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。Wed, 22 Nov 2017 11:47:03 UTC<![CDATA[US Renews State Terror Declaration for North Korea]]>UNSV.COM英语学习频道如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
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The United States has again listed North Korea as a state supporter of terrorism.

The move permits new sanctions to pressure North Korea to end its banned nuclear and long-distance missile activities.

The U.S. decision was welcomed by South Korea and Japan. In Tokyo, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters Japan supports the step as a way to increase pressure on North Korea.

South Korea’s foreign ministry said it sees the decision 'as part of the international community's joint efforts to take North Korea to the path of denuclearization.'

China reacted carefully to the decision. Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang called the current situation “highly sensitive.” He said it would be “helpful to bring all parties back to the negotiation table, instead of doing the opposite.”

The U.S. move returned North Korea to a State Department list of state sponsors of terrorism. The only other countries on the list are Iran, Syria and Sudan.

North Korea was first placed on the list in 1988 after agents of the government destroyed a South Korean passenger airplane, killing 115 people. The U.S. removed North Korea from the list in 2008 when the country met international requirements for limiting its nuclear program.

President Donald Trump spoke about the decision Monday. He said the terror declaration “should have happened years ago.” Trump also called the North Korean government “a murderous regime.”

A State Department official told VOA the U.S. had determined that North Korea had “repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism,' including assassinations on foreign soil.

Placing North Korea on the list is part of a campaign by the Trump administration to pressure North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program. That campaign already includes a series of United Nations Security Council sanctions meant to punish North Korea for its nuclear and missile tests.

North Korea has said it will never end its nuclear weapons program, which it considers necessary for its defense against a possible U.S. attack.

Trump said the new measures announced “will be the highest level of sanctions” put in place so far against North Korea.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters the sanctions already in place are having an effect. He said there is evidence that the restrictions have led to fuel shortages and less income for North Korea.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks about North Korea during the daily press briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House, in Washington, Monday, Nov. 20, 2017. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks about North Korea during the daily press briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House, in Washington, Monday, Nov. 20, 2017. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Tillerson urged China to take more steps to cut fuel supplies to the North. About 90 percent of North Korea's trade is with China. But China has resisted major economic measures that could cause North Korea to collapse.

Tillerson said he still hopes for a peaceful solution. With the new sanctions in place, he warned North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, “This is only going to get worse until you're ready to come and talk.''

I’m Bryan Lynn.

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

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

Words in This Story

sanction n. measures taken by countries to force other nations to obey international law, usually by limiting trade or finance

sensitive adj. easily upset by things people say or do

regime n. form of government

determined adj. wanting to do something very much without letting anything stop it

assassination n. the killing of someone, usually for political reasons

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/11/22/8830/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/11/22/8830/VOA Special EnglishWed, 22 Nov 2017 07:21:00 UTC
<![CDATA[More Powerful Men in Media Accused of Sexual Abuse]]>UNSV.COM英语学习频道如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
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Well-known men in media and entertainment continue to be publicly accused of sexual wrongdoing.

Two of the latest are Charlie Rose and Glenn Thrush. Rose is a longtime American reporter and television host. Thrush is the White House reporter for the New York Times newspaper.

Eight women came forward with allegations against Rose in a Washington Post report Monday. The women, who all worked for or sought work with Rose, accused him of touching them and walking naked in front of them. One woman said Rose told her he had dreamed about her swimming naked.

Rose, who is 75, said in a statement that he was “deeply embarrassed” and apologized for his actions.

Rose hosts a nightly interview show that airs on the Public Broadcasting Service. The show could be seen in 94 of the United States on PBS television stations. He was also on a popular morning show on CBS News.

CBS fired Rose Tuesday. PBS has announced it would stop distributing Rose’s interview show.

Three women permitted the Post to use their names in the deeply reported story, including Reah Bravo. She started working for Rose in 2007, first as an intern and later as a producer. She told the newspaper: “He was a sexual predator, and I was his victim.” She said Rose groped her several times. She said he also once asked her to come to his hotel room, and when she arrived, he appeared before her naked.

Another accuser, Kyle Godfrey-Ryan, served as Rose’s assistant in the mid-2000s when she was 21. She said Rose repeatedly called her in the morning and late at night to describe his dreams of her swimming naked in the pool at his home. Godfrey-Ryan said she was dismissed from her job after Rose learned she had spoken about his behavior to a friend they both knew.

The third identified woman, Megan Creydt, worked for Rose’s interview show in 2005 and 2006. She said he put his hand on the upper part of her leg when they were in a car together in New York City. Five other women told the Post similar stories. They said Rose appeared to be testing them for reactions when he touched them.

Rose described his behavior as insensitive at times and he said “I accept responsibility for that, though I do not believe that all of these allegations are accurate.”

Two hours after the Rose story was published, a Post reporter tweeted “sadly, my inbox is already flooded with women who have had similar, disturbing encounters with Charlie Rose.”

New reports of sexual wrongdoing have continued since The New York Times first reported about Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein’s behavior in early October.

On Monday, The New York Times suspended its own White House correspondent for reports of similar wrongdoing. The paper says it is investigating accusations that Glenn Thrush touched women against their will.

Laura McGann worked with Thrush at the news media company Politico. She wrote on Monday that Thrush kissed her and placed his hand on her upper leg one night in a bar.

Thrush worked at Politico from 2009 until 2016. He joined the Times in January of this year.

In a statement the Times called the reported behavior “very concerning.”

I’m Ashley Thompson.

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

Words in This Story

naked - adj. not wearing any clothes : not covered by clothing

embarrassed - adj. feeling confused and foolish in front of other people​

interview - n. a meeting between a reporter and another person in order to get information for a news story​

fire - v. to dismiss from employment

distribute - v. to give or deliver (something) to people​

intern - n. a student or recent graduate who works for a period of time at a job in order to get experience

allegations - n. ​a statement saying that someone has done something wrong or illegal​

accurate - adj. ​free from mistakes or errors​

grope - v. to touch (someone) in an unwanted and unexpected sexual way

predator - n. a person who looks for other people in order to use, control, or harm them in some way

bar - n. a building or room where alcoholic drinks and sometimes food are served​

inbox - n. ​an electronic folder in which emails received by someone are held.

disturbing - adj. ​causing nervousness; worrying.

encounter - n. ​a usually brief experience with another person​

correspondent - n. a person whose job is to send news to a newspaper, radio station, or television program often from different places around the world

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/11/22/8469/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/11/22/8469/VOA Special EnglishWed, 22 Nov 2017 07:19:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Coffee to Help Power London's Buses]]>Ashley Thompson如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
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This is What’s Trending Today…

Britain has long been known for its love of tea, but people in London also drink a lot of coffee.

In fact, the average Londoner reportedly drinks 2.3 cups of coffee every day.

And now, waste coffee grounds will be used to help fuel part of the city’s transportation system.

A technology company announced on Monday that some buses will be using a biofuel that contains coffee oil.

The company, Bio-bean, and its partner, Argent Energy, say they have made enough coffee oil to power one of London’s famous double-decker buses for a year.

The announcement made Bio-bean a trending story on social media.

The government agency Transport for London has been turning to biofuels to cut production of carbon emissions. A carbon emission is a gas produced by the burning of carbon. The gas is released into the atmosphere.

London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, said last month that his city has a “health crisis….caused directly by poor-quality air.” The government has taken steps to discourage people from driving cars that do not meet European Union emissions requirements.

Bio-bean said Londoners produce over 200,000 tons of coffee ground waste a year. The company said it collects waste grounds from chain coffee shops and factories. The grounds are dried and processed to remove the coffee oil.

“It’s a great example of what can be done when we start to reimagine waste as an untapped resource,” said Bio-bean founder’s Arthur Kay.

The coffee fuel technology has received support from the oil company Royal Dutch Shell.

And that’s What’s Trending Today….

I'm Ashley Thompson.

Reuters reported this story. Ashley Thompson adapted it for Learning English, with additional materials. George Grow was the editor.

Words in This Story

cup - n. a small round container that often has a handle and that is used for drinking liquids (such as tea and coffee)

emissions - n. something sent out or given off

chain - n. a group of businesses (such as stores, restaurants, or hotels) that have the same name and basic appearance and sell the same products or services

untapped - adj. available but not used (untapped resources)

discourage - v. to try to make people not want to do (something)

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/11/21/4665/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/11/21/4665/VOA Special EnglishTue, 21 Nov 2017 07:46:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Tesla Presents Electric Truck, Updated Sports Car]]>UNSV.COM英语学习频道如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
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American electric carmaker Tesla hopes its electric-powered trucks will replace today’s diesel-fueled ones.

Tesla founder Elon Musk showed off the new truck, called the Tesla Semi, during a launch event Thursday in Los Angeles. The company also announced a new sports car model.

Musk said the truck can travel 800 kilometers on a single electric charge while pulling a full load of 36,000 kilograms.

Musk did not give an exact price for the new trucks. Instead, he said the cost of operating the Tesla truck will be less than diesel trucks because of fuel savings and lower maintenance costs. He even claimed that moving goods with the Tesla Semi would cost less than transporting them by train.

Musk said production will begin in 2019. The company says interested buyers could pay $5,000 to reserve a truck.

Tesla says its new Tesla Semi vehicle can travel 800 kilometers on a single electric charge, even while carrying a full load of 36,000 kilograms. (Tesla)
Tesla says its new Tesla Semi vehicle can travel 800 kilometers on a single electric charge, even while carrying a full load of 36,000 kilograms. (Tesla)

Musk told a crowd gathered to see the launch he believes the new truck’s features are “better in every way” than any current transport trucks on the road.

The trucks will be equipped with the same driver-assist system built into some of Tesla’s other vehicles. The Autopilot system can keep vehicles at a set speed and is capable of slowing them down automatically. It can also keep vehicles within traffic lanes.

Musk said he can imagine that someday, several Tesla electric trucks will autonomously follow each other down the road.

He added that the company plans to build a worldwide system of solar-powered “megachargers” to provide electrical charges for the trucks. He said the system could power trucks for another 640 kilometers after charging for as little as 30 minutes.

Tesla's new electric semitractor-trailer is unveiled during a presentation in Hawthorn, California, Nov. 16, 2017.
Tesla's new electric semitractor-trailer is unveiled during a presentation in Hawthorn, California, Nov. 16, 2017.

Tesla and other major manufacturers are making big investments in electric vehicles in a worldwide shift to energy-saving technologies.

U.S. government information shows that trucks create nearly one fourth of all transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions. Greenhouse gases are blamed for trapping heat and warming the Earth’s atmosphere.

Tesla faces competition in the electric truck market however. German carmakers Volkswagen and Daimler AG are designing their own versions. Daimler recently showed off its first all-electric zero-emission transport truck in Germany.

In the U.S., Nikola Motor Company is developing electric transport trucks powered by hydrogen. It says the trucks will be able travel up to 1,900 kilometers, with a refill time of just 15 minutes.

U.S.-based Nikola Motor Company is developing electric transport trucks powered by zero-emission hydrogen. (Nikola)
U.S.-based Nikola Motor Company is developing electric transport trucks powered by zero-emission hydrogen. (Nikola)

A record-setting sports car also introduced

At the publicity event, Musk surprised the crowd with a new model of Tesla’s Roadster. The car unexpectedly drove out of the back of the Tesla Semi.

Musk said he was pleased to announce that Tesla was launching the second-generation Roadster, a new version of the first car the company made.

Tesla said its updated Roadster will break several world records. Musk said the sports car will be the first vehicle in regular production to reach 100 kilometers an hour in just 1.9 seconds.

Musk added that the car will have a travel range of 1,000 kilometers on a single charge, which he said would be a new record for an electric vehicle.

