B visas available for non-agricultural industries. However, Congress could raise that number.

Businesses worry over lack of workers

Russell Hall Seafood also is on Hooper’s Island. But its crab containers are empty. The kitchen is unused and there are no workers to be found.

Mexican workers, on the U.S. H2B visa program for seasonal guest workers, process crabs at the A.E. Phillips & Son Inc. crab picking house on Hooper's Island in Fishing Creek, Maryland, Aug. 26, 2015.
Mexican workers, on the U.S. H2B visa program for seasonal guest workers, process crabs at the A.E. Phillips & Son Inc. crab picking house on Hooper's Island in Fishing Creek, Maryland, Aug. 26, 2015.

Harry Phillips is with Russell Hall Seafood. He said the company needed 50 visas, but received none. He said, “It never was this way before. We’ve done this for 25 years and no doubt some year it’s been slow getting workers, but we’ve always got them.”

Phillips says he advertised for jobs in local newspapers.

“We have to actually advertise in newspapers before we’re allowed to even apply for the H-2B program workers.”

Phillips said no local people have applied. He does not like the lottery system.

“That’s a big gamble. I mean, we can’t run our business at a gamble, whether we’re going to get our workers or not,” he said.

AE Phillips and Son also is not operating. The company, established in 1914, is part of the Phillips Seafood restaurant chain.

Morgan Tolley is the company’s general manager. He said he is worried about 2019.

Tolley says the H-2B visa should not be linked to other immigration issues.

“Speaking for the H-2B program, which is a non-immigrant work visa, to me personally, that has nothing to do with immigration. It’s a non-immigrant work visa. These people take tremendous pride in the fact that they can come here to the United States and work and go home, and they’re proud of that right that they have earned.”

Robin Hall has about 75 percent of the workers he needs. But he said he wishes all the local companies had workers.

He told VOA that people living on the island are mostly retired and there are almost no local workers.

The concern whether there will be enough workers to process the good-sized catch of crabs expected for Maryland this year.

I’m Mario Ritter.

Aline Barros reported this story for VOA News. Mario Ritter adapted it for VOA Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.

Words in This Story

estuaries –n. areas were fresh water from rivers mixes with salt water from the sea

lottery –n. a system of deciding something by chance

opportunity –n. an amount of time or a situation in which something can be done

impact –n. an important influence

allow –v. to let happen, to permit

apply –v. to formally ask for something, usually by filling out a form

gamble –n. a situation that is uncertain, a chance

manager –n. someone who is in charge of a business, department, etc.

tremendous –adj. very much, to a great extent

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/2018/05/21/1591/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/05/21/1591/VOA Special EnglishMon, 21 May 2018 06:02:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Australia Increases Efforts to Protect Koalas]]>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:

Koalas are officially listed as at risk of disappearing in New South Wales, Australia. Now, the state’s government has $34-million plan to protect the beloved animals.

Koalas have large, hairy ears. They have especially sharp claws, which help them climb trees. They are marsupials, meaning they carry their babies in an opening of skin on the mother’s stomach. The animals are native to Australia, and are described in many Aboriginal stories of creation.

Over the last 20 years, the koala population in New South Wales has fallen by 25 percent. About 36,000 koalas remain. The animals’ numbers have fallen in other parts of Australia, too.

As part of its plan, the government of New South Wales is setting aside nearly 25,000 hectares of forest where koalas will be able to breed freely.

It will also add more signs to help car drivers avoid koalas that walk into roadways. And, the state will build specially made bridges so that koalas and other wildlife can cross roads while avoiding cars and trucks.

Koalas face several threats, including loss of habitat due to land-clearing, dog attacks and heatwaves. A sexually transmitted disease – chlamydia – is also harming koalas’ health.

Gabrielle Upton is the environment minister of New South Wales. She told VOA about her state’s plan to set up a group of wildlife hospitals to treat injured and sick koalas. She also said researchers are testing a vaccine that would protect the koalas against chlamydia.

A new koala hospital will open in Port Stephens, north of Sydney. It will join an already existing hospital in the New South Wales town of Port Macquarie, which began treating injured marsupials in the 1970s.

Conservationists have welcomed the idea of opening a second hospital. However, they argue that the government's multi-million dollar plan does not deal with the number-one threat to koalas: land-clearing.

Koala live in trees. They are herbivores, and need forest environments to survive.

I’m Susan Shand.

This story was reported by Phil Mercer for VOA News. Susan Shand adapted it for Learning English. Ashley Thompson was the editor.

Words in This Story

claw – n. a sharp curved part on the toe of an animal

Aboriginal – n. native people of Australia

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

breed – v. to produce young animals, birds, etc. : to produce offspring by sexual reproduction

transmit – v. to cause (a virus, disease, etc.) to be given to others

herbivore - n. an animal that only eats plants

http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/05/21/5954/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/05/21/5954/VOA Special EnglishMon, 21 May 2018 05:28:00 UTC
<![CDATA[News Literacy Introduction: News Through Time]]>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:

Today we are at the Newseum in Washington D.C. – where the history of free expression is explained and defended.

The first printing presses arrived in the United States in the mid-1600s, marking an important step in the history of America’s free press.

A free press is important in democratic society. It allows citizens to speak freely and criticize the country's leaders without fear. Some journalists have even lost their lives for that right.

But, it can also lead to news that is false. Last year, a fake news story about a Washington pizza restaurant went viral, causing a gunman to open fire at the business.

One of the most common terms we hear today is “fake news.” The public and politicians use it to talk about the news reports they do not think are accurate.

While people have paid much attention to the term in recent years, the problem is not new. False news reports have been around since modern journalism started.

Today, information moves around us in many forms, every hour of every day. Even if we do not seek out news on our own, we often receive it anyway, instantly, on our phones.

So how can we manage this mountain of information so that fake news does not mislead us?

We believe this requires news literacy. News literacy is the ability to use critical thinking skills to judge news reports. Are they credible? Can you rely on the reports to be true?

We use real media examples to teach useful skills and methods to recognize journalism over other kinds of information. We examine the differences between facts and what people report in the media as truth.

The course provides tools to identify real and reliable news sources. And, it demonstrates ways to separate news from opinion.

Professors at Stony Brook University in New York created the News Literacy education program. We will share it with you in simple English on VOA Learning English.

The need for news literacy is possibly greater now than ever before. Learning this important skill can give us the power to take full control of our own search for the truth.

Because as we’ve seen many times before, some news presented as truth can actually turn out to be completely false.

This lesson is based on the News Literacy course at the Center for News Literacy at Stony Brook University. For more information on how to become a news literate citizen, go to http://www.centerfornewsliteracy.org/getting-started/

Words in This Story

fake - adj. not true or real

accurate - adj. free from mistakes or errors

mislead - v. to cause someone to believe something that is not true

consumers - n. people who buy things

media - n. television, newspapers and other sources of information

reliable - adj. able to be trusted to do what is necessary

http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/05/21/9906/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/05/21/9906/VOA Special EnglishMon, 21 May 2018 03:58:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Marijuana Growers Turn to Hemp to Fight Oversupply]]>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:

Some countries ban possession and use of the drug marijuana, but it is legal in parts of the United States.

Nine states and Washington, D.C. have measures legalizing recreational uses of marijuana. The drug is approved for medical purposes in a total of 29 states.

But in Oregon, an oversupply of marijuana has driven down prices of the drug. This has led some worried growers to start moving towards to another product – the hemp plant -- to keep their businesses profitable.

Marijuana comes from the dried leaves and flowers of the Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica plant. Hemp is another kind of cannabis. It does not have the same intoxicating effects as the widely known drug.

Hemp contains less than 0.3 percent of THC, the substance that gives marijuana its powerful effect. Growing industrial hemp is legal under federal law, and the plant can be sold for use in things like cloth, food, seed and building materials.

In Oregon, the number of requests for permission to grow hemp is 20 time what is was in 2015. That makes Oregon second only to Colorado among the 19 states with active hemp farming.

The changing market comes at the same time as demand is rising for a chemical that comes from hemp. That chemical is cannabidiol, or CBD, which some people see as good for human health.

CBD oil flows into a large container during the extraction process from hemp plants at New Earth Biosciences in Salem, Oregon.
CBD oil flows into a large container during the extraction process from hemp plants at New Earth Biosciences in Salem, Oregon.

In its purer form, CBD oil can sell for thousands of dollars per kilogram. Farmers can make more than $100,000 on less than half a hectare of land by growing hemp to produce it.

That purified substance can also be made into crystallized particles.

Jerrad McCord grows marijuana in southern Oregon. He just added 5 hectares of hemp to his land. He told the Associated Press that many people see it as a new way to get rich quickly.

“This is a business,” he said. “You’ve got to adapt, and you’ve got to be a problem-solver.”

But there is a problem few people predicted when Oregon voters approved a measure to legalize marijuana four years ago.

The state’s climate is perfect for growing marijuana, and growers produce unusually large crops. And under state law, none of it can leave Oregon. That, combined with a decision to not limit the number of permits for growers, has created an oversupply.

The total amount of marijuana stored in Oregon is shocking for a state its size. Many people smoke the flower of the plant, and there are nearly 450,000 kilograms of usable flower in the state. There is an additional 159,000 kilograms of other forms of marijuana, including products one can eat or drink.

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission supervises the state’s marijuana industry. The commission says some of the flower is used in specialty products, like oils, which have increased in popularity. But the agency cannot say how much.

A detailed study of the market is currently taking place.

Falling marijuana prices

The price for a single gram of marijuana has fallen about 50 percent since 2015, from around $14 to around $7. That information comes from the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis. Growers and sellers alike have felt the effect.

Trey Willison changed his farming business from marijuana to hemp this season. Now, he says, he is considering destroying some of his crops instead of selling them at low prices.

“Whoever would have thought we’d get to the point of destroying pounds of marijuana?” Willison said.

Hemp plants sit at the Unique Botanicals facility in Springfield, Oregon.
Hemp plants sit at the Unique Botanicals facility in Springfield, Oregon.

This difficult choice is driving more of Oregon’s marijuana growers towards hemp. The crop is already popular in states like Colorado and Kentucky, and gets a lot of attention in the cannabis industry.

In Oregon, the number of government permits to grow hemp rose from 12 in 2015 to 353 by early May 2018. And the state is now second nationwide in terms of approved, licensed hectares.

Colorado is the U.S. leader in hemp production. It and Washington were the first states to widely legalize marijuana. Both have seen prices drop for marijuana, but not as much as in Oregon.

Growing interest in CBD

In Oregon, people are increasingly interested in the gold-colored oil CBD. Its popularity has risen sharply among self-described cannabis experts and is quickly being seen as normal by the general public.

At least 50 percent of hemp nationwide is being grown for CBD extraction. And Oregon is riding the top of that wave, said Eric Steenstra. He is the president of Vote Hemp, an independent organization that fights for pro-hemp laws.

“There are a lot of growers who already have experience growing cannabis, and when you’re growing for CBD, there are a lot of the same techniques that you use for growing marijuana,” he said.

CBD is appearing in everything, from beauty products to bottled water to animal food.

Supporters say CBD offers a number of healing effects, from easing pain to calming nerves. However, scientists warn that there have been few wide-reaching studies of how CBD affects humans.

That is mostly because the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration still considers cannabidiol a Schedule 1 drug -- meaning it is illegal to buy or sell. And the government requires special approval to study it.

A hemp plant is pollinated at the Unique Botanicals facility in Springfield, Oregon.
A hemp plant is pollinated at the Unique Botanicals facility in Springfield, Oregon.

Ziva Cooper is an associate professor of clinical neurobiology at Columbia University in New York. She is investigating the possible medical effects of cannabis and cannabinoids.

Cooper says small studies involving animals have shown CBD could be helpful in treating pain, drug dependency and other conditions.

Next month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration could approve the first medicine made from CBD. It is used to treat people with epilepsy.

I’m Lucija Milonig. And I’m Pete Musto.

Gillian Flaccus reported on this story for the Associated Press. Pete Musto adapted her report for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

Is marijuana use permitted in your country? How should your country react to the marijuana industry? Write to us in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.


Words in This Story

recreationaladj. used for pleasure instead of for medical purposes

intoxicatingadj. causing someone to be unable to think and behave normally

crystallizedadj. change into a solid form that is made up of small pieces of a substance that has many sides and are formed when the substance turns into a solid

adaptv. to change your behavior so that it is easier to live in a particular place or situation

licensedadj. having official permission to have or do something

extractionn. the act or process of getting a substance from something by the use of a machine or chemicals

techniquesn. ways of doing something by using special knowledge or skill

clinicaladj. relating to or based on work done with real patients

http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/05/21/7658/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/05/21/7658/VOA Special EnglishMon, 21 May 2018 03:57:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Joint Statement of the United States and China Regarding Trade Consultations]]>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:

There was a consensus on taking effective measures to substantially reduce the United States trade deficit in goods with China.


To meet the growing consumption needs of the Chinese people and the need for high-quality economic development, China will significantly increase purchases of United States goods and services.


This will help support growth and employment in the United States.


Both sides agreed on meaningful increases in United States agriculture and energy exports.


The United States will send a team to China to work out the details.


The delegations also discussed expanding trade in manufactured goods and services.

There was consensus on the need to create favorable conditions to increase trade in these areas.


Both sides attach paramount importance to intellectual property protections, and agreed to strengthen cooperation.


China will advance relevant amendments to its laws and regulations in this area, including the Patent Law.


Both sides agreed to encourage two-way investment and to strive to create a fair, level playing field for competition.


Both sides agreed to continue to engage at high levels on these issues and to seek to resolve their economic and trade concerns in a proactive manner.


http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/05/21/0000/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/05/21/0000/VOA Special EnglishSun, 20 May 2018 16:00:00 UTC
<![CDATA[US Museum Shows History of Teeth and Dentist Tools]]>UNSV.COM英语学习频道如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:

Most people do not look forward to going to the dentist. But they might actually enjoy visiting an American museum that explores the history of teeth and dentistry.

The Dr. Samuel D. Harris National Museum of Dentistry is at the University of Maryland in Baltimore. It was the world’s first college to train dentists. A man named G.V. Black was one of the founders of modern U.S. dentistry in the 1800s.

Visitors to the museum can look at a reproduction of Black’s dentist office. When he treated patients, he had no electricity for light. So his office, like many others, had large windows. Chairs for patients often faced south to help dentists work by sunlight.

A recreation of a typical early dentist office is shown at the Dr. Samuel D. Harris National Museum of Dentistry at the University of Maryland in Baltimore. (From VOA Video)
A recreation of a typical early dentist office is shown at the Dr. Samuel D. Harris National Museum of Dentistry at the University of Maryland in Baltimore. (From VOA Video)

Patrick Cutter is a researcher at the museum.

“What we're looking at here is kind of an early idea of what a dentist office would have looked like. But most of the time a dentist would have actually just been a traveling dentist, so he would have went from town square to town square.”

With more than 40,000 items, the museum contains one of the largest dental collections in the world. Visitors can see some of the tools used by early dentists to work on patients. Some of the old equipment looks more like torture devices than dental instruments.

Others shown seem fit for kings and queens. For example, Queen Victoria's dentist used instruments made of gold and pearls.

A display of dental instruments used on Queen Victoria is shown at the Dr. Samuel D. Harris National Museum of Dentistry at the University of Maryland in Baltimore. (From VOA Video)
A display of dental instruments used on Queen Victoria is shown at the Dr. Samuel D. Harris National Museum of Dentistry at the University of Maryland in Baltimore. (From VOA Video)

The museum shows many examples of false teeth, along with explanations about the kinds of materials used to make them.

One of the most popular areas shows a set of false teeth once worn by America’s first president, George Washington. But the museum corrects a widely believed story that Washington’s false teeth were wooden. They were actually made of animal bone.