“You’ll be able to travel from LA to San Francisco, and back, at highway speed without recharging,” Musk said.

Tesla says it plans to begin selling the new Roadster in 2020. However, the car is probably not for everyone. Its starting price, which is for the least costly model, is $200,000.

I’m Bryan Lynn.

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

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

Words in This Story

maintenance n. act of keeping property or equipment in good condition by making repairs, correcting problems, etc.

reserve v. make arrangements to be able to use or get something at a later time

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

lane n. part of a road marked by painted lines and used for a single line of vehicles

autonomous adj. engaging in an activity separately from other things

emission – n. the act of producing or sending out something (such as energy or gas) from a source​

second-generation – n. a second line of a product or products that represent improvements over the first

regular adj. happening or done very often​

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/11/21/6076/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/11/21/6076/VOA Special EnglishTue, 21 Nov 2017 07:27:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Too Much Tourism?]]>John Russell如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
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Cities – particularly in Europe – are increasingly taking steps against tourists.

Venice, Italy, for example, is planning to bar some large passenger ships. Barcelona, Spain, has placed restrictions on apartment rentals. The problem these cities say they are dealing with is 'overtourism' -- too many tourists visiting at once.

Debate over tourism

Jonathan Keates is the chairman of the Venice In Peril Fund, an aid and activist group. He said too many people are crowding the walkways and canals of Venice, interfering in what he calls a “still living city.”

Taleb Rifai is the secretary general of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). He spoke recently to tourism ministers at London's World Travel Market. He said the rise of slogans, such as 'tourists go home' and 'tourists are terrorists,' was 'a wake-up call.'

Anger about tourism could continue to grow as more people travel every year. The UNWTO estimates tourists will take 1.8 billion trips by 2030, up from 1.2 billion in 2016.

Low-cost airline tickets are helping fuel the growth in tourism numbers, along with increasing travel from China.

Yet many places depend on tourism for jobs and wealth. Around 10 percent of the world's gross domestic product, or GDP, comes from tourism.

Taleb Rifai said that growth is not 'the enemy.' But, he said tourism must be made 'sustainable and responsible' to help local communities.

What are countries and cities doing to limit tourism?

Ecuador permits only 100,000 visitors to the Galapagos Islands each year. The Croatian city of Dubrovnik is considering permitting only 4,000 visitors daily. Visitors have flooded the Adriatic Sea town since it was used as a setting for the television series “Game of Thrones.”

Other cities are urging tourists to visit less famous parts of town. Prague, for example, has an 'off the beaten track' tourist program. London is promoting neighborhoods such as Greenwich and Richmond.

Barcelona has cracked down on unofficial housing rentals and established a tourism council that includes residents, businesses, and unions.

Is there a solution?

Gloria Guevara is the president and CEO of the London-based World Travel & Tourism Council. “There is no one solution for all. Every destination is different,” she said.

Tim Fairhurst leads planning and policy at the European Tourism Association. He said businesses do not want to put their customers in places where they are treated as unwelcome. He said simple measures can make a difference, such as changing opening hours or increasing parking space.

“There are lots of ways in which we use our cities inefficiently,” he said, “We could do better.”

I'm John Russell.

Pan Pylas wrote this story for the Associated Press. John Russell adapted it for Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.

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

Words in This Story

tourist – n. a person who travels to a place for pleasure

rental – n. chiefly US : something that can be rented

slogan – n. a word or phrase that is easy to remember and is used by a group or business to attract attention

off the beaten track – expression in or to a place that is not close to the places where people usually go

promote – v. to help (something) happen, develop, or increase

destination – n. a place to which a person is going or something is being sent

inefficiently – adv. not capable of producing desired results without wasting materials, time, or energy: not efficient

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/11/20/4473/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/11/20/4473/VOA Special EnglishMon, 20 Nov 2017 06:57:00 UTC
<![CDATA[North Korea Slowly Goes Online]]>UNSV.COM英语学习频道如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
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Slowly, North Korea is entering the online world.

Thanks to technology, North Korean doctors can talk to patients through online video conferencing. Speeches given at Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang, the capital, can be seen at faraway factories. North Koreans send text messages to each other on their smartphones. People are even buying products and doing their banking online.

Yet North Korea is still among the least internet-friendly countries on Earth. For most citizens, having a connection to the World Wide Web is unimaginable. Hardly anyone has a personal computer or an email address that is not shared.

But for Kim Jong Un, the country’s first leader to grow up in the internet age, the idea of a more wired North Korea is also appealing. It comes with the promise of new forms of social and political control, and the possibility of cyber-attacks on the West.

The North Korean government’s solution is a two-level system where the upper class can use the internet more freely while others use a national intranet. The intranet system is cut off from the outside world and closely watched by the government.

A man reads the local newspaper displayed on a stand while others browse the intranet system on computers at the Grand People's Study House Monday, July 24, 2017, in Pyongyang, North Korea.
A man reads the local newspaper displayed on a stand while others browse the intranet system on computers at the Grand People's Study House Monday, July 24, 2017, in Pyongyang, North Korea.

Using the intranet in North Korea

Pak Sung Jin is a 30-year-old postgraduate student in chemistry. He goes to the Sci-Tech Complex, on Ssuk Island, to do his school work. The large building, a science and technology center, houses North Korea’s largest e-library. It has more than 3,000 computers where people can do research or study subjects.

In this June 16, 2017, photo, North Korean students use computer terminals at the Sci-Tech Complex in Pyongyang, North Korea.
In this June 16, 2017, photo, North Korean students use computer terminals at the Sci-Tech Complex in Pyongyang, North Korea.

Pak has some experience with the internet, but on a supervised, need-only basis. If he needs anything from the World Wide Web, university officials will find it for him.

One recent day, Pak used North Korea’s national intranet called “Kwangmyong.” An official at the Sci-Tech Complex said the intranet has 168 sites. Pak also uses a browser called “Naenara”, which means “my country” in Korean. It is like a version of FireFox, except only North Koreans can use it.

North Korea’s national intranet is unusual, even compared to other countries with internet restrictions. Countries like China and Iran, for example, control what their citizens see online, but through censorship and blocking, not complete separation.

A protected system

Most North Korean computers use the “Red Star” operating system, developed from Linux open-source coding.

Red Star 3.0 has the usual software like the Naenara browser, email, and even “kPhoto”. Many of the programs look like Apple products.

Any attempt to change its operations or remove virus checkers results in the computer restarting. Files downloaded from USBs are marked so that officials can identify criminal activity. This prevents the spread of information from other countries.

Red Star also takes screenshots of what is being shown on computer screens. The images cannot be removed and are only available to trained government officials.

Nat Kretchun is with the U.S. government-financed Open Technology Fund. He says the software in Red Star and the mobile operating systems of phones and tablets show a new way for the North Korean government to control information.

In the past, information in North Korea was mainly controlled through government agents, such as the State Security Ministry’s “thought police.” But in the internet age, North Korean officials have learned to use online devices as another tool for gathering information.

In this Friday, June 16, 2017, photo, the homepage of the Sci-Tech complex is seen on a computer screen in Pyongyang, North Korea.
In this Friday, June 16, 2017, photo, the homepage of the Sci-Tech complex is seen on a computer screen in Pyongyang, North Korea.

North Korean smartphones

The most common online experience for North Koreans is on a smartphone.

Ten years ago, only a small number of military officials had such devices. Now, the main phone provider says there are 2.5 to 3 million mobile phones in North Korea, a country of 25 million people.

The spread of mobile phones is one of the biggest success stories during the rule of Kim Jong Un. It began in 2008 under former leader Kim Jong Il, and has risen quickly over the past five years.

It is easy for North Koreans to buy telephones, but the phones must be registered and approved. With local phones, North Koreans are able to call, text, play games, go on the national intranet, and use other services.

But they cannot receive or make calls to numbers outside that network. Wi-fi use is also banned for North Koreans.

Foreigners in North Korea must use a different system and cannot make calls to, or receive calls from, local numbers. They can buy local phones if they want, but the apps and normal software will be removed. It will also be coded so that the apps cannot be added later.

A screenshot shows a WannaCry ransomware demand, provided by cyber security firm Symantec, in Mountain View, California, May 15, 2017.
A screenshot shows a WannaCry ransomware demand, provided by cyber security firm Symantec, in Mountain View, California, May 15, 2017.

Internet access for cyber-attacks

While blocking most North Koreans from the internet, the government gives access to a small group of people, including North Korean leaders and the upper-class.

There is strong evidence that the government gives people involved in cyber-attacks the access they need.

U.S. officials say the North launched the WannaCry attack, which infected hundreds of thousands of computers in May and damaged parts of Britain’s National Health Service.

North Korean hackers have been linked to attacks on the Bangladeshi central bank last year and on South Korean banks going back to 2013. There was also the 2014 hack of Sony Pictures over the release of the “Interview,” a film dealing with a plot to kill Kim Jong Un.

The North Korean government has denied hacking accusations.

Beau Woods of the Cyber Statecraft Initiative at the Atlantic Council warned that a more cyber-active North Korea could be very dangerous.

Eric Talmadge reported this story for the Associated Press. Phil Dierking adapted his report for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

What is internet access like in your country? We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.

Words in This Story

censorship – n. the suppression or prohibition of any parts of books, films, or new reports that are considered politically unacceptable or a threat to security.

code – v. to write a computer program

basis – n. something on which something else is based

cyber – adj. relating to the culture of computers and information technology

e-learning – n. learning through electronic media, usually on the Internet

intranet – n. a local or restricted communications system, especially a private network created using World Wide Web software

Linux – n. an open-source operating system

online – adj. controlled by or connected to another computer or to a network

feature – n. a part or the appearance of something

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/11/20/9292/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/11/20/9292/VOA Special EnglishMon, 20 Nov 2017 06:53:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Scientists: CO2 Levels Will Rise This Year]]>UNSV.COM英语学习频道如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
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International scientists think the amount of carbon dioxide emissions released into Earth’s atmosphere will rise by two percent in 2017.

The number represents the first increase in worldwide carbon emissions in three years. The amount produced was unchanged from 2014 to 2016.

Carbon dioxide, known by the chemical expression CO2, is a colorless gas found in nature. Many scientists believe that it and other gases released by factories, vehicles and other human activities are responsible for a general warming on our planet. They believe these gases trap the sun’s heat in the atmosphere. This effect is known as global warming.

Last week, scientists with the Global Carbon Project reported that China, the world’s largest producer of CO2, is the main reason for the increase in emissions. China’s emissions are predicted to rise by over three percent this year.

As a result, the scientists warn that emission goals set by the Paris Agreement on climate change will be more difficult to reach.

Corinne Le Quere is the lead researcher for the Global Carbon Project. In a statement, she said, “With global CO2 emissions from all human activities estimated at 41 billion tonnes for 2017, time is running out on our ability to keep warming well below 2° Celsius (C), let alone 1.5°C.”

The group’s report came as representatives from more than 190 countries met in Germany to discuss details of the climate agreement.

Scientists: Paris Agreement goals harder to reach

The Paris Agreement on climate change is an international deal meant to keep the Earth’s atmosphere from warming too much.

Governments agreed in 2015 on a long-term goal of keeping the global average temperature “to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels.”

The United Nations website for Paris Agreement issues notes that 170 parties have approved the deal.

The United States signed the Paris Agreement in 2016, but President Donald Trump has announced plans to withdraw the U.S. from the deal. He said it does not treat all parties equally and could hurt America’s economic growth.

In 2017, U.S. carbon emissions are predicted to decrease by 0.4 percent from the year before. American emissions have been falling for several years, although the decrease is expected to slow in 2017.

The Global Carbon Project report blames the increased use of coal for China’s increased emissions and slowing declines in the United States.

Little U.S. presence at climate change conference

People pass the German pavilion in the shape of the earth during the COP 23 Fiji UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany, Wednesday evening, Nov. 15, 2017.
People pass the German pavilion in the shape of the earth during the COP 23 Fiji UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany, Wednesday evening, Nov. 15, 2017.

The scientists released their findings in the Global Carbon Budget as the U.N. was holding a conference on climate change in Bonn, Germany. The international gathering was the first of its kind since the U.S. said it plans to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.

However, U.S. State Department officials attended the Bonn conference. So did some U.S. lawmakers and the governor of California, Jerry Brown.

The conference is part of a 1994 U.N. convention that sets goals for reducing carbon emissions. The idea of the U.N. effort is to limit temperature increases in the Earth’s atmosphere and the risks tied to climate change.

Many of the delegates in Bonn were negotiating details of the Paris Agreement. These include emissions targets for countries that have signed and approved the deal.

The agreement, however, is non-binding, meaning it does not have the force of law.

Scientists say extreme weather events like this flood in the city of Leghorn, Italy, following floods in September 2017 are becoming more common because of climate change.
Scientists say extreme weather events like this flood in the city of Leghorn, Italy, following floods in September 2017 are becoming more common because of climate change.

Developing nations want rich ones to pay for some of the effects of climate change. Many poor countries have added little to carbon emissions but say they face high costs linked to environmental and pollution controls.

Crop loss, drought, floods and rising sea levels are a few of the costly problems tied to climate change.

Rich countries say they are already paying billions of dollars to help developing nations with useful technologies, such as renewable energy.

Other reports describe possible changes to climate

Earlier this month, the U.S. government released its own report on climate research.

The study was overseen by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It found that the average temperature worldwide increased by one degree Celsius over the past 115 years.

The government report said: “It is extremely likely that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases, are the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.”

The report warned of risks linked to rising temperatures, such as shrinking arctic ice cover and rising sea levels.

It noted that, on average, sea levels have risen between 16 and 21 centimeters since 1900. About seven centimeters of that increase has taken place since 1993. That is the first year that satellites were used to measure sea levels.

I’m Mario Ritter.

Mario Ritter reported this story for VOA Learning English. His report was based on stories from VOANews.com, Reuters and the Associated Press. George Grow was the editor.

Words in This Story

emissions – n. a material that is given off or released

party – n. a person, group of country taking one side of an issue or dispute

decline – v. to go down, to be reduced in number or amount

convention – n. a formal agreement between two or more groups

greenhouse gases – n. a group of gasses that trap heat and are linked to increased temperatures in the atmosphere including carbon dioxide and methane

dominant – adj. more important, the most common

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

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http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/11/20/3610/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/11/20/3610/VOA Special EnglishMon, 20 Nov 2017 06:27:00 UTC
<![CDATA[American Women Try to Break Barriers in Show Business]]>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:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/11/20/2193/

Chelsea Shorte is telling jokes on a cold Wednesday night at an eatery in Alexandria, Virginia.

Shorte tells the restaurant-goers, many of them women, about her decision to perform stand-up comedy instead of improvisational humor.

'I got tired of being cast as people's moms even though I was 23 years old, she says. Shorte adds that men doing improve comedy think all women are mothers.

The women gathered at the restaurant understand her statement. Most of them hope to work as comics. They believe that by working with other women, they can get around the barriers set up by men in show business.

Long before the reports of sexual abuse by comedian Louis C.K., reporter Nell Scovell wrote a story for Vanity Fair magazine in 2009. Her story noted accusations against her former employer, television personality David Letterman.

'At this moment,' her story began, 'there are more females serving on the United States Supreme Court than there are writing for Late Show with David Letterman, [and competitors] The Jay Leno Show, and The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien combined.”

She added that 50 writers were working for these TV shows, and none were women.

Comedian and businesswoman Victoria Elena Nones set up the Women in Comedy network, which provided support for the Alexandria restaurant event.

'I thought it was really important to provide a space for women to get together,' Nones says.

She founded the network in Chicago in 2015. It now has groups in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C.

Nones says she hopes the group will help women find and support each other as they make their own places in an industry that is often hostile to women.

Actress and comic Diane Chernansky says she was surprised to realize one of her own jokes talked about the way women are treated in standup comedy. She often finds herself the only woman telling jokes in a room where all the other performers are men.

'It's very difficult to sit there and listen to lots of men joke about women in general, and how horrible we are,' Chernansky says.

The number of female writers on the top 250 films of any year from 1998 to the present has stayed about the same, at 13 percent. Of directors on the top 250 films of 2016, only seven percent were women. Only two percent of those top 250 films employed 10 or more women, noted the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University.

Minorities do not rate much better. The heavily male culture of show business has a strong effect on what is expected of women -- and minorities -- in the industry.

Promises are an important part of Hollywood, says E.C. McCarthy. She recently wrote a story for The Washington Post newspaper. It noted that bad behavior in show business is not limited to sexual abuse, or to performers. The promise of support often opens the possibility for other abuses of power.

Harassment is one way to keep people feeling insecure and willing to work for free, McCarthy explains. She detailed one of several times that a male producer tried to take her writing and claim credit for it.

McCarthy wrote that when she first became a writer in Hollywood, she thought sexism would end when younger writers entered the industry, but that did not happen. Instead, she discovered, the younger male writers learned to be sexist from the older men.

Minka Wiltz says she gets angry when “I walk into a room and feel like a piece of meat.” Wiltz is a black actress and activist from Atlanta, Georgia. She has a problem with being asked again and again to play black women.

Wiltz says abuse is a serious problem in today’s show business culture. She says the way to improve the situation is for women, people of color and other minorities to help each other tell their stories.

For example, Atlanta, a city where the majority of the population is African-American, did not have a black theater group until Wiltz and some friends started one.

In the past, there have been specialized groups in show business.

For example, North Hollywood’s Deaf West Theater sent productions of two musicals to Broadway theaters, where they won awards.

The small Ivy Theatre Company in New York chooses women and minorities to perform in shows with stories about their lives. The Ivy show 'A Real Boy,' is about two puppets who raise a boy as their own son. The show is written by Stephen Kaplan, a gay man who is raising an adopted son with his husband.

In Chicago, the popularity of improv comedy means there are many groups of performers, including an Asian-American group called 'Stir-Friday Night.' This group has helped the careers of Korean-American actor Steven Yeun and Indian-American Danny Pudi.

One of their recent shows made fun of Hollywood for casting of white actress Scarlett Johannsen as a Japanese cyborg in The Ghost in the Shell. The name of the show: 8 Angry Asians, Starring Scarlett Johansson.

Wiltz, the Atlanta-based actress, says these groups and many others are supporting the work that the American entertainment industry ignores.

'I really hope that people realize you have no more excuses for your own success,' she says. 'I want people to realize that the Hollywood myth, like the American myth, is just that. You can create your own story.'

I’m Dorothy Gundy.

And I'm Susan Shand

Marissa Melton reported this story for VOANews.com. Susan Shand adapted the report for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

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

Words in This Story

improvisation (improv) - n. speaking or performing without preparation

cast - v. to choose or appoint actors for parts in a play or movie

network - n. a group of people or organizations that are closely connected and that work with each other

harass - v. to make offensive comments or behave badly; to criticize or make repeated attacks on someone

comedyn. a performance or shot that is meant to make people laugh

mythn. a story that was told in ancient times to explain a belief or natural event

puppet – n. a play-thing that is moved by putting your hand inside or by pulling wires that are connected to it

gay adj. showing a sexual interest in someone of the same sex

cyborgn. a person whose body contains electrical or mechanical devices

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http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/11/20/2193/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/11/20/2193/VOA Special EnglishMon, 20 Nov 2017 06:26:00 UTC
<![CDATA[US Service Industry Workers Training to Stop Sexual Harassment]]>UNSV.COM英语学习频道如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/11/19/4768/

Accusations of sexual wrongdoing by film producer Harvey Weinstein and other famous people are having an effect on American businesses.

What is being called the “Weinstein Effect” has men in powerful positions facing similar accusations. It is also increasing understanding about the difference between friendly exchanges and criminal acts.

American Tyler Phillips has worked in the service industry since he was 15 years old. He now makes coffee and other drinks for a living.

Phillips has witnessed the power imbalance in places where he worked. He says he has seen wealthy customers making unkind comments or taking unwanted actions toward younger, low-wage workers.

'Sexism, racism -- is endemic to this industry,' he says.

But Phillips also admits that he, like many others in the service industry, has no guidance from his employers on how to intervene in these situations.

So he joined several other people after work for a class on sexual harassment at The Potter's House.

The 57-year-old store has made a name for itself in Washington, D.C. area. Locals like to go to The Potter’s House because, unlike many coffee shops, it offers safe spaces for discussion and creative expression. Its business model is almost unheard of in the industry. It is a non-profit business, asking customers to 'pay what you can' for a cup of coffee.

Discrimination training in demand

Melissa Yeo and another volunteer set up the training from a group called Collective Action for Safe Spaces. It started eight years ago with a goal of ending sexual harassment and abuse in the DC area.

The demand for the classes increased last month after Harvey Weinstein and other influential men were accused of sexual harassment.

Yeo notes that many people are unwilling to step in and stop harassment. For them, she says, it is 'often not knowing if it will work, not knowing exactly what to do, or thinking it’s none of their business.'

On a recent day, the coffee workers attending the class were from all over the DC area. They shared personal stories, which prove how common the problem. Some explained what they did to stop the abuse. They started by saying their first name and what gender they identify with.

Sam's story

'My name is Sam,' said one man, as he began telling what he witnessed. He says a customer made a co-worker so uneasy with comments about her body that she left the area. Sam spoke to the man and asked that he stop “from making comments on the appearance of people who work in this space.” Instead of stopping, the customer argued that he was raised in the 1950's.

'That's no excuse,' said the leader of the class.

The exercise continued until all the workers shared their experiences. The group decided how severe the discrimination was and rated it with markings on the wall in the front of the room.

Then Yeo added four more actions, including “Misgendering” and “Following.” Each of the four was written on a piece of paper, and added to the wall.

The two-hour class ended with students role-playing. Each person took on the behavior of someone else as part of a training exercise.

Future coffee classes

Mike Balderrama, one of the students, is the acting general manager of The Potter's House. He says the subject of intervening and stopping discrimination is 'very near and dear to our heart.'

Balderrama said the next training program for coffee shop employees is expected to deal with mental health and first aid. So The Potter's House will once again create the place for exploration of those issues.

I’m Lucija Millonig.

Carolyn Presutti reported this story for VOANews.com. George Grow adapted her report for Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.

Words in This Story

endemicadj. existing or growing in a place or area; common in a subject or field

harassmentn. oppression or repression

customer n. someone who purchases a product or service

gender – n. the behavior or qualities usually related to one sex

excusen. a reason or explanation

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

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/11/19/4768/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/11/19/4768/VOA Special EnglishSun, 19 Nov 2017 10:57:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Expressions From a Thanksgiving Meal]]>Jonathan Evans如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/11/19/0741/

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

In the United States, it is almost time for something else. In a few days, smells of roasting turkey, buttery mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie will fill homes from coast to coast.

With schools closed, many children will settle down in front of a television to watch a big parade in New York City. They see people dressed like superheroes and storybook characters pass before their eyes as the parade moves down the street.

A giant Charlie Brown balloon makes floats down 6th Avenue in New York City during the 90th Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, 2016. (REUTERS/Saul Martinez)
A giant Charlie Brown balloon makes floats down 6th Avenue in New York City during the 90th Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, 2016. (REUTERS/Saul Martinez)

Later in the day, many adults will watch one or more football games on television.