Historians believe the false teeth made it difficult for Washington to eat and speak. They say this is likely why his second inaugural speech contained just 135 words – the shortest in history.

One museum exhibit shows many false teeth, including a set that belonged to America's first president, George Washington. (From VOA Video)
One museum exhibit shows many false teeth, including a set that belonged to America's first president, George Washington. (From VOA Video)

Some early tools used to clean teeth were also made from animal parts, the museum’s Patrick Cutter explains.

“Some of the older toothbrushes that were actually made out of animal bone.”

The cleaning end of the brushes often came from the hair of cows or other animals. The museum also shows teeth from a mix of animals and notes how they are different from human teeth.

In addition, visitors can explore how teeth have long been used to solve mysteries and crimes. And, they can see the history of tooth replacement and learn about new technology that could grow replacement teeth.

One part of the museum, called Mouthpower, contains large toothbrushes and mouths. The models show how bacteria can damage the teeth and let people practice cleaning methods.

While visitors to this unusual museum might at times feel like they are in a dentist office, the experience is sure to be a lot more pleasant.

I’m Bryan Lynn.

Maxim Moskalkov reported this story for VOA News. Bryan Lynn adapted it for Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.

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


Words in This Story

dentist n. person whose job is to care for people's teeth

pearl n. a hard, white, round object made inside the shell of an oyster, used to make jewelry

inaugural adj. happening as part of an official ceremony or celebration when someone (such as a newly elected official) begins an important job

http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/05/20/9186/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/05/20/9186/VOA Special EnglishSun, 20 May 2018 10:56:00 UTC
<![CDATA[WORDS AND THEIR STORIES - Why Is 'Tongue-in-Cheek' So Funny?]]>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:

Now, it’s time for Words and Their Stories from VOA Learning English!

On this program, we explore the meaning and usage of everyday expressions American English.

Today, we will talk about two parts of your head: the tongue and cheek. When you put them together, you get something funny!

A tongue-in-cheek comment or observation begins seriously but ends humorously. However, behind the playfulness is truth. So, tongue-in-cheek comments often get people thinking.

Tongue-in-cheek comments are often used in critiques. They tell something truthful, but in a light-hearted, funny way. You can sometimes get away with a lot by using tongue-in-cheek humor because the truth in it can sometimes be hard to recognize.

The American writer Mark Twain was an expert at making tongue-in-cheek comments.

Another famous humorist was Will Rogers. He was born in 1879 in what is now Oklahoma. He was part Cherokee and was known as “the cowboy philosopher.”

Will Rogers, (R) famous comedian and political satirist, and Babe Ruth, famous baseball player, visited Children Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, 1929.
Will Rogers, (R) famous comedian and political satirist, and Babe Ruth, famous baseball player, visited Children Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, 1929.

Rogers’ warm humor made him one of the best-loved performers of his generation. During his long career, Rogers did a little of everything. He was an actor, both in the theater and in movies. He had a weekly radio show and also wrote stories for a newspaper.

This tongue-in-cheek comment from Rogers is as meaningful today as it was when he said many years ago:

'Everything is changing in America. People are taking the comedians seriously and the politicians as a joke.'

Now, we all know that no one can know everything. But that fact doesn’t sound very interesting, funny or witty. Will Rogers stated that truth in his typical tongue-in-cheek way when he said, 'Everybody is ignorant only on different subjects.'

But how did putting your tongue in your cheek come to mean a kind of twisted, oftentimes truthful, humor?

Some websites say this expression dates back to the 18th-century England. One site says that it first meant a common facial expression used to express dislike or contempt. These days, the contempt is gone and in its place are terms like irony. An irony is when you say the opposite of what you mean, usually to be funny.

Another website says that people may have stuck their tongue in their cheek to keep from smiling or laughing.

However, when it comes right down to it, you should not take a tongue-in-cheek comment at face value. It starts to mean one thing but then ends by meaning something completely different. That is what makes it so funny.

Tongue-in-cheek humor is often successful when it includes the speaker in a funny critique or situation.

In 1962, President John F. Kennedy famously did this at a dinner celebrating 49 American Nobel Prize winners.

He said: “I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered together at the White House … with the possible exception of when (former President) Thomas Jefferson dined alone.”

In this way, tongue-in-cheek humor can be self-deprecating. It is effective when you want to make fun of yourself a bit.

And this brings us to music.

For some reason, country & western music has a long history of producing tongue-in-cheek songs. With titles like “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy,’” “Queen of My Double Wide Trailer and “Bubba Shot the Jukebox, it is clearly a type of music that does not mind poking fun at its own culture and lifestyle.

In this 1964 photo, a model stands next to a jukebox.
In this 1964 photo, a model stands next to a jukebox.

In the 1970s, Mac Davis became one of the biggest names in country music. He wrote songs for Elvis. And because he was so handsome also got into acting. Then in 1974, he had everyone laughing with his tongue-in-cheek song making fun of his own life.

“It’s Hard to Be Humble” became an instant hit.

“Oh Lord it's hard to be humble

When you're perfect in every way

I can't wait to look in the mirror

Cause I get better looking each day

To know me is to love me

I must be a hell of a man

Oh Lord It's hard to be humble,

But I'm doing the best that I can!'

And that’s Words and Their Stories. Out of all the programs here at Voice of America, this is one of them. I’m Anna Matteo.

This last sentence is a bit tongue-in-cheeky. Do you know why? Let us know in the Comments Section.

Words in This Story

comedian n. a person who performs in front of an audience and makes people laugh by telling jokes or funny stories or by acting in a way that is funny

witty adj. funny and clever

twist n. an unexpected or strange occurrence : something new created by changing something slightly

face value n. Something that is taken/accepted at face value is regarded as true or genuine without being questioned or doubted

extraordinary adj. extremely good or impressive

talent n. a special ability that allows someone to do something well

self-deprecating adj. meant to make yourself or the things you do seem unimportant

tractor n. a large vehicle that has two large back wheels and two smaller front wheels and that is used to pull farm equipment

trailer n. a vehicle that can be pulled by a truck or car and that can be parked and used as an office, vacation home, etc.

jukebox n. a machine that plays music when money is put into it

to poke fun phrase to make a joke about (someone or something) usually in a friendly way

humble adj. showing that you do not think of yourself as better than other people

instantadj. becoming something very quickly

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<![CDATA[College Admissions: Showing Your Best Side on Social Media]]>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:

Social media has found its way into almost every part of everyday life. It has even affected college and university admissions.

Many colleges and universities in the United States are now using social media to share information with applicants, says George DaPonte. He is the director of international admissions at the University of Tampa, a private university in Tampa, Florida.

DaPonte says admissions officials have found the current generation of college applicants to be more responsive to less formal communications. So now, many schools make sure to post things like policy changes or campus news on their social media accounts.

Using social media brings the information directly to students, instead of making them find it themselves.

And, DaPonte says, it is not just how schools communicate that is changing. School officials are also looking at what applicants’ post.

George DaPonte, director of international admissions at the University of Tampa.
George DaPonte, director of international admissions at the University of Tampa.

Applicants’ social media posts are affecting admissions decisions

This year, the test preparation company Kaplan released a study on how admissions officials view applicants’ social media presence.

Almost 400 admissions officials were questioned. About 70 percent said it was fair for them to consider an applicant’s social media messages and pictures when making their decisions.

George DaPonte argues that no admission official would base a decision about an applicant entirely on what the applicant posts online. Instead, they will likely continue to use the same measures they always have: high school performance records, lists of awards and activities outside of school, and letters of support from teachers.

Some schools even require that officials avoid considering applicants’ social media accounts.

However, DaPonte says, an applicant making direct threats of violence against someone is one of the few things that would make most schools completely reconsider an acceptance decision.

Yet Kristoffer Toribio says even applicants’ benign social media activity is having more and more of an effect on admissions officials’ decisions. Toribio is the assistant director of international admissions at Orange Coast College, a community college in Orange County, California.

Kristoffer Toribio, assistant director of international admissions at Orange Coast College.
Kristoffer Toribio, assistant director of international admissions at Orange Coast College.

Admissions officials do not always get a full picture of the kind of person an applicant is from the traditional application materials, Toribio says. Therefore, many officials view social media as a way of learning more about what an applicant is like beyond just their abilities in the classroom.

Toribio points out that many people working in admissions are much older than the applicants they are considering. These officials’ relationship with social media is much different, as they have experienced it only at a later stage in their lives.

For example, Toribio was completing his undergraduate studies when Facebook was launched in 2004. He remembers when only people with college or university email accounts could join the site.

George DaPonte at the University of Tampa says when he first started working in admissions, people had only just begun using email.

Because they did not grow up with social media, many officials may not have the same understanding as the applicants of what is good and bad behavior online, Toribio argues. And if the officials are considering social media activity, this difference in understanding could make them decide against an applicant.

“Things on social media … can be taken out of context really, really quick,” Toribio said. “And especially if you’re being viewed or judged by individuals that don’t … know how to use social media the way that you use it, it can definitely be interpreted in different ways.”

Students gather outside the Global Engagement Center at Orange Coast College in Orange County, California.
Students gather outside the Global Engagement Center at Orange Coast College in Orange County, California.

Toribio and DaPonte both suggest students could make their accounts private, as schools do not require social media information. But they also admit that freedom of speech is protected in the U.S. and students have every right to post whatever they like online.

However, Toribio says, it is a smart for an applicant to be at least a little concerned about how a college or university might view their online activity. So there are a few simple points students can consider before posting anything online.

“If you’re going to be posting a photo of you partying or you using drugs or something, or … racial slurs, or anything like that, of course that’s going to raise a red flag,” Toribio said. “Because the … thing that we’re looking for in a student is somebody that can represent our campus. And … those … are things that are going to be very alarming to admissions officials.”

He adds that there are many things applicants can post online that might help their candidacy. Advocating for causes or seeking to share information about major events happening around the world are some good examples. So is presenting art or business projects.

Outside the Mathematics, Business and Computer Center at Orange Coast College in Orange County, California.
Outside the Mathematics, Business and Computer Center at Orange Coast College in Orange County, California.

Even political debates can reflect well on an applicant, as long as they are balanced and welcoming of opposing ideas. Toribio says no thoughtful admissions officer would decide against an applicant just because they disagree politically.

In the end, George DaPonte says, the main rule for any social media post is that applicants should consider how different kinds of people might react.

“If a 20-year-old is reading what you’re posting, and a 40-year-old is reading what you’re posting, and a 60-year-old is reading what you’re posting, and they don’t find it offensive, then it’s probably … good,” he said.

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

Pete Musto reported this story for VOA Learning English. Kelly Jean Kelly was the editor.

We want to hear from you. How do colleges and universities in your country weigh an applicant’s social media activity when making their admissions decisions? Write to us in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.


Words in This Story

applicant(s) – n. someone who formally asks for something such as a job or admission to a college

responsiveadj. quick to do something as a reaction to something that has happened or been done

formaladj. made or done in an official and usually public way

campusn. the area and buildings around a university, college, or school, as well as its community

benignadj. not causing harm or damage

undergraduateadj. a student at a college or university who has not yet earned a degree

out of context idm. without explaining the situation in which they were said so that their meaning is changed

interpret(ed) – v. to understand something in a specified way

slur(s) – n.an insulting remark about someone or someone's character

alarmingadj. causing someone to feel a sense of worry

advocatingv. supporting or arguing for a cause or policy

reflectv. to cause people to think of someone or something in a specified way

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<![CDATA[Chile's Catholic Bishops Offer to Resign Over Sex Abuse Cover-up]]>Kelly Jean Kelly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:

Every active Chilean bishop in the Roman Catholic Church offered to resign Friday.

The offer came after Pope Francis accused the bishops of failing to investigate sex abuse cases and protect children.

All 31 Chilean church officials made the offer to resign at the end of an emergency meeting at the Vatican. The pope can accept their resignations, reject them, or delay a decision.

But their offer is a historic step in the Catholic Church’s long struggle with sex abuse and cover-ups by religious workers. It reportedly is the first time that an entire group of bishops has offered to step down after a scandal.

Mea culpa

Calls for their resignation came after the media learned of a 2,300-page Vatican report about the sex abuse scandal in Chile. Pope Francis had noted information from the report in a document that he gave each Chilean bishop at the start of the meeting.

In the document, he accused the bishops of destroying evidence of sex crimes, pressuring investigators to minimize abuse claims, and failing to protect children from pedophile priests.

In a statement, the bishops asked forgiveness for their mistakes. They said they hoped to help repair the damage they caused.

One of the victims said the bishops exposed helpless people to abuse and then tried to stop justice.

“For this,” he said, “they deserve only to go.”

I'm Kelly Jean Kelly.

The Associated Press reported this story. Kelly Jean Kelly adapted the report for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

Words in this Story

bishop - n. an official in some Christian religions who is ranked higher than a priest and who is usually in charge of church matters in a specific geographical area

church - n. a particular Christian group

entire - adj. complete or full

scandal - n. an occurrence in which people are shocked and upset because of behavior that is morally or legally wrong

pedophile - adj. a person who has a sexual interest in children

expose - v. to cause (someone) to experience something or to be influenced or affected by something

deserve - v. used to say that someone or something should or should not have or be given something

http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/05/19/3635/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/05/19/3635/VOA Special EnglishSat, 19 May 2018 10:44:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Plane Carrying More Than 100 People Crashes in Cuba]]>Mario Ritter如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:

A passenger airplane crashed Friday, shortly after taking off from Havana’s airport in Cuba. The plane carried 104 passengers and nine crew members.

The number of deaths is not yet known.

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel visited the site of the crash, and told Agence France Presse, “It appears there is a high number of victims.”

Cuba’s state broadcaster reported the plane crashed in Boyeros, a rural area about 20 kilometers south of Havana.

The plane, operated by Cuban national airline Cubana, was heading to Holguin in eastern Cuba.

A witness told Reuters the plane’s wreckage spread over the rural area, and that emergency vehicles and firefighters were there.

A worker at Havana’s Calixto Garcia hospital told Reuters three victims of the accident had arrived so far. One died from burns, and the other two were in a serious condition.

Friday’s crash was Cuba’s third major airline accident since 2010.

Last year, a Cuban military plane crashed into a hill in the western province of Artemisa, killing eight soldiers.

In November 2010, an AeroCaribbean flight from Santiago to Havana crashed in bad weather over central Cuba. The accident killed all 68 people, including 28 foreigners.

On Sept. 4, 1989, a charter flight leaving Havana for Italy crashed shortly after takeoff, killing all 126 people on board.

I'm Mario Ritter.

Hai Do adapted this story for Learning English based on AP and Reuters news reports. Caty Weaver was the editor.

Words in This Story

charter –adj. hired for temporary use

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

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<![CDATA[Trump Joins ‘Laurel' vs. ‘Yanny’ Debate]]>Kelly Jean Kelly如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:

This is What’s Trending today …

The great internet debate over “Laurel” versus “Yanny” continues.

Now United States government officials are commenting on the audio recording that is dividing people on social media.

Late Thursday, a White House-produced video appeared on the social media service Twitter. In it, President Donald Trump and members of his administration are asked whether they heard the name Laurel or Yanny.

“So clearly Laurel” said Ivanka Trump, both an advisor to the president and his daughter. But Mercedes Schlapp, a communication director, disagreed. “Yanny’s the winner; Laurel’s the loser,” she said.

White House advisor Kellyanne Conway first used the term “alternative facts” to explain differing opinions about crowd size at Trump’s swearing in ceremony. When asked about what she heard in the audio, Conway said, “It’s Laurel. But I could deflect and divert to Yanny if you need me to.”

When asked about the social media debate, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckerbee Sanders joked about the news media. Sanders said reports of her saying “Laurel” were “fake news”. “All I hear is ‘Yanny,’” she added.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence did not seem to be following the debate. “Who’s Yanny?” he asked.

But President Trump had the last word. The video ends with him saying, “I hear covfefe.”