It is all part of the American holiday of Thanksgiving.

Now, for some people, spending Thanksgiving with extended family is not possible. In the U.S., members of the same family often live very far apart.

Others have family members they don’t want to spend the holiday with. This is where the custom of Friendsgiving comes from. “Friendsgiving” is a fairly new term for spending Thanksgiving with friends and not family.

A big part of the holiday is the food! The turkey is the star of most Thanksgiving meals. The cook in the home wakes up early to prepare the food. After adding seasoning to the turkey, it is heated in an oven for several hours.

Just because this large bird is the star, that doesn’t save the word “turkey” from having some bad meanings. For example, in American English, a “turkey” is something that fails or a person who is not all that intelligent. When a film loses money, we can call it a turkey. And if we meet someone who is foolish, we can call them many names – one of which is “turkey.”

A roasted, stuffed Thanksgiving turkey often steals the show!
A roasted, stuffed Thanksgiving turkey often steals the show!

Now, a turkey is big; so, there are always leftovers. People often cook too much, so there is always food left over for the next day and the next … and the next.

You may have heard the expression cold turkey. This might sound like a tasty meal that you eat from Thanksgiving leftovers.

But it’s not.

“Cold turkey” is when you immediately give something up, usually something that is not good for you. Some people can stop smoking cold turkey. They decide one day to stop and never smoke again. For many people, giving up smoking or drinking alcohol is not something they can do cold turkey. They must do it slowly over time.

Let’s say you have a friend who smokes too much. You may have to talk turkey with them.

When you are talking turkey, you’re not sharing recipes for your Thanksgiving leftovers. This expression means you talk to someone in a plain, clear and honest way, usually about something unpleasant.

Now, let’s talk turkey about … turkey itself.

Sometimes turkey can be dry and tasteless. A dry turkey is probably the number one food complaint at a Thanksgiving dinner. However, even if you overcook your turkey and it comes out dry, don’t worry. Just make sure to make a really good gravy to pour all over it.

Gravy is made from the juices of cooked meat. Mashed potatoes and gravy are usually a favorite at the dinner table. In the U.S., we also use the word “gravy” to suggest something valuable or more than what you expected. For example, let’s say your office gives you a really big end-of-year bonus. You can say the money that you received in addition to your wages was gravy. You didn’t expect it. It was like getting extra money!

Turkey covered with gravy is usually the main course at Thanksgiving. But many people love the side dishes just as much, especially the ones made with potatoes! Whether baked, mashed or scalloped, it is important to have a potato side dish. But be careful not to bring a hot potato to the table!

The term “hot potato” means an issue or question about which people feel very strongly. People may argue about divisive issues, also called “hot potatoes.”

Other favorites at the Thanksgiving Day table are the vegetable side dishes, such as green bean casserole, roasted Brussel sprouts and creamed corn.

Well, corn is a grain plant and not a vegetable. But did you know that the word “corn” can be an insult when talking about someone or something?

Corny” is a way to describe something so simple and old-fashioned that it is unpopular or even annoying. Americans often describe outdated ideas, old jokes and overly-emotional poems as corny.

Let’s leave corn and turn to stuffing.To be stuffed means that you ate so much you can’t possibly eat any more.

Traditional stuffing is a food made with bread, herbs, eggs, celery and onion. They are mixed together, put inside the bird and cooked. A roasted brown, stuffed turkey is a thing of beauty! Having a room full of stuffed guests is also nice. It means everyone had enough to eat – or, maybe too much!

That was a look at a few words and expressions related to the Thanksgiving holiday. Now, let’s hear how they are used at the dinner table.

Pardon me, could you pass the gravy, please? So, like I was saying, I told my supervisor that it was time to talk turkey. I told her exactly how I felt about the new worker.

I predict that didn’t go over very well. Your boss doesn’t sound like a person who likes to talk to employees directly.

She’s not. But it paid off. I got a great year-end bonus! And since I’ve already paid my bills for the year, the money is pure gravy! So, I think I’ll use it to take a trip.

Good for you! But let’s not talk about work anymore. I have a great joke! What did the zero say to the eight? ... Nice belt! Ha! Get it? Nice belt. Belt.

You told the same corny joke last year at Thanksgiving.

I like simple, old-fashioned jokes! They’re a lot better than the dirty ones you hear these days. By the way, who cooked the turkey this year? It is really moist and tastes great.

Thanks! I did. And don’t forget the gravy. I slow-cooked it for an hour and used fresh herbs to flavor it.

Oh, that is so good. I haven’t had homemade gravy in years!

So, did anyone hear what the President said about …

No, no, no! Not at the table. I’d rather hear silly, corny jokes than talk about politics, thank you very much.

I agree. There are too many hot potato issues these days. You never know what is going to make someone angry.

So true. Hey, who would like a glass of wine?

Not me. I gave up all alcohol last month. I quit cold turkey and haven’t had a drop since.

Wow. That’s not easy. My friend stopped smoking cold turkey last year. He said it was difficult. But it was the only way he could quit. Would you like more stuffing?

Yes, please!

How can you still be hungry?! I’m stuffed.

What can I say? I like stuffing and I only get it once a year … at Thanksgiving. Hey, it might sound corny, but why don’t we go around the table and tell one thing we’re thankful for.

Yeah! I remember my grandmother would always ask the people invited to her Thanksgiving meal to do this. I’ll go first! I am most thankful for my good health this year.

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

As we thanks during this time of the year, all of us here would like to thank all of you for spending time with us!

I’m Anna Matteo.

And I'm Jonathan Evans.

Grateful for what's understood,

And all that is forgiven;

We try so hard to be good,

To lead a life worth living.

Father, mother, daughter, son,

Neighbor, friend, and friendless;

All together everyone

Let grateful days be endless.

What are you thankful for? Let us know in the Comments Section or simply practice using some of these expressions from the Thanksgiving table!

Anna Matteo wrote this story for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor. The song at the end is Mary Chapin Carpenter singing 'The Thanksgiving Song.'

Words in This Story

roast v. to cook by exposing to dry heat (as in an oven or before a fire) or by surrounding with hot embers, sand, or stones

mash v. to make (something, such as a type of food) into a soft mass by beating it or crushing it

parade n. a public celebration of a special day or event that usually includes many people and groups moving down a street by marching or riding in cars or on special vehicles (called floats) < the annual Thanksgiving Day parade >

dress v. to prepare (food) for cooking or eating

oven n. a piece of cooking equipment that is used for baking or roasting food

leftovers n. food that has not been finished at a meal and that is often served at another meal

complaint n. a statement that you are unhappy or not satisfied with something

scalloped adj. baked in a sauce usually with bread crumbs on top

old-fashionedadj. of or relating to the past: such as : no longer used or accepted : replaced by something more recent

annoying adj. to cause (someone) to feel slightly angry

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http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/11/19/0741/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/11/19/0741/VOA Special EnglishSun, 19 Nov 2017 10:34:00 UTC
<![CDATA[US Universities Working Together to Help Poor Students]]>UNSV.COM英语学习频道如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/11/19/5721/

Michigan State University has long worked with and competed against other colleges and universities in the United States.

Michigan State, a public research university, often works on joint research projects with other schools. It also belongs to the college sports conference called ‘the Big Ten,’ which actually has 14 member institutions.

Yet in the world of higher education, competition can seem more common than schools working together. That is the opinion of Kristen Renn, a professor of higher education at Michigan State. She says that all of the over 4,000 colleges and universities across the country have different goals to meet.

Unlike governments in some countries, the U.S. federal government does not completely organize higher education. Renn notes that some states even have trouble organizing the public schools they are supposed to operate. Every college and university competes for students, as well as the best teachers and money for research programs.

Kristen Renn, professor of higher education at Michigan State University.
Kristen Renn, professor of higher education at Michigan State University.

But one thing almost every institution has in common, Renn says, is the difficulty they face in serving low-income and first generation students.

The National Center for Education Statistics reports that low-income college students are less likely to complete their study programs than other students. In 2015, the center reported that just about 16 percent of the poorest students were able to graduate college. By comparison, about 60 percent of the wealthiest students graduated.

Renn says it was only natural that the leaders of Michigan State and ten other universities discussed this issue when they met in 2014. The 11 schools are spread across the United States and serve different populations and needs. But their leaders all saw improving graduation rates for all students as the biggest problem facing U.S. higher education.

So the group created an organization for sharing information related to this problem. It is called the University Innovation Alliance, or UIA.

Its main goal is to get 68,000 more students at the member institutions to graduate by 2025, with at least half of those students being low-income. The 11 schools now say their number of graduates has increased by over 7,200 in just three years. This includes an almost 25 percent increase in the number of low-income graduates.

How were they able to make this happen? Renn says it began with each university looking at its own situation and finding out what it had been doing right and what it had been doing wrong.

For example, before joining the UIA, academic advising at Michigan State mostly involved reacting to problems students faced after the problems had already arisen. Then school officials heard about a computer program that fellow UIA member Georgia State University was using.

This computer program follows decisions students make about their classes and the progress they are making in their studies. It then sends academic advisors messages whenever a student shows signs they are making mistakes or facing difficulties. That way the advisors can try to help students before the problems become too serious.

Michigan State began using the computer program. Renn says it has meant a world of difference.

“If I’m an academic adviser in chemistry and one of my students drops calculus in the middle of a semester, in previous, advising it was very difficult to identify those students,” she told VOA. “But currently, that student dropping a class would send an alert to the adviser, who then can contact the student and say ‘Why did you drop the class? Did you know this is required? Can we talk about what’s going on?’”

Michigan State has not only received useful information from its partners. It has also shared helpful information of its own, says Renn.

Her university began looking at how it communicated with students. The administration discovered that it was sending so many emails to students that they often overlooked ones with important information. So the school decided to greatly reduce the number of its messages to students, giving more attention to the important ones.

The University of Kansas began doing the same, says DeAngela Burns-Wallace. She is the university’s Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies.

She says Kansas shared information about its work-study programs with the other UIA members. Her school had been offering paid research jobs to undergraduate students so they could support themselves financially and develop an early interest in research.

Burns-Wallace notes that several other schools have begun to do the same. She says it is the free flow of information back and forth between institutions that makes the UIA program so successful.

“I have colleagues that are in financial aid or student affairs or research who can pick up the phone and have a colleague at 11 other institutions give immediate feedback on a project or … understand how the others have done it and maybe identify other opportunities,” she told VOA.

Bridget Burns is the executive director for the UIA. She says efforts like this have never been as successful because of the way American higher education is designed. For one thing, change does not come quickly to colleges and universities, especially large, public ones. This is not necessarily a bad thing, she argues. After all, it is important for institutions to direct much of their time and energy toward other responsibilities.

Bridget Burns, executive director of the University Innovation Alliance.
Bridget Burns, executive director of the University Innovation Alliance.

But, Burns notes, schools do need to change how they estimate the value of their efforts. Colleges and universities use a lot of different measurements when competing with one another. Yet these often pay more attention to the number of college applicants they deny, instead of noting how many they help, she says.

“There are rankings that measure all kinds of things,” she told VOA. “But how well you do for low income students has not historically been … highlighted. We know that progress is possible, that we can do better. But we need to actually create … rewards to highlight this kind of behavior.”

Burns hopes sharing the successes of the UIA schools will help other colleges and universities think more about their similarities. This includes the problems many of them face.

In the future, Burns does not just want other schools to join her organization just to belong to it. She wants them to learn from the UIA, create their own partnerships, and come up with even more improvements for all college students.

I’m ­Pete Musto. And I’m Alice Bryant.

Pete Musto reported this for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

We want to hear from you. How common is it for different universities in your country to work together? What have been the results of those partnerships? Write to us in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.

Words in This Story

institution(s) – n. an established organization

incomen. money that is earned from work, investments, or business

graduatev. to earn a degree or diploma from a school, college, or university

academicadj. of or relating to schools and education

semestern. one of two usually 18-week periods that make up an academic year at a school or college

alertn. something, such as a message or loud sound, that tells people there is some danger or problem

colleague(s) – n. a person who works with you

feedbackn. helpful information or criticism that is given to someone to say what can be done to improve a performance or product

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

highlight(ed) – v. to make or try to make people notice or be aware of someone or something

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http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/11/19/5721/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/11/19/5721/VOA Special EnglishSun, 19 Nov 2017 04:13:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Vietnam's Tech Company Says Free Trade Will Help Expansion]]>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:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/11/18/1655/

Vietnam’s largest technology company may profit from a free trade deal agreed to at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, or APEC, meetings in Da Nang this month.

The new agreement replaces the Trans-Pacific Partnership, from which the United States withdrew in January.

Eleven countries meeting at APEC agreed to the new deal.

“On the basis of the results of four rounds of negotiations, Ministers…have agreed on some important contents, including an agreement of a new name for TPP with 11 members, the Comprehensive Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP),” said Tran Tuan Anh, Vietnam’s Trade Minister on Saturday.

The redesigned deal came after President Donald Trump took the United States, the world’s largest market, out of the TPP. Trump said he preferred bilateral agreements to large treaties.

FPT Chairman Trương Gia Bình
FPT Chairman Trương Gia Bình

Truong Gia Binh, chairman of Vietnam’s largest technology company FPT, spoke to VOA about protectionism as a barrier to free trade. He said he believes the U.S. will return to trade talks.

“I strongly believe at a certain point the U.S. will come back to discuss strong commitment to growth. And I think that’s going to be the way America goes as the leader in the world,” Binh said.

Vietnam hopes to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of free trade as it expands in the Pacific. Vietnam has rapidly growing exports, including technology.

FPT is growing its operations at home. It opened a large new building in Da Nang in April. Speaking at the new building, Binh discussed his belief in free trade.

“I think that’s very important for Vietnam, not only open to the world, but also to improve the regulations for trading and manufacturing and make Vietnam more international,” he said.

FILE - Intel CEO Paul Otellini makes his speech at the opening ceremony of the assembly and test facility of Intel's chipset products at Saigon High Tech Park, Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam, on Friday, October 29, 2010.
FILE - Intel CEO Paul Otellini makes his speech at the opening ceremony of the assembly and test facility of Intel's chipset products at Saigon High Tech Park, Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam, on Friday, October 29, 2010.

Technology is growing fast in Vietnam.

“For domestic, we normally got 15 percent annually. For export, we normally get 25 percent per year,” said Binh.

“Intel and Samsung are among the biggest investors in the country,” he added.

In 2010, Intel opened a $1 billion chip factory in Vietnam. Samsung makes half of its mobile phones in the country. By some estimates, they account for 20 percent of Vietnam’s exports.

Free trade and investment are driving Vietnam’s economy. It has one of the strongest growth rates in Asia, at more than 6 percent a year.

Vietnam has trade deals with a number of other countries, including South Korea and Japan. Binh said His company's largest operation is in Japan. He said the country is a big market where the company sees continued growth.

A trans-Pacific deal, even without the United States, would also help the economy since Vietnam would trade more with its neighbors.

FPT says it will not miss the worldwide, digital revolution.

“Vietnam was late for the last three industrial revolutions,” said Binh. He said this may be the last chance for the country to catch up with the rest of the world.

I'm Susan Shand

Daniel Schearf wrote this report for VOANews. Susan Shand adapted it for Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.

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

Words in This Story

bilateral - adj. involving two groups or countries

beneficial - adj. producing good or helpful results or effects: producing benefits

regulation - n. an official rule or law that says how something should be done

]]>
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<![CDATA[New Bible Museum Opens in Washington]]>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:
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Washington D.C. is a city full of museums. Visitors have a large choice of places to go to learn about United States history, culture and art.

The latest one to open in Washington is the Museum of the Bible. The 40,000-square-meter building is located near the U.S. Capitol, the National Mall and several Smithsonian museums.

Unlike most major museums in Washington, the $500 million Museum of the Bible was not financed by the government. An American businessman, Steve Green, mostly paid for it. He is the president of Hobby Lobby, a large business that sells arts and crafts.

Green’s idea for the museum came after he privately collected more than 300 Bible-related artifacts. He wanted a way to share these items with the rest of the world in a permanent home.

Green says the goal of the museum is to educate people, not preach to them. “There’s just a basic need for people to read the book,” he told reporters. “We just want to present the facts and let visitors decide.”

Museum officials have said the institution is not intended to represent the views of any particular religious or political group. They noted that more than 100 scholars representing a variety of groups helped design all exhibits in the museum.

People preview the exhibit 'The World of Jesus of Nazareth' at the Museum of the Bible, Monday, Oct. 30, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
People preview the exhibit 'The World of Jesus of Nazareth' at the Museum of the Bible, Monday, Oct. 30, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

However, some religious scholars have questioned whether the museum provides a balanced view of the Bible and religious history.

Joel Baden is a professor at Yale Divinity School and co-author of the book Bible Nation. He told Reuters the museum leaves out some important history relating to other major world religions.

“They are telling a story of the Bible that is a particularly American Protestant one.” He said little attention was given to Roman Catholics, Jews, Muslims and Mormons.

There are also concerns about the museum’s true intentions because of several controversies involving Steve Green and Hobby Lobby. Green and his family have been very public in opposing birth control and supporting efforts to include Bible teachings in U.S. public schools.

A door opens to the 'Exodus' section at the end of the 'Passover' presentation inside the Museum of the Bible, Monday, Oct. 30, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
A door opens to the 'Exodus' section at the end of the 'Passover' presentation inside the Museum of the Bible, Monday, Oct. 30, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

In 2014, Hobby Lobby won a U.S. Supreme Court case giving the right to deny workers at family-owned companies health coverage for birth control.

In July, Hobby Lobby also was ordered to pay a $3 million fine and return artifacts the company bought without knowing the items had been smuggled out of Iraq. The company admitted it should have taken greater care in doing business with its dealers. Museum officials said none of those items were meant to be put in the Museum of the Bible.

John Fea is head of the history department at Messiah College, a private, Christian college in the state of Pennsylvania. He said he thinks it will be very difficult for the museum to remain neutral in proving information about the holy book.

An exhibit discussing slavery and the Bible in the United States is displayed inside the Museum of the Bible, Monday, Oct. 30, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
An exhibit discussing slavery and the Bible in the United States is displayed inside the Museum of the Bible, Monday, Oct. 30, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

“It’s going to be very, very hard to present the Bible in that way,' he said. 'Because the Bible is always so sort of ensconced, and so connected to a particular religious tradition and their way of interpreting it.”

Visitors enter the museum through a dramatic 12-meter-tall bronze entrance containing writing from the first book of the Bible, Genesis. One museum official said about the design, 'when you walk in, you’re really walking into the Bible.”

The writing on the doors came from an early version of the Gutenberg Bible. The Gutenberg Bible was the first major book printed in Europe with movable type.

An exhibit discussing slavery in the United States is displayed inside the Museum of the Bible, Monday, Oct. 30, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
An exhibit discussing slavery in the United States is displayed inside the Museum of the Bible, Monday, Oct. 30, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Among the many Bibles shown at the museum is one called the Eliot Indian Bible. The museum says it was the first Bible printed in America in a Native American language.

The Museum collection also includes several first editions of the King James Bible and early versions from Christian Reformation leader Martin Luther.

Also shown are a large collection from the Dead Sea Scrolls, and what the museum describes as the “world's largest collection of Torah scrolls,” covering more than 700 years of history.

In addition, visitors can explore an area on the Bible’s influence on cultures across the world, including education, literature and art. Included in this area are a Bible once owned by Elvis Presley and modern fashion designs inspired by biblical subjects.

There is no cost to visit the museum, but donations are accepted.

I’m Bryan Lynn. And I'm Caty Weaver.

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

We want to hear from you. Is the Museum of the Bible a place you want to visit? Write to us in the Comments section, and visit our Facebook page.

Words in This Story

artifact n. things made by people in the past

innovative adj. using new methods or ideas

engage v. to do something

preach v. speak or write about something in an approving way

basic adj. simple, not including anything extra

exhibit n. collection of objects placed in one place for people to see or inspect

controversy n. strong disagreement over something among a large group of people

ensconced adj. positioned safely or comfortably somewhere

]]>
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<![CDATA[Leonardo da Vinci Painting Sells for Record $450 Million]]>Caty Weaver如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/11/17/5106/

A painting of Jesus Christ by Leonardo da Vinci has sold for a record $450 million. That is the most money ever paid for an artwork.

The painting is called “Salvator Mundi,” Latin for “Savior of the World.” It is one of fewer than 20 works by the Renaissance painter known to exist. It sold at an auction on Wednesday.

Before Wednesday, the highest-known sale price for any artwork had been $300 million for Willem de Kooning’s painting “Interchange.” Businessman Kenneth C. Griffin bought it in a private sale in 2015.

A Pablo Picasso’s painting “Les femmes D’Alger” held the previous record for artwork sold at auction. It was sold in 2015 for over $179 million.

The sale of the da Vinci painting took place at Christie’s auction house in New York City. Bidding for the piece opened at $75 million. The bidding lasted 19 minutes.

Leonardo da Vinci Painting “Salvator Mundi”
Leonardo da Vinci Painting “Salvator Mundi”

People inside Christie’s cheered as the hammer came down to mark the end of bidding. The record sale price includes money that the unnamed winner must pay to the auction house.

Jussi Pylkkänen was the auctioneer and is Global president of Christie's. He told the Reuters news agency, “It was a moment when all the stars were aligned, and I think Leonardo would be very pleased.”

The 66-centimeter-tall painting dates to around 1500. It shows Jesus dressed in Renaissance-style clothing. His right hand is raised in blessing and his left hand holds a crystal ball.

The painting was in a private collection of King Charles I of England. It disappeared from view until 1900, when a British collector bought it. At that time, it was thought to have been painted by a student of Leonardo rather than the master himself.

In 2005, a group of art dealers paid less than $10,000 for the artwork. It was badly damaged and partly painted over. They restored the work and proved that the painting was done by Leonardo da Vinci himself.

Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev bought the restored painting in 2013 for $127.5 million.

Christie’s said most experts agree the painting is a work of Leonardo da Vinci. But critics say the restoration of the piece affects the work’s authorship.

I'm Caty Weaver.

Hai Do adapted this story for Learning English based on Reuters and Associated Press news reports. Ashley Thompson was the editor.

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

Words in This Story

bidding - n. the act of offering to pay a particular amount of money for something

hammer - n. a tool made of wood and used especially for hitting a surface to make a loud noise

conduct - v. direct a performance

stars are aligned - idiom - when an unexpected and nearly impossible event takes place

crystal - n. a special type of glass that is very clear

authorship - n. the identity of the person who has created something

]]>
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<![CDATA[Small Montana City Elects Former Refugee as Mayor]]>UNSV.COM英语学习频道如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
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Voters in Helena, Montana, have elected Wilmot Collins as their new mayor. Collins is a former refugee from Liberia. He is also the first black mayor in the state of Montana.

The story of his success in America has created interest around the world.

“There are no limits,” Collins told VOA. “I arrived in this country with 25 cents in my pocket. Do you think I was thinking of ever running for mayor? No! But I worked hard and I had the support of my family and my community.”

Collins says he tells his children with those things in place, “There is no reason why you can’t succeed at what you attempt to do.”