Last May, Trump sent out a tweet about “constant negative press covfefe.” His statement was retweeted and liked hundreds of thousands of times before it was removed without explanation.

I'm Kelly Jean Kelly.

Hai Do wrote this story for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

Words in This Story

versus - prep. used to indicate two people, teams, groups, etc. that are fighting or competing against each other

alternative - adj. offering or expressing a choice

deflect - v. to cause something to change direction

divert - v. to change direction

fake - adj. not tru or real

constant - adj. happening all the time

negative - adj. expressing dislike or disapproval

http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/05/19/3912/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/05/19/3912/VOA Special EnglishSat, 19 May 2018 10:44:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Gunman Kills 9 Students, One Teacher at High School in Texas]]>UNSV.COM英语学习频道如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:

A gunman killed at least 10 people, most of them students, at a high school near Houston, Texas, on Friday state officials said.

At least ten others are wounded.

It was the deadliest attack in the United States since a school shooting in Parkland, Florida. That mass shooting led to a campaign by teenagers for new gun control laws.

Police have arrested a suspect in the attack at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas. The state’s governor Greg Abbott said the shooter was armed with a shotgun and a handgun. He said the suspect also had homemade bombs that were found in the school and nearby.

Abbott described the shooting as “one of the most heinous attacks that we’ve ever seen in the history of Texas schools.”

He also said the suspect told police that he had planned to kill himself, but did not have the will to end his life and instead surrendered.

People react outside the unification center at the Alamo Gym, following a shooting at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas.
People react outside the unification center at the Alamo Gym, following a shooting at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas.

One hospital reported treating eight wounded individuals. Six were treated and released. One was listed in critical condition, and another in fair condition.

Seventeen-year-old Michael Farina said he was on the other side of the school when the shooting began. Farina said he thought it was a fire preparedness exercise. He was holding a door open for students in wheelchairs when an administrator came running toward him, telling everyone to run. Another teacher shouted, “It is real!”

Students were led to safety at a car shop across the street from the school. Some still did not feel safe and began jumping the fence behind the store to run farther, Farina said.

“I debated doing that myself,” he added.

A law enforcement official identified the shooting suspect as 17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis. The official, who asked not be identified, did not have permission to provide the name to the media.

Pagourtzis plays on the Santa Fe High School junior varsity football team. He is also a member of a dance group with a local Greek Orthodox church.

This photo provided by the Galveston County Sheriff's Office shows Dimitrios Pagourtzis, who law enforcement officials took into custody Friday, May 18, 2018, and identified as the suspect in the deadly school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas, Friday.
This photo provided by the Galveston County Sheriff's Office shows Dimitrios Pagourtzis, who law enforcement officials took into custody Friday, May 18, 2018, and identified as the suspect in the deadly school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas, Friday.

Governor Abbott said the guns he used belong, legally, to his father,.

Abbot added that one or two other people of interest were being questioned in connection with the attack.

The shooting is all but sure to restart the heated national debate over gun laws. Survivors of the February 14 attack in Parkland, Florida, took to social media to express sadness and anger about this latest school attack.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas student Jaclyn Corin tweeted, “My heart is so heavy for the students of Santa Fe High School. It’s an all too familiar feeling no one should have to experience. I am so sorry this epidemic touched your town — Parkland will stand with you now and forever.”

Corin also directed her anger at President Donald Trump. She wrote “Our children are being MURDERED and you’re treating this like a game. This is the 22nd school shooting just this year. DO SOMETHING.”

At a White House event, Trump described the shooting as 'horrific' and one of many that have, in his words, 'been going on too long in this country.'

I’m Caty Weaver.

Words in This Story

heinous - adj. very bad or evil

shop - n. store

junior varsity - n. a team whose members are less experienced and usually younger than members on a varsity team

church -​ n. a Christian place of worship

epidemic -​ adj. affecting or tending to affect a disproportionately large number of individuals within a population, community, or region at the same time ​

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<![CDATA[Scientists: Ozone-Eating Chemical Mysteriously Rising]]>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:

Scientists have found that levels of a now-banned chemical are rising again in Earth’s atmosphere.

The chemical is called CFC-11. It is the second most common kind of CFC, short for chlorofluorocarbon.

Chlorofluorocarbons were once widely used in many products. They were in air conditioners, refrigerators and spray cans. CFCs were added to insulation foam and fire suppression products.

Scientists discovered over 40 years ago that these man-made chemicals can reach Earth’s upper atmosphere. In the 1980s, CFCs were blamed for making a hole in Earth’s ozone layer.

Ozone is a form of oxygen. It is found in the air we breathe and in Earth’s stratosphere. The ozone layer protects life on our planet by blocking harmful radiation from the Sun.

But closer to Earth’s surface, ozone is a common pollutant. It can harm people, crops and other plants.

This undated photo provided by NOAA in May 2018 shows aurora australis near the South Pole Atmospheric Research Observatory in Antarctica. (Patrick Cullis/NOAA via AP)
This undated photo provided by NOAA in May 2018 shows aurora australis near the South Pole Atmospheric Research Observatory in Antarctica. (Patrick Cullis/NOAA via AP)

The first step in international efforts to protect the ozone layer was an agreement called the Montreal Protocol. It was signed in 1987 in an effort to end or sharply reduce the use of over 100 known ozone-eating CFCs. The protocol called for a complete ban on CFC-11 by 2010.

But scientists say the banned substance did not disappear. Beginning in 2013, emissions of CFC-11 mysteriously started rising again.

Results of a new study on the rising emissions were published in the science journal Nature.

Scientist Stephen Montzka was one of the writers of the study. He is with the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The agency keeps detailed information about Earth’s climate.

“We’re raising a flag to the global community to say, ‘This is what’s going on,’” Montzka said. “And it is taking us away from timely recovery of the ozone layer.”

He added that further work is needed to find out exactly why CFC-11 emissions are rising, and to find ways to stop it.

Countries have reported close to zero production of the chemical since 2006. But the study found that about 13,000 metric tons have been released each year since 2013.

The false-color view of total ozone over the Antarctic pole (l) and Arctic pole (r) on March 6, 2014. The purple and blue colors are where there is the least ozone, and the yellows and reds are where there is more ozone.
The false-color view of total ozone over the Antarctic pole (l) and Arctic pole (r) on March 6, 2014. The purple and blue colors are where there is the least ozone, and the yellows and reds are where there is more ozone.

Small amounts are thought to come from foam or buildings, but scientists say they are seeing much higher levels than that. The chemical can also be a byproduct in other chemical manufacturing, but it is supposed to be captured and recycled.

Each year, natural processes remove about 2 percent of CFC-11 from the air. Scientists say the chemical can stay in the atmosphere for about 50 years.

Measurements taken from around the world suggest the CFC-11 emissions are coming from northeastern Asia, the study found.

“Either someone’s making the banned compound or it’s sloppy byproducts that haven’t been reported as required,” Montzka said. He added that if the source of the new emissions can be identified and controlled soon, damage to the ozone layer should be minor. But he said if not dealt with soon, there could be great delays in the ozone layer’s recovery.

Other experts go even further.

Ross Salawitch is an atmospheric scientist with the University of Maryland. He told the Associated Press he thinks the rising chemical levels are the result of “rogue production.” He added that if such increases continue, recovery of the ozone layer will be threatened.

I’m Bryan Lynn.

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

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


Words in This Story

refrigerator – n. a device that keeps food and drinks cool

foam – n. a soft material used in many products

emission n. something released into the air, such as a chemical or gas

recyclev. to reuse

globaladj. of or related to the whole world

sloppy adj. not careful or neat

source n. where something comes from

rogue adj. used to describe something or someone that is different from others, usually in a dangerous or harmful way

journal - n. a magazine that reports on things of special interest to a particular group of people

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<![CDATA[Americans Go Crazy for Ramps in the Spring]]>UNSV.COM英语学习频道如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:

The spring season brings warm weather, flowers and other changes for people to enjoy.

For some restaurant chefs, the most exciting spring arrival is ramps.

Every spring, restaurants across the United States compete to be the first to offer the seasonal vegetable.

The excitement has even created a ramps black market in Canada.

So, what is the great appeal of ramps? Maybe you have never even heard of them.

Ramps, or allium tricoccum, are a wild plant native to the eastern mountains of North America. They are one of the first plants that grow in the spring, usually between April and May. They are part of the same family as leeks and shallots. They are recognized by their red stem, and two long and broad green leaves.

They are also famous for their strong taste, similar to garlic, and other onions.

A spring treat

Ramps are not as well-known as other vegetables, but they have a long history in the United States.

In the Appalachian Mountains, ramps have been an important food for a long time. During spring, it is common for small towns in the Appalachian area to hold large ramp dinners for the community.

Community members enjoying ramps at the annual Ramp Supper in Helvetia, West Virginia.
Community members enjoying ramps at the annual Ramp Supper in Helvetia, West Virginia.

David Townsend owns the Mountain Roots Market and Restaurant, in Weston, West Virginia. He uses ramps every year, spending as much as a couple thousand dollars buying the plants.

Townsend told us he uses the vegetable in many ways. At his restaurant, for example, he might make ramp burgers. He also likes to mix ramps with potatoes and egg dishes. And he dries them for seasonings.

Townsend says you can also enjoy ramps fried, pickled, and even raw.

However, others might not enjoy the effect of ramps on your breath.

Townsend says, “The joke was that if you eat raw ramps, and you go to school, you would get kicked out of school because you stink.”

One reason the plant is popular is that it grows in the wild.

It is difficult to grow ramp crops on farms. Most restaurants get their supply from foragers. They are people who gather ramps by searching forests for patches, areas where they grow.

Townsend said the competitive market for the plant means that when someone finds a patch, they do not tell others where it is.

Fried Ramps being prepared before the annual Ramp Supper in Helvetia, West Virginia.
Fried Ramps being prepared before the annual Ramp Supper in Helvetia, West Virginia.

Small towns to big cities

In the past, ramps were mostly eaten in small towns in the areas where they grew. However, over the last 10 years, ramps’ popularity has grown quickly. They are now a highly-desired vegetable for many nice restaurants in cities like New York and Washington D.C.

Adam Harvey is the chef at Little Coco’s, an Italian restaurant in Washington D.C. He has been using ramps on his pizzas for about the last 10 years.

When spring comes, Harvey says, chefs around the country get excited for the arrival of the plant. They try to prepare it in as many ways as possible, and try to include as many choices as possible.

“It’s one of those things where people go a little crazy,” Harvey said. He adds that the popularity of ramps in nicer restaurants is a combination of several things.

“First, it has a really great flavor that is very individual… and second, it’s wild. It has such a short season, and you can’t get them all the time.” Harvey said.

Harvey also noted that many chefs want to keep their restaurant offerings seasonal. Ramps are the first “green thing” to grow after the winter, he said, so cooks feel a pull to use them.

Harvey said that his favorite way to cook ramps is to pickle the bulb, or bottom of the plant.

After ramps are picked, they need to be washed before they are cooked.
After ramps are picked, they need to be washed before they are cooked.

Problems with sustainability

Ramps have a short season. Within a few weeks of full growth, the plant is done for the year. This short life cycle is partly responsible for their popularity. And that popularity could lead to their disappearance from Earth.

Townsend said, “A lot of the public places where ramps are [grown]… have been over-dug… because of the amount of money that a person can make off them.” He added that people who sell ramps to restaurants in New York can sometimes make as much as $20 for half a kilogram.

“In two-to-three months, you can make two-to-three thousand dollars,” he said.

Townsend also said that not everyone who forages for ramps obeys the guidelines for protecting future growth.

Foragers are supposed to leave some ramps in the ground to re-populate the area for the next season. But, Townsend says, some foragers still dig up the entire patch.

Black market

In the province of Quebec, Canada, ramps are called “wild garlic.” In 1995, the provincial government declared the plant a “vulnerable species” from over-harvesting. They also banned selling the plant to businesses.

However, the demand for the plant has caused people to illegally harvest the plant in the neighboring province of Ottawa. Canadian police deploy officers in the woods to watch for the illegal activity.

The season is short, but it has not ended yet. If you are in the right place, you still have time to try a taste of ramps yourself.

I’m ­­­­­­­­­­­­­Phil Dierking.

And I’m Caty Weaver.

Phil Dierking wrote this story for VOA Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.

Are there any local plants in your home that are very popular? Write to us in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.

Words in This Story

black market - n. a system through which things are bought and sold illegally​

fry - v. to cook (food) in fat or oil​

pickle - v. to preserve (food) with salt water or vinegar​

stem - n. the main long and thin part of a plant that rises above the soil and supports the leaves and flowers​

vulnerable - adj. open to attack, harm, or damage​

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<![CDATA[AMERICAN STORIES - The Story of an Eyewitness]]>Jack London如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:

The western American city of San Francisco, California suffered a huge earthquake on April 18th, 1906.

More than three thousand people are known to have died. The true number of dead will never be known. Two hundred fifty thousand people lost their homes. Just a few hours after the terrible earthquake, a magazine named Collier’s sent a telegraph message to the famous American writer Jack London. They asked Mr. London to go to San Francisco and report about what he saw.

He arrived in the city only a few hours after the earthquake. The report he wrote is called, “The Story of an Eyewitness.”

Not in history has a modern city been so completely destroyed. San Francisco is gone. Nothing remains of it but memories and a few homes that were near the edge of the city. Its industrial area is gone. Its business area is gone. Its social and living areas are gone. The factories, great stores and newspaper buildings, the hotels and the huge homes of the very rich, are all gone.

Within minutes of the earthquake the fires began. Within an hour a huge tower of smoke caused by the fires could be seen a hundred miles away. And for three days and nights this huge fire moved in the sky, reddening the sun, darkening the day and filling the land with smoke.

There was no opposing the flames. There was no organization, no communication. The earthquake had smashed all of the modern inventions of a twentieth century city. The streets were broken and filled with pieces of fallen walls. The telephone and telegraph systems were broken. And the great water pipes had burst. All inventions and safety plans of man had been destroyed by thirty seconds of movement by the earth.

By Wednesday afternoon, only twelve hours after the earthquake, half the heart of the city was gone. I watched the huge fire. It was very calm. There was no wind. Yet from every side, wind was pouring in upon the city. East, west, north and south, strong winds were blowing upon the dying city.

The heated air made a huge wind that pulled air into the fire, rising into the atmosphere. Day and night the calm continued, and yet, near the flames, the wind was often as strong as a storm.

There was no water to fight the fire. Fire fighters decided to use explosives to destroy buildings in its path. They hoped this would create a block to slow or stop the fire. Building after building was destroyed. And still the great fires continued. Jack London told how people tried to save some of their possessions from the fire.

Wednesday night the whole city crashed and roared into ruin, yet the city was quiet. There were no crowds. There was no shouting and yelling. There was no disorder. I passed Wednesday night in the path of the fire and in all those terrible hours I saw not one woman who cried, not one man who was excited, not one person who caused trouble.

San Francisco Earthquake Fire
San Francisco Earthquake Fire

Throughout the night, tens of thousands of homeless ones fled the fire. Some were wrapped in blankets. Others carried bedding and dear household treasures.

Many of the poor left their homes with everything they could carry. Many of their loads were extremely heavy. Throughout the night they dropped items they could no longer hold. They left on the street clothing and treasures they had carried for miles.

Many carried large boxes called trunks. They held onto these the longest. It was a hard night and the hills of San Francisco are steep. And up these hills, mile after mile, were the trunks dragged. Many a strong man broke his heart that night.

Before the march of the fire were soldiers. Their job was to keep the people moving away from the fire. The extremely tired people would arise and struggle up the steep hills, pausing from weakness every five or ten feet. Often, after reaching the top of a heart-breaking hill, they would find the fire was moving at them from a different direction.

After working hour after hour through the night to save part of their lives, thousands were forced to leave their trunks and flee.