Collins and his wife, Maddie, were part of a large group of Liberians that fled the civil war in that country in the early 1990s. Two of his brothers were killed in the war. The couple escaped to Ghana but were starving there.

In his run for mayor of Helena, Montana, Wilmot Collins said he wanted to beef up fire, police and other emergency services and create affordable housing for homeless veterans and teenagers. (Wilmot Collins for Mayor/Facebook)
In his run for mayor of Helena, Montana, Wilmot Collins said he wanted to beef up fire, police and other emergency services and create affordable housing for homeless veterans and teenagers. (Wilmot Collins for Mayor/Facebook)

So, Maddie Collins reached out to an American family she had lived with as an international high school student in Helena. As a result, she was offered a college scholarship in the same town.

About two weeks before leaving Ghana for the United States, the Collins learned that they were expecting a baby. They decided that Maddie should still go to the U.S. Wilmot would follow as soon as possible.

He tried to get a visa but was denied. After several more failed attempts, Wilmot Collins requested refugee status through the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.

“When I was finally allowed to come to America, my little daughter was turning two years old. That was the first time I had ever seen her. That was February 17, 1994.”

He was 31 years old when he finally reached America. The mayor-elect Collins says he realized immediately that the “real America” was very different from what he had seen in movies back home.

He says when he heard the pilot announce that it was “warm” at one degree Celsius, he thought the man was crazy. Collins laughs at that memory.

He says he was even more surprised to learn there were almost no black people in Montana. The state is 92 percent white and five percent Native American. The remaining three percent are listed as “other.” He says the realization gave him a lonely feeling, but that he was happy to be with his family again.

Two weeks later, Collins got a job cleaning a local school. He says it is not true when people say refugees do not offer any community service. “I didn’t get anything for free,” he argues.

Collins believes he and his wife were among the first refugees ever to settle in the Helena area. And soon, he says, he would try to persuade people in Helena that his family was in the country legally.

“Your government accepted us here,” he told local people who did not believe them.

Collins has two university degrees and is working on a doctorate. Before his election, he worked as a child protection specialist with Montana’s Department of Health and Human Services.

He also told his story in talks at high schools.

Collins believes that, generally, when people hear a person’s life story, it can change their mind. Some people realized, “Okay, this guy is just like us,” he said.

But, Montana is a traditionally conservative state and not everyone is accepting of Collins or others like him. Collins says this causes him worry, especially considering the state's very permissive gun laws.

“It makes me and my family nervous because… there are crazy people out there, and someone may not want me to do this. Everybody in Montana carries a gun.”

Even with those concerns, Collins said he feels ready to begin leading Helena.

“The voters spoke and they said, ‘Hey, you know, with your story and with your experience, it’s you we want.’”

As mayor-elect, Collins is excited by the opportunity to “give back' to the community.

“If I can just give back half of what this community gave me, my life is complete, just half. I’ll be thankful.”

His goals include improvements to the fire department, police department and other emergency services. He also plans to establish low-cost housing for homeless veterans and young people because, he says, years ago, he too was homeless.

I’m John Russell.

And I’m Alice Bryant.

Adam Phillips wrote this story for VOA News. Alice Bryant adapted it for Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.

Words in This Story

refugee – n. someone who has been forced to leave a country because of war or for religious or political reasons

congratulate – v. to tell someone that you are happy because of his or her success or good luck

scholarship - n. an amount of money that is given by a school, an organization, etc., to a student to help pay for the student's education

status – n. the official position of a person or thing according to the law

degree – n. n official document and title that is given to someone who has successfully completed a series of classes at a college or university

veteran – n. someone who fought in a war as a soldier, sailor or some other position

]]>
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<![CDATA[Indian Hindus Attacking Muslims, Stealing Their Cows]]>Caty Weaver如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/11/17/8051/

The beating that ended Pehlu Khan’s life in April was captured on video.

A group of men hit the 55-year-old man, threw him to the ground and stepped on him in the northwestern Indian state of Rajasthan. He asked them to stop but they refused.

As the beating continued, people nearby were stealing Khan’s cows. They took the cows to a nearby Hindu-run shelter that accepts stolen cows and sells them. Cow theft and sales have brought money to needy Hindu communities in rural areas.

About 14 percent of the 1.3 billion people living in India are Muslim. Public attacks on the Muslim population have raised concerns about the direction the country is taking. The attackers are mostly nationalistic Hindus who helped Narendra Modi win the office of prime minister in 2014. They are working as private militias in the cow stealing operations.

Modi has worked since becoming prime minister to persuade the world that India is a good place for foreign investment. But, the violent crime clashes with this image. His strongest supporters are now seen as shaping India through violence and religious discrimination. But public demands that Modi stop the crime have gone unanswered. Many wonder if Modi has enough influence over his supporters to make them stop.

States that Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP, governs are reported to have had a notable increase in the stealing of cows from Muslims.

There is no official record on the number of cows stolen from Muslims since 2014. But Reuters news service says it spoke to two main northern Indian groups of cow thieves, called cow protectors there. Reuters reports they said they had stolen about 190,000 cows since Modi’s election. Sometimes they stole them in the presence of police, the groups’ leadership reportedly said. Reuters reports the groups also said Muslims were the victims in almost every case.

It is difficult to put value on the stolen cows. Prices go as high as $385 for young healthy animals. That is a lot of money in India, where some 270 million people live on less than $2 a day.

Hindus view cows as holy animals. The killing of cows for meat is illegal in most of India. Dinesh Patil is a district head of the Bajrang Dal group in the southwestern state of Maharashtra. The group is closely linked to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, or RSS, a major nationalist Hindu organization.

Patil told Reuters, “Everyone in this world is born Hindu. They are turned into Muslims when they are circumcised and Christians when they are baptized.”

The RSS argues that foreign intervention by Muslims and then Christians has polluted India’s purity for more than one thousand years. The RSS helped create Modi’s political party. The prime minister first attended the group’s meetings as a child.

Patil said that the Bajrang Dal took almost every one of the 1,700 cows at the center he manages from, in his words, “Muslim slaughterers.”

Sudhanshu Trivedi is a national spokesman for the ruling BJP. He said his party expects anyone with knowledge of illegal acts, such as cow slaughter, to tell the police. He added that in cases where cows were taken, it was because their owners had broken laws.

“It is not redistribution of wealth. It is just stopping of illegal activities,” he said.

Modi’s office directed Reuters to the Home Ministry for comments on this issue. The ministry said it is “not correct” that cow stealing has risen on Modi’s watch. Also, it said it is “preposterous” to suggest that Hindus are organizing to steal and redistribute cattle.

Some people have taken the law into their own hands “in the name of protecting the cows,” the ministry noted in a written statement. But, it said, “the Government is committed to protecting the legal rights of all citizens, including minorities in India.”

The Supreme Court has also dealt with the issue. In September, the court ruled that central and state governments must deploy police to prevent cow theft and related violence.

Some Hindu activists seem to ignore Modi’s calls to end the attacks. One group of cow protectors, known as Bharatiya Gau Raksha Dal, claims 10,000 members mostly in western and northern Indian states. Pawan Pandit, a part-time computer program engineer, is their leader. He said the prime minister’s condemnation of what he called “anti-social activities” did not move the group to stop.

“The cow protection movement totally belonged to the BJP before 2014,” Pandit added. “Now groups like ours have the momentum.”

He said militias operating under his cow protection group captured as many as 60,000 cows in the three years before Modi came to office. Since 2014, Pandit noted, the group has taken more than 100,000 cows, often working with police.

I’m Pete Musto. And I'm Caty Weaver.

Zeba Siddiqui, Krishna N. Das, Tommy Wilkes and Tom Lasseter reported this for the Reuters news service. Pete Musto adapted it for VOA Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.

We want to hear from you. Is religious conflict a problem in your country? How does your government deal with unfair treatment of minorities? Write to us in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.

Words in This Story

theftn. the act or crime of stealing

districtn. an area or section of a country, city, or town

circumcise(d) – v. to cut off the skin at the end of the penis of a man or boy, or outer sexual organs of a woman or girl, mainly for religious reasons

baptize(d) – v. to officially make someone a member of a specified Christian church through the ceremony in which a small amount of water is placed on a person's head or in which a person's body is briefly placed under water

slaughterer(s) - n. someone who kills animals for food

redistributionn. the act of dividing something among a group in a different way

preposterousadj. very foolish or silly

cattlen. cows, bulls, or steers that are kept on a farm or ranch for meat or milk

committedadj. willing to give your time and energy to something

momentumn. the strength or force that allows something to continue or to grow stronger or faster as time passes

]]>
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<![CDATA['Trump' Hamburger Popular in Tokyo]]>Pete Musto如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
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This is What’s Trending Today…

The line of people stretches out the door at Munch’s Burger Shack in Tokyo. The tiny eatery serves American-style hamburgers, among other things.

Many of the people who line up have come from far away to try the food. Haruyuki Sano traveled 1.5 hours for a hamburger.

Not just any hamburger.

Sano and others are eager to try the same hamburger that United States President Donald Trump ate here last week: the 100 percent U.S. Angus beef Colby Jack Cheeseburger. Trump ate a Munch’s burger with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during his visit to Japan.

“It tasted great, like steak,” Sano said after tasting the burger.

Trump’s tough talk on trade and security does not always get positive responses in Japan, which sees the U.S. as its most important partner. But his love for the Japanese version of the American hamburger is popular with many here.

“I like Trump,” said Sano. He adds that putting one’s country first makes sense. He thinks Japan should do that, too.

While better known for foods like sushi and ramen, Japan has long enjoyed American food. So-called “premium burgers” are growing especially popular.

Munch’s Burger Shack now offers the “President Trump Set” on its menu. It includes the burger along with coleslaw and french fries. It sells for 1,400 Japanese yen, or $12.

Munch’s co-owner, Yutaka Yanagisawa, shook Trump’s hand last week after the president finished eating his burger. The president said the food was “very good.”

“I felt so honored,” Yanagisawa said, adding that all he could say in reply was “thank you.”

He says the “President Trump Set” is now one of the most popular options on the menu.

The experience of eating at restaurants in Tokyo is increasingly about fun storytelling, says Jotaro Fujii. He is a Tokyo-based food expert. This storytelling usually includes sharing photos of meals on Instagram.

He expects the “Trump effect” for Munch’s Burger Shack to be huge.

“Talk of lines brings more lines,” said Fujii. “Rather than mere taste, the value and joy come from being able to say: I had the same burger as Trump.”

I'm Pete Musto.

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

Words in This Story

hamburger - n. a flat, usually round cake of finely chopped beef that is cooked and served usually in a roll or bun

steak - n. a thick, flat piece of meat and especially beef

premium- adj . of high or higher than normal quality

mere - adj. used to say that something or someone is small, unimportant, etc.

joy - n. a feeling of great happiness

sushi - n. a Japanese dish of cold cooked rice shaped in small cakes and topped or wrapped with other ingredients (such as pieces of raw fish)

ramen - n. very thin, long noodles used in Asian cooking

]]>
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<![CDATA[James Bond Can Teach You About English Grammar]]>Jill Robbins如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
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In the 1964 action film Goldfinger, actor Sean Connery plays the British secret agent James Bond.

Bond, also called agent 007, is well-known for his drink of choice -- a martini. He always wants his martinis prepared just the right way. Let’s listen to a short exchange from the movie:

Can I do something for you, Mr. Bond?

Just a drink. A martini. Shaken, not stirred.

Today, we will show you how this kind of exchange can teach you something about English grammar. Specifically, it shows you how English speakers use sentence fragments in everyday situations.

We will also use fictional conversations to show two common ways in which English speakers use these fragments.