At night I walked down through the very heart of the city. I walked through mile after mile of beautiful buildings. Here was no fire. All was in perfect order. The police patrolled the streets. And yet it was all doomed, all of it. There was no water. The explosives were almost used up. And two huge fires were coming toward this part of the city from different directions.

Four hours later I walked through this same part of the city. Everything still stood as before. And yet there was a change. A rain of ashes was falling. The police had been withdrawn. There were no firemen, no fire engines, and no men using explosives. I stood at the corner of Kearney and Market Streets in the very heart of San Francisco. Nothing could be done. Nothing could be saved. The surrender was complete.

It was impossible to guess where the fire would move next. In the early evening I passed through Union Square. It was packed with refugees. Thousands of them had gone to bed on the grass. Government tents had been set up, food was being cooked and the refugees were lining up for free meals.

Late that night I passed Union Square again. Three sides of the Square were in flames. The Square, with mountains of trunks, was deserted. The troops, refugees and all had retreated.

The next morning I sat in front of a home on San Francisco’s famous Nob Hill. With me sat Japanese, Italians, Chinese and Negroes. All about were the huge homes of the very rich. To the east and south of us were advancing two huge walls of fire.

I went inside one house and talked to the owner. He smiled and said the earthquake had destroyed everything he owned. All he had left was his beautiful house. He looked at me and said, “The fire will be here in fifteen minutes.”

Outside the house the troops were falling back and forcing the refugees ahead of them. From every side came the roaring of flames, the crashing of walls and the sound of explosives.

Day was trying to dawn through the heavy smoke. A sickly light was creeping over the face of things. When the sun broke through the smoke it was blood-red and small. The smoke changed color from red to rose to purple.

Pulling Down the Walls of Great Business Buildings
Pulling Down the Walls of Great Business Buildings

I walked past the broken dome of the City Hall building. This part of the city was already a waste of smoking ruins. Here and there through the smoke came a few men and women. It was like the meeting of a few survivors the day after the world ended.

The huge fires continued to burn on. Nothing could stop them. Mister London walked from place to place in the city, watching the huge fires destroy the city. Nothing could be done to halt the firestorm.

In the end, the fire went out by itself because there was nothing left to burn. Jack London finishes his story:

All day Thursday and all Thursday night, all day Friday and Friday night, the flames raged on. Friday night saw the huge fires finally conquered, but not before the fires had swept three-quarters of a mile of docks and store houses at the waterfront.

A Temporary Home Near the City Hall
A Temporary Home Near the City Hall

San Francisco at the present time is like the center of a volcano. Around this volcano are tens of thousands of refugees. All the surrounding cities and towns are jammed with the homeless ones. The refugees were carried free by the railroads to any place they wished to go. It is said that more than one hundred thousand people have left the peninsula on which San Francisco stood.

Providing for homeless thousands - delivering bread at Commissary tent
Providing for homeless thousands - delivering bread at Commissary tent

The government has control of the situation, and thanks to the immediate relief given by the whole United States, there is no lack of food. The bankers and businessmen have already begun making the necessary plans to rebuild this once beautiful city of San Francisco.

'The Story of an Eyewitness' was written by Jack London and adapted by Paul Thompson. It was published in Collier’s Magazine, May 5, 1906. Your narrator was Doug Johnson.

Words in This Story

smash - v. to break into many pieces; to shatter or destroy

atmosphere - n. the whole mass of air that surrounds the Earth

surrender - v. to agree to stop fighting, hiding, resisting, etc., because you know that you will not win or succeed

retreat - v. to move or go away from a place or situation especially because it is dangerous, unpleasant, etc.

survivor - n. a member of a group who continues to live after other members have died

firestorm - n. a very large fire that destroys everything in its path and produces powerful winds

jammed - v. to fill (a place) completely

http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/05/19/8824/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/05/19/8824/VOA Special EnglishSat, 19 May 2018 04:04:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Tomorrow's Jobs Require Fast Thinking]]>Mario Ritter如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:

Andrew Chamberlain started in his job four years ago at the job search company Glassdoor.com. At that time, he worked in a computer programming language called Stata.

Then, another programming language called R was introduced. Then one called Python. Then PySpark.

Chamberlin’s father has been a commercial printer for 30 years. Unlike his father, Chamberlin has had to continually learn new skills.

Chamberlin is now the chief economist for Glassdoor.com. His job is one of the jobs of the future - what some are calling a ever-changing universe of work that requires employees to be critical thinkers and fast to adapt to the new environment.

People training for fields as different as plumbing and aerospace engineering need to learn new technologies and apply their skills quickly and regularly.

When companies hire new workers for entry-level jobs, they are not always looking for knowledge of, for example, a certain software. They might look for soft skills, like problem solving, effective communication and leadership. They also may want candidates who show a willingness to keep learning new skills.

Anthony Carnevale is the director of the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce in the United States. He said, “The human being’s role in the workplace is less to do repetitive things all the time and more to do the non-repetitive tasks that bring new kinds of value.”

Students may believe that studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics, known as the STEM fields, will easily lead to a good first job.

But, Carnevale said employers are telling colleges: You are producing engineers, but they do not have the skills we need.

Carnevale said, it is “algorithmic thinking” rather than the algorithm itself that is needed in the job market. That means finding new ways to solve a problem is more important than using established steps to do so.

Finding gems

Marie Artim is the vice president of talent acquisition for the car rental company Enterprise Holdings Inc. She looks for possible employees.

Every year, she sets out to hire about 8,500 young people for a management training program. The task requires her to search college campuses across the country.

FILE - Enterprise Rent-A-Car counter employees help a customer at Lambert International Airport in St. Louis, Jan. 27, 2006. The company looks to hire about 8,500 young people every year for a management training program.
FILE - Enterprise Rent-A-Car counter employees help a customer at Lambert International Airport in St. Louis, Jan. 27, 2006. The company looks to hire about 8,500 young people every year for a management training program.

Artim and the Enterprise chief executive started in the training program themselves. Her case shows the bright side of renting cars. It also gets the attention of young adults and their parents who might not consider it a good job.

Artim shared some observations about young people today. She said, millennial generation students are used to structured situations. In other words, decisions are made for them. The biggest deficit for this generation, she said, is making decisions by themselves.

To get students ready, some colleges, and even high schools, are working on building critical thinking skills.

One example of this is at the private Westminster Schools in Atlanta, Georgia. For three weeks in January, students either get jobs or go on trips. The experience gives them a better sense of what they might do in the future.

University places attention on skills linked to getting a job

Texas State University in San Marcos offers a marketable-skills series of classes. The goal is to prepare students for job interviews.

Companies are increasingly using case studies during job interviews. This means students need to answer hypothetical questions based on a common problem the employer faces. The idea is to show leadership skills in dealing with those problems.

The career office at the university also places a lot of importance on interview skills. Today, that means teaching young people more than writing an effective resume and dressing well.

They have to learn how to perform best on video and phone interviews. Also, they have to learn how to deal with new ways of being chosen for a job. Companies now use ideas like gamification or artificial intelligence bots in their recruiting process.

Norma Guerra Gaier is the director of career services at Texas State. She said her son recently got a job, and he received a phone interview before the final step.

Guerra Gaier said, 'He had to solve a couple of problems on a tech system, and was graded on that. He didn't even interface with a human being.'

Heidi Soltis-Berner is with Deloitte University. She said companies try to find people who balance technological knowledge and social skills.

Soltis-Berner said she knows what business division young people find jobs in but does not know what they will be doing.

'We build flexibility into that because we know each year there are new skills,' she said.

I'm Mario Ritter.

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

Words in This Story

perpetually adv. continuing forever or for a very long time without stopping

adapt v. to change your behavior so that it is easier to live in a particular place or situation

plumbing n. the work of a plumber : the job of installing and repairing sinks, toilets, water pipes, etc.

aerospace n. an industry that deals with travel in and above the Earth's atmosphere and with the production of vehicles used in such travel

algorithmicadj. a set of steps that are followed in order to solve a mathematical problem or to complete a computer process

acquisitionn. the act or process of gaining skill, knowledge, etc

millennialn. a person who was born in the 1980s or 1990s

gamification – n. giving work activities some of the qualities of a game

bot (web robot) n. a program that runs a task or tasks automatically

interface v. to connect or become connected : to connect by means of an interface

flexibility –n. the ability to change and do different things

http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/05/18/8185/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/05/18/8185/VOA Special EnglishFri, 18 May 2018 00:58:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Indianapolis: ‘Silicon Valley' in the US Midwest]]>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:

Indianapolis, the capital of the state of Indiana, is not often thought of as a technology center. One city official, however, believes the city’s image is changing.

Angela Smith Jones is the deputy mayor of economic development. She compares Indianapolis to a version of Silicon Valley.

In other words, Indianapolis is becoming a center for new, technology-based businesses, similar to Silicon Valley in California.

Last year, technology companies in Indianapolis added $7.7 billion to the city’s economy. They employed 75,000 people and are seeking more. Openings for technology-related jobs increased 40 percent last year.

Kenzie Academy

Courtney Spence is the founder of a school in Indianapolis that teaches people technology skills. Spence says the city is on the edge of a “tech boom.”

Spence and her school, Kenzie Academy, are trying to keep technology talent in the Indianapolis area.

'Our point is to bring people from Indianapolis to stay in Indianapolis,' says Spence. To do that, the school places students in local companies as quickly as possible.

Kavitha Kamalbabu is one of Kenzie’s top students. Born in India, she is 36 years old and the mother of two school-age children.

Kamalbabu says that she knew she wanted to work in technology. But, she could not launch a career in San Jose or another city in Silicon Valley. She needed to stay close to her home and family in Indianapolis. So she began a two-year program at Kenzie Academy to earn a degree as a software developer.

Recently, Kamalbabu and some other students were invited to visit a local company called Steady Serve. The business has created an app to reduce waste by measuring how much beer remains in a beer storage container.

In the past, the head of Steady Serve, Steve Hershberger, hired workers from big universities near Silicon Valley. Now, he is choosing candidates from Kenzie to work on the coding. He says he likes the qualities he sees in the local workers.

“It’s like [Kenzie Academy] folded the country and brought San Jose into Indianapolis,” he says.

Silicon Valley still popular

However, students who are already in Silicon Valley may not like the idea of working in the area known as the Midwest.

Max Comolli is a first-year student at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. Comolli said he would not leave California for Indiana because Silicon Valley already has 'such a great tech scene already established.'

Diego Garcia is working on a Master’s degree at Stanford. He says that when he considers top technology areas, he thinks of 'California or New York, not Indianapolis.'

But Stanford University freshman Alexa White has a different opinion. She grew up in Detroit, Michigan, another city in the Midwest. She thinks a technology capital in the region would 'benefit the field' and create diversity.

Seeking greater diversity

Estimates say women make up only a small percentage of workers in technology fields. In that way, Kenzie Academy in Indianapolis is similar to the rest of the field. Of the current class, only Kamalbabu and another person, Mya Williams, are female. The next class of 18 students starting later this year will have three women.

School officials at Kenzie say they are trying hard to bring more women to the school. They are also planning to create more academies internationally, starting in Malaysia.

Founder Courtney Spence goes further. She says she wants to create academies like Kenzie all over the world.

I’m Bryan Lynn.

Carolyn Presutti wrote this report for VOA.Kelly Jean Kelly adapted it from Learning English. Mario Ritter was the editor.

Words in This Story

boom – n. a rapid growth of business

code – n. a set of instructions for a computer​

talent – n. a person or group of people with a special ability to do something well​

fold – v. to bend one part of (something) over or against another part​

scene – n. a particular area of activity that involves many people​

benefit – n. a good or helpful result or effect​

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

diversity – n. the state of having people who are different races or who have different cultures in a group or organization​

http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/05/18/5077/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/05/18/5077/VOA Special EnglishFri, 18 May 2018 00:58:00 UTC
<![CDATA[30 Phrasal Verbs to Help You With Technology]]>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:

Welcome back to Everyday Grammar from VOA Learning English.

This is our third episode on phrasal verbs. As you know, a phrasal verb is a phrase with two or more words: a verb and a preposition or adverb, or both.

Today we look at very current phrasal verbs: ones used with technology. The digital age has created many new words and phrases in English.

The world of technology is fast-changing, and it has broken many traditions. It is natural that the language of computers would also change and be informal.

Not only is the language of technology full of phrasal verbs, it is also full of new nouns. Many of those nouns grew out of phrasal verbs, as you will learn in this episode.

Getting started

Let’s go back to 1969, when the first verb sent over the Internet was a phrasal verb: log in. To log in is to enter a code, key or password to gain access to the computer’s abilities. We have been logging in ever since then. Sometimes we say we have to sign in to a web page.

Like now, we started a computer by hooking up wire cables and then powering it up or turning it on. Some computers took a long time to boot up, or get ready to run programs.

Now, we do not have to wait as long. To install new applications on the computer, users run a set up program. Then we click on the icon, or image, for a program to run it.

After opening a program, you choose commands from a menu. These menus are stored in a pull down or drop down bar near the top of the screen.

A click of the mouse – the hand-held device that guides the cursor around the computer screen – shows more commands on the bar. That bar is often called the navigation bar or nav bar.

This leads us to our first noun from a phrasal verb, pulldown. When we give instructions to a friend about using a web page, we can say, “Look in the nav bar for the pulldown and choose a command.”

Another verb that describes up-and-down movement on the screen is scroll up or scroll down. A wheel on the mouse allows you to scroll up or scroll down to read a web page. We can click on an arrow to move to the next screen, too.

Storage and other problems

Installing upgrades can sometimes damage files. So, users should always back up their files. That is, copy files and folders to another location, like an external disk drive. A user who stores many large files will soon run out of room on the computer, so keeping files on an extra hard drive is a good idea.

This phrasal verb became a noun, too. Experts tell us, “Put your backups in a safe place.”

My parents used to print out their emails because they wanted to keep a permanent copy, and here is another new noun: a printout.

The phrasal verb print out is a separable phrasal verb, like the ones we talked about in a previous episode. That means you can put a pronoun between the verb and preposition, as in “Let me print it out for you.”

Even when we use passwords, criminals have learned to enter a computer or a network without permission. They are hacking into the network. Hacking can make computer systems go down, or stop working.

A disaster could happen if the hacker wiped out, or erased, all the information on a computer system. That is why you back up your system.

Annoying advertising

Internet advertisements, or ads, pop up on the screen over a web page. This created a new noun from the phrasal verb, popup. People said they needed a tool to block those annoying ads, so the “popup blocker” was born. This feature is part of the browser software.

Speaking of browsers, another phrasal verb that became a noun is plug in. You know that you can plug a wire into the wall. Now, we add small programs to perform specific tasks in the computer, and call them plugins.

Companies often will ask for your email address. They create a large list of users from their email addresses. When we sign up to use a website, we key in our name and email address.

The organization running an online service usually asks us to opt in, or choose to receive email messages. Usually those messages are asking us to buy products. There are so many of these emails now that many people try to filter out all messages from advertisers – otherwise known as spam.

Getting off the grid

If you think that the Internet is full of too many advertisements, and your email is nothing but spam, just click on the menu to shut down and turn off your devices for the day. Get off what we called “the information superhighway” and take a walk outside. Wait! There is one final phrasal verb to describe that: go offline.

For Learning English Everyday Grammar, I’m Jill Robbins.

And I’m John Russell.

Dr. Jill Robbins wrote this story for Learning English.

Now it’s your turn. Does your language borrow English phrasal verbs for computer terms? Do you know any new expressions to talk about our digital life? Write to us about them in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.

Here is a list of the phrasal verbs in this story:

Phrasal Verbs for Technology and Computers

Phrasal Verb



log in sign in sign-in

v. connect to a computer using a username and password

n. page or act of registering permission to use a program

To begin, log in to your desktop system.

hook up

to connect wires from machines to a power source or other machines

Would you please help me hook up the Internet cable?

power up turn on

provide power to a machine

Press the red button to power up your tablet.

boot up start up

begin running a computer system

Wait a second, my computer is booting up.

set up

v. to install a new computer program or assemble a computer system

n. the process of adding information using a computer program

This application took a long time to set up.

pull down pulldown

v. choose from a menu of options in a computer application extending down from the action bar like a window blind

n. a menu of options

Look for the file menu and pull down to “Save As…”

click on

move a mouse over an item and press to select

Click on the start menu to begin.

scroll up

scroll down

to move slowly to the top or bottom of a text

The news story was so long I had to scroll down a lot to read it all.

run out of

exhaust a supply of something

You will run out of disk space if you save copies of all your emails.

back up


v. make an extra copy of a file

n. an extra copy of a file

Be sure you back up your files before you change systems.

print out


v. send an electronic document to a printer

n. a printed document

I have to print out the directions before I leave home.

hack into

enter a computer or network illegally

Someone hacked into my bank and stole millions of dollars.

go down

stop operating properly

I cannot send any emails because the server went down.

wipe out

completely erase or delete files

Before you donate your computer, be sure you wipe out the hard drive.

pop up


v. to appear suddenly

n. an advertisement that appears suddenly on a computer screen

If you do not want to see the ads, turn on your pop up blocker.

plug in


v. insert a cord into an outlet or port

n. an addition to a software program that performs a certain task

Plug in your laptop over there.

sign up

register with a service

She signed up for an online dating service.

key in

type or enter characters using a keyboard

It takes too much time to key in that long password.

opt in / out

choose to receive advertising or messages

The company asked me to opt in to get special offers by email.

filter out

remove unwanted email messages

Can we filter out all the spam on this account?

turn off

shut down

power down

end a session on the computer by closing an application or removing power

I’m tired, so I’m going to shut down the computer for today.

go online/offline

to use the Internet / not use the Internet

I will send you that information as soon as I can go online.

Words in This Story

prepositiongrammar. a word or group of words that is used with a noun, pronoun, or noun phrase to show direction, location, or time, or to introduce an object

adverbgrammar. a word that describes a verb, an adjective, another adverb, or a sentence and that is often used to show time, manner, place, or degree

informaladj. (of language) relaxed in tone; not suited for serious or official speech and writing

cablen. a group of wires, glass fibers, etc., covered in plastic or rubber and used to carry electricity or electrical signal

upgrade n. an occurrence in which one thing is replaced by something better, newer, more valuable, etc.

browsern. a computer program that is used to find and look at information on the Internet

specificadj. having a particular function or effect

optv. to choose to do or be involved in something

filterv. to remove (something unwanted) by using a filter

spamn. e-mail that is not wanted or e-mail that is sent to large numbers of people and that consists mostly of advertising

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<![CDATA[Is it 'Yanny' or 'Laurel'? Or 'Yammy?']]>Ashley Thompson如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:

This is What’s Trending Today…

The question seems simple enough.

What word do you hear in the audio -- “Yanny” or “Laurel?”

The answer, as it turns out, is not so simple. And a four-second recording is dividing -- and confusing -- internet users around the world.

Late Monday night, a Twitter user named Cloe Feldman posted the short recording on social media. She wrote, “What do you hear?! Yanny or Laurel?”

People answered quickly. Most were sure that they were correct. Those who heard differently, many said, were either crazy or seeking attention.

One Twitter user answered, “Is this a joke? It very clearly says “yanny” and in no way could it possibly be misheard as “laurel”...am I losing my mind?

Yet, another wrote, “Laurel! How is anyone hearing Yanny?”

Some said they could hear both words, including American politician Sherrod Brown of Ohio. In a Twitter video, he said he first heard Yanny, but later heard Laurel. He joked that he is “always willing to hear both sides of an issue.”

Many are comparing 'Yanny vs Laurel' to the debate in 2015 about “The Dress.” You might remember it. A woman posted a photo of a dress she liked on social media. She asked whether the dress was blue and black or white and gold.

And so began a viral discussion about a piece clothing.

Cloe Feldman has a popular YouTube account and over 200,000 followers on Twitter. That helped the Yanny vs. Laurel debate spread on social media. It soon became a trending topic on Twitter and Facebook. As of Wednesday, Feldman’s audio file has over 12 million views on Twitter.

But Feldman herself did not create the audio, or even start the debate.

Wired.com reports that it began in a high school literature class. A student in Georgia named Katie Hetzel was studying the word “laurel” for a class assignment. She looked up the word on the website Vocabulary.com

She played the site’s pronunciation audio file for the word. But, instead of hearing “laurel,” she heard “yanny.” Hetzel asked her classmates what they heard and “we all heard mixed things,” she told Wired. She decided to put the audio file on her Instagram.

Later, another student put it on the social news site Reddit, according to Wired. From there, it seems, Cloe Feldman took it to Twitter.

So, the reason for the confusion between Laurel and Yanny? I’ll let my Learning English co-host and audio expert Jonathan Evans explain:

Ashley: Jonathan, you might have heard the internet has lost its mind about this Yanny vs Laurel debate. Can you help us out?

Jonathan: I hope I can. So, there are a number of frequencies at play. The higher frequency -- at the higher frequency -- you will hear the word “Yanny.” At the lower frequency, you will hear the word “Laurel.”

Ashley: So, what is frequency?

Jonathan: So, frequency is the number of sound waves per second produced by any piece of sound.

Ashley: So, why are some people hearing the higher frequency and some are hearing the lower frequency?

Jonathan: It all depends. It depends on, on how you're listening to the piece of audio. Because it will sound different if you're listening on your phone versus whether it's coming through your car stereo or whether it's coming through your home computer. And it is a low-quality audio file.

It's actually 'Yammy.' Not 'Yanny.' It's 'Yammy.' It's an 'mm.' It's 'Yammy.' If you're going to hear anything that begins with a Ya.

Ashley: So you're adding a new possibility to the debate?

Jonathan: Yes.

Ashley: Great!

Jonathan: It's definitely 'Yammy.'

Ashley: Alright.

Jonathan: But it's not. It's 'Laurel.' It is 'Laurel.' It's 'Laurel.' But you can pick out a 'Yammy.'

And that’s What’s Trending Today...

I'm Ashley Thompson

What do you hear? Yanny, Laurel, or something else? Let us know in the comments section!

Words in This Story

confuse - v. to make (someone) uncertain or unable to understand something

crazy - adj. unable to think in a clear or sensible way

dress - n. a piece of clothing for a woman or a girl that has a top part that covers the upper body and a skirt that hangs down to cover the legs

laurel - n. a crown made from laurel* leaves that was awarded and worn around the head as a symbol of honor in ancient Greece // *laurel - n. an evergreen tree or bush with shiny pointed leaves)

post - v. to add (a message) to an online message board

http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/05/17/4933/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/05/17/4933/VOA Special EnglishThu, 17 May 2018 03:54:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Trump: ‘We'll Have to See,’ about Meeting with Kim]]>UNSV.COM英语学习频道如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:

United States President Donald Trump said, “We’ll have to see,” when asked if a planned meeting with North Korea’s leader will take place.

On Wednesday, North Korea threatened to cancel the meeting between Trump and Kim Jong Un in Singapore on June 12. It said North Korea is not interested in “one-sided” negotiations only meant to cause the North to give up its nuclear weapons.

North Korea’s Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Kwan released the statement on the state-run KCNA news agency.

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi about to get into a car in Tripoli, Libya, Sunday, April 10, 2011.
Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi about to get into a car in Tripoli, Libya, Sunday, April 10, 2011.

He also criticized comments from U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton. In April, Bolton called for the North to give up its nuclear and missile weapons like Libya. He told Fox News, 'We have very much in mind the Libya model.”

The U.S. removed sanctions on Libya in exchange for a promise to give up its nuclear program in 2003. Eight years later, Libya’s leader Moammar Gadhafi was overthrown and killed by rebels. That was shortly before Kim Jong Un became North Korea’s leader.

On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke to South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-hwa. He told Kang that the U.S. continues to prepare for the meeting.

Pompeo met with Kim Jong Un recently to discuss issues including the planned meeting with Trump. On Sunday, Pompeo said that the U.S. would lift sanctions on North Korea if it agreed to completely end its nuclear program.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shakes hands with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in this undated photo released on May 9, 2018 by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shakes hands with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in this undated photo released on May 9, 2018 by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang.

Kim Dong-yub is a North Korea expert at Seoul’s Institute for Far Eastern Studies. He told the Associated Press the North is not trying to undermine the Trump-Kim talks. The North’s reaction, he said, is more like a “complaint over Trump’s way of playing the good cop and bad cop game with Pompeo and Bolton.”

Others wonder whether the North’s latest comments are an effort to negotiate from a stronger position. After all, North Korea has had a long history of withdrawing from agreements on its nuclear and missile activities.

A short history of North Korea’s nuclear negotiations

In 1991, the United States announced that it would remove its nuclear weapons from South Korea as part of an arms reduction treaty with the Soviet Union.

The following year, North and South Korea agreed to ban nuclear weapons or efforts to develop them. The nations said they would seek nuclear energy only for peaceful purposes.

In 1993, North Korea rejected international nuclear inspectors and said it might withdraw from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. As a result, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter visited North Korea which then promised to freeze its nuclear program in 1994. But, later that year, North Korean leader Kim Il-sung died and his son, Kim Jong Il took power.

Kim Il Sung sits alongside former U.S. President Jimmy Carter in June 1994, just weeks before Kim’s death. Their talks in Pyongyang helped broker a U.S.-DPRK nuclear deal, but the accord fell apart in 2002.
Kim Il Sung sits alongside former U.S. President Jimmy Carter in June 1994, just weeks before Kim’s death. Their talks in Pyongyang helped broker a U.S.-DPRK nuclear deal, but the accord fell apart in 2002.

In 1999, North Korea suspended testing long-distance missiles in exchange for an easing of some sanctions put in place by the U.S.

Then came a period of good feeling in which high-level North Korean officials met with U.S. and South Korean officials.

The feeling, however, began to change when President George W. Bush accused North Korea of being part of “an axis of evil” in 2001. The following year, North Korea admitted that it had a secret uranium enrichment program. In 2003, the North withdrew from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

Later that year, the Six Party Talks became an effort by all nations in the area to deal with the North Korean nuclear issue. The group included the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the U.S. Tension, however, increased as North Korea tested its first nuclear weapon in 2006.

The Six Party talks also broke down in 2008 and have not been restarted since then. Officials could not reach agreement on methods to prove the North was carrying out its requirements to end its nuclear program.

In 2011, Kim Jong Un became North Korea’s leader after the death of his father, Kim Jong Il. North Korea agreed to suspend its nuclear activities in exchange for aid. But the deal ended with North Korea’s test of a long-distance rocket.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un watches the launch of a Hwasong-12 missile in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency, Sept. 16, 2017.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un watches the launch of a Hwasong-12 missile in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency, Sept. 16, 2017.

U.S. efforts at diplomacy entered a period of what has been called “strategic patience.” Under this policy, the U.S. and its partners have increased sanctions on North Korea in an effort to get it to return to negotiations.

During this period, however, North Korea has carried out four nuclear tests including one in 2017 which, the North claims, was a hydrogen bomb.

In addition to its nuclear tests, North Korea has tested long-distance missiles with ever-increasing range over the last two years.

With the most recent launch last fall, North Korea tested a missile said to be able to reach all of the continental U.S.

I’m Mario Ritter.

Mario Ritter adapted this story for VOA Learning English with materials from VOA, AP, Reuters and the Council on Foreign Relations. Hai Do was the editor.

Words in This Story

sanctions –n. actions taken against a country to cause it to obey international law usually by restricting trade

undermine –v. to make something or someone weaker or less effective

complaint –n. a statement showing unhappiness or dissatisfaction

Nonproliferation –n. activities aimed at keeping the numbers of something from increasing

enrichment –n. the process of improving the quality of something such as the purity of a mineral

strategic –adj. related to a long term plan

range –n. a specific distance, a distance that something can travel

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

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<![CDATA[California to Require Solar Power for New Homes]]>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:

California has become the first U.S. state to approve plans to require newly built homes to include solar equipment.

The state’s Energy Commission voted 5-0 to approve the new rules, which are to take effect in 2020. The rules will cover most newly built residential buildings up to three stories high.

The move is California’s latest step aimed at reaching renewable energy targets and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

California has set a goal of filling half of its electricity needs with renewable energy by 2030. Officials said they had reached 30 percent by the end of 2017. The state’s Governor, Jerry Brown, plans to hold an international climate meeting in September.

The Energy Commission said the cost of adding solar equipment to a single-family home would be about $9,500. But, the group added that homeowners would save at least $19,000 in energy costs over 30 years.

The rules were approved after getting widespread support from builders, utility companies and solar equipment manufacturers.

These are some of the 206,000 polycrystalline solar panels that make up the 540-acre site solar project in Lamar County near Sumrall, Miss., Wednesday, March 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
These are some of the 206,000 polycrystalline solar panels that make up the 540-acre site solar project in Lamar County near Sumrall, Miss., Wednesday, March 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Robert Raymer is the technical director for the California Building Industry Association. He says the action marks a step forward for the wider use of solar power in the U.S. “You can bet every other of the 49 states will be watching closely to see what happens,” he told the Associated Press.

Solar companies praised the new requirements, which officials have said will likely raise demand for solar equipment in California by 10-15 percent.

Tom Werner is head of California-based solar company SunPower. He told Reuters the decision was another example of California environmental policy becoming a model for other states to follow.

The Solar Energy Industries Association called it a “historic decision for the state and the U.S.” It estimated the action would produce “huge economic and environmental benefits,” including bringing tens of billions of dollars into California.

California is already the nation’s number one market for solar equipment sales. At least 5 million homes in the state are estimated to currently use solar power.

California-based company Tesla is marketing a solar roof, which was designed with tiles to look similar to a traditional roof. (Tesla)
California-based company Tesla is marketing a solar roof, which was designed with tiles to look similar to a traditional roof. (Tesla)

But some individuals and groups criticized the new rules.

Some legislative and community leaders argued that Californians cannot afford to pay any more for housing in what is already an extremely high-priced market.

“That’s just going to drive the cost up and make California, once again, not affordable to live in,” said California Assemblyman Brian Dahle.

Severin Borenstein is an energy economist at the University of California, in Berkeley. He sent an email to the head of California’s Energy Commission to urge the state to reconsider its decision.

Looking like a vineyard, 206,000 polycrystalline solar panels make up the 540-acre site solar project in Lamar County near Sumrall, Miss., Wednesday, March 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Looking like a vineyard, 206,000 polycrystalline solar panels make up the 540-acre site solar project in Lamar County near Sumrall, Miss., Wednesday, March 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

He expressed his belief that it is a mistake for California to approve such a policy instead of centering on efforts to develop large solar farms to produce renewable energy. He said these farms would cost much less to operate.

“Every energy economist I know is shaking their head at this,” he told the Wall Street Journal. “In many ways, this is setting the wrong example,” he added.

I’m Bryan Lynn.

Bryan Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English, based on reports from the Associated Press, Reuters and other sources. 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

solar adj. of or relating to the sun

residential adj. of or relating to the places where people live

renewable n. any naturally occurring source of energy, such solar or wind

greenhouse gas – n. carbon dioxide and other gases that scientists have linked to rising temperatures in Earth’s atmosphere

emission n. something released into the air, such as a gas

utility n. organization that supplies the public with water, gas, or electricity

bet v. to think that something will probably or certainly happen​

benefit n. something that helps or gives an advantage

affordable adj. able to be bought by most people

http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/05/17/6699/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/05/17/6699/VOA Special EnglishThu, 17 May 2018 03:49:00 UTC
<![CDATA[US Supreme Court Ends Ban on Sports Betting]]>UNSV.COM英语学习频道如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:

The United States Supreme Court on Monday ended a 26-year ban on betting on professional and college sports.