But first, let's start with some definitions.

Complete sentences and incomplete sentences

Complete sentences are sentences that have both a subject and a predicate. A predicate tells something about the subject.

For example, in the sentence 'James Bond likes to order martinis,' the subject is James Bond and the predicate is 'likes to order martinis.' In this case, the predicate gives us information about Bond.

In writing, you should use complete sentences. However, in conversation, you can use partial or incomplete sentences.

Incomplete sentences are not wrong. In other words, English speakers are not breaking rules when they use them. Instead, speakers leave out parts of sentences because the sentence's full meaning is clear from the setting or context.

Today, we will explore two kinds of incomplete sentences: one group called 'Minimal Responses,' and another called 'Short Answers.'

#1 Minimal responses

Minimal responses* are simple words or expressions that speakers use to react to what somebody else has said. These are not complete sentences - they sometimes lack a subject, verb, or other important part of a sentence.

Americans commonly use minimal responses for two purposes: showing approval and giving a polite or respectful answer. We will now look at examples of both types.

Minimal responses can show approval

Imagine you tell your friend that you received a great grade on a difficult test:

I got an A on my test!

Nice!

Here, your friend uses the adjective 'nice' as a way to express approval about your statement. The reason your friend does not use a full subject and predicate is because his or her answer is understood in the context of a conversation.

Some other words and expressions that show approval are 'good,' 'good job,' 'great,' 'nice,' and 'nice work.'

All of these terms have similar meanings. However, some are more forceful or less official-sounding than others. Think back to the example you just heard:

I got an A on my test!

Nice!

A speaker could replace the word 'nice' with almost any of the other terms we provided. They could say 'good job' or 'great job,' for example. 'Great job' is a stronger statement than 'good job.'

Minimal responses can give a polite response

Americans also limit their responses to make points in a respectful way during a conversation. Some of these are polite, yet informal. The most common examples include “no problem,” “no worries,” “sorry,” and “thanks.”

Imagine someone has just given you directions. You want to thank them before going on your way. The exchange might sound like this:

Thanks.

No problem.

The other person could respond in even more informal way by saying 'no worries' instead of 'no problem.'

In both cases, the speaker's response takes the place of a much longer sentence. For example, the speaker could have said, 'I was happy to be able to help you out.' 'No problem' is a short, polite way to express this same idea.

#2 Short answers:

A second type of incomplete sentence is the short answer. In short answers, speakers leave out subjects, verbs, or predicates. In general, the missing words appeared earlier in the conversation. Speakers do not repeat these words because repetition would make the exchanges much longer.

Let's consider an example. Imagine you are looking for the nearest bank. The person you ask might provide a short answer:

Where is the nearest bank?

Right over there.

In the example, the speaker omits the subject and verb of the sentence. The speaker said, 'Right over there' instead of the full sentence, 'The nearest bank is right over there.'

If the speaker says 'right over there,' he or she means that the bank is very close to you – probably within eyesight. In many situations, speakers will point with their fingers to show the direction of the bank.

Think back to the lines you heard earlier in this report:

Can I do something for you, Mr. Bond?

Just a drink: A martini. Shaken, not stirred.

In the example, James Bond uses the same type of short answer: an answer that omits the subject and verb. Bond could have said, 'I would like a drink: A martini. I want you to shake it, but please do not stir it.'

This way of speaking is much more detailed, a lot longer, and polite. It does not fit with James Bond's personality. He is not a very polite, talkative man.

That said, you can still learn from how he uses language!

What can you do?

The next time you are watching a film or with an America, try listening for examples of incomplete sentences. When the speaker uses an incomplete sentence, ask yourself if they used it for one of the reasons we talked about today. Does the sentence leave out important words, such as a subject, verb, or predicate?

If it does … no worries!

I'm Jill Robbins.

And I'm John Russell.

John Russell wrote this story for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

*Please see Conrad, Susan, and Biber, Douglas. Real Grammar: A Corpus-Based Approach. Pearson-Longman. 2009 pg. 145

Words in the Story

stir – v. to mix by making circular movements

grammar – n. the study of words and their uses in a sentence

fragment – n. Grammar : a group of words that is written out as a sentence but that lacks a subject or verb

fictional – adj.

conversation – n. an informal talk involving two people or a small group of people :the act of talking in an informal way

responsen. a reaction to something; something that is said or written in answer to something

graden. a number or letter that shows how a student performed on a test or in class

fitv. to be suitable or appropriate for (someone or something)​

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/11/17/6164/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/11/17/6164/VOA Special EnglishFri, 17 Nov 2017 01:38:00 UTC
<![CDATA[5 Reasons to Try Firefox ‘Quantum' Browser]]>Jill Robbins如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/11/16/0994/

Mozilla has released a new update of its Firefox browser that it says is much faster and provides a better overall user experience. But can the new version – called Firefox Quantum – compete with the world’s current top browser, Google Chrome?

Firefox is an open source browser created by the not-for-profit Mozilla Foundation. The foundation says it has different goals than companies like Apple and Google, which must focus on making a profit.

Mozilla aims to create new products to keep the internet “a global public resource” that remains open and free to all people. It urges developers to contribute to its technology and use the Firefox source code with other products.

Firefox 1.0 launched in 2004 when Microsoft’s Internet Explorer dominated the browser market for personal computers.

Firefox also followed the failure of Netscape Navigator, another major browser that did not survive the competition from Internet Explorer. Navigator had also been used in Mac computers. But in 2003, Apple released its Safari browser, which is still used today.

The number of Firefox users grew over the years, offering a challenge to Internet Explorer’s global influence.

Wired magazine reports Firefox currently has about 90 million users around the world. While this is a big number, the overall browser usage for Firefox worldwide is still quite small, about six percent. Google Chrome is leading with 55 percent browser usage, while Safari has about 15 percent.

In launching its new version, Mozilla said Quantum is “by far the biggest update” in Firefox history. The most important message Mozilla is sending is that Quantum is fast – really, really fast.

Is this true? And what else can this browser do? Is it worth downloading and taking for a test drive?

Major speed upgrade

Yes, it is fast. The new Firefox performs today at speeds twice as fast as just six months ago, tests showed on the Speedometer 2.0 system. The Speedometer measures how the browser handles many different web operations at the same time.

There have been mostly positive reactions to the speed of Firefox Quantum by technology publications and the public.

Digital Trends noted the browser was “faster and even more minimalist.” It added, Firefox Quantum makes Chrome look old.” PC Magazine said Quantum had made major progress with “turbocharged performance, a new look, and better memory usage.”

Firefox user Erik Berlin tweeted his results. “In all seriousness, I spent the day using Firefox Quantum and it really is faster than Chrome, with a smaller memory footprint, and less battery drain. Worth a try!”

Mozilla has released a new update of its Firefox browser that it says is much faster and provides a better overall user experience. (Mozilla)
Mozilla has released a new update of its Firefox browser that it says is much faster and provides a better overall user experience. (Mozilla)

Less memory usage

Mozilla says Quantum was built to greatly reduce the amount of computer memory used. In its own tests, Firefox researchers found the new browser used about 30 percent less memory or RAM than Chrome.

Tab, tab away

One result of lower memory usage is that more pages can load faster and operate at the same time. Earlier this year, Mozilla developer Dietrich Ayala even reported Quantum was able to open nearly 1,700 separate browser tabs in just 15 seconds.

Quantum also provides private browsing controls that block ads and do not remember the user's history.

New User Interface

Firefox Quantum comes with a new design featuring blocked tabs along the top, with a wide search box below.

In the middle of the browser are links to the top sites you visit, as well as recommended and trending stories. Quantum also includes Mozilla’s Pocket bookmarking service, which works to quickly save web pages and content for later use.

A new tool, Firefox Screenshots, makes it easier to cut and save any parts of the browser screen.

A new tool in Quantum, Firefox Screenshots, makes it easier to cut and save any parts of the browser screen. (Mozilla)
A new tool in Quantum, Firefox Screenshots, makes it easier to cut and save any parts of the browser screen. (Mozilla)

Mozilla said Quantum’s browser is the result of studies on how people use the web today. “We looked at real world hardware to make Firefox look great on any display, and we made sure that Firefox looks and works like Firefox regardless of the device you’re using,” Mozilla explained in a blog post.

Google search built in

Firefox has been using Yahoo as its default search engine for the past three years after signing a deal with Yahoo. But that ended with the launch of Quantum. So even though the new browser is a clear competitor to Google Chrome, Mozilla decided to give its users default access to the hugely popular Google search engine.

I’m Bryan Lynn.

And I'm Jill Robbins.

Bryan Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English. 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

browsern. computer program used to find and look at information on the internet

apparentlyadv. some that appears to be true based on what is known

dominatev. to have control or power over someone or something

challengev. to question the action or authority of someone or something

minimalistadj. showing as little action or involvement as possible

turbochargedadj. very powerful or exciting

hardware n. collection of physical parts of a computer system

defaultn. what exists or happens if no changes are made

accessn. the right or chance to use or see something

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/11/16/0994/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/11/16/0994/VOA Special EnglishThu, 16 Nov 2017 13:23:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Scientists Find Oldest Wine-making Evidence in Georgia]]>UNSV.COM英语学习频道如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/11/15/7930/

This is What’s Trending Today...

The United States, France and Germany may be the top three wine-drinking countries in the world, but Georgia can now claim to be the country where wine-making began.

And, it turns out, humans have been making and enjoying the alcoholic drink for a lot longer than we had thought.

Scientists this week announced the discovery of the oldest-known evidence for wine-making.

Researchers found pieces of 8,000-year-old containers used to make wine. The remains were found at two sites about 50 kilometers south of Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia.

The findings show that wine-making occurred earlier than previously known in the South Caucasus area. Before now, the oldest evidence had come from pottery from the Zagros Mountains in northwestern Iran, dating to 5400-5000 BC.

The oldest of the newly discovered remains dated to about 5980 BC. The jars measured about 80 centimeters tall and 40 centimeters wide. They were gray, some with simple drawings of grapes and of a man dancing.

A Neolithic jar, possibly a Neolithic qvevri used for brewing wine from the site of Khramis Didi Gora south of Tbilisi on display at the Georgian National Museum is seen in this handout photo received November 13, 2017. Judyta Olszewski/Handout via REUT
A Neolithic jar, possibly a Neolithic qvevri used for brewing wine from the site of Khramis Didi Gora south of Tbilisi on display at the Georgian National Museum is seen in this handout photo received November 13, 2017. Judyta Olszewski/Handout via REUT

The researchers published their findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

David Lordkipanidze is director of the Georgian National Museum, which helped pay for the research. He said large jars called qvevri -- similar to the ancient ones -- are still used by winemakers in Georgia today.

Researchers performed biochemical tests on the jars to find small amounts of wine substance that the pottery had absorbed.

University of Pennsylvania’s Patrick McGovern is a biomolecular archaeologist. He found evidence of several kinds of acid that indicate brewing involving the Eurasian grape.

The pottery was found at the site of two ancient villages, once home to about 60 people. The villagers harvested wheat, raised animals and used simple tools made of bone and volcanic glass.

This is not the earliest sign of any alcoholic beverage. Evidence was found in China of an alcoholic mix of rice, honey and fruit from about 7000 BC.

And that’s What’s Trending Today.

Reuters news agency reported this story. Ashley Thompson adapted it for Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.