The court’s decision permits state officials to pass laws permitting books to open on sports such as football, basketball, baseball and other games.

In the coming months, those officials will also consider where bets can be placed: casinos, horse racing tracks, betting centers, stadiums, online, or from mobile phones.

Supporters of the decision said legal betting could sharply increase income for states and the gambling industry. And they pointed out illegal sports betting is common. The American Gaming Association reported that Americans already place about $150 billion a year on bets.

Opponents of the decision include major sports groups, such as the National Football League. Those groups said expanding legal gambling on sports could hurt the integrity of the games. In other words, they worry that players or others would try to influence the outcome of the games for financial gain.

Men watch horse racing on an array of screen at Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport, N.J., Monday, May 14, 2018.
Men watch horse racing on an array of screen at Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport, N.J., Monday, May 14, 2018.

The president of an organization that helps people addicted to gambling also expressed concern. Marlene Warner leads the National Council on Problem Gambling. She said the ruling “will likely increase gambling participation and gambling problems unless steps are taken to minimize harm.”

But given Monday’s ruling, both the sports groups and the National Council on Problem Gambling have suggested that some of the income from legal betting go toward supporting their interests.

Three Supreme Court justices also disagreed with the ruling. They said parts of the original law were worth keeping.

But the majority of justices said the issue was not so much sports or betting, but states’ rights. They said states should not be forced to adopt a federal regulation system – an argument that may later be used in cases related to immigration laws and marijuana restrictions.

I’m Kelly Jean Kelly.

The Associated Press reported this story. Kelly Jean Kelly adapted it for VOA Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.

Words in This Story

stadiumn. a very large usually roofless building that has a large open area surrounded by many rows of seats and that is used for sports events, concerts, etc.

gamblingn. the practice or activity of betting money : the practice of risking money in a game or bet

integrityn. the quality of being honest and fair

minimizev. to make something bad or not wanted as small as possible

http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/05/16/8485/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/05/16/8485/VOA Special EnglishWed, 16 May 2018 06:41:00 UTC
<![CDATA[North Korea Cancels Talks with South, Questions Trump-Kim Summit]]>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:

North Korea has cancelled a high-level meeting with South Korea over its joint military exercises with the United States.

The North also is raising questions about the upcoming meeting between its leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump.

The two Koreas were set to meet Wednesday at the border village of Panmunjom. The sides are expecting to plan military and Red Cross discussions in an effort to reduce tension. They also planned to discuss reuniting families separated by the Korean War.

South Korea’s Yonhap new agency reported that the North cancelled hours before the meeting. The report questioned whether the June 12 meeting in Singapore between Kim and Trump would happen as planned.

North Korea said the reason for the cancellation was the ongoing U.S.-South Korea military exercises. The two-week military exercises started Friday.

North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency said, “The United States will also have to undertake careful deliberations about the fate of the planned North Korea-U.S. summit in light of this provocative military ruckus jointly conducted with the South Korean authorities.”

Heather Nauert is a spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department. She said the U.S. had no information from North Korea about plans to cancel the meeting. She added the U.S. continues to plan for the meeting.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

South Korea's national security chief Chung Eui-yong briefs U.S. President Donald Trump at the Oval Office about his visit to North Korea, in Washington, March 8, 2018.
South Korea's national security chief Chung Eui-yong briefs U.S. President Donald Trump at the Oval Office about his visit to North Korea, in Washington, March 8, 2018.

South Korea’s National Security Office head Chung Eui-yong met with Kim in March. He said the North Korean leader understood that “routine” joint military exercises between South Korea and the U.S. would continue.

But North Korea did not publicly withdraw its long-standing demand for an end to joint U.S.-South Korea military exercises.

On Tuesday, North Korea’s state newspaper also said it is “unacceptable and “extremely rude” for the U.S. to voice concerns about human rights abuses. Earlier this month, the U.S. State Department issued a statement voicing concerns over human rights abuses in North Korea.

I’m Jonathan Evans.

Hai Do adapted this story for Learning English based on AP, Reuters and Yonhap news reports. Mario Ritter was the editor.

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

Words in This Story

deliberations –n. careful thought or discussion done to make a decision

summit –n. a meeting between leaders of two or more countries

provocative –adj. causing discussion, thought, or argument

ruckus –n. a noisy argument, fight

routine –n. describing a regular way of doing things

http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/05/16/7402/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/05/16/7402/VOA Special EnglishWed, 16 May 2018 06:28:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Putin Opens Bridge Linking Russia to Crimea]]>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:

Russian President Vladimir Putin has opened a new bridge linking southern Russia to Crimea.

Putin drove a large truck Tuesday across the bridge, which Russia is calling the Crimean Bridge. Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

The opening of the bridge drew immediate criticism from Ukraine, which has said the project violates international law. President Petro Poroshenko said the opening was an attempt by Russia 'to legitimize the temporary occupation” of Crimea.

Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures while speaking to a group of workers after driving a truck to officially open the much-anticipated bridge linking Russia and the Crimean peninsula the opening ceremony near in Kerch, Crimea, Tuesday, May 15, 2018.
Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures while speaking to a group of workers after driving a truck to officially open the much-anticipated bridge linking Russia and the Crimean peninsula the opening ceremony near in Kerch, Crimea, Tuesday, May 15, 2018.

Russian state television showed Putin - dressed in casual clothes - leading a group of trucks across the bridge. After reaching the Crimean side, he praised builders for their hard work. The efforts, he said, had made it possible for “this miracle” to be completed.

The 19-kilometer bridge cost $3.6 billion to build. It links southern Russia to the Crimean city of Kerch. A railroad bridge is also being built and is due to be completed by the end of 2019.

Russia’s annexation of Crimea was condemned by the international community. The European Union and United States placed economic sanctions on Russia for the action.

A view of the new bridge linking Russia and the Crimean peninsula prior to its opening ceremony near Kerch, Crimea, Tuesday, May 15, 2018. (Alexander Nemenov/Pool Photo via AP)
A view of the new bridge linking Russia and the Crimean peninsula prior to its opening ceremony near Kerch, Crimea, Tuesday, May 15, 2018. (Alexander Nemenov/Pool Photo via AP)

Human rights record

As Putin was celebrating the bridge, a new report was published heavily criticizing Russia for its human rights record. Human Rights Watch published a report Tuesday called Russia: FIFA World Cup 2018 - Human Rights Guide for Reporters.

The New York-based group says Russia will hold the upcoming FIFA World Cup championship during 'the worst human rights crisis” since the breakup of the Soviet Union.

In this photo taken on Wednesday, March 1, 2017, an inside view of the Fisht Olympic stadium which will host some 2018 World Cup matches in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Artur Lebedev)
In this photo taken on Wednesday, March 1, 2017, an inside view of the Fisht Olympic stadium which will host some 2018 World Cup matches in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Artur Lebedev)

Human Rights Watch urges FIFA to use its influence to bring up major human rights issues with Russian officials. Among the issues are labor rights abuses, restrictions on basic freedoms, internet censorship and attempting to silence rights activists.

Hugh Williamson is Human Rights Watch’s director for Europe and Central Asia. He says the month-long World Cup can draw massive international attention to important issues outside of football. The new report aims to inform World Cup reporters about human rights abuses happening across Russia, he added.

I’m Bryan Lynn.

Bryan Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English, based on reports from the Associated Press, Reuters, Agence France-Presse and RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. 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

annex v. to add (an area or region) to a country, state, etc. or to take control of a territory or place

legitimize v. make something legal or acceptable

casual adj. designed for or permitting ordinary dress: not formal

miracle n. unusual and mysterious event often thought to have been caused by God

sanction – n. an action taken by one or more nations to make another nation follow a rule or law​

censorship n. the blocking or removing of material such as writings, film, videos which are not approved by the government

http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/05/16/1211/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/05/16/1211/VOA Special EnglishWed, 16 May 2018 06:28:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Study: US Job Program for Foreign Students Greatly Expands]]>Alice Bryant如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:

A new report says a United States government program for foreign students has been expanding in recent years.

The government’s Optional Practical Training, or OPT program was set up to help foreign students graduating from American colleges and universities. It gives them a chance to stay in the country for temporary employment after they complete their studies.

The report is from the Washington-based Pew Research Center. It notes that many foreign students take classes in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. These four subjects are known by a single term: STEM. The center noted that, under OPT, the number of foreign students graduating and working in STEM fields rose 400 percent between 2008 and 2016.

The federal program enables F-1 visa holders who complete school to remain in the United States and work for up to one year. Two years ago, the program began permitting graduates in STEM fields to work an additional 24 months.

In 2016, about 172,000 foreign nationals got a job through OPT. The program had 45,000 students in 2008, and 73,000 in 2014. The numbers are based on information provided to Pew by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, through a Freedom of Information Act request.

More than half of foreign graduates in the program specialized in STEM fields.

From 2004 to 2016, about 74 percent of OPT approvals were citizens of Asian countries, the Pew study found. Students from India, China and South Korea made up 57 percent of the total. Graduates from Europe were the second-largest group, with an eight percent total. Another eight percent were from Latin America and the Caribbean, while five percent were from Africa.

In this Friday, Oct. 19, 2012 file photo, students study in a library on the campus of California State University, Long Beach in Long Beach, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)
In this Friday, Oct. 19, 2012 file photo, students study in a library on the campus of California State University, Long Beach in Long Beach, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

The Optional Practical Training program is not as well-known as the U.S. government’s H-1B visa program. But the number of people taking part in OPT is much larger.

Under the H-1B program, foreign workers are permitted to stay in the U.S. for up to six years. After this time, H-1B visa holders must either return to their home country or seek permission to stay permanently. Working a temporary job through OPT is seen as a first step for many people hoping to receive an H-1B visa at a later date.

The H-1B program is designed to employ foreign workers in jobs requiring “specialized knowledge,” according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Many of these jobs are filled by people with STEM backgrounds.

Pew Research Center reports that in 2016, about 257,000 people took part in the OPT program. By comparison, the H-1B program is limited to a total of 85,000 people per year.

Pew noted that one reason for the rise in OPT numbers is because the number of new students on F-1 visas at U.S. colleges went up 104 percent from 2008 to 2016.

The United States has the largest foreign student population in the world. Neil Ruiz, a co-author of the report, says the OPT program has been an important tool in getting foreign students to attend U.S. schools and keep them here after they graduate.

But foreign student enrollment at U.S. colleges is reported to have dropped since the presidential election in 2016.

Last November, the Institute of International Education released results of a study involving nearly 500 colleges and universities. They were asked to provide enrollment numbers for the 2017-2018 school year. On average, the results found a 7 percent drop in the number of newly-enrolled foreign students at U.S. schools.

Students work on computers at the Hunt Library at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, N.C., on Tuesday, May 3, 2016. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Students work on computers at the Hunt Library at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, N.C., on Tuesday, May 3, 2016. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

The institute says the drop is likely a result of government policies that seek to limit immigration and restrict travel from some mostly Muslim countries. In addition, the group says American colleges also are facing increasing competition from countries like Canada, Australia and Britain.

The U.S. government has also considered making changes to the H-1B and F-1 visa programs. Officials have said the changes would aim to prevent foreign nationals from taking jobs away from American workers.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has announced plans to carry out “comprehensive reform” of practical training programs in an effort “to reduce fraud and abuse.”

The Association of International Educators estimated the economic effects of more than one million international students in the U.S. Its study found that the students added about $37 billion to the U.S. economy and supported 450,000 jobs during the 2016-2017 school year.

The association’s director, Esther Brimmer, said that it is important to realize there is “increasing global competition” for international student talent. She urged U.S. officials to strengthen policies that center on “our nation’s founding ideals of inclusivity and opportunity.'

I'm Alice Bryant.

And I’m Bryan Lynn.

Bryan Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English, based on reports from Pew Research, the Associated Press and other sources. George Grow was the editor.

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


Words in This Story

graduate v. earn a degree or diploma from a school, college, or university

accordingadv. as stated by or in

background – n. the total of someone’s experience and knowledge

coauthor n. someone who helps another person write a story, report or book

enrollment n. becoming a member or participant in something

comprehensive adj. including everything

fraud n. the crime of using dishonest methods to take something valuable from another person

talent – n. a special ability or skill

opportunity n. occasion or situation making it possible to do something that you want to do or have to do

http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/05/16/1120/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/05/16/1120/VOA Special EnglishWed, 16 May 2018 06:25:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Hero Pilot Lands Safely in China After Plane Loses Windshield]]>UNSV.COM英语学习频道如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:

This is What’s Trending Today….

A Chinese airplane made an emergency landing Monday after its front window broke and one of its pilots was partly pulled out of the plane.

The Sichuan Airlines passenger flight took off from Chongqing, in southwest China. It was traveling to the Tibetan capital of Lhasa.

The airplane’s other pilot, Liu Chuanjian, safely landed the plane in the city of Chengdu.

Now, Liu is being called a hero in China.

The plane was flying at a height of about 9,700 meters when an extremely loud sound was heard in the cockpit, Liu said. The cockpit experienced a sudden loss of air pressure and drop in temperature. When he looked over, Liu saw the cockpit’s right window was gone.

Liu was reported as saying, “The next thing I know, my co-pilot had been sucked halfway out of the window.'

The co-pilot was wearing his seatbelt. He was able to be pulled back inside the plane. He suffered minor injuries. One other employee was injured in the incident.

Liu took control. He had to land the plane manually because the automatic flight-control system stopped working. He safely landed the plane in Chengdu. None of the plane’s 119 passengers were hurt, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said.

One unnamed passenger told the government-run China News Service that airline workers had been serving passengers food when the plane began to shake. Oxygen masks dropped. The plane dropped for a few seconds before it “stabilized again.”

The passenger said, “I’m still nervous. I don’t dare to take an airplane anymore. But I’m also happy I had a narrow escape.”

The incident was a trending discussion Tuesday in China and around the world. Many are praising Liu for being able to land the plane. On the Chinese site Sina Weibo, users are writing messages with the hashtag #ChinaHeroPilot.

The Sichuan Airlines incident comes a month after an American passenger on a Southwest Airlines plane was partly sucked out after a window broke mid-flight. The passenger, Jennifer Riordan, later died.

Incidents involving partly broken windshields are somewhat common. They are usually caused by a bird or lightning striking the window. However, it is rare for an entire windshield to come off.

And that’s What’s Trending Today….

Ashley Thompson adapted this Reuters 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

cockpit - n. the area in a boat, airplane, etc., where the pilot or driver sits

suck - v. to pull (something) with the force of moving water, air, etc.

manual - adj. operated or controlled with the hands or by a person

automatic - adj. ​having controls that allow something to work or happen without being directly controlled by a person​

stabilize - v. ​to make (something) steady

nervous - adj. having or showing feelings of being worried and afraid about what might happen​

dare - v. to have enough courage or confidence to do something : to not be too afraid to do something

windshield - n. the window at the front of a car, truck, etc., that protects the driver and passengers

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<![CDATA[Israel Celebrates Eurovision Contest Win]]>UNSV.COM英语学习频道如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:

This is What’s Trending Today…

Netta Barzilai is sassy, she is fun and she can sing. Now, the 25-year-old Israeli is the winner of the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest.

She won with a catchy dance song about women’s empowerment called “Toy.”

It is Israel’s first win since 1998, and fourth win overall. Netta beat competitors from 42 other countries.

About 200 million people watched this year’s contest, held in Lisbon, Portugal. Votes came in live Saturday from the capitals of participating countries. The final moments were tense, with Israel in a close, five-way race with Cyprus, Austria, Sweden and Germany.

Thousands of Israelis took to the streets early Sunday to celebrate Netta’s victory. Fans gathered at Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square. The City Hall building there was lit up to spell “Toy.” Electronic signs throughout Tel Aviv congratulated Netta.

Netta was already a huge hit in Israel thanks to her personality and humorous performances.

Her winning song’s main line is “I’m not your toy, You stupid boy, I’ll take you down.” Her message seems to appeal to fans. The song had more than 20 million views on Eurovision’s YouTube page even before Saturday’s main event.

Her win means Israel will host next year’s Eurovision contest. But it also means much more than that. Israel often feels under siege. And it celebrates international success that supports its image of itself as a normal country -- in a big way.

A win at the hugely popular Eurovision contest is as big as it gets. For example, “Hallelujah” became the country’s unofficial national song after it won Eurovision for Israel in the late 1970s. And Dana International became a national hero when she won with “Diva” in 1998.

Netta took congratulatory phone calls from the nation’s leaders. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called her Israel’s “greatest ambassador.”

Izhar Cohen was Israel’s first Eurovision winner back in 1978. He told the Associated Press that Netta’s win is “a moment of joy that makes everybody together….”

“Because we are separated with so many views and political sides and all that, this contest made us one country, one people and I’m so happy for that,” he said.

‘Next time in Jerusalem’

News of Israel hosting next year’s contest in Jerusalem came as Israel marked the yearly Jerusalem Day, the anniversary of what it describes as the city’s “unification” following the 1967 war. It also came a day before the United States officially moved its embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.

On Saturday night, the Eurovision television hosts turned to each country to hear their votes. Jerusalem was the only capital city not called by name.

As she picked up her award, Barzilai shouted to the crowd, “I love my country. Next time in Jerusalem!”

And that’s What’s Trending Today…

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

Words in This Story

sassy - adj. confident and energetic

catchy - adj. ​appealing and easy to remember​

empowerment - n. ​the process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one's life and claiming one's rights​

host - v.​ to be the host for (a social event, a group of people, etc.) host - n.

siege - n. a situation in which soldiers or police officers surround a city, building, etc., in order to try to take control of it​

http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/05/15/7770/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/05/15/7770/VOA Special EnglishTue, 15 May 2018 00:19:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Melania Trump Hospitalized to Treat Kidney Condition]]>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:

Trump administration officials says Melania Trump is in the hospital recovering from an operation to treat a non-cancerous kidney condition.

The first lady's spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, said the treatment Monday morning was successful.

Grisham said Trump is at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, just outside Washington, D.C. She said the first lady would likely remain there for the rest of the week.

Last week, Trump made news when she launched her program “Be Best” to help children be their best selves.

I'm Caty Weaver.

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

http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/05/15/8727/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/05/15/8727/VOA Special EnglishTue, 15 May 2018 00:17:00 UTC
<![CDATA[US Promises N. Korea Economic Investment after Nuclear Deal]]>UNSV.COM英语学习频道如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:

The United States has said it may let American businesses invest in North Korea if the two sides reach a nuclear agreement. But even if U.S. economic restrictions against the North are lifted, the country would likely still present a difficult environment for foreign investment.

The U.S. government wants North Korea to end its nuclear activities. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo noted on Sunday that President Donald Trump has called for the complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of the North.

Pompeo added that, if North Korean leader Kim Jong Un agrees to disarm, the U.S. could offer foreign investment “in spades.”

Pompeo told Fox News, 'This will be Americans coming in…not the U.S. taxpayer…to help build out the energy grid.” He added that American businesses could help the North develop its infrastructure, (and) all the things that the North Korean people need...so they can eat meat and live healthy lives.”

Trump-Kim meeting

The secretary of state recently returned from a trip to Pyongyang, where he met with the North Korean leader. The meeting was set up to prepare for Kim’s talks with Trump. The two leaders are to meet in Singapore on June 12. The North Korean government released three American prisoners to Pompeo as a humanitarian gesture.

The Trump administration is increasingly hopeful it can work out an agreement with the North Korean government.

Administration officials say the goal is to make sure the government can no longer threaten the U.S. or its allies. They want the North to end its nuclear program, destroy its supply of ballistic missiles and no longer have the ability to make chemical weapons.

Last month, the North Korean leader met with South Korean President Moon-Jae-in. During that meeting, Kim agreed to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Kim said that he wants an end to the U.S.-led restrictions, which ban 90 percent of North Korea’s trade exports. Those measures were announced because of his country's repeated nuclear and missile tests.

The North Korean government recently announced it would take apart its nuclear bomb test area between May 23 and 25. However, the North has argued for a slower denuclearization process that would provide immediate actions for each step taken. It is not clear how North Korean and U.S. officials can resolve the differences over their positions.

FILE - People walk by a screen showing the news reporting about an earthquake near North Korea's nuclear facility, in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016.
FILE - People walk by a screen showing the news reporting about an earthquake near North Korea's nuclear facility, in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016.

Investment issues

It is also unclear if foreign investors would be prepared to put millions of dollars in investments into North Korea after sanctions are ended and a nuclear deal is in place.

'The administration is perhaps inflating expectations of what the North Koreans can expect in terms of private investment,” said Andray Abrahamian. He was once involved in developing business training programs for North Koreans.

Abrahamian noted that banks and financial companies will have concerns about the business climate in the North.

Under Kim Jong Un, the government has carried out a number of market reforms. Under those measures, North Korean farmers can keep some of their crops, while state-owned businesses are now permitted to earn a profit.

Foreign investors might be interested in expanding North Korea's mineral exports, such as coal and iron. Historically, North Koreans have been paid very low wages. This might prove appealing to clothing manufacturers and light industry.

But unlike mainland China, which successfully opened its economy to foreign investment, North Korea remains a complex business environment with unclear tax and investment laws. The North Korean government sees the outside world with distrust and restricts its own people from contacting that world.

FILE - South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, are about to shake hands on their first meeting at the truce village of Panmunjom inside the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, South Korea, April 27, 2018.
FILE - South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, are about to shake hands on their first meeting at the truce village of Panmunjom inside the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, South Korea, April 27, 2018.

Hope across Asia

The possibility of peace in Korea has raised expectations that economic conditions in East Asia will soon improve.

China and South Korea also agreed to provide economic aid if North Korea completes denuclearization.

The South Korean government has already suggested developing modern railroads that would connect the Korean Peninsula to China and Russia. Shares of South Korean manufacturing and railway stocks have risen. In addition, land prices are said to be rising near the neutral area between the two Koreas as the possibility of cross-border business activities increases.

I’m Jonathan Evans.

VOA’s Brian Padden reported this story. Susan Shand adapted his report. George Grow was the editor.

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

Words in This Story

verifiableadj. to prove, show, find out, or state that (something) is true or correct

irreversibleadj. not able to be changed back

in spadesn. large amounts

gridn. a system of electrical wires and equipment that supplies electricity

infrastructure - n. roads, public water supplies and other public services

gesturen. something said or done to show a feeling

ballistic adj. related to a flying object or its flight

http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/05/15/1340/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/05/15/1340/VOA Special EnglishTue, 15 May 2018 00:16:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Trump Offers Help to ZTE Corp. in Trade Dispute]]>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:

Tensions over trade between the United States and China have now involved telecommunications equipment and soybeans.

U.S. President Donald Trump surprised government officials on Sunday by offering to help a Chinese telecommunications company.

Trump wrote on Twitter that he was looking for a way to let the Chinese company ZTE Corp. “get back into business fast.” The tweet also said, “Too many jobs in China lost.”

In April, the U.S. Commerce Department blocked ZTE Corp. from buying U.S.-made telecommunications equipment. The goods include parts needed for wireless stations, optical fiber networks and smartphones.

The action was taken after accusations that the company misled U.S. officials about its efforts to stop the sale of goods to sanctioned countries. The U.S. parts, officials said, were being put into products being sold to Iran and North Korea.

The U.S.-made parts however represent a large percentage of the parts the company uses to make its products. As a result, the company said it would have to shut down operations at its factory in the southern city of Shenzhen. The Associated Press reports that ZTE has more than 70,000 employees.

On its English language website, ZTE stated that the U.S. Commerce Department’s “denial order” would “severely impact the survival and development” of the company.

America First policy

Trump has accused Chinese trade policy of costing American workers jobs during the 2016 presidential campaign and as president.

In March, the U.S. placed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from China. The two sides have since exchanged threats to increase import taxes on a large number of goods.

Trump’s statements, however, appear to be an effort to ease tensions.

On Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told reporters that China appreciates the U.S. position. Lu said the two sides were discussing the issue.

U.S. and Chinese trade representatives are to hold talks this week in Washington. Vice Premier Liu He will visit the U.S. and is expected to meet with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

U.S. farmers face unsettling trade dispute

In the U.S., the widening trade dispute threatens to hurt American farmers at a time when they have just planted this year’s crops.

The U.S. is a major exporter of soybean to China but some farmers are concerned about the trade situation between the sides.
The U.S. is a major exporter of soybean to China but some farmers are concerned about the trade situation between the sides.

China has not put in place tariffs as part of a response to the recent U.S. measures. There are concerns, however, that China already has stopped buying soybeans from U.S. farmers.

A Chinese tariff on crops like soybeans could hurt farmers like Scott Halpin of Illinois. He told VOA, “Soybeans make up just under half of our crop rotation.”

Phil Flynn is a market expert with Price Futures Group, a company that provides financial advice.

He is not too concerned about loses in the soybean market. He told VOA, “They [China] have a lot more to lose than we do.”

China imports about 63 percent of the world’s exported soybeans. “There’s not a lot of places that can replace American soybeans in the near term,” Flynn noted.

Halpin, however, would like to know that there is a buyer for his crop.

“If China is buying from another country, somebody else is going to be looking for our soybeans. It would just be nice to have some stability,” he said.

I’m Mario Ritter.

Mario Ritter adapted this story for VOA Learning English. The story is based on reporting from Kane Farabaugh of VOA and the AP. Hai Do was the editor.

Words in This Story

optical fiber –n. long, thin glass or plastic thread that carries light signals

sanctioned –adj. describing countries that have sanction measures placed on them

tariffs –n. taxes on imports or exports mean to protect some industries in a country

appreciate –v. to understand the value of something, to be grateful

rotation –n. a crop that is planted in turns to avoid weakening the soil

stability –n. something not easily changed

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

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<![CDATA[WHO Wants to Remove Trans Fats from Food]]>UNSV.COM英语学习频道如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:

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

There may be something in your food that you cannot see and cannot taste. But it could be killing you.

It is an artificial oil commonly called trans fat.

'Trans fat is a toxic chemical that has been added to our food supply and accounts for an estimated more than 500,000 deaths every year.'

That is Dr. Tom Frieden. He is head of the public health organization Resolve to Save Lives. He was the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States from 2009 to 2017.

On Monday, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced a plan to help countries remove trans fats from the world’s food supply within the next five years.

Frieden says the move is unprecedented.

“This is the first time there has ever been an elimination program to get rid of -- not an infectious disease like polio or small pox -- but a non-communicable disease, in this case the risk factor for heart attacks that trans fat causes. This is an unprecedented move. And it’s really important that government and communities around the world replace artificial trans fats with healthier oils.”

What is artificial trans fat?

Artificial trans fat is made by adding hydrogen to vegetable oil. Food makers use this low-priced oil so food will stay fresh longer.

“Although trans fats extend the shelf life of food, we think the priority should be the length and health of human life. That’s more important than the shelf life of food. There are alternatives to industrially produced trans fats.”

Trans fat can be found in foods such as donuts, cakes, cookies and deep-fried foods. Baked goods that sit on grocery shelves for many months but still remain soft and moist usually contain trans fat. This is because the oil remains solid at room temperature. And Frieden says this is why it is dangerous to eat.

'Trans fat is tasteless. It's solid at room temperature, but it's also solid at body temperature in your coronary arteries.'

Studies have found that trans fat raises cholesterol levels in the blood and increases the risk of heart disease.

High-income countries have either banned these artificial fats or are in the process of banning them because of their connection to heart disease. The Associated Press news agency says more than 40 high-income countries have been working on eliminating trans fats from foods.

Denmark banned trans fats in their food 15 years ago. In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has called for food makers to stop using it by June 2018.

The World Health Organization is urging governments of low- and middle-income countries to do the same. Experts at the WHO say that three-quarters of the world's deaths from cardiovascular disease happen in low- and middle-income countries.

Where trans fats have been banned, heart attacks and deaths from heart disease have dropped greatly.

The WHO plan calls on governments to take specific steps. They include replacing trans fats with healthier oils such as olive oil, creating public awareness of the harms of trans fats, and enforcing anti-trans fat policies and laws.

If people stop eating products made with trans fats, more than 17 million lives could be saved over the next 25 years. Also a major source of heart disease will be eliminated.

And that’s the Health and Lifestyle report. I’m Anna Matteo.

Carol Pearson reported this story for VOA News in Washington. Anna Matteo adapted it for Learning English with additional reporting from the AP. Hai Do was the editor.

Words in This Story

artificial adj. not natural or real : made, produced, or done to seem like something natural

toxic adj. containing poisonous substances

account v. to give a reason or explanation for (something)

unprecedented adj. not done or experienced before

elimination n. the act or process of removing something or someone : eliminate – v. to remove (something that is not wanted or needed) : to get rid of (something)

noncommunicableadj. Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), also known as chronic diseases, are not passed from person to person. They are of long duration and generally slow progression. The four main types of noncommunicable diseases are cardiovascular diseases (like heart attacks and stroke), cancers, chronic respiratory diseases (such as chronic obstructed pulmonary disease and asthma) and diabetes.

hydrogen n. a chemical element that has no color or smell and that is the simplest, lightest, and most common element

shelf lifen. the length of time that food may be stored and still be good to eat

priority n. something that is more important than other things and that needs to be done or dealt with first

coronary medical of or relating to the heart and especially to the vessels that supply blood to the heart

cardiovascular medical : of or relating to the heart and blood vessels

specific adj. clearly and exactly presented or stated : precise or exact

http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/05/15/1009/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/05/15/1009/VOA Special EnglishTue, 15 May 2018 00:14:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Iraqi Broadcasters Who Helped Beat Islamic State]]>Susan Shand如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:

The battle to free the Iraqi city of Mosul from the Islamic State (IS) group lasted nine months.

The military operation involved hundreds of airstrikes and a difficult Iraqi-led ground offensive. Victory was finally declared last July as IS fighters were forced from the city.

A new report suggests that one reason for the operation's success was a campaign of information warfare by resistance forces. It says the campaign took on IS propagandists and destroyed the group’s image of invincibility.

Mike Stevens wrote the report, which was published by Britain’s Royal United Services Institute.

Stevens is a former British army officer. He says the occupation by IS forces had a major effect on the citizens of Mosul. He noted that many people felt like they were being held hostage.

Stevens says one of the greatest tools for ending that fear was a radio station set up by two refugees, who had fled to the city of Irbil, some 80 kilometers east of Mosul.

Using a single radio transmitter, they set up Radio al-Ghad and began broadcasts for their home city.

To break Islamic State’s oppressive presence, the station combined telephone call-in programs and debate with music and talent competitions. Such events were barred during the IS occupation.

The radio station differed from other stations because it had talent shows, which “come out of pain,” noted Mourad Khan in 2017. He served as a radio host.

Radio al-Ghad also offered ground intelligence to coalition forces, and even debated with IS commanders in its programs.

“What they did was give people space to speak. And give people space to debate, like a community radio station,” the report said.

The station fought with IS for control of the airwaves, which led to “them actually being in a dominant position,” Stevens said.

Resistance groups throughout Mosul united under a common sign: the Arabic letter 'M' for 'Muqawama,' or resistance, which began to appear on streets across the city.

After listening to the radio station, many people were moved to personal acts of civil disobedience, such as a graffiti campaign. Iraqis began marking up and writing messages on the walls of the city. Stevens says acts like these offered hope to the people of Mosul.

The battle on the radio for Mosul’s population offers examples for other conflict areas.