Words in This Story

wine - n. an alcoholic drink made from the juice of grapes

pottery - n. objects (such as bowls, plates, etc.) that are made out of clay usually by hand and then baked at high temperatures so that they become hard

jar - n. a clay container that has a wide opening

absorb - v. o take in (something, such as a liquid) in a natural or gradual way

acid - n. a chemical with a sour taste that forms a salt when mixed with a base

archaeologist - n. a person that studies archaeology -- the science that deals with past human life and activities by studying the bones, tools, etc., of ancient people

grape - n. a green, dark red, or purplish-black berry that is used to make wine or is eaten as a fruit

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/11/15/7930/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/11/15/7930/VOA Special EnglishWed, 15 Nov 2017 03:03:00 UTC
<![CDATA[FBI Says Hate Crimes Rose Again in 2016]]>UNSV.COM英语学习频道如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
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The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) says hate crimes rose across the United States in 2016 for the second year in a row.

An FBI study released Monday reports there were 6,121 hate crime incidents last year, an increase of 4.6 percent from 2015.

It was the first time since 2004 that U.S. hate crimes rose two years in a row. In 2015, hate crimes increased by seven percent.

The largest group of victims, 58 percent, were targeted because of race or ethnicity, the report said. Rising hate crimes were reported against several groups including Arabs, Muslims, Jews, blacks and transgender people.

About 50 percent of these hate crimes were done because of anti-Black bias. Nearly 21 percent involved anti-White bias, while 10 percent were anti-Hispanic or Latino crimes, the report said.

About 3 percent resulted from anti-Asian bias, while nearly four percent of victims were American Indian or Alaska Native. About one percent involved anti-Arab crimes.

Among hate crimes involving religion, the report said 54 percent were anti-Jewish, while 25 percent were anti-Muslim.

FILE - A sign bearing the words 'Love for all, hatred for none' stands outside a mosque in Meriden, Connecticut, Feb. 27, 2016.
FILE - A sign bearing the words 'Love for all, hatred for none' stands outside a mosque in Meriden, Connecticut, Feb. 27, 2016.

Nearly 18 percent of reported hate crimes were based on the sexual orientation of victims. Of these 1,218 incidents, 63 percent involved anti-gay bias against men.

The FBI has been gathering hate crime data since 1992. The agency’s numbers are based completely on voluntary reporting from police agencies across the U.S. Therefore, the reports are widely believed to underreport the actual number of hate crimes.

In releasing the new report, the FBI said hate crimes remain the “number one investigative priority” of its Civil Rights Division.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has also promised to make hate crimes a main focus of the Justice Department.

Sessions said Monday the Justice Department is awaiting a full agency report on what steps to take to improve. The report is expected to suggest ways to better train investigators and prosecutors and improve collecting methods for hate crime data.

In a statement, Sessions said his agency will seek to make sure individuals “can live without fear of being a victim of violent crime based on who they are, what they believe, or how they worship.”

I’m Bryan Lynn.

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

hate crimes – n. crimes motivated completely or in part by a bias against race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, etc.

incidentn. an event, especially one that is bad or unusual

biasn. belief that a group of people, ideas, etc. are better than others

transgenderadj. of or relating to people who feel that their true nature does not match their sex at birth

orientationn. a person’s feelings, interests, or beliefs

priorityn. something that is more important than other things

worshipv. to show respect for god by praying or attending religious services

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/11/15/7312/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/11/15/7312/VOA Special EnglishWed, 15 Nov 2017 03:01:00 UTC
<![CDATA[US Changes Definition for High Blood Pressure]]>UNSV.COM英语学习频道如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/11/15/4927/

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

Recently, two leading heart organizations changed the definition of what it means to have high blood pressure. Because of this change, the number of Americans with high blood pressure jumped from 32 percent to 46 percent.

Doctors at the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology now classify anyone with a blood pressure reading of 130 over 80 as having high blood pressure.

Before, the cutoffs for high blood pressure had been a top number of 140 and a lower number of 90.

Health experts at the website Science Daily say blood pressure is defined by two numbers. The top number, called systolic, represents the force with which your heart pumps blood into the blood vessels. The bottom, called diastolic, is a measure of the resistance to the blood flow in the body's blood vessels.

The American Heart Association says the new guidelines are designed to help people take steps to control their blood pressure earlier. High blood pressure can cause heart disease and stroke – the two leading causes of death in the world.

The new guidelines set blood pressures in these categories:

  • Normal Blood Pressure: Under 120 over 80
  • Elevated Blood Pressure: Top number 120-129 and bottom number less than 80
  • High Blood Pressure / Stage 1: Top number of 130-139 or bottom number 80-89
  • High Blood Pressure / Stage 2: Top number at least 140 or bottom number at least 90

High blood pressure around the world

A 2016 study by the World Health Organization and hundreds of scientists found that the number of people in the world with high blood pressure had reached 1.13 billion.

However, the study defined high blood pressure as 140 over 90. Should they adopt the new guidelines, the number of people with high blood pressure worldwide will most likely increase.

Scientists at Imperial College London led the study and looked at blood pressure measurements from nearly 20 million people from the years 1975 to 2015.

In this study, they found that the number of people with high blood pressure nearly doubled in 40 years.

Researchers found that over half of the world's adults with high blood pressure lived in Asia. Around 226 million people in China have high blood pressure, along with 200 million in India.

This study also found that in 2015 people in South Korea, the USA and Canada had the lowest high blood pressure rates in the world. With the new U.S. guidelines, the U.S. ranking in the world could change.

The researchers from Imperial College London published their findings from the study in the January 2017 edition of the medical journal The Lancet.

Does this mean more medication is necessary?

Health experts are warning people to not rush to medication to lower their high blood pressure. They advise that there are many lifestyle changes a person can make to effectively keep their blood pressure at a healthy level.

Regular exercise and losing weight can lower your blood pressure. In some people, making changes in diet can make a big difference. Eating more fruits, vegetables, fish, beans, nuts and seeds can help. Eating less sodium and drinking less alcohol can also help.

And that’s the Health & Lifestyle report.

I’m Anna Matteo.

Anna Matteo wrote this report with information from the American Heart Association and Science Daily. Hai Do was the editor.

Words in This Story

classify v. to arrange (people or things) into groups based on ways that they are alike : to consider (someone or something) as belonging to a particular group

systole n. the contraction of the heart by which the blood is forced onward and the circulation kept up : systolic adj.

systolic blood pressuremedical noun the highest arterial blood pressure of a cardiac cycle occurring immediately after systole of the left ventricle of the heart — called also systolic pressure;

diastole n. the dilatation of the cavities of the heart during which they fill with blood : diastolic adj.

diastolic blood pressuremedical noun the lowest arterial blood pressure of a cardiac cycle occurring during diastole of the heart — called also diastolic pressure

resistance n. a force that slows down a moving object (such as an airplane) by going against the direction in which the object is moving

category n. a group of people or things that are similar in some way

edition n. the form or version in which a text is published

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/11/15/4927/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/11/15/4927/VOA Special EnglishWed, 15 Nov 2017 02:46:00 UTC
<![CDATA[Fewer New International Students Attending US Colleges]]>Jill Robbins如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿、LRC同步字幕以及中文翻译等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/11/15/7178/

For the first time in 12 years, the number of new international students attending American colleges and universities has dropped.

That information comes from the 2017 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange.

The report is a project of the Institute of International Education, a not-for-profit group in the United States, and the U.S. Department of State. The findings were released on Monday.

The Open Doors report has been documenting international student exchanges at American colleges and universities since 1954. The 2016-2017 school year marked the second year in a row that over a million international students attended the schools.

This time, the number of new international college students was about 10,000 less than a year earlier. That represents an almost three percent decrease from the 2015-2016 school year.

The latest Open Doors report did note a record year, with the largest number of international college students in the U.S. to date. But separately, the Institute of International Education noted a drop in the number of internationals seeking admission for the current school year. The average decrease, at almost 500 colleges and universities, was seven percent.

Allan Goodman is the president of the institute, also known as the IIE. He said the main reason for the decrease is economics. The cost of higher education nationwide has been rising over the past 30 years. Goodman noted that the United States faces greater competition than ever to provide top quality education.

“Countries and multinational employers around the world are competing to attract top talent,” he said at a press conference Monday. “As more countries … implement national strategies to attract them, the competition … will only intensify.”

Goodman also noted cuts to several programs that sent many international college students to the U.S. in the past. For over 10 years, the government in Saudi Arabia spent billions of dollars so that its citizens could study in other countries. But in 2016, falling oil prices led the government to make cuts to that program. This resulted in a 14 percent decrease in the number of Saudi Arabian college students coming to the United States last year.

Earlier this year, Brazil’s Ministry of Education announced plans to cancel a similar program. Started in 2011, the program helped send over 100,000 university students overseas to study the sciences. The new report noted that the number of Brazilians attending American colleges and universities dropped by about 32 percent.

However, some experts argue it is not just economics that are affecting the decrease in international students.

Philip Altbach directs the Center for International Higher Education in the Lynch School of Education at Boston College. Last year, he predicted a decrease in the number of international students coming to the U.S. His predictions were published in several opinion pieces.

So why is the United States suddenly less appealing? Altbach thinks the policies and behavior of President Donald Trump are partly to blame. And he believes those policies and actions could lead to fewer international students in the years to come.

“The US is seen as an unwelcoming country in the ‘age of Trump,’ Altbach told VOA. “This is combined with both the perception and … the reality that it is more difficult to obtain a US visa than it used to be. … The US remains the strongest … system in the world … but negative forces grow ever stronger.”

In the first month of his presidency, Trump announced a temporary ban on travel to the U.S. by citizens of several Middle Eastern countries. And in September, he announced an expansion of that ban to include other countries, such as Venezuela and North Korea.

Altbach adds that the rise of racist incidents at American colleges and cities does not improve the way the world looks at the United States. One example took place three months ago at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia. White nationalists clashed with opponents near the school’s grounds. One woman and two male law enforcement officers were killed.

As the 2017-2018 school year began, several other schools reported finding racist images or messages on their campuses.

Recent violent attacks, like the mass shooting in Las Vegas in October, only add to the fears of international students and their parents, says Altbach.

But Marianne Craven argues that politics and other issues are not the only influences on peoples’ decisions to study in the United States. Craven is the Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Academic Programs for the State Department. She says that international students are much more concerned with the future an American education can offer them.

“Students make their choices of where to study with their long-term goals and career plans in mind,” Craven told VOA. She added “These are very personal decisions by students and their families.

Craven says the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs plans to continue building friendly relations between the U.S. and other countries. It plans to do so through educational, cultural, sports, and professional exchanges.

The number of people attending events designed to publicize American higher education in other countries remains strong, Craven adds.

While the United States may be facing a decrease in the number of new foreign college students, Canada is becoming more appealing. Between 2008 and 2015, the total number of international students at Canadian colleges and universities increased by about 92 percent.

A decrease in the number of international college students at American colleges and universities could affect the U.S. economy. The Department of Commerce reports that internationals students added about $39 billion to the economy last year.

I’m ­Pete Musto. And I'm Jill Robbins.

Pete Musto reported this story for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

We want to hear from you. How has the view of the United States and its higher education system changed in your country in the last five years? Write to us in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.

Words in This Story

in a row idm. following one after another

attractv. to cause someone to choose to do or be involved in something

talentn. a person or group of people with a special ability to do something well

implementv. to begin to do or use something, such as a plan

strategiesn. a careful plan or method for achieving a particular goal usually over a long period of time

perceptionn. the way you think about or understand someone or something

obtainv. to gain or get something, usually by effort

negativeadj. harmful or bad

racistadj. used to describe the poor treatment of or violence against people because of their race

campus(es) - n. the area and buildings around a university, college, school

professional - adj. done or given by a person who works in a particular​ job or industry

publicizev. to cause something to be publicly known

]]>
http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/11/15/7178/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/specialenglish/scripts/2017/11/15/7178/VOA Special EnglishWed, 15 Nov 2017 01:37:00 UTC