“We’re at risk of becoming not very good at doing this at all because we’re losing a connection with local people,” Stevens noted. He also said that fighting war from a distance, with the help of computers, has added to the problem.

The report says that repeating the success of Mosul’s non-violent resistance would only be possible with long-term deployment of ground troops and the freedom to talk directly with local people.

I'm Susan Shand.

Henry Ridgewell reported this story for VOA News. Susan Shand adapted it for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

Words in This Story

invincibility – n. impossible to defeat or overcome

transmittern. a device that sends out radio or television signals

graffiti n. images or words painted on a wall or building

dominant adj. commanding or leading

airwave n. the radio waves used for radio broadcasts

host n. the star of a radio or television program

talent n. someone or a group of people with a special ability

http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/05/14/0545/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/05/14/0545/VOA Special EnglishMon, 14 May 2018 02:46:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Possible US Citizenship Question Raising Concerns]]>Dorothy Gundy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:

Mas Yamashita does not remember when he and his family left their small home in Oakland, California.

But he does remember where they went: the Tanforan Assembly Center in San Bruno, California. During World War II, thousands of Japanese-Americans were held there while a more permanent center was built.

Yamashita, an American born in California, was one of 120,000 people detained in such camps during the war.

'Really, my childhood memories began in the camp,' Yamashita says. He was six-years-old at the time and is now 82.

Using official population records

The Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, led to United States involvement in World War II.

After the attack, President Franklin Roosevelt approved Executive Order 9066. The order resulted in government action against Japanese descendants living on the U.S. West Coast. They were required to leave their homes and move to 10 recently built camps. These camps were in California and six other states: Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming.

Mas Yamashita leads a school tour at the Japanese American National Museum where he volunteers every Friday. Yamashita, an American born in California, is one of the 120,000 people held in an internment camp during the WWII. (Courtesy: Japanese American N
Mas Yamashita leads a school tour at the Japanese American National Museum where he volunteers every Friday. Yamashita, an American born in California, is one of the 120,000 people held in an internment camp during the WWII. (Courtesy: Japanese American N

To find the descendants, the federal government secretly used information collected in the 1940 U.S. census. The census is an official count of the population. It is completed every 10 years. The next census will be in 2020.

It is illegal to release or use any census information to target a specific population or group. But two researchers found evidence that census officials cooperated with the federal government to find Japanese Americans.

The two are Margo Anderson, a historian at the University of Wisconsin, and William Seltzer, a statistician at Fordham University in New York. Their papers showed that census officials released information, such as names and street addresses, to the government.

David Inoue is head of the Japanese American Citizens League. He told VOA that, “Because of what happened to us, it is now safer to participate in the census without the fear of such action happening again.'

But Inoue admitted that many people still fear that census records could be used against them.

Mas Yamashita was only six when he was sent, along with his family, to live at the Topaz internment site, in Central Utah, was completed during World War II. (Courtesy: Mas Yamashita).
Mas Yamashita was only six when he was sent, along with his family, to live at the Topaz internment site, in Central Utah, was completed during World War II. (Courtesy: Mas Yamashita).

A new citizenship question

The Japanese experience has become important to new immigrants after the U.S. Census Bureau proposed adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census form.

Asking if someone is a citizen has not been done by the Census Bureau since the 1950s.

In addition to collecting information about the population, the census also helps decide the number of representatives each state gets in Congress and how federal money is spent. Critics of a citizenship question say that immigrants will be less likely to answer census questions if they are asked about citizenship. They say this could change how much federal aid their communities get.

The Census Bureau agrees. In documents from a 1980 case, Census officials said that adding a citizenship question would threaten the '…accuracy of the population count” because immigrant communities would be concerned about how the government will use the information.

The Trump administration rejects this belief. U.S. officials say that asking about citizenship will help enforce the Voting Rights Act by confirming who has the right to vote.

“Why do they want that information?”

To Mas Yamashita, a citizenship question would be 'pretty tragic.'

'You wonder,” he asked, “why do they want to have that information?”

More than 70 years later, it is still painful for Yamashita to talk about his experience in detention camps.

Mas Yamashita said children were allowed to attend school in the Topaz internment site, in Central Utah, during the WWII. Classes were often taught by a few of the children’s mothers. (Courtesy: Mas Yamashita)
Mas Yamashita said children were allowed to attend school in the Topaz internment site, in Central Utah, during the WWII. Classes were often taught by a few of the children’s mothers. (Courtesy: Mas Yamashita)

'I lost touch [with the children in the camp] after we left. I had photographs of friends that I used to play with.'

His father wanted him to attend a Japanese school, but instead he tried to stay away from his Japanese culture.

'[There] were a couple of [Japanese schools] in the city, but I lied because I didn't want to have anything to do with the Japanese,' Yamashita said.

'So I didn't go. To this day, I don't speak Japanese. I can't read or write [in Japanese.] Most of the people I know, my age, don't speak or write Japanese. I think we all felt the same way in the sense that we didn't want anything to do with the Japanese culture when we got out,' he said.

Yamashita remembers having fights in school with students who made fun of him for being different. He also ignored the only other Asian student in his class.

'I didn't talk to her until we reached high school,” he said.

Mas Yamashita spent many years working in the advertising industry. Now, he volunteers at the Japanese American National Museum to help 'make up' for all the time he avoided the Japanese community.

'We have to make sure that we record all these stories. We have to keep telling them to future generations. All of my older sisters and brothers are gone and they never got around to do that,' he said.

'After we got out, nobody ever talked about it. Nobody,' he said.

I'm Dorothy Gundy

And I’m Phil Dierking.

Aline Barros reported this story for VOANews.com. Phil Dierking adapted her story for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

Do you think a citizenship question should be included on a country’s Census? Write to us in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.

Words in This Story

accuracy - n. freedom from mistake or error​

address - n. the words and numbers that are used to describe the location of a building and that are written on letters, envelopes, and packages so that they can be mailed to that location​

assembly - n. a group of people who have gathered together​

couple - adj. two or a few of something​

descendant - n. someone who is related to a person or group of people who lived in the past​

participate - v. to be involved with others in doing something ​

photograph - n. a picture made by a camera​

specific - adj. special or particular

http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/05/14/4256/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2018/05/14/4256/VOA Special EnglishMon, 14 May 2018 02:45:00 UTC
<![CDATA[US Wants One Million People to Share Their DNA]]>UNSV.COM英语学习频道如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:

The U.S. government is now accepting volunteers for a huge new nationwide health project. The government hopes to find one million people who will share their DNA and 10 years of health patterns.

Researchers hope that by studying such a large group of people, they can learn why some people escape illness and others do not. They also hope to find better ways to prevent and treat diseases.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is organizing the project. It is called the All of Us Research Program.

Dr. Francis Collins is director of the NIH. He describes the program as “a national adventure that is going to transform medical care.”

Congress has approved $1.45 billion for the project over the next 10 years. But the money depends on whether enough people around the country will sign up online or through participating health centers.

More than 25,000 people have already received early entry to the project over the past year. The volunteers entered the program by invitation through participating universities and health providers.

Most of today’s medical care is based on short studies of a few hundred or a few thousand patients with specific health conditions.

But the All of Us project involves what is called “precision medicine.” With precision medicine, researchers identify the qualities that make each person different to predict and treat disease. Learning enough to individualize care requires the study of a large number of volunteers.

This includes the healthy and not-so-healthy, the young and old, those living in cities and the country, and people of all racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Currently, volunteers must be at least 18 years old. The study will be open to children next year.

The All of Us project aims to be the largest and most diverse of its kind. Collins said at least half of the participants must be from groups that are traditionally under-represented in medical research.

A person’s genes can increase their risk of getting various diseases. But other factors can increase or reduce genetic risks.

First, volunteers must share electronic health records and blood samples. They must also answer questions about their diet, sleep, environmental exposures and other lifestyle factors. They may also wear devices to monitor their daily health.

Collins said blood samples from volunteers will undergo genetic testing later this year. The tests will look for parts of DNA that affect a person’s risk of disease. Fully mapping the genetic code is too costly for one million people. But that approach will one day be used with some participants.

Collins says one thing he wants to learn from the study is why some people stay healthy despite smoking or pollution or poor nutrition.

“We have no idea how those people escape those odds,” he said.

The All of Us project is not like most medical studies. Participants can choose to see their own test results. They can then share those results with their own doctor before the study reaches any final conclusions. Collins said some information from genetic tests could be useful to doctors in choosing which medicine to give their patients.

The NIH said it has taken as many steps as possible to protect against hackers. The NIH also removes identifying information from volunteers’ medical data and replaces it with a code. Only scientists who meet special security requirements will be permitted to study the data.

The NIH also said federal confidentiality rules do not permit information to be shared with law enforcement.

I’m Jonathan Evans.

Lauran Neergaard reported this story for the Associated Press. Jonathan Evans adapted it for VOA Learning English. Ashley Thompson was the editor.

Words in This Story

participate/participating – v. to be involved with others in doing something; to take part in an activity or event with others

transform – v. to change something completely and usually in a good way

specific – adj. special or particular

odds – n. the possibility that something will happen; the chance that one thing will happen instead of a different thing

sample – n. a small amount of something that gives you information about the thing it was taken from

monitor – v. to watch, observe, listen to, or check something for a special purpose over a period of time

code – n. a set of letters, numbers, symbols, etc., that identifies or gives information about something or someone

hacker – n. a person who secretly gets access to a computer system in order to get information, cause damage, etc.; a person who hacks into a computer system

confidentiality – n. the quality or state of being private or confidential

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<![CDATA[Brown v. Board of Education Helps Launch Civil Rights Movement]]>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:

Brown versus Board of Education is one of the country’s most important cases. It overturned an earlier Supreme Court decision, and it helped launch the civil rights movement.

Linda Brown grew up to be a teacher, musician, and civil rights activist.
Linda Brown grew up to be a teacher, musician, and civil rights activist.

At the center of the case was a little girl. In the early 1950s, Linda Brown was eight years old. Every day, she had to travel for more than an hour to go to a local public school for black children.

At the time, public school systems could legally separate black and white students. The reason related to a Supreme Court decision from 1896. It said that separating people by race was legal, as long as the buildings and equipment were equal.

But the father of young Linda Brown did not think racial segregation was right or fair. He wanted his children to go to the school close to their house, even if the school was for white children. When he tried to register Linda there, school officials said no.

So Brown and other activists took action in court against the law. They said schools separated by race could never be equal.

All nine Supreme Court justices agreed. Brown versus Board of Education demanded equal opportunity in public education, and in time led to desegregation in other public places.

Kelly Jean Kelly wrote this story for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

Words in This Story

segregation - n. the practice or policy of keeping people of different races, religions, etc., separate from each other

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<![CDATA[Storms, Nature Uncover Bones on New York's Island of the Dead]]>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:

Storms and tides are uncovering long-hidden human remains on New York’s Hart Island.

The island is a place where New Yorkers who have little money when they die have been buried for 150 years. Now, skulls and other bones mark the ground of small piece of land.

An old building shows a warning sign on Hart Island in New York.
An old building shows a warning sign on Hart Island in New York.

Pictures of the remains have appeared in news reports for years. So in late April, forensic anthropologists from the city medical examiner’s office visited the island.

They collected 174 human bones, which they carefully examined and recorded. Their finds included six skulls, 31 leg bones and many other bones from the head and body. Small red flags marked places along the rocky waterline where remains were found.

Carol DiMedio’s grandfather, Luigi Roma, was buried on the island. He died of tuberculosis in 1933. DiMedio told the Associated Press, “When I hear about the erosion, I always think, ‘Are the bones his? Could any of them be his?’”

Activists say the bones are a sign that the island has needed improvements for a long time. The United States federal government started a $13.2 million project to repair the erosion that Superstorm Sandy and other storms caused in 2012.

But activists want the government to increase the efforts of that project. They also want Hart Island to be turned into a park and historic location, even as it continues to be used as a burial ground.

Hi-rise buildings from Co-op City in the Bronx borough of New York, are seen behind what is believed to be a water storage system dating back to the American Civil War on Hart Island in New York.
Hi-rise buildings from Co-op City in the Bronx borough of New York, are seen behind what is believed to be a water storage system dating back to the American Civil War on Hart Island in New York.

New York City Council member Mark Levine argues that the people buried there should be respected.

“These are New Yorkers,” he said. “These are human beings who were largely marginalized and forgotten in life, they were people who died homeless or destitute…And we’re victimizing them again in their final resting place.”

About 1 million people are buried on Hart Island. New York City bought the island in 1868. It went on to use the land for a workhouse for troubled young men and a burial place for the poor. Over the years, Hart Island has housed a Civil War prison, an asylum, a tuberculosis hospital, a jail and a missile base.

All the while, New York continued shipping bodies there that went unclaimed at the city morgue. The Department of Corrections, the city’s prison system, has run the island for more than 100 years. But the land has never been kept in as good condition as a traditional burial ground.

Prisoners dig long holes. Adults go in the ground in wooden boxes, placed on top of one another. Babies are placed in small containers.

​Around 1,000 people are buried there each year.

The burials take place in private. Admittance to the island is limited to monthly boat trips that must be requested ahead of time. Only people with loved ones buried on the island are permitted to visit the graves. Others are restricted to a visitors’ area close to where boats arrive.

In 2012, Superstorm Sandy’s floodwaters washed away an embankment, which revealed a water storage system dating back to the American Civil War.

More recent storms have also eroded the island. Federal work to repair the erosion is set to begin in 2020. Until then, city officials say, an archaeologist will visit at least once a month to remove and bury remains that have been uncovered.

Revealed remains have been a problem before. A March 1985 report by the city’s sanitation department found bones spread across the island, including a skull on the beach.

Melinda Hunt is an activist and the creator of the Hart Island Project. She has been recording conditions on the island since 1991. On a recent boat trip around the island, she noted the places along its northern side where bones could be seen.

Artist Melinda Hunt, president of The Hart Island Project, left, and drone operator Parker Gyokeres, right, look over the video recorded by Daniel Herbert from the drone flight over Hart Island in New York.
Artist Melinda Hunt, president of The Hart Island Project, left, and drone operator Parker Gyokeres, right, look over the video recorded by Daniel Herbert from the drone flight over Hart Island in New York.

“They came to clean this up, but it isn’t the first time and it won’t be the last,” said Hunt.

Carol DiMedio said she wishes the uncovered bones would be tested for DNA evidence in order to help other families find loved ones. She had done research since she was young to try to find out where her grandfather was buried. When she finally found the answer, she did not want to tell her sick, aging mother where her father had been laid to rest.

“When I found him...I lied and I said he was buried in a beautiful place, with blue water and blue skies and lots of trees and green grass,” DiMedio said. “I didn’t have the heart to tell her there’s this grim place called Hart Island.”

I’m Lucia Milonig. And I’m Pete Musto.

Collen Long reported this story for the Associated Press. Pete Musto adapted it for VOA Learning English. Ashley Thompson was the editor.

We want to hear from you. What efforts do think we as a society should take to respect and protect the memories of everyone who dies, no matter how much money they had? Write to us in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.

Words in This Story

tiden. the regular upward and downward movement of the level of the ocean that is caused by the pull of the Sun and the Moon on the Earth

forensic anthropologistn. a researcher whose job is the examination of human skeletal remains for law enforcement agencies to determine the identity of unidentified bones

erosionn. the gradual destruction of something by natural forces such as water, wind, or ice

marginalizedadj. someone who is put or kept in a powerless or unimportant position within a society or group

destituteadj. extremely poor

morguen. a place where the bodies of dead people are kept until they are buried or cremated

embankmentn. a raised bank or wall that is built to carry a roadway or hold back water

sanitationn. the process of keeping places free from dirt, infection, and disease by removing waste, trash and garbage, by cleaning streets

grimadj. unpleasant or shocking to see or think about

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